Archive for Career

The 5 Worst Job Change Bloopers – how not to get a new job!

Plus 5 simple ways to find a job you’ll love.

Job change bloopers and how to aboid them

Whether it’s a through an epiphany or a gradually dawning realisation, one day you realise you just don’t want to go into work, ever again.  Every job has a ‘use by’ date, when the effort you put in no longer equals the satisfaction you gain from it.

Regardless of how or when you confront the reality that this job is no longer for you, it creates a whole new challenge – how to find a new one you’ll love. In the current economy this may seem somewhat idealistic. But before you take the first thing that comes along that vaguely fits your skills and experience, it’s wise to be aware of the traps and pitfalls of changing jobs.

By simply avoiding these new job search mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to securing something that ticks all your boxes.

1.       Jumping out of the frying pan into the fire

I know, if things are really bad, it’s tempting to quit as quickly as you can.  Anything else would be better, right?  Wrong!  At best you’ll gain temporary relief knowing you’ve got a regular income.  At worst, it could turn out to be even more diabolical than the job you had.

While this may be somewhat melodramatic, I’m often amazed how many people contact me for career coaching within 6 months of starting a new role.  This usually happens when they’ve committed the following job change blooper!

2.       Relying mostly on recruiters, online job sites and a generic CV

In the same way that real estate agents are acting for the vendor, so too are recruiters and online job sites.  Their job is to provide a short-list of the most suitable candidates to the employer and given the volume of applicants for many roles, they do this quickly and ruthlessly.

If your CV is simply a laundry list of past jobs and doesn’t spell out how and why you’re a perfect fit for the role, it will quickly end up on the ‘no’ list.  Your application and CV have only one job – to get you an interview. If you haven’t taken the time to carefully match your experience, skills and achievements to the advertised role, you won’t even get a look in.

3.       Being vague about what you want and can do

This one’s a common trap, particularly if you’ve been in the same role with the same organisation for a long time.  It often seems easier to talk about what you’ve done in the past because it’s familiar but remember, there’s a reason why this type of work has reached its use by date for you!

Lack of clarity about what you’d really like to do and are capable of will create self-doubt that festers and grows. Before you know it, you’ll be six months into your job search but no closer to getting the job you want.

Many of your skills and past experience will be transferable but if you can’t join the dots between what you’ve done and what else you could do, you’re seriously limiting your options.

4.       Wishing, Waiting and Hoping for the dream job to come to you

Reality check – no one cares more about getting you the best possible job than you do.  Firing off 50+ applications and sitting back waiting for the phone to ring is a sure-fire way to go nuts! While I’m sure you wouldn’t do that, let’s save a lot of time and angst by ruling this strategy out now.

If your options, strategy and job search net aren’t wide enough, chances are you’ll be stuck in your dead end job or unemployed for a very long time.

5.       Losing heart, patience and confidence

Once you lose belief in yourself, so too will everyone else you approach for a new job.  I once interviewed a candidate for a role who looked fine on paper.  Within 5 minutes of starting the interview it was obvious that he had no faith in himself to do the job.

Sadly, he was unsuccessful because while he’d prepared for the technical parts of the interview, he froze and then stumbled when asked how he’d take on responsibilities for which he had no prior experience.  What he didn’t realise was that I wasn’t looking for an expert, rather someone who was prepared to learn.  “I don’t know…” just doesn’t cut it as a response to an interview question!

Likewise, getting the job you want isn’t likely to happen overnight.  These days it can realistically take months and sometimes years and it’s important to do whatever you need to do to stay focused and confident.

5 Simple Job Change Success Strategies

1. Take time out to step back, gain perspective and consider all your options.

Ask others what they see that you can’t.

 

2. Make a list of everyone you know who could help.

Reconnect, schedule a catch-up and discover who they know who could use your skills.

 

3. Get crystal clear about what you do best and want to do next.

Review your career highlights and identify what it was about them you most enjoyed.

 

4. Identify your transferable skills.

Research all the possible ways you could use your favourite skills more often and be prepared to be flexible.  Create an action plan to target preferred organisations and industries.

 

5.Become your own best advocate! 

Take accountability for your career and do everything you can to make yourself irresistible to your dream employer.  This could include volunteering to gain more experience, asking for professional help or teeing up a buddy who’ll keep you focused on doing whatever it takes.

Fortunately, the most common mistakes job hunters make are all avoidable. With commitment, a positive attitude and a strong support team, you’ll soon be doing your best work and loving it.

For more tips and ideas on how to discover what job you’d love to do and how to get it, check out The Great Life Redesign – change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen today.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

A Real Life Redesign Story of Guts, Energy and Surrender

How one woman’s Good Life Crisis is changing lives, including her own!

When Serena Star Leonard quit her day job and redesigned her life, she really didn’t know what lay ahead.  At 26 she left her IT sales career behind to discover how to realise her passion for making a difference.

Johnny and Serena writing and editing en routeJohnny and Serena writing and editing en route

Fast forward 7 years and she’s now a best- selling author (How to Retire in 12 Months), blogger and business coach.  Currently travelling long term with her husband through Latin America, she’s having amazing adventures, filming mini documentaries and sharing stories of people all over the world who are making a difference to their communities.

