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Are you in the right job?

Are you in the right job?

Most people fall into their careers purely by accident.  Suddenly they get to a stage in their lives when they think “how did I get here? And “how did I end up doing this?”  More often than not, it isn’t what they really wanted to do in the first place and it seems almost impossible to think about doing something else now.  So they continue along the path they were on at the risk of becoming more and more dissatisfied with their own career choice. Could this be you?

What is important to remember, is YOU choose your career direction – it is not made for you it is created by you. Everything you have done until this very moment, whether it has been a conscious or unconscious decision, has been your decision. The biggest and bravest decision to make now is whether to continue on this path or take a different direction.

How to find out if you are in the right job

Ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

  1. If all jobs paid the same, what job would I do?
  2. If I knew I couldn’t fail, what job would I do?
  3. If I was given a magic wand and could create the job of my dreams, what would it be?

What do your answers say to you?

If you are doing a job that really interests, motivates and inspires you, not only will you enjoy it and feel happier than you ever have, but you will ultimately become a success!  Studies show that success does not necessarily translate in to financial reward (thought it’s always nice!) but is about doing something you enjoy, that gives you a sense of satisfaction and personal reward.

If your answers are indicating you are not doing something you want to do and you would like to do something different, well, why not start exploring what that might look like and think about how you can achieve it? So, are you in the right job?

Career Coaching is about helping people to explore their transferable skills and identify what motivates them.  It’s about exploring all the options and eliminating many of the barriers preventing them from realizing their career potential.

Here’s another little exercise you can try for yourself. Draw a line on a piece of paper with your date of birth at the start and your estimated year of death (without getting morbid!) at the end. You have now created your ‘personal life line’.

Now mark an “X” to show where you are now.  How far along the line is the “X”? Consider, what you have achieved until now and think about how much time has passed? What jobs have you done?  What did you enjoy and what were your successes?

Next, look at what remains on the right of the “X”.  Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve?  How much time do you have to achieve that?  If your earlier answers to the 3 questions indicated you’re not doing a job that really makes you happy, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what you would like to do and how you might be able to achieve it.

Career Coaching is not an overnight fix, and magic wands are in short supply.  However, if you really want to change, so you are in the right job – you can.  You are in control of your own career and ultimately you can always change direction.

“If you do not change the direction in which you are going, you will end up where you are headed” – Confucius

Thank you to Karen Munro, Career Coach in the SMP Solutions team for providing this blog.

SELF EMPLOYMENT – STARTING OVER AGAIN

Self-Starting Again

According to Barclays Bank 81% of entrepreneurs said they are happier now in self employment than when they were employed.  The same survey reveals that 71% were more optimistic, 63% were busier, 54% were more relaxed but that only 30% were better off than when employed.  The remaining 70% were obviously feeling the effects of losing their corporate packages or their businesses are still getting established and maybe in the process of building a business base.

When asked why they wanted to start their own businesses 44% said they wanted to build a big successful business, while 47% wanted to continue earning a living.  The final 9% wanted to either supplement their existing income or wanted to create a secondary income. The source for these figures is from the Barclays Bank website dated of 25 September 2014. 100% chose to start again.  They chose self employment to take control of their own career and life, be in the driving seat and put themselves and their families first. Look again at that impressive 81% who said they are happier now.  Could that be because they have re-modelled their work/life balance themselves?

Become a Free Agent

Maybe you are reading this because you have had enough of the corporate world, working for a large institution, working for other people’s visions and dreams or you might be facing or recently experienced redundancy? Either way, you have decided to take a long hard look at your working life and are keen to make changes. If so, you could become a free agent! With self employment you can be your own boss, take control, and have choice and the final say in what you do for a living, when you do it and how you do it.

Not everyone is an entrepreneur in the Dragons Den sense of the word. Not everyone wants to invent the next generation of vacuum cleaner or start their own airline.  However, self employment allows you to direct your talents to fulfil your life plans.  In the 21st century digital age, many skilled professionals opt for the simplest and most cost effective option of self employment i.e. to sell their expertise to individuals and / or organisations online or develop a service based business from home with a desk, computer and mobile technology. Having minimal overheads and maximum flexibility, rather than expensive office premises when you are starting out, is an attractive proposition. This means you keep the majority of the income you make, so it becomes much easier to start making a profit and a reasonable living.

