Are you ready to go back to work?

Are you ready to go back to work?

As lockdown is being more relaxed and we’re urged to return to work you might have found yourself called back into work, whether from the office or home. How did this make you feel? Were you ready for it? Or maybe you are still off and getting anxious about how you’ll cope when you go back?

It hasn’t been easy adapting to life in lockdown but you’ve made it work. You’ve finally settled into your new routine and maybe are starting to enjoy it. You’ve had breakfast with your kids for the past two months, perfected your tan and are finally have time to practice yoga every day But it’s all about to change again and you need to prepare yourself to go back to work at some point. 

No one knows what work is going to look like when we’re fully out of lockdown, will we all continue to work from home where we can, or will employers be desperate to get everyone back in. Will we still be able to grab a coffee with a colleague and sit together in meetings or will we all be sitting in cubicles surrounded by plexiglass? Only time will tell and rather than speculating and getting yourself worked up about what it may or may not look like, you need to take this time to reflect about whether you want to go back to your job, regardless of where you’ll be working from. 

You need to consider everything that is certain about your job so you can evaluate if it makes you happy. 

Some of the things to reflect on are:

  • your actual job: do you like what you do day in day out?
  • your employer: are you proud to work for your company?
  • your team: do you enjoy working with your manager, colleague, own team?
  • your pay and benefits: do you feel fairly rewarded for the work you do?
  • your work life balance: even if things have been different for the past few month, were you given space to live your own life or did you become available for work 24/7?

Things will change, only time will tell if your employer is going to recover from this crisis, if your boss will leave, if you’ll be working from home permanently or be made redundant in a few months. But it doesn’t mean you should delay doing something about it if your job is making you feel like shit. 

You have to deal with the facts that are in front of you right now. If you keep hoping and waiting for something to change, you’ll be there for the rest of your life. 

Take action now and get yourself ready to become employable again. Think about your dream job, take a course, update your CV. Whatever floats your boat…

What I don’t want you to do is to go back to the same job, feeling like you’ve waisted an opportunity to change your life. 

What are you doing with your time right now?

What are you doing with your time right now?

Are you reading this, slouched on your sofa still in your PJs after having scrolled through all your social media feeds twice before breakfast? Have you even brushed your teeth today?? Or are you just having a learning break after your morning routine of meditation, baking banana bread, window cleaning and crafting with the kids?

However you’re spending your time, you’ve got to make the most of it to do stuff you can’t normally do. Now is absolutely the time to tidy up the loft, train for a (Netflix) marathon, master sourdough, dye your hair pink (or shave it all off). But it’s also great opportunity to think about your career and whether you’re in a job you love.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the ideal to quit and go full-time job hunting but, while you are stuck here, looking after yourself and your home, you need to dedicate some of your free time to pamper your CV too.

If you look up ‘CV template’ you’ll find thousands of great (and not so great) templates to get you started. You’ll spend some time finding a great looking one page CVs and once you start copying and pasting your own experience into it, you’ll undoubtedly mess up the formatting, making it looking worse than it did before, and just give up having wasted two precious hours of ‘me time’.

Just don’t! Start from a blank page, figure out what you want to say and then you can make it look pretty.

WHAT?

The WHAT is the raw content, the facts if you prefer. 

Here’s what you want to talk about:

  • Who you are (your personal statement) and how to get in touch
  • Your jobs (dates of employment, job titles, responsibilities and achievements)
  • Your education (keep it relevant, no need to go back to primary school)
  • Other stuff that makes you stand out (languages, skills, certifications, etc.)

Forget the look of it, forget the headings. Just make sure what you say is what you want to say. 

HOW?

Then there’s the HOW, how you can make the WHAT look good.

First, focus on the way you talk about yourself, how you structure your sentences. Are you more a ‘I did this and also that’ or a ‘Responsible for: – this – that’ kind of person? There’s no right or wrong, just make sure your tone is consistent through your CV and aligned to how you normally write or speak (that being said, I don’t swear as much on my CV – top tip here!)

Now, let’s talk about spelling… I haven’t joined the Facebook Grammar Police (yet) but nothing makes me cringe more than a spelling mistake on a CV of someone who lists ‘attention to detail’ as one of their key skills. Just ask someone who’s fairly good at spelling to have a look at your CV before you start firing it out.

And finally, we move onto my favourite part: formatting! Did you know that, on average, a recruiter will look at a CV for 6 seconds? First impressions count and how your CV looks will definitely play its part. Go back to your search and find a template you like and can realistically use. If you’re not great on a computer, opt for something simple and make use of different fonts or colours rather than invisible tables and fancy graphs to describe your skills. Whatever you go for, it must look harmonious, with all your dates in the same format, your bullet points aligned, fonts, styles, colours and spacing consistent from start to finish. When you’re done, zoom out so you look at the overall picture. Does it look right?

In the current climate (and, in my opinion, all the time), we can’t be 100% sure what will happen to our job or when we’ll have enough of it, so it’s better to be ahead of the game and always ready to apply for a new one.

You might not be using your new CV for a while or at all. Good for you! But if and when you decide it’s time to move on, you’ll just have to bring it up to date and voila! Job done. 

Is your company doing the right thing?

Is your company doing the right thing?

As I write this, we’ve been on lockdown for over 7 weeks… To start with, I continued to work in the office as long as I could, worked from home for a bit with a very reduced team, then went of furlough and now I’m waiting to hear if my job is going to be made redundant. I think it’s fair to say I’ve almost gone through the full spectrum of what can happen to your job during Covid-19.

This virus has not only had an impact on people’s health but also on their jobs. And you’ve been affected too, one way or another. Maybe you’re still working from your usual place of work trying to avoid people and getting paranoid every time someone sneezes, or maybe working from home with kids trying to get your attention every time you’re in a Zoom meeting, or on furlough keeping yourself sane by volunteering or baking an unhealthy amount of cakes, or you’re one of the less fortunate and are unemployed and desperate to find a job in a market that is very different to what it was a few months ago. 

