On my commute home from work, I overheard a woman say to her friend “I don’t want to leave my job, so I plan to get a job offer and that will make my current boss offer me more money”. I know I shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but surely people shouldn’t be applying for jobs with intention of using an offer to leverage more money in their current role? This really caught me by surprise. Do people really go through the rigmarole of job seeking just to use the offer to stay in their current job? I decided to investigate this further to see if it really is a feasible plan. What I discovered was 3 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t follow in that lady’s footsteps. 1. Wrong Attitude – Bad Start From the get go the idea of applying for jobs with the aim of using a job offer to leverage your current pay is just poor judgement at best. If you want more money, you should have an honest conversation with your superior and if the conversation doesn’t go the way you hoped, you should apply for jobs that will offer you the pay you desire (with the intention to accept the job and leave your current role). 2. Burning Bridges Receiving a job offer is significant. The company who offered you the role clearly like you. They’ve taken the time to meet you and learn about your abilities and skills. They want you (over everyone else they interviewed) to join their company and because you have been eager through the recruitment process, they assume you want to join their team as well. This is until you suddenly come back to tell them you have accepted a counter offer. Now they know that you were never interested in their company, you only cared about money. You’ve essentially burned your bridges with this company, which could be damaging later in your career. You never know when your paths may cross again, and it could cause all sorts of friction to your work, not to mention awkward tension. 3. Ending Up In The Wrong Job (Regardless Of Which Offer You Accept) There are two outcomes to this scenario, you accept the counter offer or you don’t get a counter offer, and you must accept the job you’ve been offered. Either way, both are the wrong job for you. Let’s start with the counter offer, your boss is now acutely aware of your interest to jump ship and work somewhere else. Your counter offer may have been your boss’s reaction to the shock of losing you and premeditating the stress of finding a replacement. Once this shock subsides however, your boss will only remember the fact you tried to leave and this could affect you in a number of ways. After realising you might leave, your boss will now focus more attention on developing junior staff, this way if you leave he/she will be more confident in your subordinates. Then when the next promotion comes up you won’t be considered and when there are cut backs, it’ll be you that will feel the brunt of it. The second scenario is that you don’t get a counter offer. After all the effort you made to get your job offer to approach your boss and negotiate more pay, your boss shakes your hand and wishes you the best of luck. I imagine this would be quite devastating, but what’s more devastating is starting a job you never really wanted in the first place. You were job hunting for all the wrong reasons and now you have to start a job that really doesn’t suit you. Essentially, it’s not wise to job hunt to seek a counter offer. It’ll make you look disloyal and money hungry to both your current boss and to the company you applied to. If you want more money from your employer, ask for a pay raise and if you are denied, consider searching for a new job, with the aim to accept an offer and leave. Your goal should never be to receive a counter offer. I just hope the woman I overheard on the train didn’t go through with her plan. It looks to me like this can only go badly. I’m sure it is possible however for a counter offer to work out but to apply for jobs to seek out a counter offer, is not the right approach for climbing your career ladder. Let us know if you have ever accepted a counter offer. Do you think it’s a good approach?
In last week’s blog we looked at 5 Tips to Build Your Professional Network, this week we want to take a look at why networking is so important to your professional development. It can be a daunting task for those who wouldn’t consider themselves overly social, but the rewards to your professional and personal growth are endless. 1. Get Help and Be Helped One of the most significant parts of building a professional network is the opportunity it presents you to ask others for help when you need it and to help other people in your network. It happens to all of us at some point when we need an extra pair of hands to help us solve a problem. All jobs present bumps in the road and it’s great to have a professional network you can lean on in times of struggle and vice versa you can lend a helping hand when your network need help. 2. Be Inspired by Ideas Networking can be so beneficial to our creativity and inspire us to do more in our work. If you’re feeling a little lost or not as pumped about your job as you once were, go to a work event or conference and start talking to people! These people can have a similar role as you or a completely different role, or just work in the same industry. Don’t focus on what level they are either. Different levels of experience will bring you all kinds of different insights. It doesn’t matter what role they are in or what level they are, they will always share something new with you. It’s a great way to come back to the office with new and exciting ideas. 3. Build a Good Reputation Building your network will get you known among those in your industry. More visibility is a great way to build your reputation. Getting yourself out there and being noticed by your peers will help you make a name for yourself. Word of mouth can go very far and if you make enough good impressions a level of trust for you and what you do will follow. This will stand to you if you decide to apply for a new role. You may not know your interviewer directly, but they may have a connection to you through a mutual contact, who has nothing but positive things to say about you. 4. Grow your Confidence Career advancement isn’t the only benefit to networking. It can help with your personal growth as well. By continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, will help you to build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn. 5. Gain New Friendships The last benefit doesn’t impact your professional career, but it doesn’t make it any less significant. Spending time socialising and building your network will naturally lead you to making friends. Some of the strongest and long-standing friendships have started as work connections. The people you network with will be like-minded with similar aspirations and struggles as you so it’s not unlikely that a work relationship could develop into a friendship. We have heard it time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important to your career, but networking can benefit you personally just as much as it can professionally. Spending time networking will be very worthwhile and the best part is that it’s never too late to start investing in your network.
