Personal Brand

Personal Brand

It is no longer good enough to be one face in the crowd
You need something distinctive to shout out really loud
In these modern days where qualifications proliferate
Extra impetus is needed to give your CV more weight

It is also true that individuality is the cult of the day
‘Look who I am’ is the message to convey
So our unique selling points we have to grandstand
And this can be achieved with a personal brand

The use of social media helps in self-promotion
Face Book and Twitter set the wheels in motion
This takes some time and can be quite a slog
Or you can gather a following with a topical blog

Some find that YouTube can spark lots of interest
It’s visual cameos often seem to work best
But branding is not only about loud media hype
It is more than just creating a new stereotype

Your personal brand should convey to all others
That you are different from many competitive runners
In the race for that treasured new job or profession
Claim that those talents they seek are in your possession

When there are so many fish swarming the sea
From that pool of bidders why should they pick me?
The answer would seem is to make them aware
Of the power of your brand when they start to compare

And so whatever in life is your earnest endeavour
Success in employment, marriage, or whatsoever
My advice would be to polish your brand
Thus being ready for whatever life might demand

This worldly advice is not meant to seem selfish
To ‘big you up” or half-truths to embellish
But rather to encourage your own self-belief
In your personal brand which will ensure you succeed

You may have observed that the brands we all love
Have not been handed down to us from someone above
They took years to build up to a good reputation
So it’s bound to take time to gain acclamation

Ken Fisher

Track Your Parcel

Track Your Parcel

A mounting feeling of anticipation
Wondering when it will arrive
There is no need for desperation
Without it we have so far survived

In times past we simply waited
Till the postman rang our bell
Gazing at the pane frustrated
Arrival time we can’t foretell

The modern world is so high tech
Now we trace it on its way
Aware of delay or bottleneck
Beeps can trigger hope or dismay

But sometimes promises are broken
Dashing all our expectations
Bell rings and our door we open
Looking out full of impatience

But all we find is our Window Cleaner
Wanting paid and Christmas tip
Of parcel van he’s not the driver
Bearing our much hoped for gift

So when you order goods on-line
Remember hitches can arise
Predictions may be undermined
To remain uncertain my be wise

However, imagine how it made as marvel
When our neighbour at our door arrives
Bearing our illusive parcel
She had received to her surprise!

Ken Fisher

Black Friday 2017

Black Friday 2017

Black Friday is about to dawn
Indeed it seems never to have gone
This mad scramble for bargains
Gives birth to rugby scrums in shopping malls
And melt-down on computer networks
As search engines and eager bargain-hunters
Hit the town centres and the web browsers

I wonder if this whole exercise has some cathartic purpose
Pent-up emotions being released in some orgasmic frenzy
But who stirred up the desire in the first place?
Did we harbour some deep repressed longing to buy, buy, buy
Or was it the wiles and blandishments of the advertisers
On behalf of the retailers in their constant quest for profit
Who ensured that we would not remain lethargic

Well whoever is to blame, ourselves or the market place
We are assured that Friday will produce record-breaking turnover
Shops may be crammed with customers
And the on-line trade will ensure the white-van army
Of delivery agents will shift the goods from anonymous
Warehouses up and down the land, to your door and mine
And we will jump for joy at the ring on our door bell!

Happy shopping!

Ken Fisher

 

 

Taxation

Taxation [And how some dodge it]

 

Taxation, a claim on their wealth, some want to avoid
The demand from the Revenue gets them really annoyed
But avoidance is achieved when legal loop-holes are taken
Whereas evasion, an act of defiance really quite brazen

The distinction between these two seems really quite subtle
For both indicate, of the demands of the state, a sort of rebuttal
Although avoidance involves the clever use of the law
Evasion is just deception, quite blatant and raw

It would appear that lots of citizens and large corporations
Have exploited the laws of far away nations
Based on islands amidst the sun, sand and sea
Where from heavy tax levies they permit us to flee

Some say that this is just a form of legitimized theft
To benefit the few, with no care for the rest
But others claim that the fruits of their hard-earned labour
Should belong to themselves and not to their neighbour

Perhaps the truth of the matter is not easy to detect
We are entitled to our rewards but others we must not neglect
So when it comes to taxation we should try to be fair
And devise a system through which all get a share

Many trying to reduce their tax are forced to explore
If they can achieve this by moving funds off-shore
And thus have grown up complex institutions
Helping their clients to reduce tax contributions

You may well have a view as to whether all this is moral
And there are no doubt principles  with which you may quarrel
But human beings are inclined to look after self first
Ensuring that their wealth is not too widely dispersed

Ken Fisher

The Slow Death of the Cheque

The Slow Death of the Cheque

The Bills of Exchange Act 1882 defines a cheque as a written order from an account holder
instructing their bank to pay a specified sum of money to one or more named beneficiaries.

