The common problem with leadership and parenting (Blog #26)

penguins

Now, I know when I mention the word “parenting” you’ll probably think, this blog post isn’t for me. Not for a good 10 years anyway.

But since becoming a mum, which happened five and half years ago, I’ve learnt that the when it comes to the topic of parenting, boy, do we all turn into judgemental monsters!!

Even the shyest person will surprise you with what strong opinions they’ll have on the topic. It’s almost like everyone’s an expert. Everyone knows what the right thing is and their confidence will astonish you. Especially, when it’s safe to say that new parents don’t have neither the experience nor the training to be that confident and yet their confidence will overwhelm you!

And it’s this same over-confidence that I’ve witnessed with managers when it comes to leadership.

Whether as a parent or as a manager/leader we go into it with no experience or training and yet we are somehow convinced we know what we’re doing.

Yeah right! Just one of the many reasons why over 80% of people hate their job¹.

And here’s why it happens in the corporate world.

We get managers and these managers are promoted because they’re good at what they do.

That’s clear.

They were able to do their job very well. Better than their colleagues around them, hence, why they got promoted.

But, now that they’ve been promoted what do they know about leadership?

In most cases NOTHING!

It’s for this reason that micromanagement exists.

You’ll find that the managers that don’t have a clue about leadership are the ones notoriously known for micromanagement.

Why?

Because that’s what they know how to do.

They know how to do their previous job better than everyone else and so they’ll continue to do this for everyone – through micromanagement. And kill any hope of developing the people that report to them.

As a young mum, one of the best things I did was a short course on parenting.

Hey, it was totally free and they offered free crèche. I thought if I get nothing out of it, I’ll at least get a chance to sit down and rest.

When I told people that I was doing a course on parenting, I couldn’t BELIEVE their reactions!

Their faces would change as if to say “What a waste of time!”

“What a stupid idea!”

“As if you need someone to tell you how to be a parent!”

Such negative reactions by people on a topic that we all walk into inexperienced and not knowing what to do.

And you know what?

It ended up being one of the best things I did as a mum!

The course taught me tactics that helped me in everyday life and, more importantly, it taught me about why babies and toddlers do the things they do. Having this extra understanding made me more patient and knowledgeable about what to do.

I guess when we make it to a certain point in our lives, be it in the corporate world or as parents, we feel as though we know it all. But that’s where we make the mistake.

When it comes to leadership it’s not about rank or status, as Simon Sinek would say, it’s about raising people in your charge. It’s about seeing them develop into leaders themselves.

And I can safely say that out of my 10 years and 9 jobs I’ve only experienced this type of leadership once.

In all other jobs, I have to question if leadership even existed.

Blog Tip #26 – As Simon Sinek would describe it, leadership is something that we all need to practice every day from the little things, such as, asking someone how they are and actually caring about the answer. To the big things, where we take responsibility of the people we have under our charge and turn them into leaders.

If you could tell me about one true leader that has made a difference in your life, who would it be?

It could be a teacher, a friend, or a sibling. Who would that person be and why?

Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

 

¹ Scott Dinsmore, TED Talk How to find work you love.

One of the main reasons why I started this blog (Blog #25)

clueless guy

For those of you that have been following me for a while now, you’d know that I’ve left the corporate world to create a job that I love to do. To follow an interest, which after years of working in a soul-sucking corporate job has become a passion of mine.

But since I’ve started my project it has become something more than that. It’s become about helping you get an awesome start to your career. About helping you to be fully aware of all the things to expect in the corporate world and what you can do about it.

And you may ask why I’m so interested in helping you out? Why do I want to help people young in their corporate career? Be it a business uni grad or a person starting in an entry level corporate position.

Well, it’s for these simple words that would play in my mind every time I’d write a blog post – if only I knew all of this stuff back when I started… If only…

So then, I thought, well maybe I can’t go back in time and tell my twenty-something self, but I can tell you. I can make a difference in your life.

But there was another experience I had, that I want to share with you today, that convinced me that I just have to do this.

Just before I left one of my past jobs, a business uni grad joined us for a few weeks of work experience. As you’d expect he was pretty happy to be there. And who could blame him? I’d have been just as happy to get any experience in the corporate world in my last year at uni.

But what really left an impression on me, was among all the cultural issues being faced and discussed about in front of him, he had this unwavering belief that the manager of our team was undoubtedly right in everything he did.

And there was one incident that really opened my eyes about how clueless he was. How clueless we all are about the corporate world when we finish uni. And it all comes back to the infamous blog post #9 – 3 Signs you’re a corporate dinosaur.

In this blog post I talk about a meeting that we had where our manager was telling us, word for word, to make our processes of accepting work from other teams within the organisation so tedious that they would only go down the path of giving us work to do if it was an absolute necessity. His comment confused all of us, as you see we were the marketing team and here we were outlining a strategy to avoid the work??

