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Everything posted by madpenguin

  1. A book I read a lot when I was younger was "winning through Intimidation" by Robert Ringer who for a "success book" author had a very "tell it like it is" kind of style, he had the : Uncle George Theory a. If you keep your nose to the grindstone and work long, hard hours, you’re guaranteed to get one thing in return: Old. Hard work will not, in and of itself, assure a person of success. He also made the point that working "Long Hard hours" is a term that's entirely relative, I might think I work hard over an eight hour day, but a guy working in a steelyard or a building site would probably die laughing at that description of my work (IT). His theory was that when successful people are asked how they made their money it's the socially acceptable answer "Well i worked long hard hours..." in some cases they may have been true but there were plenty of other factors that made them their fortunes, "long hard hours" were probably incidental
  2. +1 Got it in a nutshell, when I was working in Germany it was mind blowing that the project head and most of the senior managers would come over and sit with the rest of us in the company canteen and sit their laughing and joking and generally talking with you about what they were doing at the weekend, they would also at least know your name and have normal conversations with you. After around 34 years working in UK corporates it totally astounded me, but it has many advantages, it's much easier to say "look this idea sucks", or "how about if we do it this way.." in a work context if you aren't talking to someone who considers himself a superior being
  3. LMFAO! when did you and RichC work here 1950? I've lived about 30 minutes out of Amsterdam for the last 2 years and the big supermarkets locally (Albert Heijn etc.) are open till 9PM at night and most shops in Amsterdam are open Saturday and Sunday (contrasting with Germany where nothings open Sunday). I have worked in both Germany and Holland and for me the thing that stands out is the quality of management is a lot better (at least in the companies I've worked for) managers treat you more or less as an equal and also have good experience in both the field and process you are carrying out, and things actually get done, and in a sensible way. Talking to a Sales manager in my current company he tells me they have introduced a 2 minute talking bar on anyone speaking during meetings specifically to combat British sales managers who were going on at length about absolutely nothing, and in both countries I had to decipher documents sent from the UK branches which in a similar vein covered many pages but said little. Shorter working hours have a definite benefit on your ability to think and work, and most of my workmates have time for hobbies and leisure something strange to me after the long hours and commuting in the UK. (I would point out I worked for one American bank in London around 2000 where I came in at 8:00 left at 20:00, was frequently called back half way to the station because of some crisis, and worked Saturday and Sunday's because of the amount of work, after 3 months I was walking around the office thinking "did I go home?", "what day is this"?, not good for either thinking or productivity! ) Unless you work on a production line it's easy to see that in most companies time spent at work and total work done don't tally 100%, in the UK I only ever worked for very large clients usually in the FTSE 100 and from what I have seen people say they work 10-12 hour days but only seem to produce "work" for maybe half of that often less (talking office environments here)
  4. +1 You won't see them because the British economy is dysfunctional, cost of living is way too high compared to both the Netherlands and Germany for an inferior lifestyle. The Poles will live cheaply and earn at least double what they would at home, wouldn't you be hard working and polite if you were getting at least double the pay? Same applies to onshored Indian workers and IT in the UK. Incidentally the PVV (think BNP/UKIP) in Holland recently caused a lot of controversy by having a website where you could report Poles living and working illegally in the Netherlands so don't think this is purely UK businessses using Poles for cheap labour To be honest there isn't much difference in people's work ethic or intelligence whatever their nationality from what I've seen, what there is is a willingness to work for less than native workers when that money can be sent home and give the worker a much better future and security at home in lower wage economies. One of the big problems with the UK is that pay has been eroded, and living costs have risen to the point where many people work to exist rather than earning money to have a nicer life and security for themselves and their family as previous generations did. Also you aren't comparing like with like, getting a British kid straight out of school