In a ‘virtual fireside chat’ from Latin America, let’s go behind the scenes of Serena’s great life redesign.

What prompted you to follow your passion?

 

I had a safe, well paying job with a great future ahead of me – the problem was that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I had so much fear around the thought of the unknown that I was stuck. Meanwhile I created a charitable event on the side with some friends and it went ballistic!  A few days later I had the courage to leave my job and go out on my own.

It actually took me a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do – so that was an intense time! I created lots of small businesses, charities, events and projects, many succeeded and many failed. I was over worked, over committed, flying by the seat of my pants and earning very little. But with all that going on, an amazing sense of freedom started to develop.

After a while I noticed that I loved helping people set up their own projects and businesses – as soon as I decided to be a business coach, everything fell into place. I had figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up!

You’ve helped many people to find and follow their passion.  What do you notice is different about people who make their dream a reality?

 

The difference is courage! The second you state your dream out loud, you risk failing. Everything about making a dream a reality comes with a risk that you might fail, so it takes a huge amount of courage to look possible failure in the face and carry on anyway.

What I love seeing is the moment when someone gets their first little taste of success. It could be the smallest thing, but at that moment they realise that the world is at their feet. You have no idea how big or exciting your journey could get, but you have to have the door open and that takes courage.

What’s a ‘Good Life Crisis’ and why should we all have one?

 

A “Good Life Crisis” happens when you have a minor freak out and realise that unless you take action, your life will end up being more of what it already is.

At that point people start to think about they want from life – and start designing their life rather than following status quo.

“Good Life Crises” seem to happen organically – either we are inspired by other people, or we are unfulfilled and look for change. Either way I think it is important at regular intervals in your life to take a good look at where you are at and decide if that is the direction you will continue to go in.

What three things do all ‘Good Life Crisis’ creators have in common?

 

1. Guts – it takes courage to change the course of your life. You are interrupting the flow that you have taken a lifetime to create, so naturally there will be some resistance in your head as well as in the world around you.

2. Energy – that moment when you choose to change things you also accept responsibility for how your life goes. It’s like the lights turn on! When you chase your dreams you find energy that you never knew you had. Life looks different and everything you do suddenly matters.

3. Surrender – after a while you start to surrender to the process rather than the outcome. You can do everything in your power to make something happen and it may succeed or fail. People who chase their dreams start to realise that the process or journey is what matters, more than the results.

You’re on a quest to find and share the stories of people who are making a real difference in their communities and the world.  What sparked the idea and purpose of Five Point Five and what types of stories are you seeking to share?

 

Well to cut a long story short – we were about to embark on 3 years of travel and adventure and rather than do the tourist thing we wanted to do something that had some meaning.

We saw an incredibly inspiring YouTube video about Narayanan Krishnan who feeds and cares for the destitute in India. In the video he says that “everyone has 5.5 litres of blood, everybody is the same”.

This had a huge impact on me – what if we could collect stories of all the inspiring people who are out there quietly dedicating their lives to making the world a better place?

Since we left in April we have spent time with kids in the slums in Colombia, with sex workers fighting for their basic rights in Nicaragua, with a turtle conservation program in Costa Rica, with women who collect plastic bags off the beaches and sew them into gorgeous bags to reduce pollution. Every week we meet new communities of amazing, inspiring people who are absolute heroes.

This is a total passion project and I get to mix adventurous world travel with intimate experiences with inspiring people and communities.

Johnny plays football with kids from a project in Columbia

 

Johnny plays football with kids fro a project in Columbia

Women sew plastic bags off beaches into beautiful things

 

 

 

 

Women sew plastic bags off beaches into beautiful things

Johnny gets help fixing the road at school

 

 

 

Johnny gets some help fixing the road at school

 

 

 

 

 

Serena in turtle conservation program in Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

How cool is that!

To find out more about Serena’s inspiring and interesting story, check out her blog.  If the idea of quitting your 9 – 5 job appeals, she’s also running a course in January to teach people how to build their first blog from scratch. http://www.retireyoung.com.au/the-retire-young-course/

Carpe diem!
Caroline Cameron

 

 

Are you too comfortable?

What happens when you stay bored for too longThe cure for boredom is to step outside your comfort zone

If you’ve ever felt like you’re dying of boredom, you’ll know how mind numbingly frustrating it can be.

The hours tick slowly by as you go through the motions and as time passes, life gets increasingly stale and monotonous.

Maybe you’ve been in the same job or industry for what feels like forever, doing pretty much the same thing, day in and day out.  Perhaps you’re in a stale relationship or you’ve lived in the same house and neighbourhood for years.  Boredom strikes and settles in when nothing changes.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a little boredom. It’s great for chilling out, recharging the batteries and taking the pressure off for a while.  That’s actually relaxation – a vital stress reliever we all need to create balance.

However, when you’re too comfortable for too long you can find yourself climbing the walls and longing for something even remotely exciting to happen. Many a mid-life crisis is triggered by boredom and complacency when we’re simply not aware of what’s really going on.

