We all wake up with them. Expectations are powerfully charged feelings and impact your day in very real and consequential ways. Whether you expect your work environment to be enjoyable, or just another day to get through…or worse yet, pure dread, expectations set the barometer of your day. Will there be sunshine or storms? Are you excited about the day ahead or would you rather hide under your blanket and ignore the alarm?
It’s not your work, right? It’s the people! If they could just be different!
Let’s face it, life is made up of relationships that are challenging in the best of circumstances, even when we love someone heart and soul. Remove this emotional commitment and the behavior of others can … well … become irritating, filling you with anxiety, frustration and anger.
You walk into your office or work space and that “one person” that seems to easily push your buttons is already doing that “thing” that makes you bristle. Maybe your boss walks past and you are reminded of the raise you didn’t get but deserve. The other half of a your sandwich left in the communal break room is gone, eaten by “you know who.” Those extra files on your desk? Sloughed off by “J…” and not your responsibility.
Flip the scenario. Maybe you are the one being targeted and you have no idea why you are the red circle at the center of the dart board.
How does one survive this kind of emotionally charged environment when the majority of waking hours is spent fulfilling your responsibilities: rent to pay, cars to service, daycare for your children, food on the table? You don’t mind the work but you are beginning to hate your job. Your unhappiness may even follow you home.
Jill Tomac, founder of The Leadership Resource Group coaches organizations on improving work environments for leaders and employees alike. Believing that work can and should be an enjoyable, even a happy and fulfilling experience, she helps her clients learn effective ways to communicate and resolve many of these issues.
“Throughout your life you have most likely been taught, ‘do unto others as you would like to have done unto yourself.’ While this sends a valuable message of treating others with respect and care, it does not work in the realm of communication.” http://resourcesforleaders.com/increase-your-influence/
Her point: we communicate in many different ways: verbally, emotionally, physically and often do not realize our impact. By becoming aware of our effect on others, real, long-lasting change transforms the culture and environment of the work place.
We each walk into environments not as individuals but as a collective mass of our past, our present, and our unique way of being. Everyone has their own experiences shadowing them. But the reality is, we have no power to change others, only influence them by example. By changing our mind through personal awareness and learning new ways to communicate we can not only positively influence others but our own life may end up being the biggest benefactor. Now that is a benefit worth working toward!
Candace George Conradi, Writing Coach
Published Author and Blogger for Women With a Voice
The book “The PA” which was published last week is described as “An insight into the working life of a Personal Assistant charting the ups and downs of her working life; the bullying and the controlling nature of some of her bosses and her eventual sanctuary in a job with a new boss.”
The reactions to the book have been mixed in the city, with some hailing it as a great expose of the goings on in the PA/EA world while others claiming that it is little more than over hyped tittle tattle.
Victoria Knowles (not her real name, although we are told that the content of the book is true to life) has detailed her experiences during her 10 year career as a City PA. She goes into great detail discussing the ups and (mostly) downs working for high powered executives. But is her summary of the characters she encountered really an accurate reflection of the experiences of other PAs and EAs in similar roles?
What are your experiences? Have you only worked for the “total and utter tossers” Ms Knowles reports or are the executives you support entirely reasonable? Do the antics described in The PA seem the stuff of TV drama to you? Or are you delighted that someone has finally exposed what working as a PA or EA can sometimes really involve, if this is true?
Whilst Ms Knowles has reportedly penned the book as a tool for other PAs, it is unlikely to be a reference tool that many executives would wish their PAs to refer to. Not least because in writing the book, Ms Knowles seems to have broken the highest code of PA conduct in breaching the confidentiality of her boss(es). Many critics of the book have said that Ms Knowles has devalued the currency of discretion and loyalty which is the hallmark of a good PA and who holds the key to so many secrets. Given that the PA/Executive relationship relies on mutual trust, the impact of Ms Knowles’ book could be more widespread than mere speculation as to her identity and those of her former employers.
And finally, it’s not just City Executives that need to be careful of the personal information held by their PA, recent reports suggest that Lady Gaga’s former PA is about to write a tell all book….
