Change, Good or Bad???

All examples given in this blog are hypothetical.  No reference to real people, living or dead should be inferred.

How do we view change? Do we look forward to it? Or do we dread it?

For instance, if you’ve scheduled a Zoom Best Overall Video Conferencing Service - businessnewsdaily.com meeting with a potential client, who then at the last minute changes the time of the meeting. How does that make you feel?

Examples

Maybe you booked a holiday to go to Euro DisneyEuro disney Logos and then the pandemic struck with all its restrictions. Now even though you’ve changed the date three times you now feel you can no longer go. How does that make you feel?

Your living arrangements change. How does that make you feel?

You go to the fridge to eat that last piece of chocolate cake The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever | The Novice Chefonly to find someone has beaten you to it. How does that make you feel?

In all of these scenarios something has changed that you didn’t plan to change. For some people, in some of these instances, they may just shrug their shoulders and only feel slightly inconvenienced, after all it’s no big deal. For others it can completely throw them off track.

Let’s look at these scenarios again.

Expanded Examples

You’re working from home, maybe you have children who are also off school and you’re trying to help them with all their homework. Premium Vector | Little school children learningYou scheduled a one hour business meeting over Zoom. You’ve set the children a fun activity they can do without your help with a scrumptious reward if they don’t disturb you during your meeting. And then right at the last minute the person you are scheduled to speak with asked to change the time!!! Now what to do? Do you sweetly say, “Of course, no problem at all”? Knowing full well that your children will create havoc if you try and reschedule their fun activity and goodies. Or do you tell this potential new client that it’s not possible to reschedule knowing that you risk losing the contract. You have a choice.

Your family has been really looking forward to their holiday at Euro Disney since before the pandemic struck. Euro Disney a Disgrace - Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee Traveller Reviews - TripadvisorEach time you change the date the family, though they understand the restrictions caused by the pandemic, are still upset and sulky. Though Euro Disney are being fantastic about rescheduling your stay, the booking has run out on your Eurotunnel ticket who won’t let you reschedule. You have already lost the money on this ticket so do you, buy another ticket which you really can’t afford, or do you cancel the holiday altogether? Making sure you promise the family that you will rebook once the pandemic is under control? Either way the family is upset and cross with all parties holding you responsible. You have a choice.

You have extended family living with you long-term and though this has been a slightly rocky road overall you have enjoyed it. Our Favorite Books About Unhappy Families — Barnes & Noble ReadsAnd then one day they come to you to say they are moving out with immediate effect. No matter what you say they are not open for conversation even though you believe it’s not in their best interest. So what do you do, keep trying to persuade them to stay until a proper plan can be put into place. Alternatively you just let them go hoping it won’t end in the disaster you think it will end in? Either way you know that you will be made to feel bad and wrong. You have a choice.

Last night after dinner there was one lonely, chocolatey, lush piece of cake left.

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake - Nora CooksYou took it to the fridge and hid it behind other foods hoping no one else would notice. At lunchtime the following day, whilst everybody else was occupied, you tiptoed into the kitchen, you quietly opened the fridge door, moved everything that was hiding your secret stash. You were drooling with anticipation of the texture and the taste of that hidden delight… Then, to your horror the space was empty, you searched other shelves, pulling out random foodstuff, bowls, jars, looking for the hidden chocolatey delight. As each second ticked by your heart began to sink. Your mind wrestled with not being able to taste the delights of the rich chocolate and the soft moist sponge. The choice of what to do next, sink to your knees sobbing into your arms at the disappointment. Or storm around the house accusing everybody that they had stolen your hidden delight? You have a choice.