Self Employment – Success Before You Start Up

Success Before You Start Up Book Cover

Despite all the positive statistics from Barclays, most businesses fail in their first two years of trading. Why is this? Because the business owner hasn’t done their homework. ‘Self employment seemed like a good idea at the time’ doesn’t wash if you haven’t thought things through properly, does it?  It is remarkable how often we come across people who haven’t done the basics such as:

  • Considered why you want to start a business i.e. what is the purpose and what are your goals?
  • Researched the market and the competition
  • Established whether there is a need or demand for your product, service or business idea
  • Developed any sort of business plan
  • Thought about how best to get your product or message across to make sales or earn income
  • Evaluated whether the business can make money

Passion is great but don’t overlook the essentials

It is great to have passion for what you do, as people buy people and your passion can become infectious. However, all too often, new business owners get carried away by the excitement of setting up their business and the passion for their products or services and overlook the reality that passion alone is not enough to create a successful business. Self employment means there is much hard graft to be done to ‘get out there’, network and sell and market yourself and your business like crazy both online and offline! There are many other considerations e.g.

  • Do you want to work alone?
  • In collaboration with others?
  • Employ a small team? If so where will you be based and how much can you afford in salaries, rent, rates and other overheads
  • Have you worked through how much you need to sell or income you need to generate to achieve your desired business and life goals?
  • Who will do the key administration and financial tasks?
  • Should you be vat registered?

Depending on what you do in your business and who you work with, you also have different options for setting up your business as a Sole Trader, Limited Company or Partnership. The first steps in any of these approaches are the same and it is very easy, once you know how to go about this but it makes sense to get good advice before you start trading.

Self Employment – Making it happen

Self-employment or starting up your own company can be hugely rewarding as the Barclays statistics highlight. It has never been easier than now to set up and start a business. If you would like practical help to set you on the right path to becoming self-employed then please contact us as wouldn’t it be great to start off on the right footing, so you really can enjoy the fruits of your labour and become one of the 81% who are happier now than when they were employed?

www.smp-solutions.co.uk

Photo – Everest at dawn courtesy of David Smith

Discover your Favourite Blend of Portfolio Work and Lifestyle

How many times have you heard this cliché -‘work/life balance’? It seems that all manner of professionals use this term to describe what you can aspire to achieve in your life. However, in today’s fast-paced world, do you actually reach your goal, as you attempt to balance your work and lifestyle?

Do you struggle with the vision of what balance actually means?

When you picture a set of scales what do you see – balance or imbalance? As soon as you add the slightest weight to one side of the scales you upset the balance. One side will weigh down the other. In your mind, as you strive to bring about balance in your work and life, do your scales almost immediately become outweighed on one side?

Does the term ‘balance’ set the highest benchmark as being a state of perfection?

We all know that even with the best will and intention, achieving a perfect work/life balance is unlikely. Life happens. Work happens. Challenges, diversions and situations take place. That’s the real world. Are you expecting too much of yourself as you aim for the perfect balance, in other words, are you setting yourself an unrealistic and unattainable goal?

Wouldn’t you prefer to bring about a better sense of unity in your work and life? 

Or rather blend what you do. Consider the word blend. To blend evokes a new meaning; one where you can mix your work and lifestyle together. In one way, blending softens the idea of having to achieve a perfect balance, don’t you think? Blending negates the need for a defined edge or boundary. Instead it says to merge or combine.

Does blending encourage you to change your perspective about how your work and lifestyle can complement one another?

Together with living in a fast-paced world, the changing world of work is moving at a rapid pace as well. With growing numbers of people embracing portfolio careers and lifestyles, the concept of blending is becoming more and more apparent. A portfolio approach allows you to create a working lifestyle which clearly resonates with the term ‘blending’. A working portfolio lifestyle is a blend of work and living, where you can combine what you do with how you choose to live your life. Blend says together, combination, and where two separates become one.

Throw away the scales in your work and life. Change your perspective from balance to blendSet yourself a new challenge – to discover your favourite blend of portfolio work and lifestyle!

