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  1. This is tomorrow calling: What your job might look like in 20 years’ time

    March 1, 2016 by Alison Hill

    Robots will do our work, full-time employment will be a thing of the past and everybody will need a degree to find a job.

    We’ll be free to work from home, anybody can be an entrepreneur and older people’s skills and experience will be highly valued.

    These are some of the conclusions that we can reasonably draw from the CSIRO’s recently released report Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce: Megatrends and Scenarios for jobs and employment in Australia over the next twenty years.

    Whether we see the trends as negative or positive, massive change in the world of work is a certainty. How can both employers and job seekers make the most of the changes that are certain to disrupt the world of work in the next five to 20 years?

    The report identifies six megatrends in employment.

    1. An explosion of device connectivity, data volumes and computing speed, together with automation and artificial intelligences. This will reshape the workforce and redefine jobs, and the report points to the need for more data analysts. It also estimates that 44% of Australian jobs are at high risk of being computerised or automated.

     “A lot of jobs are going to be extinguished by technology but a lot of new jobs are going to get created. There is opportunity and risk here. And all of the jobs we do are going to be reshaped by technology as well.”  ­­– Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Senior Principal Scientist Strategy & Foresight Team, CSIRO

    1.  In future, jobs will be more flexible, agile, networked and connected. This may mean companies choose to employ fewer core staff members and supplement these with freelance or ‘portfolio’ roles. Peer-to-peer models of working (such as Uber, Freelancer and Airbnb) will lower the barrier to participation and people will be able to transform their free time into work. Co-working spaces will become more common, perhaps disrupting the market for office leasing.
    2. Entrepreneurial skills will be highly valued as individuals have to create their own jobs. Future job seekers are less likely to find their ideal job waiting for them within a large organisation.

    “Often people worry that our jobs are all going to be replaced by machines. But I see the future as one where people get to do exciting fulfilling creative work, while machines do the jobs they they’re best able to do.” — Rene Leon, Secretary, Department of Employment

    1. Retirement ages will push back as life expectancies grow and the aging population stays longer in the workforce. Cultural diversity at work is likely to grow too as migrants counteract the aging workforce. And human resources departments will be turning their attention to the consequences of more chronic illness and better understanding of those with mental health issues and disability.
    2. Higher skill levels will be demanded for entry level positions. Low skilled jobs will increasingly be automated or offshored. The implications for education will be profound, and the bar for entry into many professions and occupations will be higher. Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) knowledge will be in demand as 75% of the fastest growing occupations demand it.
    3. Employment growth in the service sector, especially health care and education, will require social skills and emotional intelligence. The younger generations entering the workforce will have different expectations of work. Connected, tech-savvy, creative and idealistic, they will bring new perspectives on what makes a great workplace. This includes life-long learning, connectivity and an emphasis on ethical issues.

    “Over the next twenty years, the job market in Australia is going to become much more dynamic, with a much higher rate of job destruction and job creation required… It’ll change the way we manage our own careers and the choices that we make for our children.” — Brad Noakes, Partner and Managing Director, BCG

    Implications

    The report stresses that these trends hold implications for how we manage our careers as well as for how companies manage their workforces.

    New skills and mindsets are needed. Education and training are becoming ever more important, as new capabilities will be needed for the jobs of the future. As well as literacy and numeracy, the future workforce will need digital literacy. The report predicts digital literacy, as well as numeracy and verbal literacy, will be threshold requirements for most jobs. STEM will become fore important for getting a good job.

    Attitudes and perceptions must change. Adaptability, resilience and entrepreneurial capabilities will be important in handling a dynamic labour market. Workers who can handle a career dead-end or job loss and create their own job in another space will thrive. Soft skills will be increasingly vital. Norms about job types, such as gender, age and cultural stereotypes will be challenged and employers will have to rethink the ‘right’ person for the job.

    Divergent and vulnerable demographics will need attention. Workforce participation in vulnerable demographics, such as low-skilled males, must increase if we not to suffer depression, stress and domestic violence as rising skills and automation increasingly exclude the vulnerable. Retirement will have to be rethought, and ways to tap the knowledge of older workers while freeing up positions for younger workers will have to be negotiated. Companies and industries will have to use data and modelling to predict which jobs and tasks are likely to be automated; identify new jobs likely to be created and identify how the transition can be made as smoothly as possible.

