Thursday, 18 August 2016

Impostor syndrome and what to do about it

Do you ever wonder how you got your promotion? 
Are you concerned that some day some one will "work it out" that you aren't any good at your job? 

You're not alone. 

This is called "imposter syndrome" and it can manifest itself in different ways and to different levels of severity.  It refers to high achievers who internalise their achievements and think of themselves as a fraud rather than holding the belief in themselves that others do.

 “Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me — all these things. I’m fat; I’m ugly…” 
-Kate Winslet [Interview mag. Nov 2000] ( after she received two Academy Award nominations!)

It may also not surprise you to learn that apparently women are more likely than men to suffer impostor syndrome. So what to do about it? 


Reflect on your career path 

How did you get here? What successes have you had? 
Make an effort to really think about something you are proud of. Now think about someone at work that you *know* to be a poor performer. Could that person have completed that achievement? Could they do your job? Why not? 
Do these exercises to start to give yourself much needed pep talks and start to believe in yourself 


Question your inner self-critic 

Every time that demoralising voice pops up, remember that it is YOUR voice. You really are your biggest critic. Compare your own thoughts to the feedback you have been given from your Manager, peers, team members. Do they match? 


Fake it until you make it 

If you STILL don't believe in yourself, then it is time to fake it. Just pretend with yourself that you CAN do those things. You may be surprised to find that your are able to do them really well!




Why is this important

Promotions and pay increases 

If you don't have faith in yourself, and if you think that you are a fraud, how are you going to be able to effectively apply and interview for a promotional role?
Or if you aren't looking for a step up, how are you going to negotiate for a pay increase? No matter what your "day job" is, the one thing we all have in common is that we are sales people. For ourselves.

Leadership and self confidence are interlinked  

Everyone wants a Manager they can look up to. If your leader has no self confidence, then this is demoralising for the entire team. You don't need to be totally egotistical, but you do need to believe in yourself and your team for them to believe the same.


Role model for others

This is not just about your leadership skills at work, but how about your kids, nieces, nephews etc see you. Young people are always looking for role models to emulate. 


So, own that ambition! Own your successes! 

Remember, you can still be proud of your achievements, without being a complete ass.  ;)


Do you suffer from Impostor syndrome? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?

Thursday, 11 August 2016

What is the right way to dress for work and interviews?

London receptionist 'sent home for not wearing heels'

Remember this headline? It captured the attention of the media in many countries a few months ago, and Nicole Thorp (the receptionist it refers to) started a campaign about what women are expected to wear to work. If you missed it, Nicola is a temp worker who, on her first day at PwC was told to change her shoes to ones with a 2-4 inch heel. When she refused, she was sent home without pay.


wearing heels at work

Is it legal?

In Australia, the tribunal would determine if a dress code is reasonable, and if so, then is it discriminatory. For example, recently there was case where a man won his claim for discrimination on the grounds of gender because females were allowed to wear earrings at work while he was not.


So, what is appropriate to wear to work?

If you try and google this (as I did) you will find there is still quite the debate! I liked this article from Inc which although doesn’t give any definitive answers, does suggest that the “right” dress code differs by profession.
For example, I remember when we were scouting out day care centres and at one of the centres, the Director was wearing rubber thongs. Now, I love comfort a much as the next person, but it really put me off the centre because the most senior person at the Centre was dressing like she was going to the beach with no thought to the potential Health and Safety concerns. (Maybe I’ve just been in HR too long, but footwear like that is just asking for something to be dropped on it!)

Pictures have also been doing the social media rounds of a woman (not in Australia) who was told her headscarf was unprofessional, so she started going to work in CosPlay as that wasn’t against the dress code( pictures are here: ). I sure don’t recommend this as a way to get your point across! It does, however, show that dress codes don’t mean an awful lot when they can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Generally speaking, you should always be neat and tidy, and start a job wearing an outfit a little bit more on the formal side. (so women, closed toed shoes; men you should have a tie).It will quickly become obvious by looking around you what the “norm” is for the office.
My other observation is that the old adage of “dressing for success” is true. I find there are particular areas of the corporate world (like IT employees) where people are more likely to dress very casually. Although this may make it easy to roll out of bed and get to work in the morning, it does impact on other’s perceptions of you. Rightly, or wrongly, if you come to work every day in your shabby jeans and t-shirt, it becomes hard for others to take you seriously if you do try and go for that promotion down the track. Obviously the overall corporate culture comes into play here, so it is important to look around at the people doing the jobs that you want to do some day and take cues from the way they dress.


