Even if the work you’re doing kicks your butt, it doesn’t mean it has to be stressful! (Blog #36)

people doing very challening work

It was Saturday night and we were having a get-together at a friend’s house for their daughter’s 7th birthday. As we were all hanging out the topic of stress, work and video games came up. And boy did I get worked up. My friends must have walked away thinking I was a bit of a pyscho.

But whenever you get onto the topic of something you’re passionate about the green-eyed monster in you will definitely come out from time to time.

So, as we were hanging out eating our delicious charcoal kebabs, Afghani style, in the lounge room, one of my friends mentioned how she had started playing a video game before bedtime and how it’s helped her relax, forget about work and have a good night’s sleep.

As much as I tried to stop myself I couldn’t leave it without asking her, “What’s the problem? Why are you stressed? Why are you having trouble sleeping?”

Did I think it had to do with work culture? You bet I did! Which is why I just couldn’t leave it alone.

So, then I started with the questions.

“Are you truly happy with what you’re doing?” Her reply was “Yes!”

I then said, “Then why are you stressed? What’s the problem?”

To her defence, our other friend, came out with a whole string of comments;

“Do you think it’s easy what she does?”
“Do you think it’s easy to invent something from scratch and experience no stress in the process?”
“Do you know how many people she’s responsible for?”

Implying very clearly that it simply was part of the job because her job was very important.

What we need to remember is that stress has become such a big part of our lives that, most people out there, believe that it comes hand in hand with any job that has any kind of importance attached to it.

But I still didn’t stop and dove deeper with the questions. Yep, even though my husband was looking at me like, can you please just stop NOW?!

But I couldn’t.

So we spoke more and more about the everyday scenarios that my friend had to face.

And were they difficult?

Of course they were!

It involved all kinds of things. From if an employee dropped dead the issues involved in finding someone else to do the job, while at the same time meeting the requirements for the funding and producing the results within the timeframe required. And my friend persisted about how stressful this was.

I merely asked the question “Why?”

And the answer my friend gave (drum roll)…

“Mimoza, it’s the system. Do you know how long this process would take? Do you know how hard they make it for you?!?”

Hallelujah!!!!

Wouldn’t you know it, another overly agonising, torturous system operating in the workplace that would cause any person to lose their mind. Surprise, surprise (NOT!).

And that’s when I said, “There you go, that’s the problem.”

And then the other friend came out with a comment that made me lose my head and literally stand up out of my chair (like what the hell was I going to do – thank god they’re good friends and know me well) and said, “But you can’t change the system!”

YES, YOU CAN!      YES, YOU CAN!      YES, YOU CAN!

There are two things that I have to say in my defence for not letting go and persisting to get down to the bottom of it.

  1. I’m very passionate about this topic. I mean who else would get up early Sunday morning, pregnant, while the kids are still sleeping because I just couldn’t wait to write this blog post? Can you think of anyone? Because I know I can’t.
  2. I’ve seen so much unnecessary suffering from bad systems in the workplace, that apparently were unchangeable only to see them change when someone with a bit of sense, and more importantly, guts came into position.

So, when someone says to me “You can’t change the system” I think – WHY THE HELL NOT?!

And we flash back to job #9. We got to a point where everyone in the team was solely focused on protecting their own butt, people were quitting on a weekly basis and those that were there were using all the inner strength they could conjure up just to get through to the end of the day.

And when I had a meeting with my manager to point out all these things, this is what I got from her, “Mimoza, it is what it is. Management has changed and this is what it is! There’s nothing we can do about it, nothing is going to change!”

Within two weeks the head of the department was removed from the company and within a matter of days the dynamics of the team changed from having to kill ourselves for projects that just couldn’t be stopped to them not only stopping, but some being cancelled altogether. (Wait a second, I thought they couldn’t be stopped? Funnily enough they could (lol!).

Blog Tip #34 – There’s an assumption that most people within the workforce will make that is so freaking wrong, it’s not even funny. And here it is…
for a job to have any kind of significance it needs to be stressful. So, in other words, if you want to have an important job, as a criteria, it needs to kill you slowly.

