Tag Archives: Love Your Job

7 ways you know you’re doing a great job

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 ways you know you're doing a great job

Job satisfaction is often linked to how appreciated you feel at work. Sometimes you might not receive the praise you crave and if you’re unhappy at work, it can be difficult to perform. Not every manager is great with praise and some just don’t have the time or inclination to understand how important occasional compliments are. But there are other, subtler ways to tell you’re doing a great job.

There are many times throughout your career when you need to assess your performance. For example, when you’re due for a performance review, when you’re feeling unmotivated, or when you’ve received some unfavourable feedback. If you’re faced with any of these situations, try to assess your performance honestly. If you can, go back to your job description, performance plan, or KPIs to formally assess how you’re going against those goals. Some ways to prove you’re doing a great job, even though you might not actually hear it, include thinking about the following areas:

  1. The value you add: Ask yourself where you might have added value and assess how this helped your manager, department, or the overall company. Try to keep track of any accolades received from colleagues, clients and others; and remember all the things you’ve done to improve processes or ways to get things done.
  2. Your measurable success: Many roles can be easily tracked in terms of performance – sales made against budget or marketing metrics such as responses, likes or clicks. But for other roles that aren’t metrics driven and easy to measure, think about your actions and how they meet or exceed expectations. Did you follow instructions, procedures or rules? Did you deliver an outcome when you said you would? Did you receive some positive feedback from a client or colleague?
  3. Being the go-to person: If you are constantly being asked questions about a variety of areas of the business, there’s a good chance you have become the company ‘go-to person’. Learning about the company and how things work and sharing that knowledge with your colleagues is an excellent trait for any employee and a good indication that you’re doing a great job.
  4. You’re reliable: If you get asked to help out on projects, or assist with last minute tasks, you can be relied upon to get the job done. An employee who turns up on time, listens, does what’s expected of them, is trustworthy, and shows respect is a productive and valuable employee.
  5. You’re asked for your opinion: Being given the opportunity to attend meetings to listen and offer your view on different areas is another indicator that you’re doing a great job and your efforts are appreciated.
  6. You’re proactive: Some people wait to be told what to do, and others take their own initiative to get things done. Managers notice self-motivated, proactive team members so if you offer to help out on tasks that you notice need to be done, but might not be in your direct area of responsibility – you’re probably doing a great job!
  7. You solve problems: Being a problem solver is important, so if you’re faced with a challenge and you tell your boss about the issue while also offering suggestions on how you think it should be fixed, they’ll appreciate your efforts. It makes their life easier and proves to them that you’re invested in the company’s success just as much as they are.

It is important to understand that some managers aren’t great at giving feedback. If you find yourself in this situation, often simply asking for feedback is a good approach. Otherwise, you could find a mentor – either within the company or outside. Mentors can offer advice and they’ve usually faced some of the same challenges you might be experiencing. They’ll help you strategise ways to deal with issues and support you on your path to success.

If you would like help with any aspect of your career, please see our range of Career Counselling Services.

5 steps to creating a portfolio career

Article by Belinda Fuller

5 Steps to Creating a Portfolio CareerMore than just a bunch of part-time jobs, portfolio careers are becoming more and more common as people seek to improve their work-life balance and increase overall career and job satisfaction. Many people are finding that juggling two, three or even four jobs can be much more fulfilling and rewarding than holding down one traditional full-time role.

Amongst my group of friends and acquaintances, I’ve noticed the rise in people building their career doing a variety of jobs for a range of different clients or companies. While a portfolio career is similar to freelancing, it’s not quite the same. Whereas freelance work revolves around doing the same, or a similar thing for different clients on an ongoing basis, a portfolio career usually involves a mix of longer term part-time roles that might include some freelance or contract work. It can suit many different types of people, for example, those looking for opportunities post-redundancy, people wanting to become self-employed but with some stability from one or two part-time roles, people looking to pursue something creative that may not pay well initially, people transitioning into retirement, or those looking to start an entirely new career.

It can also suit different industries, for example, you could be a Human Resources Manager with a part-time job working for a small business, a casual teaching or lecturing role at University or TAFE, and a writer for an industry publication.

