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Richard Spragg

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Top Stories by Richard Spragg

As early as the eighteenth century, letters of introduction were a part of polite society. The practice spread to American shores from Europe. They have changed over time. Letters of recommendation became self written, they became more detailed - listing everything about a person's accomplishments and background. But they remain a written introduction to a complete stranger, vouching for a person's credentials. That has not changed. These days we call them resumes. In 250 years we've invented electricity. We've invented cars, airplanes and computers. Twelve of us have walked on the moon. (Unless you're one of the 20% of this population that don't believe that ever happened.) Yet if one of those astronauts wanted a job forty years later, pursuing whatever field of engineering he first emerged from, he would need to sit down and write a resume. Overall, I'd say that the... (more)

Beware the Tipping Point When an Honest Mistake Becomes a Cover Up

Businesses can be a lot like soap operas in one important respect – a secret never stays secret forever. It’s only ever waiting in the background today to become tomorrow’s main plot line. One of the most common forms of secrecy in the modern workplace is the concealing of mistakes – it is this small and unnecessary crime that results in more dismissals than any other kind of misconduct. People make mistakes; it’s a natural part of being human. Immediate acknowledgement, combined with ideas for fixing the problem, will always be the best course.  Everyone makes mistakes; people r... (more)

Cracking the Myth of Effective Multitasking

It was only fairly recently that I cracked the myth of multitasking, and found an attitude toward it that I am comfortable with. These days, I see it this way. A housewife (if you'll forgive the 1950s stereotype that follows - but the idea of the multitasking superwoman is perfect for this purpose) needs to cook dinner, tidy up the lounge of toys and change a nappy. She leaves some sauce simmering on the stove, picks up a couple of soft toys and throws them in the toy chest, then takes care of the baby's nappy. She returns child to crib, washes her hands, picks up the books that... (more)

Top Seven Hardest Degrees for Undergrads… Is yours on the list?

Engineering has developed a tough reputation as an undergraduate degree. This reputation is unlikely to be contributing to desperately needed intake into the industry at ground level. So what's the story and do these accounts really convey the reality of university programs in engineering related subjects? The recent National Survey of Student Engagement took 416,000 full-time and first-year students and also seniors at a total of 670 universities across the USA to find out which majors offer the hardest ride. They produced a Top 7: 1.       Engineering 2.       Physical scienc... (more)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace Being Wrong

There are times in life when you have to put your hands up to being in the minority, especially when you're in the business of putting your opinions out there in the market for all to see. As a lifelong holder of minority opinions, this is not new to me. So effusive was the disagreement with my first blog in this series, that arrived from all corners of our growing community here, that I feel compelled to present the opposite view. I will wipe the spit and fumes from my face and in all probability convince myself that I was actually wrong in the first place. The source of our di... (more)