Wrong!

When this is the case there are work culture/system issues that need to be addressed!

And what people tend to get mixed up is that when I talk about stress, I’m not talking about problems or challenges.

Problems and challenges are inevitable. That’s where we learn and it’s what makes us better at what we do.

Stress is when things are just made more difficult because 30 years ago someone put a system in place that forgot to consider that people are human beings and since then no one has bothered to challenge it.

Why?

Because it is what it is. (Sound familiar?)

Never let anyone stop you from asking “Why”!

What did you think about blog post #36?

Have you dealt with systems that just make you want to rip your hair out?

What’s been the most torturous thing about them?

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!

Talk to you soon.

Mimoza

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Is your work turning you into an Igor? (Blog #35)

igor character wiht latern

One of the most ridiculous things that I’ve been told by managers and other employees, when commenting on why someone is so miserable, moody or pissed off, all the time, at work, is that it’s just how they are. Like it’s a character trait to constantly be mad, pissed off and down in the dumps.

Sure, there are negative people in the world. But when you’re seeing this is a person every day at work it’s safe to say, with no hesitation, that it’s a direct result of their environment. In other words – they hate their job.

And it astounds me at how obvious these signs are and yet people still refuse to believe that the cause is their job.

3 examples for you.

Example 1
Mimoza:
“Tina is so difficult to deal with and she is so moody and pissed off all the time. She doesn’t want anyone talking to her and constantly seems depressed and in a bad mood. It’s obvious she hates her job.”

Manager: “Oh no. She’s doesn’t hate her job. It’s just how she is. She’s like an igor that’s all. That’s her character.” (Are you freaking kidding me?)

Example 2
Mimoza: “Why is Karen so difficult to talk to all the time. Every time you go up to her it’s like you’re draining blood from her or something.”

Manager: “You know she has 5 kids between herself and her partner and every time I see her react like that I just remind myself that that’s probably why.” (Yep, and it’s nothing to do with the fact that she hates her job, of course not. (lol!))

Example 3
Mimoza:
“How’s Lachy going with his job now? Is he happier these days?”

Manager: Looks at me a bit confused. “Yeah, he’s fine. What made you think he hated his job?”

Mimoza: “Because he literally said to me that he hates his job with a passion and makes no secret of hiding it, word for word.”

Manager: Looks puzzled and shrugs it off like nothing important. “No, he’s fine.” (No he wasn’t. The manager simply got use to him always being miserable).

There were two approaches that seemed to be used by managers and employees that I worked with. It was either, “That’s just how they are” or the manager would try and find any excuse under the sun to justify and ignore the fact that it had to do with WORK!

How much more obvious did it need to be?

Blog Tip #35 – Don’t complicate it. If you’re feeling unhappy, frustrated, annoyed, etc, AT WORK. Then there’s something that is bugging the living daylights out of you AT WORK. Not across the road, not because of something that happened to you a year ago. AT WORK! Whether it’s the work system, a person, a degrading task – it’s AT WORK.

Acknowledge it for what it is and do something about it. Don’t fall into the trap of accepting it as it being just the way you are.

To read about how work environments can change a person to the point where you feel like you never knew them, check out my blog post #3 – …then he said “Go and get nicked!” – How an ugly environment produces ugly behaviour.

What did you think about blog post #35?

Have you had any experience with these types of situations?

I’d love to hear your story.

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

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This doesn’t mean that your company has a good work culture! (Blog #34)

A person faking a happy face

It was Friday afternoon and as I met up with a client for lunch for a delicious beef krofta baguette and some beautiful crème brûlée at one of our favourite places in Adelaide, Muratti, we got onto the topic of work culture.

It amazed me at how she described her company’s work culture. And how after that description she believed that the company she was working for were leading the way in that area.

The conversation went like this, “When you put it down on paper our company is doing pretty good in that field… I guess. They’re making sure people are developing and are putting the responsibility on managers to make sure their team is covered as far as courses and other things are concerned, so… I guess it’s pretty good.” (Are you kidding me?)