But putting everything else aside, my manager’s comment was that of an amateur and nothing about it resembled leadership, it didn’t even come close. Instead of addressing the cultural issues we were facing, he added to them with complete confidence that he was doing the right thing. (EMBARRASSING!!)

There we were in a meeting with 11 people, 5 of which were managers, and the advice that came from the most senior person couldn’t have been more wrong. And no one else in the team was able to say anything better.

I couldn’t help but feel as though I had a duty to tell our work experience guy how wrong the most senior manager in the group got it.

So, when the moment was right (when no one else was around).

I told him.

I asked him what he thought about the meeting and if he had anything to say about the comments said. He was really lost with this unwavering belief that the manager was really trying to do something good here. I explained and explained and he still didn’t get it. He couldn’t believe the manager could be so wrong. And he’d try and provide some confusing answer as to what the manager was trying to do, like it was somehow a puzzle that needing solving. “Maybe he was trying to do this… Or this… Or this…”

And I’d be like, “No, he’s just wrong! Completely wrong!”

He couldn’t believe that a manager could be so wrong. A uni grad close to completing a double degree in business. Anyway, by the end of it, I told him to look up Simon Sinek and to watch his 12 minute TED Talk on why good leaders make you feel safe.

He listened and he watched it. And thought it was good. But I don’t believe he was able to make the connection between what happened in the meeting that day and what he watched.

What I saw, however, was a real gap between what we’re taught at uni and what actually happens in the corporate world. So I thought, if I can help one uni grad with the knowledge and insight I have about the corporate world to make it as a leader or to simply understand what loving your job is really like, then starting this blog is worth it.

Blog Tip #25: Nothing in the corporate world is confusing. In fact, it’s all really straight forward. And if what you’re being told sounds odd, weird, confusing, harder than what it needs to be, then it’s mostly likely a load of crap. And just because someone has the title ‘manager’ it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right all the time. They could be so freakin wrong it’s not even funny!! To see for yourself check out blog post #9 – 3 Signs you’re a corporate dinosaur.

Have you ever experienced something similar? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

Why bad managers will remind you of high school (Blog #24)

high school students in class

One of the worst traits I’ve witnessed with managers is when they were unable to find a middle ground when it came to their style of management.

They were either really, really nice in their approach with a management style that lacked authority and seriousness or they were complete assholes! (A word that I need to thank Ash Ambirge for – Thanks Ash!). Basically, ruthless in their approach with no regard for their colleagues. We were there to be treated how they saw fit depending on their mood at the time, which could’ve changed at the drop of a hat.

And the worst case that I’ve witnessed was in job #9.

And why did this remind me of high school?

Well, both styles shared an immaturity about them that took me back to my high school days. They were either that kind friend that wouldn’t tell you that your hair looked crap even if it did. Or, they were that popular asshole in your class that got away with giving you shit because of their popularity status – their position.

Can you see the similarities?

Just so you have a clear picture of what I’m talking about – here are a couple of scenes to help you take it all in.

Scene #1 – A meeting with the really, really nice manager with very little authority. In high school this would’ve been one of the nice kids in your class eager to remain on good terms with the right people so they too would be considered cool.

One of the first meetings I went to in job #9 I couldn’t believe how disinterested people within the team looked. It was almost like they didn’t take the meeting seriously.

In the meeting there was one person going through the ‘to do’ list and she would read one or two items and them make a remark about how this was hurting her head, laugh and then look to the nice kid in class (the manager) to make a laughing buddy. Once they’d both be laughing, everyone would laugh or force a fake smile to show they were in on it as well. Because if you didn’t do this or looked as if you took it all too seriously, then you, my friend, would be considered uncool! And we couldn’t risk that now, could we?

While the person reading the ‘to do’ list would behave in this way the manager from time to time would shake her head as if to say “She’s silly, take no notice of her” using this as a sign to show how close everyone in the team was. NOT! Scene No. 2 will demonstrate this.

All I saw was bad management. I remember thinking what a waste of everyone’s time. This nice and unserious approach just got on my nerves. I was like, what the hell? Couldn’t the manager see that the person reading the ‘to do’ list wasn’t even interested? But to acknowledge this the manager would then appear to be too hard, or in high school terms, uncool.

And with future meetings that followed if you appeared too interested or too focused you were laughed at and jokes were made. Comments like “Mimoza is reeeeeeeeally focused” and “Mimoza is verrrrrrrrrrrry serious here.”
I couldn’t believe it. I was back in my early high school years, where I had to be careful not to appear to be too interested at doing well or I’d risk being branded a geek. That’s how I felt.

With no middle ground, this style of management went from one extreme to another. And this is what the other extreme looked like.

Scene #2 – A meeting with the popular asshole in class.
I walked into a daily meeting and started to go through the ‘to do’ list. I had a folder that was handed to me by a colleague that had previously left (surprise, surprise). As I handed the folder to my manager her response went like this.

“RIGHT! THAT’S IT!” (At this point she picked up the folder and slammed it on the desk – SMACK!) “I DON’T WANT ANY MORE FOLDERS HANDED TO ME! I WANT THEM ALL TO BE PUT IN MY INTRAY!

