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  1. What Resilient People Don’t Do

    January 27, 2015 by Jenna

    We all respond to change differently. For some of us it comes naturally and we can go with the flow, as for others, having that sense of security removed can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of which type of person you are, it is important to develop resilience so that we can continue to move towards our goals regardless of the situation.

    So what does it take to be an emotionally resilient person? Perhaps it is best to start by clarifying what they don’t do in order for us to understand what it takes to be resilient. An article by Brad Waters in Psychology Today will be my inspiration for this week and I have outlined ten of his points below:

    1. They don’t cross their own boundaries – Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary The stress/trauma might play a part in their current story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

    2.They don’t surround themselves with bad company– In any environment, your behaviour can be greatly affected by the people you surround yourself with. Resilient people surround themselves with other resilient people who give them space to grieve and work through their emotions. These supporters know when to listen and when to offer enough encouragement without trying to solve the problem, allowing the individual to remain in control of their decisions. Good company will help calm a situation as opposed to adding frustration to it.

    3. They don’t avoid self-awareness – Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long term strategy. Self-awareness helps resilient people to know what they need, what they don’t need and when it’s time to reach out for extra help.

    Prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers. While strong on the outside to stay afloat, you can get prone to massive stress fractures when experiencing unexpected changes in your environment.

    4. They don’t pretend there isn’t a problem – Pain is painful, stress is stressful and healing takes time. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth or pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it.

    5. They don’t ignore quiet time – Some of us find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety is to dull out with distractions such as television, eating, drinking too much etc. While not all distractions are bad, you still need to be mindful of the current situation you may be in and not use distractions as a means of avoiding problems. Somewhere in between shutting down or ramping up is mindfulness – being in the presence of the moment without judgement or avoidance. It takes practice, but finding a quiet space to reflect is well renowned for healing and resilience-building.

    6. They don’t presume to have all the answers – Sometimes we try too hard to find answers in the face of stressful or traumatic events, that activity can block the answers from naturally arising in their own due time. Resilient people can find strength in knowing they do not have it all figured out right now. They trust they will gradually find peace when their mind/body is ready.

    7. They don’t put self-care aside – Resilient people have a list of good habits that support them when they need them most. Anyone can build their own list by noticing those things that recharge their batteries and give them a boost.

    8. They don’t underestimate the importance of team input – Being resilient means knowing when to reach out for help from others. It also means knowing who will serve as a listening ear, and who won’t. A supporting team will help you reflect back on issues where you may have been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so at the time they occured.

    9. They don’t overlook other possibilities – Resilient people can train themselves to ask which parts of their current story are permanent and which parts can possibly change. This helps to maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation may be coloured by their current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature.

    10. They don’t dwell on issues – When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelmed, our thoughts can go at a hundred miles an hour. Resilient people can find reprieve accepting the situation and moving on. One technique that works for some people is the write down the issues causing the current stress.

    While writing is one resilience strategy you can keep in your back pocket, there are other ways that resilient people can get out of their head. Examples include healthy distractions like going to the gym or going for a walk, cooking or baking, volunteering or any self-care items as per point #7.

    How have you built resilience in times of change or difficult situations?


  2. Steps to develop self-confidence when you are a new employee

    November 3, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to being new at any role, you can feel apprehensive and even a little bit overwhelmed with what you need to take in during the early days of training and development. You are also in a new environment with colleagues and associates to impress and that will naturally make you nervous. However, this isn’t an ongoing feeling and there are ways you can start building your self-confidence so that you can let yourself shine in the workplace.

    Jacqueline Smith from Forbes outlined ways to be more confident at work and I have chosen to outline nine key steps from this article below:

    Stay focused on you. “Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paul Coelho. Remember why you are here and what it is you want to achieve and don’t let distractions get in the way of pursuing your goals.

    Identify your strengths and capitalise on them. Be aware of what your strengths are and try and utilise them in your role as much as you can. By driving your best qualities, you can feel a greater sense of accomplishment and it helps you maintain engagement and stay energised. Don’t be afraid to outline these strengths with your manager. That way they can extend opportunities that will be beneficial to those skill sets when they arise.