Prolonged comfort is an insidious trap – the longer you’re in it, the harder it is to break free.  With no sense of urgency and purpose, your motivation, desire and enthusiasm rapidly fall away.

No longer interesting or interested, you’re starving your need for growth and challenge of much needed oxygen.  Friends stop calling, loved ones stop talking and even if an exciting opportunity came your way, you’d probably miss it.

Excuses become reasons not to act as life and all it has to offer pass you by.

It’s time to leap outside your Comfort Zone!

Your comfort zone is a state of being that determines what you will and won’t do. Made up of concentric rings, the mental boundaries that keep you stuck or propel you forward are like a fence around each ring that encircles the stages of your life.  When you’re in it, you’re generally relaxed, which means you’re coasting along nowhere near the perimeter.  Comfortable – yes; challenged – probably not.

Your Comfort Zone

Gradually the tension to jump the fence increases alongside mounting boredom, dissatisfaction or desire.  Eventually the prospect of staying where you are is intolerable and the compulsion to move forward becomes irresistible. That’s when you know you’re ready to let go of the familiar and step into new experiences and challenges.

Pain vs pleasure, risk vs reward, tolerance vs desire

Most of us do far more to avoid pain than we do to move towards pleasure. If you burn your finger on a hot iron, you’ll quickly pull it away from the heat. This action is instinctive and necessary. Yet when offered the opportunity for pleasure, many people resist it thinking they don’t deserve it, can’t do it or haven’t earned it. This very basic instinct keeps our Gen D friends stuck in the life they have, not really happy but also not motivated enough to change it.

If you have a high risk tolerance, you’re more likely to take the leap of faith required to make a significant life change. However, if you’re strongly risk averse, naturally cautious or fearful, you may feel like a base jumper about to leap off a cliff without a parachute. Don’t worry, you’ll be okay! Remember, your comfort zone is all mental conditioning (what you tell yourself) and hence something you can control.

If prolonged boredom has given way to discomfort, that’s a good thing. It creates the motivation, focus and effort you’ll need to create change and redesign whatever part of your life is just not doing it for you. Problems are really opportunities in disguise. Likewise, if the catalyst for change is a positive one, your desire for a better life will motivate you to make the transition.

Making a fundamental change to the way you live will require a gigantic leap outside your comfort zone! However, you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone many times in the past and once you consciously recall how you did it, you’ll be well prepared to do it again, this time with even more experience.

Reclaim your Mojo!

If you suspect you may be just a tad too comfortable, decide now to quit tolerating whatever’s driving your boredom and ambivalence. Use it as the motivator to redesign whatever’s not working in your life and create what you truly want.  The Great Life Redesign includes a simple quiz to help you know for sure whether you’re ready for change.  It also offers some handy Comfort Zone Leaping Techniques to get you on your way.

Deciding to act right NOW rekindles your energy and desire for change! Imagine how much better your life will be when you actually take steps to redesign it.  All it takes is one step at time. Your life redesign will gather momentum and you won’t ever want to go back to boredom.

Watch what happens when you discover what you really want; inject new life into an old relationship or embark on something brand new and exciting.  It’s like opening a window, letting in the breeze and feeling alive all over again.

What are you going to stop tolerating and start doing to reclaim your mojo today?

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

 

 

PS.  Even if you’re not currently in the ‘too comfortable’ space, you may know someone who is.  Send them this post to get them off the couch and into action!

The Workstation Warrior’s Guide to Freedom

Had a bad day at the office?

The Workstation Warrior's Guide to FreedomAs a child, when someone asked you “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, it’s unlikely you would have said, “Oh, I’d love to spend my days in a small, beige laminate 3 x 3 space with my very own lockable cabinet.”

Yet many of us do and regardless of whether you’re doing a job you enjoy or not, your work space has the power to suck the very life out of you! Arriving early, you boot up your computer and wander round to the kitchen to let your sandwich hang out in the fridge with mouldy lunches long forgotten.

By the time you’ve trawled through the sea of red emails crowding your inbox (that appeared seemingly out of nowhere overnight), it’s time for a heart starter coffee.

Grabbing your regular coffee buddy you make your way to the usual cafe. While your skinny latte’s making its way into a polystyrene cup, you shoot the breeze with the other workstation warriors you see most mornings.

Back at your cubicle, you try to get your head into that report you’ve been writing for days. Just as you’re starting to make progress, it’s time for an important meeting. (Oh joy, another hour of your life to be wasted in a windowless meeting room, listening to endless discussions about who knows what.) You look interested whilst pondering how to make it across the road to your next back to back meeting on time.

After downing your lunch at your beloved workstation and catching up on the latest online news or Facebook goss, it’s time to do battle with those now even more out of control emails. (Doesn’t anyone pick up the phone or get off their bottom and come round to talk anymore?) By 2pm it feels like you’ve spent more time looking for things than getting them done.

An urgent request to prepare slides for your boss’ presentation to the board tomorrow suddenly shoves everything else onto the backburner. Yes, it was scheduled 3 weeks ago, but for some reason it slipped his mind and now it’s up to you to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. And if he could have the preso by 5pm so he’s got time to read it over, that would be great thanks.

