May 20, 2013 by Jenna
I remember when the global financial crisis happened in 2009, I was working as an Administrator for a national events company. Our General Manager from Brisbane came into the office one day while a couple of my colleagues were overseas working on a conference in Hong Kong. As the General Manager would visit periodically for business I didn’t think anything unusual of the situation and then she told me she wanted to have a private chat later that afternoon.
That was when the bomb hit. My role was no longer going to continue within the company and I was being let go. Right at that moment. Now. ‘You will need to pack up your things and leave immediately. Do you have family or anyone that you can see at this time?’ I remember her saying. I was single and my parents lived about an hour and a half away so my cab fare home was covered by the company which was nice. But was I shocked? Yes. Did I have to explain to my parents and others that I had been let go? Yes. Did I feel devastated? Yes.
I couldn’t help but ask if it was my performance or anything that I had done that led to the final decision. I was relieved to find out that they were more than satisfied with the hard work and effort that I had put into the role but due to cost cutting they could no longer afford to have my role continue. IT had logged me off of my computer and I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to all of the colleagues that I had worked with for those two years. Regardless of being told it wasn’t my performance that affected the decision, I still couldn’t help but feel miserable, I went home and I cried.
After wallowing in self-pity it finally occurred to me that as this was a national company, all of the women in the other state offices that shared my role were going to be made redundant as well. It made me realise how hard it must be to be the manager and having to look at each staff member in the face and deliver this bad news. But with any role in leadership you need to make the decisions for good of your company and your staff.
Keeping that in mind I made an executive decision. I asked if I could come in the next day and finalise a handover of all of the events that I was working on so that none of my team members were left out of the loop when they returned from their conference. I could have naturally turned my back on the company and had a bitter attitude towards them and the situation but who really benefits from that in the end?
The next stages I went through were feelings of anxiety over no longer having financial security and not only that, but how was I going to find a new role during the GFC?
We all react differently to stress and shock, for me what I think helped:
• Talk to friends/family and people you know – It doesn’t have to be a secret, remember it is not your fault that you are in this position and there is no point in isolating yourself when you have people around you that care about you and can offer support. Not only that but they may have heard about potential new job opportunities or have contacts that you can get in touch with to help get you back on track. It is amazing what word of mouth can do!
• Take advantage of outplacement services – if your company offers you an outplacement service, take advantage of this option to have a professional assist you with your job search skills, resume review, interview skills and career planning. They can also be a sounding board if your job search stalls.
• Keep yourself on track and keep setting a routine – Keep normal sleep patterns, you don’t want to sleep through the day because you are lacking motivation or self-confidence. Eat healthy, exercise, keep yourself at your best so that when new opportunities present themselves you will be your best. Like the famous saying ‘you are what you eat’, if you are sluggish, tired and not looking after yourself, people will notice and it will affect your performance/outcome.
• Set daily goals, tasks, things that you want to achieve – Whether it is personal goals or writing down how many jobs you would like to apply for in a day, it is important to have something that drives you. When you are lacking motivation it can be easy to distract yourself or procrastinate from more productive tasks – e.g. watching television, going on Facebook all the time, napping, etc. Take the opportunity to realise that you have all of this free time to do things that you may not have had the chance to do before. Time is often limited so take this gift of free time and make the most of it!
• Educate yourself – Research more on how you can advance your skills, read more news items and publications to learn more about your industry and the world economy. Seek career guidance and mentors that can help lead you on track with your career. You are never too old or young to keep learning something new. And who knows where that knowledge could take you?
• Be patient – You may not get a call back from the first new role you apply for. Keep going, keep your options open, and follow up.
It took me at least a month of applying for jobs before I found that next role for me. That didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous and anxious after not hearing back after applications and interviews but I still had to have faith in something better to come along, and confidence in myself that I would get the next role that suited me.
Did I fear that this type of situation could potentially happen to me again? Yes, but I wasn’t going to let that fear of rejection hold me back from a new opportunity. Why? Because we all have to face risks whether it’s in our personal or professional life. They will knock us back, hurt us, make us feel defeated. But it is a chance to get back up and start fresh, learn from past mistakes, and move on.
If this has just happened to you and you are still feeling negative and bitter about the whole experience, it’s understandable, but talk to someone and work through the issues so that you can become ready to face what is to come.