Some of the benefits of having a portfolio career include:

  • Flexibility – to utilise your unique skills and develop different areas of interest. It might also provide opportunities to explore new avenues far easier than if you are holding down a full time job, as well as being able to pursue self-employment opportunities without the risk of going it alone completely.
  • Independence – to create your own career on your terms, managing your time with family needs or other personal interests.
  • Freedom – to pursue your passions and choose to work doing what you want to do, rather than what the job requires.
  • Variety – and less monotony in your day to day work.
  • Opportunity – in tight job markets, the availability of full-time jobs might fall in certain sectors, with some companies embracing part-time or contract roles as a viable solution. A multitude of part-time jobs might provide the answer.

So how can you create a portfolio career?

STEP # 1: learn about the pros and cons by talking to others or doing some research. While a portfolio career can sound inviting with all that variety and flexibility, for many people, it may just create more stress as a result of having to manage different roles, time involvements, and income sources.

STEP # 2: understand your financial situation and work out how much money you need to feel secure. Try to give yourself a financial buffer for times when income drops. Remember that part-time workers’ hours can often change with little notice, and if you’re freelancing or consulting you need to be constantly identifying new projects and income sources.

STEP # 3: identify your unique skills and attributes. Ask yourself what you have to offer, how will you deliver it, and who will want it – but more importantly who will pay for it and will you be happy doing it?

STEP # 4: once you’ve embarked on your new career, manage your time effectively to ensure you’re not working harder – just smarter. Juggling multiple jobs can be tricky if you’re not organised, so create efficient systems and rules around time spent on each vocation.

STEP # 5: learn some sales and networking strategies, especially if part of your income needs to come from consulting or freelance opportunities. If you don’t have permanent part-time roles, don’t underestimate the time you need to spend on business development activities which are usually ‘non-earning’.

Most people have different sides to them and a portfolio career could be just the approach you need to ensure you gain more fulfilment and satisfaction from your career, while addressing other areas such as freedom, flexibility and independence.

Are you interested in pursuing a portfolio career? Not sure where to start or what skills you need to develop? Our Career Counsellors and Career Advisors can help! Please see our Career Coaching and Career Guidance Services for more information.

 

How to create a life by design

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Create a Life by DesignIf you are becoming increasingly fatigued by ordinary life and frustrated that you aren’t getting where you really want to be in your career, life and finances, you are not alone. It’s estimated that around 80% of the population are finding it more and more difficult to gain and maintain clarity and control across all these areas of their lives.

We have written before about career change, work life balance, and choosing a job and career you love. Many of our clients, especially those who take up career counselling services, are not only facing challenges with their work, but are also at some kind of crossroad in their lives. They want to be more fulfilled across all areas – which can include family, health, relationships, finances, social, spiritual, and/or creative aspects in addition to work and career.

At some point in our lives, most of us would like to gain more control over some or all of these areas with many believing that more time is the answer. However, often this just isn’t a viable solution – we all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and most of us are stretched to our limits as it is. The real reason most of us don’t have control of our life is CLARITY! While most people don’t have enough time to do everything they want to do, they almost always find the time to do the most important things.

Happiness and success in life is very much determined by how well we understand what we truly want. While most of us can define what we don’t want in life (that’s the easy part), few of us know with real clarity what we really do want. Taking responsibility for all areas of our life, work and finances; and working out what our true priorities are isn’t as easy as it sounds. To do this requires taking some time out to ascertain what really is important, ideally with some specific tools and expert guidance.

Here are some tips to get you started:

TIP # 1 Create a bucket list with at least 50 things you would like to do in your lifetime

TIP # 2 Identify your top 5 priorities for next year

TIP # 3 Create a personal cash flow to get more financial control

TIP # 4 Focus on your daily priorities – three for work and three for personal time

TIP # 5 Develop the habit of gratitude and take time to appreciate the best three things in your life each day

TIP # 6 Design your perfect ideal week and action a few things from it now

TIP # 7 Make a top five fun list (e.g movies, massage, dinner with friend, comedy show etc.) and make sure you do one every week

TIP # 8 Exercise to energise

TIP # 9 Allocate set times to check your email so you have time to focus on important priorities

TIP # 10 Schedule some fun things in your diary now for the next 12 months

Setting Yourself Up for a Great Year Ahead – over the Christmas/New Year break is a great time to do this with the added benefit that you’ll be reinvigorated with new goals focused specifically on your needs for the start of the new year. Set yourself up to achieve your best year yet with clear strategies to improve your work life balance, maximise your job fulfilment and take control of your personal finances.