    Identify weaknesses, and work on them. With your strengths there are also weaknesses and it is important to be aware of what they are. At the same time, judging yourself harshly or wallowing in self-pity over mistakes will not help you overcome them. The purpose of identifying weaknesses is to discover ways to improve on issues for the future or avoid repeating bad habits and mistakes.

    Believe in yourself. How will others start believing in you and what you are capable of if you don’t believe in yourself? While this may sound like common sense, doubt will hold you back from taking risks and pursuing opportunities. Set yourself achievable targets, mentally motivate yourself to keep moving forward and don’t be afraid to sell your personal brand to those around you in the right light.

    Closely monitor your successes. Keep track of your daily accomplishments from a to-do list or in writing. It helps you keep track of what you are achieving on a daily basis and as you progress whether you feel you would like to take on more responsibilities. This is also advantageous when reviews take place by management or even once the probationary period is reached to present your written accomplishments.

    Seek encouragement from others. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to seek constant praise. Ask people you trust or management to evaluate you on what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can also ask for feedback and direction on projects to see if you are meeting or exceeding expectations.

    Challenge yourself. As a new employee you will not need to rush this process as you can attempt this over time with baby steps. Accomplishing new challenges can be a great way to boost your confidence. Find projects and assignments that give you an opportunity to use your strengths and projects that stretch you once you feel further established in the role. Don’t be afraid to also raise your hand if colleagues or management need assistance on tasks as it shows initiative.

    Be a role model of positive attitude. By showing a positive attitude you will see how positivity will spread within your working environment. This doesn’t mean you always need to be smiling and acting cheerful. It can also be your attitude when you approach a challenging task and showing resilience at times of change. You need to be wary of how you react to situations as it can affect the outcome of assignments and relationships with colleagues or management.

    Don’t let failure or setbacks take away your self-confidence. Great successors didn’t get to where they are today without failing their first attempts and sometimes second or third attempts. It can bruise our confidence a little bit when things don’t go according to plan. However, the worst thing to do about it is to shrink away, hoping it all blows over and say to yourself, ‘Well I’m never doing that again!’ Admit that you have failed at the time, assess the situation and brainstorm areas for improvement. Taking a step back to review things is sometimes the best way you can move forward.

    How do you set yourself up in a new role? What are some of the struggles that you had to face and how did you overcome them?


  3. Job Satisfaction – Are you jumping ship too early?

    September 16, 2014 by Jenna

    Expectations are set high when it comes to finding a successful and fulfilling career. Personal happiness is above all else and often if that level of expectation is not met than the decision can be made to look elsewhere. However, if you find that you have a record of doing this on a regular basis without finding that level of satisfaction in the new role, then perhaps you are wondering – Is the grass really greener on the other side?

    While expectations are high to find a satisfying career, so too is the mindset that this will happen right away. In a society where we have instant access to everything, a dream job shouldn’t be any different, right?

    If you look at any successful business owner, entrepreneur, inventor, client etc. you will know that in order for them to get to where they are today they had to fight the ‘hard yards’ and work their way up to land that meaningful career.

    No job ever encompasses 100% satisfaction, but finding the balance of what you do love about the role and lining it up with your future prospects can often outweigh those tasks or items that you may not necessarily favor. The step we often tend to miss when it comes to getting there however, is that your needs have to be outlined to begin with. Then you will have to work to find that balance of satisfaction because it is personal for every individual, and management will not be able to deliver something that they are not made aware of.

    If you haven’t establish what job satisfaction means to you then changing roles may not necessarily be the answer you are looking for.

    While conducting research on the topic I found an article that outlines seven steps to finding job satisfaction wherever you work:

    1. Know Thyself

    What are things that motivate you? Companies can find ways to drive motivation but personal motivation is important as well. Only you know what keeps you awake at night and what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. When you know yourself, it is easy to increase your own job satisfaction as you will know what works for you.

    2. Keep Challenging Yourself

    Work has to be challenging enough but not so overwhelming that you find it insurmountable. Challenges at an optimum level keep you going. Perhaps you find that your work is not challenging anymore. In that case, learn to get more projects that are challenging now since you know the importance of job satisfaction in your life.

