That’s it folks

I am leaving the country tomorrow! and the family will follow in a minutely planned logistical operation during the summer. Having secured a position as Technical Manager at one of Englands top Uniform Suppliers, the future promises both challenge and inspiration.

Having already lived in England for 14 years of my working life it is not really a bid deal for me, but I am grateful that my husband and youngest daughter who have not had this experience before are willing to give it a go. We have been planning our lifes in a ”double track” kind of way since last August when we first had the idea that we should move. Applying for jobs in both countries and letting fate decide  whether to stay or go. England delivered!

Of course it will be a bit hard to be separated, but we will see each other every three weeks and then in July/August we will all be together again, in a different town and a different house. Watch this space for news 🙂

We will miss many things, and other things not so much. Our door will of course always be open should any of our friends wish to visit Burbage in Leicestershire, UK

Good bye Sweden.

 

 

Annonser

Another type of inexperience.

Even though one of my dogs is a trained guide dog for the blind, I find I am struggling to see where I am going from time to time… Not that I am blind but the road ahead does seem a bit obscure sometimes. As I put one foot ahead of the other on the road of job seeking my dear Charlie mostly acts as personal coach and reminder to stay in the moment and focus on each day as it comes. Seeing the road is not easy as it twists and turns quite unpredictably.

“Dear Mrs F. We regret to inform you the position you applied for has been filled by another applicant”

“Oh, Thank you for letting me know. Could I ask for some feedback so that I can improve my applications in the future. I understand you are really busy, but as the answer came from an actual person this time, rather than a system, I thought I would at least ask. All the best / Mrs F”

  1. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone with less experience.
  2. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone junior that has experience in all the criteria we have set for this post and anyway we judge you to be overqualified.
  3. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone with more experience.
  4. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but we’re really looking for someone with at least five years of experience for this junior role.
  5. Happy to help… We think you have a fantastic profile but there were other applicants with more relevant experience than you have.

Same kind of jobs, same level, same criteria asked for in the ads and the only answer that seems reasonable to me is number five. It truly is a jungle out there and perhaps I need a sharper machete to cut my own path instead of trying to find an existing one.

Of course every employer has a wish list, just like I do when it comes to the dream job but being told I am inexperienced in the wrong way, or too experienced, makes me feel half the applications are a waste of time as the true profile for the job is much narrower than the ad. Not in a sour grapes kind of way. More like ”gosh this must create an awful lot of extra work for everybody involved that slows down the whole system”…

I just can’t wait for the day when I can turn my back on my Sisyphus stone of application writing and start to make a difference. Preferably in a workplace where my work also helps improve quality of life for individuals or society as a whole. In the meantime I shall go and pet my retrievers to ground myself and try to remember that the true value of a person is based on internal quality, not external attributes.

Merry Christmas to all.

// J

The value of your internal estate

When writing a personal presentation you have to somehow create value around the total lifelong learning and experiences you have collected. This is particularly true when writing résumés and personal letters when looking for work. So how do you compress your personality, your training and your past experience onto two pages, and how do you get the person on the other side to actually read it?

Well, if I knew that I would not currently be in the very position of having to do that, but having done extensive research on the matter I have made a few observations that I now try to follow…

  1. It is all about the future
    • Telling all about your past experience and results will not make anyone impressed. The person reading wants to know what you will bring to them and feel that you have passion and a game plan to make that happen.
  2. Think like a spy
    • Everything you put into your application pack has to be based on the basis of “need to know”. Focus on what the prospective employer needs and build your application around that.
  3. Do your research
    • Don’t just see who you know on Linked In that could help. Learn all about the company. Find out what kind of person will fit in the group, and if that is you, describe yourself as such. For example, if the company lists social responsibility as one of their core values you should mention any experience of voluntary work.

If, like me, you don’t like picking up the phone to a prospective employer, try to think what you as a person can do in a wider strategy to get noticed. A few of the options open to try are blog, a video or a digital CV to link to; any medium that will show your personality is good. Remember to portray your true self as that is what they will expect when you get employed. No matter how good you are at adapting you still have to show your true colours…

The biggest obstacle, for me at least, is to hold on to the value of that internal estate when I get turned down, or not selected for an interview. When this happens I have to remind myself that what I carry inside as skills and experience is is valuable, and not let anyone call it bric a brac.

In summary, you have to make the employer see from your application what the future would be like with you as an employee. If anyone has more or better suggestions about getting the attention of recruiters please feel free to share in the comments below J.

Like with most things practice will make perfect so a favourable breeze in cosmos will most likely blow in my direction pretty soon…

I touched the stars and won the jackpot today

You know that feeling you get when you finally achieve something you thought you would never be able to do? That buzz in your whole body and that cheesy grin that you just can’t turn off, not that you want to. Some people are afraid of spiders, some of the dark and some, like me, have developed a real phobia about lifting the phone and making a call.

I have always been able to phone the dentist or the Inland Revenue if I needed an appointment or advice, neither  have I had problems calling anyone as part of my work.When it comes to phoning a potential employer, I have broken into cold sweat and abandoned the idea before I even got the number out. There is something about the job seeking situation and strange balance of power that has made me freeze and panic every time. Today I conquered my fears and I feel like I touched the stars and won the jackpot!

I Made The Call!