One word – ASSHOLE!!!!

And that’s the best way to describe it.

This manager that once laughed at you if you were too serious, now considered it acceptable to shout and swear at team members. Be completely rude and abrupt, slam folders on desks and give shit to people as a response to questions asked.

Is it surprising that this reminds me of the popular assholes in class that randomly gave people shit using his/her position of power to get away with it?

I think not!!

After half the marketing team left in a few weeks and management changed, the whole style of operation reverted back to its nice/unserious mode. And when people asked me, “Is it better now?” I would say, “No. Just a different type of crap.”

This was a sign of very weak management and something you need to look out for.

Blog Tip #24 – To get another take on what I’m talking about, you should check out Ash Ambirge’s blog post “You Don’t Have to Be an Asshole to Be an Authority”.

Ash is a professional writer, business women, smart ass, and founder of the unconventional career and business website, The Middle Finger Project. I’m a big fan of her blog and this blog post will sum up nicely what I’m talking about.

So, what did you think about blog post #24?

Now, have you experienced this before?

If you have, what were the things that stood out to you? Were there other traits that you noticed?

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

6 character traits of the people I loved working with (Blog #23)

A team at work

As you can imagine after 9 jobs it’s fair to say that I’ve worked with a decent number of people. And, although, I’ve encountered many nice people, there’s only been a handful that I can say have been a pleasure to work with. And I mean an absolute pleasure. These were the people that I looked forward to working with and that made my day knowing they’d be there.

At the same time, there have also been plenty of people that I haven’t enjoyed working with. Now, I can honestly say that I don’t believe the people I disliked working with were bad people. In fact, some were really good people. They were just really bad to work with. It’s like that best friend you had in high school or uni, who you spent most of your time with. And yet, if you had to work together on a project you probably would’ve got on each others nerves quite a bit. That’s what I mean.

Being a nice person and a person that’s great to work with are two different things. And it’s for this reason why finding a great person to work with isn’t as straight forward as what most people think. And to read about how wrong people can get it, and I mean those managers with about 20 to 30 years’ experience, you should check out blog post #8 – The 4 most useless questions I’ve been asked in job interviews.

But for me, when I did come across that great person to work with, it looked like this.

6 character traits of the people I loved working with

1.       You could approach this person 100 times a day and they’d still be happy to see you.

Now no one with half a brain would actually do that. But my point is that they were a pleasure to deal with every time. And you felt comfortable every time. No, “Oh my god I need to speak to her again.” No, “Should I try and avoid it and send an email, cc’ing the whole company into it just to make sure my butts covered?” And trust me, this whole cc’ing business can get so bad that at one point in job #9 I stopped reading my emails. My inbox was inundated with cc’ing emails for the most unimportant actions you could think of. It was ridiculous. You had to decipher through about 10 conversations to get the gist of what the email was about. Frankly, there should be a law against this shit.

But what’s important to understand is that because I knew I could speak to this person whenever I wanted to, it didn’t mean that I did it all the time. But simply knowing that I could, made me feel good.

In job #9 when I was constantly told by a team member/manager not to speak to her, I felt the total opposite. Even when I didn’t have anything to speak to her about, the fact that we were being told not to speak to her aggravated me so much I started to hate the person! I couldn’t stand being around her and she became a person I hated working with!

This trait of being approachable is so rare and hard to find that I, personally, would hire a person to work for me based on this attribute alone. And be more than happy to help him/her out on the other areas if need be.

2.       They were flexible in their style of work.

In other words they were easy to work with. Adapted to other people’s style of work easily. Went with the flow. Another trait that’s hard to find.

I remember in job #5 there was one work colleague for whom I had to change the speed at which I talked, how I worded things, how I presented, etc. whenever I worked with her.

And you know what?

I’m happy to meet other people’s needs, but the fact that she would get annoyed with me if I didn’t do it exactly her way, frustrated me. Shouldn’t I have been annoyed? Why was she so special to have everything tailored to her needs? I know in all my jobs I did my best to adapt to the people I worked with, not have them meet my specific needs.

People that were stuck in their ways tended to be a headache to deal with.

3.       They approached a problem with composure and a smile on their face.

Problems happen. You can plan your ass off and still get it wrong. That’s how we learn. But getting all pissed off about it and being miserable to work with afterwards isn’t going to achieve anything. We’re there to work and working through problems is one of the things you’re going to do. It always amazed me when people would act like the world was going to end. The worst thing that could happen is that you lose your job. Hey, you existed without it before, I’m sure you could handle life after it, if the absolute worst case scenario were to happen.

Live and learn.

4.       They made me smile and laugh.

I’m talking about the people that would tell me stories that would have me in stitches and then telling the story to my family and friends afterwards and still laughing about it. This was usually the case when the person was happy to be at work. Which is also another rare thing. Gee… I wonder if there’s a connection there?!?