In the words of Ghandi: “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
Category: Career Choice, Selection
Tags: attitude, Behaviour, boss, candidate, career, colleagues, communication, company, confidence, culture, employees, employer, experience, feedback, goals, guidance, impression, information, leadership, management, opportunity, organisation, outplacement, people, performance, Personality, productivity, Professional, Recruitment, reputation, Research, routine, security, skills, success, Team, temporary, Training, workplace
May 14, 2013 by Jenna
Money makes the world go round. But of course we don’t want to come across as money being the only source that drives us. So how do we go about discussing salary when interviewing for our next role?
The truth is that, for most of us, we go to work to get paid. So is it unrealistic to have an expectation of what salary we want? Of course not. The more important question to answer is: is the figure unrealistic for the job that you are going for? For example, if you are starting in a graduate role are you asking for a salary level that would be more realistic for a Manager? In which case, you will be greatly disappointed with the outcome!
So there are two questions you need to be clear on: 1. What is the salary you need to live the lifestyle you want to live? 2. What is realistic for the position you are applying for? Ideally – the two correlate, otherwise you may need to change your lifestyle, or the job that you are applying for.
Once you are clear on your own finances, you now need to research the salary levels for the jobs you are applying for. Review salary survey information, salary information listed on online job boards, or salary data collected from professional associations. You cannot expect to get a salary increase from your current job, just because you want it, you need to back-up your salary request through evidence. Once you are clear on the salary levels appropriate to your position. You are now ready to negotiate.
There are many different thoughts as to when it is appropriate to bring up the salary question.
Sometimes, early is best.
For example, I remember applying for a job once (before finding this great role within Challenge!) that offered some very exciting opportunities and I applied straight away. I was successful in getting to interview. However, it was only when I asked about salary was it confirmed that the salary level offered would be at that level for at least a minimum of two years, with no additional commission or benefits, and that level was at least $10k less than what I was currently earning. Ouch! While I would have liked to have considered the role, the pay decrease would have been a considerable personal sacrifice and I made the decision to say no and move on.
But when is there room to negotiate? And if you have at least an idea of range on offer, what then? Penelope Trunk provides 4 Tips to Salary Negotiation that I have summarised below:
1. Don’t disclose your pay requirements during the interview process. If you provide a number first during the interview process, the interviewer will most likely tell you if you are in the same ball park or if you are too high. There is also the other case that if you ask for a figure that is lower than the employer expected you will most likely get the job without ever knowing that you could have earned more. Try asking the interviewer what he/she would pay someone for this role. If it seems lower than expected, see if there is an opportunity for increase at a later time.
2. Do not negotiate until you have an offer in writing. Get the full offer in writing so you know what you have to work with during your bargaining. You may never know about the bonus, extra commission, or salary package details, and like the finer details of any contract, you cannot work on a counter offer unless you know all of the details of what you will receive. Not only this but negotiation will require confrontation and taking action in order to receive results, and you will never know what the outcome is unless you ask.
3. Do your research and plan your attack. In order to know what to ask for in negotiations, you must first know the pay range for your position. And make sure that what you have researched is less than ten years ago so that it is relevant and recent. You can discuss this with friends or contacts in the same industry and with access to so many different types of industry news and articles it is amazing what you can find! But remember if you are requesting the top range salary, you will need to work hard to show management why you deserve that rate.
4. Know what you need. Does the company provide you with other benefits other than monetary value? Make sure your priorities do not cause you to sacrifice something you love to do for something you could care less about that has a higher pay rate. No salary report will tell you what you need in your life to be happy but you need to be honest with yourself. With that said, don’t give up on being paid more because you hate negotiating.
When do you bring the salary question up? Ever been in this situation before where you had to use your negotiation skills? What was the outcome?
Category: Career Choice, Selection
Tags: appropriate, Assessment, attitude, Behaviour, boss, candidate, career, commission, communication, company, confrontation, culture, employees, employer, evidence, expectation, experience, feedback, goals, guidance, impression, information, job, manager, negotiate, opportunity, organisation, people, performance, Personality, productivity, Professional, Recruitment, Research, skills, staff, success, Team, workplace
May 6, 2013 by Jenna
Job searching is hard. We have all been in that situation where there is seemingly nothing to apply for. And when you do find a job to apply for, you are often competing with many other people with only one job to fill.
It can be an isolating and discouraging experience. Especially when you are told “you were not successful to the next round” or you don’t hear from the recruiter at all. Sometimes you can get so frustrated and tired of rejection that you just want to give up. Or worse – with your motivation waning you start chucking resumes or put less effort into the application process – often hurting your chances for landing that job even more.
Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
- Joshua J Marine
At a breakfast event I attended last week Michelle Bridges, best known as a Personal Trainer on The Biggest Loser, shared the story of how she found her inner brand. She was talking about starting her own business, but I think the same lessons apply to job searching. She posed these questions to the audience:
• What do I stand for?
• How do I want to be known?
• What is my unique message?
• Who am I trying to talk to?
Her last point was headlined ‘A Voice’, knowing that you have one and making yourself heard. This can often be easier said than done but it does take persistence. When we look at celebrities like Michelle Bridges we often think, ‘easy for you to say’ or we can often assume that they have the perfect life. But do you think she didn’t get to where she was today without being pushed back or rejected?
Michelle grew up with the mentality that she could be anything that she wanted to be, and she didn’t walk away the moment she was rejected, especially when it came to something she was passionate about. She would go back again and again if necessary. And when it came to set-backs, she posed the following questions:
• What part of me am I not backing?
• Who can I call, email today? Further to that, are you following up after the initial point of contact has been made?
• Who is holding you back?
• Cut the saboteurs – Eliminate those factors that put you down or that aren’t helping you go forward. This can also include people in your life that are putting you down more than encouraging you.
• New medium, different approach, fresh – Are you finding that your current job search work isn’t working? Have you tried a new approach, asked for advice or tried to look at your approach through a fresh set of eyes?
Once you have reflected on what is most important to you and looked at what is holding you back, now is the time to just do it. Action breeds more action, and helps you to keep motivated. Here are some ways you can start making things happen in your job search:
• List your positives. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself, including skills, personality traits, accomplishments, and successes. Write down projects you’re proud of, situations where you excelled, and things you’re good at. Revisit this list often to remind yourself of your strengths. This will also be very helpful for when you are in that job interview and they ask what your strengths are?
• Keep a regular daily routine. When you no longer have a job you can easily lose motivation. Treat your job search like a job, with a daily “start” and “end” time. Following a set schedule will help you be more efficient and productive. And even more importantly, just like at work, give yourself break times. Schedule coffee catch-ups with friends, go for walks, or schedule time to do things that you really enjoy. You will be much more productive in your job search when you schedule breaks and give yourself a daily routine.
• Create a job search plan. Instead of trying to do everything at once, set priorities or specific actions for your day. If you’re not having luck in your job search, take some time to rethink your actions. Does your resume need to be re-developed? Who in your network knows people that could help you? How many job applications have you followed up?
• Volunteer. Unemployment can wear on your self-esteem and make you feel useless. Volunteering helps you maintain a sense of value and purpose. And helping others is an instantaneous mood booster. Volunteering can also provide career experience, social support, and networking opportunities. Could you help at your local school, not-for-profit or church?
• Focus on the things you can control. You can’t control how quickly a potential employer calls you back or whether or not they decide to hire you. Rather than wasting your precious energy on things that are out of your hands, turn your attention to things you can control, such as writing a great cover letter and resume tailored to the company you want to work for and setting up meetings with your networking contacts or calling to follow up a job application.
So take action and start making changes if you are not seeing results, you will end up thanking yourself for it. And as Michelle Bridges finished off, ‘Be brave, be courageous, be inspired – today!’
Any advice that you have for jobseekers out there? Or if you are one, have you been to our Job Search page of our website?
Category: Career Choice
Tags: attitude, Behaviour, boss, business, career, communication, employees, employer, experience, feedback, flexibility, goals, guidance, impression, information, medium, networking, opportunity, organisation, passionate, people, performance, persistence, Personality, productivity, Professional, Recruitment, reputation, Research, skills, success, Team, Training, workplace
April 30, 2013 by Jenna
In order to be effective team members, or to become effective team leaders, supervisors or managers, we first need the direction of a great leader.
‘Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.’ —Peter Drucker
Have you had a great manager that stands out in your mind? How did they help you develop your career? Or perhaps you are currently a manager? Do you know what your team members need?
Melissa Raffoni submitted a blog in the Harvard Business Review on Eight Things Your Employees Want From You (as the manager):
1. Tell me my role, tell me what to do, and give me the rules. Micromanaging? No, it’s called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.
2. Discipline my co-worker who is out of line. Time and time again, I hear, “I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable.” Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and isn’t acceptable.
3. Get me excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.
4. Don’t forget to praise me. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.
5. Don’t scare me. They really don’t need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don’t lose your temper at meetings because they didn’t meet your expectations. It’s often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.