    New business models need understanding and adjustment. Employers and employees must understand the peer-to-peer and freelance models. Are there certain tasks and industries in which this works? How can the transition be made? How is fairness guaranteed? How will the demand for offices change, and how might this impact on cities?

    “I think it’s a foundational piece, it doesn’t give answers to all the challenges. It’s a framework to take this subject further, and really start thinking about what are the implications from a policy-making perspective.” — Patrick Maes, CTO and GM Strategy & Planning, Global Technology, Services & Operations, ANZ


  2. Recruitment trends we should have paid attention to last year – and where to focus in 2016

    February 2, 2016 by Alison Hill

    by Alison Hill

    The kids are back at school, the Australia Day party detritus has been swept away and the holidays are a dim and distant memory. It’s time to get serious about 2016.

    What can we expect in the world of work? More specifically, what is the recruitment world going to look like in 2016? Will this be the year of the ‘Uber-like disruption’ of recruitment?

    Last year we looked at The 7 Trends that Recruiters in Australia Should Pay Attention to as brought to you by LinkedIn Talent Solutions. How did the year shape up? And what does this year’s survey have to say about where the industry is going?

    2015 Prediction: ‘With a continued requirement to do more with less, recruiters will be challenged to find faster and more cost-effective ways to source high-quality talent in 2015.’

    What do they have to say about 2016? More of the same. LinkedIn thinks this gap between hiring volume and budget doesn’t help recruiters’ biggest challenge for the year: finding candidates in high-demand talent pools.

    2015 Prediction:  ‘Over three-quarters of Australian recruiters say employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent. It’s seen as even more important by SMBs, who are more likely to have employer brand as a top priority compared to larger companies.’

    In 2016, it seems we need to work harder at employer branding. Lauren Karan, a senior talent acquisitions specialist, describes it as, ‘selling the essence of what your company stands for and what it means to the people who work there’. LinkedIn reports that while employer branding is top of mind for 65% of employers, even ‘organisations that have a proactive employer brand strategy haven’t made progress’. They suggest the key is having the talent acquisition and marketing teams work together:  ‘A strong relationship with marketing is the key to employer brand excellence’.

    Prospective employees are more interested in the culture of a company than ever before, and consider what it means to be an employee of an organisation. Will 2016 be the year that organisations get serious about culture fit and values in their employer branding? This is what will appeal to the next generation of graduates, raised on the promise of a different work culture.

    2015 Prediction: ‘Passive talent is clearly still a huge unrealised opportunity. Developing strategies to access this untapped source during 2015 will put Australian companies ahead of local competitors in the race to fill roles’. Apparently 45% of Australians considered themselves passive candidates.

    For 2016, 37% of companies surveyed by LinkedIn saw finding better ways to source passive candidates as a long-lasting trend. Building networks, both in-person and online, seems to be where organisations can direct their efforts.

    2015 Prediction: Mobile optimisation (it’s more discreet for candidates to job hunt on their mobiles while at work) and more attention to the power of data in recruitment. We have the technology but were still learning how to use it effectively to understand talent acquisition success and opportunities – well behind the global average.

    Now, mobile optimisation seems to be the norm, and data doesn’t get a mention in the 2016 trends report. Did we learn to harness its power to make better decisions?

    So what’s new in 2016? Employee retention emerged as a top priority, identified by 36% of the 3,894 decision-makers (either focused exclusively on recruiting, managing a recruiting team, or HR generalists) surveyed as the most important priority for their organisation.

    The biggest concern seemed to be how to measure the quality of hire – still the most important performance metric. Employee retention and hiring manager satisfaction were the most commonly used metrics, followed by new hire performance evaluation.

    The report concludes that, ‘the common thread among all these is the power of relationships – the relationships you have with your potential candidates, cross-functional partners, and employees will pave the path to talent acquisition success’.

     

    What are your recruitment challenges in 2016? Do you see important trends emerging? Or is it likely to be a year of more of the same for your organisation? We’d love to read your comments.


  3. Once the cash is in the bank, what makes the job you do really satisfying?

    September 22, 2015 by Alison Hill

    By Alison Hill

    Research has shown that for most of us, the ideal job combines meaning – the idea that doing our job makes the world a better place – with a decent income. The emphasis on one or the other depends on our values, priority, career stage, and individual factors such as our family situation and spending habits.