All of this was said with a tone that was a little bit too unsure and timid. I think it’s safe to say her tone alone indicated deep down inside she wasn’t convinced either.

My reaction?

“Victoria, you can usually tell when people are happy with where they work and let’s just say that it’s not coming through with what you’ve just said or how you’ve just said it. And, didn’t you say to me a couple of weeks ago that it was plagued with politics, hidden agendas and inefficiencies?”

In a nutshell, even the job I hated the most for any outsider seemed not like a good job, but like a freaking great job.

Why?

Well, it had all the perks that a great office job has. The office looked great. They provided all the things that they were legally meant to plus more, life insurance, income protection, a superannuation scheme, etc.

So, why did I and a good chunk of the people there HATE IT?

Because all those things count for nothing, when the everyday culture of the place is a “protect your own butt no matter what” culture.

Blog Tip #34 – It’s the everyday things that you go through at your job, no matter how tiny or big, that contribute to whether you work in a healthy work culture or not. All those things that look good down on paper don’t build a good work culture! All they can merely do, at the most, is complement it, if there’s a good work culture already in place.

What did you think about blog post #34?

What does a good work culture look like to you?

What is it about your work culture that has actually made a difference to your everyday work-life?

Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

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 soon.

Mimoza

 

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5 things true leaders will never say (Blog #33)

leaders

Last week it was all about the term “push back” and what this really means. This week, I want to talk to you about more terms that will help you distinguish between the true leaders and those that are merely in senior positions. Because, remember, my whole purpose in blogging every week is so you can gain the insight that I gained over 10 years and 9 jobs.

5 things true leaders will never say

No.1 – “I’m the manager and it is what it is!”

As I write this I have a vivid flashback to one of my managers from job #9. When she said those exact words to me, at the same time she raised her shoulders and shook her head side to side as if to say “And there’s nothing that you can do about it!!!” And there I was trying to address some serious concerns about how the team functioned. About workloads and about her workload. Never had I seen a manager soon miserable at work. And when I acknowledged these points instead discussing the issue, I got the attitude of a five-year-old thrown in my face with this ridiculous belief that the situation was what it was and there was nothing we could do to change it. Soooooooooo wrong!!!

There is no weaker sign than when a manager needs to point out their position so obviously. Your employees will never respect you because of a title. Respect is something that is earnt not instructed or demanded.

No. 2 – “You don’t need to know that!”

Yep, I know you know what I’m going to say. It’s only in the worst work cultures that I’ve heard managers use this term.

As I’d witness one of my managers use this quite often, it was amazing how she’d say these words with such confidence like she had every right in doing so. Well, here’s the thing. Using your authority to do something that wouldn’t be acceptable if an employee below you did it, makes you a bully! And that’s exactly what people would call her.

“You don’t need to know that” had simply become an acceptable way of in other words saying “I’m not going to waste my time explaining it to you.”

In job #8 (yes, the one that would’ve been a dream example for companies to mimic) I remember having a chat with most of my managers. I remember asking them things about their job, that didn’t directly involve my position.

Why?

Just so I could get a better understanding of it all. In the right workplaces showing interest beyond what you have to do is a positive sign. It’s exactly what you want your employees to do.

And guess what?

When I understood more, I felt better about it all. I was more confident and happier.

Could you imagine if my managers at job #8 turned around to me and said, “You don’t need to know that!” I’d have felt insulted, belittled, bullied and it’s highly unlikely I’d go to them again unless I absolutely had to. There goes trust, respect and any hopes of friendship.

No. 3 – “Guys, less talking and more work.”

The job that I was happiest in (Yes, job #8) was the job that I did the least amount of talking. I loved what I did. And I was very focused and on getting as much done as possible. I enjoyed it. I thrived off of it. And this whole approach was very consistent throughout the whole company. No one had to be told not to talk. But no one was ever told to stop talking. They gave us the freedom to do what we thought best. And the outcome… a fully disciplined team of people working away happily like there was no tomorrow!!

