Goodbye...For Now 12/07/2010
I would like to announce that I have decided to take a gap year whilst I travel the world and experience other cultures. I will be visiting South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South America with my partner. I hope to come back a better rounded individual with a different perspective on life, hopefully with some new skills to take in to my next role. I would like to thank everyone who has read a post and to all those who have given me guidance, confidence and opportunities and I hope you follow my trip on my other website.
With regard to my trip, I will be working in orphanages in most countries I visit and am looking to try and collect things for them. If you would like to donate any money, items (colouring books, pens, learning games) or anything that can help their situation then please send me a message and we can discuss the best way for you to help. Once we start our trip the website will be maintained regularly with blogs, pictures and videos.
Uni to Work...some things never change 06/05/2010
When I was at university, group work was something I used to both love and hate. As a creative person, I loved the fact it often meant huge projects in which I would be given the freedom to express myself and my talents. However, as a proactive person, I used to hate the fact that I would have to rely on others that do not work at the same pace as me. I could not understand why people would not complete tasks or meet deadlines however, I see that this was in fact perfect training for full time work.
I used to see it as unfair as people who did not complete tasks on time and continuously let me down on deadlines were costing me marks on my work. What I failed to see at the time was that these same people also go in to work alongside you and in companies you have to work with. Everyone has a role which is a cog in the overall wheel of the company. Within these roles, deadlines are set and ignoring this is both neglectful and selfish as this has a huge impact on everybody in the company.
At first I thought this was an experience that only I received and was unique however, after speaking to various people and having a few different roles I see that this seems to be something many people have experienced. If you are one of those people that are being let down by people at work, please know there are others that feel your pain...If you are one of those that let people down, after reading this hopefully you will be more aware that what you do has a knock on effect and will complete tasks when required.
If your do social media...do it right! 13/04/2010
Social media is a powerful tool, frequently becoming more used, by most companies, than any other form of advertising. The danger is however, that now people and companies are getting involved in things they do not understand. The labour party in Linlithgow and East Falkirk are one of many recent examples of organisations not fully understanding how things work before getting involved and trying to seem "cool". Apart from having a web address that was way to long, they have a hotmail account for an organisation and also do not actually send you to there twitter page but your own! If you are determined to be seen as an organisation that is current and moving with the times then hire people who are current and are growing up in these "times"! people who understand the way things work and what people want online.
Examples of this can be seen on twitter everday and, although it seems incerdible, even some marketing and pr agencies do not know how to use social media. I do agree that if you have nothing worth saying then status updates every five minutes quickly becomes boring and are a waste of time. I would question however, any company who does not have some sort of interesting and new news every few days or at the least weekly. I would not want to use any company who, give the impression (through having social media) of being active and relevant, but are actually unable to use this properly.
Has anyone got any stories of social media gone wrong. if so please share them with the world.
Family are priceless 22/03/2010
I must start off by apologizing to all for the delay since my last blog, with the last month being so manic both at work and at home I have simply not had the time. This last month has been particularly testing for me and I have, more than ever, realised the importance of family and the support they give you in times of difficulty. Family is priceless as you can go weeks, months or even years without needing your family for anything however, whenever it is they are needed they are there for you no questions asked. This blog is probably a week too late as I should have written this on mothers day but hey, better late than never.
I would like to share how proud I am of my mother and in particular what she has just done in her company with only passion, determination and just plain stubbornness! As we all know there has been devastation across the world and every now and then you get disasters that make us all feel bad for a while before a story about some footballer and his wife or Jordan/Katie Price (whatever) gets all the tabloids and we all forget. My mum however, really had her heart strings pulled by the recent disaster in Haiti, and spent many conversations on the phone with me talking in particular about the children who have suffered. She was disappointed and upset especially after discovering that the multi million pound company she works for (unable to name), had not intended to do anything in terms of trying to help. This was something she challenged and pushed as high as she could, arranging meetings and sending letters to those with the power to influence. She risked her own career within the company as she did not exactly receive any real support from those above and round her. In the end she received enough support that they were able to arrange a company wide day of raising money that went to the Haiti Fund.
Well done mum.
What Defines You? 22/02/2010
I have spent a large part of the last week trying to decide what in life defines a person? Is it how successful you become? Or how far you go in life compared to where you started? Is it academic or personal achievements? Is it the family we have? Albert Camus said that "life is a sum of all your choices" thus suggesting that the process does not finish until we die. Despite maybe being slightly morbid I was left with the question what would I want people to remember me for when I die?
I do not believe there is an answer to this question as I think no one thing should define anyone. Whilst we all have central aspects to our lives, we should all have many different things that shape us. I would like to be remembered by different people for different reasons. I hope I will one day be remembered as a good friend, team mate, employee, colleague and hopefully one day boss. I would want my family to be proud of me and be considered (one day!) a good husband and father.
If you think about how you would like to be remembered, what is it you would like those you have come into contact with to say about you?
My dreams...who knows one day maybe 08/02/2010
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I was inspired the other day after reading a blog by Jackie Cameron - What do you want to be when you grow up? It really got me thinking about my journey to my current role and how I even got in to marketing. My first real memory of having a career in mind of what I would call a proper job (excluding a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or a WWE Wrestler) was a sports physiotherapist. The thought now makes me shudder when I imagne the years and years of study involved!!!!...No thanks!
