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  1. Bad Habits Leaders Should Avoid

    May 12, 2015 by Jenna

    When you look up the term ‘leadership’ or ‘leadership roles’, you will find many articles on what to do to become a great leader. It is also important to be aware of bad habits that can hinder progress.

    I know I have been guilty of at least two of the items listed below, but the first step is being aware of these habits so that you can find the ways to improve your leadership performance:

    1. Taking credit for others’ ideas and contributions – We all know the famous term, there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’. It is very exciting when members of your team make a contribution that takes the organisation in a positive direction. However, the biggest failures one can make as a leader is to neglect to recognise and acknowledge individual and team contributions. If you are taking credit for someone else’s work, chances are you will start to notice your team working against you and not for you because they do not feel appreciated or valued.
    2. Using a position of power to control and intimidateothers — This autocratic style of leadership will often leave the team with a low level of autonomy. This can prevent creative ideas being presented as team members feel they do not have the right to contribute.
    3. Blaming others when things go wrong – It is important to recognise with the team when mistakes are made and that they have negative consequences in order to assess better solutions for the future. However, singling people out, pointing fingers, or making others carry the full weight of the failure is not reaction a leader should take. A leader needs to stand by their team no matter what, accept responsibility of when things go wrong, keep track of team members and progression, and have an ‘open door’ for team members to approach if they are experiencing struggles on tasks.
    4. Clinging to traditional methods and old ideas –In order to thrive in society most leaders need to think outside the box, take risks when needed and use innovation to be one step ahead of competitors. While traditional methods may have worked in the past, if you find you are constantly using the same strategy when the rest of the world is changing, you may fall behind. This includes those that refuse to learn new skills and tools to keep up with today’s market. If you are not trying to learn and adapt, you will fall behind.
    5. Failing to keep promises – Leaders who make promises but do not follow through risk loss of personal credibility, trust and the goodwill of others. If you have let down your team more than once, it can often take a long time to earn that trust back.
    6. Actingalone – Leaders who do not consult, collaborate or solicit input from others often fail to make enlightened decisions. Leaders also need to make sure they delegate tasks within the team appropriately so that they can stretch their teams’ abilities.

    Failing to effectively manage issues – Leaders who dismiss the need to address, manage and resolve issues, place themselves and their organisation at risk.

    What are some of the experiences you have learned in a leadership role? What were the learning curves that you have experienced?


  2. What are the next steps after gaining a promotion?

    April 28, 2015 by Jenna

    You have worked hard to get your promotion, now you have to set yourself up for success in your new role. Preparing to take on more responsibility will make the transition process run smoothly and will help set you up for future success.

    So what are the next steps after you receive the promotion? What can you do to keep yourself on track?

    1. Get clear expectations. The first thing you need to do is really understand your new role. What does the organisation expect of you? What does your manager expect of you? And what do you expect of yourself? Clarifying these expectations sets up a path to follow.

    2. Set your goals What do you want to accomplish and why? Set personal and career goals both short and long term so you can measure your progress on the path. Don’t be afraid to share your goals or vision with management and get their buy in as well,

    3. Talk to your boss. Get to know your manager and determine how you will work together. How and when will you communicate and what will help you succeed beyond the job description. These things are critically important to your mutual success.

    4. Focus on building relationships. You may have moved to a new department with new peers or report to and a new manager. The relationships with the people around you are part of that job! Invest time in building relationships with your new peers, people in other groups, your boss, your customers, and if you are a leader, your team. It makes your working environment more positive and productive if you have a level of rapport with your team.

    5. Learn what you need to learn. Remember you are new to this position so you cannot know it all on the first day! It is part of our development to learn new skills. Take notes, ask questions, request feedback to make sure you are heading on the path towards success. The earlier you set yourself up to understand the requirements and expectations of the role, the easier it will be to settle into the position and start delivering.

    6. Celebrate! Of course you deserve the time to celebrate your promotion and share the excitement with others. Take some time for yourself and those closest to you to celebrate your progress and accomplishments. Celebrating builds your confidence and awareness, and it sets you on the right path for even better performance.

    Sometimes we tend to rush from one project to the next without fully understanding what we have achieved. Every accomplishment is a stepping stone on the path towards your future. Show appreciation towards those who helped get you get to that next stage.

    If you have been through a promotion recently, what steps did you take to continue to perform at your best and show that you were the right one for the job?


