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Xercies
01-12-2011, 12:03 PM
I've been reading the newspaper over the last couple of days and it just seems endless with the amount of bleak prospects we have as a nation.

The conservatives plans are not working, and even worse they seem to have slipped there mask. They said they would be all for poor people and taking down child poverty. There latest budget has just worsened the poorest 30% even more and put in 100,000 more children into poverty.

The conservatives are cutting everyone's wages and cutting the governments spending but paradoxically this is making them even more in debt. Why, because no one is paying them taxes really since no one has a job. Or the people who do have a job aren't spending in the economy.

This is the worst decade since records began apparently, even worse then the 1970s concerning wage earnings. 4.9% less.

Job prospects for the young are laughable, job prospects for anyone is laughable.

Oh and the Euro has 10 days to sort everything out or the single money currency will collapse. Meaning lots and lots of blowback for every country..

This is the world I'm going to be joining after I finish Uni.

Althea
01-12-2011, 12:06 PM
It's their, not there.

Pedantic comment aside, yes, this country is a complete mess right now. I'm struggling to find work, and actually the longest employment period I had was due to a Jobcentre scheme that's now been cut. It's absolutely amazing how intelligent our government are.

Nullkigan
01-12-2011, 12:25 PM
Doesn't help that the opposition is somehow even less competent. Cameron straight up accused Miliband of being on the union payrolls during PMQs yesterday, which is both hilarious (NewsCorp and Ashcroft say hi) and terrifying (unions represent people, MPs represent people, it's a currrent event, there is obvious valid overlap), especially as Miliband couldn't even get a return shot in. I'm pretty sure there are highschools capable of better debates.

The only people in that room doing their jobs were running the cameras. Maybe Bercow too, as he did actually try to move things along a little.

There'd be less civil unrest if taxes were implemented properly (c.f. Vodafone 3bn income, 1k tax payment although I don't know the specifics of that case) instead of cutting jobs, pay and longstanding agreements (i.e. pension schemes).

On jobs, I've been looking for about a year now. I have found nothing and only managed to get three interviews despite an average of five applications a week since signing on. There's very little to be had for graduates, especially ones over 26 who aren't going to be part of the false-economy scheme. I've noticed that new graduate pay has nosedived over the past year; the national average for engineering was 28k for a job without special requirements beyond the degree, I'm now seeing a 2:1 with a fluent foreign language and willingness to travel at 18k PA.

Jams O'Donnell
01-12-2011, 12:32 PM
A bit more cheer: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100120521/george-osborne-has-as-good-as-guaranteed-his-party-victory-at-the-next-election/

The sooner Scotland severs itself from the gangrenous south the better.

squirrel
01-12-2011, 12:41 PM
Interesting thread because if you change the names, this thread is basically about almost every nations of the developed world, and some more advanced developing countries like mine. If you argue, "hey, Euro problem is unqiue to the EU", you may want to notice that RMB is also being printed in an uncontrollable scale.

Harlander
01-12-2011, 12:49 PM
A bit more cheer: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100120521/george-osborne-has-as-good-as-guaranteed-his-party-victory-at-the-next-election/

Some real "we have to destroy the country in order to save it" tone coming out of that article.


The sooner Scotland severs itself from the gangrenous south the better.

That's no help for those of us stuck down here!

vanilla bear
01-12-2011, 12:54 PM
A lot of people find it comforting to blame the current Government for all our economic woes, but it's really a long term problem: much of our growth since the 1990s was based on cheap debt (Government, company, personal) and was essentially illusory. When that came to an end GDP slumped by about 10% and ultimately that means living standards also have to fall by about 10%. The Government(s) have done what it can to disguise the effects of that - by stopping the banking system collapsing by nationalising the debts, by increasing spending during the initial crunch, and by only slowly moving to reduce the deficit and by allowing living standards to fall due to higher inflation rather than enormous tax increases, but it is going to happen over the 2008-2018 period.

The JG Man
01-12-2011, 01:09 PM
I'm really terrified that in 7 months time, I won't be in uni to postpone real life any longer. I'd love to do some post-grad stuff, but that costs a lot. Most of a seminar on doing them was covering costs.

