8 lessons to learn if you want to find a job that makes you happy

You’re unhappy because you hate your job – or perhaps you’re unhappy because you haven’t got a job.

Wherever you are, finding a job that makes you happy is a worthwhile pursuit given that you will spend an average of 90,000 hours at work over your lifetime. Here are 8 lessons to help you along the way.

Lesson 1: Know how to make yourself happier!

Do you already have a job? Then wait. Jumping ship is not always the only solution. Instead, there may be steps you can take to make yourself happier in your current job. To do this you’ll first need to get clear on what’s working and what isn’t. What areas can be improved? We enjoy work much more when we know we’re appreciated, so get feedback from managers and colleagues. Similarly, try to work on projects that stretch and excite you, and help you to grow, as work that’s unrewarding is no fun at all. One final thing to consider is whether changing to a new role or department might help.

Source article: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/expert-5-tips-boost-career-181926317.html

Lesson 2: Work on your soft skills to make yourself marketable.

If you don’t have a job or you know your present one is hopeless, then start by working on your skills. To land your dream job you must be the kind of employee employers want to employ. You’ve got to be ‘desirable’. This means improving your marketability overall – not just within your field. You must “improve and master the right skills”, and that means working on your soft skills. The reason soft skills are so prized is because they’re universal. It’s like having a camping knife. Soft skills are useful in every job and scenario, including those you can’t anticipate. Your soft skills will help you excel anywhere, whether in your current field or an entirely different career. The bottom-line? Get so good they can’t ignore you and doors will open up for you.

Source articles: https://graduatecoach.co.uk/blog/this-is-why-they-got-the-job-and-you-didnthttp://www.getrichslowly.org/2018/01/19/dream-job/ 

Lesson 3: The perfect job can be found where joy, money, and flow come together.

There are many possible paths to career success – but how to find the right one? As someone who coaches graduates to career success I don’t believe there is just ‘one’, but I do agree with this article that says the “best path” is located at the intersection of joy, money, and flow. Ideally, your work should make you happy and at the same time pay you what you need to live on. It should allow you to use your best skills and to build new ones.

So, how do you get this perfect job? To find work you enjoy, draw up a large list of career possibilities, then reduce it to a handful of dream jobs that fit this guide.

Source article: http://www.getrichslowly.org/2018/01/19/dream-job/

Lesson 4: Think carefully about the type of environment you want to work in.

If you could choose any, what type of environment would you feel most happy working in? Outdoors surrounded by lots of fresh air? Exposure to nature brightens up our mood so it’s no wonder, as one study found, that 70 percent of agriculture workers say they feel happy at work. No other industry matches such a high level of satisfaction, says the research.

Or how about working for an international company? Huge international companies such as Facebook and Google are choosing to set up offices in cities around the world. This opens up a vast array of opportunities for people to work for international companies yet remain closer to home.

Source article: https://www.praguepost.com/business/best-jobs-to-opt-for-career-transition

Lesson 5: Get good at interviews.

There are three things you need to know to be good at interviews. 1. You must know how to answer interview questions well, as well as how to ask great interview questions. This is a huge part of the secret to making the right impression at an interview. 2. You must be aware of the many different types and stages of interviews (telephone, group, one-to-one, psychometric testing) as you may be required to go through two or more in the process to being interviewed for a single job. 3. Do your prep. Many graduates think they can waltz into the interview room and bluff their way through an interview without preparing for the experience. This is a big mistake.

Source article: https://graduatecoach.co.uk/interview-tips-techniques/interview-training-coaching/  

Lesson 6: Motivate yourself to stay motivated.

Finding great work requires self-discipline. Self-discipline to act is what you’ll need to win – not talk. That’s cheap. Discipline starts in the mind, so pay attention to your thoughts. Capture and convert every negative or defeating thought into the exact opposite – and repeat until the empowering thought becomes habitual. Develop simple habits to develop excellence. Ordinary things done over time become extraordinary. It’s self-discipline and sacrifice that sets them apart and drives them – and you – to the finish line.

Source article: http://time.com/money/5115236/self-discipline-motivation-tips-successful-business-leaders/

Lesson 7: Get the best salary package you can.

You’ll feel happier if you know you’re getting paid a good salary so don’t just accept any old offer before you say yes to a job. Don’t leave money that could be yours on the table — ask for it. To do this, do your research – what do other companies pay for similar roles? What’s the pay scales like at the company offering you the job? What are you bringing to the table to justify the salary you want?

