Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Frothing over coffee

I've had it with the Starbucks outrage. Not a word is being said about the gross inaccuracies in the figures reported. No mention is being made of the contribution Starbucks makes to the wider economy and the number of Starbucks coffee shops that AREN'T part of the company, i.e., they're franchises - tiny little operations that are connected by brand name and product lines alone. So while they guzzle down Frappuccinos and Americanos, wearing branded clothing and fill up on products from Big Oil, these protesters fail to see anything other than the fact that some companies are bigger than others. Those companies did not grow big because the government handed them money. They became successful and grew because someone worked really hard and took huge risks. That’s what life is about.

No mention is made of the fact that Starbucks employs thousands of people, and pays national insurance on their wages. No one talks about how Starbucks tends to operate from the most expensive real estate wherever they have an outlet, paying the highest business rates possible; no mention is made of the payment of VAT, which is 20% of pretty much EVERYTHING they sell. 

The average cost of a cup of coffee at a Starbucks is two, sometimes three times as much as your local Kelly's Cafe, but you're too 'educated' to be seen there, aren't you?

It can be argued that government and regulations favour larger corporations. Yes they do. All regulation squeezes out the little guy. The larger the government, the more promises it makes to voters, the more its need for money to blow on frivolous schemes, social experiments and feel-good appeasement. A different argument altogether, which I'm sure I'll end up having some time soon on here.

If there's anything the protesters need to learn, it's this: Whining because you went to university and no one will hire you isn't going to help, no matter how much you whine. A business will not give you a job because you have a degree; they'll hire you because you bring profit to their company. If you don’t bring in more money than you cost the company, why on earth should they hire you? They’re not a charity; they’re a business. And if they were a charity, where would the wages to sustain you come from? 

You earn your keep. That's how it works. Your work ethic, your motivation, your problem solving skills, initiative and inventiveness are going to be far more important than whether you produced a cracker of a report at university. That doesn't mean all university degrees are bad, but are they relevant to what any business needs? In the end, it’s whether or not you’re flexible enough to keep learning new skills so that you can contribute to the business. Get a degree, by all means. It will teach you structure, it will give you in-depth knowledge of an industry or vocational or academic sector, but don't bet on it to be the be-all, end-all of your existence. It's not. You are, your adaptability is. A degree and all its learning is just one of your many weapons. The Star Trek TNG world isn't happening yet - as a species we're not ready. 

Giving. The big word you constantly scream about. It's time you did some, like your forefathers did. The world is built on the sacrifices of people who gave more than they received. We're going nowhere until we hard-wire that into our brains. A previous generation gave everything, while we just want everything. Go work out how you can give and add value, not moan because people aren't handing you anything. Besides, there’s nothing left to hand out. You can complain all you want that some people are rich, or that no one will give you a job, or that no one is giving their hard earned wealth away, and why should they? Government has no money, apart from what it can borrow (which of course we and our children will have to pay back) or levy on others. The more they take from others, the more the economy slows down. Are you even looking at the stories emerging from Greece? Or Spain? Or Italy? Look it up - you have a degree ferfuxake!

Get out there. Learn a skill, volunteer if you must. Get some expertise - something the world wants. Hustle, push hard, build something, do something. Make yourself marketable. Learn how to recognise your abilities and strengths and then sell them. Get help if you need to. The government spends millions to help you learn to fish, but you'd rather just have the fish, isn't it? 

That, is part of your problem.
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