The advantage I have is that my parents'/home address is in North London. Getting a job there would still mean substantial travel costs, but at least maintenance would be kept moderately low. Not that that is the ideal situation anyhow. And then you read things like this (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/16/young-jobseekers-work-pay-unemployment?INTCMP=SRCH) and realise things still suck.

As for a lack of action on the opposition; why bother, at the moment? It's really more a formality since they'll disagree with anything the government proposes anyhow. The only time they really need to capture the population's attention is in the run up to an election/referendum...sad but true.

Nullkigan
01-12-2011, 01:23 PM
A lot of people find it comforting to blame the current Government for all our economic woes, but it's really a long term problem: much of our growth since the 1990s was based on cheap debt (Government, company, personal) and was essentially illusory. When that came to an end GDP slumped by about 10% and ultimately that means living standards also have to fall by about 10%. The Government(s) have done what it can to disguise the effects of that - by stopping the banking system collapsing by nationalising the debts, by increasing spending during the initial crunch, and by only slowly moving to reduce the deficit and by allowing living standards to fall due to higher inflation rather than enormous tax increases, but it is going to happen over the 2008-2018 period.
I don't think anyone would argue with you that the recessions are a product of unsustainable growth; a significant proportion of the money in the world doesn't actually exist after all. There are also problems with overpopulation, resource scarcity and the environment.

It's painfully obvious we can't go on giving every single child three iphones and a car each year... but at the same time, there are people who weren't able to do that in the first place, and they're being asked to give up just as much - if not proportionally more.

The problem people have is that the governments (not just the conservatives, though Labour managed to avoid the worst of the flak by simply quietly using up all the reserves and praying things would work out or the tories would get in) are not dealing with it in anything even remotely resembling a sensible manner. There's no solidarity, no reassurance and no sign whatsoever of fairness. For every cut or freeze the public sector receives, there has not been an equal restriction placed on the private sector. CEO pay? Bankers taxes? Taxes in general for Topshop, Vodafone and the likes? The hundreds of thousands of pounds rich landowners get for not using their land? What about these new jobs that the private sector is supposed to be creating? The ones that cost the taxpayers about four times as much as the people employed will be earning? And whilst these cuts are going on you get news like "Mr Prime Minister underpaid for his 10 euro coffee whilst on vacation in the alps and had to go back later to apologise".

I think what it comes down to is that even if the money of the rich needs to be treated like it doesn't exist because we can't back it up with equal amounts of labour and material, there's no sign of anything resembling action that is best for the whole of society. Which is what the government SHOULD be doing instead of watching out for their own interests.

Disclaimer: I am not an economist. Many of the examples I'm giving are not researched and are usually third-hand at best.


I'm really terrified that in 7 months time, I won't be in uni to postpone real life any longer. I'd love to do some post-grad stuff, but that costs a lot. Most of a seminar on doing them was covering costs.

The advantage I have is that my parents'/home address is in North London. Getting a job there would still mean substantial travel costs, but at least maintenance would be kept moderately low. Not that that is the ideal situation anyhow. And then you read things like this (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/16/young-jobseekers-work-pay-unemployment?INTCMP=SRCH) and realise things still suck.

As for a lack of action on the opposition; why bother, at the moment? It's really more a formality since they'll disagree with anything the government proposes anyhow. The only time they really need to capture the population's attention is in the run up to an election/referendum...sad but true.

If you're good enough you might be able to find a funded postgrad placement on prospects.ac.uk; I was earning the equivalent of 20-21k whilst doing my PhD, but my sponsor company was hit hard by the recession and weren't able to hire me as planned.

The opposition are still elected MPs, still have a say and should still be doing their job to help steer the country. The fact that they are completely ineffectual and must disagree with the party in power saying that the sun will rise in the east is why some people oppose party politics and were so distraught over the failure of election reform.

ntw
01-12-2011, 01:28 PM
A Dictatorship is the only way to get anything done.

Harlander
01-12-2011, 01:38 PM
A Dictatorship is the only way to get anything done.

Too bad the things dictatorships tend to get done are the mass-murder of unpopular groups and the suppression of personal liberties.

To put it another way: They make the trains run on time - to the gas chambers.

kirrus
01-12-2011, 01:57 PM
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

At least with democracy, our leaders have a shelf-life.

Grizzly
01-12-2011, 02:43 PM
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

At least with democracy, our leaders have a shelf-life.