We have heard it being said time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important, but networking requires more than just sending connection requests on LinkedIn and swapping business cards. Networking is a skill and when mastered, can be very beneficial to your career progression. Here are some key ways to improve your networking skills. 1. Ask to be Introduced If you know of someone who you would like in your professional network, but are not sure how to approach them, start by seeking out a mutual relationship. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but not by sending them a connection request. View the persons profile and scan through your mutual connections. Ask one of your mutual connections to strategically introduce you. This can be done online via video chat or by them arranging a meeting. 2. Find Common Ground This is the best way to make a lasting impression on someone. Find out a bit about the person before your introduction or if your introduction isn’t pre-arranged and you don’t know them, ask questions to get to know them. Questions like “Did you travel far to get here?”, “Did you see the match last night?”, “Have you been away on holidays yet?” etc. to casually find out their interests. Usually one of their answers will strike a chord and you can go from there. The best way to really connect with someone is to find that common ground. 3. Never Start by Asking for Something If you’re starting off your relationship with this person by asking them what they can do for you, the relationship is destined to go nowhere. No one likes to be asked for a favour, especially by a stranger. Start by offering them something, a way you can help them. If you dive into a conversation asking for something the answer is more than likely going to be no but if you offer a way you would like to help them, they are more inclined to accept. 4. Don’t Collect Business Cards and LinkedIn Connections A lot of people assume that they have a good network based on the amount of business cards they have stuffed in a drawer or how many LinkedIn connections they have. With this, I would say it is quality not quantity. You will go a lot further and have more opportunities in your career having a very focused network. Carefully focus on building meaningful relationships and not just a bank of contacts. 5. Follow Up Probably the most important part of networking is to follow up afterwards. This is where a conversation with someone can become a meaningful relationship. After your initial meeting, call them up a day or two later and follow up on the chat you had or connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a message. It’s never too late to invest in your network. It can be daunting but it can be so worth while. As said by Deena Baikowitz - Chief Networking Officer at Fireball Network, "the worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all."
Being organised is a very important skill and it’s one that anyone can learn. If you feel like you are overwhelmed in work, then you need to start being organised. Here are 3 useful ways you can start today. Start Your Day Right In work it can often happened that you are overrun with many different tasks and it can be difficult to know how to structure your day productively. Come in 15-30 minutes before you start work to organise yourself. Make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need in a notebook or using an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking these 15 minutes to do this in the morning will make your day more productive and help you to get more done throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need from your work day, the next step is to learn what tasks in your day are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time. A handy way to decide this is using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. Get inspired with this short film of a professor explaining to his class the importance of prioritising and using one's time wisely. Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own but every now and again when you see your to-do list is particularly long sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask your boss or a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or adjust deadlines. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you won’t be able to get something done.
While many like to believe we are great at our jobs, the truth is no one is perfect. In order to grow and improve we all need (and should welcome) constructive criticism. If you find yourself in a situation where your work is being critiqued, here is some advice on how you should approach the situation. 1. Don’t React Firstly, when receiving constructive criticism, do not react! This might be difficult because you may have spent a lot of time on a particular piece of work and felt quite proud of it, so the last thing you expected was to be told it’s not good enough. Sit back and collect the information you are being given and allow yourself the time to react appropriately. It’s crucial to let your boss give you their feedback. 2. Remember the Importance of Feedback Constructive criticism should never be taken personally. Feedback is so important for your learning and development. The person giving you the feedback is not out to get you, they are simply explaining how you can do better. 3 Ask Questions This is probably the most important thing for you personally. You need to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand where you have gone wrong and how you can do better going forward. This is the best way to avoid making the same mistake again. Learning how you can improve your work is the whole point of being given the constructive criticism. 4 Say Thank You You should always thank your boss for giving you feedback that you can learn from. It also lets your boss know that you’re open minded and willing to learn. Being grateful will encourage your boss to give you more feedback which will help you progress in your role. 5 Follow Up You may have agreed and accepted a solution during this conversation with your boss, but if it was a larger issue, you may wish to request a follow up meeting. This will give you time to process the feedback, get some advice from others and think about solutions for going forward. Constructive criticism can be the best way to learn our weaknesses in the workplace. Even though you may feel a little disheartened, try to remember the benefits this feedback will have for your role.