6. Impress me. Strong leaders impress their staff in a variety of ways. Yes, some are great examples of management, but others are bold and courageous, and still others are creative and smart. Strong leaders bring strength to an organisation by providing a characteristic that others don’t have and the company sorely needs.
7. Give me some autonomy. Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity.
8. Set me up to win. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.
Does your manager know what you need to be successful?
It is up to each of us to make our expectations and needs clear to our manager. While it may be an easier option to blame the boss when things go wrong, remember that management is also dealing with many other tasks on a broader scale and they too are human and make mistakes. And even while they may appear to be busy, it is important for you to approach them and provide feedback when needed. Taking accountability and showing initiative by taking action is part of the way we grow, both personally and professionally.
Managers are not expected to be mind-readers however, when it comes to employee goals and expectations. In order for effective progress to be made, communication needs to be established between both parties to achieve company goals, personal goals and when processes/procedures need to finalised by (setting deadlines, follow up meetings etc.).
Companies across Australia are about to be busy with Performance Appraisal Meetings – what feedback will give to your manager? What do you need to be most effective in your work?
I personally need a manager that I can approach to ask questions or report issues to. Who can make the time to sit with me to discuss upcoming tasks. Not only that, but someone who can allow me to get the job done and make decisions on my own and I can report to back to if I have any questions/issues.
If you set out your needs and management sets out their needs, it is then the process of collectively working together to achieve those goals and move forward. In order to work collectively however, you will need to consider the following:
• Not all goals/strategies may be agreed upon when meetings take place. Certain goals may be put on hold to be re-evaluated at a later stage. However, take the opportunity to ask management to review this again if you are truly passionate about it and believe it will benefit the overall business.
• Try to understand from a bigger picture where your goals tie in with the company goals. This will help you to understand management’s perspective and will help further build your bond between one another instead of creating a barrier.
• You need to be adaptable and flexible with the feedback we are provided with. This needs to be taken into consideration from the manager and employee perspective, as you will both have the opportunity to share your opinions. Don’t take constructive feedback too personally. As one of my articles in this week’s news outlines, use feedback to your advantage.
I have been in situations in the past where management has offered me the opportunity for advancement for hard work and effort, and I have also been advised on times where I needed to step up my game and it does leave you in a situation of vulnerability as negative feedback can feel like a personal attack. The shields go up and you may end up spending a long period of time reflecting on the negative instead of looking for positive solutions.
Listening to management’s feedback and then offering feedback to work together towards a solution is the best way that I have found dealing with feedback and also getting my own needs met within any organisation. It could even be something like ‘further training’ required in a particular field or area of your job and you should never be afraid to ask, especially if it offers advancement within the company.
Have you compiled a list of items that you would like to discuss with your manager? It’s never too late to do so. Take the time to assess the most important items or ones that require more immediate action. Also make sure to review what goals will overall benefit your career and the organisation as a whole.
Are you prepared to take action and approach management about your needs/goals? You don’t need to wait until the performance review, and you can even arrange a meeting if you would like to discuss items in more detail. In order for changes to take place, someone needs to be the initiator, so why not take the stand and be the one to enforce it. You will feel better knowing that you took the steps to voice you needs rather then spending your days wondering ‘what if’?
As a manager, what feedback have you received from your team? How did you handle this feedback and what did you provide to your staff in return?
Category: Our Team
Tags: accountability, advancement, attitude, Behaviour, boss, candidate, career, communication, company, culture, employees, employer, expectations, experience, feedback, flexibility, goals, guidance, impression, information, initiative, leaders, managers, office, opportunity, organisation, people, performance, Personality, productivity, Professional, reputation, Research, skills, success, Team, Training, workplace
April 23, 2013 by Jenna
I was recently invited to be a guest speaker at a lunch-and-learn session about career development, or more specifically how I developed my career.
I began the presentation by asking the room how they got to be in their current career. Did you plan to be here? A splattering of hands went up around the room. Did you fall into your current career? Overwhelmingly the majority of the hands were raised. But we have already read about the impact of how much luck or chance can have on our careers.
What is even more surprising to me, however, is how many people discount their current job or career as inferior because it wasn’t “chosen” or “planned”. There is this sense that those that always knew what they wanted are the ideal. But of course I am actually yet to meet someone who is that person who knew what they wanted to be, got there and it was happy ever after. If so, in the words of He’s Just Not That in to you (I can quote chick flicks can’t I?), ‘they are the exception.’ Because a career is not a destination, making a career decision is just the beginning of the start of our career development.
