How to thrive in a broken corporate system

“You should be earning, learning and having fun. And if you’re only doing one of these things, that’s not good.”

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There are a plethora of so called workplace norms that I feel really need to be set straight. Joining the rat race, earning, learning and having fun doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard too. It is possible to be nice and still succeed and to have a great work-life balance and be able to still do the best job. Often from the get go, it will be drummed into you that in order to do X you have to put up with Y, in order to progress you’ll have to wait Y years and in order to get a job you have to jump through multiple hoops.

No.

Not always the case and in fact it’s often the complete opposite. Here are, in my humble opinion, some misconceptions of the corporate world and how to survive in an outdated system:

You have to stay late and work hard to get ahead

Arriving early, working through a lunch break and staying late to show the boss your ‘working hard’ when you’re hardly working isn’t fooling anyone. Unless it’s vital, you shouldn’t make a habit of working extra hours unnecessarily as, unfortunately, once you start the process, you’ll likely be taken advantage of. It soon becomes the norm and therefore hard to backtrack once you’ve made the habit of putting in those extra hours. Focus more on quality of work outcomes not time spent. How efficiently are you working and how much value 9-5 do you provide for the company. Thinking and doing everything to better your workplace, investing in yourself and making yourself indispensable is a sure-fire way to move up the ranks.

You have to work X amount of years to be promoted

Earning a promotion should solely be based on your work ethic, passion, ability to do the job and how capable you are to progress and get to the next level. It’s a somewhat naive attitude to have to progress people using these types of parameters and only serves to clip your wings. Working under a manager with this mindset will dim your flame. You can be a CEO at 25 or 50, age doesn’t affect your ability to do a great job!

You should follow the money

This is true to an extent. Let’s face it we all need money right? We need money for rent, holidays, food, nights out etc. but research shows it’s only a motivator up to a certain point. I for one know that money is a major contributing factor to my motivation, but it’s not the main focus and prioritising learning, career progress and company culture should be just as important. Sacrificing a slight pay drop can be a good risk to take if in the long run you can increase your salary, along with adding a wider skill set and more experience to your CV.

Being thrown in at the deep end is a great way to learn

I fear when this is mentioned in interviews it’s often code for we just wing it, don’t have a training process in place nor have the time or resources. Being thrown in at the deep end makes you learn fast, sure, but often there’s a lot of unnecessary trail and error involved and especially with a lack of support and guidance, can knock confidence and result in major mistakes. I have learnt the most through this method but employees should make it their mission to invest in their staff with proper on-boarding, training opportunities, mentor sessions and exposure you to opportunities when you are capable.

You must eat your lunch at your desk

I think now more than ever this type of culture where you’ve got to be seen to be busy and therefore eat at your desk is silly and outdated. Practise mindfulness at work. Take your lunch-break as a break! Go for a walk, eat your lunch in a different environment and take your mind off. Nothing that game-changing can happen in 45 mins so you might as well make the most of your time out the office. You’ll find you’ll come back much more refreshed, energised and be more productive!

What irks you most about the corporate world?

Let me know in the comments,

Love Career Girl xo

Celebrate my Blog Birthday!

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So, it was officially my blog birthday last month – I’ve been M.I.A with the whole blogging thing recently, which does make me sad. Working full-time, living independently and various annoyances in life can often take precedence, draining energy, motivation and time to spend on building this blog and maintaining it.

It’s been a strange, stressful few months and to be honest, I’ve needed endless pick-me-ups, space to reflect, to re-energise and bounce back with my mojo.

With that in mind, here’s my gift to you, a chance to win my mini giveaway to help de-stress, take time out and worship yourself. And if you win? Go make yourself a bubble bath, light a candle and write what your thankful for this month.

My April Mantra is to practice gratitude, be thankful for what you have, who you know and and finding ways to love yourself.

All you need to do is follow & retweet my pinned tweet.

Here’s what’s in the box:

Jo Malone body wash

Kikki K pen and candle

Garnier Facemask

Essie nude nail varnish

T&C: UK entrants only/ Ends midnight 30/4/2018 / Entrants must follow me on Twitter & retweet the pinned tweet to enter/ No cash alternative/ Winner chosen via Twitter (3 days, no response, another winner will be selected)

 

Sorry, we hired a Robot.

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Working 9-5 eh? Have you finished school, survived college, made it through university and landed yourself a dream job that you pinch yourself daily? Think you’re safe and secure? Think again.

