The Heart-breaking Story Of Baby Benjamin

There’s a lot of stuff in the news that can really make you disillusioned about the state of the world and the people that live in it. So much so, that

Baby Benjamin with a social worker

Baby Benjamin with a social worker

it almost makes you desensitized to all the pain, suffering and stupid decisions that are going on out there. One story that particularly affected me, was reading about Baby Benjamin as he has been called by the papers, a 6-month old boy, born to a Slovakian mother who gave him up for adoption. For those of you who haven’t heard about his case, his mother was not living in the UK for long enough for Baby Benjamin to have earned a British Passport (current rules state people have to be here 5 years before their children have British Citizenship) and so when his mother said that neither herself nor his Slovakian father could take care of him, the decision was made in the courts that he should be sent to his native Slovakia and placed in the care system there.
As someone who has recently become a father, I find this story harrowing on so many levels. I do not know the mother’s circumstances, or any of her reasons for giving her child up for adoption, as her identity and story have been kept out of the headlines and so I wonder, how desperate must this woman’s situation be that she would hand her son over to authorities, knowing that he will be taken hundreds of miles away. Without knowing her situation, I also struggle to understand how someone could give up their child, but I force myself to reserve judgement.
Then I try to get my head around the legislation that would see this child deported and while I can understand some of the logic and the reasoning behind those rules, I am heartbroken by the outcome. I just can’t help thinking how confused and lost that poor child must be, how much harder it will be for him to ever trace his birth parents should he wish to do so once he gets older. I think about the sense of rejection he will undoubtedly feel, should he ever find out the details of his own distressing story.
One can only hope that the turmoil of his first few months of life and the media attention that has come with it, will help him find adoptive parents that will give him the love, care and nurture that he deserves!

The Most Annoying Calls Known To Man…“Our Records Indicate You’ve Been In A Car Crash”

A little while ago, I was writing about likes and dislikes and I am actually a little bit disappointed in myself for leaving out one of the biggest pet Annoying phone callspeeves! I mean of course, those ridiculously annoying cold callers who state that their records indicate you’ve been in car crash that wasn’t your fault.  Usually, I don’t allow the call to go beyond this point as I try an terminate it as abruptly as possible, but we all know it’s about getting your personal details and or having you sign up for some incredulous insurance scam.  

Once these nefarious companies have your number in their records, they are harder to get rid of that Japanese Knotweed and you may as well resign yourself to a future that consists of looking speculatively at your phone whenever an unrecognised number calls, trying to work out if it might be an important business call or in fact one of these leeches! As the founder of a startup, I get a lot of calls from numbers that aren’t stored in my contacts list, companies I have reached out to, potential partners, freelance employees, potential customers and so on, this means that unlike some people, I do not have the luxury of simply ignoring calls from numbers which I do not recognise. 
Blocking the persistent pests doesn’t seem to work either, for they have pre-empted this strategy.  No sooner than you’ve blocked one number, another one pops up, for these companies are perpetually changing their numbers and names (probably because they are being shut down or reported to trading standards watchdogs) and another number slips through your net. 
There is nothing worse than waiting anxiously for an important business phonecall (a position I regularly find myself in) only to have the phone ring and find one of these companies on the other end of the line.  The irritation is immeasurable and what worries me is that they target the vulnerable too.  I’d never fall for it, but I dread to think how many people have fallen from their scam, the elderly, the desperately poor, those who have genuinely been in a car crash that wasn’t their fault, the list goes on!!  Saying you’ve never been in car crash doesn’t seem to work as they’ve got another line, apparently their oracle-like records then indicate that your car was hit whilst parked by another party at fault! This was a line I heard recently, from a friend who does not and has never driven or owned a car and it really is enough to make your blood boil!  They really are a type of company the world could really do without!! 

Team Building Exercises

Earlier this week, I got into a long discussion with a friend of mine about team building exercises. My friend had been tasked with finding some team building2good examples of team building exercises to use at work for a new team that was forming in her department.
I was initially approached by my friend for advice, asked what I thought of team building exercises in general, whether they were actually any good and worth making the effort over.
These questions really got me thinking about the whole thing, it had been a long time since I’d engaged in any team building exercises as such, but I have always been a firm believer that if you have a strong team who respect each other and get along, then the standard of work will be better. This is especially important when the majority of your team work remotely, from their homes, with many located in different parts of the country, or the world!
During our discussion, my friend said that they felt that team building exercises were good starting blocks for the foundation of an effective working relationship, but had also spoken to a few people who didn’t really believe in them. In fact, my friend confided that an exec she had spoken to had said that it was great if your team worked effectively together, but was avidly against strong friendships being formed in the workplace, because he felt they decreased productivity. This exec’s argument, was that the better friends people were, the more they had to talk about and this led to many wasted hours spent gassing about the kids or the cats and less time spent focussed on the task in hand.
Whilst I admit, that’s an interesting theory and I can see the logic in it, I had to counter this argument to my friend and encourage her to engage in several of these team building exercises with this new group.
With this sort of thing though, I don’t think you can just pick any old exercise and hope it will work. I know the essence of many of these types of exercises is intended to be universal, so that they can be used for various different business models, but I do think that doing your research and choosing types of exercises to suit the nature of your business and the people in your team is fundamental to how successful they can be.

Time – A Most Precious Commodity

This week, I celebrated my first wedding anniversary and to be quite honest with you, I really don’t know where this year has gone! One thing thatMelting Dali Clock I’ve noticed since the start of BODO, is that time seems to travel so much quicker when you are running your own company. Add into that mix the fact that I am also father to a baby daughter who is also approaching a year of age and has filled our lives with joy and nappies and you can probably work out that now, time for me has become one of the most precious commodities.
One thing you realise sharpish when you run your own company, is that your own time and working time often becomes one and the same, no matter how much you try to keep the two separate. This becomes painfully apparent if you are ever unfortunate enough to get sick, (as I was unlucky enough to experience a few weeks ago, when I was struck down with a nasty throat infection). In many other types of job (though I appreciate this doesn’t count for all of them) when you are off sick from work, that’s pretty much you done until you are recovered! Your workload either waits for you when you get better, or cover is arranged to deal with that which is pressing or urgent during your absence. When you are running a company, that all changes dramatically, much of the time, you can’t pass the ropes onto someone else because you are the only one who can carry out those tasks, sign those forms, or whatever. It’s definitely one of the most challenging things of running a startup!
Over this last year, I have been engaged in a tumultuous juggling act, attempting to shuffle the needs of my baby daughter and my wife and family with the needs of BODO.
I really enjoy the challenge, but being this busy all of the time, really makes time go so much quicker. I look back over the last year and I honestly can’t believe it has been 12 months since I said those vows to my beautiful fiancé and nearly 11 months since our baby daughter came into our lives. It really makes you realise how precious time really is!!