  3. Interview Horror Stories – A recruiter’s tale – By Melissa Lombardo

    August 4, 2014 by Jenna

    Interviews can be scary. For some, it’s comparable to the shower scene from Psycho or being trapped in the hotel from The Shining.

    Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating.

    Conversely, sitting on the other side of the desk can be just as horrifying. If I had a dollar for every time a candidate didn’t meet some of the basic ‘interview 101’ requirements, I would be as rich as Stephen King.

    Hold on, I know what you’re going to say … and I get it. Interviews can be nerve racking, uncomfortable and just plain awful. Therefore it can be difficult for some to shine at the interview and demonstrate that they are the best person for the role. However, after the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted, I’m still amazed at how many candidates still get the basics wrong.

    If you don’t repeat these horror stories, you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

    1. You don’t need to follow fashion but the outfit counts. Prepare your outfit the night before. Make sure it is clean, ironed and appropriate for an interview. For corporate roles this means no purple tights, sneakers, doc martins and Kermit green suits (I’ve seen it all. And hey, you shouldn’t be wearing Kermit green suits anyway!). If unsure, keep it conservative.

    2. Cleanliness is next to godliness. First impressions are made quickly. Have a shower or take a bath, whatever floats your boat. Don’t forget to wash and comb your hair, clean your nails and brush your teeth. Am I sounding like your mother yet?

    3. Don’t bring your lunch. I know it’s nearly 12pm and it’s almost sandwich o’clock but please don’t bring half a loaf of sliced bread to the interview and plonk it on the table (yes this really happened). Further to this, try not to eat a heavy lunch prior to the interview which might make you burp consistently throughout.

    4. Know your CV. Remember that job you did last year? If you have a memory of a goldfish go through your CV before the interview to ensure you know your dates and responsibilities. It doesn’t look professional and authentic if you have to consistently refer to your CV during the interview.

    5. Is common courtesy dead? Be respectful and friendly. I once opened the door for a candidate who greeted me rather rudely, but as soon as she realised I was interviewing her, her attitude immediately shifted.

    6. Ego at the door? Check. A good interview does not consist of you telling me about every single achievement you’ve had since Year 4, the moment we sit down. You may be an accomplished individual but it’s not necessary to dramatically take off your solid gold ring, place it on the table and tell me how much it costs (true story, which he followed up by also showing me his pilot’s licence which was also irrelevant for the role). Remember to be patient and wait for your turn to speak. There will be a chance for you to speak about any relevant achievements you have made.

    7. Why are you difficult? I know filling out forms can be annoying and answering competency questions tiresome but, most companies have an interview process. And if you choose to make a fuss “because all that information is on my CV” then you’re just proving to be a challenging, uptight and a demanding person. Who wants to work with one of those!

    8. Don’t be like Debbie Downer. If you don’t know who she is click here. I know that interviewing is tough, particularly when jobs in the market are scarce but don’t bring a negative or desperate attitude to the interview. I once interviewed a candidate who was so bitter throughout the entire interview she was muttering things under her breath. I just had to give her constructive feedback – which was to be more positive at interviews. Let’s just say she didn’t take this well and any sympathy I was feeling for her ended there.

    9. Robots have no personality. Be human. Yes you need to be professional, but don’t overdo it (I often see this in young Graduates trying to make a good impression). I want to see your personality and don’t need to hear your over rehearsed or textbook answers.

    10. Blah Blah Blah Blah. Please don’t waffle. If your answer goes beyond two minutes it’s more than likely I’ll be thinking about whether I feel like fish or chicken for dinner. Be concise and make sure you’re answering the question that has been asked.

    Rather than creating the next scene for Wolf Creek 3, prepare and use some common sense and you just might come out the other side alive. Oh and most importantly, you may nab your dream job and create your own Happily Ever After.


  4. How do you currently look at feedback?

    June 24, 2014 by Jenna

    When we seek reviews and feedback on our performance and productivity it can feel like we are leaving ourselves open to whatever comes our way. It can make anyone nervous. We work hard and we strive to achieve goals. We want to be recognised for our hard work, but we often forget that feedback isn’t just about praise. We need to remember that feedback is a stepping stone. To lead us towards our future because we need direction, counselling and encouragement to grow.