1. Enjoy the ride – what can you learn now to help you at the next career stage?
Most of us followed our interests, abilities, and skills applied for jobs and then somehow ended up where we sit today. I am one of those people. I had an interest in people so I studied psychology, but when I was 17 years old and began my university degree, I didn’t know what an Organisational Psychologist was. But it was these undergraduate studies, majoring in sport psychology, with an emphasis on motivation, performance and mental readiness that laid the perfect foundation for my current career.
I think we each have an opportunity to enjoy our current ride. Whether it was planned or by chance – you can either lament the fact that you are not completely happy or take the steps you need to develop the career to where you want to take it. Learn about yourself through the projects you take on and the current stage in your career – what are your strengths, what do you hate, what do you love, and what are you most passionate about? A colleague at work noted for her career success came from “Always saying yes when asked to do something extra that may be out of your job scope.” – What are you saying yes to you? What can you learn now that will help you at the next career stage?
2. Career goals to direct your action – and the skills to adapt to changing circumstances
For me both long-term goals and short-term goals helped direct my path. But so often we stumble with the question where do I want to be in 5 years’ time? Naturally the flaw with long-term goals is the uncertainty. Because let’s also remember that 5 years ago the smart phone mayhem was only just beginning. Today because of that mania millions of new jobs and numerous new careers have been launched. How can we possibly know what we will be doing in 5 years when the job we will have then, may not even exist yet?
But, having a vision or a long-term dream about where you want to take your career – helps motivate your efforts towards that direction. Another of my colleagues when asked what is career success? Stated “doing something you love/care about/passionate for” – for many living our passion every day doesn’t happen overnight, it takes hard work, commitment, education or skill development. Setting yourself a long-term goal, helps to keep us motivated as we take these smaller term goals to achieve this long-term vision.
We of course need short-term goals to continue the momentum and motivate action. I review my direction in yearly increments, whilst also setting longer term goals to motivate these smaller steps. Each year I review where I am against where I want to achieve this year, often they are learning goals (i.e. a knowledge / skill or ability I want to learn). As one of my colleagues concluded career success comes from “achieving goals rather than spinning wheels”. What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? What do you need help with that your current company can offer you to help to take that next step?
3. You’ve got a friend in me – the importance of networking and mentors
Without question, I am where I am today because of the people that saw in me skills and abilities that I didn’t have the skill yet to see in myself. During the course of the presentation I was asked how I made these connections. The simple answer is: being in the right place at the right time. You may have a great manager who you see as a mentor, who can help you create your long-term vision and short-term goals. If not, you may need to go outside your organisation.
For me I was lucky enough to have mentors in my immediate managers. But I also stepped outside my comfort zone and expanded my network through attending professional association networking and professional development functions. It was through these experiences that I was able to connect with like-minded colleagues, which helped me to collaborate on projects internationally and across Australia – projects that I would never have had the chance to create if I didn’t go out there, connect and create them.
Mentors were critical for career success for all of my colleagues – each one mentioned the need for others to believe in them and help them to stretch outside of their comfort zone. Who are your mentors? And if you don’t have mentors in your current organisation – what events will you attend to interact and meet with your future connections?
I was asked at the end of the presentation where I plan to go to next – I didn’t have a succinct answer – I guess most of us don’t have a succinct answer. But for me I am going to be enjoying my current ride, I have a long-term vision, some short-term goals to motivate my effort – and of course look to connect with others to help create my next career opportunities. How do you want to develop your career?
Category: Career Choice
Tags: Assessment, attitude, Behaviour, business, candidate, career, communication, company, connections, culture, destination, development, employees, employer, experience, flexibility, goals, guidance, impression, information, job, management, mentors, motivation, office, opportunity, organisation, performance, Personality, productivity, Professional, Recruitment, reputation, skills, success, Team, temporary, Training, vision, work
April 15, 2013 by Jenna
Do you ever find that the common reason behind many cancellations and postponed meetings is because people are too busy? In today’s world it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have work commitments, family commitments, social commitments, bills to pay, side projects to run etc.
Why is it when we all have the same hours in a day that only some of us are finding the balance that we need and others barely have the time to get anything done?
Is it psychological? Is it poor time management skills?
And what sacrifices are you making when you are too busy?
We are all different when it comes to dealing with busy or stressful situations. Some of us thrive on the adrenalin rush of a short deadline and others require more preparation and may crumble under pressure.