Multiple careers

Right now it’s a completely different world to the one your parents or grandparents thrived in. They would have landed themselves a job and have had a lifelong career, until they retired. However, that is no longer the case, merely a distant fantasy. I, like many of my friends, have already had numerous jobs and careers. From retail, hospitality to social media and marketing, today’s corporate culture is ingrained in all ‘millennials’ that there is no such thing as job security. Competition for jobs today is fierce. Job-seekers are impacted by several hurdles, competing with hundreds of other applicants off and online, CV screening software, discrimination, nepotism, the list goes on. But in the not too distant future, we’ll be competing with Robots too.

Are you ready for the Robot Revolution?

Scrap that, whilst it sounds armageddon, the robot revolution and automation stealing people’s jobs is happening as we speak. My current read, which should be yours too, is “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab. It details, amongst other things, the top ten careers that are likely to be affected by the latest innovations that mostly originate from Silicon Valley. And guess what? A psychologist is up there with one of the roles least impacted by the advancements in tech innovation. Hooray!

Will your job survive?

A recent analysis by Cornerstone Capital Group suggests that 7.5m retail jobs – the most common type of job in the country – are at “high risk of computerisation”, with 3.5m cashiers likely to be particularly hard hit, as cited in the Guardian. With driverless cars, Japan’s hotel run solely by Robots, automated checkouts and speech dictation/ AI assistants replacing receptionists and customer service, redundancies will only increase. Although many technology innovations are still in their infancy and somewhat rudimentary, the rate of growth will soon be exponential, making Black Mirror episodes like Metalhead seem scarily plausible.

But what does all this mean for mere job seekers, hustlers and dream chasers now and in the future?! Well, first and foremost we all need to capitalise on what makes us inherently human and unique. When you are next job hunting or interviewing, what skills can only you do? What ideas can you generate and what makes you stand out? Can you be kinder, funnier or produce more thought-provoking content than a Robot?

Our dreams, aspirations, motivations, curiosity, argumentativeness, empathy and consciousness are what set us apart from others, even from generic robots.

At least for now.

 

Love Career Girl xo

Network like a Pro

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Networking is daunting, for sure, especially the first time you go solo. Whether you’ve been roped in to attend an event on behalf of work, been coerced by a friend, want to meet new people or need to build your connections, it does get easier the more practise you have. You don’t have to attend a ‘networking event’ as such, to network, establish connections and land yourself a dream job. From merely chatting to the girl sat next to you at the nail bar, on a night out or within a work situation, there are so many benefits of networking.

It has certainly helped push me out of my comfort zone, helped improve my small talk, presentation skills and increased my confidence. Big glasses of wine also make networking events much more bearable!

Here’s how to master the art of small talk, business card swapping and networking like a pro…

Business cards & LinkedIn

Bring your business cards with you and have LinkedIn at the ready. When swapping business cards with connections you’ve made, remember that quality is better than quantity. Take the extra effort to touch base after the event with a quite note to show your enthusiasm and gratitude. By remembering to connect and message your newly made contact in a friendly and professional manner could lead to you landing your dream job!

Maximise your time

Aim to arrive at the event early, allowing time to quickly freshen up and regain composure. Stay till the end too, if you can. This is a great way to mingle with guests while it’s not too busy and to introduce yourself and chat to the hosts and staff. Don’t stick with the first person you meet, and don’t feel bad about moving to another person or group. It’s important to meet as many people as possible, so make sure you work the room, after politely excusing yourself. If you know in advance who is attending, you can research and prioritise speaking to them.

Start the conversation

Most people don’t enjoy networking events. Many individuals will be nervous, just like you. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there by saying hello to everyone, initiating conversations and being bold enough to join in with groups of people. If you are shy, speak to the organisers who can introduce you to people who are similar to you, or position yourself near the bar/food so that people can come to you.

Confidence

Be confident in yourself. Smile, have a good firm handshake and be comfortable talking about yourself, your job, inspirations and aspirations. Also, be inquisitive about the people you meet, open minded and listen to their stories. Everyone you meet should serve to educate, motivate, challenge and surprise you. You can learn something from everyday encounters with people. Today, whilst volunteering, I heard an incredible story by a lovely lady who was recently held at knife point in her own home, by an intruder and how she coped. It’s so easy these days to stare at your phone and pretend there’s something more interesting, in situations such as networking. However, by putting your phone away, opening up yourself to the people around you and taking the time to listen, appreciate and be emphatic – wonderful energy can be created.

I have attended countless blogging events, networking events and have attended events or occasions solo. I often find it’s better going solo as sometimes, bringing a friend can limit you. Take the leap and challenge yourself to attend some events solo. Attending blogging events have made me meet incredible friends, travelling solo has seriously improved my confidence and attending a networking event landed me an interview!

