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March 12, 2018 - No Comments!

I’ve achieved a life long career goal. Will you?

A (self indulgent) post about achieving life long career goals...

In 1996 I was too scared to choose A-level English Literature at Sixth Form College. I had zero confidence in my ability to understand academic texts or write something half decent. I wish I'd been braver. Fast forward twenty (ish!) years and my research paper exploring how career coaching helps improve work life balance is published in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring!

Read it here: Career Coaching and Work life balance

It took hard work, passion and determination. It involved learning new things, making mistakes and having a go. But enough about me!

If you'd like help in achieving your career goals or would like to improve work life balance I'd love to have a chat.

Dream big. Be bold. Keep growing.

March 1, 2017 - No Comments!

Find your career happiness with me in Leyton!

Saturday 22nd April 2017

Two workshops: 10am - 1pm or 2pm - 5pm
Location: Host of Leyton, 658 High Road Leyton E10 6JP

£35 or £30 if you book before 31st March.

Are you looking to make a change to your work life but don’t know where to start? Has having children changed your work priorities? Is it a while since your last job? Do you want a better balance between home and work? If you’re at a turning point and looking for support in moving forward this workshop is for you!

What will we do?

We’ll reflect, explore and clarify. This interactive workshop will use professional career tools
and exercises to help you think about your situation and aspirations in a fresh way.
This is about deciding what comes next on your own terms. We’ll also consider the realities
of change, the obstacles you might face and open up your thinking to new possibilities.

What will it be like?

It will be friendly, supportive and empowering! It will also be interactive - you’ll work
alongside other local women who are in the same boat (max. 15 per session).

What will you gain?

You’ll leave the session with a clearer idea of what you really want from your working life and how to get it.

Contact me to book your place:

February 20, 2017 - No Comments!

Is being liked at work vital for career success?

A year or so ago, I remember having coffee with a friend who was unhappy at work. She was clashing horns with a tough client and wanted more support from her team. She described meetings when she felt her team just didn’t have her back.

I asked about how her team got on in general, beyond the actual work. Does she know much about them? Who they are, what they like to do at the weekends? She said looked a little confused and said “No, not really.”

When I asked her why, her response was this: “I was told years ago not to be too friendly with people at the office. It’s not professional, I just want to get my head down and work.”

This came up again more recently with Jess* a coaching client. She came to me for help coming to terms with a recent redundancy. Jess felt angry and confused about losing her job and believed she had performed well in her role. She couldn’t understand why she hadn’t been valued more by her boss.

We dug deeper.

I asked how positive her work relationships were. And it started to make sense to Jess. She discovered that at work she came across as closed, disinterested in her colleagues as people and didn’t really interact. This lack of connection seemed to link directly to her co-workers not understanding her; how well she did her job, who she was. And even when they did understand - it was all one sided, she wasn’t well liked by her colleagues so…no one fought to save her. Ouch.

Invest in your likeability

In both instances, Jess and my friend shared a belief that may have been their undoing. They believed that making a conscious effort to raise their likeability at work would lower their perceived competency and professionalism.
But hang on, study after study proves that we’d rather work with someone nice and slightly incompetent, versus someone we don’t really know/like who is very good at their job.
Ideally, you already have that magical combination of being incredibly well liked and brilliant at your job! But if there’s room for improvement, here are a couple of interesting articles that suggest likeability should become part of your career success strategy.

Research findings - Key to good team work - be nice!

Google spent years researching hundreds of their teams to identify and understand what it takes to create a successful, happy and productive workforce. The conclusion… being nice.
But what is it that makes us like someone at work?

Article - How people judge you

Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist says trust and respect are key. People see these in two ways, through your warmth and competence. In her research she also found most people, especially at work, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, it proves that they are talented and skilled enough to do the work. But in fact, warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate your likeability and value as a colleague.

Cosmopolitan - Work friends could be key to career success

Some great reasons here why we are happier and do better work when we have some work pals.
So ask yourself, are you likeable? Are you friendly? Are you making an effort to get to know people?

Most important: Do you think people understand what you do and why it’s important to your company?

If not, maybe its time to make a brew for your team and have a good ‘ol chin wag.

*not her real name.

January 23, 2017 - No Comments!

Stay or go? How to decide if it’s time for a new job…or not.

We’ve all been there, slumped over our desks, checking the clock (and facebook) hoping time will somehow speed up.

Your latest project is boring. You hate your clients. The hours are loooong. This. Job. Is. Rubbish.

So you think to yourself, “Argh, if I’m this unhappy, I should just hand my notice in.”

But then you start to hear lots of voices all saying different things, “Should I leave? No! I can’t because the salary/commute/colleagues are great. I have to stay. But I hate it?!”

You feel overloaded and overwhelmed and.. end up stuck.

In these situations it can sometimes help to have a little outside support to become clearer on if and when you should leave your job soo… hi!

