August 26, 2009

Book Review: How To Keep Your Cool If You Lose Your Job

I finished "How To Keep Your Cool If You Lose Your Job" by Kathryn Jackson really quickly as I found it hard to put down. It is a book full of lots of tips, info, insight and advice AND it is also a workbook. As you read it you do the exercises and come out the other end with new direction, enthusiasm and clarity about your future work. It has lots of great real life stories from people that have been made redundant - how they felt, what they had to deal with and how they made it into an amazing opportunity. Many said they are glad they got made redundant as it totally changed their life for the better. As a career coach, Kathryn knows all the right questions to ask and these are included in tonnes of exercises in the book. This book very very clearly answers the "what next" those made redundant often feel. It includes everything you could, should and can do to ensure you end up in a role you adore. Kathryn outlines everything relevant in todays job market - including the recession (she even highlights which industries always survive during such a time). She talks about 'self talk' - keeping your head and being positive as redundancy can be really tough on your self esteem, family and lifestyle. There are also heaps of CV and interview tips. I really liked the exercise that gets you to look at the personal qualities a job requires then gets you to list your 'evidence' of having this quality. It will give any job applicant huge confidence. I'd say this book is a must read for people that have been made redundant, people in jobs they dont like, people that have no idea what they want for their career and of course other career coaches. You can buy it here or at Paper Plus.

August 20, 2009

Redundancy: 'How To Keep Your Cool If You Lose Your Job'

I am lucky in my work to be surrounded by some absolute geniuses....and lovely ones at that. A friend of mine, Kathryn Jackson has just had her first book published. It is for people that are being/have been made redundant and its called "How To Keep Your Cool If You Lose Your Job" (more details here ). She has had some awesome reviews and tonnes of media coverage (I turned the TV on the other day to see her on the screen on 'Good Morning'). Highly recommend it for people that are thinking 'what next?' in their career. Watch out for my offical 'review' one day soon :)

August 12, 2009

Has your workplace got cancer?

The workplace can be a place of friendship, support, fun and laughter. I was thinking recently about fun things that used to happen when I worked in a bank. We would:
*play cricket after work
*do a Starbucks run to get away for a bit and come back with our huge venti lattes with almond biscotti (turned into an expensive habit!)
*take turns at bringing in lollies we could all scoff (I would deliver some to our mates upstairs)
*go to the big department store sale in our lunch break and rummage through quality discounted lingerie looking for bargains
*send the email jokes around or play practical jokes on each other
*we organized a game of ‘Where’s Wally’ using this huge poster that was part of some training thing. I drew the wee cardboard ‘Where’s Wally’ and he was awesome! The funniest part of this game was the arguing "your cheating" "no I'm not" "stop peeking"!!

On the other side, also during this time there was also:
*Two diagnosis’s of breast cancer
*A suicide
*Marriage splits
*Relationship problems
*Addiction problems
*Huge trouble conceiving a child

So while the first list looks as though no work ever got done (!) the truth was we were spending time together living life as best we could to keep positive, have fun and make sure everyone was smiling regardless of everything going on. It’s great for people to get ‘mental space’ at work if they are having trouble at home, or just have something they need to take their minds off. While there may be personality clashes and other ‘difficulties’ in workplaces, when something like cancer hits, it’s amazing how people can pull together to support each other and the other politics no longer matter. Workplaces can become family, and can be a ‘refuge’ from the sometimes harsh reality of the world. Let’s not take for granted the support our workmates can give us. Let’s also remember to notice how much other stuff is going on in workmates lives. Actually doing work is important but so is the fun and the support – we are human before we are anything else.

August 6, 2009

7 questions you need to answer about your businesses compliments

1. What does your business do to actively seek compliments?
2. Do you have a compliment box for your customers in store?
3. Do you also have such a button on your website?
4. Do you reply to customers and ask more questions/clarify what they mean (if necessary) once they’ve given you a compliment?
5. Do you then use the compliment on your website/in your shop/in your communications?
6. Are you regularly telling your database and fans about compliments in your newsletters?
7. Are you sharing your fan mail with the team – putting it somewhere they’ll see it often?

I once came across a business that had boxes full of (unsolicited) mail. They were all thank you’s and compliments about their service and products. They had probably about 3000 such letters. Unfortunately this business never actually did anything with these words. They read them, thought they were nice, then put them in the box – without even showing the team. At the time they were struggling to pay the bills and really needed more business. If they had of utilised this huge resource a lot earlier, they could have had lots more business without the down patch.

Don’t let thank you’s pass your business by – seek them, clarify them, publicise them and use them as the basis of your marketing. If you aren’t getting any it may not be because no one likes your product or service, but because you never asked. Get asking and use the results.