By the time you head out the door to battle the peak hour traffic, you’re exhausted.  You’re racing to pick up the children and you’ve no idea what’s for dinner! Somehow none of this was part of the plan when you started your career and surely there’s more to life…

Sound familiar? Read on!

These Workplace Warrior Survival Tips will make life bearable while you hatch your freedom plan.

#1. Take Control of Your Space

Make time to clean up your workstation and ruthlessly biff anything you no longer need. Keeping your physical space uncluttered goes a long way to regaining your overall sense of control and freedom.  Within the boundaries of your work place, personalise your workstation or desktop with images that inspire, amuse and motivate you.

#2. Schedule Self Appointments for the Important Stuff

Given how much our workdays are dictated by electronic calendar invites, I’m constantly surprised how few people book an appointment with themselves to get the real work done.  Block out Real Work Time, get your head down and instantly feel more fulfilled by what you are able to get done.  If you need to work uninterrupted, book a meeting room or work from home, disappear and focus on the task at hand.

#3. Decide what Meetings You Really Must Attend

The ‘need to be needed’ and ‘in the know’ drives many people to attend meetings they can neither learn from nor contribute anything meaningful to.  If the meeting invite doesn’t state a clear purpose nor included an outcome oriented agenda, politely decline and reclaim productive hours back into your week.  If the outcome of the meeting you declined is important, you’ll find out about it one way or another.

#4 . Get Out at Lunchtime

The work will always be there and heroically downing your sandwich with one hand whilst answering emails with the other, won’t get it done any quicker. Research shows that those who clear their heads with a brisk walk or go for a run during their lunch break, are significantly more productive in the afternoon. Use the headspace time to regroup or decide what you’re going to cook for dinner!

#5. Plan Your Great Escape

If your current job isn’t remotely linked to what you really want to do, it’s time for a change. Decide what your dream work looks, sounds and feels like.  Find out what it involves and research the options. Create a plan to bridge the gap between now and your ideal future. (The Great Life Redesign provides a simple blueprint to make this easy).

#6. Change How You Look at Things

Once your Great Life Redesign vision and plan are crystal clear, the work you’re doing now becomes your ticket to freedom! Having clearly decided your future, your current role becomes a necessary, temporary transition job, rather than your life’s work. When each day is deliberately bringing you a step closer to your dream, today’s job takes on a whole new meaning.

Better still, when you’ve packed your Thrival Kit with resilience, perspective, courage and success, each day becomes noticeably easier.

Life’s too short to be chained to a workstation merely marking time to pay the bills.  Focus on what you really want, play to your strengths by doing more of what you love and do well.

Plan your escape and enjoy each day as it comes.

Do you have a favourite workplace survival tip that gives you more freedom?  If so, please share, I’d love to hear it.

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

Resignation Rules – how to walk out with your head held high

Leaving a job that's passed its 'use by' date?

Your Reputation Goes Ahead of YouWe've all agonised over the prospect of leaving a job and eventually come to the conclusion that it's time to move on. Either the job has become untenable or a far better opportunity beckons. But before you rush headlong into your shiny new future, it's wise to carefully plan your resignation.

Burning bridges may provide short-term satisfaction as you let loose and share a few less than complimentary home truths about the company you're leaving.  However, the fallout is likely to have a far greater negative impact on you than your current employer.  While it's tempting to think, "Oh well, it doesn't really matter, I'm leaving anyway," actually, it does.

People remember what you say and do and the world is a small place.  While your great life redesign provides a fresh start, chances are someone from your old world will know someone in your future.  Your reputation will travel ahead of you and before you know it, when you're introduced to someone you want to impress, they'll instantly make a connection and snap judgement.  "Aren't you the guy who left XXX under a cloud?"

A veteran of 9 carefully considered resignations and through my work as a professional career coach, here's what I've learnt about how to keep your reputation intact, enjoy your last few weeks and walk out with your head held high.

7 Ways to Exit Your Job Gracefully

1. Know where you're heading

A clear plan for the future will give you the certainty you need to move forward confidently.  Even if you’re not jumping straight into a new job, choosing to take stock and work out what you want to do next is a positive step.  Be confident about your resignation and feel optimistic about the future you’ve chosen.

2. Get the timing right

While it's tempting to resign as soon as you've decided that it's time to go, think about what's best for you and the organisation you're leaving.  Consider your notice period and make sure you tell the right people in the right order.  Your boss won't want to hear that you're leaving via the grapevine.

If the nature of your work means your company will need you to finish up immediately, plan for this and don't take it personally.  Policy is not a personal slight on your competence or value.

3. Decide how you want to be remembered

Act without regret and consciously choose the legacy you want to leave behind. Once you've decided, act accordingly.   Whether you have a day, week or month from resignation to exit, work to create a positive last impression. Invest as much focus and energy in this as you did in creating a positive first impression when you started.

4. Don't take your eye off the ball

Resist the temptation to 'down tools'.  While you may not feel as committed to your role once you've resigned, this isn't a time to stop responding to emails just because you won't be involved in the future.