What I really started to dislike was when people would start the conversation off with “You know what I hate?”

Alright. We can do it sometimes, but not all the time!

“I hate it when my in-laws buy my kids expensive presents.” (Really??)
“I hate it that my grandmother died now I have to go to a funeral which I don’t have time for.” (Did you really just say that??)
“I hate black pens.” (Yeah, there’s other issues there.)
“I hate it when people walking in front of me just stop in my way.” (Can’t you just walk around them??)

Basically, it’s negativity. And being around it can be a real drain!

5.       They weren’t judgemental.

How could I tell?

Because you’d never hear them talking about others or judging others. And knowing this made you feel comfortable to be yourself 100% as you knew they’d accept you for who you were.

6.       They were confident. Not cocky.

Here’s the difference. Confidence is when you believe in yourself. Cocky is when you think you’re better then everyone around you. Being around someone that’s confident can be a great experience. By seeing it in action, it can help you build your confidence. But being around someone that’s cocky will just annoy the hell out of you.

Blog Tip #23 – Character traits such as these are more important than skills. Skills can be taught whereas character can’t. When trying to find the right people to work with keep this in mind.

What did you think of Blog post #23?

Have you ever experienced any of these?

Is there something else you’d add to the list? I’m interested to know.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

3 signs you’ve been branded at work and why YOU need to quit – PRONTO! (Blog #22)

dead end sign

I’d finally landed a job where I was the marketing star (job #8 if you’ve been following me from the start). The ball was in my court to determine what marketing we did and as I proved myself to my seniors and peers more opportunities got thrown in my direction and I saw no limits to what I could accomplish.

And then it all went down the drain with a merger and the fantastic job #8 became crappy job #9.

I’d started job #9 after finishing my first stint of maternity leave and returned to work as a part-timer. And I felt it from the start. I was slotted in the middle of an already established team and stamped with a branded mark from the beginning.

Nothing would ever change the category I was placed in – I was branded.

So, when it happens, what does this mean?

Basically, you get labelled. Put in a category. And no matter what you do or how much you accomplish you’ll never move out of that category as long as you stay in your current job. If this isn’t bad enough, what’s even more sad, is when people convince themselves to stay where they are, hoping that something may change. Yep, maybe in 20 years??

So, this doesn’t happen to you, I want you to be aware of what this looks like. So, here are 3 signs you’ll experience if you ever get branded at work.

Sign 1 – You’re constantly frustrated at how long it’s taking you to get to where you want to go in your career. And at times even feel embarrassed with the work you get given to do.

Sign 2 – You’ve gone to the point where you’ve given your blood, sweat and tears for the job and it’s still not good enough. I mean you’ve done that much overtime, without pay, it’s criminal. You’ve done jobs that weren’t even yours to do and taken more than your fair share of shit along the way. And you’ve proven that you can do the job and do it quite well and yet you’re still in the same position you were in years ago. And if there’s been some kind of advancement, it’s been that small that it pretty much counts for nothing anyway.

Sign 3 – You’re constantly overlooked by your seniors when it comes to promotions as in their eyes they’re always needing an expert. And guess what? It’s not you! Nor is it ever going to be, regardless of your qualifications and skills. And, despite, how much you’ve tried to tell them that you’re interested, eager and willing to do what it takes.

When this happens there is one of two choices that you can make.

1. Settle for it. You convince yourself that you have it good because you have a job that’s pretty much a dead-end and fill your head with bullshit reasons why you should stay and find a way to simply cope with it all.

But you know what? Coping mode doesn’t bring out your best work. Not even close. You do what you need to do to get by. You’ll become average and start to fit the category you’ve been placed in.

2. Or, you can quit and find a new job. Not because you can’t take it anymore, but because it doesn’t fit with your long-term plan. No one wants to stay still in their career with no advancements. That’s just depressing. A miserable career, in fact. With a new job comes a fresh start. You get the chance to reinvent yourself and start anew. And there’ve been many times where this has worked for me in the 9 job career I’ve had.

Blog Tip #22 – A really good book that I’ve read regarding this topic is Seth Godin’s “The Dip”. And it talks about knowing when it’s the right time to quit.

Being branded is the right time to quit.

Why?

Because it’s a dead-end. It will set you up for a lifetime of average which is a life wasted. And quitting for this reason is what’s considered a smart quit. If it doesn’t help you become the best at what you want to do, then get out of there.

But how do you know if you’ve given it a fair go?

A really good piece of advice from the book “The Dip” is this:
Our goal in life should be to move forward. So with every job you should clearly outline what your goal is and what your quitting strategy is going to be – what will cause you to quit?

This is a good way to prevent you from quitting for all the wrong reasons, like arguing with a colleague or a boss. Instead, you outline a reason for quitting that is based on your long-term goal. Like not reaching a certain position by a certain stage, etc.

Write it down. Make sure it’s clear and stick with it. And if you ever get to the position that you’ve described in your quitting strategy then you’ll know that it’s the right time to quit.