Conclusion

In all these above scenarios we have a choice to make. And it would be easy to say that one choice would be good, and one choice would be bad but is that really the case. What do we mean by choice anyway? Now, making a decision is much easier; you way up the pros and cons. You can even draw a line down the centre of a piece of paper. Put pros on one side and cons on the other and weigh up which one would give you the better result, but a choice is just a choice, not a decision. It’s not a good choice nor a bad choice, it is just a choice. Yet we find it so much harder to make simple choices and usually we end up making a decision. The choice is not dependent on the end result, a choice is just a choice, chocolate, or vanilla, you choose.Chocolate OR vanilla? Choose. Choice is a useful and interesting distinction. It tells us a lot about our beliefs and values. It al… | Chocolate, Vanilla, Ice cream

Proofreaders – the goalkeepers of Quality Assurance

Danele Buso, Unsplash
Danele Buso, Unsplash

When you get on a plane, it’s filthy dirty and you watch the neighbouring plane having its luggage thrown carelessly out of the cargo hold, do you think to yourself, ‘I hope the mechanics were a bit more thorough’? Yet very few companies have their websites and service level agreements quality checked before putting them out in the public domain.

Then the trouble starts.  A client pushes their luck and there’s nothing you can do because your service level agreement has a gaping hole in it. Your website promises the earth because in your familiarity with the text, you didn’t notice you missed a word out.  That word is normally ‘not’, so you’ve just promised the exact opposite of what you’ve intended.

If all this seems logical, my question is, why aren’t you engaging the services of a proofreader?  It doesn’t have to be me, although of course I’d prefer it if it was.

Would any team, football, ice hockey or netball, take to the pitch/ice/court without a goalkeeper?  I think not.  Yet the majority of PhD students won’t pay to have their theses proofread until they’ve been given minor corrections.

If this seems like a false economy to you, why not change this?

What is proofreading?

Officially, proofreading is checking for spelling, grammar, punctuation and sense.  This is different from editing.  Proofreaders aren’t responsible for making sure you stay ‘on message’ or that you don’t have a glaring hole in your plot or argument.  In truth, those of us who are good, and who have a sense of integrity, are not going to set you up to fail like that. We  will go out of their way to pick you up on those things.

Markus Spiske, Unsplash

Officially, proofreaders don’t make changes.  They make suggestions for improvement.  Many of us have worked in some kind of training, teaching or other empowering roles, so our reports do sometimes read like marking, but we don’t use red pens!  In fact, these days we mainly use computers, but traditionally we use blue pencils.  My great aunt was a proofreader for the BBC World Service and I still have some of her reassuringly chunky pencils.  One is in a memory box; the rest are still being used for their original purpose on the rare occasions I get a printed out manuscript.  The work is in my blood.

So, my question is, do you treat your quality assurance and proofreading like a ropy Sunday League team, who puts the kid who turns up every week, full of enthusiasm, but with no aptitude, in goal?  Or do you treat it in the same way the first division teams do, investing in trained, experienced personnel, and encouraging and empowering them with as much information and support as possible?  If you want to move the quality of all your words to the premier league, contact us now.

Cats and Other Nonhuman Companions

Why cats you may be asking? Why not, I reply?

We are living in extremely weird times, no social interaction, wearing face coverings, no schools, working from home and the wonderful technology of Zoom.

We here at CoomberSewell Enterprises LLP https://www.coombersewell.co.uk/ own two delightful, but very different, further babies.

Now Kevin is of a mature age,  a little rickety on the back legs, and sleeps more than his younger counterpart. Kevin is a tabby cat, who has lived life to the full and has the raggedy ear ends to prove it. He is not so keen on catching mice as he once was but will happily eat up the remains that his female companion hunts for him. Kevin likes nothing more to come and sit on our laps and snuggle up under our chins whilst we scratch his neck and ears. He will purr contentedly all the time it suits him; he will move from my lap to her lap and then back to my lap until he gets bored when he will walk around the furniture until he can sit contentedly on the windowsill watching the world go by.

And then there is Woof… A female tabby cat who is a little confused by her name and lives the persona of both cat and dog. Woof has her own personal slave who tends to her every whim and need. Her slave is autistic, a recluse and a selective mute. For him Woof is his constant companion. She lives in his bedroom with him, and though he cannot tolerate human physical contact she is allowed to snuggle into him for warmth and tummy cuddles. She persuades him several times a day to feed her Dreamies, to play games which do include the occasional scratch and bite when he least expects it.

These two cats are a delight to the whole household and in these times of lockdown have become a source of distraction and fun.