The old fashioned cheque is now under threat
And its early demise is quite a safe bet
Its steady decline has now become drastic
Thanks to the ubiquitous employment of plastic

Credit and debit cards are now used everywhere
Especially when paying at point of sale
And now for small payments, no need to swipe
Just touch the card on the sensor, no gripe

The combination of chip and pin has almost killed cash
And these smart methods all work in a flash
When you want to make payment by the internet
Your plastic data can soon increase your debt

The growth of eBay has promoted PayPal
And for online trading it helps you go far
Of course you can now pay using your phone
Which is handy if travelling and you want to get home

So many of us now use lap-tops or tablets
Thus on-line banking’s a regular habit
So payments can happen without intervention
Debts can be settled with little attention

There is one point of which we must take note
And this to ensure we still keep afloat
Does our bank account hold enough in reserve?
To ensure our creditworthiness we still preserve

One final word, and this is a caution
But I think on this venture you should take precautions
Bitcoin is a brand new type of ‘crypto-currency’
I think I will avoid till it reaches maturity

Ken Fisher

 

 

Myths We Can’t Do Without

Myths We Can’t Do Without

 

The unicorn is a mythical beast whose existence is problematical
But it does not really affect us if its hooves we ne’er hear patter
Because belief in such a horned horse is still quite enigmatical
Unlike other myths forming part of our life which really do matter

For instance our belief in money, not just those shiny new notes
But bank balances held on computers and displayed on multiple screens
Such numbers represent our current cash and even our future hopes
And of our right to this mythical money we’ll let no one intervene

Another great myth is democracy, which of itself is a fragile substance
It relies on collective agreement to accept the will of the people
And thus laws are created that seek to prevent injustice
And high respect is accorded to the principle that all of us are equal

Then there is incorporeal property, anything which is quite intangible
Unlike houses, furniture, equipment, clothes and the like
Mortgages, shares and bonds, and other paper whose value is changeable
Our collective trust in unreal things seems to be almost childlike

Then there are many other “myths” which we seem unable to do without
Social conventions, long standing traditions, original sin and the life of faith
The passage of years and modern thought have failed these notions to wipe out
Despite our sophistication they provide an anchorage that’s still safe

So while belief in the unicorn may now be outdated
And Santa Claus can safely be given his pension
Trusting in myths is by no means outmoded
Thus our modern society demands their retention

Ken Fisher

 

Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving

I wonder if anyone, other than farmers, gives thanks
For the in-gathering of the harvest?
Yet it is that time of year again when churchgoers
Are reminded to be grateful for the yield of the earth
Perhaps we are so removed from it that pumpkins or pineapples
Flown in from China and Colombia don’t have the same impact

But we do realise that we all have to eat and it doesn’t
Materialize by magic on to supermarket shelves
Like sanitized meat portions of which we decline
To enquire further of their provenance, so too with the
Fruit and vegetables and everything else we consume
Our only thanksgiving is by paying the price demanded

Of course in the background we are aware that
all this is not achieved without multiple efforts –  physical,
logistical, technical and political – perhaps spiritual
if we credit God with any participation
And this may introduce a moral dimension as we consider
Climate change, migrant workers, and fair trade, even Brexit!

Of course our problem is that for most of us
We are remote from ever getting our fingers dirty
By the soil, or raising a sweat by physical labour
Perhaps our greatest suffering is backache caused by
Squinting at computer screens, and frustration
At slow down-load speeds and threats of hacking

And yet economists will tell us that all our efforts
contribute to the national ‘harvest’. Whether simply the classical
Factors of production – land, labour and capital
Or the new ‘knowledge economy’ which seems
To conjure wealth from mere ideas
And in the future will there be thanksgiving for
the robots who will take our work?

Ken Fisher

Unfettered Catastrophizing

Unfettered Catastrophizing
[One man’s description of our press and media]

No such thing as Good Tidings of Great Joy
News only news if it conveys catastrophe
That’s the creed that editors live by
News only news if it trumpets calamity

A world serene, characterized by peace
Not news unless interrupted by disaster
A diet of accident, fire, bloodshed and disease
Such graphic scenes described by the newscaster

Of course we know we cannot deny life’s tragedy
The press does have a moral duty to report
To sanitize news bulletins would of course be calumny
But is it not surprising how little good news they exhort?

Must our media ever resort to catastrophizing?
Every incident, every misdemeanor, every commotion
Showcased into something quite tantalizing
Designed to evoke the strongest of emotion

Shock, horror, the watchwords of our press
Perhaps this is the dying cry of a threatened tribe
The slant of their news reveals their own distress
In a world which increasingly ignores the scribe.