    3. Cross Learn

    Make cross learning and increasing your competency at work a culture you adopt. That means learn other skills that are only expected from people in other departments. If you are a sales person, learn to read financial statements. Cross learning can keep you challenged and will also open doors previously not an option to you. By knowing that options are open you become more relaxed and feel better about yourself.

    4. Improve Other Areas of Your Life

    When you are unhappy with other parts of your life you will also bring it to work. It is usually easy to blame other parts of your life on the low level of job satisfaction you have. Analyse yourself, are there other parts of your life you can improve?

    5. Stay Positive

    Whenever you feel you aren’t very satisfied with your job, learn to stay positive. There are many things to be thankful for when you have a job. Remain positive that things can change for the better. Look forward to good things like a possible promotion or salary increase or completion of a project. You may just see your job satisfaction level increase.

    6. Know the Role of Work in Your Life

    Work means different things to different people. Know the role of your job in your life. What does it allow you to do? Pay for the bills? Serve people in the community? Allows you time to pursue your hobby? Know what is the role of your job in your life and you will put it in the right context.

    7. Work Allows for the Search of Purpose

    Not many people are mindful enough to know what their purpose in this world is. Why not let work become a medium to allow you to search for that purpose? Imagine having eight hours a day just doing an exercise that slowly reveals what you are here in this world to do?

    If you still find that after exercising various steps that you still can’t find that level of satisfaction in your role that you are looking for, then it may be wise to look into alternative options. However, if you are still in early stages of a role and have not allowed yourself the chance to truly grow or find out where it will lead you then my advice is to not jump the gun. You could end up making a choice that you may regret. Weigh up your options, write down your goals. Let your organisation help to develop you further and commit yourself to the role, after all, you never know where it may lead you.


  4. Bad Habits That Erode Personal Accountability

    July 15, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to taking on responsibility in a team environment, you quickly realise just how important personal accountability is. Each person on the team needs to play a part, it means taking on the tasks, following through and being responsible for the outcome.

    It means that there are certain bad habits that you need to banish, these include:

    Making Excuses/ Blaming Others

    For example:

    • ‘I have a lot to manage at the moment; therefore I won’t attend the team meeting. I’ll catch up next week’
    • ‘I’ll sleep in instead of going to training and I’ll make up for it later’
    • That you are ‘too busy’ to commit to the task and put it on the back burner, falling behind.
    • ‘So-and-so didn’t finish their part of the assignment so we fell behind’

    What could happen as a result of excuses: You will be considered unreliable or the group will not be able to trust that you are capable of delivering outcomes on time. Trust in the team is very important and once it is broken, it can take time to earn back.

    Possible solutions to excuses: We are all guilty of excuse making at times. When you find that you are starting to think or react this way, it is important to reflect on the task at hand and why you were chosen for this role. Reflect on how this task contributes to your team. Understand the implications of what could happen if you do not follow through.

    Do you have someone that you report to on a regular basis? If not, buddy up with someone on your team so that you both collectively can help keep one another on track. Sometimes a simple push is all you need.

    What could happen as a result of blaming others: Blaming others instead of trying to find a solution can create all sorts of unfavorable results. It can create tension in the team, break trust, communication etc. When problems occur, teams should be collectively looking for solutions together, not turning on one another.

    Possible solutions to blaming others:

    • If you have someone sharing a task with you and find that they are not performing then you need to address this issue directly with them. Start off one on one, as often the person may not realise they are doing it. If it still continues then get a manager or third party involved.
    • If you have a problem and choose not to communicate the issue or find a solution then you won’t achieve the desired outcome. Speak up if you are struggling, ask others for advice, after all, that is what your team is there for.
    • If you are being held accountable for a result of a group task that has failed a task, sometimes the simplest thing to do is say you’re sorry and offer to work on a solution for the future. Apologising does not make you weak, it shows courage. It shows responsibility.

    Lack of Motivation

    Examples are running late, being unprepared for meetings, not focusing or listening to what others are sharing, nor contributing thoughts or ideas to the team discussions.

    What could happen as a result of this: You appear distracted or disinterested to the team activity and other members will question your commitment levels. If you are unenthusiastic, others will not feel comfortable approaching you for help or provide you with further responsibilities. They will assume that you don’t care.