However, at the job where my manager actually had to email us saying “Less talking and more work” (and yes, me included) the culture was the absolute worst. I guess no one was interested in working that much in a place they didn’t like or enjoy. I remember when I’d turn around to speak to a colleague, I’d apologise for interrupting and her response would be “Oh please do, the work I’m doing right now is so boring.”

Need I say more?

No. 4 – “Get your shit together!”

In this case, if you’ve got nothing constructive to say then don’t say anything at all. If there are issues that need to be addressed then do so in a constructive manner. Outline what needs to be done about it. Simply saying “Get your shit together” is nothing short of embarrassing for any manager and a waste of company time!

No. 5 – “Employees come here for money, and that we need to respect.”

When the senior manager of multiple teams within a company says this, that says to me that he doesn’t have a clue.

Why?

You don’t want people that are simply there to make money because nothing great comes out of it. These people will merely do what they have to do to get their job done and nothing more because it’s not important to them. When money is the main motivator work culture goes right down the toilet. People are solely focused on what they have to do and nothing else. In these environments no one cares about teammates, culture, friendships, clients or members. And to acknowledge this is one thing, but to then also accept it as being OK, as a senior manager, is alarming to say the least.

 “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.” Simon Sinek

Blog Tip #33 – By getting a good understanding of these terms, you’ll be able to assess for yourself who you follow and who you don’t. Whose advice or critiques you should value and whose you should completely disregard. Whose opinions you should take on board and whose you shouldn’t. Had I had this advice 10 years ago I would’ve known whose opinions to take seriously and whose to completely disregard. And the outcome would’ve been avoiding a lot of moments of stress and self-doubt that happened simply because I was unable to determine who was worth listening to and who wasn’t.

What did you think about blog post #33?

Is there anything else that you’d add to the list?

What’s been your experience with what I’ve mentioned above?

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!

Talk to you soon.

Mimoza

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“I’m pushing back!” What this really means and what it says about your company (Blog #32)

colleague pushing back

Whether you’re new to the corporate world or have a few years experience under your belt, a quick way to determine what type of culture you’re working under is by the terms used. And based on my experience when the culture is at its worst, one term that you’ll hear a lot of is “I’m pushing back”. And if you’re wondering what this really means, here it is in plain English for you –

“Basically, if what you’re talking about doesn’t fall 100% directly in my job specification, then I don’t give a shit about it and will not help you even if I could do it within about 10 seconds with my eyes closed!”

Get the point?

The words “push back” from what I’ve experienced are simply another way to say “I won’t help because I don’t care!”

Now to be fair, there are reasons why this type of culture develops. One usually starts off more than willing to help, gets burnt along the way and then it becomes all about protecting themselves. And here’s what it can look like.

One particular colleague that I worked with in job #9 started to use this term on everyone, even the ones she was close to. There was no mercy. Once she started saying it, it was like she couldn’t stop saying it.

“I’m starting to push back.”
“I’m really pushing back now.”
“I’m just going to push back.”

And all you’d hear around you is everyone’s comment about how this person is really pushing back.

But what you need to know is that this person wasn’t like this at the start. When she first started working for the company I remember vividly how sweet she was. Happy to help no matter what. She was a real team player. But she continued this approach and under very bad leadership saw that no matter what she did it got overlooked, to say the least, to the point where she stopped caring about doing right by the team. Her total focus became all about taking care of herself.

Even though I knew her story and couldn’t blame her to a certain point, through this process it was almost like she was starting to lose her humanity. She became so focused on protecting herself, she even lost sight of the people that she didn’t need to do that with. That had proven to her they’d help her in times of need.

And you know what the sad thing about all this is?

She adopted this “push back” approach as direct advice from the HR manager. Yep, directly from the people that are there to maintain a healthy work culture. Sure, there were major issues and this was the HR manager’s attempt to help her. But instead of dealing with the culture issues that we were all suffering from, all the HR manager did is give her the OK to turn her back on the team.

