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 Here are, in my humble opinion, some misconceptions of the corporate world and how to survive in an outdated system: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

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

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