and comparing them with a Polish 25-30 year old is like arranging a boxing match between Cheryl Cole against Mark Tyson, the older Polish worker knows how to act, how to behave and knows what he has to say to create the right impression, I'm willing to bet if you talked to kids in Poland there would be just as much of the "don't know which way is up" there as there is with our own kids, One of my kids has just got her first good proper job after leaving Uni and the transformation from before to after is pretty startling, she'll probably be on here in a few years talking about feckless youngsters (while looking on line for the latest Playstation games!) All our kids need is that first start, they will "get it " once they have to live in the real world, thats how it's always worked in years past, it's only the last few years with the influx of cheap experienced older foreign workers that businesses attitudes have changed
  5. The problem came with the widespread sale of council houses and the ramping of BTL, these days familes have a choice either rent a crap premises from some scumbag landlord or buy. If you had a council property the current benefit system just about works but with the clampdown on housing benefit rent limits (rightly so) it puts people in a horrible situation if you loose a job or suffer some other calamity, even if you are privately renting Contrary to what people on here seem think the UK has some of the least generous unemployment benefits in Europe, only the former communist states are worse (though their cost of living is lower): http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Social_protection_-_social_benefits_by_function "The proportion of unemployment benefits varies widely among Member States: while the EU average was 5.6 % of total benefits (or 1.4 % of GDP), the share in Spain and Belgium, for example, was over 11 %. By contrast, in Estonia, Lithuania, Italy, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom and Romania, and, outside the EU, in Iceland and Norway, unemployment benefits accounted for less than 3 % of expenditure on social benefits." Doesn't it make you proud to be British to see us in the same group as Estonia, Lithuania, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania? :angry:
  6. Bloody hell, worse than Christopher Lee's version of Dracula, you think he's dead then a few years later a puff of smoke and he's back! Bit like Mandleson
  7. Actually kind of relieved the MOD is driving spending more on actual defense rather than keeping the ceremonial stuff going, mounted cavalry are of little use militarily in this day and age when even the most down at heel countries can buy a crate of kalashnikovs. If the Govenrmnet want the houshold cavalry etc. to play dress up then let the Govenrment pay out of the tourism budget
  8. Santanders IT system has always been pants, when Abbey went over to Santander's systems they had entire weeks where ATM's were offline and even the systems behind the counters in branches were down at times, I can remember long queues of customers snaking out the doors of branches attemepting to deposit or withdraw cash, I have had a string of problems over the years related to their crap systems, thankfully the only money I have with them at present is not significant and I'll be closing that account soon (not because of the current trouble, but because they are a crap bank)
  9. If you can avoid dying of TB : Ancient Killer Bug Thrives in Shadow of London’s Canary Wharf http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-23/ancient-killer-bug-thrives-in-shadow-of-london-s-canary-wharf-skyscrapers.html
  10. Emergency Food and Survival Freeze Dried Food http://emergencyfoodstorage.co.uk/categories/Emergency-Food-and-Survival-Freeze-Dried-Food/?gclid=CLjG2fScjLACFYRH3godsid7oQ The current best investment?
  11. I would have thought a lot of the money that is going to flood out has already flooded, if your quite rich the worlds your oyster, if you just have some money and your property and work is in Greece what would you do?, imagine you are told Sterling is going to collapse tommorow, what are your options?, a reasonable proportion of people will just sit tight and hope for the best, particularly if they aren't good with researching financial products, the high street banks make a good trade out of people who come to them for financial advice, even though we know the advice isn't often in the clients interest but more which product the bank is pushing
  12. Just found this, seems at least in the case of snow removal men in Vienna (of all things) the sticks were also numbered which ties up with paper records http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BFJHzSIj2u0C&pg=PA231&lpg=PA231&dq=tally+sticks+cheating&source=bl&ots=EF1njSEXc3&sig=70W1kteLEduNRzJFRCeGtwF3C14&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fl-3T9GKJoaEOtaLsa8K&ved=0CFMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=tally%20sticks%20cheating&f=false