As a result, everyone started to resent her, including myself. Her whole attitude put me off. If she didn’t care about what I had to say then why would I care about what she had to say? Especially, when I had gone out of my way more than once to help her.

Out of all the things that could’ve been said and approaches used, the one recommendation that the HR manager made only added to the work culture issues that were already being faced. The “push back” approach resulted in the loss of friendships, respect and trust – all the things vital for an effective team.

And just for the record, in my job #8 (yep, the one that I say was so freaking good that Simon Sinek could easily use it as an example for one of his books) I never once heard the term “push back”. If anything it was the complete opposite – “What else can I help you with?”

Blog Tip #32 – Never underestimate how the use of certain terms can identify the condition of the culture you’re working in. No matter how subtle. You’d be surprised at how many people with 20-30 years experience, even those working in HR, have come to accept certain terms, that openly display how toxic the culture is, as being perfectly normal.

What did you think about blog post #32?

Have you come across this term “push back” before? Or, have you used it yourself? If, so, 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!

Talk to you soon.

Mimoza

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Do you understand what work culture really means? (Blog #31)

company culture folder

I ask this question because it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the people that I’ve worked with simply didn’t get it. In fact, they weren’t even close to understanding it’s true value.

Most people would link it to those free lunches they’d get every now and then. And most managers would think they have work culture covered by providing those free lunches. (Let me let you in on a little secret – IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FREE FOOD OR DRINKS!!)

Even at times when I was experiencing the work environment from hell, my honest attempt to try and do something about the work culture was treated as if it was nothing important and almost a waste of time. And out of all the culture building activities talked about, the one the team really wanted was back massages in the office.

Are you freaking kidding me??

This suggestion alone made me give up hope.

How the hell was this going to improve relationships among team members that were strained, tense and awkward at best?

It wouldn’t!

There were a lot of other culture building activities that were needed to help this team out that should’ve been considered before back massages! Had people known the value of what these activities could do for them.

Hey. If there weren’t issues bigger than Mount Everest then fine. As an added bonus why not consider back massages? But it wasn’t going to do anything to a team that was losing people almost on a weekly basis.

Based on this, you could argue that it’s hard to recognise the importance of work culture in a bad environment, especially if workers have never experienced anything better. But what really surprised me is that even when the environment was the best that I’ve experienced, colleagues were unable to recognise what made it great.

Don’t get me wrong, when things were great everyone was happy. It’s not that they didn’t feel happy. But it later become clear that some really didn’t have a clue of why they were so happy. And here’s one example for you.

It was a typical Friday except for the fact that an unplanned staff meeting had been called. I must admit I wasn’t worried. Everything had gone so well for me in this job I thought surely there’s nothing to be worried about. As we all sat around the boardroom table we listened diligently to our CEO who told us, then and there, that we were merging. The company was changing and nothing would be as it was. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing!

One person screamed out “Oh no!” Others listened on in silence taking in what this would possibly mean for them. But what I still remember vividly to this day is how one of my colleagues, as his very first questions, asked if our 3% annual increase in salary was at risk?

WTF!

Really?

Out of all the things we were losing, for that to be top of mind, made it clear to me that this person really didn’t have a clue as to how good we had it and, more importantly, why it was so good.

I would’ve been willing to forfeit that raise for years in replace of the opportunities we had when working for that company, simply for it not to merge and remain how it was.

Blog Tip #31

What did you think about blog post #31?

What has your experience with work culture been like? What do you think it comes down to?

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!

Talk to you soon.

Mimoza

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Want to be the best at what you do? Here’s one way how (Blog #30)

Friends together enjoying coffee

If you’ve been following me from the beginning you would’ve heard me stress more than once that genuine friendships are a must in the workplace for many reasons. Just to refresh your memory you can find those blog posts here –

“I don’t need to be friends with the people I work with.” Wrong! Yes, you do! (Blog #4)

Why friendships at work matter – what every beginner should know (Blog #16)

But today I want to talk to you about the importance of it simply for your own development. Yep, if you want to get good at what you do you need to have people in your corner that you respect and that will tell you the bloody truth.