    The evidence about the link between money and happiness is confusing and even contradictory. Some studies have shown that more money only brings a certain kind of happiness, others that once our lives are relatively comfortable, more money makes little difference to our level of happiness. The amount of money that brings happiness in the US has even been quantified: US$75,000 per year.

    It’s even been suggested that happiness buys money, as studies have shown that happy people are better at earning more.

    And then there’s the downside: generally, better paid jobs bring with them longer hours, more responsibility, less leisure time and more stress. A marketing executive who moved cities several times with his family in pursuit of the highest-paying job recounts how once he had reached his target income and moved for the fourth time in as many years, his job with a company in the manufacturing sector almost immediately came under threat. The long hours and the daily commute were exhausting him.  It took years of upheaval for him to realise that money can’t buy you job love.

    Job satisfaction, in the sense of your work feeling meaningful to you and making a difference in the world, may well be easier to pursue, and more within your control.

    1. Work for an organisation with values aligned to your own

    First understand your own values: family? Career progression? Spirituality? Health? Then explore the values of any organisation you might work for. Do they offer generous parental leave? Are religious holidays observed and respected? Is there a mentoring program in place? Is going for a run at lunch time facilitated and encouraged? It will increase your satisfaction if not only the role, but also the culture is matched to what you find important in life.

    1. Understand why you work (other than for the money)

    Of course being paid is crucial. But there must be other reasons to drive you out of bed in the morning. Is it the challenge and the opportunity to prove yourself? Do you need to be with other people, cooperating to get things done? Do you need to be creative, or to help others? Look for the motivating forces behind the job itself. If your urge is to be creative but you spend most of your day managing people, you are less likely to be satisfied.

    1. Place value on the work you do

    Almost invariably your work will add value to the lives of others. The trick is to see it. An insurance salesperson reported finding no meaning in her job until a client pointed out to her that the recommendations she had made saved his business and his livelihood when a fire destroyed his takeaway shop.  Take time to seek out the value in your work if you feel it may have little, and you may well be surprised.

    So who are the most satisfied workers? It depends who you ask, but the occupation that most consistently scores the highest in surveys is clergy, with around 98% of clergy members of all faiths reporting that their work makes the world a better place. Farmers and fitness instructors did pretty well too. This is not to suggest that you move to the country or give it all up for a position in your local gym, but it’s well worth looking more closely at what job satisfaction means to you.


  4. How to move from a dead-end job to a fulfilling career

    September 15, 2015 by Alison Hill

    Disengaged Employee

    By Alison Hill

    The weather is warming up and the days are lengthening. It’s easy to feel that life is passing you by while you are stuck behind a desk. But before you chuck it in and take up a job in the great outdoors, ask yourself, Is it really time to change careers? Do you need to do something quite different to your present job? Or would some adjustments make you more satisfied? How will you know? And what will you do next?

    There are three things to look at to help you decide if a career move is right for you right now.

    The organisation you are in now

    Perhaps you like the tasks you do, but feel that you don’t fit the organisation’s culture. Its values might clash with your own, or the people you work with are very different to you. You might feel that you are at a dead end and that your skills are undervalued. You may be involved in ongoing conflict with a manager.

    The job you are in now

    You might feel bored, that you have stopped learning, and that your tasks are routine and repetitive. Your prospects may be non-existent, and you may not be earning what you are worth. Perhaps you are concerned that your role will be outsourced in the near future.

    External factors

    Sometimes both the organisation and the job are just fine, but something happens in your life to make you consider a shift in career. It may be the birth of a child, relocation for a partner’s job, or the need to earn more.

    Any of these may make you feel it’s time for a complete change, and they might be a sign that a career change would be beneficial. But maybe a smaller change would do the trick. Being dissatisfied in your current job is not the same as being unhappy with your entire career.

    A career change is a big decision, and may involve further study or taking a few steps down the career ladder. It helps to have a very clear idea of what you are looking for, and to spend some time getting ready for a change. Here are some steps to take to prepare yourself for a career change.