    Possible solutions: Organising yourself can be the best way to keep your goals on track and set your path towards success. If you have your tasks written down in front of you, it will remind you every day of what you need to achieve and keep you focused.

    You can start by asking yourself some simple questions:

    • Are you setting daily targets?
    • Are you writing the information down on a checklist?
    • Are you following up on your own progress regularly?

    As part of the team, members also have a right to know your progress, which should in turn keep you motivated knowing that not only does your work impact you but those around you.

    I personally become motivated when I see the time and dedication that my teammates are putting into their tasks. It makes me feel excited that goals are being achieved, and it challenges me to step up my level of commitment.

    Any great leader or manager that you know will tell you that they have to go through stages of being accountable for their team. It requires making decisions for the overall well-being of your team, taking responsibilities for mistakes or set-backs and collectively working together to find solutions.

    Remember these points next time you are in a group situation so that you can let the best part of you shine.


  5. If you’ve never considered using Temporary Staff in your business, maybe it’s time to join the bandwagon… By Lauren Eardley

    July 14, 2014 by Jenna

    The world of temporary work might be completely unknown to you or one you might not fully understand, however the use of temporary workers is on the up in Australia and has firmly established itself within labour markets worldwide. Challenge Consulting has offered temporary staff to our clients for over 21 years and we’ve noticed a significant and consistent increase in awareness and demand for temp staff across most industries.

    What is a Temporary Worker?
    A ‘Temporary Worker’ is an employee who is only expected to remain in a position for a limited amount of time. Temporary workers may have the opportunity to obtain a permanent position after that or they may have a set end date. They:

    • Work the hours that you need (Full-time/Part- Time)(Minimum 3 hours per day)
    • Get paid for the hours that they work and are not entitled to holiday pay or sick pay
    • Do not have a contract with the host company
    • Are on the agency payroll (i.e. Challenge Consulting pay them for you)

    Significant research has gone into the use of temporary workers as part of the workforce globally (www.staffingindustry.com). If you are wondering why you would ever need to use a Temporary Worker, research has found that the main motivation behind employers’ use of temporary workers goes further than just answering short-term demands. The numbers are compelling and the most common reasons for the use of temporary staff are:

    1. Flexibility (89.4% of employers voted this the number 1 reason);
    2. Value in answering short-term needs (87.8%);
    3. Benefit in identifying candidates for long-term positions (75.7%);
    4. Cost-effective solution to HR challenges (61.2%)
    5. Bringing external expertise into the business (49.1%).

    From the candidate’s point of view, there are significant benefits for professionals who offer themselves for temporary employment. The research found that professionals who chose temporary employment or an interim management position over a specific permanent assignment did so for pragmatic reasons;

    1. Availability of short-term employment positions even during times of economic difficulty (72% of employees);
    2. Opportunity for individuals to develop their professional network (70.7%);
    3. Opportunity to develop professional skills (66.7%)
    4. Possibility of finding stable employment (59.1%).

    Out of the 17 countries surveyed for the report which included the USA and UK, Australia had the most positive attitude towards temporary employment. Generally, the positive response was more common in countries where Temporary Employment has been more established. On a global scale, Australia has the 2nd largest proportion of temporary employees as a percentage of the total working population (2.8%), just behind the UK (3.6%). Employers and employees now know and understand the benefits of temporary employment and accept it as a positive fact of working life.

    Whether you are using temporary employees to replace a member of staff taking leave or to cope with an unexpected increase in activity; the speed of turnaround from agencies providing temporary employees was listed as the most important factor for employers seeking to recruit. Previous relationship and cost were both secondary factors.

    Temporary employment in Australia is predicted to increase and temporary staffing agencies like Challenge Consulting are likely to become more essential to support business. The ability to provide highly trained employees to sophisticated sectors at short notice is valuable and Challenge Consulting has the experience and resources to respond to your need quickly. If you are looking to employ temporary staff for your business over the Christmas period or any time of year, please contact our Temporary Services Recruitment Specialist – Melissa Lombardo on 02 9221 6422 [email protected].


  6. 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?


  7. Considering a Career Change?

    March 25, 2014 by Jenna

    The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw

    Change can either enhance the direction of your career goals and aspirations, or it may take you in the opposite direction. If you find that opportunities for advancement may extend to areas other than your current field of work, have you ever considered a career change?