It was scary to think that when I started University I did not have a clue what I wanted to do, up until that point I did not envisage myself in any role full time. As a Rugby player all I had ever done was sport and it seemed natural to do a degree involving Sport and Business. Looking back now, I think I was quite lucky as quite a large part of my course involved marketing and events and very quickly these became the two areas I started really taking notice of.
I remember we had a guest lecturer (weirdly enough on a financial budgeting module) that had his own business. He used to tell me wonderful stories about the head office at Disney as he had been there a few times with his own company. This along with my longstanding love for Disney (going back to my childhood) shaped what I, to this day still have as my dream job. This has been tweaked and modified since then but at that stage all I had was visions of me planning events and campaigns and watching them come to fruition.
I now prefer to think I have goals rather than dreams which I aim for however, I must admit that does still linger in the back of my mind as something, if given the chance, I would not hesitate to do. Having my own campaigns and projects in a marketing agency, leading my own team on projects and owning my own marketing agency are all aims that have a lot more focus than my dream. I would at this point though like to thank Jackie for her post as it definately brought a smile to my face thinking about my dream. Who knows maybe one day!
If you have a dream you can remember from your childhood please share I would love to hear them.
Commercial Awareness 27/01/2010
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the latest Commercial Awareness day put on by Graduates Yorkshire. This was one of a series of days that, as well as providing a fabulous lunch, focus on helping graduates develop through learning new skills employers are looking for and networking. This particular session was about how we can use our experiences and interests to demonstrate our skills, knowledge, passion and abilities.
We completed a number of group tasks including looking at case studies and identifying issues surrounding those companies. Commercial Awareness means various things to different people however, an understanding of your company/industry/sector and anything affecting (or potentially affecting) this is something employers are looking for.
We spoke at great lengths about team work and how it is important to understand that we all, in any role, need team work. Despite being a team, it is vital that every individual is self aware if their strengths and weaknesses, knows what they bring to the team and their role within the team and also the strengths and weaknesses of the team. It was put to us by the trainer that "no one person can know everything, but collectively as a team we need to try and know everything" (related to our business).
We also lookin in great detal about goals, why it is important to constantly set yourself goals and that you must ensure these are achievable. This is coincidental as earlier in the week I was reading a blog on why people fail in jobs and the biggest reason was that people stop doing the things that made them successful and that got them the job in the first place.
All in all it was a very enjoyable day, I met some great graduates that I hope to network with in the future as well as taking away some important information that I will look to apply to my role. I have been lucky enough to attend a number of these days and if anyone would like information on where to look or advice, please contact me.
That will do...will it really? 19/01/2010
Having just graduated I know first hand how hard it is leaving the world you have embraced for the last three or four years whilst trying to enter the totally different world of the 'dreaded' 9-5. A journey made more challenging by the fact we are in the middle of a recession. I feel that despite this, now more than ever we should be looking to push on, develop and fight for the jobs available in our chosen roles.
Now I realise that some people, due to personal circumstances, have no choice but to stay in certain jobs and that is fine but there is too many people who are settling. Speaking to friends, I hear time and time again that it is too hard to get a job now so there is no point trying and that you might as well stay where you are (usually in part time roles not using or developing relevant skills).
Since graduating I've applied for over 300 positions, of this around 75% of companies didn't bother getting back to me and most others (politely) told me I had no chance. I've had around 7 interviews, been hired twice and have to say I have been lucky however, I would not have given myself the opportunity to be lucky if I didn't try.
An old Burmese saying is:
"Who aims for excellence will be above mediocrity; who aims for mediocrity will be far short from it"
getting to the interview stage gives you much better odds, and yes I know it can be depressing getting rejection after rejection but not trying is beating yourself. In getting 2 roles I received at least 298 rejections!!! We need to take risks (within reason), push boundaries and give our all so we can say we put everything into it. I'm willinng to bet that the majority of people sitting in jobs now after recently graduating certainly did not aim for mediocrity.
Please feel free to leave suggestions or details of options available to recent graduates and others in similar positions.
Time to make a real difference 11/01/2010
I received a cold call the other night from a gentleman who was trying to get me to give money to charities. Although I do give I did not on this occasion and made my excuses to get off the phone, something he said really got me thinking. Wouldn't you like to make a differnce?
Now I'm fully aware that individually my few pounds a month would not make any difference to anyone however it made me think: 'How many times had I made a real difference to someone else's life without getting anything from it myself?'
And i must stress giving someone a lift to the shops without them buying you something or anything like that does not count!
I thought back to when I was at Uni and was part of a group of students that held a fantastic event for disabled children throughout Yorkshire, but quickly realised we did this event as it was a module at Uni. I therefore gained from it!!!!
I have been thinking for a few days now and I am quite ashamed to say that apart from giving to charity, I cannot think back, in recent time, to a point when I helped out a person who needed it just because it was a good thing to do. Sure I give to charity, but in reality that does not put you out because if it did most people (i'm probably included in this) would not give.
Although i'm not normally one for New Years Resolutions I think this may be one life change I want to make in 2010. Jackie Cameron correctly states that most New Years Resolutions fail "often because they are just too big". The general consensus seems to be that making small changes to certain aspects of my life will be the way to really change.
I have began thinking of ways to go about this and have a few ideas that I will look to explore more over the coming months. If anyone has any experiences or suggestions on how I could do this I would very much appreciate it if you would share them with me.