Now, no matter how much prep you put into this, know that not every company will meet you partway. There may be inflexible budgets and other behind-the-scenes influences that you can’t be privy to that keep them from being able to make a move. The aim is to walk away with the best salary package you can and the satisfaction of knowing that you stood up for yourself.

Source article: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/people-parties/bazaar-at-work/a15851063/new-job-offer-2018-coach-of-the-month/

Lesson 8: Invest in building great relationships.

Excelling at a job requires more than just showing up and doing what you’re told. If you’re looking to take your career to the next level — and to be happy in it — you’ll want to be mindful of how to stand out at work. It’s obvious that you should show up on time, be polite, and get your tasks done efficiently, but there are a number of other habits that can really help you shine. And it all comes down to creating and nurturing relationships. Make good connections in and outside of your team. Take the initiative to help others and to anticipate their needs. Having a sense of humour also goes a long way in establishing easy-going relationships with your colleagues. By showing you can work hard, make authentic connections, and really go above and beyond when it comes to caring about your job, you will stand out in the minds of others like never before.

Source article: https://www.bustle.com/p/7-unexpected-habits-that-make-you-stand-out-at-work-7943559

Why people who fail at first inspire us to succeed

Earlier this week, Matthew Syed’s article in the Times, ‘Why Harry Kane was so nearly lost in game’s age-gap’, really caught my attention.

Why, Syed asked, did this 24-year-old footballer with the potential to become the finest English player since Sir Bobby Charlton, so nearly never make it.

  • 39 Premier League strikes broke records that stood for a decade.
  • Tottenham’s highest Premier League scorer.
  • The ability to exploit space and time to his advantage and to deliver passes with remarkable range.
  • Admired for his success.

Yet Kane was rejected by Arsenal’s under-eights’ team after just one season, failed his first trial at Spurs and was spurned by Watford.

Syed asked, how could Kane’s potential have been so overlooked by coaches? Every industry has similar stories of experts who fail to spot talent-in-the-making but with Kane, Syed sensed something more.

Relative age effect

He found the answer in Kane’s birthdate. Born late July, so toward the end of the academic school year, Kane was always one of the youngest on the field. In some cases, that would mean almost a year behind fellow teammates in speed, height and physical maturity.

It also means that older, stronger players tend to stand out more quickly on the playing field, wrote Syed. ‘Outmuscled’ and ‘outsprinted’, younger players like Kane then get overlooked.

The problem, called the ‘relative age effect’, is common for players with late birthdays because of the cut-off date for intakes to sport academies, and not just in football but also in other sports such as ice hockey, baseball and basketball.

And it’s the same in education, where younger children are frequently slower than older learners in the same class.

How Kane overcame his disadvantage

But what’s most important for us here is what Kane did. He focused his energies on developing an advantage elsewhere, in technique, skill and guile. He found ways around his obstacles, and the abilities borne from this ‘disadvantage’ served in his favour. He built muscles in places where other players had little or none.

As a coach who helps graduates build a better career, I encounter people just like Kane all the time. Different playing field, same game.

If you persevere and stay in your game – in this case, to find your dream graduate-level position – you will eventually succeed. No, it isn’t easy. Yes, you get knock-backs that deflate your spirit. But if you persevere you will eventually develop advantages others do not have. You will profit from your difficult start. You will learn to become more resilient, self-reliant and confident, and a better problem solver, than if you had had the thing handed to you sooner.

But you must push yourself, learning from your experiences each step of the way.

Rise from the ashes

I’d like to contrast Kane’s story with that of Bozoma Saint John, chief brand officer at Uber (and previously marketing executive officer at Apple Music).

Born in Ghana, Bozoma grew up in Colorado, USA. She’s a woman known for being bold and going for top leadership positions, but how did she develop the attitude that got her there?

Well, when Bozoma was five years old her family had to flee Ghana because her politician father was arrested following a coup. Her mother was pregnant at the time and had two smaller children. Although they were all eventually reunited the family had to move around several times… back to Africa and then to America, eventually settling in Colorado.

Bozoma said that because of this she often identified her life with ‘things burning to the ground and then rising again from the ashes’. She has never been afraid of losing all and having to start over. It made her resilient. She experienced this ‘loss’ as a positive thing and said that whenever she’s had to start over things have always worked out better – whether moving to a new country, running for school council for the second or third time, or applying for a highly competitive position at a top international company.

You can succeed

As a nation, we are far more interested in stories of how people succeed after first failing. Stories about Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Richard Branson and others like them are all the more fascinating not because they succeeded but because they failed at first. They inspire us, give us hope. They could have given up but didn’t, and we want to know why and how they eventually succeeded. Because we recognise that we can do the same.

