Tag Archives: job

Lady with a baby coming through…

Having just come off the back of two maternity leave roles, it gave me pause to reflect on my maternity leave experiences.

I’d had ownership of my job for three successful years when it was time for me to go on maternity leave. I soon realised that I must let go of control and pass on my knowledge as much as possible because once you’re gone, there’s nothing you can do.

Honestly, after I left, I was too busy keeping a small human alive to even think about what was happening back at work, let alone worry who was organising the next conference.

When I came back from maternity leave, I realised that the world had kept spinning without me and my replacement had actually improved some of the processes. My worry about not having a job to go back to was quickly allayed when she went on maternity leave herself.

But then I discovered that I actually didn’t want me old job back anyway. In a strange twist of fate, having a child actually gave me the ambition to have a career, not just a job. I figured that if I was spending time away from my daughter, I better be doing something that was worth it.

And so I made moves towards loftier career goals and took a maternity leave contract role in a company that would expand on the skills in the areas I wanted to work in. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of other strong career women there who supported me through my learning process and taught me that confidence is not a dirty word.

I learnt that self-belief is not arrogance, but ego can be weak and a sign of insecurity. I was also taught that it’s ok to be selfish and not selfless in order to get where you want to go.

Once my maternity leave contract ended when the mother returned, I took another maternity leave role from someone who had been in her job for over a decade and I think was freaking out, trying to control the only thing she could with the uncertainty of her first child on the horizon- her job.

And we all know better than that now don’t we?

Both the maternity roles I took gave me different opportunities and experiences, but I can honestly say that I am now done with stepping into someone else’s shoes, no matter how shiny they are. I’m ready to have this job of my own again in a new role that is mine for the taking.

Related posts: Work, work, work, Money vs Happiness, The hunt, Pride vs The Fall

Money vs Happiness

Three things happened to me last week:

  1. My husband said that his goal for the next 5-10 years was to continue to be happy
  2. I finished up at my first job in the for profit sector
  3. I read that 52% of Aussies would sacrifice up to $10, 000 of their salary in order to feel happier.

When the first happened, I was surprised as I thought my husband’s goal for the next 5-10 years was to own a big house in the suburbs. Mine was to travel overseas at least once a year of course.

I thought his goal was sweet and simple and definitely achievable. The lesson of just being happy is one that I thought I had already learnt and one I actually remember teaching my husband about on a couple of different occasions when he decided to move on from a job. Perhaps it was a timely reminder due to the second occurrence.

The job I left last week, was my first job in a for profit company. Perhaps, because of this, I never stood a chance. I have no regrets, as I have always been of the school of thought that it’s better to go for it and find out, then always wonder what could have been. This theory works for relationships too I find!

It wasn’t about the people- there are good (and of course bad) people in every workplace- I just wasn’t happy. I’m not sure if it was even about being a for profit company either, for as long as I have purpose and passion I find I have the drive to work. So perhaps it is just that passion that I was missing.

Which brings me to point 3. I would definitely sacrifice money in my job to feel happier (although I shouldn’t have to!). And it seems I am not alone. We all know the theory that money doesn’t make you happy. But maybe it is money that makes you happy? Or enough money to keep your wife happy? Or maybe just having enough money to feel comfortable? And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Maybe it’s not about the fight between money and happiness at all, but about finding the right balance for you. As I embark upon my next round of soul-searching interviews to find the right fit for me, this is definitely something to keep in mind. At least I feel like I am getting closer. And as they say, this is the first day of the rest of my life.

Related posts: New beginnings, I’m happy for you, Having it all?, It’s the simple things, Kicking goals

Perception is reality

What is real and what is not?

Often people perceive that your life is prefect, especially when Facebook only records the good times. But in reality, all is not always as it seems.

But does that even matter?

Is someone perceives that things are all rosy, then it must be the truth right? There is no point asking questions, when everything seems fine and would you even want the real answer anyway? People believe what they want to believe after all.

I’m all for focussing on the positive things in life, and a lot of being on social media is about big noting yourself so that people think that you are awesome/want to be your friend/want to give you that next job.

We all do it. No pictures of tired eyes as you have been up since 3am looking after a baby, instead there is the picture of your bundle of joy smiling and laughing. It doesn’t matter if this only happens 10% of the time.

No pictures of Saturday night at home in your tracky dacks on the couch, instead a picture of you and your girlfriends having cocktails at the latest cool bar. It doesn’t matter if this only happens one night of the year.

No pictures of the dusty motel you stayed in on holiday, instead Instagram pictures of the gorgeous beach that was a half a day drive away. It doesn’t matter if you never even had time to set foot on the sand.

No job title of blogger on LinkedIn, instead you are an award winning published author. It doesn’t matter if you’ve actually only ever been paid once in all those times you have been published.

So should we all just be more honest? Or is it easier to just go on through life thinking everyone has perfect lives with adorable kids that never cry, a hectic social life, fabulous holidays and the best job in the world?

If perception is reality, then maybe we are all better off with the perception and after long enough, perhaps this will become your reality anyway. It’s all about positive thinking right?

Or perhaps the key is finding out who you can be honest with and choosing who you want to let into your reality. Otherwise aren’t we all just living a lie?

Related posts: Dreams vs Reality, I’m happy for you, Having it all?

The Hunt

You may have been wondering where I have been for the last 3 months (or maybe you haven’t).

Where I have been is job hunting. And let me tell you, job hunting takes over your life.

There is always something else you can do. Recruiter meetings, coffee meetings, emails, phone calls, applying and interviewing. On the bus, at lunch time, not to mention your whole weekend. It never ends.

Job hunting is hard. The constant search for that perfect role in that perfect company that will not only progress you career, but be interesting and fulfilling.

