Thursday, 30 July 2009

"Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot".

"Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot". Those words were written by Truman Capote and spoken by the character Holly Golightly inthe film "Breakfast at Tiffanys", 1958.

Coming right up to date, Britain's Next Top Coach finalist Jules Wyman, a respected friend of mine, has some confidence tips for you in her session on:

Go straight there, watch her video and vote! Or see Jules's tips for Career Safari members - and then go and vote!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

How is now the time for you to make better quality choices?

"Your life today is a result of the choices you have made in the past. If you want a better quality of life, you need to make better choices".

Many people are stuck in unfulfilling career situations as a result of the choices they are making. Let's face it, even if you choose to do nothing, you are still making a choice! You can choose to take action to change your situation and to keep moving your life forward - or you can sit around watching Big Brother and moaning about your situation.

Let's look at some of the incredible people around the world who made radical choices in order to follow their passion.

  • Bill Gates chose to drop out of Harvard University to follow his determination to put a computer on every desk, even though his parents were dismayed at the time.

  • Richard Branson chose to drop out of school to set up his original business venture, a student magazine, which became the foundation of the Virgin business empire and the philanthropic work which now helps others set their lives on a new course.

  • Oprah Winfrey chose not to accept the limitations whcih society sought to impose upon her as a black woman, read voraciously and made the choices which led to her TV career and charitable foundations which support many aound the world.

What choices have you made and how is now the time to make better choices?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Can gadgets and freedom attract the best young talent?

Interesting new research in the USA about "Millennials" - those aged between mid-teens and late twenties - and their response to IT usage at work.

In these days when companies struggle to contain the use of social networking sites and keep IT security and privacy of client data high, Millennials are apparently broadcasting information, blissfully aware of corporate IT security policies, and leaving their iPhones and client phone numbers behind in bars.
But the flip side of this coin is that younger workers are far more likely to generate breakthrough business ideas than competitors who want their workers to conform to "old school" IT policies and procedures. How can companies find a balance?
Read this fascinating research from global consultancy Accenture at:

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Learn from the circus!

I loved this quote from UK newspaper "The Daily Mail":

"We have a country in which a former circus manager's son, John Major, became prime minister - don't talk about glass ceilings".

I had the good fortune to bump into someone who has turned the art of the circus into a business: Bubblz the Maths Clown! She has inspired me - and, I hope, many others, to think more creatively about their careers and how to bring fun into learning.

See her site for details at:

Career Safari will be launching a series of inspirational speaker events, with opportunities to network with people in all sorts of careers in all walks of life. Our first event will be in the last week in September (just sourcing a venue right now!) in central London. Sign up for our news updates in box to the right of this post to be kept informed!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Inspiration from the greats

"The best way to get through hell is to keep moving" - Winston Churchill

Thursday, 16 July 2009

It's time to prepare

Global bank HSBC's 2009 "Future of Retirement" research makes sobering reading for those of us who were hoping to put our feet up in our later years.

The world’s population of over 65s will increase from 550 million to over 1.4 billion by 2050.

Fundamental changes in life expectancy around the world, coupled with the current economic downturn has already accelerated the trend of employers who are reducing the value of their contributions into workplace pensions.

Currently, just 13% of people around the world feel that they are very well prepared to cope with their future of retirement. The twin themes of preparation and self-reliance will therefore
increasingly come to define how we think about the retirement of the future.

How well are you prepared? Read the full report:

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Free courses!

It's incredible what resources you can find on the Worldwide Web for free! There really is no excuse for remaining ignorant ;-)

Check out the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Course Ware site - you can download their programs for self study...all sorts of topics from Aeronautics to Writing!

Here's the link:

To your learning!

30 days without the TV.....

I found an interesting post today on "The Personal MBA" blog, which extolls the virtues of turning off your TV for 30 days!

This really works for me: forcing myself into that empty time space with no mindless chatter from the TV means that I have to think of something more constructive to do. Or simply clear my head of the constant buzz of the day.