The PA has certainly caused a stir in the City, so would be great to hear your thoughts on this topic…
Whether you left education last year or a little bit longer ago, it often feels like the working year is governed by the school year. That being the case, now is end of year report time. How have you done this year? What did you do well in? Where do you need to improve?
If you’re feeling like you’re a long way from your goals, don’t worry we have all been there. We often get worked up about all the things that go wrong, but what about the multitude of things that went well? It’s equally important to celebrate these wins, even if they are small.
So now is the perfect time for a little self-evaluation. If your company does not conduct mid-year reviews, there is no reason why you couldn’t do this purely for your own personal development. Ask for feedback from peers, colleagues and superiors. I prefer to do this in person, ask someone for a quick chat and explain that you’d like some informal feedback. Ask what you did well, what didn’t go so well and where you can do better. This, for me shows that you are truly engaged in your role and that you can think bigger than the narrow confines of your job description. This is especially important when you work for senior people.
If some of the feedback you receive is not as positive as you would like, don’t see it as a personal critique; see it as an opportunity to work on that particular trait. None of us are perfect; we do some things incredibly well and other things less so. Having self-awareness and wanting to continually learn and grow not only makes you more valuable at your own firm but keeps your skills current in an ever changing job market.
If you haven’t thought about your personal development plan/ work goals for the year, now would be the perfect time to think about what you want to achieve in the next six months. Often with no plan comes any action.
Not sure where to start? There are plenty of online tools, try these:
Businesses can benefit from an online social media presence in many ways. For one thing, it adds a face to the faceless corporation, giving the consumer a point of contact. Often customers won’t stand for point blank answers over automated voice mail anymore. If they receive bad service there’s a good chance they will go straight to the social networks, and if it isn’t handled right they can be sure to receive a lot of bad press. Social media can be used to stir up interest in an organisation or gauge the current level of it, through networks such as Twitter. Nowadays a good social media presence can either boost an organisation or break it massively. But you’d be surprised to find that most companies don’t use it to the full extent that they can, and this includes bigger organisations. So how do you harness the power of social media for good?
Use the right social networks
Social media is constantly evolving, with dozens of new networks being tested and trialled every day. With this in mind, the biggest ones are currently Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is an open network, meaning that you can contact and start interactions with anybody, businesses or consumers, and they don’t actually have to know you to do this. In this regard, it provides a great platform for boosting your consumer base; you can do this by jumping on trends, contacting other organisations, or just starting conversations with other users. In comparison Facebook is a lot more closed off, you can only really communicate with people who have already liked you, and it’s more difficult to get people to in the first place. The communication is solely Business to Customer, meaning you can’t really liaise with other businesses on it and start dialogues. However it doesn’t hurt to have a page. There are hoards of other social networks to get onto, such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Google +. The ones you decide to use really depend on your target audience. Pinterest is mainly used by females aged 18-35, so is suited to clothing or other more feminine brands, while Tumblr and Instagram are aimed at both males and females, but probably suited to brands looking to create an edgy or cooler image. Google + is more popular amongst technophiles, so if you are a technology based business, it will definitely be up your street. Let’s note that it’s worth choosing one or two to get on, and using them well, rather than creating a page on all of them and never updating them. A well created social media page can add a lot to your brand image, which brings me to my next point:
Create quality Content:
Whichever Social media network you use, you should try your best to create quality content for it. Quality content ensures that customers take note of you and gives them a reason to come back. Blog posts are excellent for this, and are not used nearly enough by bigger brands, giving smaller companies the chance to one up their competitors. A good idea is to check to see what content your competitors are creating, and think of ways you can make improve it for yourself. A reason for why Blog posts are good for this is that they can be shared. As well as this you can incorporate highly ranked SEO keywords easily into them. A highly ranked keyword is one that is searched for often but hasn’t got many competitors ranking for it in Google. Often users will type a whole question into Google and these questions can often be the title of Blog posts, so it is another way to get users to come to your site.
However there’s no need to limit it to blog posts, other media such as photos, videos or even inspirational quotes are good and easily shareable. There are loads of different types of content for you to create and share; all you have to do is be creative.