Failing first gives you the opportunity to experience and learn many things. Set-backs, rejections and failures are not denials of opportunity but a chance to discover and open other doors.

Yes, when we experience a set-back we should take time out to acknowledge our emotions and look at what we can learn from the experience. But we should not dwell on those failures for too long. We must get up, like Harry Kane, and try again.

Sources:

Matthew Syed, ‘Why Harry Kane was so nearly lost in game’s age-gap’

Tim Ferris, Lessons from Bozoma Saint John, Spike Lee to Uber, Ghana to Colorado

8 things every graduate must know about common sense and success at work

What role does common sense play in your success at work, and how do you develop it?

Common sense is, of course, vital to your success at work. It is defined as the ability to make sound practical judgements concerning everyday matters. It’s called common sense because it is expected to be common to all people. But it’s not. Stay with me while I explain why.

In my last blog, I explained that the concept of intelligence defined by Dr Robert Sternberg, professor of human development at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, is one that views intelligence as made up of several components, namely: analytical, creative, wisdom, and practical intelligence.

Another name for practical intelligence is common sense. You need common sense to know how to work out and apply your analytical, creative, wisdom and practical knowledge. It will help you to build a successful graduate career, especially in the early weeks, months and years of starting out. Many graduates fail to understand this but through no fault of their own.

So, here are 8 things you need to know about common sense and how to develop it so you can kick-start your graduate career successfully.

  1. You cannot progress in your career without common sense

When I first started out in advertising I struggled. I just didn’t get it. Because of this, I was unable to progress in the job. However, something drastically changed when I decided to study the notes of every client account I could lay my hands on, whether I was working on the account or not. I also read books about advertising and made friends with the key people in the company. Soon I began to experience what Dr Sternberg describes as ‘knowledge acquisition’ (we shall return to this later) – basically, my knowledge of advertising grew or, most importantly, stuck. Once I started to understand advertising and what was required of me, I was able to progress in my career.

  1. No one will teach you common sense

That’s right, no one. Common sense tends to be acquired, not taught. Dr Sternberg says this type of knowledge “tends to remain unspoken, underemphasized, and poorly conveyed relative to its importance for practical success”. It is often “acquired on one’s own with little support from other people or the support of formal training or direct instruction”. This is important for you to know as a graduate starting in your first proper job. Often, an employer will expect you to know what to do without them going into great detail explaining it to you. They’ll expect that you will already know or have the common sense to work it out yourself. You’ll need to do this if you want to survive and thrive in your job, just as I had to.

  1. Employers can’t AFFORD to teach you common sense

Employers just don’t have the time to do this. They have too much to do to hold your hand through the myriad of scenarios you’ll face at work. That’s why they look for graduates who already have the soft skills to work it out themselves.

  1. Most employers wouldn’t even know HOW to teach you

Even if they could teach common sense, most employers and managers wouldn’t know how to. It is difficult to explain the procedural knowledge that governs why we do what we do. Dr Stenberg suggests that this is because the knowledge that guides what we do is made up of two things: our personal experience and what we have learnt from outside sources (other people, books, videos). When we try to explain a procedure to another person, we also try to explain the part of that knowledge that is tacit – but tacit knowledge isn’t easily articulated.

  1. Common sense is difficult to teach because it’s complex

The system of rules that govern common sense or practical intelligence is complex! Imagine your manager briefs you on the dos and don’ts of how to conduct yourself ahead of a meeting with an important client. When you go into the meeting room and the client acts out of character (he’s in an unusually humorous mood), what do you do? There are far too many rules about how to make judgements on how to behave to cover. And there are as many different situations and conditions that can alter the appropriateness of any advice you’re given. No employer or manager can cover them all. 

  1. You can learn from watching others – but you must still do the work

If I was advising you on how to act in an interview, I might say things like, offer a firm handshake, smile, don’t slouch, maintain eye contact and so forth, but some of what I know may be difficult to pass on to you. My advice about how to answer interview questions can only go so far. We both have no idea what will come up. We can only guess, anticipate and prepare for that. Then there’s the body language, facial expressions and tones of your interviewers. Most of this you will have to master yourself, through practice and experience.

  1. You must develop common sense yourself

So, how do you develop common sense? You can do what I did. Emerge yourself in learning. Read as much as you can around your profession and industry. Shadow and pick the brains of people who know more than you. Lots of what I learnt in my early career I picked up from watching my bosses. You, too, will learn many skills from watching others – but none of this will do you any good without ‘knowledge acquisition’.

Dr Sternberg says that this is because of knowledge acquisition, which is central to developing common sense and competence, triggers certain other thinking processes into action.