  13. Ooh, ohh I know this one!: OMG! look over there at the failing Greek economy! LOOK!
  14. To my mind it ended at Bretton Woods 1945: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton_Woods_system "Yet, U.S. officials were determined to open their access to the British empire. The combined value of British and U.S. trade was well over half of all the world's trade in goods. For the U.S. to open global markets, it first had to split the British (trade) empire. While Britain had economically dominated the 19th century, U.S. officials intended the second half of the 20th to be under U.S. hegemony.[6] A Senior Official of the Bank of England commented: One of the reasons Bretton Woods worked was that the US was clearly the most powerful country at the table and so ultimately was able to impose its will on the others, including an often-dismayed Britain. At the time, one senior official at the Bank of England described the deal reached at Bretton Woods as “the greatest blow to Britain next to the war”, largely because it underlined the way in which financial power had moved from the UK to the US. —[7] A devastated Britain had little choice. Two world wars had destroyed the country's principal industries that paid for the importation of half of the nation's food and nearly all its raw materials except coal. The British had no choice but to ask for aid. Not until the United States signed an agreement on December 6, 1945 to grant Britain aid of $4.4 billion did the British Parliament ratify the Bretton Woods Agreements (which occurred later in December 1945).[8]"
  15. It's probably just the market has reached saturation point, you can't give away an old CRT television these days, I see them in dumps all the time, and the move to digital means even the older folk who hang on to older sets for years have had to change, despite what a lot of companies seem to think growth is not infinite
  16. I remember a quote, I think it was from Larry Ellison at Oracle which went something like "If I ever start another company It'll only have 100 people in it, over 100 it ceases to be your company"
  17. I've read similar comments on forums from Indian workers, basically along the lines of no one wanting to actually live in India, all anyone with reasonable skill wants to do is get out and go to the US, Canada, Australia or the UK. I've worked with a number of British Asian lads forced to go back to India to "meet their familes", a common reaction "f*%#@ that, never going back ". (frequent complaint, lack of hygene and sanitation, oh and attempts to marry them off ) Sound's like another country I know, the UK and the Indian government must be sharing a common plan Don't know what it is with the ruling UK elite and the Indian elite, but they seem to have very close ties, I know Labour got a lot of funding from an Indian millionaire and it looks like the current Government are quite fond of them too, probably got a lot in common, i.e. oppressive class system, contempt for the common people
  18. Fairly simplistic argument, try hiring several thousand Vietnamese and then try getting them Indian work visas so you can undercut local Indian workers, I can guarantee you the Indian Government wouldn't allow it, they have some of the tightest restrictions on work visa's going, try going to the US and buy Lockheed or one of the other military suplliers they won't let you do it, most countries in the Eurozone restrict labour to ensure their local populations can get jobs, or protect native industries (the French and Germans in particular). A totally closed shop is bad, a totally open one is just as bad, politicians have to be sensible when formulating policy and allowing sales of important companies or industries, when I'm in Northern Europe though their politicians may be just as corrupt as ours it seems they do put their country and it's people first before everything in terms of the agreements they make, thats not the feeling I get in the UK, and just let me say I have worked for the UK government and I've been to the UK Parliament a number of times to speak to MP's about various subjects, I don't get the impression they are working for us, it's more like they are working for themselves and they can't give a toss what state the countries in provided they make money and get to live in a nice gated community with a couple of holiday homes abroad, and that applies to Labour and Conservative (haven't met any Lib/Dems!)