The constant highs and lows, hope and disappointment that makes you feel like a manic depressive with bipolar.

Just when you think you’ve found something, the other person gets the job and the excitement fades to having to start all over again.

It’s very hard to keep the motivation going under such conditions- living in limbo and becoming forgetful due to the need to focus on the task at hand. It is a stressful time!

But I was fortunate enough to have a supportive husband, a new mentor and a great network of professional contacts who had more confidence in me than I sometimes had in myself. I only hope to repay the favour as needed.

So now I am happy to say that I am starting the not so new year with a new job, a new haircut, new shoes and a new hand bag.

But getting the job is only half the battle. There will also be new people, new tasks and a new battle to prove your value.

It takes at least another 3 months to learn how things work and how you fit in to all of it.

But you never know what you are capable of until you try right?

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To Belong

There’s nothing quite like that sense of belonging. Being part of company, a team and an event tribe. Believing in the organisation’s mission and being connected to the people around you.

When you believe in a company and what they stand for, it’s so much easier to understand the reasons decisions are made and put up with the stuff you don’t like about a job. You have a unified goal and a reason to keep going.

Being part of a team of people is the best too. Sure it’s about the company and the job, but at the end of the day it’s also about the people. I am sure we’ve all stayed too long in crappy jobs because the people were super nice. I mean you spend 8 hours a day with these people, so it’s a lot easier if you like them!

It’s the in jokes, the fact that someone cares if you don’t show up in the morning, the camaraderie and the shared enemies. It’s what draws people together and keeps the day-to-day activities interesting.

Working on an event with work colleagues have been some of my most enjoyable times as being part of a team. You all band together to solve on the ground problems and spend social evenings together in a more relaxed setting. It’s when you really bond with people, learn all their secrets and see a different side to their personality with the change of environment.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you end up in a job you love, for a company you like with lifelong friends. I myself am yet to find the holy trinity, but it’s early days yet, considering that I am probably only halfway through my career.

For some, working for another company doesn’t work at all and they are much better off working for themselves. They don’t need that personal contact. Or do they? I think we all need to feel connected. Not all of the time perhaps, but sometimes.

Which is why suppliers are so great. They give you that sense of belonging and working towards a common goal without having to be in your face with their annoying habits all the time. Also, they have to be nicer to you than co-workers.

For me, when I loose respect for the boss, wether it be my immediate manager or the CEO, that’s the begging of the end. Everything flows from the top and the ripple effect causes me to fall back into old habits, begin to disengage from the company, stop caring about the people politics and start looking at Seek online.

And that’s when the true test of who people really are begins.

Related posts: Who are you?, Having it all?, Reinvention, New Beginnings, Pride vs The Fall, Dreams vs Reality

New Beginnings

At the moment, I am in the process of leaving the job I have been in for the longest in my career for a new role in a different industry, and it got me thinking about new beginnings.

New beginnings are exhilarating and exciting. Who knows what I will discover about myself, what new skills I will learn and whom I will meet?

Serial monogamists know what I’m talking about. Everything at the beginning of a relationship is perfect. There’s your first date, your first kiss, even your first difference of opinion is a milestone. Nothing is tarnished and life is good.

But once the shiny fades, and it is inevitably discovered that your new beau isn’t perfect, the temptation to leave and find another new beginning arises. It’s addictive.

However, if you stick around, you may discover that you’re not perfect either, that your imperfections balance each other out and end up with something more real. Something with depth and long-term prospects.

But at the end of the day, if you have tried for a new beginning in the familiar and your heart just isn’t in it anymore, it may be time to quit and go for a new beginning on the outside- especially if your happiness depends on it.

New beginnings in life can be scary, but they can also be interesting. One new beginning could change the course of your life forever. And isn’t that what this experience called life is all about?

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Kicking goals

My first life goal was to travel to every country in the world. But when my dad’s friend told me he was fifty and not even close, I thought that this goal may be impossible.

When it was time to choose a job, I felt like there were too many options and failed to choose definitively as a result. I started in print production, tried architectural visualisation, was an Executive Assistant and dabbled in PR before I fell into events.

I am not one for career goal setting. My most hated question is still “where do you see yourself in five years?” I am more of a doer than a manager and never aspire to manage anyone except myself.

I once read an Anthony Robbins book about excelling and goal setting- visualisation and making a plan. Some of what he said made sense and I pictured myself as a travel writer working for the Lonely Planet and living in San Francisco with my pet Labrador.

Mr. Robbins said anything was possible, but maybe he wasn’t thinking about the difficulty of getting a green card at the time. I also consider myself a realist, so found it pretty improbable that everyone in the world can be successful as he claimed.

My parents weren’t career people either. They worked to live which meant a house and enough money for the next holiday. As a result I have no pressure to earn money and many great travelling memories.

It didn’t occur to be ambitious, plan to own property or get married. I am not much of a consumer either. I don’t buy designer handbags or keep up with fashion. I never really think further than booking the next trip overseas.

I heard someone say the other day that if you have low expectations, they are fulfilled- so perhaps that’s why I am content. I don’t feel the struggle to reach goals in work or life or to have things.

Popular culture teaches us that we should pursue our goals to the expenses of all others, stepping on anyone or anything that gets in our way. We have to sacrifice everything for our ultimate goal and make ourselves heard.

My ultimate goal is to be a columnist, publish a book and continue travelling the world. But are these goals realistic? And if so, what am I doing with a day job? Should I be putting all my skills and resources into travelling and writing this blog, in the hope that someone will love my travel writing and want me to be a columnist or publish a book, ignoring the fact that I still need to earn money to survive?

I guess what I am getting at, is trying to find the happy medium between making your goals happen and living in the real world.

Let me know when you have the answer ok?

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