    Personally I am not one who likes to be told what I can improve on. I find it hard emotionally and I don’t think that I am the only one. When constructive feedback is given it can lead to any of the following reactions:

    • Self-defeat
    • Lack of motivation
    • Defensive/Argumentative Behaviour – ‘It isn’t my fault, these other factors got in the way…
    • Low Morale
    • Stress or Anxiety

    Luckily, as I have gained more experience at receiving feedback, I am now more aware that the initial feeling is only temporary. In the long term I gain so much more from valuable feedback. This is what I have learned from my experience:

    The value in seeing another perspective

    Sometimes I can be so focused on a task that it can be hard for me to broaden my mindset and approach it in a different way. I find it valuable to seek feedback, if I am struggling to reach my desired outcome I can gain alternate ways to find a solution. Asking for feedback is NOT a weakness!

    We all have different talents and areas of expertise, so if you are asked to approach a task in a different way don’t take it to mean ‘your way isn’t good enough’. Take it as an opportunity to challenge yourself to try something new.  In turn, you can provide feedback on whether or not it worked for you.

    Setbacks don’t mean you have failed, it just means you’re not there yet

    For example, you may have been in a role for a while and want the opportunity for a promotion. You go through the whole process of presenting it to management feeling 100% confident to only find the feedback to be ‘We don’t have anything suitable for you to step up into at this time.’ You may also be told that you require more training before moving ahead into a role of greater responsibility.

    Remember, this does not mean that you have failed. Be aware of your workplace environment. If your manager turns down the opportunity at that time, ask for some specific feedback on why and then ask if you can approach the conversation at a later time. There could be structural changes, budget cuts and a variety of other issues that you are not aware of that could be influencing that decision. It doesn’t mean another door will not open later on.

    Don’t dwell on what you can’t control and focus on what you can 

    As addressed previously I can find it difficult to accept constructive feedback. I can take it personally. Based on experience I can only recommend that you do not dwell on the feedback as a negative and have it replay in your head again and again as a sense of defeat. This will only increase stress levels and anxiety and further distract your productivity levels.

    It is important to ask the person providing feedback for specific examples, show accountability for any issues (after all, any role of leadership requires someone to take responsibility), and brainstorm solutions for the future.

    Any great leader will have a story about something they didn’t succeed at. It’s human nature to make mistakes. But it is what we do once we are made aware of this that will define our future endeavors.

    Lastly, make sure you request feedback on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be a one off request. We are constantly learning new skills, approaches to work and experience. Not to mention the more experience we gain through feedback, the more confident we will become to pass on our feedback and experience to others.

    What feedback have you received that has lead you to where you are today? What did you learn from the experience?


  5. Leadership – Be Prepared To Make The Tough Decisions

    May 20, 2014 by Jenna

    We can all be quite opinionated when it comes to leaders making decisions on behalf of their organisation, state or country. We are privileged to have people who are prepared to make those big decisions for us. But sometimes we can be skeptical and even cynical to those choices made for us. However, what would you do if you were in that situation? What if you were the one who had to make the tough decisions?

    A tough decision may be reacting to something that you are not exactly comfortable with for the sake of your business continuity. At times costs have to be cut, an employee may have to be let go and you will have to deal with a customer complaint.

    As a leader, you have the authority to make these decisions and to do what is best. However, if you are the type of person who spends their time dwelling over the situation for too long or putting off the difficult task until the result becomes worse, you may need to reconsider taking on this position of authority.

    How do great leaders make tough decisions? While researching this topic I found an interesting article from an American blogger Michael Hyatt, who watched an interview series on President George W Bush. He put together 5 important points on leadership lessons and decision making:

    1. You will make mistakes—it’s inevitable. To think that you are going to lead without making mistakes results in procrastination—something no leader can afford, especially in a crisis. This simply comes with the territory.
    2. You must surround yourself with trusted advisors. You can’t research every aspect of important decisions yourself. At some point you have to depend on the expertise of others. Ultimately, your leadership will stand or fall based on the quality of the advice you receive.
    3. You must make decisions with the information available. For leaders, the point of absolute certainty never comes. You will inevitably have to make the call based on the information you have. While you may be unsure, you must act. Pundits may criticise you later, but they have the benefit of hindsight. Leaders don’t have this luxury and must do the best they can with what they have available.
    4. You must take personal responsibility for the outcomes. If you make a mistake, you must own it—even if your advisors gave you bad information. And even if you were acting with the most noble of intentions. If you make a good decision leading to a good outcome, you must give your advisors and others the credit. If you make a bad decision leading to a bad outcome, you alone must take the blame.
    5. You must ignore public opinion when it gets in the way of principle. Chasing popularity is like chasing a vapour. It is here today and gone tomorrow. Instead, you have to make decisions based on principle and let the chips fall where they may.