Focus on what you can realistically achieve during your notice period and do whatever it takes to wrap up incomplete tasks or projects.  Identify opportunities where you can add value by getting things done and be pro-active about helping your colleagues succeed. Your professional reputation and integrity are depending on it.

5. Accept the disconnect and let go

You may notice that once word of your resignation gets out, you're invited to fewer meetings, your inbox seems emptier and fewer people are asking for your help or opinion. This is a normal response to change and again not personal. 

Your colleagues will be learning to manage without you over this time which is healthy. Consciously use the freed up time to make it easy for them, organise your files and facilitate a handover.

6. Maintain perspective

Become a ‘fly on the wall' and simply observe what's going on, without engaging emotionally. Everything is relative and this job won’t have been all good or all bad. Once you've resigned, it's no longer about you and this is a great time to create short-term, quick wins that will make a big difference long after you've gone.

7. Celebrate a job well done

Take time to reflect on all you've achieved and learnt.  Capturing achievements and lessons learnt along the way will help you identify your strengths, core skills and what you're most proud of.  Even the toughest challenges that brought lessons you wouldn't have chosen, are invaluable.  Recognise the positive difference you've made and use this as a springboard to your next job or a new career.

The last few days may be a blur of farewell coffees, lunches and drinks which are a great time to thank and acknowledge those who have made a difference to you.  Be generous with your thanks, particularly to those you found challenging to work with. As you hand in your pass, close the final box and turn off the light, take a last look around and be thankful for the experience. 

It’s time to pick up the box, hold your head high and walk through that door one last time knowing you’ve made a graceful exit. The future beckons…

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

Wouldn’t You Love an Extra Pair of Hands?

Less stress, more timean easy way to lower stress, reclaim your time and do more of what you love

Are you frantically juggling the many things you have to do, often wishing, “If only I had more time…?”  Now there’s a way and all you have to do is pick up the phone to make it happen.

I recently caught up with Abbie Allen, the founder of ifestyle Elements, a personal and corporate concierge service.  Abbie set up her company 8 years ago to provide practical support and relief for busy people juggling the everyday challenges of managing work and life.  With my passion for helping busy people thrive on the 21st century treadmill I wanted to know more.

Imagine having your very own personal assistant for life

A personal concierge can take care of all those tasks on your to-do list so you can focus on what’s most important to you.  For example:

  • Would you rather be at work or having to take a precious annual leave day to wait for the phone company?  A personal concierge will wait for the phone company and arrange all the details for you!
  • Would you rather be taking your kids to the zoo or dragging them to the supermarket? A personal concierge will trawl the supermarket aisles and pop into the baker and fruit & veg shop before delivering and unpacking it all for you!
  • Would you rather spend your lunch break catching up with a friend or researching the purchase of a new fridge? A personal concierge will not only research different fridge options for you and provide you with a detailed report, they can then arrange the purchase, delivery and removal of your old fridge.

Wow, imagine the relief of having your concierge take care of those tasks you’re dreading asking your mum, dad or a friend to help out with …  just this once, pleeease!

No job too big, small or unusual – all you have to do is ‘just ask’

Where in the past you may have employed a cleaner, gardener or babysitter, a personal concierge can take care of organising these and many other tasks and services for you.   Whether it’s grocery shopping, laundry pick up & delivery, pet care, home care when you’re away or general errand running, no request is too big, small or bizarre!

To discover the extent of what a personal concierge will do, I asked Abbie about the most ‘unusual request’ she’s received.  “I always find this a challenging question as it’s rare that we are surprised or stumped!” Some of the more unusual requests (all in a day’s work for Lifestyle Elements), include:

  • Arranging the delivery of turf lawn to a client’s children’s primary school
  • Organising a security guard for a 21st birthday party (a common request)
  • Delivering a bunch of flowers at the last minute on a Sunday evening in Adelaide for a client who was in the United States
  • Coordinating emergency carpet cleaning after a client’s garage was flooded
  • Taking a dog to the airport for an interstate flight.

Personal Concierge – a luxury or a necessity?

Far from being a luxury, clients who use Lifestyle Elements services see it as a life saver for managing their busy lives – a service they can’t live without. Abbie’s clients invest in her service because it improves the quality of their life, their family’s life, or their employees’ lives.

Many people actually save or earn more when they employ a personal concierge.  For example, a personal concierge will thoroughly research and shop for products helping their clients get better value and avoid ‘impulse buying’ because they simply don’t have time to shop around. By outsourcing many of the time consuming but necessary tasks to a personal concierge you free up considerable time, become more productive at work and potentially earn more.

More importantly, when you’re doing better things with your time – being with your family and friends, doing something you love, the value is priceless.  Add your hourly rate to the cost of each routine but necessary task you’re currently doing to see what it’s really costing you.

Help for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Not just for the rich and famous, a personal concierge provides a lifeline for just about anyone including executive couples, working families, single parents, business owners, family carers or people who travel a lot for work.  Lifestyle Element’s services are also offered through corporate programs to reduce stress and pressure and make life easier for employees.

Based in Adelaide, Lifestyle Elements work for clients all over the world.  They offer many of their services via phone and internet and are well connected to a global network of concierge providers who provide ‘on the ground’ services. Lifestyle Elements also offer gift vouchers, which is a wonderful way to help out a new mum, someone recovering from an illness or even a welcome birthday gift for a busy friend.

