Things I’ve learnt in 2008

Is there some unspoken rule about doing year roundups in the New Year? If so, I don’t care…  I’ve already posted ‘My 2008 in numbers‘ post, but after reading Adam Maguire’s post on ten things he has learnt in 2008,  I thought I’d follow with a slightly more serious post than my numbers one.

Working as the editor of the college paper in BCFE and then as a layout and design editor in DCU I’ve learnt a lot more about people in 2008. Going back to college again has lead to my mind being opened once more to different people, interrailing around Europe likely helped too. This list is, as per normal, in no real order…

WARNING: There’s lots of generalisations below, so if you’re easily offended please don’t read on. Also, if you know me and are reading this it’s best to first remember the lyrics: “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you”. Please note a lot of the below could be seen as a work in progress, I’m still learning and hope to keep learning till the day I die. And a lot of this is what has been re-learnt or re-enforced…

Anyway, here’s the list…

  • People can be very, very different. Far more different than I used to think. Like people, mindsets come in all shapes and sizes. I still maintain people are very simuler around the world, but the small diffrences can be large in practice.
  • Be more aware. People can be horrendously bad at communicating. They often won’t tell you they are thinking. They can be afraid to say they don’t understand. They can be unwilling or too lazy to complain. You should listen to loud people, but be more aware of the quite ones.
  • To communicate better. Keep remembering people can’t read your mind.
  • Some people will never be happy. You can please everybody and it’s a waste of time trying to.
  • Know your audience. This is a highly recommended one for journalism and the wider media, but goes back to the first two points above.
  • You should trust some people more, but overall should trust less and should be more careful who you trust.
  • People are going to let you down. You have to plan for such. Many will, sometimes having reason but often having none at all. Some even appear to be trying hard at messing up.
  • When you find dependable people, respect them — this is probably something I need to work on more, or at least remember.
  • Sideline the time wasters — stop giving people chances until they show they are able or willing to take them. In one example of this wasted a lot of my time and caused a lot of stress. A second chance should be more than enough, outside explained extrema reasons there should be no third chance.
  • Some people see nothing wrong with ‘white lies’, or not saying something when they want to, but this leads to larger problems.
  • No matter what books or journalism lectures say it is possible to plagiarise and get away with it. It happens all the time.
  • Politicians are more arrogant than I used to imagine. See the ‘Yes’ sides’ reaction to Lisbon ‘No’ vote.
  • Irish people are usless when it comes to weather. For us Irish, it’s alwasy worse than it is. Ireland had a very wet summer, but I was bemused about comments about there being no sun shine. I got funny looks when complaing about such in the summer, but data from Met Eireann backs me up. According to the Irish Times: “In spite of the rain, the figures suggest May was “exceptionally” warm – it was the warmest on record at many weather stations around the country … temperatures were half a degree above the mean average, which is based on the period between 1961 and 1990 … Although we may not think it, the Met Éireann figures found sunshine levels to be close to average”.
  • Learning to be right quietly has it’s rewards. Just as long as you can back it up, at least to your self!
  • Myths can be stronger than fact, the media does influence people, and a large amount of people can believe nonsense. Not new, more enforced in the last year. Normally sane people continue to lap the nonsense that crime is “out of control” in Ireland even when you provide data that shows its not.
  • Most people will never ‘get’ your sense of humour. Let them know they’re not suppose to and they might be more accepting of it. Or maybe they’ll just get more annoyed?
  • Planning, and thinking, saves time. Planning might take time but it really does save time in the long run.
  • Slow down. Stop trying to do everything, because you can’t.