  19. Its been successive governments dream for a while, the Migration Advisory Comittee at the Home Office has frequent visits from representatives from Nasscom the Indian outsourcers association as do Home Office Ministers (See "Who's Lobbying" website), and we have reports like this one: http://news.techeye.net/business/uk-it-contractors-betrayed-by-george-osborne "Workers were hopeful that the influence of the electorate could at least chip into the stranglehold of lobbyists and big business when the government considered a review. Unfortunately for them, their hopes seem to have been dashed by chancellor George Osborne, who attended the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) with Shri Anand Sharma, India's Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister. Vince Cable also attended. Both parties agreed that there would be a push in investment between the two countries. With this came an agreement that the UK would not alter any of the existing Intra Company Transfer visa laws at least for the next two years. According to a statement issued on the government of India's Press Information Bureau (PIB), the Coalition also agreed that there would be no salary cap on the transfers. "He [Osborne] acknowledged the contributions of Indian people and praised the performance of Indian companies," it read. "He [Osborne] added that UK remains keenly interested ingetting highly qualified professionals from India." Following a discussion on the "sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone", the PIB acknowledged a "fruitful" meeting between Osborne and India's Finance minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, where "issues of mutual interest were discussed". This seems to be the point where the Coalition decided to make no changes to the ICT visa situation" From what I have heard both Law and accountancy are also on the outsourcer wish list, the one resource India has in abundance is people and they intend to exploit that resource any which way. Also found this from 2011 : Comment: The secret immigration policy they tried to hide http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2011/09/01/comment-the-secret-immigration-policy-they-tr "Although these are EU deals, the UK is the main and willing target for the Mode 4 concessions. Thus it is UK workers who will pay the price. A very important trade deal in this regard is the EU/India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that has been under negotiation for four years. It has been discovered that Mode 4 concessions are the one thing that the Indian government is demanding. In addition, leaked documentation shows that the liberalised UK will be taking the bulk of the EU's Mode 4 commitment. In fact Trade Commission staff have admitted that the EU/India FTA is, in effect , 85% a UK deal. That's the percentage of the gains which will accrue to the UK (well, the international financial firms based in London, anyway) while the UK (UK workers, this time) will get that percentage of the pain. "
  20. Specifically I blame the Government, it is Government policy to allow this to continue. What would I do to change it? simple, make a level playing field financially for ALL workers, people working in the UK (which ever country they are from) have to pay rent or a mortgage, meals, travel costs and taxes, ICT's should have to pay these exact same costs in the same proportion, no including these as expenses equaling part of "salary" and being able to deduct restaurant meals etc., UK citizens can't why should ICT's. (Yes UK contractors using Ltd. companies working away from home can get some proportion of costs for accommodation travel and meals back from tax, but bear in mind they also have to keep somewhere in the UK going as well, a lot of ICT's are in their twenties, not like they have a house to keep going back home or if they do it costs a fraction of what the UK employee has to pay, and whats more the recent changes in IR35 make it look increasingly likely most UK contractors currently working through Ltd. companies will have to go PAYE through Umbrella companies in future and not have access to these tax concessions ) Tax contributions from company and employee should be exactly the same as a UK citizen would incur and a company would also incur by employing them. On the subject of contracts, companies should not be able to replace entire IT departments within companies with purely onshored staff, it may make sense with some development projects, but I have been to sites where support staff, networking staff in fact everyone in the IT department doing mundane run of the mill IT work was an ICT except for project managers and senior management. When outsourcing companies get these contracts they effectively block UK citizens from being employed within these companies as all staff are brought in from offshore by the supplier. (yes I know they have to advertise in the UK, but in my book advertising a minimum wage job on the Jobcentre website isn't adequate). If my last post was somewhat abrupt it's because I have been personally affected by this and I know a lot of people in the UK who have also been hit by this and it genuinely angers me, and in any case my anger wasn't directed at you and neither were the comments (or do you work for one of them?), everyone is entitled to make money and sometimes life isn't fair, but in the case of ICT in the UK this is downright unjust as UK workers cannot compete against tax breaks and it is costing the country untold millions in tax every year, not