What to look for when you’re engaging a personal concierge.

Although Abbie welcomes enquiries from anyone, anywhere, she’s provided the following tips to find a safe, reliable and professional concierge service in your local area:

  1. Make sure they have relevant security checks, such as a police check.
  2. Ensure they hold relevant insurance such as public liability, professional indemnity and/or relevant motor vehicle insurance if they will be driving your vehicle
  3. Can they provide recommendations from clients?
  4. Are they flexible and willing to meet your needs?
  5. Do you and your family feel comfortable with them? Do they make an effort to get to know you? Do they like animals?
  6. Will you be able to communicate effectively with them to ensure your to-do list gets done?

So how does Abbie think this type of service is likely to change in the future?  “A personal concierge service will be used by households almost as much as a cleaner or gardener – an integral part of our everyday lives. I can’t see that life will slow down or the demands on our time will lessen. However, the way we spend time will greatly improve as more people experience personal concierge services.”

One of the keys to successfully redesigning your life is to build a great support team.  If ‘too busy’ has become a way of being for you, invite a personal concierge to become your extra pair of hands.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

PS.  I'm not an affiliate of Lifestyle Elements and receive no payment for this endorsement. I approached Abbie for this blog because I think the personal concierge service is a great idea for busy people.

Abbie Allen founded Lifestyle Elements, a personal concierge service, in 2003 when she saw an ever increasing need to provide a practical service to support our busy lives. From errand running and pet care to travel bookings and event management, Lifestyle Elements is a modern response to the dilemma of not having enough time in the day. Abbie also delivers speeches and workshops in the areas of Work Life Balance, Time Management and Women in Business.

How to Make Redundancy the Best Thing Ever!

how to turn redundancy into your best opportunity yet

How to make redundancy the best thing that ever happened to you

“You’re kidding,” I hear you say. You’d seen it coming for months, it was only a matter of time. When you’re sitting in front of your boss hearing the words, “I’m sorry, we have to let you go,” the reality is you’ve been sacked and lost your job.

Everything familiar has just evaporated – security, certainty, self confidence, your work, your work friends and the regular pay packet have all evaporated.

Before you sink into the depths of despair, fear and self-doubt, press pause….

As you move past the shock and potential anger, you’re actually at a crossroads with two choices:

  • Be a Victim – allow your self-confidence to nose-dive; hang onto anger and fear and wait for your next job to find you. Often at the mercy of outplacement or recruitment agencies, you wait for the phone to ring and eventually can’t even be bothered getting out of bed in the morning.

or ….

  • Reinvent Yourself!  What if this was the best thing that ever happened to you? Rather than being the end of the world, maybe this is the start of your real life, where you are the master of your own destiny.  How about standing out from the crowd and using it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be who you really are and do what you’ve always dreamt of doing?

Redundancy provides space to take stock of what’s important, identify how you want to live and work and go for it! Even if your redundancy package was less than generous, there are many ways to redesign your life,  do what you want, where you want and love it.

Still not sure?  Before you put a tentative toe in the life redesign water, consider the realities:

Redundancy Realities

1. You are now competing for a shrinking number of jobs against many others who have also been made redundant.

2. Even if you are lucky enough to get another job quickly, there are no guarantees of job security in the current economic climate – you could be made redundant again.

3. To get more work quickly, many fear driven people take the first job that comes along, without considering it carefully.  While it may provide a regular pay packet, the new job could be worse than the one you’ve just left and you’re trapped. Better to have a lousy job than no job at all, right? Wrong!

Once the first 6 weeks of a new job have passed, you’re often left with that sinking feeling that you’ve jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Now you’re really stuck doing something you simply don’t enjoy.

4. Redundancy no longer has a negative stigma.  It happens to the best people in many professions and is often outside your control.  If it isn’t a problem for you, it won’t be for potential future employers.  In fact many of my clients have successfully negotiated a redundancy to create the financial means and time required for a complete career change.

How to Get Back on Track and Find a Job You Love

Before you join the ever-increasing queue frantically updating your CV, shooting off hundreds of futile emails to recruiters, networking old contacts or surfing Seek and CareerOne, take a few moments to ask yourself:

1. What am I passionate about – what’s important and what do I truly care about?

2. If money wasn’t an issue and I had no fear, what would I really love to do?

3. What would that give me that I don’t have today?

4. What skills, talents and knowledge do I have that I could use and develop?

5. What skills, experience and knowledge would I need for my ideal career?

6. Given the choice of where and how would I like to live, what would I choose?

7. What would it take to turn the possibility into a reality?

The prospect of redesigning your career and life may feel concurrently exciting and daunting.  If so, feel the fear, take a deep breath and grab that pink slip!

Life’s too short to be stuck in a rut and there’s never been a better time to take the plunge into doing something you’ll love.

If you’ve been made redundant and converted it into the best thing that ever happened to you, I’d love to hear your experience.  Please share your story and tips in a comment below.