Do you understand what a monumental achievement this is? I made the call!!! I feel like I have been cured of terminal illness. Like Mount Everest has fallen off my shoulders. I may still have a long way to go before I feel comfortable with calling prospective employers, but my god have I taken a big step in the right direction today 🙂  No more panic!

I feel like bursting into songs of praise but will probably settle for a bit of humming and a celebratory shuffle. Feel free to join in 🙂

The true cost of the happiness industry

Teaching people how to be happy has turned into big business and most of us are now at least vaguely familiar with concepts like mindfulness and positive thinking. Listening to yet another proclaimer of the “think yourself happy” School of thought today I felt my body respond with anger. Of course we all feel better with regular exercise and a positive outlook on life, but self-help advice need to be much more nuanced than offering affirmations and exercises of gratitude.

Prepare yourself for a rant…

I claim society has gone completely skew whiffy, or arse about face if you like it crude. Mental health is on the decline in Sweden, costing society, business and individuals concerned both hard cash and energy. The problem is not that they are unhappy. The solution is not to teach them how to think happy thoughts. The solution, ladies and gentlemen is far, far simpler.

Quit using profit/productivity as the one and only measure of success. Creating a system that makes people ill, and then telling them they can “think their way out of it” is just mean. We do not need more coping strategies to help us deal with society. We need a society that people do not need coping strategies to deal with.

We could change society. We could talk about integrity and empathy as core values in long term sustainability. We could say no to companies that profit from producing or promoting things that are unarguably bad for us as a race. We could share the workload better between us. We could, if we wanted to, create a society that promoted both physical and psychological wellbeing. If we wanted to…

I am talking about a revolution (like Tracy), like a whisper…

Passion, Pine Apples and Purple Squirrels

The three may not seem to be connected but they are. As a student of social media with a strong interest in content marketing and behaviourism/social labels I think a lot about what we assume, how we react to things and how we portray ourselves in a world filled with expectations. (I also have a fondness for long sentences.) Let me explain.

The pineapple theory.
Years ago I was for some reason home from work and watched an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. She was interviewing a senior woman about dating and asked the question, don´t you get hurt when you are not chosen; to which the woman answered “No, because I look at myself as a pineapple.” The reasoning was that she knows that even if she is the very best pineapple she could ever be, there will still be people that prefer apples, or mango; but that does not make her a lesser pineapple.

The purple squirrel
is a rare mythical creature also known as ”the perfect recruit”. Do google the term for a more substantial explanation. This person is hard to find of course as specialized and talented people who are able to just blend in and give the organisation what it craves often are.

How does a recruiter really think?
The more I read about recruitment the more confused, and sometimes annoyed I get. I am a mature student, soon to be a fully trained Social Media manager. Reading job ads, as one does when one is soon to start applying for jobs, the listed expectations and qualifications seem more like an exclusion list, a wall, than an invitation to “come join the company and bring your wealth of experience with you”.  Not many people could tick all the boxes. Fair enough they also list things like “social team player” whatever that mean, I suppose that could mean a lot of things to different people. I would like to read about how the new recruit is expected to help the company move towards achieving its vision. Like they have really thought about who they need and why, beyond expansion or workload.

Same, supersame or different?
The older I get, the more I start to resemble a pineapple. Or an orange or a pear if you want to get physical about it. When I was younger I was a bit more like a fruit salad, like Mika sings “I can be anything you like”. Now a days I am still flexible, but I know exactly what kind of fruit I am and also how to use my own “flavour” to enhance others. Recruiting someone who is not already homogenous will force the workplace to look at itself with new eyes every so often and either move with the times or have their existing culture reinforced. If you never scrutinize yourself, progress will be much slower. Of course you should be qualified to do the work but experience from other markets/jobs should be seen as positive. I have a dream that companies would anonymize applications, letting me and everybody else offer up what we know and where we want to go.  My name, my gender, my age should not be relevant only my experience, my competence and how compatible my future plans are to those of the recruiting company. Maybe I should start a competence agency and call it Pineapple!

What about the passion?
Everybody can get, and is, passionate about something. How do we harness this? How can I as a private person use my passion for creative writing or training my dogs, into a transferable skill that I can use to bring value to my workplace? And will it ever make a difference? Well, I do blog, as myself and as my dog Buddha. A way of showing a future employer that I have a genuine interest in writing. I make little videos of how I train Buddha and post on his Instagram, because I like watching such videos myself and to show that I know how to use the media. Hopefully, I will also show that I embrace social media, that I am a patient person, that I am not afraid to try new things and that I enjoy connecting with other people.  Problem is, I don’t know if a recruiter would look at it that way. Anyone? Suggestions and insights are more than welcome

Do you want a squirrel in your fruit salad?
I think transferable skills are like gold dust because they transfer also to colleagues and sometimes the whole business culture. But then again, being a melting pot of experience and competence with people contributing with more than eight hours a day doing what they are told may not be everybody’s cup of tea. If you do work in such a company and happen to be placed in Gothenburg, feel free to contact me.

Maybe it’s because we have studied content marketing for weeks on end now, but if everybody is a publisher, and the whole company is expected to contribute to and live by a content strategy, it kind of follows that companies also need to look for co-workers that connect with their employer on a deeper level or else they cant “live the brand”. Maybe creating your own hybrid fruit/squirrels would be better, instead of waiting for the rainbow so you can dig you could just turn on the water…

From the point of view of a mature pineapple which is still way of its expiry date.

// Jeanette