For more ways to develop your portfolio career and lifestyle please take a look at our Career and People Development website

 

 

The 100k Mindset

Changing the 100k Mindset

No, I don’t mean, you should change the way you think about earning 100k, if that is a goal you wish to aspire to. There is nothing wrong with this if it is right for you for all the right reasons. What I do mean is to change your thinking around the work you do to ensure you lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Why? Because 100k hours is the average time people spend working, commuting and involved with work related activities, including thinking about work, during their life. This suddenly becomes a seriously scary number, don’t you think? How many more waking hours does that means that mean you will be at work, doing your job, day in, day out…

Now ask yourself: Am I happy doing the job I’m doing? Is my job the best reason why I get out of bed everyday? Do I love what I am doing?

Most research shows around fifty percent of working adults in the UK and US are unhappy in their jobs and are looking for a more rewarding career. Many cite boredom, bullying, lack of career prospects, lack of training and development and not being valued as some of the key reasons why they are unhappy.

Are you one of the unhappy 50%?

If you are unhappy in your career consider the prospect of continuing to work for 100K hours in your current role. How does that make you feel? Chances are that you will experience these symptoms on a regular basis:

  • Panic on a Sunday evening about having to go to work on Monday morning
  • Dread on a Monday morning because you don’t want to go to work
  • Worry and restlessness at work from Monday to Friday because you simply don’t want to be there
  • Ignoring the little voice inside your head saying “It’s time to change”

Recognise yourself?

Lebanese philosopher, Kahlil Gibran quotes: “If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work”. When we look at the high level of unhappiness among working adults in the UK and US, this quote rings so true. Instead of getting paid to be unhappy, why not listen to that little voice inside your head and bring about change in your work and life?

Take control of your career, by changing what you do, and get paid to be happy!

That’s all good and well you say, especially at a time in the economy where household budgets are strained due to the rising cost of living. Is now the ideal time to change your career? Why not grin and bear it, remain unhappy, and receive your salary at the end of each month?

Reflect on the 100k hours of work statistic. Do you honestly want to spend that length of time in a constant state of unhappiness? Life is too short and there are so many amazing alternatives. Scared to take a leap of faith? The only way you will change how you feel about your work or career is to have the courage to follow your heart. Perhaps it’s a change of scenery, people or time for you to embrace something in your life you are truly passionate about. This can be your opportune moment to realise a lifetime ambition, and to give yourself a chance to love what you do.

Walk away from your unhappiness.

It’s up to you to create an escape plan and to break free of the tedium. You have the choice to do this. But what about your financial situation when you give up your well paid salary? Many people who are dissatisfied, disillusioned and unproductive at work are those who earn the most money. In contrast for many of the individuals I have worked with, who have taken a leap of faith and discovered happiness in their work and career, it’s not about the money. Happiness, purpose and fulfilment far outweigh the big pay cheque at the end of the month. Why? Because these people are now doing what they love.

So how can you move from unhappiness to happiness in your career? Take a high dose of self belief, say to yourself ‘Now is my time to do what I love’, and just do it!

Just think what you can do with the gift of 86400 seconds (one day) to get started on your road to happiness.  How do you feel about 100k now? Is 100k suddenly less appealing? Are you ready to change your mindset and take the leap of faith to doing work you love, as if not now when?

If this all sounds like a bridge too far, then you don’t have to make your change alone. Working with a career coach can help keep you focused, motivated and on track to achieve your ultimate goal. Maybe now 100k could take on a new meaning for you, don’t you think?

If you need help to change your career mindset check out our website for more information.

So you want to change your job or career?

The longer you have been in a job the harder making the break is likely to be.

Times have changed as there are no ‘jobs for life’.  It is accepted people will change jobs every few years. You should not view this as a negative but a positive sign of improving yourself.

It is likely most of us, including those looking for graduate jobs, will change professions multiple times in our working lives. This is much more challenging than changing jobs as successful career change involves key decisions about what is important to you in your life and your career.

Self awareness is the start point for change!

An honest review of your situation i.e. what needs to change and why?