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

What do You Want to BE When You Grow Up?

a question for all adults and how to make the answer easy

What do you want to BE when you grow up?

If you ask any child under 10 what they want to be when they grow up, chances are you’ll get a quick, enthusiastic and certain answer.

When you put the same question to grown-ups, the answers are often vague and vexed.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our ability to connect with what we really want to do. Fulfilment seems hader to find. Fear replaces courage and indecision leads us on a never-ending quest to find the ‘right’ job.

When I became a management consultant many years ago, I thought it would be the perfect way to find my dream job. Working with many different organisations would give me a ‘sneak peak’ into a wide variety of careers. I fully expected to walk into a company, see someone doing something I’d love and ‘bingo’ – there’s my answer!

The reality was very different. While I did get to check out many different jobs, industries and organisations, I mostly saw people who were struggling to find their ‘perfect’ job, just like me. Many had fallen into roles opportunistically, being in the right place at the right time, rather than consciously deciding that this was what they really wanted to do.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m now being paid to do something I love but it didn’t happen until I worked out how to find my dream job. If this sounds like you, take heart!

How to find work that feeds your soul and puts a roof over your head

1. Go back to your childhood!

Mining your past for vital clues is a great way to spark your imagination. What did you love doing as a child when anything was possible? Recapture your childhood dreams and notice what it was about each one that excited you.

When you were a kid (before reality set in), limitations were few which created the freedom to be whatever you dreamt.  Notice how you focused on what you wanted to ‘be‘ rather than ‘do’.  Hmmm, there’s another clue.

2. Stock take your career and life so far

Looking back over everything you’ve done, list the achievements and tasks you’ve really enjoyed. Even the less fulfilling experiences will provide clues about what you could and should be doing. Now write down everything you haven’t necessarily enjoyed and quite frankly, never want to do again. What was it about the positive experiences that ticked all your boxes and the negatives that left you cold?

3. What are you good at?

Inevitably, what you’re good at is probably what you enjoy most. Over the years you’ll have gained skills and knowledge that have led you to become an accomplished expert in one field or another. Even if this type of work has past its expiry date, the strengths you’ve gained in this area can be converted into transferable skills.

4. Know what difference you want to make

There’s a reason we’ve all been put on this earth and now’s the time to reveal your overall purpose. Far bigger than a single job or career, this shapes who you are in all the life roles you play. What problems do you like to solve and what really matters most to you?

Often this is more closely related to what you care about, than what you do for work. Knowing it consciously will give you far greater choice and help you make clear decisions about where to from here.

5. Get curious and explore all the options

Many of today’s jobs weren’t even invented 5 years ago and the path to fulfilling work starts with curiosity. Your answers to the previous questions will have revealed some key themes.

  • What do your childhood dreams, career and life so far, strengths and your purpose all have in common?
  • What do they reveal about you?

Once you’ve identified these themes, start researching what’s possible.

Now you’re consciously aware of what you want to be and therefore do, career magnets (ie those roles, industries and organisations that tick your boxes) will jump out at you. Keep and open mind, imagine and explore what a ‘day in the life of…’ would be like?

The key to finding fulfilling work is to ask the right questions. Rather than saying, “I couldn’t do that because…”, ask yourself, “If this were possible, how could I make it happen?”

6.Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Once you’ve decided which direction you’ll take, develop a plan to bridge the gap and commit to one small step at a time. The transition to your new career will take as long as it needs to and gaining the support of family, friends and mentors will help convert your possibility into a reality.

What would a day in your perfect job look like?  Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Blow away the excuses and discover what you should be doing, now you’re ‘grown up’!

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

What’s your job really costing you and is it worth it?

Work Trap37 year old Mary had everything she could wish for or… did she?

Always ambitious, she’d finally scored her dream job heading up a $75m, international project for a construction company. The luring package included a generous, multiple six-figure salary, all expenses paid business class travel, ipad, iphone and a number of other glittering perks.

But it came at a cost.

Whilst taking a short break with her family over Christmas, her days were constantly interrupted by streams of urgent phone calls from her manager, anywhere between 7am and 10pm. Emails couldn’t wait so she logged on down at the beach while her beautiful, eight year old daughter Ellie played in the waves and built sandcastles on her own. Her demanding client didn’t ‘get’ the time zone difference and the sound of incoming text messages echoed through the darkness while her family slept on.

Yes, she could have turned the phone off and refused to log in – after all, she was on annual leave. However, Mary’s company had an unwritten rule and unspoken expectation that senior executives would be on call and contactable 24/7. Besides she didn’t want to let her client, manager or team down and was committed to being ‘on top of it all’.

Her husband Dave was resigned to but unhappy about the constant interruptions and their arguments were becoming more frequent. Even when she was with her family, she wasn’t really. Totally conflicted, by the time she returned to work Mary was stressed and exhausted.  If nothing changes, she’ll pay the ultimate price losing her health, closest relationships and happiness.

It seems as though we’ve spent the last 10 years striving to become more efficient, mobile, contactable and indispensable – but at what cost? Latest figures from the Race Against Time Report, (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling and AMP Financial Services) show that balancing work and family remains a big issue for working men and women, with around 40% of women and 30% of men feeling often or always rushed or pressed for time. Worse still, you probably won’t be paid or adequately compensated for ‘out of hours’ work.