Know your limits
There is also some of us, like myself, who have difficulty switching off and like to take on multiple projects at once, whether at work or in your personal time. But the best advice that I can give to this crowd is know your limits, because at the end of the day, if you are overworked and too busy, no one will be impressed by the amount of projects that you have on if you are unable to accomplish them because you have over-committed!
Not sure what category you lie in? Well here are some common symptoms of those that are overworked and stressed:
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Seeing only the negative
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Irritability or short temper
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
As individuals we need to be driven, we need goals and projects and challenges to keep us going. But we shouldn’t need to put ourselves in situations where we have ‘too much’ on our plates. And if it is too much, we need to say so. Admitting early on that you are not able to complete a task does not make you a failure, it allows you time to let management know what you are doing and it allows them to effectively delegate tasks amongst members of your team. Or you can even ask a team member to help, because working together as a team is important for development.
Now I’m not saying that if you cut down on your workload that you won’t ever experience stress or feel overworked at some stage of your career. But if this is a daily habit then you have to consider the facts that it’s unhealthy for your physical being and your personal life.
And if you keep using the line ‘I’m too busy’ as an excuse, it tends to fall in the same category as ‘my dog ate my homework’ when you were at school. Everyone is in the same boat and we are trying to make the time to see you, and they will only fall for that excuse so many times.
Set a plan of attack
A work routine can be like a fitness routine – We follow strong for the first few months then we can start to either lose motivation or we start to lose track of our initial goals. But at the same time a routine is so vital in order to achieve results! Especially when we are balancing multiple tasks, if we don’t set out the important/urgent tasks at the beginning of our day we will most likely get distracted and end up unprepared, disorganised and incomplete. In fact, we probably save ourselves more time setting out a plan for the day rather than entering our day worrying about everything we have to do and not having any sense of direction.
Not only that but how can we expect to move up the corporate ladder or be trusted to manage tasks if we are unable to manage ourselves?
So what goals have you set so far that you might have strayed away from this year? Do you think it may be time to re-evaluate these goals to find more of a work-life balance?
Tags: attitude, Behaviour, boss, career, committments, communication, company, concentrate, development, employees, evaluate, experience, flexibility, goals, guidance, management, opportunity, organisation, people, performance, Personality, pressure, productivity, Professional, projects, reputation, routine, skills, success, symptoms, Team, Training, work
April 9, 2013 by Jenna
According to recent research, asking for a promotion ranks high on the list of one of life’s most anxiety-inducing activities. Do you think this is true?
Most people agree that promotions are also one of the most vital things that you can do to move ahead in your career. But there is always that underlying question of when is the right time? Or even that subconscious fear of what if management says no?
But with any increase in responsibility or salary, it is something that needs to be earned, not expected. Especially as a recent graduate stepping into the workforce, sometimes you have to start from the bottom and work your way up to get to that job of your dreams.
For example, my cousin works for a law firm in the city and he puts his heart and soul into his work. When the opportunity arose for a chance to prove himself further within the company and be promoted to different section of the firm he didn’t hesitate. He came in to the office early, stayed back late, and pulled the extra yards needed. Needless to say I did not hear from him during the process as he had his priorities on showing management what he was capable of, but in the long run he got the promotion and we were able to celebrate together. He pushed through the challenges to win the goal. And he always takes on new challenges the same way.
So you have put in the hard yards and worked above expectations, how do you go about asking for the promotion? Megan Alpern at Forbes outlines the following key tips:
1. Do your homework – Assess what you have brought to the organisation so far and have it written down and prepared to present to management. Providing examples of how you have gone above and beyond can be very advantageous.
2. Plan the Timing – As there is no perfect time to ask, however, a good time to ask may be when annual or semi-annual reviews take place. But also keep in mind the current economy within your team or department. Is your business struggling or thriving and is it a wise move to make the request now?
3. Ask for the Meeting – Perhaps you are not near review time, you can request a meeting, but make sure to outline to management what you are hoping to discuss so that you do not catch them off guard.
4. Know Your Numbers – It is best not to discuss numbers until you are technically offered the promotion, but make sure you are prepared to negotiate it if the conversation arises. And don’t sell yourself short!
5. Follow-up – If you receive the promotion then you can go and celebrate, but if you don’t make sure you are not closing the conversation just yet. Assess what has been discussed and areas of improvement, and if conversations arise again in your department about a potential promotion later down the track, ask management if they would be willing to revisit the conversation again. They will appreciate your initiative!