    Leadership isn’t easy, but difficult decisions are necessary and leaders are required to act. Even if you are not in a leadership role, it is important that you keep an open mind, respect the decisions of management and team leader for both you as an employee and for your organisation. After all, would you really do things differently if you were in that situation?

    What difficult decisions have you had to make for your organisation? What did you learn from these choices?


  6. New role in leadership – Tips on leading your team

    May 13, 2014 by Jenna

    Learning to be an effective leader takes time. All of the great leaders we have come to recognise and revere had to learn and grow their skills over time.

    If you want to pursue a role in leadership you need to understand that your prime responsibility is to your organisation, your team and your clients. So how can you devise an effective leadership strategy to keep your team moving on the path towards success?

    While doing research on the topic I found an article on Career Realism that outlines 5 Tips For Good Leadership Skills:

    1. Communication is key
    Communication is important for many reasons – it builds connection and relationships between other colleagues and team members, it expresses ideas clearly and it also creates an open environment for others to express their ideas. It’s important that others know what is required of them, and if employees and colleagues feel like they can openly approach you to communicate on issues this will create a sense of trust.

    2. Wrong can be right
    Encourage creativity amongst your team and try different approaches to help your organisation reach success. If the idea fails, it is important not to discourage individuals to not input ideas but to instead assess what worked and what didn’t work to come up with plausible outcomes for the future. Keep inspiring others to think outside the box and work together to come up with new solutions.

    3. Look into the future
    Every great leader has a vision, and setting a plan into motion with your team is valuable to help you reach these goals. Make sure to meet with your team to share your vision and establish with each person his or her part to aid in the completion of the objective. This will not only keep your team members motivated but also accountable for their tasks and willing to work together for the overall outcome.

    4. Passion is contagious
    If a leader is enthusiastic and believes in their work, others can’t help but be enthusiastic to partake in the project. This also includes recognising and outlining the hurdles that the team may encounter as well so that they can try and prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Keeping up the enthusiasm and a positive attitude however will keep the momentum going regardless of what stages your business will encounter.

    5. Know Yourself
    This involves identifying your own strengths and weaknesses. It may also be best that while in early stages of the role you keep record of the goals/tasks that you have set out (or even making an important decision) and re-evaluate the outcome in nine to twelve months’ time. It is important to pinpoint where you and your team have excelled and where you may have fallen short for improvements to be made for the future. Did your course of action meet expectations?

    For current managers, do you find these points effective for potential new leaders? And for recently appointed leaders, what steps are you following to grow and develop yourself as well as your office team?


  7. Why Being a Team Player is Valuable for Workplace Performance

    April 29, 2014 by Jenna

    Each of us invests in our own personal development and strives to perform on an individual level. However, we tend to work in a team environment. Do we invest in our development as an effective team leader? And are you a team player at work?

    As an only child I love setting personal goals and challenges for myself. I like to believe that I am an independent thinker and I don’t mind working on individual tasks on my own. However, I also know that I have a reliable team to which I can approach for assistance, advice and even delegate to if I am overloaded with tasks.

    In my personal life I have had to manage and lead teams in events and trips which involved a lot of organisation. It taught me a lot about myself – my traits, strengths, weaknesses and what I was capable of when I pushed myself to the limits.

    While we are all trying to strive to be a top individual performer, I think it is important that we don’t forget the value of team performance when it comes to reaching successful outcomes at work. A man named Bob Kelly from Demand Media wrote an interesting article on this topic. He covered why teams are important and therefore why it is important that we are all effective team members within the workplace. Here are his reasons:

    Work Efficiency

    Teamwork enables you to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently than tackling projects individually. Cooperating together on various tasks reduces workloads for all employees by enabling them to share responsibilities or ideas.

    Allow each individual to have a role that suits their specialisation or strength. And also avoid exclusion; try to give everyone an equal amount of responsibility and working together you can collectively encourage one another to get the task done.