  1. Identify your reasons – What is wrong and why are you thinking about changing jobs?
    • Is it the company you work for – maybe the culture or ethos no longer matches your way of thinking or working?
    • The job you are employed in – are you are unhappy with the work you are doing, lack of challenge, bored or stuck in a rut?
    • Do you feel that you are being taken advantage of, are not getting the recognition you deserve or maximising your full potential?
    • Are you are looking to take a step up the ladder but can’t see the way forward?
    • Maybe you have gained all the experience possible and now wish to broaden this in a new environment?
    • Do you need or want to earn more money?
    • You feel you need a complete change?
    • Are you are no longer getting the enjoyment, buzz or job satisfaction that you used to?
    • Is your work-life balance all wrong?
    • Are you are fed up commuting or maybe wish to relocate?
    • Do you no longer look forward to going to work and are generally unhappy?
    • You have even started thinking about setting up your own business?
  1. Is it the company, job or your career that needs changing?

  • By addressing the questions in point 1, you should be in a much better position to determine what is wrong and even more importantly why you need to change, as this is the emotional driver, which prompts action!

Right Company – Wrong Job

You like the company you work for and have no real desire to leave. However, you feel trapped and promotion or opportunities to diversify into other roles within the company are passing you by.

What are your Options?

  • You should take the bull by the horns and discuss this with your boss
  • Invariably an informal chat works best
  • Stress you are very happy working for the company but wish to maximize your skills and move into a new challenge to mutual benefit
  • It may not be possible to change jobs in the timescale you are aspiring to, if so you have a decision to make
  • Keep an open mind and you can start looking elsewhere to test the market whilst you decide.

If your boss or company really value you it may prompt them to find or create a new position. If not, keep your options open as what have you got to lose?

Wrong Company – Right Job

You love your job but feel that the company is going in a different direction.

What are your Options?

  • Focus on finding the right job but with a company you feel you will enjoy working for
  • You can afford to bide your time to get it right
  • Start looking at recruitment sites, newspapers, magazines, trade journals and putting out feelers among your contacts
  • Networking invariably pays dividends, especially if you are known to be an expert or up and coming high flyer in your field

Wrong Company – Wrong Job

If you have come to the realisation both are wrong, you really need to do something to rectify your situation.

Like many people you may have ‘fallen into your job’ without any real planning and have had a big shift in your value set.

What is holding you back?

If you are at odds with your value set you will never be happy or fulfilled in your job. In order to change, you must change.

You may know things need to change but have buried your head in the sand, hoping the problem will go away. It is all too easy to stay in your comfort zone getting your regular salary and not have to face the problem, especially if you are paid well and finance is important to you.

Is it fear?  Maybe fear of the unknown or fear of failure?

3. What are the consequences of not changing job or career?

  • If your values are out of tune with the company or sector things can only get worse, as values are what we hold dear
  • You become the ‘victim’, often resulting in extreme frustration and anger taking over, becoming damaging for yourself and those around you
  • Negativity can consume your life
  • You spend your time constantly wondering what if’ but never daring to come out of your comfort zone and take that crucial ‘leap of faith’
  • Settling for the easy compromise option, starting to ‘vegetate’ and conditioning yourself to a life of boredom, without ever having to think about the unthinkable alternatives!
  • Above all else – never realising your full potential!

4. Do you recognise yourself in one of these categories?

If so, why be unhappy and continue to do something that you don’t enjoy or that is no longer right for you? You are unlikely to achieve anything significant in your life unless you challenge yourself and take yourself out of your comfort zone!

5. What stage are you at?

You are likely to be at one of 3 stages:

a) You know exactly what you want to do and how to go about it

b) You know what you really want to do but don’t have the courage to change

c) You are looking for a complete change but have no idea how to achieve this

6. How should you move forward?

  • Take action and start the process now as doing nothing is not an option!
  • If you are at stage a – go for it and start making your changes now!  – Maybe consider other Accountancy jobs?
  • If you are at stage b or c – enlist the help of a Career Coach to help you unlock your potential and achieve the job or career you really want
  • Invest in yourself and your future to take control of your life and your career!

If you want to know more about developing your career visit our Career & Personal Development website

Portfolio Career – It’s your CHOICE!

  • Lots of ideas and options but unsure how to choose?
  • Do you love variety and differing challenges?

If so, a portfolio career could be for you!

What is a Portfolio Career?

Employment specialists have predicted for many years that work will become less structured and secure in the future and that we will face constant change in our working lives. This is definitely proving to be true and the portfolio career is now becoming an accepted alternative working lifestyle.

To be in control of your own career now means looking at alternative ways of working. To stay employable in the future you will need to adapt to new roles, acquire new skills and master new ways of building a career.

