It’s time we gave this a serious thought

UntitledWith the impending EU referendum vote on June 23, the activity on both sides of the campaign is reaching fever pitch. I’m pro-EU and with all its flaws, its still a union which allows us to trade freely in the world’s largest trading blocs. And for the UK, this trading bloc is vital given the level of our exports into the EU (with about half of all UK exports going to the EU).

There have been many studies recently outlining why leaving the EU would be disastrous / catastrophic etc. etc., so I won’t go into all the metrics and people’s arguments that those studies are projections and we all know how projections can go wrong (no one projected the downturn of 2008!). But I would like to point out some highly likely outcomes in case we take the disastrous decision of leaving the EU. Some possible scenarios below:

  • Cost of living could go up as the sterling depriciates (based on recent market movements – so not projections)
    • Sterling has seen a huge amount of volatility in recent months, with recent reduction in value driven by market worries about UK leaving the EU
    • Insurance against moves in sterling against the dollar has reached the levels of 2009
    • The cost of your basket at the supermarkets could go up, holidays will become expensive
  • Tax receipts would be hit hard, investments into the UK could be reduced, consumer spending could take a hit – all this takes me me back to the not-so-good-memories of 2008
  • This will be a big shock to the economy when we are just getting out of the previous recession
    • Various estimates suggest that the UK economy, along with the EU economy, is expected to shrink for the next few years
    • It’s the uncertainty and negative sentiment that hits the markets more than the fundamentals; the market sentiment is against UK leaving the EU

Brexiteers call this fear tactics / scaremongering, but this is the reality we’ll have to live with folks. Consequences are not the most attractive, with potentially significant negative implications on the economy and even a question mark over the union of the United Kingdom (will the Scots rethink their decision of staying the UK if we were to leave the EU?).

As Great as Great Britain is, the world now doesn’t work on an isolated basis. We live in a connected global economy with a globally mobile population and shared economic fortunes (at least for the more developed economies with spill over effects of ill health of one felt on another ). We may be the world’s fifth biggest economy, but there’s a reason we occupy that position in the world and receive the investments we do – the UK plays a vital role in a connected world and is at the centre of activities of some of the most important sectors (e.g. finance, tech). We dare not move away from that advantageous position.

It’s time we think through this most important decision of our generation (or for many generations to come). This is a structural shift, not a short term decision while we assess its impact. This could change our world as we know it – working together to address the issues of today to build a strong future is far better than being observers from the outside as the world reshapes itself, without us.

 

 

Source: Photo courtesy StrongIn.co.uk

 

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My various conundrums – and myths

As a number of management consultants may feel, I also think that I don’t have enough hours in the day to manage both my personal (and social) and work life. Work life balance, or work life quality as its increasingly referred to now, is hard to achieve but not impossible. My work place has started placing a strong emphasis on this measure of a consultant’s life – which has been gratefully welcomed.

However, I have grown up in an environment where I always found myself working extremely hard (sometimes more than 15 hours a day) and somehow this started to feel ‘normal’ to me. Thankfully, the various career progressions I’ve had over the last few years mean that I don’t have to put in as much time now, but I still find myself starting at 6am and not knowing what time I’ll actually finish.

As a result, I have found it hard to accomplish what I want to on a personal side. This mainly refers to keeping fit and healthy. My health has taken a serious beating over the last few years – I used to pride myself with not getting sick at all vs. catching cold or something else every now and then in my current shape. My body needs a bit of TLC but I struggle to find time for it (or try hard to make time).

I’ve been reading a number of interesting articles on time management and personal blogs of successful leaders and executives who make it a habit to look after themselves. Even in my office, I see a number of my colleagues running / cycling to work or taking the time in the afternoon to do so – which has given me some inspiration. Increasingly also there is a greater amount of quality content out there which talks about making the most of the short amount of time available to you to get yourself in shape and become active.

My conundrum still is making time for ‘myself’ and ensuring that I have a longer and healthier career. I think I have to cull the myth that the only way to be successful is working 15-16 hours a day – there are a number of successful people who manage time much more efficiently. I have to take some learnings. Management consultants also need to consult themselves on sustainability and growth – of their own lives.