FYI – And if you’re not big on reading books, “The Dip” is a really short one. I mean it only has two chapters. Within a couple of hours you’ll be done.

What did you think of Blog #22?

Has this happened to you before? It could’ve been outside work, at school or even uni?

How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear your story.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

Talk to you next week.

Mimoza

Why communication is the most common problem. What this says about your workplace (Blog #21)

a person confused

Whether you’ve already started working in the corporate world or have yet to begin, one of the most common problems you’ll come across is communication.

And when I say common, basically, it’ll be the one that people will more openly complain about. “There’s a lack of communication.” Which pretty much means that no one really knows what’s happening.

And it’s easy and safe to point out. When I say safe, what I mean is that it doesn’t really point the finger at anyone in particular and implies that the problem is company-wide. It’s bigger than all of us combined.

But what does this really point out?

So there’s a lack of communication. And most people that point this out really feel as though they’ve hit the nail on the head with identifying the problem. Yep, they really know what they’re talking about.

And what’s the natural reaction that then follows?

What do management then do to solve this problem?

They take steps to then put more information out there. And 9 times out of 10 this results in more meetings and more emails, which then equals to more time wasted.

And has this approach ever been effective in improving communication, if that, in fact, was the problem?

Well, this is what my experience has taught me.

When I’ve worked in places where communication was identified as a major issue, as an employee there, what that meant for me was that I felt left out and was never really sure on what was happening. And at times, it was almost like I wasn’t even there. I felt like a very insignificant part of the organisation.

But what is also very important to note is that all those emails and meetings that happened in an attempt to improve communication, didn’t make a difference. Yeah, more information came our way but in our day-to-day jobs nothing changed. All those same feels of not knowing what was going on were still present. Nothing changed in that aspect.

So was communication really the problem?

Based on my experience, the times when communication was identified as a major problem was when micromanagement ruled like there was no tomorrow.

When you were given the responsibility to do something, but really had no control over it. When you were given something to do and only knew about 10% of the reason behind it. That was when I experienced confusion myself and witnessed it with the people around me. That’s when people will carry out an action and when asked “Why?” will just say, “It’s what my manager wants me to do.” It may already sound familiar to you.

The only time when communication wasn’t a problem in anyway, was when micromanagement didn’t exist.

Everyone was made accountable for the tasks given to them and were fully responsible for them. They knew every reason behind what they were doing because they were in charge of it. They created it. They made the decisions. Because they didn’t know every reason behind what the person next to them was doing didn’t matter. As long as there was no confusion on what you needed to do, you didn’t need to know everything everyone else was working on.

Blog #21 Tip – Don’t ever feel as though to be good at your job you need to know everything your company is working on. The only thing you need to be 100% certain of is the job that you need to do.

And I mean 100%. Not 70% or 80%, but 100%. And I know that you may think, well of course, how else can you do your job? Trust me, out of the 9 jobs I’ve had, there is only one place where I’ve worked where I’ve known 100% what I needed to do and witnessed it around me with others. In almost all other places that I’ve worked a very common answer to the question “Why are you doing this?” was “Because my manager told me to.” In other words, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

100% clarity on what you need to do is a good sign that you’re in a good job.

What did you think of blog post #21? Have you come across this problem yet? Have you had moments of feeling lost when you weren’t clear on what you needed to do? Share your experience on my blog in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post. I’d love to hear about it and others would to.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

Why aiming to get a permanent job shouldn’t be your main focus (Blog #20)

While doing my grocery shopping today with my two beautiful girls at my local Foodland (Yes, I’m a Foodland girl. Go the South Aussies!) I started talking with the checkout boy. He was in his final year at uni and felt quick optimistic about finding work in his field. Although, he did say that, “Finding permanent work would be quite hard.”

And my advice to him was this…

The only time when permanent work actually meant something to me was when I loved my job. When I was happy to be there. When you love your job it’s an added bonus. But, when I hated my job it counted for NOTHING!!!

In fact, it felt like nothing more than a trap!

Like this thing that kept you tied to a job you hated and convinced you that you should be lucky to have it because it was p-e-r-m-a-n-e-n-t.

Great!

Just what you need. To hate your freakin job every freakin day of your life permanently. Eliminating any hope of this changing.

But even before experiencing this, finding a permanent job was never important to me. My emphasis was always aimed at getting the right experience. It had to be marketing and it had to be in an industry that I thought I’d get some value out of.

Why?

Well, I always thought that if I’m sensible with my money and save for those rainy days when I may be unemployed, I’d be OK. I didn’t see why I had to seek for permanency like it meant my life.

The other main reason was because I’d been witness to too many cases where people worked in horrific environments and choose to stay at their current jobs just because it was permanent. Even when it got to the point where it made them physically ill. They convinced themselves that they were lucky to have a job that sucked the life out of them because it was permanent.