Let’s be honest, regardless of how your job has been affected, it’s a pretty shitty time for everyone. Yes it is, but it’s also an opportunity. An opportunity to step back and take time to think about your job and whether it deserves you…

You need to really consider is who you’re working for. How have they treated you, the rest of their staff, their customers, the community, during this ‘unprecedented’ crisis?

Have they donated goodies to NHS workers but sacked half of their workforce? Have they helped their staff continue to deliver by being flexible and accommodating with their childcare situation? Have they held onto customers’ money and refused to help? Or have they stepped up by transforming their operation to help in this crisis? Has your manager not even bothered to send you a text to see how you were coping? Or have they been here to listen to your concerns?

Your company and manager’s behaviour will say a lot about their core values and what is important to them. Do you agree with how they dealt with the situation? Are you aligned with their ‘Covid-19 strategy’?

If you do, great! Stay put and enjoy working in a place you’re proud of. If you don’t, you have to get out quick! I know, now is not the best time to start a new job, but it’s the perfect time to get your CV up to date, sign up to job alerts and start figuring out what your next step will be. This is about you, and how you feel in this situation, not anyone else. 

This crisis is showing the real face of many companies and managers. Some truly stepped up while other have dropped the mask and shown they didn’t care about people. 

So sit back, get your thinking cap on, and ask yourself if you’re in the right place right now. 

I truly hope you are, but if not, now is your time to get ready to work for a company whose values are aligned to yours. 

Is the grass always greener?

Is the grass always greener?

In the past 3 years, I’ve tried a lot of different combinations of ‘work/life balance’: maternity leave, shared parental leave, working full time with kids in nursery, working part time with kids at home with my husband, easy job, hard job… I’ve pretty much tried it all. And every time, I look at other parents who have something different and I envy them. I want to focus on my career but I also want to focus on my kids, I want money and job security but I also want time and freedom, I want to work hard but I also want to relax. Can I have it all?

Becoming a parent brings great joy but no one tells you about the guilt. Whatever you chose to do, you’ll feel bad: for sacrificing your career, for not spending enough time with your kids or partner, for not earning enough money or for not having any time to look after yourself. So how can you achieve the right balance?

There’s no right or wrong, everyone is different, but to be truly happy with your choice you just have to do one simple thing… be selfish! Understand what you want, what will make you feel at your happiest, what you need to be the best version of you, and make it happen. 

Maybe you want to be home with your children? Childcare in the UK is so expensive that most of your salary will go to nursery fees. Is it really worth working only to pay for someone to look after your child? Can you lengthen your mortgage, buy your groceries in Aldi, go out less, sell some of your stuff? You might need to get creative about how you can reduce your expenses but if that’s what you truly want you can make it work. Don’t feel too guilty about it, it’s temporary and your kids won’t be little forever. 

Or maybe you want to work? You’ve taken enough time off work and it’s time for you to progress, focus on your career. Yes, you might be spending most of your salary on childcare but who cares? You don’t have to go to grotty soft plays and you can talk to adults all day and drink hot coffee. Your kids will get used to being more independent and will be making loads of new friends.

Or you want both? I’m still unsure if it’s the best or the worst combination but it’s definitely the hardest one to master. You’ll probably have as much work as before but less time to get it done (and less money of course) so you’ll often leave things unfinished or have to pick up work when the kids are in bed. You’ll miss play dates with friends and birthday parties and feel like you must do something with the kids on your ‘days off’ to make up for your time spent checking work emails during bath time. It’s pretty exhausting. But on the other hand you have both your independence back and a chance to be with your kids. 

So the grass really isn’t always greener… Whatever you do, you’ll have to make sacrifices but they’ll be worth it if you are confident that you are doing the right thing for you. Yes, you, not your kids. They will not love you less for staying at home with them, or putting them into childcare, but you will start to resent them if you feel that you have to do something that makes you unhappy. Kids will adapt to whatever suits you and being a happier person will make you a better parent.

I’m so bored of my job

I’m so bored of my job

Last year, I came back to work early after 6 months of maternity leave. This was my 2nd maternity leave in 2 years; I had spent more than enough time at home looking after babies and was ready to go back to work.

I had imagined that returning to work would bring the old me back, that I would be exited to recruit again, inspired to post on this blog every week. I was wrong… The truth is that I was ready for a new challenge before I got pregnant and that returning to my old job felt more mind-numbing than being home watching CBeebies all day.  

For months, my team had managed without me and there was very little for me to do in the first few weeks. I was given a few tasks that I did in about 5 minutes and spent the rest of my days staring at an empty inbox…Things weren’t going well, and I started regretting my decision to come back to work. 

So I did what I do best and started looking for another job. After a few applications and interviews for roles very similar to my current job, but with less money, a longer commute, no flexible working, etc. I realised that I had forgotten something… That work is like being in a relationship. When things don’t go to well with your partner, you don’t immediately go on the hunt to find another one (well, some people do), you talk and try to fix things first. 

That’s when I decided to talk to my manager about my feelings and what I needed to make the job work for me. 

I needed to feel busy, add value, work on projects. And guess what she did? She listened, gave me more exciting work to do and pushed me to apply for a promotion in another team. 

And here I am, 9 months into my new job, still not writing very much but this time not by lack of motivation or things to say, but because I’m running 100 miles/hour trying to manage a team, a family and myself. 

So if you too are falling out of love with your job, ask yourself if you can mend things and make it work for you, before you go and look for another one (that might not be better at all). 

I don’t have anything to wear!!! 

I don’t have anything to wear!!! 

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