It can also be a mindset

Have you ever been on leave from work for an extended time, or worked from home, and found that you were more productive when you "dressed the part"? There are loads of articles that suggest that although it is tempting to stay in our pyjamas all day, we get much more done by dressing nicely. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic, talks about how when she is not feeling very creative she goes and dresses up like she would to invite a secret lover. She showers, shaves, wears a nice dress, make up and perfume, and then finds that she has invited creativity in and is able to write again!


What to wear to an interview ?

Probably more important than what to wear each day to work, is what is appropriate to wear to an interview? Is a suit required? Nail polish a go or a no? Open toed shoes? Ties? How much make up?
I asked Kristine Evans from Mummy Jobs Australia and here is her advice:

"Interviews are the make or break. It comes down to a mix of two things; keeping your personal style (there’s no point trying to be someone you’re not!), and secondly presenting in a professional manner and looking sharp. I have interviewed hundreds of applicants for positions ranging from entry level right through to CEO. I don’t believe there’s a difference in how one presents in regards to the role they interview for.

Speaking from experience and from my time in recruitment, perception is key matched with skills and expertise. How you look in those first 30 seconds will set the scene for the interview! In particular I work with a lot of mums returning to work. It can be quite a leap for those who have been out of the work environment for 12 months + and dressing for interview can feel quite foreign to them! My biggest tip to my clients is to get dressed as if you were going to an interview, but instead tee up a coffee with a friend and get used to your new look! This way come interview time it will feel like second nature.

My top 5 must haves for an interview:

  • Suit (tie for men, shirt/ top for ladies) ; it’s ok to lose the jacket as the interview starts, it’s important to feel comfortable as well, so just slip it onto the back of the chair
  • Smoking is a killer, obviously it’s your choice to do this, however ensure your clothes are smoke free and don’t smoke before an interview! I had a candidate smoke well over an hour before interview and I could still smell it on them!
  • Nail polish is fine; always a debate on this one, but the reality is if it’s worn well and looks great then wear it with confidence; it can also show pride in yourself!
  • Shoes must be polished, closed or open toe, but ensuring they are smart and nails done
  • Hair pulled up in a pony or neat bun, hairspray will be your best friend!
Jump over to my site for more Tips & Tricks"


Do you agree? What is your favourite way to dress for work?


Thanks to Kristin Evans for her input into this article. Kristine Evans runs Mummy Jobs Australia providing interview & CV advice for mums. Are you a mum in Australia? You can join her free support group here Mummy Jobs Australia Support Group

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Do you know your job outlook?

Stuck in a rut?

No idea if you want to change careers completely or look for a new job?



I came across "Job Outlook" which is an Australian Government website designed to give lots of information about different occupations, but it also has  a quick "career quiz" you can take to try and hone in on what you like to do.

The quiz splits your answers into 6 components:
  • practical
  • technical
  • creative
  • administrative
  • people
  • helping

It is pretty simplistic, but for a 3 minute survey you really can't expect it to be too indepth ;)
What it may do is help to affirm that you are in the right kind of career, or give you some ideas of other professions that may suit you.

As you then explore the different areas of the site, there is information by industry and profession like the job prospects over the next few years, the different skills that are important to those roles, and the ability to search for jobs and training. 

 Unfortunately I couldn't find a summary of the top careers on the website, but did find one that CareersFAQ had put together from the data which has the top 10 careers (those projected to ‘grow very strongly’ over the coming years) as: 

  • Graphic/web designer and illustrator 
  •  Psychologist 
  •  Fitness instructor 
  •  Nursing support and personal care worker 
  •  General manager 
  •  Veterinary nurse 
  •  Welfare support worker 
  •  Mining engineer 
  •  Human resource professional 
  •  ICT manager 
 Other jobs expected to ‘grow strongly’: 

  •  Marketing professional 
  • Pharmacist 
  • Architect and landscape architect 
  • Beauty therapist 
  • Child carer 
  • Nutritionist

What do you think? Is your job on the list?


Note: This post is in no way sponsored and purely provided for general information purposes
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