If for nothing else, just to be able to tell you that “Hey, everyone hates your guts and you need to do something about it as people are starting to wish you dead.”

And if you think I’m exaggerating then think again. Never underestimate how vicious it can get in the corporate world. And needing to hear the truth is essential for your own development.

And as you know I’m full of examples and here’s one for you.

One of my managers in a past job showed two types of management styles. She was either really nice or a complete asshole. No middle ground. And at one point she was in asshole mode for quite a bit. So I decided to be proactive and confronted her about it. And I told her a number of things and it went something like this…

“I don’t appreciate how you speak/lash out at me.”

“I’m finding it very difficult to work with you.”

“I feel very uncomfortable speaking to you and I don’t enjoy working with you.”

I couldn’t believe her reaction.

She completely shut down. She couldn’t even look me in the eye and just kept on saying “Ok, ok.”

I wanted to hash things out. To get over the awkwardness so we could focus on the work and she completely shut down. There was no attempt to dive deeper or to tell me her side. It was almost like no one had ever been that honest with her. My attempt of bringing us closer together had failed as she wasn’t capable of working through an honest conversation.

Is it possible to make it to almost 20 years in the corporate world without ever having a candid conversation with a colleague?

Yes, it is.

Why?

Because this is where companies are failing. From my experience and based on research done, companies don’t believe there is a need for the development of close friendships among their employees that allow for these honest conversations. Despite what research has proven.

All you have to do is pick up Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Who’s Got Your Back” and within the first hour of reading it you’ll discover facts that if you think about it are quite obvious. Such as:

  • The best way for teams to work better together is through the development of close friendships which Ferrazzi often refers to as lifelines. When these friendships are developed people are more happy and honest, more prepared to take risks and with this comes better ideas and better work¹.
  • Ferrazzi also mentions a Harvard Business Study from November 2007 titled “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams” and guess what it concludes? You want to develop a kick-ass team? Then you better make sure they’ve become each other’s besties or the team is going to be average at best².

Sure, you may still get a team that’s decent, but it’s not going to be fantastic. And why would any company want to settle for anything less than fantastic?

Blog Tip #30 – Recognise the importance of friendships at work by doing your own research. And just to start you off check out Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Who’s Got Your Back” and make sure you’re on the right path to developing those lifelines.

How would you describe your experience working in teams? How close was your relationship with your teammates? How candid were your conversations? How successful were the outcomes?

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!

Talk to you next week.

Mimoza

¹²³Keith Ferrazzi, “Who’s Got Your Back”, 2009.

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Feeling unhappy? This may be the reason why (Blog #29)

stressed out business women

This week, as I was reading away doing some research, which I’m always doing to make sure the blog posts I write for you contain kick-ass value, I came across some information that I just had to share.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you would’ve heard me on more than one occasion describe some people I’ve worked with as having ‘died inside’. Lost their soul, passion or any feelings of excitement that they once experienced because of doing a job they hate. And how that’s not what I want to happen to you, hence the reason behind my blog.

Sound familiar?

I’m sure it does.

Well, it turns out there is a proven reason behind why people start to show these signs when working in jobs they’re unhappy with. This comes from the work done by Dr Brené Brown, a researcher and professor from the University of Houston, USA.

You see, when we’re working away in a job we’re unhappy with, to get through the day you numb the emotions you don’t want to feel like fear, sadness, anger, disappointment, etc. But what Brown has proven is that we can’t selectively numb our emotions. We can’t choose which ones we want on or off. So when we’re numbing the bad ones, we’re unconsciously doing the same to the good ones such as happiness, gratitude, interest, love etc.

The overall result, you end up feeling bloody miserable. And this is why you hear of people needing that glass or two of wine after work, or that bottle of wine at the end of the week.