    While researching this topic I came across an article by Grace Owen called How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Career Change using six C.A.R.E.E.R. tips:

    Tip 1: Clarity – Where do you want to go next in your career?

    Take the time to sit in a quiet room and narrow down what career paths you would like to take to prepare for the transition. Write down your passions, what you have enjoyed over the years. Reflect on what your skill sets are and more importantly your transferable skills that can be of advantage to any industry.

    By steering yourself into a direction, it will help motivate you to pursue the planning process further and start taking action. For example, updating your resume and making contact with recruiters and professionals in the industry you are hoping you apply for.

    Tip 2: Attitude – Is your glass half full or half empty

    How you feel about your career and working life can lead you to feeling powerless or powerful. It is important to consider that first impressions count, especially when you are on the pathway to a new career. A person who projects confidence and enthusiasm towards a desired role are memorable during an interview. Whereas bitter comments or negative behaviour can often come back to haunt you.

    So be self-aware and let the best part of you shine, after all, you are competing with other talented candidates.

    Tip 3: Relationships – What kind of network do you have?

    Your network, personal and professional, is a valuable source of expertise and advise. It is vital that the people that you need are in place.

    How often are you keeping in touch with your contacts? Do you meet for coffee, attend networking events you even contact them on the phone?

    Word of mouth can be a great way to find out about availability in the job market and your contacts can help open the door for you by providing introductions to different industries. Maintaining your relationships are very important so make sure you are putting in the time and effort to meet the needs of others and they will in turn support you.

    Recruiters, such as Challenge Consulting, are also available to help tailor your search to the industry that you hope to pursue. We also provide Career Guidance programs and Online Skills testing so that you can be aware of your options and results.

    Tip 4: Equipped – Are you investing in your own learning and development?

    By updating your skills, talents and knowledge, the more you will have to offer to potential employers.

    If you are interested in a certain industry or role that requires additional skill sets, why not take a course to familiarise yourself? You can then include the course results on your resume.

    Take the time to evaluate what you currently know and see if there are any areas for improvement. If there are, what steps do you need to take?

    You can also gain knowledge through reading, keeping up to date with industry news, seeking advice from a mentor etc. You are never too young or too old to keep learning something new.

    Tip 5: Excellence – What does excellence in your work mean to you?

    Putting your best foot forward in everything you do is important because you can gain the most from each experience. Whether the results are successful of pitfalls, each experience is something that you can pass on to others to motivate them to pursue their dreams. It is also valuable information to pass on to interviewers when it comes to providing examples on certain situations or aspects of your career.

    If pursuing a new career is definitely the avenue you want to take then you need to be proactive and follow through completely on the process to achieve your desired outcome.

    Tip 6: Reflection – Are you taking care of yourself?

    We all have a lot on our plate, but if we are not finding enough balance by getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising or getting fresh air, we can become sluggish and may not be performing at our best.

    Finding that balance is important and may require you to cut out bad-habits to achieve better results. Having a clear head and being refreshed can also help you focus on your options and make more accurate decisions in regards to your future career prospects.

    Have you undergone a new career change? Where did it take you? What was the overall outcome of this decision?


  8. How being a temp can make the way for your future

    March 4, 2014 by Jenna

    Whether you are a new graduate, preparing for a career change or on a working holiday visa, temporary work will not only help you get by with living expenses, it can help pave the way for future roles.

    When I had finished my Diploma in Event Management at TAFE, I was also taking on many paid and unpaid positions for different companies. My logic behind doing this was that I knew the events industry was very competitive and in high demand by candidates. I also knew that regardless of my Diploma I lacked practical experience in the field; however, being passionate about it I wanted to do what it takes to land the role that I was looking for. This is what I gained from temping and contract roles:

    It’s all about who you know – I researched organisations, I followed industry news on upcoming events, and I contacted Event Managers directly to offer my assistance in any way that I could to find out more about the industry and what is involved in organising events. I built a network of contacts and recommendations to help further my progression. It was also a chance to also prove that I was willing to work hard and learn new skills. Relationships you develop with industry contacts can also lead you to a more permanent role in the future.

