Work ethic

When you feel that discomfort in a new role know that it is normal. Although we all like to think of ourselves as dealing with change well, the human, by nature is a creature of habit. Remember that it takes six months to settle in to anywhere. If the feelings you are experiencing can be attributed to new job blues then try to push through; because wherever you go you will be the newbie and therefore these emotions will go with you. Finally, just be easy on yourself. You might have imagined a nirvana awaiting you ‘on the other side’ but for most people that happens later rather than sooner. So just keep your head down, try to absorb as much as you can, keep smiling, be helpful and diligent and before you know it, you will be training the newbie because you are the experienced member of staff!

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Now though it seems we have entered a brand new era. Companies are creating policies that tell you what you can and can’t say on Facebook. Out of hours! How does that work? You are at home, in your own house, where you pay the mortgage, using your own computer, that you paid for too, logged onto your private Facebook account and you can’t talk about certain things. Has it happened to you yet? Do you mind?

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Have you heard the saying ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade?’ Ever wondered how best to do that? Do you wonder what they really mean by that?

It is all about making the best from an otherwise bad situation. So taking your event and working out how to best use it to serve you. You go for an interview, but you don’t get the job – lemon. You use the feedback to improve your interview performance – lemonade. You miss out on a promotion – lemon. You are able to add an extra function to your current job and discover a skill and passion you didn’t even dream you possessed – lemonade.

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I have one enormous, ground-breaking, earth-shattering, quite shocking thing to say and suggest. How would you behave if the person of all your discontent were your young child? What would you do then? If you don’t have children think of your favourite person; the one you love above all others. The one that always gets the benefit of the doubt. The one you always see through loving eyes. The one who really doesn’t do such a thing as wrong in your book.

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Have you noticed how happy people have more friends? Get more done? Are offered more opportunities? Is it because they have a charmed life that they are happy or is it because they are happy that they live a charmed life? I have thought about this and there was a time when I might have thought the former to be true. But then I noticed that there were people with charmed lives who weren’t happy; think Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. All of the exterior trappings of success, but none of the happiness and we know what troubles found their way to their doors.

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Those of you on an upward spiral might have had a grey area in your life for some time as to where work time stops and play time starts. Often a cause of marital discord the most offensive item has become the BlackBerry and / or the iPhone. A constant contact to the office and a perpetual reminder that other people, elsewhere, are working when you are not, they have us all checking and replying to work emails at obscure hours of the day and night. Whatever happened to the idea that we worked nine-to-five Monday to Friday?

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There are two kinds of development; skills and self. As you are your greatest asset then both of them are not only a great use of your time but they will be hugely beneficial to your experience of life. On giving a set of students the same test two years running, Einstein is quoted as saying ‘the questions might be the same, but the answers are different’

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Making yourself more valuable is a very responsible way to manage your career. It is the choice of leaders. It is the choice of empowered people. It is the choice of Olympians!

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It is really easy to drift and get stuck in what can only be described as Groundhog Day. Much easier to do what you did yesterday all over again than it is to create a new habit and do something different. But if you were doing something similar six years ago to that which you are doing today and you don’t want to be doing the same thing six years from now then you have to make some changes. Things will only change when you change. The person you are right now, with the activity that you take and the habits that you have, created the life you are living right now. To get more you have to be more

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Have you been posting anywhere about the long lunches, extended shopping trips and exaggerated expense claims you’ve been getting away with? Are you setting up meetings with friends for social purposes during work hours when you’re not on annual leave? Are you slating your boss or current colleagues? Is every photo posted from drunken nights out with you semi-conscious or behaving badly? Any or a combination of all of these things, seen by somebody that doesn’t know you and who has no way of putting this information into the context of you being ‘the nicest person Joe Bloggs has ever met’ will count against you.

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We did a survey a couple of years ago and found that damage to an organisation’s reputation was the fastest, surest way to pull the plug on it’s business. Likewise, damage to reputation for a person is the quickest way to curtail their glittering career. Think about the impact you have on others, work on your behaviour, practice having a great attitude and just as the athlete gets fitter with training so will you. Hire a coach and really give yourself the gift of being the best possible you. Once you get known for being exceptional the world really is going to be your oyster!

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It is easy to get lonely; should this one have gone at the top? This might be one of the key dislikes of people working from home. One way around it is to make sure you factor more friends time during your non-work hours. Another is to use the video function on your VoIP package to really connect with people during the day. Talk to as many people as you can on the phone; rather than sending lengthy emails give someone a call and chat it through. Just voice to voice contact is enough to take you out of your isolation of you, your laptop and the wall; remember the only place it is ok to talk to a wall is on social media sites

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Most of the people you admire, respect, want to be or want to be like will be inspired by something. The slim fit friend is inspired by good health, the well-read friend is inspired by knowledge, the friend with the interesting social life is inspired by new things and the popular friend is inspired by a love of people. The successful person is inspired by greatness.

So next time you are working from home (or the office) spend the first five minutes in silent thought finding your inspiration. What is pulling you forward; that magnetic force that draws you to it?

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In my previous home I converted the master bedroom into my office. Why? Because it had a balcony, overlooked the main square which was a hive of activity during the day, was the brightest lightest room I had and it had an adjoining bathroom. It was also one side of the kitchen and front door while all the other rooms were the other side, meaning someone could come for a meeting without going through my home. Quite a plus if you are going to have visitors. I remember going to a meeting at another person’s home office and being taken through the most untidy, unloved living room I had ever seen to get to the office which was cluttered and over-crowded; we have never done business again. Did I get the right impression; no. Do I make the right impression; I hope so!

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I have worked from home on different projects and some are most definitely head-down, ‘is that the time, goodness I better go to bed’ days and others are more the ‘find yourself at the gym and picking up dry-cleaning’ category. When I am engaged in a project that has my interest and attention I could work on the hard shoulder of a busy road and still be effective. When I am elsewhere mentally I may as well be physically too, because keeping focus is like trying to push water uphill.

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Take responsibility for yourself, your decisions and your actions. Make yourself a promise to avoid excuses and reasons in your vocabulary. Yes the tube was slow this morning but you could have taken a bus; take responsibility for your decision to get the tube. Yes your client wanted to talk for longer on a certain subject but you could have scheduled the call for a time other than ten minutes before a meeting with your boss. Take responsibility for choosing that time to make that call. Get the idea?

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Who are you really working for? Who gets the benefit of your extended learning from all the training courses you attend. Who gets the benefit of the additional knowledge and experience you have gained? That’s right, it’s YOU!

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Remember that not everyone is leaving, so although you might be de-mob happy and deep down doing a little jig every time you realise that a deadline doesn’t involve you and the next batch of meetings won’t be yours to schedule, try to keep that to yourself. Your colleagues are there for the duration and it is important to both your employer and to each individual colleague for their sanity that they continue to get as much fun out of each day as possible.

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