5 Tips to Gain Clarity About Your Work History Patterns

5 Tips to Gain Clarity About Your Work History Patterns

Have you ever considered your work history patterns? If you contemplate certain roles or experiences over your working life, do you see recurring patterns or themes? Are these patterns serving you? Are you building on your skill set year after year?

We can learn so much about ourselves, our career and our choices when we look at the history of our working lives.

Taking a mental audit or writing down what’s worked for you and what’s not, can result in aha moments of clarity, often shining a light on your next move, what needs to change or really how far you’ve come in your career.

  1. Devise a timeline, starting with your first ever role, all the roles in between till the present day. Yes, even the jobs you had as a kid, even if it was babysitting or at the local café, it all adds up to your story. Write down the job, the tasks you performed, what you liked and did not like. Be sure to also include any experiences, interactions with bosses or colleagues, good or bad, that may highlight any common themes.
  2. Reviewing your work history list, what aspects of each role felt most aligned for you? Perhaps consider if a particular task that you have performed through most of the roles you’ve had, when did you feel in flow? Start noticing where the moments of flow are recurring.
  3. In which environment and positions you’ve held have you honestly felt you were playing to your strengths. When we go to work each day exercising our strengths and working in our zone of genius, it creates a sense of fulfillment and congruence. Notice this and capitalize on it.
  4. As you look over your history, it’s time to get real. Have you taken roles purely because you wanted to stay in your comfort zone? If you’ve purposely accepted a position knowing that you could ‘just fly under the radar’. What was your motivation in doing so? How did this feel? If you’ve chosen this time and time again, consider stepping out of your comfort zone and showing up, expanding your skill set and progressing your career.
  5. Now let’s think about your interview skills. If you’ve ever taken a role, expecting it was going to be the position you’ve always wanted, your definite next best career move but months in you’ve discovered it’s just not for you. Replaying the interview and the interview process in your mind, what red flags were evident? It’s crucial to know your strengths, your communication style, how you like to be managed and what culture you best thrive in. Take the time to consider how you can improve your interview questions for the future, ensuring you’re directing them around what’s important to you, while delving deeper into your organization research for a well-informed view.

Taking the time to review and audit your work history allows you to capture key learnings to have a more informed view of your strengths, when you feel in flow, improvement on interview skills and environments where you succeed. When choosing your next move or considering your next promotion, bear in mind what you do you know for sure about yourself, your style and your work history.

To find out more tips or go deeper into this subject and much more, contact Dione McCurdy- Career Coach and Strategist.
Interested in a professional career coaching program?
Like to advantage of the ‘Ask Dione’ service today? You can connect with Dione at dione@dionemccurdy.com

5 of the Best Tips to Manage the Stages of Your Employment Cycle

5 of the Best Tips to Manage the Stages of Your Employment Cycle

Employees can go through 7 stages in their tenure at an organisation. Identifying where you are in the cycle can provide incredible clarity for your career, your development and your mindset at work.

The 7 stages are:

  1. Excited / Optimistic
  2. Out of Place
  3. Lots to Learn
  4. Comfort
  5. Seeking More
  6. Not Seen or Heard
  7. Planning Next Move or Exit

To gain the best insight into your future plans, assess where you feel you’re at in the Employee Cycle. Take the following steps to gain more clarity and focus about your career and work life.

  1. Identify the stage you’re in
  2. How do you feel about the stage you’re in? Are you currently in the ‘Seeking More’ stage, feeling quite frustrated, overwhelmed and confused? Are you feeling you’re not sure where to turn to clarify what this seeking more stage means for you? You know you’re feeling restless but unsure what it is?
  3. Managing the stage you’re in requires some strategic action, thought and planning. If you’re seeking more, consider discussing your restlessness with your manager. Seek out training organisations in your field and consider study as an option to add new qualifications to your experience. Investigate whether you would consider changing roles or even professions entirely!
  4. Tap into a toolkit for each stage. Strategies for the ‘Out of Place’ stage, may require you to be more vulnerable than you’ve previously been. Ask more questions, seek more guidance and garner support from colleagues as well as your manager. Attend any relevant industry events to gain more insight into your organisation. Take advantage of any available manuals, training guides or company programs that may be available.  Ask! Forming key relationships in this stage is crucial to assist in minimising the overwhelm and confusion of this phase.
  5. Strategically plan your work experience and tenure at an organisation. Armed with the knowledge of the employee cycle, plan and prepare your career path. Consider the timing of each cycle, take advantage of each one too, to learn and grow, as a professional and as a leader.

Wanting to go deeper and know more?  Contact Dione McCurdy today for your free Discovery Call.

Stop Doing! 10 Things You Can Stop Doing for a More Productive Day

Stop Doing! 10 Things You Can Stop Doing for a More Productive Day

We hear so much about re-designing our work day to fit everything in, but have you considered the things you could stop doing? Yes, you heard me……Stop Doing. When we’re amongst the detail and particularly when we’re feeling overwhelmed, the thoughts go to how am I ever going to fit it all in? We often don’t take time to reassess just our ‘Business as Usual’ tasks.  These task become automatic. They often are just labelled, ‘That’s just how we do it, we’ve always done it like that’ or ‘Oh that’s busy corporate life for you!’. 