We’ve all got responsibilities such as working and building a career, running a household and/or raising children which can all be very overwhelming and lead to lots of stress. Here are 10 things you can do to start feeling better and minimising stress: 1. Identify causes of stress What triggers your stressful feelings? Are they related to your workplace, children and family, friendships, finances or something else? Once you’ve identified the trigger, you can get down to the root of your stress and find the best ways to handle it. 2. Recognize how you deal with stress Are you using unhealthy behaviours to cope with work or life stress? For example are you using sleep deprivation, smoking, consumption of alcohol or junk food as a means of coping? 3. Get a good night’s sleep A lack of sleep can result in an increase in stress as a person will not be able to stay focused at work. Sleep deprivation also impairs our decision making ability as we are unable to think clearly. Getting 8 hours sleep a night will help improve a person’s health as you will be able to stay alert throughout the day. 4. Eat a balanced diet Hectic work schedules leave us short on time to prepare healthy meals for ourselves and people then have a tendency to grab fast foods. However eating a balanced nutritional diet will help you stay healthy and keep your brain alert. Deficiency in food nutrients such as lack of vitamin B in the body can result in depression and irritability. Also when a person is under stress, vitamins C and E may be lost. 5. Exercise When you exercise, your brain produces “feel good” transmitters called endorphins. Producing these endorphins will help you deal with stress healthily as people who exercise regularly have more energy. 6. Stay organized It is an overwhelming feeling to think that there are not enough hours in the day. Therefore it is imperative that you manage your time. Come up with a daily plan and keep a diary to keep yourself on track. 7. Do not procrastinate Work piles up when you keep on delaying tasks. There is no use putting off for tomorrow what can be done today. 8. Don’t take on more than you can handle at work Avoid creating your own stress by over-scheduling and failing to say no when too much is asked. Don’t overpromise, and give yourself time to finish the things you do agree to tackle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/delegate if you can’t meet all the demands placed on you. 9. Ask for support Accepting a hand from supportive friends and family can help you persevere during stressful times. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist who can help you manage stress. 10. Finally, treat yourself When you accomplish a personal goal or finish a project, do something nice for yourself. Go out for a round of golf with friends or take a weekend break with your family. Treating yourself between tasks can help take the edge off and prepare you for the next challenge.
We could all tell some horror stories about people we have worked with and this Halloween we thought we'd share 7 types of employees that will give you nightmares, as well as some tips to help those of you who find these spooky profiles a little too familiar… The Ghost This type of employee just never seems to be at their desk. When you call them you always reach their voicemail and you could be waiting hours for a response from them. They really make getting things done very difficult. It’s not that they are neglecting their responsibilities and not doing their job, they just have a habit of scheduling too many back to back meetings giving them very little time to catch up when they get back to their desks. If this is you and you always find yourself away from your desk and bombarded with emails and missed calls when you return, why not try to spread out your meetings throughout the day or save travel time but having your meetings over the phone or by Skype? This way, if an urgent email appears, you can be aware of it when it happens and you won't always find yourself chasing your tail. The Zombie The zombie has usually been out the night before (bit of a socialite). They enjoy an all-night party session, which isn’t a problem, until they show up to work hungover. They lack concentration and enthusiasm and make you feel tired just by looking at them. They have also been known to call in sick because of a hangover on a few occasions. We have all been there at some point but being hungover constantly in work is not a good idea and missing work for a hangover is a huge no no! Always try and keep your nights out for the weekends and if you do have to go out midweek make sure you don’t skip dinner and stop drinking after a reasonable time. Your colleagues thank you for it, not to mention your boss. The Werewolf Calm and collected one minute, aggressive the next. This type of worker is changeable, like a werewolf during a full moon. Everything is going fine but then they can lose their temper over something in an instant. Keeping a level head in work is very important, no matter how frustrating something may seem, it’s not worth getting angry and upsetting your co-workers. Step outside for some fresh air if you’re feeling a little hot headed and if that doesn’t help you should always talk to your manager if you feel you are too stressed in work. The Sasquatch Personal hygiene is so important, but this employee doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. They don’t wear suitable work clothing and forget to properly wash and groom themselves. They’re basically a bit of a slob and resemble a sasquatch. Everyone needs to keep on top of this. Keep chewing gum in your pocket or bring a toothbrush to work, make sure your clothes are clean and fresh and if you have any concerns you could ask someone in your work who you trust if they have noticed a problem with your hygiene. Better to be safe than sorry. The Mummy This person worked hard to receive their qualification but has never spent any more time upskilling. They have years of work experience but haven’t put any effort into professional development. Just like a mummy they are preserved from ancient times and now their qualifications are outdated. It’s always important to up-skill in your profession. If you haven’t done any workshops or courses since your degree don’t worry, there are plenty of different professional development courses you could sign up to today. Pick a part of your job that you really enjoy or that you’d like to learn more about and sign yourself up to do a workshop or course or attend an event/conference about it. It's also a great way to become enthusiastic about your job again and feel inspired to try new things in your role. The Headless Horseman This employee is completely scatter brained. They change their mind constantly, forget things and leave their colleagues feeling very confused. A lot of the time people in work will avoid involving this person in projects or asking them to help because they know they will only cause hassle. Post-its, reminders and a diary is what this employee needs. As frustrating as it is to work with a Headless Horseman, imagine being one? They just need to spend some extra time in their day organising themselves and their priorities. The Freddy Krueger Named after the famous character from “A Nightmare on Elm Street“ film series, this person is a combination of some or all of the scary employees above - making them a thing of nightmares! They are difficult to communicate with, they don’t have much interest in professional development, they have anger issues and problems with personal hygiene. Much to say this worker is the worst of all 7. The Freddy Krueger employee is a thing of nightmares! If you think you could be this person follow the tips in the blog. All of the issues are easily fixed, if you are passionate about your job you will have no problem turning things around.