When you should leave:

Okay, first off, there is no one size fits all answer to this decision but there are a few clues that you shouldn’t disregard:

If you are in danger of damaging your professional/work reputation because you are so unhappy.
If you would rather do anything else then go to work (even the dentist appeals!).
If you honestly believe and can back up it up objectively that everyone else’s needs are being met ahead of your own.
If your health or home life is being negatively impacted long term by this job.

Then it’s time to move on. A fab salary and cushy commute are not worth staying in a job that’s killing you.  Now, the best way to move is to have another job lined up and make a smooth, pain free transition… but realistically this isn’t always possible.

Think carefully about what you will do with yourself if you do decide to email over your resignation letter.

Will you survive financially for a bit? Have you got any savings? What’s going on in the industry at the moment? What connections do you have to help get that new job? You need to brainstorm and look at the bigger picture before doing anything rash and reactive.

And ask yourself… what will get worse if you stay?

Quick exercise:

Grab a pen and paper and let’s work out where you are and what’s getting worse in your life. Think about where you were 2 years ago, 1 year ago, and today and do a comparison of what has changed for the better and the worse and then decide if your job is the main reason why life is crap and getting crapper. If you can’t really remember, ask a friend, and ask them to remember for you.  What do they think has changed for the better (and the worse) in the last year or two?

You may realise this job is never going to be good for you personally or professionally going forward. If this is the case, walk out of the door and take a big deep breath of relief.

Sometimes that might mean taking time off or taking ANY other job because until you have that distance its hard to think clearly about the future. In todays market having one or two jobs that are stepping stones on your CV are not career killers. As long as it isn’t a long term pattern its fine to take some time and coast for a while.

When you should stay:

Staying in a bad job can be both easier and harder then leaving. Some good questions to ask when deciding whether or not to stay are:

Did I ever feel excited about this job? If so – could I make any changes that would re-energise me?
Am I financially in such a tough place I can’t go without regular income?
Is there something I can learn here that would benefit my career long term that might justify staying?
Is this just a bad patch?

If you answer yes to any of the above then think about staying a little longer and creating a plan. A plan can make a terrible short-term situation suddenly bearable.

Get a plan and give yourself a deadline.

If money is the issue then start looking for new work straight away. Try and talk to someone new in your network and research the companies that excite and interest you.

If you are staying because there is something else to learn, build a timeline for that and stick to it.  Your priority now is to shape and take small steps to improve your career path…however you define that.

Ultimately, the days are long but life is short! Don’t waste time doing something that isn’t fulfilling; direct your time and energy towards finding career happiness.

Feel like you still need more help? Get in touch to find out how career coaching can help you achieve career success.

January 3, 2017 - 1 comment.

2017: Make it a career smasher!

Are you dreading going back to work after the festive break?
Did you fight the urge to hide in the loos at your work Xmas party?
Maybe a career change crossed your mind whilst tucking into a selection box.

A new year brings new possibilities, opportunities and relationships.

Your work should be satisfying, meaningful and enjoyable. If you’re not quite there you might like to try my 5 simple career steps below as we move into 2017.

1. Take time to reflect

Think about the work you did over the past year and answer these questions honestly.

  • What went well for you?
  • What didn’t?
  • Are you satisfied with your job?
  • If not, why not?
  • What could have been improved?
  • What would you like to remove from your day-to-day?
  • What would you like to do more of?
  • What was your best moment?
  • Did you achieve what you wanted to at work in 2016, if not why not?
2. Dream big and define your future vision

If you can see it you can achieve it! Two great questions to think about are:

  • If you could do anything, what would you do?
  • At the end of next year, what will you have had to achieve to feel extremely satisfied with the outcome of your year?

Say your career dreams out loud. To yourself if you're feeling shy to start with, to friends at dinner, to an ex colleague who’s asking what you're doing now.

Saying dreams out loud creates a motivational psychological shift that can help you to start making them reality. Also, you might be surprised at how positively people respond on hearing your true career dreams.

3. Make and achieve goals

Goal setting is so important when it comes to your career but can feel scary. Without a goal, you will be unsure of what you are going after and find yourself wasting time, energy and losing motivation.

A clear goal is one that is tangible and achievable. It has a start, a finish and a time frame that allow you to make progress.

It shouldn’t be huge. Celebrate achieving even the smallest of goals.

4. Find a 2017 career pal

Goal achievement is not always something you have to do on your own. Are you doing what you said you would do? If you have a pal to accompany your career goal journey, you are more likely to complete your action items as promised. They must have your best interests at heart, be honest and most importantly want you to succeed.

Disclosure: For small goals my buddy is my Mum. It’s not for everyone…but it works for me!

5. For trickier career stages – find a professional

My mum’s great and all but the non-judgmental, positive support of my career coach is invaluable for helping me navigate more complex career issues.

If you want to read more about how career coaching can help you then take a peep here:

It's easy to drift year to year without giving proper thought to what you truly wish to achieve career wise. I'd love to have a conversation about how I can help you make 2017 a career smasher.

Happy New Year!