     

    1. Make a list of your transferable skills and note where you may need to upskill. Plan how and when you will learn new skills. You might enrol in an accredited course, take some short courses online, or find a mentor to teach you ‘soft’ skills.
    2. Build your professional network. Attend conferences and networking events, update your LinkedIn profile, join groups and follow up the contacts you make.
    3. Build your personal brand. Know your strengths and weaknesses and work hard at your professional reputation. Create a clear, consistent image of yourself, in person and online. Use social media to boost your profile.
    4. Set your goals and make a plan to reach them. Being clear about the career you want and how you will realistically get there is the difference between dreaming and reality.
    5. Take a career aptitude test and consult a career adviser. Particularly if you are unsure about whether to make a change, a test that reveals or confirms your strengths, skills and ideal career direction is hugely beneficial. You can find out about Challenge Consulting’s career guidance programs here.
    6. Keep your resume up to date. As well as recording your positions and achievements, emphasise your transferable skills (such as strong oral communication, negotiation, or problem-solving) and even your hobbies if they are relevant to the career you hope to have. You may need to use your resume sooner than you think.

  5. How a mentoring relationship helps with career choice

    September 8, 2015 by Alison Hill

    By Alison Hill

    You may be coming towards the end of your studies, or planning resource use in your organisation for 2016. Whether you’re entering the workforce, managing young employees or thinking about a career change, it’s time to think about career choices.

    Making a career decision is hard. We all hope for a satisfying job that pays well, makes us feel valued and takes us to the next step, but none of us is 100% sure how to do that. It doesn’t help that the world of work is changing faster than ever, and nobody really knows how it will look even five years from now.

    Occupations that have been secure in the past are disappearing due to technological change and outsourcing. Forbes magazine predicts the disappearance of farmers, the postal service, data entry, fast-food cooks and loan interviewers and clerks, to name a few. We’re told the future is in medical and health services (especially aged care) and software development. We’re told that the future belongs to the millennial generation, but that they are lazy, narcissistic and entitled. What do we do?

    Both those looking to start a career and those managing the new generation of employees can benefit greatly from entering into a mentoring relationship around career choice. Let’s look at how.

    Starting out on your career?

    Whether you are in a full-time paid position, working as an intern or volunteering, find somebody in your workplace who will act as your mentor. Some workplaces have formal mentoring relationships set up. If not, find somebody who is willing to give you advice and be interested in your professional and personal growth.

    Here’s some advice from a 23-year-old sales professional: Find a position in a growing organisation where leaders are striving to improve themselves and their people. Managers should excel at providing honest, critical feedback. Crave this feedback – it’s what makes you grow.

    Remember, too, that you can give back. Whether it’s sharing your millennial world view with a Gen X or Baby Boomer manager or simply showing them how to work an app or use social media effectively, you bring value to the mentoring relationship.

    Managing those starting out?

    If you are managing those starting their careers, you are privileged to have the opportunity to cultivate future leaders. For companies to thrive, the next generation of employees must succeed, and you can help them. Offer to guide and develop a new employee. Give them plenty of feedback and stay connected. The millennial generation have grown up in a connected world and they genuinely want to know what you think, and for you to listen to and respect their views too. Accept that you will not be their one and only mentor, or their guru – they have a few. You are also entitled to expect something in return, and a motivated new employee will be pleased to contribute to your goals and take on some of your burdensome tasks.

    The same 23-year-old would tell you that they aim to be surrounded with people smarter and wiser than themselves – in everything they do. ‘Discussing ideas with really smart, wise people is the quickest way to get smarter and wiser yourself. You’ll learn skills that aren’t taught in traditional education. If you don’t come across people like this in your daily routine, use the internet to find articles and videos from such people.’

    So whatever stage you are at in your career, consider a mentoring arrangement. It will benefit you in surprising ways no matter which side of the arrangement you are on.

    Has your career benefited from being in a mentoring arrangement? Tell us about it in the comments below.


  6. Six low-cost ways to upskill

    July 21, 2015 by Penny Robertshawe

    Are you bored with your job? Looking to switch careers? Wanting to expand your skill set? Or maybe you want to dip your toes into an area of study without making a full commitment just yet. Look not further.

    Finding ways to upskill has never been easier or cheaper. In fact, you can learn all kinds of new skills and develop knowledge in endless subjects for nothing or very little money. So more excuses – here’s the low down on six killer ways to increase your employability at little or no cost:

    Udemy

    Udemy gives you access to 30,000 courses in just about any subject you can think of. Courses cost range from $0 up to $500. All courses have star ratings and you can read feedback from former students. You can also see how the courses are structured to make sure that they cover what you’re interested in.