The problem si that all their policies are for within that shelf life... There is no need for long term thinking, as it does ot win you any votes and if it does it gets destroyed by another party.

Kadayi
01-12-2011, 02:55 PM
Fundamentally they way things were before the recession was highly unsustainable (the grossly inflated housing market being the biggest issue) and unfortunately we're paying for the excesses of the early 2000s now (and likely to for the next few years) until we hit a point of equilibrium (though it's debatable whether that will ever happen the further we sink into the mire). The big problem the UK as a country faces is that it doesn't really have a large scale industrial/manufacturing base any more, and due to the high cost of living in the UK Vs countries like India and China is unlikely to attract companies to consider setting up factories. Not a good thing when you've a population topping out around 62 million.

Kadayi
01-12-2011, 03:07 PM
The problem is that all their policies are for within that shelf life... There is no need for long term thinking, as it does not win you any votes and if it does it gets destroyed by another party.

Agreed. I'd rather we went over to a full PR system (though I'd of gladly accepted the alternative vote being adopted) and actually had true coalition politics in effect, where in parties work through policy (and genuine negotiation), rather than being subjected to 5 years of being ass rammed party philosophy. It seems to me (though I could be wrong) that all the countries where the shit has generally hit the fan, the first past the post principal of political election is the rule (often putting a minority in charge given few countries bar the US have just 2 political parties to choose from).

Nullkigan
01-12-2011, 03:11 PM
Fundamentally they way things were before the recession was highly unsustainable (the grossly inflated housing market being the biggest issue) and unfortunately we're paying for the excesses of the early 2000s now (and likely to for the next few years) until we hit a point of equilibrium (though it's debatable whether that will ever happen the further we sink into the mire). The big problem the UK as a country faces is that it doesn't really have a large scale industrial/manufacturing base any more, and due to the high cost of living in the UK Vs countries like India and China is unlikely to attract companies to consider setting up factories. Not a good thing when you've a population topping out around 62 million.

Interestingly, whilst it's true that heavy industry is on the decline in terms of employment and proportion of GDP, the sector has not shrunk in terms of output:



Although the manufacturing sector's share of both employment and the UK's GDP has steadily fallen since the 1960s, data from the OECD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OECD) shows that manufacturing output in terms of both production and value has steadily increased since 1945.

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_in_the_United_Kingdom


It might be more appropriate to say that the sector has not kept pace with demand for goods we now take for granted and we're now more reliant upon international trade.

Jams O'Donnell
01-12-2011, 03:15 PM
NTW is correct, a (benevolent) dictatorship is the best system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benevolent_dictatorship

Harlander
01-12-2011, 03:20 PM
And pixie dust is a better fuel than petrol.

Doesn't get a lot of use, for some reason.

ntw
01-12-2011, 03:54 PM
And pixie dust is a better fuel than petrol.

Doesn't get a lot of use, for some reason.

Because it's not practical or reasonable - but that doesn't stop it being the best solution. Obviously I'm discounting a properly functioning democracy here, because, well, that's just make-believe.

Harlander
01-12-2011, 04:07 PM
Because it's not practical or reasonable - but that doesn't stop it being the best solution. Obviously I'm discounting a properly functioning democracy here, because, well, that's just make-believe.

That actually amused me, but I'm feeling argumentative, so: you're discounting one implausible mechanism and suggesting another implausible mechanism in its place?

Auspex
01-12-2011, 04:10 PM
Yeah I finished a post-grad in May; couldn't find a job - emigrated - have a job.

ntw
01-12-2011, 04:11 PM
pretty much, yeah. :)

My point was basically that (IMHO) the best solution to the immediate would be a benevolent dictatorship (BD), since, as Null observes, otherwise stuff tends to be too short-term to be of any real use. A BD would fix things, then step aside - of course getting dictators to step aside is the tricky part of my ill-conceived plan.

Xercies
01-12-2011, 04:40 PM
Unfortunately a lot of dictators think their benevolent but when power is in their hands they become a bit mad.

I do think blaming Labour for it all and thinking that Tories are right in their plan is a little bit much. To be honest what Labour suggests is a bit more practical, since were going to get into debt anyway and it looks like the Tory party gets the government in debt without any benefits why don't we use that money to prop up jobs and families.

