I came to Scotland to get away from my concerns for a time, but reading the newspaper — and newspapers over here seem more popular than in the U.S. — tends to limit relaxation. The headlines in Scotland could easily be on the newspaper stand in Oregon, too. Perhaps it is possible to take some solace in knowing that every country has problems.
Judging by the following, not everything is bonny here.
"Britain facing worst wave of strikes for a generation": That was the headline in The Herald on Wednesday, September 14, followed by this summary:
"Union leaders warned last night Britain is facing the biggest wave of industrial action for a generation that could involve thousands of Scottish public service workers. Schools, hospitals and other services will be hit by the dispute this winter, with an announcement on coordinated strike action expected to be made today."
"Teacher review warning": That was another headline, followed by this summary:
"A major report into the working conditions of Scottish teachers will not deliver improvements in education, unions have warned. Two of Scotland largest teaching unions said the review's recommendations handed too much power to school managers and placed a greater workload on teachers."
And, this on a bit brighter side: "Scots firms optimistic over growth prospects." "Scottish companies are showing greater confidence about the year ahead and, on average, are also spending more on research and development than businesses elsewhere in the U.K...Scottish firms' forecasts for growth have strengthened for the third consecutive quarter." And, one Scottish businessman uttered a fairly predictable phrase -- 'The sense is certainly one of businesses looking to government for support, not hindrance.'"
These stories could have occurred in Oregon just as well as in Scotland. Some public employees, including school teachers, are thinking of striking. At the same time, teachers in Oregon feel overburdened by increasing class sizes, greater workloads and concerns over school funding, even if Governor John Kitzhaber promises to fix things with his education investment strategies.
And, as for business, there may not be as much optimism in Oregon as there is in Scotland, but many Oregon companies still want government to get out of the way rather than to impose more regulatory burdens.
For now, I'll focus on golf, as well as on the Scottish people. Contrary to some stereotypes, they are a uniformly friendly lot. Often, as you walk past them, they will not necessarily make eye contact, but if you ask them for a favor, say for directions, they happily will stop, talk and provide just what you need. As for golf, it can be almost a mystical experience to tread on the ground where Scots have played golf for hundreds of years.
[The author of this piece, CFM partner Dave Fiskum, is on a golfing vacation in Scotland, the birthplace of golf. Unfortunately, found time to read a newspaper. But don't worry — he'll be back to golf in only a few moments.]