Monday, 24 October 2011

The portfolio career – a career change option

Imagine a career that you can actively control and combines your skills and interests.....

Now think of everything you want from life:  

-       A fulfilling and enjoyable career path

-       An exciting career change

-       Control of your working hours

-       Fulfilling relationships with friends and family

-       Time for volunteering and pursuing interests and hobbies

-       A work-life balance

Is it possible for you to achieve all of this?  Would you like it to be possible?  How can you make it possible?

You may find the solution in the creation of the increasingly popular portfolio career.

A portfolio career may be the answer

A portfolio career consists of a variety of jobs including self-employment, fixed-term contracts, part-time jobs and freelancing.  It can offer career flexibility and variety enabling you to maintain more control over your career allowing you to fulfil the work-life balance you want.

An example is a marketing expert who has two part-time jobs.  One of her jobs is working for a big corporate company and the other is teaching at a local university.   She also spends time working in a self employed capacity providing marketing advice to SMEs.   Furthermore, she is a charity trustee and governor of a local school.

Is this sounding like an attractive option for you?

As with all decisions you make, you will need to look at the benefits as well as the challenges in pursuing a portfolio career.   For example, there will be an element of risk-taking involved as well as a requirement for self marketing and networking.  You will be taking sole responsibility for your career - you won't have a boss to fall back on.  On the other hand, you will gain some freedom in being able to control how you live your life and different career options can open up for you.

If you believe you may be suited to a portfolio career, start reviewing your career history and past experiences.  Then decide what you would like to achieve in your career and what interests and skills you would like to be using.  Be organised in your approach and start networking to find out if a portfolio career is the right option for you and how it can be achieved.

As you move forward in your investigations, remind yourself of this quote - it may help!

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. (T.S. Eliot)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Are your stress levels at work increasing?

According to the 2011 CIPD/Simplyhealth absence report, stress is now the biggest cause of long-term absence from work.  
This news comes as no surprise when we are repeatedly being exposed to negativity, directly or indirectly through our employer or the media, threatening our job security.  Consider just a small selection of recent headlines:

...and perhaps the icing on the cake is this week’s headline, The UK seeing a big rise in poverty.

Unfortunately, these headlines do not paint a very happy picture. 

Repeated threats to our job security, cost of living and income can significantly increase stress levels and it is these stress levels that need to be managed effectively to avoid long term absence from work.

Stress Management

There is certainly a call for companies and organisations to address the issue of stress management and do all they can to maintain staff morale.  However, it is also important for individuals to take some control over their situation to avoid placing total reliance on their employer. 

If this relates to you, recognise when your stress levels are increasing and start taking small steps towards alleviating the stress you are feeling.  

In times like this it is really important to give yourself space to introduce some positive elements to your working week.

Free Resources: Have a read of my 10 tips on what to do if you are made redundant

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What do I do if I am made redundant?

Redundancy is hitting the headlines again.  Over the past couple of weeks we have heard about BAE and The Royal Navy, as well as many more companies and organisations, launching a new round of redundancies.

It is true to say that 1000s of people will be affected directly by the recent headlines.  Furthermore, even those who are not directly affected may now be questioning their future job security and wondering if they will be faced with similar headlines threatening redundancy over the next year.  Whatever your circumstances, it can be a gloomy and worrying time.

If you are being made redundant, you will have many questions spinning around in your head at the moment: 

Where is the money going to come from?  What shall I do for a job?  How long will it take to find a job?  How will this affect my career progression?  Is this the time to think about a career change? How can I regain my confidence? 

You want answers to these questions and this is where I hope I can help you formulate some plans for the future. 

The best thing to do now is to take some time to plan your next steps.  The next few weeks or months may seem overwhelming and it is important that you move forward in the best way possible and limit the stress you may feel.  Here are a few areas to consider when preparing your plan:

1.     Give yourself time and space

Allow yourself time to get used to the idea.  Your job is likely to have been a large part of your life and you now have to face some changes ahead.  Use your friends and family for support.

2.     Review your finances 

What is your redundancy package?  How much money do you need to meet your outgoings?    Can you cut back on your monthly outgoings?

3.     Consider your career options

Perhaps you have been thinking about pursuing a career change or career break for a while.  Can this be the opportunity you were looking for?

4.     Update your CV

Review your key qualities, skills and recent achievements and ensure they are included on your CV.  Have a read of my blog on writing a successful CV here.

5.     Use your networks

This is the time to start touching base with all your contacts.  Consider who you know from previous jobs, training and courses as well as through your friendship group.

6.     Contact 2 or 3 recruitment consultants

Register with a couple of recruitment agencies to increase your job search.

7.     Make speculative approaches

Make some speculative approaches to organisations of interest to gain accurate information about your job market.  

8.     Career Coaching

This may be a good option to help you move forward.

9.     Relax

Allow yourself time every day to relax and to do something you enjoy. 
Finally, for some light reading, grab a coffee and have a read about the possible UK launch of job loss cards, as used in the USA,  here?!