  • A portfolio career is one where you have an income from a number of sources
  • Perhaps a number of jobs
  • A job and a business
  • Any combination of activities and skills
  • A portfolio career may consist of different working arrangements at different times
  • Rather than working for one company you take on various projects and cultivate several clients
  • A successful Portfolio Career fits together bits of work in our life to form a balanced whole
  • It could typically include periods of employment through short term contracts e.g. project work, temporary or interim work, part-time work perhaps combined with self employment, working from home and even voluntary work
  • Basically anything and everything you want it to be to achieve your desired work-life balance and income requirements!

In order to pursue a Portfolio Career, you must be willing to risk personal change.

Some of the PROS and CONS of Having a Portfolio Career:

The PROS:

  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Change
  • Autonomy (being in control)
  • Excitement
  • Achievement
  • Development of expertise and many skills
  • Personal Freedom & Personal Growth
  • Pleasure doing what you like
  • Risk Taking
  • Variety
  • Fast Pace
  • Leisure Time
  • Money
  • Emotional Health
  • Meaning
  • Continual Learning

If these appeal then maybe a portfolio career is a possibility

The CONS:

  • Risk
  • Change
  • Lack of Stability
  • Overwhelming when deadlines overlap
  • Fast pace
  • Lack of leisure time
  • Lack of money (or financial stability)
  • Pressure
  • Other people’s opinions
  • Lack of company benefits
  • Lack of a regular routine

If these are considered negative, you may need to reframe some of your thinking before considering a Portfolio Career

Starting a small business doesn’t have to be an all or nothing enterprise. You can develop into a number of areas and stretch yourself and really maximise your skill set. Most businesses naturally evolve and having a portfolio career arguably makes this easier.

Benefits of a Portfolio Career

  • Having a range of items in your portfolio gives you security
  • If one of them goes there are always others to fall back on
  • Great if you want to achieve more money, more freedom, more variety and more flexibility in your life
  • Extends your contact network and gives you the opportunity to develop new skills
  • Each piece of work you do adds to your portfolio of skills and experience which you can use to attract more work
  • Above all else – CHOICE!!!!!!!

To become a portfolio person, it means not thinking in terms of having or not having a job. Instead, taking control of your life, making flexibility the key and developing a portfolio of skills and activities either for sale or for voluntary work.

How Do I get a Portfolio Career?

Firstly, identify skills and traits that you could sell to form a potential portfolio career that could work for you. Things to consider:

  1. What motivates you?
  2. Work you enjoy e.g. – driving, painting, communicating, making things:
  3. What career(s) would you like to try, if you knew that you wouldn’t have to do it forever or on a full-time basis?
  4. Any ideas that you have for a home-based or small business, but have not felt would support you full time?
  5. Your skills and talents/ what do you have that others might pay for?
  6. Your major accomplishments

Balancing your portfolio:

  • The balance of your portfolio is likely to change at different periods in your life
  • A portfolio career may consist of different working arrangements at different times
  • If your career strands fail to provide you with everything you need you may decide to broaden your range of activities
  • However, at certain times, one strand may become all consuming
  • Caution – don’t try to take on too many different/new career strands at the same time!!.

If you have had enough of the corporate world or public sector bureaucracy or generally being an employee then maybe this could be the right career move for you. The good news is that self employment or developing a new career does not have to be about doing just one thing!

Can you imagine what it would be like to be in control of your career and working lifestyle? You are just one step away from developing your portfolio career of CHOICE and how good would that feel??

Moving from Over 40 and Unemployed to Over 40 and Hired!

Redundancy – Evaluating Your Options

There has been much media attention lately regarding the ‘mature’ unemployed population both in the UK, USA and Western Europe.

The recent Panorama programme on the BBC showcased the stories of a number of over fifty unemployed professionals who were finding it tough to get back into employment.

We can all empathise with their situations and many people like them. However, it was painfully obvious why some of them were not making any progress finding their next job or career move. That said it is never easy, especially if you have never experienced redundancy or been unemployed.

The reality is that anything is possible. There is a definite process to achieving successful career transition, which will work for you as long as you believe it, navigate the right path and take positive action!