And like I’ve told you before, I know exactly what this is like. With the jobs that I’ve hated I’d put myself in work mood to get through the day. And I remember feeling so disinterested in anything that happened. By numbing the emotions that I needed to get through the day, to protect myself from getting insulted, belittled or frustrated, I also numbed the emotions that would create any kind of joy for me.

Something that I’ve seen way too many people in the corporate world go through. It’s the ones that say “It really doesn’t bother me anymore” while at the same time having this hollow stare like there’s simply no life left in them anymore. Well, now we know the reason why.

Blog Tip #29Check out Dr Brené Brown’s TED talk – The power of vulnerability. It’s worth 20 minutes of your time and you’ll develop a greater appreciation for making sure all your emotions are kept switched on.

What did you think about blog post #29?

Have you ever experienced this yourself? It could’ve been anywhere. At school or at a sports club.

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!

Talk to you next week.

Mimoza

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How to make those networking events work for you (Blog #28)

networking event

The success that you have in your career in strongly linked to the people you have in your corner.

And I’m not just referring to people you know. It’s the people that have your back that will make the difference.

I remember going to my first networking night as a uni student. I made my own business cards. Hilarious, I know. And my aim was to hand them out to as many people as possible. Even as I write this I literally crack up laughing. Yep, that got me real far (Not). Although, you have to give me some credit for showing initiative. Believe it or not, there were plenty of students that didn’t give out one of their business cards. But it still did absolutely nothing for me (lol).

In the corporate world the way that most networking events are set up and the way we’re taught to go about it, doesn’t really do much for us. Yes, we meet the person and we can say we’ve spoken to them, but rarely do they become those people that have got your back.

So, what do I mean when I say someone that’s got your back?

I know you’ll automatically think that I’m talking about a person that will hand a job over to you when you need one. But that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

What I’m talking about is that trusted friend that can understand you at your work level and give you help when you need it. A person that you feel 100% comfortable telling them, if need be, “that it’s all gone to shit and I need help.”

And one of the biggest mistakes that we make is not making any effort to strengthen our ties with these people until we need them.

Yep, I’ve done it and I’m sure you have too. Not contacting a particular person until you actually need them. And then when you do need them, it’s that awkward “Hi, remember me? How you been? Can you do me a favour?” Yep, awkward, awkward, awkward.

So, how do we get onto the path of developing those relationships that could later become our life-lines? A term which Keith Ferrazzi uses quite often in his book “Who’s Got Your Back”.

Well, it really comes down to a few simple things:

When meeting them for the first time try and connect on a personal level. Based on my experience we tend to start the conversation off with questions about their job, which seems quite natural to do. But what we need to remember is that over 80% of people out there hate their job¹. So starting the conversation with this topic isn’t going to create any real bond. A question that many recommend using is “What’s keeping your interest these days?” Through this you could discover shared interests. And that’s when the bonding can start.

Follow up. It could be a simple email. Or a hand written note. You’d be surprised the impact that a hand written note makes these days.

Once you know something about them, think of something you could do for them before you actually need their help. Just for the purpose of helping them out and nothing more. And don’t just think on a work level as that tends to stop people in their tracks. You kind of think well he’s more advance than me so what could I possibly offer him? But maybe when you were talking you discovered that he’s a foodie and you just happen to go to a new restaurant the other night that you absolutely loved. You could shoot him an email telling him about it as a place he should check out. Remember the act of giving is more important than what you give.

And when the offer comes let them help you. We tend to be much more comfortable with helping instead of letting people help us. Keep this in mind next time an offer of help comes. And instead of automatically saying “No” give “Yes” a go. You never know what might come out of it.

Blog Tip #28 – A really good online course that will open your eyes to a world of opportunity, that you can do online at your own pace and space is Live Your Legend’s How To Connect With Anyone course. Look into it. You’ll be connecting with people you never thought possible.

What did you think of blog post #28?

Have you experienced some of the situations described?

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!

Talk to you next week.

Mimoza

 

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

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One of the most important things that managers need to be able to say (Blog #27)

Manager needing help

“I NEED HELP!”

Sounds simple, right?