In the event of a less than favourable outcome, I am not saying that every request for a promotion will be accepted and there are a couple of other factors that you need to consider:
• The answer may be no for now. Your current organisation or the economy may mean that you cannot be offered a promotion at this time. You may need to consider if you want to wait until things turn up or look for alternative employment. Alternatively, rather than stepping up could you take a sidewards step to take on new responsibilities or projects to develop the skills you may need in the long-term?
• You don’t have the skills needed. Management may want you to pursue further training and development before considering you for this role. As we all need to continue to learn and grow, take this as a good opportunity to take on training as who knows where this could take you in the future.
• Negative feedback – areas for improvement. Although this may be disheartening, keep in mind what feedback has been provided and start following the measures put in place to get past it. Then if the opportunity arises again, ask if you can revisit the topic of promotion.
Have you been in the situation where you approached management for a promotion? If so, what steps did you take to do so and what was the feedback received?
Tags: Assessment, attitude, Behaviour, candidate, career, challenges, communication, company, culture, employees, employer, expectations, experience, goals, guidance, impression, improvement, initiative, job, management, negotiate, opportunity, organisation, performance, Personality, productivity, Professional, promotion, Research, skills, success, Team, Training, workplace
April 3, 2013 by Jenna
Are you finding it difficult to get past the interview for the job of your dreams? Are you making the best first impression or have you turned an interviewer off? Remember, you have only one chance to make the best first impression, what are the Top 5 Interviewee mistakes and how can you overcome them?
1. Body language & presentation. How is your posture? Have you taken the gum out? Are you giving the interviewer eye contact? Are you warm, friendly and enthusiastic? Do you appear interested in what the interviewer is saying? Is your attire suitable for an interview – By this I mean is it more corporate friendly or something you would wear out to a party? You have one chance to make the best first impression, make sure your body language and presentation demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role.
2. Not knowing enough about the company or job you are being interviewed for. Without preparation you can appear like a dear in the headlights. Review the company website and find out as much as you can before the interview. Be thorough enough to even ask a couple questions about the company and why you are interested in joining their team
3. Not knowing what’s on your resume. Is your resume up-to-date and do you know the details on your resume – are you able to answer the questions about your resume? Can you explain gaps and achievements? Ensure that you know your skills and experience in detail so you can answer all questions required.
4. Talking too much or not enough. Most people become nervous during interviews, sometimes nerves mean you talk too much or not enough. Learn what calms you, some people find practising interview questions, others find relaxation techniques such as deep breathing helps. Whatever works for you, don’t be afraid of short pauses, and remember an interview is just a conversation to learn about each other.
5. Mobile phones. Keep them switched off or on silent if need be so that it does not interrupt the interview! And unless it is an emergency, do not answer the phone during an interview, ever. Completely basic, but you would be surprised by how many people make this simple interview faux pas.
Now while these mistakes may appear like common sense, if you are applying for multiple positions it can sometimes slip our minds to avoid some of these simple mistakes that could ruin your first impression.
What are the worst interview faux pas you have made or seen at an interview?
Tags: achievements, Assessment, attitude, Behaviour, candidate, career, communication, experience, goals, impression, opportunity, organisation, Personality, preparation, presentation, productivity, Professional, Recruitment, skills, success, Team, techniques, workplace
March 19, 2013 by Jenna
We have all heard the phrase ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, though that is often easier said than done. Our common instinct in times of trial or being outside of our comfort zone can be to lose confidence, take a step back, and ultimately accept a sense of defeat. However, we as humans are also capable of extraordinary feats, especially in times of change and adversity.
My resilience was definitely tested during my 18 day trek through Nepal in January this year. I have a reputation in my office for being a bit of a ‘fitness freak’, which involves me being at the gym quite often and partaking in hiking and adventure races over my weekend. While most people use weekends as a quality rest period I tend to strive and push myself to see what I am capable of.
Shortly after the New Year, our group had come to the hardest part of our trip in Nepal, reaching the top of Kala Plattar (5545m). After countless nights of poor sleep due to the altitude, and physical restraints of only being able to make baby steps when climbing hills, we had a 6.30am departure (before breakfast) to the top of Kala Plattar, which was supposed to have one of the greatest 360 degree views on our trip so far.
The sun had not yet reached the hill that we were climbing, and overnight a wind had picked up that created a chill of -20 degrees. The walk took our group just over two hours to complete and even without packs on it was a struggle. We were spread out at our own pace but the sideways wind was blowing strong and I could feel it to my core.