Top 30 tips for older professionals to win through redundancy

1.       The most important consideration is MINDSET – ‘You are what you think and feel’!

2.       You must ‘let go’ and look forward – turn the potential threat into an opportunity

3.       Learn from the past to help you move forward

4.       If you believe that you are washed up at 40 or 50 and won’t get another job then this is what is likely to happen unless you change your thinking

5.       You are never too old. If you are open to change, thinking differently, being opportunistic  and taking control of your career then anything is possible

6.       Your language is key and will speak volumes about your mindset – be aware of the power of what you say, how you say it and to whom

7.       Don’t bang on about ‘being redundant’ and  how badly your employer or the world is treating you

8.       Instead, work hard to project a positive image and tell people you’re ‘between jobs and looking for new opportunities’ and show initiative

9.       You must believe that people genuinely want to help you but you need to help them

10.   People will want to help but only if you are positive and upbeat, as most people have enough baggage of their own!

11.   Surround yourself with positive people to boost you up -investing in a career coach can make the difference in how quickly you move forward and act as a catalyst for change

12.   There is a definite process to achieve successful career transition and your next career move

13.   Learn to embrace our SMP Career Navigation Cycle for a greater chance of success

14.   Before you start firing off your CV, start by re-evaluating  what is important to you in your life and career;  values, motivators, passions, interests

15.   Establish your true marketability – not just your skills but attributes, attitude, knowledge base, networks and achievements

16.   Take time out for a break and to clear your head but be wary of taking a few months off as it is important to ‘get back on the horse’ as soon as possible and not to lose self discipline

17.   Treat your job search like a project , looking to achieve ‘small wins’ along the way

18.   As with any project, you need to review what is working and what isn’t and be open to change and cease any activities that are not helping you move towards your end goal

19.   ‘If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you’ve always got’

20.   Think outside of the box – circumnavigate the recruitment process by looking  to create opportunities

21.   If 80% of jobs are never advertised in the public domain then learn to spend 80% of your time looking to tap into the ‘hidden job market’  rather than throwing yourself in with all the competition chasing advertised vacancies

22.   Develop your networks and make them work for you both online and offline

23.   Social media / networks have changed the face of how we live and job search – ‘you have to be in it to win it’!

24.   Consider setting up a businesses of your own utilising all your career and life skills, tapping into your passions and interests

25.   Plug the learning gaps and re-skill where necessary to make you more marketable

26.   Reframe your thinking – maybe it is time to consider ‘generating income’ rather than ‘having a job’

27.   Developing a ‘Portfolio Career’ where you earn income from a variety of different activities  using a range of skills is often a great way to achieve a fulfilling life style

28.   If you are thinking about doing something new but want to try it out first before you decide, volunteering  or work shadowing are great ways to dip a toe in the water to see if it’s right for you

29.   Develop yourself, build your confidence and self belief

30.   Take positive action to make your goal come true!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website

Check out our MD Steve Preston’s internationally acclaimed book Winning Through Redundancy – 6 steps to navigate your way to a brighter future. This may help to transform your career and life!

Guide to Work Survival Skills

These days it is not enough to just think about the skills that you need to compete and get you ahead in the workplace, if you are really forward thinking, you will also think about the skills to survive the workplace.

This may sound negative but with businesses going through constant change, retsructiring, downsizing, takeovers and mergers, it pays to understand the survival game, as it is ‘a jungle out there’!

It is generally agreed that there are 10 essentials of a survival kit:

A map of the area you will be in, a compass, a flashlight, sunglasses, extra food and water, extra clothing, waterproof matches, fire starters, a pocket knife and a first aid kit. All things being equal, this kit should allow you to survive in many settings.

Consider your workplace survival in the same light. Knowing and understanding your environment and what pitfalls you’re likely to encounter puts you ahead of the game. Learning by experience is a big part of the job, and it is inventibleby the way most people find out.

To help you along the way, here are a few pointers to help you avoid avoid the snakes and losing your way in the jungle, to survive in the workplace!

Commercial awareness – for this read company politics!

Appreciation of workplace culture and being effective in the organisational environment. This knowledge is often gained through ‘water cooler talk’!

Willingness to learn and continue learning – You are on a short fuse if you show no interest in learning new skills in a changing environment

Managing time / Planning & prioritising workload – with flatter structures, most workloads are getting greater so how well you can ‘juggle lots of balls’ is key

Working to deadlines / coping with stress – says it all!