This includes the ability to:

  • sort the relevant from irrelevant according to the right context;
  • relate or compare what we already know with what we’re learning; and,
  • combine what we know to come up with new meanings, ideas, etc.

This is how you develop common sense. The graduate who doesn’t trigger these processes will retain nothing and then wonder why they aren’t progressing.

  1. Common sense isn’t so common to everyone

I don’t mean this in the usual offensive way people often make this statement. I mean that not everyone’s common sense is the same. Common sense is quite personal.

As you begin to acquire practical experience in the workplace you will develop a preference for some ideas over others. For example, through experience you may find that one approach is more effective for you than one a colleague or manager may prefer. When that happens, you are more likely to choose an approach learnt through your own experience over someone else’s – even though both may work just as well as each other. Employers don’t shun this type selective behaviour. After all, if it’s going to make you more effective, efficient or successful at the job, why does it matter?

Those are the 8 things you need to know about common sense and how to develop it so you can kick-start your career successfully!

Here’s how to know whether you have the intelligence to succeed

There’s a new type of intelligence that helps you set and fulfil the goals you need to succeed in your graduate career. Here’s how to spot and use it to your advantage.

After years of describing intelligence as something based on your cognitive abilities and then as the ability to understand yourself and others well (emotional intelligence), psychology has delivered up a new concept of intelligence that, in my view, ramps it up several notches.

It’s the intelligence to be successful, and it’s crucial if you’re an ambitious graduate seeking to build your career. Understanding it will help you to succeed.

The augmented theory of successful intelligence describes the way you set and achieve meaningful personal goals. It’s the key to succeeding in anything you do in life because, after all, setting and achieving personal goals precipitates success.

What’s successful intelligence?

So, what do you need to know about this new branch of intelligence? Well, firstly, that it teaches intelligence as not a single entity but as one made up of a variety of components. These are analytical, creative, wisdom, common sense and practical abilities. Its augmented nature means that when you combine these components you’re pretty much unstoppable…

Here’s how they work together. You know those great ideas you come up with? Well, that’s the creative component of successful intelligence at work. To work out whether your ideas are any good or not and how to tweak them to work, you’ll need to apply your analytical abilities. The practical component is then used to put those ideas into practice and, finally, your common sense and wisdom/ethical skills help you to convince others of the value of your ideas and to ensure that they work for the common good.

Intelligently successful people use these skills to propel themselves forward in their personal, professional and/or business lives. Dr Robert J. Sternberg, professor of human development at Cornell University, who won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology for developing the augmented theory of successful intelligence, says that this is the most important type of intelligence a person can have. It’s the intelligence of how to succeed in your personal goals.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

What makes successfully intelligent people different to others, Dr Sternberg explains, is a mental aptitude that helps them recognise the strengths and limitations of their own analytical, creative, wisdom and practical abilities. They will maximise their strengths and compensate for weaker areas by seeking out the help of others who can help them achieve their personal goals. Successfully intelligent people do this well because they’re not rigid in their outlook. They’re good at spotting, defining and solving problems. If something isn’t working they’ll adapt or discard it.

You may be thinking, ‘Help, I’m not like that! What hope do I have!’ Don’t fret. The good thing about successful intelligence is that it can be developed. You can work on the various components to develop and strengthen them or compensate for them in other ways, for example, enlisting the help of people who are stronger in the areas where you are not. People with this type of intelligence will often seek out a coach or mentor to help them improve. They may take courses, read books, listen to talks and join networks. Successfully intelligent people are also good at building effective teams.

The likelihood is that you will have these skills in varying degrees, so start making use of them by taking the following steps:

(1) Identify your strengths and capitalise on them;

(2) Identify your weaknesses and either correct or compensate for them; and,

(3) Most importantly, work at adapting to, shaping, and selecting environments to work in your favour. This means that at times you must change to fit the environment, and at times you must change the environment to fit you.

Higher order thinking

This final step involves the higher order thinking abilities that lie behind each component of successful intelligence. To illustrate, you would use higher order thinking abilities at each step of the process of applying your creative, analytical, wisdom and practical skills, etc. They help you to plan, monitor, and evaluate courses of thinking and action, so to make decisions about how to apply knowledge and action within the right contexts.

Successful intelligence gives us real opportunity to understand what happens when we are ‘being intelligent’. It helps us understand how to use our intelligence to our best advantage. Unlike cognitive intelligence, which is thought of as fixed and hereditary, or emotional intelligence, which is relationship-based, successful intelligence helps us explore deeper aspects about how we think about, influence and adjust to our environments.