    Coursera

    Coursera’s courses are short – mostly between four and fifteen weeks. They’re all free and cover subjects such as business, accounting, computing, writing, psychology and lots more.

    Codacademy

    Codacademy specialises in teaching computer-coding skills for beginners. Their courses are interactive and free. With Codacademy you can learn just about everything you need to build your own website from scratch.

    Udacity

    If you’re interested in technology, Udacity has courses ranging from beginner to advanced. You can learn things like working with data, creating computer animations and how to create your own application for the web.

    Short Udacity courses take two weeks to two months to complete and they’re free. Longer courses, called Nanodegrees, are estimated to take six to nine months if you study for 10 hours per week. They cost $200 per month.

    Khan Academy

    All of Khan Academy’s courses are free and there are plenty to choose from. Are you interested economics and finance? History and the arts? How about maths and science? It’s all there for you to delve in and out of as you please.

    Open2Study

    Open2Study courses are also free. Unlike the other online courses we have covered so far where you can work at your own pace, Open2Study courses all run for one month and they have start and end dates. You can also read reviews from former students to gauge if a course is right for you.

    We live in exciting times. Never before has it been so easy to study what you want, from almost anywhere and for so little. What would you like to know more about?


  7. Bad News, You Didn’t Get The Job… What Next?

    March 17, 2015 by Jenna

    You were picked out of the crowd of candidates to attend the interview. You meet the recruiter and start to feel like you are building a strong connection. You leave feeling confident and on a buzz. Then you wait with anticipation for the follow up call. When the recruiter gets in touch they tell you that unfortunately you were not successful, and will not be proceeding further.

    At this point you will probably be experiencing feelings of confusion, disappointment and even anger. Do not react in a way you will regret. Instead think about the importance of maintaining relationships in your potential employment network. Remember that industry networks are all connected in different ways. So if one door closes, it doesn’t mean that another one isn’t waiting to be opened.

    Before throwing in the towel and accepting defeat, you can run through the following steps to help lead you on a better the path towards success:

    • Thank the recruiter/employer for their time – After all it isn’t easy for the person conducting the interview to deliver bad news to a potential candidate. To react badly only shows that you are emotionally reactive and respond to feedback negatively. It could also put you on the back bench for future roles if you behave in a manner that is rude or sarcastic.

    • Don’t be afraid to ask for specific feedback – The best way to make improvements is to gain feedback to learn for future opportunities. Advice on how you performed during the interview (body language, eye contact etc.) or how you answered interview questions can be really useful for upcoming interviews. If the feedback relates to experience or skill sets, you may even want to consider educational courses or work experience that may help further develop those areas.

    • Let the recruiter know that you would like to be considered for other suitable roles that become available. This keeps communication open and allows you to keep connected to potential employers.

    • Don’t hesitate to get out there and start applying again right away – You probably don’t feel like applying for more jobs when that feeling of rejection hits you, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing out there for you. It is important to stay focused on the goal of finding the job that’s right for you and not give up. Reach out to people within your network to let them know that you are searching for new opportunities. Register with a recruiting company that works in your chosen field. You can also seek out networking opportunities to start building more connections.

    • Keep practicing your interview skills – This may sound like common sense, but the more practice you get the more confidence you will have when you interview. Practice for different interview methods e.g. one on one, panel or video interviews. Ask connections who are responsible for hiring people what they look for in the ideal candidate and practice their useful tips.

    Remember that the application process is competitive and that we can’t win them all. That doesn’t mean however that we can’t take further measures and practice further steps to help us land our next great role.

    What was the best feedback you ever received after an interview?


  8. What to avoid during the job interview

    March 4, 2015 by Jenna

    When a potential employer likes your CV and requests an interview it can feel like you are on top of the world. The next step is to then prepare yourself for the interview. While there are many ways to make a lasting impression, I would like to look at what to avoid doing during an interview:

    1. Don’t freeze up – While we can all be nervous at times, freezing up is not how you want to be remembered during the interview.

    To overcome this you need to practice, practice, practice. Practice your interview questions and the scenarios you think you will encounter during the interview. This is a great way to deal with nerves and build confidence in your manner and responses. It is important to have a positive mindset on how the interview will go. If you believe you will fail the interview, chances are you will. It’s okay to admit that you’re nervous, but it is important to believe that you will perform well.  How do you do this?  Practice, Practice, Practice.