Accepting responsibility – passing the buck and abdicating doesn’t wash

Meeting goals – If you have set goals then it’s important to achieve

Implementing decisions – If you have made decisions or they have been made for you, then put them into action!

Attending to details – Procrastination and sloppy work doesn’t cut

Demonstrating punctuality, reliability & commitment

Computer skills – you don’t need to be a wizard but need to know enough to be effective in your job

Ability to work as part of a team/s or under own initiative and re-adjust your role – being able to work both as part of a team or autonomously definitely helps

Flexibility/adaptability to respond to, pre-empt and lead change

Finally, demonstrating these 6 ‘self’s’

shouting about your successes on your behalf, (unless you are very fortunate) you have to raise your success profile yourself, which is something most people struggle with but could keep you in a job!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website

Guide to the ‘Velvet Rut’

What is the Velvet Rut?

The ‘Velvet Rut’ is where you find yourself in an unfulfilling job in which you are not learning anything new, not using the full extent of your skills and are just bored stiff.

You probably disconnected several months ago and are now just going through the motions. The work is no longer stretching. You can do most of it with your eyes closed so you are unlikely to get fired for poor performance.

Your level of competence and familiarity with the job means that, while it is not exciting, it isn’t scary either. You are pretty much marking time. The difference between the ‘Velvet Rut’ and any normal rut, is that the pay and benefits are very good. You couldn’t get the same amount of money for such an easy life anywhere else.

The longer you stay, the more comfortable the environment becomes because you know the organisation inside out and can therefore work the system. You thus minimise the risk of anything unexpected happening or of being faced with difficult situations.

Seniority and good relationships leave you well placed politically, so the pay rises and good bonuses keep coming. You are also too expensive to make redundant because of your long service. You might feel as if your brain is shrinking and sometimes want to scream at the tedium and banality of it all but, in the final analysis, they are paying you way too much for you to pack it in and do something else.

Investment banks and other large City firms often have lots of people in ‘Velvet Ruts’ in financial and also support services like HR and IT. They pay people large amounts of money but many stay because they have effectively priced themselves out of the market but will be doing exactly the same stuff next year and the year after.

If you get really bored, you can compensate for the lack of stimulation at work by finding it in in your spare time. It is no coincidence that many people who are in ‘Velvet Ruts’ are  also the community activists, charity organisers, residents’ association committee members and hobby-club newsletter writers that the rest of us rely upon so much. Even the ‘Velvet Rut’, it seems, has some social benefits.

Are you in  Vetvet Rut and how do you get out of one?

The ‘Velvet Rut’ is difficult to get out of ( which is exactly why it has been named this!) and often it’s only an external shove, such as redundancy or health problems, that moves people on. However, if you have finally come to the realistaion that there is more to life and your career than just money, then you can definitely do something positive to get out of one.

The best way to break out of your ‘Velvet Rut’ is to invest in a Career Coach. They will help you bring about a new self awareness of your career and life values and to channel your energy into finding a fulfilling job or career that you really want!

If you want to find out more visit our Career & Personal Development website

Is the time right to rethink your career?

In the current economic uncertainty, many people are still likely to be re-evaluating their future and careers and more managers have been changing jobs than before the recession!

Although it may not seem to be the best time to change career, if your chosen sector is experiencing extreme difficulties and new jobs are hard to come by then there is a strong argument that it could be a good time to consider new opportunities and even self employment and setting up your own business.

If you have had a reasonable redundancy pay off and you can survive for a good few months whilst training to learn new skills or building up your business, then maybe now is the time to take action.

Home based businesses are springing up everywhere and now could be the time to turn a hobby into a business and do something that you love and earn a living from it or using some entrepreneurial spirit and providing new products online or exploiting a gap in the market.

Many people are moving into careers where they feel that they can make a difference e.g. teaching and opportunities in the Not for Profit sector, where they have a real need for private sector commercial skill sets.

Although certain careers may need qualifications and re–training, research conducted by The Independent last year established

The top ten most popular second careers are:

1. Plumber

2. Teacher

3. Florist

4. PR Officer

5. Interior designer

6. Complementary medicine practitioner

7. Chef

8. Web designer

9. Nurse

10. Garden designer

If you want to know more about changing careers visit our Career & Personal Development website