Its ridiculous to see that the owner of Barclays wage has gone up by 4000% since the 1980s.

I'm really afraid that when I get out of uni it will be on to my parents place for me, to be honest i would rather be in my own(or rented) place and get a job but that isn't really likely.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
01-12-2011, 05:42 PM
I'd also like to chime in that it isn't just Britain but the whole bloody planet which is going to hell.

I've never thought of myself as a filthy fucking hippie but I'm starting to think like one. The current system of capitalism based on the requirement of constant growth and consumption is not going to end well.

Something has to give and we are seeing the first foreshocks of some sort of collapse.

Thing is that I have no idea whether an alternative even exists.

Rakysh
01-12-2011, 05:55 PM
Given that all of the "oh, the world is going to end completely" doomsayers have pretty much always been wrong so far, I'd like to put in a counter point to the above post. Capitalism wont collapse (and I say that as an aforementioned filthy fucking hippy). It'll change, like it has since its conception, until it doesn't have to change any more, and then it'll settle into a new status quo. It might not even have to shift that far; with a bit of meaningful bank reform and a bit more market confidence, recession will disappear in the next few years and we'll get back to some form of capitalism. Exactly what form that is is what's up for grabs at the moment. Serious systemic change requires dissatisfaction at a far deeper and more comprehensive level than we have at the moment, IMO.

jryan
01-12-2011, 06:31 PM
We're wrestling wit the early stages of this here in the USA. Our unemployment isn't quite as high, but large sections of the country, equally to the size of the UK, are suffering the same social democracy burnout. California may well go bankrupt.

I am lucky enough to live in the recession proof Washington DC suburbs, but even this area is starting to feel the serious pinch.

I know it is sensible to say that the various predicted catastrophes will not happen, and that we will soldier through, but the scale of the current ills is hard to grasp. The Greek tragedy that is playing out is illustrative of what is to come. The EU bank is so flush with Greek sovereign loans that they have a margin (I read somewhere) of about a 1% drop in revenue before Greek debt detonates, breaking the central EU bank. The reason is (in simple terms) that there is this cancer in the derivatives market that was created by the introduction of federally backed loans to the sub-prime market.

As an illustration we can again use Greece. The derivatives being bought and sold on Greek debt are currently trading on the assumption that the EU can not let Greece fail, so people see it as a good bet. What we have yet to come to terms with is the fact that Greece, having amassed so mu debt in foreign currency, has lost control of it's future and could fail in spite of the EU vow to save it.

Too many people trust that the EU will succeed. This has created a truly suicidal derivatives market. It is estimated that the derivatives in the global market (much inflated by federally backed false-confidence) is in the neighborhood of $600 trillion dollars.

This will not end well.

If there is a silver lining it is simply that the UK was smart enough to stay out of the EU, and therefor can capitalize on EU's coming collapse (though Germany, through a rather bullish approach to the now failed EU carbon trading scheme by gather industry to itself**, may be better positioned).

** - When the dust settles and the historians have at it I think that the carbon trading scheme will end up being the death blow to the EU as it allowed EU countries like Greece to sell off it's industry to countries like Germany for fast cash, which made the Greek government soft and unwilling to enforce it's own tax policy because it was politically easier to pay for their social programs with carbon credits.

Anyway, that was longer than I intended it to be. I think the UK is in bad shape now, but in that region they are shaping up to be the leper with the most fingers.

Harlander
01-12-2011, 06:38 PM
If there is a silver lining it is simply that the UK was smart enough to stay out of the EU

It's the Euro, the single currency, that the UK stayed out of.

Joseph
01-12-2011, 07:48 PM
This is the world I'm going to be joining after I finish Uni.

I'm hoping that by the time I'm out of Uni (A good four years) things will start to get better. I don't really know anything about politics so I can't really join in; except that I don't like Ed Miliband.

Nalano
01-12-2011, 08:01 PM
A few things:

1) An enlightened dictatorship is the best system. The only problem is the enlightenment. G'luck with that.

2) America's greatest presidents happen to be the most notably dictatorial: Lincoln suspended habeus corpus and jailed hostile newspaper editors at will. FDR stacked the courts and his original policies were arguably unconstitutional. LBJ expanded an illegal war and broke Congressional filibusters. That being said, they presided over egregious crises, and America survives largely through the checks and balances of power.