Try it and comment with your thoughts!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Make working from home work - Part II

I'm going to address a couple of the issues which I came across when I started working from home: controlling interruptions from friends and family, and what equipment and gadgets you need in order to appear as professional as someone who has access to the facilities of a huge corporate office.

1. Controlling interruptions from friends and family.

Having a dedicated work space where you can tuck yourself away is of course the starting point here (as I mentioned in the last post). But one additional problem I found in getting down to work is the tendency for friends and family to think that, because you are there at home, you are available for them to drop in for coffee, for runnning errands, taking deliveries and generally getting things done around the house.

The only answer to this is for YOU to set your boundaries. When friends say that they are passing and will drop in, you have to say "Sorry, but I am working". If they persist then you may have to invent something like an important conference call taking place at that time, which means that you will be tied up. You can, of course, say "But why don't we meet after work when I finish at 6pm?".

The same applies to family (i.e. the family living in your home). They may assume that you will have time to run their errands or pick up stuff from the shops. Just a few times saying "no, I'm sorry, I was working all day and didn't have time to do it" will soon train them!

Remember, you need to train the others around you that your working time at home is as sacrosanct as it would be if you were working in an external office.

2. What equipment and gadgets do I need for home working?

Most people these days have a desktop or laptop computer, so I will take it for granted that you do. I think that, beyond this, the next essential item is a multi-function laser printer. This can be black and white or colour, but only laser printing gives a professional finish. Inkjet printers are very cheap to buy but the print quality is not great, theink runs out very quickly, and you will find over time that, though the upfront investment in a laser printer is more, it will pay for itself.

Make sure that your printer can scan, copy and, ideally, fax too. There is nothing more amateur than saying that you don't have the facility to copy something or to scan a document.

Apart from the printer, I would say that the other essential for office based home working professionals is a land line. So many people have mobile phones these days and think that they can get away with just giving out their mobile number. But for professional calling, land line quality is best. What about using Skype and other Internet based phone systems, I hear you say?

Well, I leave it to you to decide whether the quality of service is of professional standard. My own experience is that there is nothing more frustrating, unprofessional and time wasting on a conference call (or indeed any call) of participants dropping in and out, with background noise, because their mobile or Skype line is losing strength. If you have ANY doubts - don't be a cheapskate - get a land line!

Post your comments on what you think are the necessities for home working!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Make working from home work - Part I

In these recession-ridden days, many people are considering jobs or projects which would require them to work independently from home. For many, this seems like a dream fulfilled - working at your own pace, in a flexible environment, able to take time out when you feel like it and so on. For others, it is their worst nightmare - no colleagues around to chat to, long days on your own, the need to continually motivate yourself to get things done.

I've worked from home on and off for almost 15 years now, and here are my top 3 hot tips for making it work! I'll continue with more tomorrow in Part II.

1. Designate a particular space / desk / table which is your working area. Ideally, this would be a separate room, but if not, put your desk in a corner of a room which is not used as the main living area. I have a dedicated office now but, years ago, I lived in a small apartment and put my desk/computer in a corner of the bedroom so that the living area was not a "work space".

2. Get some storage together for your work materials - either a filing cabinet, a box or whatever . Then you can put things away where you can find them again, and they are not in peril of the cat, the child or the cleaner ruining them or throwing them out in error.

3. Decide on your minimum working hours and days. Very early on, I found that thinking "Don't feel like working this afternoon, I'll go out to play and make the time up at the weekend" does NOT work for me. Not only did I not feel like doing work at the weekend, I also recognized that my work requires me to communicate with other people, most of whom are available during office hours Monday to Friday.

Nowadays, 9am is my deadline for starting work (and that means having got out of bed, showered, dressed and furnished myself with ample cups of coffee BEFORE 9am) and I usually finish around 5-6pm (depending on how much work I have on and when my husband comes home from his office). I can work later if needed or take time off if needed, but those are my working hours.

More in my next post....on controlling interruptions from friends and family, and equipping your home office with enough gadgets to make you look professional!