    2. Don’t dominate – Confidence is essential to take into an interview, however, dominating an interview with your personal monologue is not what a potential employer is looking for. Remember the employer is making time to see you to learn specific information about you in order to assess your suitability for the role. If you are not allowing them to ask questions or cut them off mid-sentence, you will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

    Practice listening skills as well as answering questions prior to the interview. Active listening can provide you with valuable insight about the company and the role you are applying for. It shows your genuine interest in the company/potential role and helps you tailor your responses to the interview questions.

    3. Don’t be sloppy – Find out the company’s dress code standard prior to the interview. But no matter how casual the dress code – don’t be a slob. It should go without saying that whatever you wear should be clean, pressed and neat. It’s also better to be a little over-dressed rather than under-dressed. When someone comes to an interview looking like he or she has just rolled out of bed, it communicates lack of respect for the interviewer, the job and the company.

    4. Don’t throw anybody under a bus – There may be circumstances that have caused you to move on from your previous role and how you address these in an interview is very important. Describing your previous boss as ‘incompetent’ or saying that you worked with the ‘colleague from hell,’ doesn’t help you to shine as a potential candidate. Saying negative things about your past work life in an interview only gives the impression that you’re both a complainer and indiscreet.  Neither quality puts you on the ‘let’s hire’ list.

    If you have had a negative experience it may be better to portray it by commenting on what you have learned through the experience, and what you are hoping for in a future opportunity.

    5. Don’t focus more on perks than the job – When you are tailoring your questions for the job interview, focus what will be required of you in the role and where it might lead in the future. Questions such as; how many weeks can I take for annual leave, how many sick days can I have per year or what sort of computer do I get, may give the impression that you are only interested in the role for the perks. The employer, on the other hand is looking to understand what you can provide to the company and whether you will complement their culture.

    6. Don’t be opinion-free – To get the role doesn’t mean you need to be a ‘yes man’. If you need to ask more questions for clarification don’t be afraid to do so. It is important to show initiative and to have opinions as long as you can back them up with valid reasons, especially if you are applying for a leadership role.

     7. Don’t stretch the truth – Just don’t, it will come back to haunt you.

    8. Don’t be clueless about the company – In the age of the internet, there is no excuse for going into an interview not having a solid foundation of knowledge about the company. If you don’t care enough to find out about the company, it’s natural for the interviewer to assume you won’t be that interested in finding out how to do the job well, either.

    What are your experiences with interview dos and don’ts? What feedback would you provide to a candidate going in for the interview process?


  9. Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    December 16, 2014 by Jenna

    We are delighted to share this week’s blog from Virginia Herlihy, who works for an organisation called How Do We Do It. They provide in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. For those of you that may not know her, here is her background below and we hope you enjoy her featured blog:

    A note from Founder, Virginia Herlihy

    My passion for helping working parents find a successful way to manage their work and home lives has meant I’ve witnessed first-hand the issues that organisations face in attracting and retaining talent, particularly female talent.

    As a working mother of two and a successful small business owner, I’ve personally faced the challenge of combining work and family.

    It’s been critical for me to examine and understand my values and develop strategies to achieve success and satisfaction in both areas of my life.

    My background in executive coaching, training and group facilitation means I can help both organisations and parents acquire those skills and strategies– to facilitate greater work-life harmony and success.

    I’m proud to say, the feedback we’ve received means the programmes and coaching we’ve developed, work.

    Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    •  45% of couples with children under 2 are both in the workforce
    • 66% of couples with primary school children are both working. Australian Financial Review 2011

    Today many couples are jointly responsible for sharing their work and family responsibilities, so getting some kind of work/life balance can be a real challenge. If you’re a working mother you probably feel that family and work are competing (and constant) demands. You’re likely to be juggling your own expectations and responsibilities about how you should perform in both areas, as well as those of your colleagues and family. While mothers might get most of the attention when it comes to the challenge of balancing family and work, fathers also struggle to juggle their responsibilities and aspirations.

    So, how do YOU do it? Here are some tips that you have time to read because they are short and that we know help, from our experience with working with hundreds of working mothers and working fathers.

    • Strategy 1

    Continue to identify, acknowledge and appreciate the benefits of what you’re doing that is working for you/what you gain from the choice you are making to be a working parent.

