A short story on marketing ploys and focusing on the positives.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Not to be confused with the New Order song of the same name, ‘Blue Monday’ is a term coined by a U.K. travel company to describe what they determined to be the saddest day of the year: today. The third Monday in January.

In 2005, Sky Travel released a press release claiming that based on ‘research’ and calculations they had obtained, that took into account factors such as weather conditions, debt levels, the time elapsed since the last public holiday and time until the next one - people are most likely to feel sad on this very day.

As with many things in life, Sky Travel wasn’t simply trying to get the message out there and help people — they were trying to sell something. On this occasion, they were trying to sell holidays. The marketing ploy being that the best way to get over your sadness was to book a Mediterranean getaway and kick your troubles away in the surf of an azure sea along a golden, sandy beach. …

A quick and easy guide to understand what ‘find your passion’ really means — and how to do it.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Guillaume LORAIN on Unsplash

Our ideas about our work and how it fits into our lives are continually changing. From entrepreneurs, start-ups, portfolio careerists, and the more traditional pathways still holding strong; getting started with a fulfilling career has never been more complex.

We’re told to ‘follow our passions’ to start building the type of career that brings us meaning, purpose, and fulfilment. This is good advice on the surface: doing the things you’re passionate about can only lead to more good, right?

Understanding What ‘Find Your Passion Really Means

Psychologists at Stanford and Yale-NUS College examined theories of interest, specifically fixed theory (our passions are inherent and hidden within us) and growth theory (passions are developed and nurtured over time). Over the course of five studies with the same participants, they found that those who tested positive as being fixed theory inclined developed less and less interest in articles and media linked to their designated interest. …

We love using personality tests to define ourselves, but do they really mean anything and what dangers should we look out for?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

INFJ, ENTJ or INTF? Don’t know what I’m talking about? You obviously haven’t checked your Myers Briggs personality type.

We love a label in our society. It’s so much easier to identify where we belong, whom we belong with and why when we all have tidy labels to our names. Whether it’s the vagueness of your horoscope, the procrastinating fun What Hogwarts House are you?, or the slightly more credible Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, personality tests and their subsequent write-ups continue to be popular.

Over 2500 different personality tests are available on the market for a range of uses in the US alone. From corporate team building to assessments for jobs and tests for specific aptitudes in candidate selection processes. It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of completing a psychometric test for a job was a daunting exercise. Now it seems that we relish the opportunity to dive into our psyches and find out what makes us tick, whether it’s for work or pleasure. …

As writers, we’re instructed to read, read, read, but the path to better writing — and living — might be in reading less.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

As a young child, I adored reading. It was one of the few things in which I found stability and comfort. I couldn’t get enough of hiding away with a book and getting lost in another world. As I made my way through college, university, and into adult life, I still read ferociously, but the necessity of reading often overruled my joy of reading. Textbooks, journals, essays, the news — these all became my livre du jour, and my passion waned.

Over the past couple of years, thanks to the increase in reading as a ‘cool’ thing thanks to social media and some astute marketing from various publishers, I’ve gotten back into the swing of reading for pleasure. …

You’ve researched how to answer ‘why do you want to work here’ but what about ‘how do you handle conflict’?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Avi Waxman on Unsplash

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would say they love attending interviews. No matter who you are or how experienced you might be, interviews tend to send a few nerves rumbling.

It’s not so much the interview itself as the random questions we might be asked that tends to get us worried.

Basic questions around our skills and experience are generally easier to answer, but what about the questions like ‘How good are you at asking for help?’ or ‘How do you create balance in your life?’. These questions are a bit more personal. …

In the middle of changing careers, I was almost thwarted by these challenges. Here’s what I learnt.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Pau Casals on Unsplash

Uncertain times feel chaotic, exasperating, and anxiety-inducing. When there seems to be no end to the uncertainty, our emotional reactions can vary rapidly from day to day (or if you’re anything like me, hour to hour).

COVID-19 has invited dramatic changes to the ways we live and, for many of us, this is being most keenly felt in the domain of our careers. Drama aside, sometimes uncertainty can cause unexpected things to happen — we take a step back and reassess.

For me, this has looked like a Whole. New. Career. Change.

I say ‘whole new’, but really it’s a step back into a pathway I’d shut the gate on almost a decade ago. As I allow myself to get back to it, I feel a mix of excitement and anxiety. I’m throwing out a belief system I’ve held onto for too long about my career and what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Nicole Baster on Unsplash

For as long as I can remember, the new year’s arrival held the anticipation of change and renewal. I know, I know. It’s fabricated. I have no conviction the first of January is the only ripe opportunity to enact change in our lives … but it holds a nice symbolism nonetheless, no?

This year. I found no such symbolism.

The first week of January has brought personal strife and global strife and the ongoing knowledge that many of my close friends and family remain balancing on a knife-edge in England. …

A new study shows writing a letter from your post-pandemic self can help boost well-being now.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

We’re quickly approaching a year of living with COVID-19 and lockdowns. And although we do have a vaccine now, it remains to be seen how things will change and when we can return to some form of normality.

That’s a lot of uncertainty to live with.

I live in Australia, and my family live in the UK. I’ve found that as we moved into a new year and I still have no answers for when I’ll be able to see them again, and as things show no sign of improvement in their local area, my stress levels are at an all-time high. …

Woolf’s literary works retain a power that modern writers should pay heed to

Image for post
Image for post
Soure: Image courtesy of @emrysbooks on Instagram

Born in 1882, Virginia Woolf was a definitively ‘Modernist’ writer. Above all else, her writing was concerned with capturing the excitement, pain, and beauty of what she described as the ‘Modern Age.’

Woolf looked out across the society she found herself a part of — at the time defined by developments across all factions of family life, urbanism, capitalism, and technology — and knew that it needed a new kind of writer. One unlike any that came before and would capture these developments through relentless creativity and a deep consciousness for pursuing new literary forms.

It’s this relentlessness that sees her writing continually reissued, revisited, and revived — it’s still incredibly relevant. Her ability to convey the thrill and drama of the 20th century holds nostalgia for her time and key lessons we can apply today as writers. …

Five practical tips for reading more and understanding why you should.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Do you have a TBR (To Be Read) pile of books at home?

I do. Well, actually, I have several small piles littered about the house. I can’t seem to help myself. With so much great literature out there, just waiting for us to get around to the business of reading it, how can we resist adding more and more volumes to our burgeoning bookshelves (or dusty corners of the spare bedroom if you’re anything like me).

To combat this, I managed to consume one hundred books a year for a few years in a row. …


Elaine Mead

Writer etc | Psychologist-in-Training | Careers Coach Veteran | Covering: Careers with Purpose, Positive Psychology + Creative Living without the BS

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store