I was tired, cold and hungry and I honestly thought that I could not make it to the top. Tears built up in my eyes and while I wanted to have a tantrum, no one was surrounding me to hear it, nor would it have made getting to the top any more productive.
I knew that I had two options; to go back the way I came, which would take at least an hour only to prove that I had wasted time, or I could make it to the top, experience this once in a lifetime experience and head back down with feelings of achievement, celebrating over a well-deserved breakfast.
And that was the reality at the end of the day. When would I ever get to experience being here again? Would I want my memory of this day to be that I didn’t make my hardest challenge so far and spend the rest of my days wondering ‘what if’?
So there I was at that crossroad where I knew my decision would affect the outcome of this overall experience. So what did I do? I climbed it. And the views were incredible. Not only that, but one of my teammates brought chocolate to the top and that was perhaps the best tasting chocolate I have ever had in my life! I have some amazing photographs that I was able to show my friends and family, and while it was a hard day for me, I overcame it, which is often the outcome for all of us if we take on the challenge.
The most successful people are often those that are the most resilient. But just like any new skill resilience isn’t built overnight.
So what is resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to withstand stress and catastrophe. Psychologists have long recognised the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity. Individuals and communities are able to rebuild their lives even after devastating tragedies. Being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. People feel grief, sadness, and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. The road to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events.
So what personal or professional challenges are you scared of taking on? Are situations changing around you and you have to make a decision? Or perhaps you have been in a similar situation in the past. If so what did you do to overcome it?
Category: Workplace Matters
Tags: attitude, Behaviour, career, change, communication, confidence, culture, experience, goals, guidance, opportunity, outcome, performance, Personality, physical, productivity, Professional, resilient, skills, success, Team, Training, work
March 12, 2013 by Jenna
“Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003” so said then CEO of Google Eric Schmidt in 2010 – are you keeping up?
As Challenge Consulting’s coordinator of all things social media, I constantly have to absorb new information and update my skills. From learning new ways to format the website, to taking a course to learn a new system or program, I personally find that the more I am learning, the more confidence I have in taking on even more new challenges in my role.
Regardless of whether you are currently in a senior management position or just entering your profession, we each have responsibility to grow our skills to keep ahead of the game. There are a few key benefits to developing and learning new skills:
Increased knowledge – for a long time when talking about the economy – you had two answers – either it was up or it was down. Now we are working in a multi-speed economy, what is up today could be down tomorrow. Do you have the knowledge you need to make informed decisions in your next career step?
Improved performance – a learning mindset can increase your productivity and performance. You can learn how to work smarter, so rather than overloading yourself, you can increase your own personal effectiveness, which is good for you and good for your employer.
Stronger network – learn the skills you need to build relationships, which will allow you to build a broader network that you can tap into to help you succeed in your career.
Promotability -If you are wanting to move up within your organisation, increased skills can help you to reach that promotion you have been looking for
Adaptability – If you are in a more senior level new skills can help you adapt easier to the changes within your industry – the longer you wait to learn new skills and qualifications, the harder it will be to catch up.
However, if you look at learning the same way you look at going to the dentist, than chances are you will avoid it and not take advantage of formal learning opportunities that come your way.
Remember that with any new skill it takes time for that skill to be developed, and time to master it. There are some very simple and effective ways to keep your skills growing:
On the job training – Never be afraid to ask, after all, your manager will probably appreciate your initiative to want to learn new things
Keep up-to-date by reading daily – with newspapers readily available, not to mention LinkedIn news, industry magazines, blogs and various other social media content, there are so many ways to source news and information almost instantly.
Attend conferences, networking or workshops – by having mentors and experts within your industry providing you with the best methods on how to be the best that you can be within your industry. Not only that but you can share your views, questions and experiences with other like-minded individuals and establish closer connections.
Challenge yourself – You would be amazed at how many new skills can be self-taught. Sometimes it can just be a matter of challenging your brain daily with quizzes and crosswords to keep yourself more alert in the daily commute to work. If a new challenge presents itself, offer to be that person to take on the task, as sometimes we don’t even know we have skills in a particular area until we actually delve into it.
What new skills are you going to learn this year?
Tags: Assessment, attitude, Behaviour, candidate, career, communication, company, culture, economy, employees, employer, experience, goals, guidance, information, management, opportunity, organisation, performance, Personality, productivity, Professional, qualifications, relationships, reputation, Research, skills, staff, success, Team, Training, workplace