    •  Strategy 2

    Remind yourself that you are not alone, and your challenges are normal which is very helpful in itself.  Keep actively talking to others like you and sharing experiences. Your network and the tips they share will help normalise your experience.

    •  Strategy 3

    Stop tuning in to others negative judgements/biases of how you are supposed to make being a working parent work. You can only get this right for you and your family/work.

    •  Strategy 4

    Get clear on your version of success as a working parent by answering theses questions – What does success look like for me as a working parent? What’s most important to me about my life? What’s most important to me about my working life?

    •  Strategy 5

    Avoid the language of compromise/trade off/sacrifice, which is negative and implies loss. Instead recognise that you are making choices, which have consequences and benefits so consciously use the language of choice.

    •  Strategy 6

    Use a scaling technique i.e. rating things from 1-10, low to high – to assess how much you want to do something out of 10 in terms of your energy, motivation, ability, how important it is to others etc. You can also use this to get perspective and rate how important something is in terms of your life overall so that you are less stressed by it. Your intuitive response will give you useful information.

    •  Strategy 7

    Check your energy around choices you are making/people with whom you are interacting and see whether or not you are being drained or filled.  When you have choice, in your personal life particularly, you can limit your exposure to draining people, situations.

    •  Strategy 8

    Remember to position shift – consider the decision/situation from different perspectives, your position, the other’s position.

    Author – Virginia Herlihy, Founder and Director of How do YOU Do It – Working Parents Programmes tailored to your business.

    Contact details:

     Who is How Do YOU Do It?

    • We deliver in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. We’re specialists in helping businesses support their talent.
    • We help businesses solve issues including female attraction and retention, flexible working strategies, as well as “on and off ramping”.
    • We help working parents find success at work and at home and balance their responsibilities in both areas
    • The result is a win/win for both businesses and parents

  10. Work-life balance: Collaboration NOT Separation

    December 9, 2014 by Jenna

    I can remember a time when I lived and breathed work. It wasn’t healthy. I was pulling longer hours out of fear of not looking productive enough, and while I had a passion for that industry I eventually started to resent it. My employer at the time did provide many benefits within the workplace, however, outside of work I may as well have been a ghost to my family and peers.

    For every individual work-life balance is different. Some of us love to work the longer hours because that is the lifestyle that they prefer. Others need to have a more flexible workplace that allows parental care/leave, opportunities to work from home etc.

    The problem that we have with the concept of ‘work-life balance’ however is that we imagine work and life as two separate entities that are not meant to intertwine. Therefore it becomes a constant struggle of which one do I choose as opposed to letting them co-exist.

    I am very fortunate now to work for an employer that provides a very flexible workplace that meets the needs of all staff members. And because of this I was able to achieve some extraordinary goals in my personal life without having to compromise work commitments over my personal goals.

    Both can work together if we let it, it just requires certain changes and planning to make it successful.

    When I was training to trek towards Everest Base Camp, I would often have to do altitude training in Mosman in the mornings, and one night a week I would do endurance training with a woman’s walking group. I would sometimes bring a giant backpack with me to work so that I could go directly to training without worrying about rushing home first and arriving at training late. During down time I could enjoy spending time with friends and family as a reward for getting through the working week and training requirements. It also required discipline to maintain momentum and setting a routine for myself daily to reach those goals.

    Of course there were times when I would need to work back later than expected, or perhaps I would have an off day and sleep in and not go to the gym, after all we are only human! But for the most part I was able to maintain both work and personal success and I kept my workplace informed about my goals and what I was trying to achieve.

    You may not always have an even allocation of time to do everything you want to do, but be realistic with what you are trying to achieve on a daily basis and what it important for your to spend time on. If you are juggling too much or agreeing to take too many things on at the same time, you will burn out and be disappointed in yourself. That is another important piece of advice that I have come to discover about myself over the years is to know your limits. This will help you better establish whether you are capable to put your hand up to take on another assignment or goal, or whether it will be much easier to delegate it to someone who is more than capable and available.

    Working for a job that you love and enjoy is also a key factor in making your work and personal life co-exist. Otherwise if you are working 80% of the time at something you no longer have a passion for, it can affect your mental well-being as well and create a negative mindset. This can therefore effect relationships with those around you. If you love what you do, you will find that your attitude and outlook on life can really make a difference for you in a positive way.

    How do you get your work and lifestyle to collaborate? What steps do you need to take to ensure you get the balance that you need?




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