It’s your life – hop into the driver’s seat and take control

If Mary’s story sounds familiar to you or someone you’re close to, maybe it’s time to take stock. Ask yourself:

  • What are the real expectations of the job (rather than the assumptions)?
  • What price am I really paying and is it worth it?
  • What am I prepared to do to get the job done and have a life?
  • What boundaries do I need to keep my job in perspective and priorities in focus?
  • Who can I call on to share the workload and how else could we get the job done?

Set up a meeting with your manager and team, go prepared with creative solutions and be open to new ways of working. Remember, your colleagues have a life outside work too. While work demands are ever-increasing, the pressure on companies to reduce stress and foster wellbeing is growing too. But the ultimate responsibility for yours rests with you.

Get clear about what’s important, decide what you are prepared to do (or not) and take deliberate action to make it happen.

Life’s short – it’s time to get moving and create the life you really wish for.

Carpe diem.

Caroline

 

 

If you’re wanting simple ways to reclaim your life, my new book, The Great Life Redesign will show you how.  It’s now available in all good bookstores and here.

How to Love Your Job

7 simple ways to love the job you have.

How to love you job

There’s something kind of corny about the concept of loving your job, isn’t there? Besides, we’re often more likely to ‘put up with’ our job – a far cry from loving it! Yes, most of us work to pay the bills but that’s only part of the story.

Research shows many of the upsides of work, besides being paid, include challenge, variety, fulfilment, social connection and validation that your effort makes a positive difference.

Take a moment to rate your job against each of these criteria (Great, Average or Poor). How does it fare?

If you answered ‘Great’ to each of these, congratulations – you’re obviously in the right job and loving it. If your job didn’t rate so high, you may be feeling slightly disheartened.

It’s tempting to think about jumping ship and looking for a new job. However, this isn’t easy and can often take months or even years to achieve.

Fortunately you don’t have to change jobs to find one you love! The following tips show you how to love the job you have and best of all, it costs nothing but a change in mindset and action.

#1: Adopt a positive attitude

Boredom, frustration and stress are insidious and rapidly become self-fulfilling prophecies. Check in on how you’re thinking and what you believe. Turning problems into opportunities and focusing on what’s within your control has an immediate and positive impact on how you feel. Ask yourself, ‘How would I rather feel instead?’ and actively seek ways to create the better alternative.

#2: Connect your job to your purpose and priorities

What were you put on this earth to do and what specific difference do you want to make? Yes, it’s a ‘big’ question but once you have the answer, you can uncover opportunities to fulfil that purpose through your work and other parts of your life. Identify your core values and write down what’s really important to you and change how you work to a align it with what you believe.

#3: Identify your 8 key strengths and use them

Actively using your key strengths every day and in everything you do will shift your focus to doing more of what you like and are good at. For example, if you are a strong leader, create ways to unite people around a common goal. If you have great organisational skills, consciously use them to get things done efficiently. Strengths can be applied to any role, regardless of whether you’re a receptionist or CEO.

#4: Make life easier – understand your preferences

We all have preferred ways of working and behaving and there are many tools available to help you understand your preferences. If you’re not enjoying your job, chances are you’re being compelled to work in a way that doesn’t sit right with you. There are many different tools for discovering your preferences including Myer-Briggs, DiSC, Herrmann Brain and Social Styles.

Once you know your preferences you can flex your style to better suit what’s required and/or enlist the help of your manager and colleagues to work in a way that fits your style.

#5: Change how you work, rather than what you do

Every job has stuff that we’d rather not do, given the choice. However, they are often unavoidable and procrastinating about them won’t make them go away. Once you understand your preferences, you can create challenges in the seemingly most boring of tasks. This could include report writing, administration, handling emails etc.

Consistently set yourself the challenge of completing the task ahead of time, more efficiently and to a higher standard (going beyond what’s expected) and notice the higher level of satisfaction you feel.

#6: Apply judgement carefully

Sound judgement is an essential skill for analysis and decision making but often falls short when applied to our working relationships. Judging people based on your own personal values (They never… or She always…) rarely results in them changing to be more like you and less like them! More often, it leads to frustration.

Replace judgement with acceptance and notice how much easier it is to work with someone who operates differently from you. Parking judgement opens the door to constructively resolve issues that arise from behavioural differences.

#7: Set long term goals and work steadily towards them

Taking a bigger picture view makes it easier to keep things in perspective. Cast your mind forward 5 years – what would you like to be doing, if it were possible? Once you’ve established your professional vision, create a career plan with goals, actions and timelines to realise it. Actively build your knowledge and experience in that area.

Many skills are transferable and you may be surprised what development opportunities your current role holds, that you haven’t yet tapped into.

Applying any of these tips will make a big difference to how you feel about your job. Hold yourself accountable for your own levels of satisfaction; take daily action to experience it and notice how much more you love the job you have.

Do you have a handy strategy that helps you love the job you have, regardless of what you do?  Please share it – your simple tip could make a big difference to someone who’d love to love their job… if only.

Carpe diem