I hope you enjoyed reading,

Love Career Girl

xo

Create Goals & Smash them

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When the clock struck midnight, turning 2016 to 2017, I bet you reflected on the year past, the ups the downs, the aspirations, the regrets and wanted to make this year your year, right?

If you’re like me, you would have written or voiced all the things you want to learn and achieve this year and master them. But how many of those goals did you stick too? How many resolutions have you achieved and ticked off your list? I’m getting ahead of myself, I know, the year still has 2 months to go before 2018 (a very scary thought as I edge closer and closer to 24!) but time can easily escape us. Those New Years resolutions can seem like a lifetime away and an impossible feat to accomplish but, creating goals and smashing them can be done!

Write down your goals

As I’ve mentioned before, writing down your goals ensures they are much more likely to be achieved than simply voicing them. Each quarter I compile my top five fitness, lifestyle and career goals, which are tick box and achievable. Recently, one of my fitness goals was to master the crow in yoga, and I’m so nearly there!

Vision board

Taking inspiration from Sophie Shohet, it’s so important to visualise your goals as they will seem a lot more achievable. Whether that’s posting a clip of some shoes you love, your dream car, or, the next holiday you want to take, will help inspire and motivate you to take the necessary steps to achieve your plans.

The fox that chases two rabbits catches neither, stay focused. 

Focus on you

With insta-worthy unrealistic imagery filling our daily lives, it’s easy to become blind-sighted by everyone else’s incredible achievements. But realise that no one posts the down days, the teary eyes, or broadcasts the break-ups, the lost jobs or promotes the ugly times. It can become so easy to assume that everyone’s lives are better than yours. That others are happier than you, but everyone has their demons, their struggles and they’re hiccups. It’s all relative. It’s vital to look out rather an introspect. This is your life, use all the negative energy and experience. and turn it into the best thing that ever happened.

Visualise the end goal

The things that are happening in your life right now are just moments in time. You don’t know what the future holds and things can change way beyond your plans allow for. Rome wasn’t built in a day! So take time to appreciate the journey of reaching your goals, exploring you, and the world around you, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Whilst it’s important to visualise your end goal, don’t be afraid to be flexible on the time you reach it.

Be realistic

There are goals in the back of my mind which I know full well can’t be achieved now, or even next year. To save yourself from working towards unachievable goals and setting yourself up for failure, be realistic and think about the goal requirements. Think to yourself, realistically, can it be achieved; what steps do you need to take to ensure it happens, and are other people or processes necessary for it to be fulfilled? Are there any upcoming roadblocks or things that could delay the process? Smaller, tangible steps will help you reach your goals quicker than trying to achieve the unachievable.

Once your easy, tick-box goals are set out, check back often and be sure to reward yourself for smashing them! See what you could achieve if you go and push yourself…

How do you stay motivated? I would love to hear in the comments below,

Love Career Girl.

Redundancy Warning Signs

pexels-photo-346740It’s been over two years since I was made redundant. A lot has changed since then and I’m now working in a sector which I absolutely love. At the time however, it was not a pleasant period. I was at my lowest, already feeling miserable as I was constantly failing my driving test. My gut was telling me at the time that something wasn’t right, but I kept convincing myself of other things. I remember it was a normal working day when I was told in the morning that I was to be made redundant and it’s a strange mix of emotions.

Hearing those words, I just couldn’t face carrying on at work. The news hit me smack in the face. I instantly felt emotionally drained. I had to force myself to contain the tears at work and later, as I was on public transport, until I arrived to the safety of my home where I just cried, and cried, and cried.

After a day of wallowing in my sorrow (not a massive fan of showing my emotions, I prefer to bottle things up!) I decided to re-think a lot of my goals, follow my dreams and bounce back. A week later, with a few interviews lined up, I felt a lot more myself. Eventually I built up my confidence, but losing your job is a frighting experience.

How can you spot the signs and move on before it’s too late? Based on my experience, here’s some warning signs and red flags….

The company is making a loss

If the company is making a severe loss or is in a significant amount of debt, then it;s inevitable that your boss will want to make cost savings and re-adjust budgets. This could be instigating a hiring freeze, stagnating wages, postponing company perks, the list goes on.

Promises aren’t kept

I was promised training and on the job experience, a new laptop, and a pay rise for hard work, all in exchange for an initial low wage. What I received instead was lies, non of the above, and having to lug my laptop to and from work. It’s heart-breaking when you are so eager to learn and work and your dreams are crushed by the reality of a broken promise.

No contract

This is a huge warning sign. Never receiving a signed contract from either party isn’t best practise and doesn’t assure job security. No signed contract shows the company has no commitment to you and can get rid of you at the drop of a hat.