This may come as a shock, no one expects you to be perfect and know everything, even your boss! Sometimes you may feel like you’re not good enough and worry that you can’t impress your manager, but it is actually easier than you think and you’re probably doing some of these things already… 1. Dress to Impress Make sure your personal hygiene is impeccable. One of the worst office offences is bad body odour. Once you have your personal hygiene in check, dress smart. Dressing well will impress your superiors and your fellow colleagues. It will also give a little extra confidence while you do your day to day tasks. via GIPHY 2. Timekeeping Traffic, public transport, school runs, they can be a nightmare in the mornings and we’ve all been there, but it’s no excuse to be late for work constantly. Want to make a good impression? Be on time! Even if it means you have to leave earlier in the morning. If you want to impress your boss, you have to make real effort and show you are reliable. Bad time-keeping is a pet hate for managers. Remember: When you are late, show you understand that time-keeping and attendance matters and always inform your manager that you’re late. A quick text or phone call can really make all the difference. via GIPHY 3. Socialise If you want to impress at work, get involved in social events with your colleagues. It’s important for managers to see you gel with the rest of the staff and integrate with the culture of the business. If there isn’t a social scene in work why not try to organise something yourself? You could suggest after work drinks, a running club, a book club? Getting involved is impressive to a boss, but if you can organise your own social activity, that will definitely get your managers attention. via GIPHY 4. Share Ideas Don’t be afraid to tell your boss about ideas you have. Managers appreciate someone who takes their own initiative and wants to help improve things. It’s a great way for your boss to know you care about your role and the company and that you want to make it even better by putting your stamp on things. via GIPHY 5. Be Prepared Always be prepared to work. When you come in in the morning be ready to hit the ground running. When you attend meetings have all the relevant information and documents needed. Remember, you’ve been appointed this role and if your boss sees you struggling in it, it’s not going to impress him/her. Always being prepared and showing your boss you can manage your task will impress your boss and even increase your opportunity for a promotion. via GIPHY It’s always good to remember, not everyone is perfect, and your boss doesn’t expect you to be. Trying your best should always be enough to impress your boss. All a boss wants is an employee who’s working hard and is happy in the company and with the work they do.
If you have been in a job for some time, you may feel like you are ready to take on more responsibility or feel you deserve an added amount to your salary. The way you can accomplish this is by doing the following: Own Projects from Start To Finish Creating your own project and implanting it from start to finish is a great way to get a promotion. Showing you have the initiative and determination to carry out your own project will give you the opportunity to be given more responsibility. via GIPHY Do Things You Don’t Have to Do Don’t be the person who says “That’s not my job” and refuses to do tasks they are asked outside their job specification. Sometimes in order to get noticed and to get ahead you need to be willing to do jobs you don’t want to do. via GIPHY Be Prepared Always be prepared to work. When you come in in the morning be ready to hit the ground running. When you attend meetings have all the relevant information and documents needed. Remember, a promotion is a company giving you more responsibility. If you’re not handling what you’re doing then how do you expect to be given more? Always being prepared will impress your boss and increase your chances of a promotion. via GIPHY Be Positive Coming into the office every day and complaining about how you don’t want to be in work or giving out about the work you have to do or complaining about your colleagues, will never land you a promotion. If you’re unhappy doing what you do and you complain constantly, your boss isn’t going to feel comfortable giving you a promotion. via GIPHY Avoid Office Gossip You can’t control workplace gossip, but you can control how to react to it. Not getting involved in office gossip and politics will mean you keep your professionalism. Those who take part in gossip can become known as unprofessional, immature and untrustworthy and none of those characteristics will help you get a promotion. Any time someone tries to involve you in drama, simply say you are not interested and leave the conversation. via GIPHY If you feel you're doing all the above and you have mastered your role and feel like you’re ready to take on more responsibility, it may be time to ask for a promotion. Click here for our blog on How to Ask for a Promotion