Sort out your career on the train into work with Uevolve executive coach Lucinda Harlow…
Spring has sprung in the City. You’re swapping boots for heels and risking the first al fresco sarnies of the year. So are there some work headaches you need to put away along with your big coat?
Freshen up the 9 to 5 with our marvelous March quiz…
1. Appraisals are coming so how are you feeling?
a. Unimpressed. What’s the point? The market is flat so you’re not holding your breath for a pay hike.
b. Pretty detached. It’s just an epic form-filling exercise isn’t it?
c. On track. You can pretty much tick off all targets. Your sticky one is marketing but isn’t everyone’s?
d. Gulp. That time again? You might just bite the bullet and ask about promotion. Except Jane has far more experience than you…
e. Confident. Your head down approach speaks for itself.
2. The project you’re on is coming off the rails. You…
a. Relax. Projects always find their own path. ‘Desired outcomes’ just need a bit of tweaking.
b. Plough on. Sticking to the original plan at any cost.
c. Email the schedule and deadlines to everyone involved. Actual conversations take too long.
d. Ask your boss for help. Admit you’re out of your depth.
e. Work until stupid hour for the foreseeable.
3. The boss wants volunteers to chair the next quarterly meeting. How do you react?
a. Without much thought. Some eager beaver will do it.
b. Tell colleagues why you think you should go for it.
c. Sit this one out – your talents lie in other directions.
d. Break into a cold sweat. You’re not good at public speaking.
e. Dutifully. Your hand’s up but if only you’d gone to that communication seminar…
4. You’ve been given a plum opportunity to woo a big client. First thoughts?
a. You want to press ‘pause’. This client is seriously hard work.
b. Excellent! You’ve heard a rumor they love going to the races so begin your wooing by reading up on form.
c. A ‘wow’ online presentation. Well, client facing is not your bag.
d. You’re worried. D’you have the knowledge to knock the client’s socks off?
e. Quietly pleased. Cue many discrete hours of lonely research.
5. The office IT system crashes – what do you do?
a. Grab your iPhone and settle in for a bit of Angry Birds.
b. Flounce about ‘wasting billable hours while IT fiddle about’. Then crowbar yourself into some bosses’ conversations. Networking, you call it.
c. Find your friends and have a natter.
d. Worry, worry, worry that you’re not going to get the report done in time for you client.
e. Grab a magazine and make a beeline for your favourite café.
6. You find yourself in a knot of water-cooler moaners. How do you play it?
a. Chip in with the occasional: ‘Same old, same old!’
b. Get stuck in with the advice part. Another problem solved.
c. Listen and take note of people’s pet hates.
d. Stand around looking awkward. You don’t want to be seen gossiping but it looks rude to walk away.
e. Ignore it. Not your problem.
7. You’re in danger of taking the fall for someone else’s error. You…
a. Shrug it off. Your reputation will save you.
b. Dish the dirt before they do.
c. Send an email outlining individual responsibilities and cc their managers.
d. Speak to the real culprit… but still end up taking the blame.
e. Get annoyed in private. Then add finding a fix to your to-do list.
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
You’re treading water and have lost touch with what you love about your job. This is the sort ‘career dust’ that settles over a period of time. It starts by taking off the shine and ends up corroding your performance. It kills motivation.
Spring clean solution: remember what it was you enjoyed about your role and company. Put pen to paper and work out how to get that back. As you engage with your needs you’ll start contributing positively and gain momentum.
You have a lot of career energy, but it’s getting you nowhere fast. You make knee-jerk decisions, grabbing opportunities when you imagine you see them.
Spring clean solution: put your logical hat on. Look at where you’re at and where you want to be. Make the time to map your career development. Ensure it’s a visible, working document you adjust and reassess regularly. Then you’ll be using all that energy in the right way.
The idea of networking fills you with horror. You’re a conscientious worker with great technical skills. Approachable and supportive with your peers, you think career smooching is best left to ‘others’.
Spring clean solution: recognise we’re all in it together. The bigwigs, the office junior and the prospective client are just people. Be brave and commit to some informal networking. Start by getting to know more people in your department. Then try some bigger events. You’ll be amazed how many people you already know.
You undervalue what you do and what you could do. Always worrying about what someone else thinks means not giving yourself headspace to grow.
Spring clean solution: make a list of your strengths. If you’re being coy with yourself ask colleagues and friends. Then link these things to specific tasks you do. Start noticing these on a daily basis and let your confidence grow.
You are actually indispensible. Aren’t you..? If the boss asks you to get a job done, it’s done. You end up putting too many hours in because you’re more comfortable doing everything yourself.
Spring clean solution: wake up! You will not be able to take on bigger roles if you cannot use the resources you have. Decide today to learn how to delegate, take advice and learn from others’ experience. Then watch your billable hours fly.
Recognise yourself in lots of these? You’re not alone. Everyone finds themselves repeating patterns that end up cluttering up a career. Fix it with focused career coaching with Uevolve.
With a strong corporate background, Lucinda has worked at a senior level with a series of investment houses and blue chip companies in the City and West End. Having built a strong coaching practice Lucinda is in demand for one-to-one coaching and professional presentations and as an expert voice in media interviews.
Lucinda Harlow, Executive Coach
0208 408 1008