Considering the concept to stop doing some tasks requires a good hard look at your daily to do, your weekly and monthly, your routine and your habits. It’s time to do an audit, look at what is really needed, question what’s the purpose of your tasks and alleviate some stress and overwhelm. Who really looks at that 10-page report you produce every month anyway? What can you stop doing? 

Stop, Audit, Review, Restructure………. 

  1. List and audit those weekly and monthly tasks, reports and processes – what is their purpose? Who utilises them? Are they still needed?
  2. Stop allowing others to dictate your diary. We all need to work in a flexible environment, of course things do pop up, but don’t allow the usual, demanding colleague or staff member hijack your diary. This not only teaches them that your time is precious too but also to respect your boundaries.
  3. Stop working weekends, particularly if it’s impacting your family time. Some projects require extra hours but working weekends to catch up or it’s a normal practice, is not respecting your own boundaries or your family’s. By stopping some tasks and restructuring, weekend work won’t be needed!
  4.  Stop putting up with staff or colleagues who don’t take ownership for their own responsibilities.  Are you that ‘team player’ that jumps in when a colleague hasn’t stepped up and you just find it easier to do it yourself? Stop it! Inform your colleague this is no longer an option for you.  These courageous conversations can be a game changer.
  5. Stop attending unnecessary meetings. Next time that meeting invite pops into your calendar, ask a few key questions to ensure you’re the right stakeholder to attend, it’s a good use of your time right now and can you delegate to a team member.
  6. Release control. Are you a micro-manager? Empower your team with trust and enhance engagement. Stop thinking you need to check every piece of work that goes out the door. Set expectations. Use empowering language, so staff know they’re trusted to own their tasks and their mistakes, but you have the faith in them.
  7. Stop trying to help all who stop by your office or desk. It’s great to be helpful, be a team player, collaborate on tasks and get the job done. When these constant interruptions or demands are being frequently requested from you when it’s a task when you had in a role 12 months ago, it’s really time you passed on your knowledge once and for all and move on.  
  8. Stop scheduling meetings on times or days you’re either already managing a full diary or it’s at a time you’re not at your most creative or engaged ie. After 4pm or if you’re really not a morning person, no meetings before 10am!
  9. Stop the morning rush. Not having your morning routine organised so you’re rushing around flustered even before you’ve reached the office contributes to feelings of stress and overwhelm. Reassess your morning routine, discuss it with your family so they also are on board and plan together.
  10. Stop staying behind that extra 2-3 hours most working days – this equates to 10-15 extra hours a week! Stop doing, audit your day/week, review what’s really needed and restructure for a more productive and fulfilling work experience and those extra hours won’t be needed.  Work smarter not harder!
The Art of Managing Up

The Art of Managing Up

They’re your boss, your up line, your manager, your CEO, your leader… Is this relationship out of sync, at times fraught with frustration, workload overwhelm and poor communication? Do you constantly feel confused by your boss’s behavior and frustrated at their decision making? There’s an art to managing your boss, it’s called managing up. It’s a vital skill to have in your professional tool belt to make working life that much more enjoyable and effective. This skill requires a few key moves, strategic communication, a shift in mindset and let’s face it… precision and timing.

First and foremost, get crystal clear on their expectations. Know their standards and importantly, know their why. Why they do what they do? Why do they turn up to work each day? What makes them tick? Knowing a person’s drivers, their values is key to knowing what motivates them. This is crucial when managing your relationship with your boss. Know their deliverables. Know how you can contribute to making them ‘look good’.

Every leader craves and always appreciates their staff anticipating their needs before they even know they need it! This type of skill is developed when you take the time to really get to know who you’re working for or reporting to. Observe their body language, take note of their communication style particularly if they’re a ‘non-waffler’, notice their likes and dislikes when presenting reports or documents and pick your timing.

A crucial and enviable skill to add to your professional tool belt is, pick your timing. Make it your business to know what they roughly have on for the week. If you know they have board papers preparation due by Friday, know your timing to gain approval on something, the best time to interrupt them (if really necessary at all) because maybe email is the best form of communication for the majority of the week. Did a particular deal fall through that day? Then maybe it’s not the best time to start discussing why you can’t get your project finished or why you’re completely overwhelmed. Pick your timing. Meetings scheduled in advance with agenda and point of discussions are a great key move rather than constantly showing up in their office. This shows and displays that you respect their time.

Succinct communication is always appreciated in a busy work environment. Leave the waffle in the kitchen! Know your bosses distracted face. Know your boss’ ‘ I just don’t have time for this today’ face! Ensure emails are quick and to the point and respect their space if the office door is closed. When needing a quick answer on a particular issue, preface the conversation by saying, ’ I just need 5 minutes of your time, I’ll be really quick as I know you’re busy’. Then take only 5 minutes! The benefits of managing up are so many and varied. Managing your boss effectively can improve your relationship, aid your understanding of their mindset as well as alleviate frustration. This is a learned skill but vitally important if you want to have continued success in your professional career.