    Improved Employee Relations

    What better way to get to know your fellow colleagues and what they are capable of than working on a project together? Building relationships and a positive workplace culture is vital within any organisation and it builds a sense of trust.

    By working together you can share success stories by brainstorming ideas and working together to achieve targets, and if the outcome is not what you expected you can assess areas for improvement in the future.

    Increased Accountability

    Accountability will increase when you know that not only one person relies on you to get the job done, but the whole team! It drives you and encourages you to put in 100% as it will contribute to the overall success of the group. It will also show your reliability and efficiency if team members need your help on future tasks.

    Learning Opportunities

    As a new employee, you can gain knowledge, new ideas and opportunities by working with more experienced employees. It also allows you to become more flexible and adaptable to different situations as you are working with others who may think and work in different ways to you. It opens your mind and your perspective rather than working alone and following the same routine. It is important to face challenges and compromise if need be to reach a successful outcome as a team.

    My final point is that in a team environment, it will make the process run smoothly if you approach a group task with a positive attitude. It can be difficult for some people who are used to working on their own or may be more of an introvert. Having a positive attitude allows you to be more open to opinions and allows you to make a good impression to your team. Be encouraging and supportive in the best way that you can.

    Have you relied on teamwork in the past to help you achieve results? What was the outcome? What did you learn from the experience?


  8. What Are The Top Skills That Employers Are Looking For?

    November 7, 2012 by Jenna

    Yesterday we all looked to pick a winner from the Melbourne Cup pack. Some of us used a form guide, recent success, and odds to guide our decision. Others looked at other, or more essential criteria, like jockey colours, name of the horse, or our lucky number.

    Just like our criteria for choosing a winning horse, employers have a set of top skills that they are looking for in selecting the best candidates for the job. Of course these specific criteria must change dependent on the job that needs to be filled.

    But there are 10 skills that employers are consistently asking for as their “top skills” in selecting a candidate, regardless of job.

    1. Communicate effectively – How well do you express yourself at work? How well do you communicate to others and management? Do you speak up and ask questions when learning new skills? Are your written and verbal skills strong?
    2. Great interpersonal skills – Getting along with co-workers effectively, try to maintain a positive attitude and be able to accept constructive feedback. How do you work effectively within a team?
    3. Learn new tasks willingly – Being willing to learn any new tasks. How do you demonstrate your initiative?
    4. Accept responsibility – Taking pride in your work and taking responsibility for your actions.
    5. Show flexibility – Covering on a previous blog topic, being able to adapt and be flexible with changes at work and your environment.
    6. Ability to meet deadlines – design, plan, organise, and prioritise workloads to achieve deadlines.
    7. Problem Solving – can you assess a situation from multiple perspectives? Obtain the information needed to identify the key issues that need to be considered? What types of problems have you faced in your work and how you have developed the best solutions?
    8. Make decisions – Independently and on behalf of a group. This is also a way of helping you prioritise your day and organise tasks effectively.
    9. Grow in the job – I find this one to be important as most managers are training their employees for growth in their industry with the potential to lead and guide others. Showing top performance and the desire to grow are quite desirable traits that employers often look for on a resume as well.
    10. Commit to the job – Can the employer depend on you to fulfil the role with dedication and enthusiasm? How have you demonstrated your previous commitment?

    Now this is only a guideline. By all means, if you do not possess all of these skills, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be put forward for jobs. But consider which of the skills that you have demonstrated in your career to-do-date. Do you have examples of these skills to share during interviews and on your resume?

    One thing that I would not recommend would be to include skills on your resume when you don’t have experience. Lying on your resume can come back to haunt you and can hurt your future chances of employment and it is not worth it when trying to get your foot in the door.

    You need to make sure to highlight the skills that you do currently possess, and if you do not have experience in a field (for example in leadership), be honest about it in your interview, but also demonstrate how you have shown initiative to grow your career in the past and take on leadership responsibilities within your previous jobs.

    So now you know the skills that employers are looking for in the perfect candidate. How will you demonstrate these skills in your next interview? How will you stand-out from the pack to take the winning position?

    Challenge Consulting also provide Career Guidance Services as well as CV Writing Services and if you would like further information please visit our website for details. We are also promoting a free copy of our Job Search – Tools, Tips and Tactics Booklet when you like our Facebook page and join our mailing list so make sure to check it out today!