As I was wrapping up job #6, which was my second stint with the government, and one of my worst experiences ever, one of their permanent employees turned around to me and said, “I don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost this permanent job.” I, on the other hand, was facing unemployment and after being there for only 4 months, was so happy to be leaving.

I remember thinking I don’t know what I’d do if I worked for 6 years in a job that made me, let’s see, not want to speak to anyone, dodge work, feel sick at the thought of just entering the building, see my own health deteriorate every day, not move forward in anyway whatsoever, kill any signs that show I’m alive – need I say more?

As I left job #6 that day, there was no question in my mind who the lucky one was.

Blog #20 Tip: Your main focus should always be to find a job you love. Only when this happens will permanency actually count for something.

What did you think of blog post #20? Is this something you’ve been worried about? What has been your focus when looking for work?

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

Is the place you work the right culture fit for you? 6 signs that will tell you that it’s not (Blog #19)

green robot amongst red robots

We’re often told that in order to really know if the place where we work is the right fit for us, we need to give it time. And logically it makes sense. But looking back it’s amazing how with every job I’ve had, the way I felt about the place within the first week, was the same when I left.

In other words, by the end of the first week my feelings of whether it was right for me or not, were spot on. However, looking back I wasn’t aware of this at the time. Yes, I was aware of what I was feeling, but I didn’t think I could really know that early on.

Well, it turns out that I did.

So, here are 6 signs that enabled me to see that the place where I was working, at various times in my life, just wasn’t the right culture fit for me.

No. 1 – When your future manager talks badly about one of their past or current employees straight away.

It can happen at the interview or even on your first day. And it’s usually a case of where they say something about how incompetent they are or were. I remember one of my managers during the interview for my very first marketing job said, “You know dumbness really spreads out there. You know how dumb people are.”

I remember even then thinking this can’t be good. And I was right. What does that say about that person, if after two minutes of meeting me they’re already talking about other people they worked with?

What a joke. What a lack of character.

Yeah, you can really trust him. NOT!

No trust. No respect. No team.

When thinking back to his comment about “dumbness spreading” it makes me laugh.

Why?

He was the one that hired these so called “dumb people” he was complaining about. So what did that say about him?

No. 2 – You discover what “hump day” is.

It was my second stint in government and on the first Wednesday I heard people around me say “It’s hump day. It’s hump day.” Meaning half of the week was over.

So, why was this a sign?

Every second in that place was agonising to say the least. And it’s almost like everyone needed a mental reminder that the weekend was getting closer, just to get through the week.

Basically, when the work culture is good, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. When it’s bad, you’ll notice people will somehow acknowledge in different ways that the weekend is almost here. This’s what gets them through the week.

No. 3 – People walk past you like they don’t even see you and it’s considered perfectly normal.

Does it really happen?

You bet.

The last corporate place I worked at I was there for more than two years and it was common to see this type of behaviour there the whole time I was there.

No way should this be considered acceptable. If you do see this your alarm bells should ring big time. GET OUT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

No. 4 – Gossip is at an all-time high.

This is when people talk about other people like it’s the only thing they’re there to do.

I thought I seen it all and then one day I was with a colleague in the lift when another colleague walked in. Colleague A said to colleague B “How are you?” Colleague B replied back saying that she wasn’t that well and added some detail. As soon as colleague B left the lift, colleague A turned around to me and said, “Gee, why don’t you tell me your life’s story?” As if to say how dare she answer her question.

I couldn’t believe it!!

She had started the conversation herself and bitched about why the other colleague replied.

Could it get any worse?

No. 5 – You feel completely uncomfortable asking someone a question and when you manage to ask them, you apologise like you’re asking the world of them.

Yep, I’ve seen it, “I’m really sorry to bother you. Really sorry.”

Here’s the thing when you work in the same company together you’re teammates. You’re supposed to speak to each other. You shouldn’t feel like you’re asking the world of them by asking one question or even more.

When you see this type of behaviour know there are problems with the culture.

No. 6 – You feel really disconnected like you’re not part of the team and in order to be part of the team you need to change who you are as a person.

An example that I’ve experienced is when people in my team started to swear at each other. E.g. call each other names like “Bitch” and give each other the middle finger. And, if you didn’t like it or didn’t join in, then there was something wrong with you.

Like Simon Sinek once said, “If you’re a different person at home to how you’re at work then somewhere you’re lying.” You’ll never be happy in a place where you can’t be yourself or, even worse, where you have to lower your character to fit it.

And FYI – when it comes to swearing in the workplace, I’ve seen people use this as a sign to show how close and comfortable people are with each other.

What a load of rubbish!

From what I’ve seen, the workplaces that had a lot of swearing where the ones the were in trouble the most. I mean their work culture/environment was revolting. Shocking. Poisonous. You could cut through the tension with a knife.

You get what I’m saying?

The way they spoke to each other was merely a reflection of how they felt. Pissed off, unhappy and miserable.

Blog #19 Tip – Trust your gut instinct. Don’t spend years in a company that is the wrong culture fit for you. It will just get in the way of you excelling and becoming the best that you can be.