    Working with different companies helps you to become more adaptable to different environments – The events industry is quite broad so I took advantage of it by working in offices directing calls and reception duties, processing payments and donations for not-for-profit events and data entry for client registrations. I even worked onsite on a customer service level at exhibitions, provided fine dining service for gala dinners and assisting with labour set up for conferences. This was a real eye opener, but it also allowed me the opportunity to ask questions and document my experiences. I think it’s a great opportunity to experience different work experience so that you can better establish was works and what doesn’t work for you.

    You can develop practical and transferrable skills – I found that by assisting in a corporate office environment to practical hands on experience I am still able to use these skills in the field of recruitment today. It is also important to remember that even the simplest of roles – such as putting labels on swipe cards or attaching name badges to lanyards are important ways for you to understand the processes involved before moving your way up in the industry of your choice. Don’t ever consider tasks in a temp position to be a waste of time and therefore not apply yourself 100% to your tasks. Companies are testing you at all times, and if you cannot complete the simplest of tasks then how are you expecting to move up into roles of further responsibility?

    • It gives you a routine and purpose – There is nothing worse than being bored or losing your daily routine when you are in between jobs or currently looking for work. Temping can help maintain a good working routine, even if it is short term. Having a level of responsibility is important too because it gives you a sense of purpose. When you are bored or not connecting on a daily basis you can develop a more laid back routine and you can start developing a less enthusiastic approach to job searching and work in general. Even if the temp role may not be in the exact direction you are hoping to move towards, just remember that each experience is a stepping stone, and you never know what opportunities can open up as a result.

    For those of you that are considering the path of temporary work, just remember to give each role and experience the best you have to offer. Have a positive attitude towards your assigned tasks and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I will always be thankful for where temporary and contract roles have lead me, the people I have met and worked with and the knowledge that I have gained.

    Have you worked as a temp staff member before or are currently working as a temp staff member? Where has it lead you on your career path?


  9. The pursuit of happiness at work

    February 4, 2014 by Jenna

    “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” ― Thomas A. Edison

    Almost every job you will ever come across throughout your life, you will experience challenges or stressful situations. No job is perfect. But sometimes we let that stress or fear of the unknown prevent us from enjoying our current role or taking the leap into a new job opportunity. Of course, if you want to change careers or take a step up, you will often need to make personal sacrifices. But this fear shouldn’t drive your behaviour. Instead we need to consider, regardless of stage we are at in our career, how can we be happiest at work?

    Susan M. Heathfield listed Top 10 Ways To Be Happy At Work, and the key points for me were these 5 areas to take control of work and to make the most out of your day to day routine:

    1. Choose to be happy at work

    Happiness is a state of mind. Your job may not be perfect, it may not have turned out the way you had imagined it to when you went down this path, but there will always be aspects of your job that you don’t enjoy. But if you only focus on what you don’t enjoy, it is highly likely you are not giving yourself the chance to be happiest at work. When you are only focusing on the negative – it is likely to affect your performance too. You start avoiding tasks, you sleep in, run late, and overall you’re not committing 100%. The consequences of that could hurt the future of your career. It is your choice to be happy or unhappy at work. What would you rather be?

    2. Do Something You Love

    Take a look at yourself, your skills and interests, and find something that you can enjoy. There must be something in your role that you enjoy, otherwise what are you doing there? Assess your current situation and if you find that you are truly unhappy, then a career change or searching for a new job may be in order. You could even seek a Career Guidance Program or seek advice from a mentor.

    3. Take Charge of Your Own Professional Development

    I think a lot of the time we get confused and think that someone else is in charge of managing our professional development so we wait to be advised as opposed to taking action. We can of course seek guidance, direction and support from managers and mentors, but we need to be the one that is directing. So if you are not happy with the way you are developing professionally, do something about it. Have you approached your manager to discuss this? Have you voiced your concerns or helped find a solution? Have you worked out what steps need to be taken to lead to progression?

    4. Ask for Feedback

    If you feel like you are in a situation where you have not received feedback in a while regarding how you are progressing in your role and on tasks, then approach your manager. Set regular monthly follow up meetings if need be, but also keep in mind that feedback may also involve constructive feedback on areas of improvement. Feedback is required to help us grow, not to seek praise, so be prepared to accept what is provided and assess steps to improve certain behaviours to create better outcomes.