While you may have the best intentions to try and gain this clarity, it can be difficult without assistance. Some of us at Katie Roberts recently completed an online self-leadership program which has helped me personally to achieve improved clarity around what’s important, with an added bonus of creating some strategies and steps for my personal and business life. As a result of our success, we would like to encourage you to also complete the course.

If you would like to take more control of your life, work and finances; and feel happier about your future direction, please click here for the Life by Design Self-Leadership online course.

6 work-life balance tips

Article by Belinda Fuller


Work lfe balance tips
Many people admit to working countless more hours each week than they used to. This extra time working takes a toll on your health, wellbeing, and overall happiness with daily struggles to balance the demands of work, family and social time. And with new technology allowing us to be connected 24/7, it’s becoming more difficult to find that balance between work and life.

When job seekers were asked what they were looking for in a new role as part of a leading recruitment firm’s (Hudson) 2015 Hiring Report, work-life balance took precedence as the top priority for the first time in years. Participant responses included all the usual things such as higher salary, cultural fit, career progression/training, better benefits, alignment with company values and a better title – but 70% of respondents named work-life balance as their number one priority. Responses were equal from males and females and spread across all age groups.

Hudson believes this signals a dramatic shift in Australia’s working culture. We agree, and believe that many companies will need to become much better at offering more flexible arrangements for employees to achieve their desired work-life balance, however everyone has different needs and expectations regarding that balance.

So how, in today’s culture of ‘constantly on’ do we manage that elusive mix of work and life? Your main priority should be working out what you need and understanding that you do have some control. With flexibility already available and options for working in vastly different ways to what has previously been the norm, we are no longer tied to the 9 to 5 employee for life culture. The premise of working smarter not harder is truly becoming a reality for many people. Try these tips.

TIP # 1 – Prioritise Your Needs to work out what balance means to you, then communicate your needs to your superiors, colleagues etc. If you can’t or don’t want to be available at certain times, let people know and get their support.

TIP # 2 – Use Technology to your advantage and switch it off during some periods to focus on friends and family. Make use of technology to work from home if you can on a regular basis – especially if your work involves periods of writing or research where you need to focus or work quietly for long stretches. The time you save in commuting, not to mention the productivity that you achieve during those periods alone, will make you so much more effective.

TIP # 3 – Focus on the important stuff, and learn time management skills (try the Pomodoro technique). Work out what’s important to you right now and focus on those tasks. Track how you spend your time and work out where you could save time by working faster, delegating or eliminating.

TIP # 4 – Introduce Structure, Processes and Systems around things you do all the time at work. This applies to your personal and home life too. You may have no idea how simple it is to automate or speed up repetitive tasks (or even just outsource them). Think about the tasks you perform regularly and work out how to automate or simplify them.

TIP # 5 – Work Smarter – just because you work 12-hour days doesn’t mean you are more productive. Of course, there are going to be times when you need to work longer hours to complete something urgent, but if you’re working long hours all the time, something is not right. If you believe that hours worked equates to productivity you need to rethink – by eliminating unnecessary emails, meetings and other distractions you could be amazed at how much extra time you gain.

TIP # 6 – Don’t over commit – this should be obvious, but is an area that many people find hard to follow. You don’t have to say yes to everything – social and work. Use a calendar to arrange your appointments and commitments – include appointments, meetings time to actually work on projects, plus personal and family commitments as well as exercise. I’m a big fan of planning out my week, making sure I have time to fit in all the work I’ve committed to and factoring in some time for me and my family as well as dealing with the day to day mundane activities that need attending to. At the start of each week, review your schedule to ensure you have some down time factored in. If you don’t – try to make sure it happens, and if it can’t for that week – make it a priority for the next week. Planning your week and ensuring you have some down time in your calendar sets you up for success and enables you to deal with the inevitable emergencies that come up.