Also, if you’re in place where you have to lower your character to fit in, where you’re not becoming a better person, but you’re going the other way, e.g. in the way that you behave and how you treat others – get out of there! It’s not worth it. Your aim should always be to find a culture/environment where you become a better person, not the opposite.

What did you think of blog post #19? Have you come across any of these signs? Or, do you have different ones you’d add to the list? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

One of my biggest career regrets. Make sure YOU don’t make this mistake (Blog #18)

Signs saying new skills and training

I remember it like yesterday when I finished my last uni exam. I still remember the date, it was 23 June 2005. I know, it’s a bit sad. But other than having a freakishly good memory, that’s how significant it was to me.

And as I was driving home that night I remember thinking, I’m finished. It’s done. I’m here. I made it.

Yes, I still had to wait for the results, but my bit was done. The moment that every uni student looks forward to. Where life with homework ends. And I remember almost feeling a little bit lost, but relieved at the same time. What was funny, for a second there, I thought about starting another degree, I think out of habit. Only to be stopped by some rational thinking – now I have to get experience.

It was now going to be all about getting as much experience as possible. I had two uni degrees and I remember thinking, that’s enough. I’d done my bit studying and now it was time to hit the working world.

The conscientious student

As a student I was a lecturers’ dream. My education was number one priority and I always put in 110% into everything I did. Those who knew me all commented on how committed, interested and focused I was. Basically, I was the person you wanted to work with on your group assignments.

But once uni finished that was it. I somehow felt that this emphasis on education was no longer needed. Like I’d done my bit.

And this tends to be a very common reaction that I’ve seen with people finishing uni. It’s like when you’re studying fulltime it’s your job to study. But when that finishes, other than the fact that you’ve had enough of it for a while, you tend to think you’ve done your bit.

Continuing to educate myself should never have changed from being number one priority. Regardless of the job I had or how much money I was making.

Now, when opportunities presented themselves through work, for example to attend seminars and presentations, basically when worked paid for it, I showed a lot of initiative. My conscientious nature took advantage of as many paid opportunities as possible.

But where I’m really disappointed with myself is that when work didn’t pay for it, I stopped right there.

I didn’t pursue it myself. I felt sorry to spend money on my education after uni and somehow had it in my head that if work wasn’t going to pay for it then neither was I. Even though for most of my working life money wasn’t an issue. Especially, at the start. I was single, didn’t have kids and was living at home. I remember times when full pay cheques were saved.

Had I made a conscious decision to continue my education after uni and actually put a plan and budget in place, the possibility of what I could’ve been exposed to and who I could’ve met is endless. This would’ve also put a lot more control in my hands as to how fast I develop, instead of leaving it in the hands of managers above me.

In fact, there were times were I completely hated my job and felt like not only was I not progressing in any way, but I was going backwards. Forgetting what I learnt. Imagine if I turned the experience around and used the money that I made from those jobs to do some courses or seminars in areas that I wanted to develop in? I would’ve put the control back in my hands and not kept it in the hands of the people above me.

Why learning should always be a high priority

In order to get to the point where you feel fulfilled in your career you need to be moving forward. And by continually focusing on your education, your skill set and knowledge, this is one way you can make sure this happens. In fact, when I think back to the most unhappy times in my career and life it’s when I stagnated. It’s when I didn’t move forward.

And the other important thing is that it puts the control of what you want to achieve with your career in your hands. Not your manager’s, but yours. As there’s nothing more frustrating than when you feel as though you have lost control of where your career is going. When you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, there’s definitely something you can do about it.

Blog #18 Tip:

Have a good think about where you want to be in one to two years time. It doesn’t have to be far into the future. When we set goals that are far into the future, we tend to feel as though we have plenty of time and lose focus on achieving them. And something that can help you out in this process is sorting our your ‘why’. Refer to Blog #17 – Want a successful career? What YOU need to do to get the right experience.

Then think about all the skills you need to learn to achieve what it is you want to achieve. If you’re currently employed and you can get your work to pay for it, then GREAT!!! If you can show your employer how they will benefit from you learning these skills, then definitely approach then with the idea.

But if the say “No” or it isn’t directly linked to the job you have now, don’t let it stop you. Do it anyway!

And the best thing about all this is that it’s never too late to start reinvesting in yourself again. I just wish I had this mindset 10 years ago.

So, how did you find this blog post? Can you relate to some of the things I’ve spoken about?

Has it made you think about things differently and, if so, how? I’d love to hear about it.

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

 

Want a successful career? What YOU need to do to get the right experience (Blog #17)

successful business women

Why finding the right job/company to work for, can make a world of difference

I want to help you build the courage you need to believe in yourself, so that you realise that when it comes to your career, there’s nothing you can’t do.

And to help you do this, I want to guide you along the path of getting the right experience.

So, what do I mean when I say “the right experience”?

I mean when you’re in a job that increases your confidence from 0 to 100 and then some.

I mean when your thinking changes from am I any good at this? To, bring it on!

