Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Living in the Desert

Down and down the day sun beats
Baking in the stifling heats
Of a wilderness, of nothing-ness
Just sand and heat and sun and less

It's hard to breathe in the desert.
Her arms wrapped tight it hurts, it hurts.
I'm stuck I'm stranded on a dune.
Like living in a desert at noon.

Your choices limited, all too few
In the desert heat, all you can do
Is get your head down, carry on
And hope that soon the sand is gone.

You look around to no avail
No-one's there to hear the wail
Of empty lonely hollow cries
Nothing lives here. It all dies.

You're trapped, your stuck,
Your done for, fucked
Do something soon and make it drastic
Get out this shithole and feel fantastic
Your mouth is dry, just keep talking
Your feet are bleeding, just keep walking
There's something coming on the horizon
You can see a new day rising.

But it's not easy. In the desert.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Freelance vs Employed

Since March 2014 we've been looking for instructors to join our team here at The Pilates Pod. After all this time we were really excited to have finally found what we thought was our permanent team. And it so nearly was, until one of the two instructors who had signed the contract had a change of heart.  What made this particularly disappointing is that this is now the 6th time that this has happened.
Of course, it's an individual's decision to change their mind if they wish and like it or not, we accept that it's just part of business. But after so many disappointments, it's hard not to let paranoia set in. So I thought I would write this blog to try and explain why taking an employed position against Freelance work is a good idea. Just in case you were thinking about applying for the position.
But first, here's the bad news. The pay is not as high as a freelance position.
We currently pay between £18 and £25 per hour for freelance instructors, depending on skills and experience. If you're a freelance instructor based in London or the surrounds, you might expect this to be a bit higher still. It's a good rate in anyone's books. As an employed position the rate is quite a bit lower than a freelance rate, but there are good reasons why taking an employed position over freelance hours is the right choice. And here's why:
You get guaranteed pay every month.
With a freelance position, if your 1:1 doesn't show, or cancels at the last minute or the class you were due to be teaching has no-one on it, then you don't get paid. On the other hand, as an employee, it's our responsibility to look after the marketing, venue rent, and make sure the classes and 1:1 slots are filled by employing an administrator etc. We take that risk, and you, the employee, gets paid regardless of whether there is nobody on the class, or whether it's full.
You get paid even when you aren't working part of the year.
All of our team are entitled to holiday pay. So if you want to take time off, you still get paid.
You get on the job training.
It's in our best interests to make sure that all of our instructors receive continual training, be it in-house or elsewhere. We are proud of our reputation as an excellent Pilates studio. We have worked hard for our awards, and we're committed to retaining this reputation, so all of our instructors share knowledge and best-practice with one another. It's an inspiring, creative environment that means we're able to offer challenging, varied and rewarding sessions for client and instructor alike.
You get to work with a great team.
Freelancing can be a lonely business. We're a good bunch. We laugh, we go out together when we can and we've even had a night away together at a spa resort.
You don't have to worry about your tax, or paying an accountant
If you're operating within the law, as a freelancer you will be submitting tax returns, and probably using an accountant to help do this. As an employee, you are PAYE, which means you have none of those headaches (or expenses) to worry about as it's all taken care of.
Of course, there are benefits to being a freelancer, and being employed doesn't suit everyone. But if you are looking for a few hours teaching on a Saturday from 8:45pm - 2:15pm in beautiful Hitchin, at one of the UK's most recognisable and up-and-coming Pilates brands, you could do a lot worse than applying for this role.
So go on, what have you got to lose?
Ed Smith, Director - The Pilates Pod.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Low Budget Tron

They made this:

So I made this.

Thanks to Steve Spicer for the original link.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sainsbury's idea declined

Dear Mr Edward

Thanks for your email.  I can appreciate that having a store layout plan would be really helpful when shopping for groceries.

It’s a great idea, although unfortunately we currently don’t offer this service.

There are a few reasons why we don’t, one being the frequency in which items change position or have stock issues.

Stores will also move the layout in accordance with the most current promotions too, so may cause confusion on set plans.

This is not to say we won’t take this on board as we’re always looking for new ways to make you store visits as enjoyable as possible.

With that in mind, I’ve passed your feedback on to the store planning team for future review.

I appreciate you taking the time to get in touch and we look forward to seeing you in store again soon.

Kind regards

Mark Donaldson
Customer Manager

I doubt this is true, but you never know

My colleague sent me this email. It did make me chuckle. I doubt it's real, but it hardly matters

"This letter was sent to the Kirkcaldy High School Principals office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for seniors. An elderly lady received a new radio at the lunch as a door raffle prize and was writing to say thank you.

This story is a credit to all humankind. Forward this to anyone you know who might need a lift today.

Dear Kirkcaldy High School ,

God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent Senior Citizens luncheon. I am 87 years old and live at the Raith home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away so I am all alone. I want to thank you for the kindness you have shown to a forgotten old lady.

My roommate is 95 and has always had her own radio; but, she would never let me listen to it. She said it belonged to her long dead husband, and understandably, wanted to keep it safe.

The other day her radio fell off the nightstand and broke into a dozen pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I was overjoyed that I could tell her to fuck off.

Thank you for that wonderful opportunity.

God bless you all.



Thursday, 15 September 2011

Great shopping list idea

Dear Sainsbury's
I had a great idea last night as I wondered around the Luton, Bramingham store. My wife gave me a shopping list, with £120 worth of shopping on it. Although the list was comprehensive, she had just made the list throughout the week, so when I got to the store, the articles were in a random order. This meant that as I did my shopping, I was continuously having to track back and find articles on the list that I had inadvertently walked past.

So I had an idea.

It would be very useful if for all of your stores, you had a printed or downloadable plan of the store, broken into sections, ie:

Fresh Veg / Fresh Meat / Butchers / Deli / Tins / Alcohol / etc. You could even do this as a plan of the store. THis plan could then have space along side the sections (shelves) where people, like my wife, could write the list. Then, when people like me go to do the shopping, it's all in the correct order.

I'm sure you'd agree this would be a very useful thing for your customers, and a great value add.

I'd be happy to help you develop this idea further. I am a graphic designer by trade and would be happy to work with your team to draft something up for trial if you thought it a worthy idea.

I hope yo hear from you soon.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

How much is enough?

It's another big rollover in the Euromillions lottery. An estimated £126 million. That's enough to make anyone sit up and listen, and want to buy a ticket. I play the lottery once in a while, and Euromillions even less frequently. I put my hands up to being sucked in to having a go when the big money rollovers come up, and why wouldn't I, the money would come in handy.

But I started thinking on the way to work this morning. £126m is a lot of money. An awful lot of money. Does anyone really need to win that much?

I remember when the National Lottery launched, and the jackpot was about £6 or £7 million. That seemed like a lot of money back then. It was, and it still is. But next to £126m it sounds like small change. I have been involved in conversations to that effect, where it's hard to imagine anything other than disappointment at winning the Saturday draw, and missing out on the big one.

But how would be enough? I started to think, what if we capped the possible jackpot winnings to, say £30m, but continued to allow the winnings to roll-over. Then, what if, we gave the rest of the winnings to a charity. That money could do a lot of good. Imagine, in East Africa, where millions are starving and losing their lives. That money could go so far to help.

Red Nose Day 2011 has raised £102m to date. An incredible sum, but Euromillions manages to raise that in a few short weeks in jackpot payments.

It actually made me feel a bit sick when I thought of it like that.

So how about it. Let's be a bit greedy, and indulge ourselves in our dreams. But £30m is more than enough. Why not let someone less fortunate win.