That Lord Acton quote that begins, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely," continues on: "Great men are almost always bad men."

3) Mike Bloomberg, mayor and richest man in New York City, said of the OWS protests that he fully expected, as unemployment inevitably rose, the situation on the ground to grow more uncontrollable. That speaks to two important issues: One, that things will get worse, and two, that unemployment is the heart of the issue.

We - the Dollar, the Euro, the RMB, the Pound - are intertwined, and while the US have watched Europe implode with something of a bemused disdain, it will only exacerbate our domestic issues. I've been laid off twice in the last four years, and a lot of my friends are either unemployed or under-employed - stuck in shit jobs unbecoming of ivy league degrees. It used to be that my friends were either working in public service or unemployed, but since then the public institutions have been cutting jobs as the budget austerity measures kicked in.

Alex Bakke
01-12-2011, 09:07 PM
A few things:

LBJ expanded an illegal war and broke Congressional filibusters.

I wouldn't say those factors relate to why LBJ was a good president. The reason he's seen as successful is because of the Great Society program, which he implemented through the correct procedures and channels.

I guess you could say that passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution sent his approval rating skyrocketing, which led to him being able to implement the programs.

jryan
01-12-2011, 09:15 PM
It's the Euro, the single currency, that the UK stayed out of.


Well sure, that's the point. The Euro is the EU, for all intents and purposes. Especially when you are talking about economic health.

The JG Man
01-12-2011, 09:21 PM
Not at all. The EU has other legislation in place, notably the free market within the EU to signed up members, which I'm fairly certain is way beyond the Euro in terms of economical importance for the region. If that starts to wane, then the economic health in the area will plummet far quicker than the damage done by the weak Euro has.

jryan
01-12-2011, 09:26 PM
I wouldn't say those factors relate to why LBJ was a good president. The reason he's seen as successful is because of the Great Society program, which he implemented through the correct procedures and channels.

I guess you could say that passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution sent his approval rating skyrocketing, which led to him being able to implement the programs.


That's interesting. I would consider only the Civil Rights aspect of The Great Society to be a success. The rest of it was/is varying degrees of failure.

jryan
01-12-2011, 09:32 PM
Not at all. The EU has other legislation in place, notably the free market within the EU to signed up members, which I'm fairly certain is way beyond the Euro in terms of economical importance for the region. If that starts to wane, then the economic health in the area will plummet far quicker than the damage done by the weak Euro has.


but the economic and market legislation is all necessary to remain in the EU, bound together by the common currency. The Euro was supposed to be the reward for following the legislation. The more successful countries in the EU have no real reason to stay in the EU without the Euro since all the rest of the EU function is simply a drain on those countries as a whole.

In that same way, if the USA lost the Dollar and all the states started printing their own currency you would quickly see the USA break into smaller countries as there would be no central managing authority anymore.

Alex Bakke
01-12-2011, 09:39 PM
That's interesting. I would consider only the Civil Rights aspect of The Great Society to be a success. The rest of it was/is varying degrees of failure.

Perhaps, yeah. IIRC most of the aspects of the programs 'failed' due to future President's reducing the funding for them.

Nalano
01-12-2011, 09:41 PM
I wouldn't say those factors relate to why LBJ was a good president. The reason he's seen as successful is because of the Great Society program, which he implemented through the correct procedures and channels.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 took quite a lot of arm-twisting.

Alex Bakke
01-12-2011, 09:48 PM
Right, ok - I haven't got that far in my course at school yet.

(Yes, everything I base my foreign knowledge off of is from school.)

Nalano
01-12-2011, 09:51 PM
Right, ok - I haven't got that far in my course at school yet.

(Yes, everything I base my foreign knowledge off of is from school.)

Yeah. I'm not saying that his extension of the Vietnam war (nor Lincoln's methods of sweeping away dissidents) was what made him great. I'm saying that the ones we call great tend to have rather autocratic methods.

jryan
01-12-2011, 09:59 PM
Well, no. Funding has increased for education, Medicare and Medicaid at rates that were magnitudes greater than even LBJ's people predicted. It's never been a funding issue as I see it... those who administer the programs have always used funding as an excuse for program failure, though. "It would work great if we only had more funding!" probably was why the funding in these programs has grown the way it has over the years.