Ken Fisher

Traffic Jams

Traffic Jams

The bane of modern living is the daily traffic jam
When the flow of vehicles forms a metallic dam
We sit there a prisoner in our little solo cell
With no easy escape from this very private hell

But somehow we seem prepared to endure this daily grind
As commuters we have been sensitized to problems of this kind
After all we’re not alone as we crawl along the highway
Surrounded by mass travellers as we take a quick glance sideways

As long as we keep moving we seem to be appeased
But when others break lane discipline we surely are not pleased
A string of shiny red lights ahead is a warning we don’t like
And if we stop completely we might be tempted just to hike

But of course we won’t leave this cosy little capsule
Even if lack of progress will destroy the daily schedule
Because we are safer just to hang on in there, however long it takes
Missing all the deadlines and the subsequent heartache

We are tuned into the traffic news which brings us little comfort
And we know a stern warning awaits when our boss we must confront
But we will tell her we were not alone on that crowded motorway
Not the only worker with a bad start to their day

Unfortunately there is a thought in our head which will not go away
No matter otherwise the progress of the day
And that notion is the prospect looming ever closer
The journey home in twilight’s gloom might well be even slower

Ken Fisher

[This poem is published on the day the new Queensferry Crossing
on the Forth opened to traffic (30 Aug 2017)]

 

 

Would You Credit It?

Would You Credit It?
The Credit Crunch – Ten Years on
August 9th 2007 was acknowledged to
be the start of the notorious Credit Crunch

We’ve lost those days of easy spending
Supported by our banker’s lending
Good-bye to wine, blooms by the bunch
Thanks to the wretched credit crunch

How has this happened, what has gone wrong?
Failed to save for far too long?
Or in our dealings with the bank
Not always been entirely frank

The truth it seems is more elusive
The money men are quite evasive
You might have thought they would be frank
Helping us to trust our bank

Unknown to us behind the scenes
Our cash obscured by complex screens
Was sweetened up like golden honey
But ended up as “funny money”

In former days banks held deposits
And lent from only their own closet
But now-a-days that’s not enough
Competition’s far too tough

So out into the money market
Like Mother Hubbard with her basket
To multiply her store of cash
Nothing ever seemed too rash

To profit from this increased store
The banks got ready to explore
Lending out to whomsovever
Re-inventing the “never-never “

It mattered not how you would pay,
Or from the contract you might stray
The banks were there to do a deal
No matter how that made you feel

If soon you found you’re out of luck
Re-payment made you come unstuck
Instead of payments made on time
You very soon became “sub-prime”

The US bankers took the lead
Meeting every borrower’s need
But very soon the world at large
Ensured they too had joined the charge

A new regime came into place
To grant huge loans and win the race
Thus none of us need ever wait
To meet our needs however great

Every banker now must sell
To prudence they all said farewell
But every spender really happy
Credit granted very snappy

But then it all became unstuck
Spenders seemed to lose their luck
As they began to hit the red
Bankers could not sleep in bed

Suddenly their glorious plan
Amazingly “had hit the fan”
Borrowers gathered at the dole
Bankers seemed to lose control

This enterprise had somehow stumbled
As one by one the moguls crumbled
Thus had begun what seemed quite viral
Disease around the world did spiral

Quite suddenly as if by stealth
The end of our financial health
No longer ever in ascension
Our house, our shares, indeed the pension

Well is there any consolation
Word of comfort for the nation
Perhaps it’s this – why do we trust
In things so quickly turned to dust?

Ken Fisher

Do we deserve what we earn, and earn what we deserve?

Do we deserve what we earn, and earn what we deserve?

[Prompted by recent press reports on salaries paid
to BBC high earners] 

The press has been full of reports of generous pay
Of high profile broadcasters in our modern day
And this has prompted a lively debate
Some giving praise, but others berate

Perhaps it’s just envy that they are paid so much
Astronomical amounts that we’ll never touch
But the discussions seem charged with heavy emotion
As we can’t get a raise or even promotion

I suppose it ‘s because many of those who gain such a lot
Seem to have jobs that demand limited thought
And the public are funding their celebrity status
With little regard as to how all this affects us

We are told that in matters of remuneration
The market demand results in inflation
So with such unique skills and rare attributes
Celebrities expect to taste sumptuous fruit

But what of the millions on the so-called living wage?
It is not surprising if they work up a rage
For surely they deserve a bigger slice of the cake
As a fair reward for the effort they make

Of course whatever our place in the hierarchy of work
We should all do our best, no-one should shirk
We must deserve what we earn for whatever we do
But how much we earn must be equitable too

And perhaps we must question the rewards some folk gain
Funding a lifestyle of caviar and champagne
While others struggle each week to survive
And seriously question how they might ever thrive

Ken Fisher

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

“Wake up and smell the coffee” is apparently a call to action
A set of circumstances, an affair, demanding our reaction
It would appear that we might have been caught sleeping
Time now for us to act, and wake from idle dreaming

Some say the expression is used to tell us we are wrong
Time for a sharp rethink to move our thoughts along
Others say it is just a phrase to say we must wake up
To harsh realities, so many problems piling up

Wake and smell the coffee tells us to become aware
Not hide below the duvet or even turn to prayer
For although prayer may have its rightful place
Nonetheless these issues we simply now must face

So when someone reminds us of that beverage we should smell
It’s obviously something helpful that they wish to tell
And if we are truly wise we will produce a prompt reaction
A timely answer to advice which springs us into action

Ken Fisher