Work-life balance is becoming more important to more and more people. Achieving and maintaining it is not a one off process – it’s a lifelong pursuit. As your life stage changes, so too will your needs. Aspire to what you need and work to achieve it, but remember to review it from time to time to make sure it’s still working for you.

Are you struggling to achieve the balance you desire in your life right now? Would you like help from a Career Advisor to work out if your career goals and aspirations are in alignment with your work-life balance goals? If so see, please see our Career Counselling Services.

How to Choose a Job You Love

Article by Belinda Fuller

Finding a job you truly love can be tough. What matters to me in terms of happiness with my work might be completely different to what matters to you, so trying to get a job at the cool company your friend works at might not be a great idea either. You need to find something that suits you – either as a building block for your long term career or as an opportunity you’re going to be comfortable with for now. Considering most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work, it pays to make sure your next job is great! Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Don’t wait – the majority of people who move on are happy about their decision. If you’re unhappy in your job, make the decision to do something about it and then take action to make it happen. Don’t let your dissatisfaction with your work environment erode the enthusiasm and confidence that you’ll need to find a new one.

2. Focus on what you like rather than focusing on the negatives and the things you dislike about your current job. The goal here is that you want to be happy in your work right? That means avoiding what you don’t like doing will help to a point, BUT you need to be doing more of what you love! Think about the things you like doing and take notice of what you are naturally good at – try to think broadly here and don’t limit your options.

3. Don’t let lack of skills or experience hold you back – you may think you don’t have the right skills or experience to secure your dream job. If you’re looking to change careers altogether, there may be some investment in training and/or education required to make it happen. Don’t be daunted by this task. Break it down into manageable steps and if it means you’ll be happy in your work longer term, it’s worth it. Also, most people have a raft of transferable skills that they underestimate. Consider seeing a Career Counsellor to get an independent perspective. Career Counsellors are trained professionals who can help you find your passion and achieve your full potential in your career. They often use formal assessment tools to better understand where your interests, values and personality traits lie in order to identify the careers, industries and work environment that best suit you. Many people are amazed at the areas uncovered during these sessions.

4. Be realistic about time frames – finding a new job does take time and may take longer than you expect. The perfect job needs to be a two way fit, so having unrealistic expectations in terms of the time it’s going to take can get you down. Give yourself some time to achieve your goal and try to focus on the bigger picture while getting there.

5. Avoid basing decisions on salary and perks – this is difficult I know. Many people base their decisions on salary and/or perks of the job and wouldn’t dream of moving to a new job without a raise. I truly believe this is a mistake. Of course we all need money to live and most of us work to live, not the other way around, however there is a point at which we should say enough is enough. If you work in a highly paid job that you are truly unhappy in, it will take a toll on your health and general wellbeing. What is the point of that in the longer term? Feeling stressed and burnt out on a day to day basis will limit your chances of moving ahead anyway, so working out how much money you really need to live on might help you take a job with less stress and hours and more job satisfaction in the longer term.

If you’ve already lost your job, you may be feeling anxious about securing your next position and feel like you’re not in a position to wait for the perfect job. The period following a redundancy can be stressful, however it can also be a good time to take stock, re-evaluate your career options and look at new avenues to pursue. Start your job search quickly and try to allow yourself some time to achieve the perfect role, rather than becoming desperate and needing to take the first thing that comes along. Read my previous article about Surviving Redundancy for more tips.

Remember, finding the perfect job takes time and effort, you may need to develop some new skills, take some courses or enrol in more formal education along the way. If you’re in a stable job, you don’t have to leave until you’ve secured your next role – but don’t let the bad job you’re in bring you down emotionally to a point where you can’t secure your next role. There are many paths to different careers and jobs and you may benefit by talking to a professional.

If you would like help from a Career Coach to evaluate your options for a new job or if you’d like to better understand the career options that best suit your interests, values and personality, please see our Career Guidance and Career Coaching services.