  9. Do We Often Define Success In A Dollar Figure?

    June 27, 2012 by Jenna

    ‘Show me the money!’ How can we forget this scene out of Jerry Maguire. This is something that my father always quotes to his employees in his financial franchise business. He also goes to point out, ‘Try to get credit at any bank if your company does not make a decent profit. All the big CEO’s are measured by the success of their companies’ bottom line. That’s the truth.’

    With big names like Donald Trump, Bill Gates and even Mark Zuckerberg – the Facebook giant, of course we are lead to believe by the media that the biggest success figures will have all of the power, authority and life’s luxuries as well.

    We also look at dollar figures as incentives, almost like a reward for hard work and effort that we put into our current roles, especially the longer we work within an organisation. Most employers I tend to find will be happy to reward an employee accordingly for their efforts, it is only when however, an employees expects more money for less – and that can have multiple definitions/reasons, but you know what I mean.

    Remember, all CEO’s or management within any organisation have worked their way up from lower level positions and have had to prove themselves, so the same applies for any employees within the industry as well. So more often or not, management will be able to empathise with you as an employee and understand your goals and needs if this is communicated effectively.

    Money also benefits those material possessions that we often crave – the house, the car, clothing, valuables and incentives such as travel and holidays. But then of course there is also financial security for those ongoing repayments such as a mortgage to pay off, educational expenses, child expenses and so forth.

    On another note, success and money can tie in with fame and recognition. Bruno Mars released a song, ‘I want to be a billionaire‘ making reference to meeting many of the world’s richest people, seeing his name in ‘shining lights’, and also making reference to providing opportunities and help to those who are less fortunate. And of course reality television, as we all love it, with shows such as Masterchef and The Voice, we love seeing the ‘average joe’ so to speak, work their way up to achieve their life long dream and also become a famous television celebrity.

    So why would this be any different in the corporate world? As 80% of our working week is in the office or travelling for work, of course we would try very hard to make a name for ourselves, and with more money it will often result in more responsibility.

    But is money the only thing that defines success?

    A website that I reviewed called www.mywaytosuccess.com outlined that money is only a part of what makes you successful, and listed some very valid points that I have summarised below:

    • Success should be determined by how you feel in your life – look at how you think your life is going overall – Are you happy?
    • Measure your success by the amount of goals that you wish to achieve throughout your life
    • Success can be measured by the quality of your friendships and how close you are with your family – do you have a good support system?
    • Do you look in the mirror at the end of the day knowing that you have done something good for someone else, treated someone with respect, or overall feel good about how your day has gone?
    • Is what you are doing on a daily basis making you feel good and do you feel good about whom you have become over the years?

    Overall, this website outlines that the decisions you are making in life should be for your best interest. Of course it is great not to have financial issues, but if this is all that you care about, unfortunately the result will be  that money may be the only thing that will keep you company.

    Now success can have different meanings to us all, but the point of my initial poll was to see whether or not you associated this with money or how much money you make. This was your vote:

    • Yes: 89%
    • No: 11%

    Now there is no right or wrong answer in terms of what you consider to be success, however what I am more trying to get you to think about is how important do you consider money in terms of your drive for success?

    While money will bring many incentives in our material world, if you are not happy with your job or you have sacrificed many of the important things in life for money/title, then maybe reconsider if this is personal success. If not, who or what are you doing this for?

    While we have time on this earth, wouldn’t you rather want to look back on your life satisfied instead of worrying about what you haven’t done or achieved?

    Haven’t had your say? I would love to hear your feedback below, or please check out my latest poll: Is Quarterlife Crisis a myth or reality for today’s generation? And again, thank you again for taking the time out to read our weekly articles.

     


  10. Are more people today settling for any job as opposed to finding their dream job?

    May 23, 2012 by Jenna

    Having the job of your dreams. Is that where you are at today? Or do you often find your mind drifting off and you think to yourself, ‘Is there something more than this?’

    I brought up this particular topic because I often find that I am the ‘go to’ person for advice from friends of mine that are either looking for work, or have been in a role with a company for a while and are not particularly happy.

    I remember times when I have been unemployed, and I have to admit, when a source of income is lacking and having the reality of bills coming in, living expenses, and those unplanned emergency spendings, you begin to feel anxious and sometimes desperate to get back on track.