But it would absolutely blow your mind as to how some managers have just stuffed up completely because of their inability to recognise the need to say these three simple words – “I need help!”

Because of their belief that as managers they can’t say these words. As what kind of manager would they be if they needed help? (Try the human kind)

Just so you can get a good understanding of what I’m talking about, here’s just one example for you.

A manager that I had at one of my past jobs was a nice manager.

My dealings with her were pleasant and polite. Nothing of any real significance was ever discussed. The relationship was that of two acquaintances that had almost nothing to do with each other. Thus, keeping it pleasant and polite was easy.

Her management style, however, paralysed a whole marketing team. When I say paralysed, I mean it was like we were stuck in time and no one was ever, and I mean ever, going to move forward, under her management anyway.

Although, I could write multiple blog posts on what her management style lacked and what it did to us as a team, today I want to talk about what it did to her.

For someone that was our team leader I don’t know how much more separated we could’ve been.

You could say she kind of knew what we were doing through all the sign offs that went her way, but we knew nothing of what she was doing.

I mean you heard rumors. Like she is working on something big, but that was about it.

All you knew is that she was extremely busy. Too busy for you and too busy for the team.

But here she was with the biggest marketing projects that our company had going on and she alone was the only person in our team that was dealing with them. It was all treated as top secret stuff. We weren’t even allowed to know about it.

And there I was a member of her team working on the most boring marketing jobs that could exist on the planet, making minimal impact if any. And it wasn’t just me that felt this way. It felt like half the team was dying of boredom from the most mundane tasks that could exist.

If it wasn’t bad enough that she took it upon herself to do all the work that had any kind of significance, when she did reach out for a bit of help it was to an external marketing agency, not her team.

I couldn’t believe it.

How pathetic did she think we were?

I’d never felt more insignificant in my whole career. It was humiliating.

We’d sit back as nobodies as we watched our team leader endlessly go from one meeting to another for these big jobs she was working on.

Her superiority was also made known through the exclusive marketing seminars she got to go to, all the way overseas might I add.

Was I envious?

Of course I was!

Anyone with an ounce of ambition would be.

My whole time there I never went to any marketing seminars and any requests I made about training were turned down. And I never witnessed anyone from my team go to any marketing seminars either.

(Yep, they were really interested in our development, NOT!)

When our team manager came back from overseas, I was dying to hear something exciting as I was scared I would actually fall asleep at my desk from boredom.

She told us how amazing it was and how she got heaps of info and she was going to share it all with us in detail.

It never happened.

All we got was a 10-minute overview and that was it. With some news that she was working on putting it all to practice soon. Another big project she was working on.

A few weeks later, I went on maternity leave and after having my baby I caught up with some work colleagues about 6 months after. At the catch up I was told that our team manager had been removed from the company to put it nicely.

It appears that the pressure had finally got to her, which resulted in her initially having some time off due to stress issues and then being removed from her job altogether.

And is it surprising?

Anything that was remotely significant she kept to herself to deal with.

And, after all those meetings and seminars and all the secrecy, I never saw anything come out of it. Those big things she was working on never came to fruition.

I never noticed any changes.

Now, had she been more transparent and involved her team, trained her team, allocated to her team, she could’ve had more time to do what her job was to do. To manage her people. To develop her people. To take care of the people in her charge. Not kill herself by taking on board all the work by herself.

What’s the point of having a team if you’re going to do that?

On top of that, here you had a company that invested in this one person more than the whole team combined and at the end of the day for nothing. I wonder what happened to all the information she got from the overseas seminars?

From what I could see nothing!

Blog Tip #27: One of the most vulnerable things that a leader needs to be able to say is “I need help”. Never ignore what your gut is telling you. An excellent book that I’m reading at the moment regarding this topic is Keith Ferrazzi’s “Who’s got your back”. He gives his own account of how he fell into a very similar trap and what he learnt from it. Definitely a must read!

What did you think of this week’s blog post? Have you ever witnessed or experienced anything similar?

Tell me 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

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