No real job title or job function

I was increasingly being left to fend for myself in the office, even within my first month. It was soul destroying not being given enough work to do. The cognitive dissonance experienced of having a fancy job title which isn’t reflective of your actual day to day activities and responsibilities is frustrating. In this instance I was clearly hired for a role which didn’t really exist, nor was there the scope of work to conduct, especially considering the lack of investment in training and support received. If you are often left alone in the office and spend most afternoons twiddling your thumbs, there’s no place for you.

Reduced contact time with your boss

All these points could be due to other factors, but rarely are, and should be addressed or resolved with your boss. If your boss is acting shady, being elusive and non-committal, it’s time to update you credentials and start job hunting.

With reflection, this was possibly one of the best things that could have happened to me. It allowed me to gain knowledge and experience, re-focus on cementing a career in marketing and I used the redundancy money to pay for a course which further added to my skill set. It was a blessing in disguise, especially when you power on with a positive outlook despite the negative experience.

Have you lost your job? How did you cope and bounce back?

I would love to hear your experience in the comments,

Love Career Giril

What you should consider in your career

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I recently conducted a poll on my Twitter, not the best sample size but interesting non the less, so thank you to all my followers who participated. It’s fascinating to see the results on what people prioritise when job hunting or deciding if a job is beneficial.

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It’s important to follow your heart, but listen to your head too. Your friends may think money is paramount in a new job or career, yet, you may value having a great boss as being just as important. Based on my experiences I like to look at the big picture and see what would benefit me now, and in 5 years time…

Money

Money is incredibly important and unfortunately, it kinda does make the world go around.

It’s important to know your market value. Cost and worth are very different things. All managers and boards want a return on investment, spending the least possible on a new hire. Therefore, if you offer your services too low, it can be harder to get a raise later. When you go job-hunting, it’s vital to do your research on the average salary your role usually pays. Look at the likes of Glassdoor and ask around, as this will establish where you are in terms of salary expectations. Pay can fluctuate based on a multitude of scenarios, such as, location, size of company and other work benefits.

Many people become blind-sighted by London or other cities as they pay more, but fail to realise that the cost of living often increases too! Sometimes roles outside of the bigger cities in reality pay more, with higher chances of better career progression. Always weigh your options against your prioritises now and in the future. Be careful not to sell yourself too short by accepting a salary lower than the going rate, just because you are desperate to be hired. But, go easy on demanding 30k before you’ve walked into the interview, as this can deter employers from hiring you. If you are already in a role, this research and knowledge can help you in negotiating a promotion or raise.

Your Boss

“When analysing the monster, be sure not to become the monster. And, when looking into the abyss, the abyss looks back at you”

I read this quote in “Talking with Psychopaths” by Christopher Berry Dee, but relevant here also. When your future boss interviews you, you should also interview them. You’re going to be working for them for approx. 8 hours everyday. Ask questions, query their intentions, seek their knowledge, insight and grill them. Find out what makes them tick, their goals and expectations of you now and in 6 months time. Find out how they treat their existing staff too, as this speaks volumes.

You must determine if they want to coach you or boss and work you to the bone. Will they mentor and develop you, treat you as an equal, or a piece of shit on the bottom of their shoe. A boss should value you, push you, help you, support you and train you. If they don’t? Leave.

Company Culture

This essentially covers the values, attitudes, support network, ethos and mantra of a company as a whole. It’s often insidious and hard to pin down, but can seriously take a toll on well-being and health. Is there a blame-culture? Do people socialise outside of office hours, collaborate, praise and support one another? Or or they back-stabbing and bitchy?

The list can go on but depending on the boss’s management style, training practises and overall attitude, it can often lead to high staff turnover. Being thrown in at the deep end instead of being properly trained, lack of career progression and no support network can be checked by observing how content the existing staff are. How can you spot this? By asking what their take on holidays, days off and dealing with staff complaints is. What training and career progression opportunities are on offer, to name but a few. But it’s usually a gut feeling more than anything.

Career Progression

It’s great if you can hit the ground running on your first day, but it can be a challenging and stressful period starting a new job. Nerves can play havoc, so it’s essential to have a support network, the opportunity to learn and grow at your own pace and to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. If you are expected to do a job that is outside of your remittance, don’t be afraid to ask for help, training or to go on a course to improve your knowledge and experience. If you are over-worked or dying to take on more work and responsibility, only you can voice it. Push for improvement and appraisals to see what areas you need to develop. Not investing in you, can in the long run be extremely costly for the company. Not promoting you and keeping you in the same role isn’t beneficial to you, your boss or the company either.

Often, the reason people leave a job or career is because of the same old line, feeling overworked and undervalued.

What do you think is most important? I’ve love to hear in the comments below…

Love Career Girl