    When I am taking calls and passing on the details of candidates to our recruitment consultants, I often find that applicants are even applying for positions to which they do not have the qualifications for. This often makes me wonder if it is the job market that is so competative out there that candidates are willing to try something outside of their comfort zone, or whether the candidate is just wanting to fill any role that is available, regardless of what the role requirements are because they need it right now!

    I was amazed at the honesty of your responses as 75% of respondents said that they are happy to settle for a job that pays the bills whereas only 12.5% said they are striving for the job that they love. Your responses were also very honest:

    I believe they are definately settling, as times are tough at the moment, and it’s not really the best time to be going out on a ledge, and making that leap. It’s better to be safe at the moment, and I think that is the perspective of most employees and individuals finding their dream jobs etc.

    So is it just money that is preventing us from persuing our dream job? I tend to think that while money is a major factor, a lot of the time what prevents us from taking the steps that we want career wise is usually psychological barriers.

    A website called www.dreamjobcoaching.com outlines the barriers in which we can often create that prevents us from persuing our dream jobs:

    Barriers are most often imaginary obstacles that seem very real at the moment. When trying to find your dream job, these barriers seem very real and scary. We come up with practical, realistic reasons why something won’t work. What you must realize is whenever you find yourself resisting anything during this dream job process, make sure you realize it is fear talking in most cases… A barrier rises up and we second-guess ourselves with self-doubt. Your subconscious whispers how much easier it would be to stay with the familiar and avoid taking a chance on that unknown. But if we listen to the siren song of self-doubt, we will forever flounder on the becalmed sea of indecision.

    I think fear of the unknown is a very common feeling amoung individuals, and I think the more responsibilities you take on the more you can feel at risk of losing what you have worked hard to achieve. Or you may just be very comfortable with the way your job is going that you would rather stay in that ‘bubble’ so to speak as long as you can. The reality is however, that often life doesn’t stay the same, times change, work structures change and adapt, companies flourish or fail, and if we get caught up believing that we are always ‘safe and secure’, will we ever be prepared for life’s little surprises?

    Every cross-road that we face in life has some element of risk, the only thing is, we often won’t know if it is ‘good risk’ or ‘bad risk’ until after we have made that choice. As much as we would always like to be in control of everything we do there is always going to be some level of unpredictability. And you will usually find that the things we want the most are often the things we need to work the hardest for.

    With that said, I’m sure some of you have faced the road less traveled to follow a dream and it may not have gone according to plan. However, how can we ever learn and grow if some of the decisions we make are not meant to be? The biggest mistake I tend to think we make is not doing anything at all!

    Settling for a job less satisfying can also result in the following behavior according to a website called positivesharing.com:

    • You procrastinate
    • You spend Sunday night worrying about Monday morning
    • You’re really competitive about salary and titles
    • You don’t feel like helping co-workers
    • Work days feel looooong
    • You have no friends at work
    • You don’t care. About anything.
    • Small things bug you
    • You’re suspicious of other people’s motives
    • Physical symptoms – insomnia, headaches, low energy, muscle tension etc.

    I have seen on many occasions how a dissatisfying job can effect someone in a negative way. If responses are fairly negative towards work and you are not often finding the time to see your friends or family due to the hours you work, it may be time to start looking into something more suited to your needs before the bitterness bug gets the better of you.

    Does any of the above sound like your current situation or relatively close? Well, an article on www.recruiter.com gives some very simple steps to finding your passion and how to best pursue your dream job:

    1. Understand that it will take time to discover your passion and shape your vision – Do not look at your circumstances but look forward to your vision and future.
    2. Do your research and explore – You cannot expect to discover anything without exploring different options.
    3. Establish a plan with main goals. Include items that can hinder you – Life happens and brings about many unexpected issues to handle, when this happens… adjust accordingly and keep working towards your goal.
    4. Take action based on your planNow that you have a plan it is time to use it.
    5. Track your progress – It is important to track your progress; document and remember your small successes.

    Well I hope you have found some of this information to be useful, and if you know anyone who may be experiencing the above this may be something worth sending through for a bit of encouragement. As some of us would be happy to dip our feet in the water, why not take the plunge and see what happens?

    Haven’t had your say? We would love to hear from you, otherwise you can participate in this week’s online poll: Do you prefer to drive to work or catch public transport? You never know, your participation could win you a Hoyts Cinema Double Pass!




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