to mention the additional costs in unemployment benefits, and is generating an environment where people are discouraged from entering IT, lets remember this isn't Hansom Cab lamp fitting, it's IT an industry which could and does generate a lot of income and tax revenue for the UK economy, without ICT it would generate a lot more, the way the ordinary worker in the UK has been undermined and ignored by government is disgusting, basically IT workers have been sold down the river in return for access to Indian markets which so far has failed to materialise, and we can't all afford Parliamentary lobbyists like the big outsourcing concerns to get this changed. I don't know what the situation is like in Australia, but I think you need to see the situation in the UK before commenting on this, as the graph Zero Sum Game posted shows this is now getting beyond a joke (Take into account the land areas and population sizes of the countries concerned), I've no objection to on-shoring per se but when it puts native workers in a position where they can't possibly compete that's unfair
  21. Wow a massive 100 places, at a time when 40,000 people are looking for jobs in IT in the UK and students with IT degrees can't get a start in life thanks to these characters UK operations, you're right it doesn't take them anywhere near the Cadbury's I bet they spend more on advertising than they have on this scheme, just a shameless PR sop to make us think we're not being screwed. When these companies start employing around 80% UK staff in their UK operations, when they start training UK graduates in significant numbers, and stop abusing tax advantages to displace UK citizens from work with cheap imported labour, then they will be deserving respect, as things stand at present all they are are just profiteering scum
  22. The likes of Wipro, HCL and TCS are able to undercut UK workers due to tax avoidence on a massive scale, in a way that a UK citizen cannot compete against because we can't refuse to pay tax, all of this is with the silent but grateful connivence of HMRC and HM Government who want to get their IT projects done on the cheap and those of their corporate buddies, the UK Government also wants to get British firms into the potentially big Indian market and at nearly every G20 talks we agree to take even more ICT's (not that the Indian government has honoured their end of the bargin, they have some of the most restricted workers visa's in existance ), and surpriise surprise ICT isn't included in the immigration cap. http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/inside-outsourcing/2011/03/offshore-it-workers-in-the.html "8. The UK worker takes home £29,000 from his £40,000 salary and £15,390 is paid in tax while the cost to the employer of the salary plus their NI contribution is £44,390. However, if the same employer hires an ICT worker, the take home pay of the employee is £38,210, the total tax paid is only £1105 and the cost to the company is only £40,000. So for a salary of £40,000 the company saves over £4,000 in costs and £14,000 of tax revenue is lost. The employee also gets to take home an extra £10,000 a year which perhaps explains why they are happy to be brought in on salaries that appear to be well below the going rate." Don't pretend this is good for the country, don't pretend this helps us, I saw a market that gave employment to thousands of UK citizens crumble and die in the space of 5 years, I saw major corporates switch their entire IT departments over to cheap onshored labour, I have had friends go bankrupt because of this and when I spent 6 months on the dole because of this in 2009 a large proportion of the people I met had lost jobs through being replaced by onshored ICT's, wages have also dropped in most areas. This tax dodge has had a major effect in making people in IT unemployed, it means IT grads now have the hardest time of any group of graduates in finding work (worse than media studies grads!), and Graduate training schemes have all but disapeared, some reward for doing a BSc!. Over the last 4-5 years we've had around 30,000 people come in under ICT a year, it's estimated 40,000 UK citzens seeking work in IT are unemployed, the UK border agency estimates around 181,000 of these ICT's are now staying here illegally after their visa's have expired, ask pretty much any IT agency in the country and they will tell you when they advertise an IT vacancy they routinely get over 100 cv's from Indian citizens working in the UK on ICT and looking to stay or get work, not British asians, I mean Indian passport holders who have come over on ICT). I now work outside the UK because I have to, this wasn't fair competition, this wasn't UK workers being inferior or lazy (actually quite the reverse), this was just pure simple greed from Government and business using tax breaks which mean no British citizen can compete, particularly for low end IT work :angry: UK IT workers betrayed by George Osborne http://news.techeye.net/business/uk-it-contractors-betrayed-by-george-osborne UK Big Business exploits visa loophole to decimate IT jobs http://news.techeye.net/business/uk-big-business-exploits-visa-loophole-to-decimate-it-jobs IT outsourcing 'creating a UK skills gap' http://www.ashdowngroup.com/news/it-outsourcing-creating-a-uk-skills-gap--news-801347319 78% blame outsourcing for UK IT skills shortage http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/inside-outsourcing/2012/04/78-blame-outsourcing-for-uk-skills-shortage.html
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