And don’t assume that this is a natural progression that happens over time. You can work for 30 years and never make it to “bring it on” stage.  If you don’t believe me, simply refer to Blog #14 – 3 Signs your job is doing you no good, where I provide a real life example of this.

But what I want you to know is that, you can work for one year in the right company and get to “bring it on” stage. It’s not the amount of experience you have, it’s the quality.

What I don’t want to happen to you is when you find yourself in a position where your level of self-belief develops at the same rate that a slug moves, if you get what I mean. And you convince yourself that you have it good, because you have a job and it may be a job that you always thought you’d be happy to have and yet you feel so out of place and so unfulfilled at the same time.

I don’t want you to ever accept this as the way that it has to be because it doesn’t.

How I stumbled upon my “bring it on” experience

If you saw my first video last week, you would’ve heard me talk about what I did to get my first full-time job in the world of marketing. Like you and every other business graduate out there, I was focused on getting my first job. Getting experience. I was extremely focused on getting a marketing job, but didn’t think too much about the company as long as to me it seemed OK.

And, maybe that’s what we need to do, initially, to get our foot in the door. And like everyone else out there, I accepted that some experiences were going to be OK and some weren’t and believed that this was a natural process of developing your career.

So, for the next six years I job hopped.

Yes, with every job there was something new to learn whether big or small, but my overall development was steady. No high spikes or career changing moments.

And then job #8 came along. In one year I developed more than in the six previous years combined.

My thinking went from am I good enough to do this job? To, I could take on the world and win.

Why?

What was it about job #8 that made me feel this way?

Now, it’s very hard to explain all the reasons why job #8 was simply a kick-ass job and company to work for. I go into quite a bit of detail in Blog #2 – What loving your job looks like (Part 1) – No protection needed!

But in a nutshell, I found a company whose culture was the right fit for me. Where the people believed in what I believed in. And it’s exactly in these types of environments where you thrive. It’s why I thrived. I never felt more in tune with my managers. Never was there a “why the hell are they getting me to do that?” moment, which happened way too common in my other jobs.

I found a place where I belonged.

But what job #8 also opened my eyes to, was how some experiences can damage you. They can make you lose faith in yourself and make you settle for a job that is beneath you simply because you’re surrounded with the wrong people.

I’ve often asked myself the question, “What if I had the job #8 experience earlier?”

What if I had it within the first two to three years of my career? Gaining that level of self-believe at a younger age simply means that I would’ve done more.

Maybe I would’ve done what I’m doing now about five years ago?

Now, this is something that we’ll never know, but my point is, in other to reach your fullest potential you need to get the self-believe up through the right experiences.

Now, we can all take the approach I did and try a number of jobs until you land the right job, if it ever happens, or you could be more mindful of it and try to get there on purpose.

It’s easier to find what you’re looking for when you know what you want.

So, how do you find the people that believe in what you believe in?

You need to know what you believe in first. And there’s no better person to explain this to you than Simon Sinek.

If you don’t know who he is, then it’s time you did.

Simon Sinek describes finding what you believe in as finding your ‘why’. Your purpose. It’s what gets you up in the morning. When everything else goes to shit your ‘why’ is what keeps you moving. It’s what inspires you.

So, what is your why? What is the reason why you do what you do?

Now, if you’re thinking it’s to make money, gain prestige, this is not your why. This can be a result of your ‘why’, but these motives will lead you along the path of one miserable career. Where if someone asks you if you like your job you’ll tell them “Yes”, but then feel sick in the stomach at the thought of going to work the next day. A feeling that over 80% of people out there experience and have accepted as normal¹.

What I hope this blog post inspires you to do

Find your ‘why’.

Now, you can watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, which will give you more information about it. But what I really hope you do is his “Why Discovery Course“. It costs US$129 (about AU$170) and takes about 8-10 hours to do.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

I know what you’re thinking.

Have I done it?

Hell yeah!

And I can say that finding your why is one of the most worthwhile moments in your life. Things just become clear. Really clear. What you want to achieve becomes clear and all the steps to get there just start to become clear as well.

Blog #17 Tip:

Want to know how you can get your job application to really stand out and not sound like everyone else’s?

Simon Sinek has a Stand Out in the Job Market: Complete Guide that costs $US32. Yep, only about AU$42. I bought it and read it and thought it was great! If only, I had this 10 years ago.

By following his advice you’ll move away from sounding like a robot… “I have highly developed marketing skills and am fully competent in managing multiple projects at the same time. This combined with my advance organisational skills blah blah blah.”

Boring!

Check out the guide and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll start to sound like an actual person, demonstrating what you can bring to the table that no one else can with your ‘why’.

So, what is your why? Have you ever really thought about it? What are some of the first thoughts that come to mind? I’d love to hear them.

Don’t waste anymore time. Watch Simon Sineks TED Talk – Start with why here.

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

¹ Scott Dinsmore, How to find work you love, TEDTalk, 2012.