Perhaps I should also mention our eight chickens who live in a very large luxurious sun house with a huge fenced in enclosure to run around and play in. Now, I would not want you to think that these chickens are in any way, spoilt after all they only provide us with eggs everyday which we sell on to very appreciative friends and neighbours. Inside their wonderful sun house they have a large shelf that they snuggle together on, to sleep every night. They have eight nesting boxes, though I am unsure why they only lay their eggs in one? They have food and water, a ladder to walk up to their bed, sawdust on the floor and a large bale of hay to keep them warm. Out in their run they have two logs to jump on and off of and to find insects to nibble on. They have home-made climbing frames and on the 1st of January they acquired their own Christmas tree. In their run they also have a large bale of straw which has been de-roped, and they have scattered to their hearts’ content. They also have an automatic feeder which these very clever chickens have quickly learned that if they jump onto the treadle the lid pops opens and they can feed to their tummy’s content. Every morning my other half takes them out scraps of food left over from us humans, laced with plain biscuits and warm water. She changes their roosting paper, cleans up their mess, checks their water and their feeder to keep our delightful, productive chickens happy in their daily task. Every evening she visits them again, cleans up after them again, and entices them back in to their warm sun house with delightful treats.

And of course there are the fish, some who live outside in the pond with lots of lily pads and pondweed. The other fish live a warm life in their tropical tank filled with beautiful plants, a sunken pirate ship, beautiful stones and slate.  Today they welcomed 10 new companions, making them welcome in their tropical home.

I hope you have some furry friends or other nonhuman companions to help you through these difficult times. Cuddles, fussing and talking to our beloveds helps with the feeling of isolation, loneliness and the long days.

But should you need a chat with a fellow human please don’t forget we are always here, willing and able to listen and help where we can. info@coombersewell.co.uk

Phoenix from the Ashes – Happy New Year!

My first company was called HG Phoenix.  It didn’t last long – I met Joyce and it quickly got absorbed into what is now CoomberSewell Enterprises.  As any business which has survived the ashes of 2020 may be doing right now, I’ve been thinking about the symbolism of the phoenix from the ashes. I’ve been thinking about the future and how sometimes to move forward, we need to acknowledge our backgrounds and how we are the product of our upbringings, for good or ill.

New Beginnings

When I started HG Phoenix, I’d just resigned from a job with a boss who later had a class action taken out against them for bullying.  The choice of Phoenix was the obvious one. I was rising from the ashes of my tattered confidence, but there was also a family connection.  My mum always told stories of a distant ancestor called Sarah Phoenix Perfect, who, she had always been led to believe ‘came from the gypsies’.  I couldn’t call the company ‘Perfect Proofreading’. That would be opening myself up to all sorts of trouble, but I had always had a romantic fascination with SPP, as I call her in my head. I never believed the ‘gypsy’ tales but resolved that if I ever wrote romantic or erotic fiction, this would be my pen name.  I haven’t written the novel (yet). Years on however, my parents have genealogy as their major non-faith pastime and it turns out its probably true. SPP is real, and she was adopted into the family from a traveller background.  As my theology colleague Steven Horne can attest, traveller records can be a little… oral, so after that, the trail goes cold.

Background

The HG was simple – my father’s middle initials, and I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl.  It was with my parents’ faith in me, and encouragement from an unforeseen quarter, that I set out on my new adventure.  The internationally renowned jazz singer and radio presenter Clare Teal, who I knew a little and whose opinion I value to this day, encouraged me to do what I was passionate about and made me happy. The rest would follow.  The path has been winding, but CoomberSewell Enterprises is a quietly successful business.  Some people question the use of the word Enterprises, but we use it as a reflection of our mindset; innovative, enterprising, hopeful and kind.

Moving Forward

As you shake the ashes of 2020 off your feet, whatever it has cost you whether that is your job, family members or security, I encourage you to look at the strong foundations your upbringing has provided you, however barren the landscape looks.  I totally acknowledge my good fortune in my upbringing in have hard working parents who instilled strong values in me.  No family situation is perfect, and others will have got their strengths and values despite their upbringing.  Nevertheless, that is where the stories we tell ourselves are rooted.  If you are having trouble seeing the wood from the ash, do contact us for a mentoring session with Joyce.