Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
There are more coffee shops and cafes than you could shake the proverbial stick at. The serviceable chains are well represented: Hudson's, Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, but more interesting are the smaller owner operators. And they offer good coffee. You want it organic? no problems. Fair Trade? just down the lane. A richer brew? over the road. You only drink soylatte? fine, that's there too. You'd like to sit outside and watch the passing parade? you'll certainly join a vibrant throng doing just the same. Yes, we're certainly well served by fabulous cafes, with some interesting graffiti to ponder when you tire of the cafe scene.
The First Tuesday in November. A date we know and love! After the lack of public holidays through winter, this one is very welcome. The boutiques are pulling out all stops to outdo their competitors, and entice the cashed up, glamorous young ladies in. But this is the first time I've seen golden rose petals complete with glitter strewn outside; surprisingly, no one had stomped on them during the frenetic lunch hour.
But alongside this commentary on coffee lover's heaven, I suppose I should mention in passing that yesterday there was a small downside.
It's safer to seek safe haven in the airconditioned food halls than risk a shower of sneezed droplets at an outdoor cafe on a day like yesterday, perfect as it - almost - was.
And why does Melbourne get such bad press? Because after the (almost) perfection of yesterday, today it's raining, and the forecast for tomorrow? Heavier rain. I haven't checked what they're predicting for Tuesday, but my recollection is of painful sunburn one year, and paddling in floodwater later the same day. Keep's you on your toes though don't you think?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Take a deep breath, pause (this is a very important step) and slowly and calmly begin. You’ll appear more confident and assured if you don’t rush, even though you may be quaking inside.
The importance of pets!
I’m not being flippant. It really does help.
It feels awkward for many of us to tell someone that we’re good at things, particularly those of us from cultures where we’re encouraged not to brag or gloat about how competent we are. This is a definite negative in an interview and you can lose your dream job if you don’t overcome that childhood training.
“One of the things I’m really good at is ….”,
“I want to work at (insert name of company here) because ….”
“How would my friends describe me? My best friends describe me as loyal …. "
It’s ok to repeat a question occasionally if you go blank, it lets your brain catch up.
Remember to think of some questions you want to ask the interviewer/s. Again, Google is a great resource.This invitation usually comes at the end of the interview just as you’re breathing a sigh of relief that it’s almost over. If you haven’t thought it out, (and asked it aloud in the privacy of your home to your cat) you’re likely to blurt out the most inane thing like I did some years ago - my stomach still sinks at the memory.
- educate the interviewer/s about your skills and strengths
- practise, practise, practise - aloud!
- arrive early, breathe deeply and give it your best
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Teenagers often aren’t much better.
A number of my colleagues say they don’t get much satisfaction from working on resumes for their clients either. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but I enjoy sleuthing out your transferable skills (and stay at home mums have heaps of these! As do students, and of course those who’ve been employed “yes, even as a teacher” – although the last group are often the most disbelieving).
I find it a challenge, as I said, to sleuth out your transferable skills (these are often called the ‘soft skills’), and then to find the right words to present you in the most favourable light. Not lying of course, that’s not where I’m at. But to show that you have talents and skills that are of value in the workplace.
I love the look of disbelief when we begin. “Nope, not me, I’ve got nothing to offer”
“Oh really? Well, let’s give it a go anyway will we?”
It’s great! Sometimes, people will just sit back at the end of even half an hour and say, “wow”.
And I’ll ask “Is it all true?” and because I’m such a stickler for honesty in the process, all they can answer is a proud “Yes”.
As to the typing, and formatting - not my strongest point. I prefer the interactive aspect best, but of course I can and will assist when needed; with pretty good results too. But generally I encourage my clients to give it a go for themselves. I believe it’s much better to be self sufficient and independent so you can go it alone next time. But I won't leave you high and dry, so if you want this support, just ask.
And now, because my posts are generally somewhat serious, I'm going to suggest you have a look at this brilliant application.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I’ve been thinking of so many people I’ve worked with who are employed in jobs they don’t enjoy. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to work at something you’d prefer not to. Young people who are earning money to pay their uni fees, or who are saving to travel and young couples paying off a mortgage. Many of these people are able to remain positive and enthusiastic as their goal more than makes up for what they see as a short term discomfort. They are able to maintain a positive attitude and the sense of purpose ensures their mental wellbeing.
But how about those whose circumstances aren’t quite so privileged? I was watching a street vendor the other day. His tray of goods was about 40 cm square, and he was taking great pride in displaying his meagre range of goods to be most enticing to passers-by. He constantly buffed and polished each item, arranging and rearranging as goods were sold. The goods were displayed with the largest chunky bangles at the back, through in descending order of size down to the tiny toe rings at the front of the tray. Everything was neat, and good use was made of empty space – the “less is more” artistic mode of expression.
In dramatic contrast was a vendor not far away. He had a similar range of goods, but they were jumbled all higgledy piggledy, tarnished and unenticing. It was an interesting insight into what could be seen as ‘making the most of your circumstances’. One of those men will possibly go home at night having had a disappointing day of sales, his apparent grumpiness wasn’t drawing tourists to buy; the other was experiencing positive interactions with customers, and earning some money as well, his cheerful welcoming smile drew tourists, and even though not all of them bought goods, they all interacted positively.
Another event I was most bemused to observe was a small group of Roma women (gypsies) ranging in age from approximately mid 20’s to mid 50’s. They walked as a cheerful group into a tourist precinct laughing and chattering happily amongst themselves. It was early, and there weren’t many tourists about. But as soon as a busload of tourists was disgorged from a bus, it was all action stations. Clothing was tweaked, faces became sad and mournful, plastic cups were produced from capes and shawls and rattled in front of the new arrivals. Then when the tourists moved on, they regrouped, faces became animated and smiling again and they appeared to brag about their success. I couldn’t help but wonder if they go home at night and compare notes “tough day at the office today” or variations on the theme, depending on whether the tourists have been generous or lean.
These women appeared to be taking a certain pride in their work, apparently supporting each other and they appeared to be celebrating their successes as well. Were they proud not only of their ability to badger tourists into giving money, but of their acting abilities as well? It was an interesting observation, made all the more entertaining when I realized I’d been watched watching them. (One of the more senior women had been watching me - thankfully without malice as they can be somewhat intimidating when they are ‘in your face’).
But, I’ve been wondering: What would happen if someone from this group wanted to break with the norm and do something completely different. How would they fare? Is the group expectation too strong to challenge? Would they be supported or ridiculed?