London Olympics (and the power of propaganda)

For several months before the Olympics, Londoners were effectively brainwashed with messages of how our beloved city will be overrun with hundreds of thousands of tourists and spectators which will heavily affect the roads and disrupt the public transport system. Restrictions were put in place on certain underground stations, express Olympic lanes were painted on to roads and motorways, and we were told to “get ahead of the games” by setting off much earlier than usual to travel, or better still, avoid travelling at all during this season.

It’s now two weeks into the Olympics and I, like a few others who have dared to venture out, have found myself travelling seamlessly through London - the roads are clearer, there are less people on the trains and buses, and London, outside of the immediate Olympic areas, is generally moving faster than usual!

Now this may well be a glowing testament to the organisational skills of TFL and everyone else involved in the Olympics, but (without meaning to be political), there’s also something to be said here about the power of propaganda. The constant messages over radio, TV, newspapers, internet, billboards, and even Mayor Boris Johnson’s personally recorded announcements over public transport networks, were enough to convince people to stay away from London in masses – so much so that the Mayor has been accused of turning London into a ghost town!


Olympic traffic – much quieter than expected on most roads

In very much a similar way, we’ve experienced mass media bombardment over the past few years, detailing the “historically high” unemployment rates in Britain and the general competition that exists in the few jobs that are out there.

While it certainly is true that the job market is harder today than it’s been previously, it is also true that there are some employers and organisations who are posting vacancies and receiving very few applications from jobseekers (I had a conversation with one such employer recently).

There are of course many reasons why this could be happening (job not desirable, pay too low, location, where advertised etc), but one factor that can’t be ignored is the propaganda factor – some jobseekers have been so sold by the negative media messages surrounding employment that they’re now afraid to venture out and apply for certain jobs for fear of competition from other jobseekers.

If this is you, be encouraged by the Olympics! While it’s always good to prepare for the worst, try your very best to not to allow propaganda to seep into your job search because sometimes the only way you’ll ever know whether your journey will be disrupted by additional traffic is to get in your car and drive. In the process you may find yourself making more progress than you’ve ever done at any other time in your life!

Are you a Londoner? Have you had the same travelling experience so far during the Olympics or have I just been lucky? Let me know your thoughts in the comments…


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