It's one of the many programmatic failures in US (and most of the developed world) that everyone should have seen coming. Take the US Department of Education as an example. We can see a measurable decline in the quality of American education since the establishment of the Department in the 1970s. That likely has nothing to do with the Department itself, but it leaves us with no way of measuring if the Department of Education has had a positive effect on American education over the last 40 years.... yet when you try to talk about abolishing the Department people scream about how adversely it would affect education in America. If you can't establish a benefit for it's presence you can't establish a harm for it's absence.

Greece, for all it's faults, at least thought big. Retirement at age 50?! Yes please. The rest of the west nickle and dimed ourselves to death with programs the recipients couldn't enjoy. :)

Now, I will roll back my argument slightly and say that I think the US won the War on Poverty years ago. The average poor person in the US has a quality of life similar to that of a lower middle class family of the 60s when the "War" started. But we have since continued to adjust what constitutes poverty upward and abandoned the logical buying-power measure all together. No longer is the primary health concern of the poor in the US malnutrition.. the #1 problem now is obesity. SUCCESS!


But I have broken my primary rule and started discussing politics. I will leave my contributions there and focus on gaming related discussions henceforth.

jryan
01-12-2011, 10:04 PM
Yeah. I'm not saying that his extension of the Vietnam war (nor Lincoln's methods of sweeping away dissidents) was what made him great. I'm saying that the ones we call great tend to have rather autocratic methods.

Breaking my own rule again! But yeah, the reason for that is you don't give out awards for the most judicious non-action. Being the president and actively pushing anything will make you look autocratic. It would be like awarding a medal to Jimmy Carter for not interfering with Apple Computers.

Nalano
01-12-2011, 10:05 PM
Well, no. Funding has increased for education, Medicare and Medicaid at rates that were magnitudes greater than even LBJ's people predicted. It's never been a funding issue as I see it... those who administer the programs have always used funding as an excuse for program failure, though. "It would work great if we only had more funding!" probably was why the funding in these programs has grown the way it has over the years.

It's one of the many programmatic failures in US (and most of the developed world) that everyone should have seen coming. Take the US Department of Education as an example. We can see a measurable decline in the quality of American education since the establishment of the Department in the 1970s. That likely has nothing to do with the Department itself, but it leaves us with no way of measuring if the Department of Education has had a positive effect on American education over the last 40 years.... yet when you try to talk about abolishing the Department people scream about how adversely it would affect education in America. If you can't establish a benefit for it's presence you can't establish a harm for it's absence.

I categorically disagree, but that's not a discussion for this thread.


Breaking my own rule again! But yeah, the reason for that is you don't give out awards for the most judicious non-action. Being the president and actively pushing anything will make you look autocratic. It would be like awarding a medal to Jimmy Carter for not interfering with Apple Computers.

Presiding over a crisis tends to require action.

rayne117
04-12-2011, 09:34 AM
It's their, not there.

Pedantic comment aside, yes, this country is a complete mess right now. I'm struggling to find work, and actually the longest employment period I had was due to a Jobcentre scheme that's now been cut. It's absolutely amazing how intelligent our government is.

Pedantic comment aside, most of what is being said in this thread can also be said about America, and possibly even Canada.

ntw
04-12-2011, 11:34 AM
Right, I'm off to Titan, this planet is falling apart.

Pertusaria
04-12-2011, 08:41 PM
Xercies: Yes, it is bleak, and I sympathise - I wouldn't like to be about to graduate right now. Two things I find helpful in coping with the bleakness, but which may not make much sense if you try to put them together:

Try to focus on what you are doing at any given time, and get personal satisfaction out of that rather than worry about things that are beyond your control; then you will probably be doing a good job and will get decent grades / get noticed as being good, as well as being happy with yourself. (I know this sounds apolitical, which I'm not; I don't mean that I think it's good advice all the time.)

The other one is to take any opportunity you can to meet and talk to interesting people whose work doesn't look relevant to yours. This might mean joining a choir, or helping a charity, or going down to your local games club once a week, whatever. Part of this is to keep sane and be reminded that there are good people out there, and part of it is because job offers can come from the most unexpected places, and not necessarily in the field you thought you were training for.

Good luck!