    5. Avoid Negativity

    ‘Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.’– Oprah Winfrey

    It’s often true, if you surround yourself with people who are always down and disappointed in life, eventually your mindset will swing that way. Negativity is contagious and it often only takes one person to start the trend.

    I always found that I would perform at my absolute best when I had other people around me that shared similar passions and pushed themselves for results. Because that too would push me to be better and perform better. People that could provide me with honest advice out of compassion and not jealousy or bitterness.

    Each of us has responsibility for our happiness at work. If something is not working, then change it. If it is out of your control, perhaps it is time to consider a new job, company or career. But if it is in your control, and you can improve it, why not give it a try – how do you increase your happiness at work?


  10. Confrontation and Conflict – How to deal with the difficult co-worker

    December 17, 2013 by Jenna

    I have always had trouble with face-to-face confrontation. And I personally don’t believe anyone actually enjoys confrontation, especially if it is between a fellow colleague. But I also know first-hand of what avoiding it can do to you.

    In earlier years of my career, in more junior roles I made the assumption that since my role was less authoritative within the company that being a ‘yes’ man made me appear more cooperative and supportive in the workplace. In reality it created the following:

    1. I didn’t present the opportunity to have a voice – I was unable to share new and creative ideas that could potentially boost more business because I just did what I was told.

    2. I was passive – If I potentially saw  flaws in a process or procedure, I would not speak up about it to avoid issues that may have otherwise saved the business time and money.

    3. I felt dominated by fellow colleagues – By not being able to speak or stand- up for myself in situations I was often dominated by other colleagues and in turn was unable to shine to my fullest potential.

    4. I bottled up emotions – Bottling up emotions can often make you a ticking time bomb, which often resulted in me breaking down at the oddest of times because I had been letting something build and hadn’t dealt with it properly.

    Does any of this sound familiar to you when conflict presents itself?

    At this time of year, when deadlines need to be finalised and the pressure is high it is important to keep your cool. Understand that you are not always going to see eye-to-eye with everyone, we are all individuals, but ignoring that person or hoping a conflict will go away may not always be an effective method either. And it could result in you overreacting because you have bottled up your emotions for so long, as per point 4 above.

    So how can you take control of difficult scenarios before they get out of hand? Confront them head-on, and remember:

    1. Be respectful of differences and listen carefully: It is important to understand that there are different perspectives on situations and that people can get offended by situations or behaviour differently to you. You never know, you may have initially created the tension without even realising it! It is not always the matter of I’m right and you’re wrong so take care and give respect to that person when they are telling their side of the story and try not to cut them off or interrupt them constantly during the confrontation. You would like to be treated with respect so make sure you are showing a level of professionalism towards your colleague, not matter what.

    2. Always take action and communicate directly when conflict occurs: The later a conflict is addressed, the more embellished it can become in one’s mind and it can end up being blown out of proportion. The same applies to office gossip or discussing the issue or frustration with other co-workers and not the direct source. Hearing about someone else in the office being mad at you by a third party can’t help but cause personal offence and can create unneeded tension and bitter feelings.

    3. Be mindful of your tone/language – If you approach the conversation ‘hot headed’ most likely chances are the level of tone in the conversation will increase and could create a screaming match! So try and keep the level of conversation even and calm as well as professional when describing a situation or how you feel.

    4. Ask for help – In some circumstances if a conflict is still occurring you may need a third party individual to sit in on the discussion to provide an unbiased opinion/outcome. This could be your manager, a human resources professional, or a manager from a different department.

    5. Make sure the conflict is resolved – Did you shake hands at the end of your meeting? Is there anything in writing (perhaps email etc.) that confirms the outcome of this conflict and steps to follow to prevent this from happening again? Are you leaving your door open so that in the event that similar feelings/circumstances arise again that you can keep the communication open?

    The more that I have learned to be able to confront issues as they arise and have open communication between others, the more grateful I have been. I have also learned a lot about myself, how to treat others within the workplace and personally, which has saved everyone a whole lot of frustration, angst and provided a much happier workplace for us all.

    Have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker? What steps did you take to address the issue? And what was the outcome?




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