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

 

Learn To Decline Job Offers

garrhet-sampson-178990.jpgSometimes, like me, you end up learning the hard way but I can’t stress enough how important it is to feel comfortable in your choice regarding your career.

Whether you are a graduate or just desperately in need of a new job, you should always think twice about jumping straight into that job that seems too good to be true….

If a job sounds to good to be true…

Don’t be swayed by the pressures of friends and family pushing you into a role, if you feel even a slight bit of unease at the prospect. For a period of time I was working in such a toxic environment that was so horrible, I begin losing sight of what my dream job was, and in my desperation ended up applying to every job that I was alerted to. Learn to take a step back. I didn’t. I applied and interviewed for various roles which were nothing like I imagined or even wanted. When I removed those rose tinted glasses I saw things for what they actually were!

Trust your gut

I once took a shot and applied for a role which I thought was a little out of reach. I didn’t have the experience required. So you can imagine my excitement when I was picked to attend their interview?! It was for a leading Luxe Sportswear brand which I have always adored. I was incredibly naive and was quickly seduced by the immense perks, free clothes, free gym classes, invites to cool events etc, etc. I mean, who wouldn’t turn that down! I was even given the choice in the interview to be promoted to a managerial position, bearing in mind I was a 22 year old graduate! Sadly, the pay was A LOT less than was initially quoted, the free gym classes and events never materialised and those free clothes? I wish! Some were free, however I ended up having to spend almost £200 before I’d even started working… I painted a pretty amazing picture of how unreal this opportunity was to friends and family, some didn’t agree and I wish I had listened. I had a gut feeling from the interview something wasn’t right but convinced my friends, and more so to myself, that this was the best job ever!

Take your time to job hunt!

In another instance I ended up applying for a role which deep down I never wanted. My parents pressured me, knowing how sad and frustrated I was in my current job and only trying to help! I aced the interview and began working there. My initial reservations regarding the establishment turned out to be the tip of the iceberg! Staff morale was rock bottom, poor customer service, rock bottom pay (lowest I have EVER been paid!) combined with a bitchy atmosphere; made me want out. Pronto. Luckily, months later I was free!! The only thing I regret was applying in the first place!

Moral of the story? Trust your gut instinct!

If a job doesn’t feel right, doesn’t sit well and fills you with unease, decline. Even if you can’t pinpoint why you feel that way. Maybe you feel bad vibes from the environment, team or even the interviewer, I urge you to step back, analyse the situation, sleep on it or have a change of scenery to think hard about it. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a role you feel uncomfortable about or let a hiring manager intimidate you into making a decision. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for more time, a contract, more answers etc. before accepting anything!

 

Good Luck!

Love Career Girl

Xo

Bitchy Bosses & Manipulative Managers

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We’ve all had that boss from hell, right?

Many of the horrible bosses I’m about to describe are from personal experience! These individuals have taught me so much – mainly, how not to manage people! The individuals described below have had serious complaints made about them, resulting in eventual dismissal. Rightfully so! However, it is staggering just how many are still in a position of power. Having studied Occupational Psychology & covering aspects of it within my dissertation, I find it interesting, but also slightly depressing!

People may hate their jobs, but hate managers more

I think it’s so true that individuals don’t leave a workforce as such, they leave because of their manager! The results from my own research were alarming, 100% of my participants HATED their job!

In the past I have definitely hated some jobs because of a manager! Sometimes it’s not really their fault as such. Some individuals unfortunately just aren’t born leaders. Incompetent managers seem to be pretty common. Some don’t seem to have a clue how to do their job, others are unable to make a rota a week in advance. Few just don’t command respect, and view work as play and muck about in front of customers, which is incredibly childish, embarrassing and unprofessional. Some managers are plain detrimental to your career and personal well-being!

Bitchy Bosses

I once had a boss called Betty*…. who was a BITCH! Why? In Occupational Psychology we touched on this aptly named concept, coined the ‘Queen Bee’ boss. Having a female boss is probably worse than having a horrible male boss. Possibly (from my experience anyway) because girls are a lot more subtle, shall we say. This particular boss was very charming to individuals, almost too nice, whilst later, gossiping and spreading nasty rumours. Other traits of the ‘Queen Bee’ bitchy boss include being dishonest, micro-managing, manipulative and two-faced.

I have had female bosses shout and scream at individuals for making minor mistakes, which is ironic, considering just how incompetent some managers are. From relying on other staff members to carry out the bulk of the work and later taking credit for it, to manipulating situations to her, or a favoured co-worker’s advantage, all created a toxic atmosphere. This kind of game play and favouritism is unbelievably unhealthy for everyone involved and makes for a very unhappy working environment.

The Machiavellian Manager

Possibly my worst manager, let’s call him Mick* made me cry a number of times! On first impressions this guy was funny, charming and incredible nice. However, as time got on, his mask started to slip. This guy was not only verbally incredibly aggressive, but would swear, shout and publicly mock and humiliate staff members for making minor mistakes. Providing unachievable targets and tasks, and belittling comments can seriously take its toll! At the time I was 17 and incredibly naïve with regards to working life. It sounds silly, but I had no idea you could say ‘no’ to a manager. Whilst still at college I was expected to work shifts at a drop of a hat, although I was already working about 30 + hours a week! This really stressed me out. I remember at one point being called a ‘F@$king Idiot’… amongst other things! A barrage of insults and accumulating incidents eventually plunged my self-esteem to rock bottom. Turn outs this manager got fired with immediate effect.

Karma’s a Bitch.

If you have ever encountered similar treatment, I would love to hear from you. This kind of behaviour doesn’t happen everywhere, there are good people out there. I have met and worked for the most charismatic, honest, trustworthy, hardworking, capable and inspirational managers too. If you can get out of toxic environments, I urge you to do so. The stress, pressure and borderline depression which can occur from nasty bosses and situations can take a toll on health and well-being and it’s really not worth it. From now on, I vow never to tolerate a bitchy, manipulative toxic manager!

 

*These names have been altered to protect the individuals concerned. Many of these names are an accumulation of attributes from several different bosses. Also check out journal articles on ‘queen bee’ bosses!