Tag Archives: work

How To Blast A Job Interview

Photo 25-01-2015 10 08 53Job interviews are one of those frustrating facts of life that, unless we’re either really lucky or really unlucky, will experience a number of times in life. They’re stressful, judgy and generally a (useful) nuisance. They CAN be fun sometimes, but I think both the interviewees and the interviewers out there can agree that there are probably hundreds of other things they’d rather be doing.

I’m lucky in a way that, at 21, that I have seen interviews from both sides and know both what it’s like to go to a job interview and also what I have in the past looked for in people I have interviewed. Now, I have just done a couple of job interviews and have another one coming up in a couple of days, so I figured now is as good a time as any to share with you my tips for job interviews (or, if you really want to bomb your interview, do the opposite of what I say next).

Presentation

Now, it is important in life that you never change yourself for something else, whether is be a job, relationship or… well, anything really! That still applies, but in some circumstances a kind of blending in technique can help you.
If I have a job interview at a chill looking pub, I’m not going to go in stressed like I want to work on Wall Street. If I want to work at a top class restaurant, I don’t want to rock up in jeans and a tshirt. It’s important to a degree to look at what role you’re aiming to fit into and doing what subtle things you can to look like exactly the jigsaw piece they need to fit the puzzle – make yourself the picture of the candidate they need.
I recently went for an interview at a pub and, knowing it’s a nice place with a good opinion of itself, I aimed to look clean and respectable. However, I also knew the manager to be somewhat of a big personality who likes to test people a little, so I aimed for a slightly less cutesy feminine look. And I also heard that the place could be one to get rough at times, so I made sure to ensure I looked capable of taking care of myself and tried to get across a “takes no shit” attitude.
At the interview coming up I know that it’s a very fancy place, therefore I will want to look clean and respectable, but also take into account it’s a busy place that requires an athletic and energetic nature to keep up.

Fun

11696527_850932034991471_1306743554_nI know job interviews can be a bit of a drag and, trust me, the person interviewing you is having even less fun than you most of the time! Interviewing person after person is beyond boring – it is frustrating! So, for your sake and theirs, you want to make sure you bring something fresh and new to the table and that will not only make the interview more fun, but it will set you apart from all the uninteresting interviews the other person has had to sit through that day.
Try your best to let your personality show, ask questions, try to have a laugh where you can. Don’t go overboard and start going off like a hyena and punching them in the arm, but show that you can have a sensible good time and could be nice to work with.
Being someone who the other person looks at and thinks “I could like working with you” is going to score way more points than “I could tolerate you”
Try to make the interview more relaxed and enjoyable by trying to keep your body language polite but relaxed, try to look at them as if you were looking at a respected friend rather than someone to fear and just try to genuinely connect with them. As someone who has worked in management, there is not much worse than that feeling of being treated like a monster as opposed to a human being just because of your job.

That’s a person

Following on from the last point, it’s so important to remember that the person interviewing you is a human being. They have hopes, dreams, fears, problems and have experienced some form of pain that you will never fully understand. We all have a life of our own completely separate from anyone else and they are just the same in that regard.
I don’t like using the “picture them naked” method as that just makes me uncomfortable looking at them – I personally like keeping seeing people naked fairly private! However, I do like to think about the fact that they aren’t always the person sat in front of you. Who are they when they are at home? Do they like to go play board games with their family? Do they sit in a onsie eating ice cream? What’s their favourite show on Netflix? Inside their head is a whole other universe and they are so much more than the role they are playing when they’re running your job interview.

Learning is okay

If you’re going in for an interview in a job you aren’t confidently practiced in, make sure you are clear that you are willing and ready to learn, but don’t make out that you know exactly what you are doing. I know people want to hire competent staff, but it’s better to say “I’m good at what I apply myself too, but I do need to learn more for you” than to tell them you know it all inside and out and to find yourself in over your head. TRUST me on that!
I was always way more likely to trust someone who went “I really want to do this, I will learn, will you help me be what you need?” than someone who was like “I can walk into this today and be exactly what you’re looking for”
Requiring training doesn’t make you any less able to do a job – if fact it can ensure that you are trained properly for the job you are going into! Working in a restaurant, I had a big issue with new staff thinking they could walk into the job, not really realising how a lot of places operate differently to each other. Yep, good work, you know where to keep the glasses in your old job! But we do kind of like them in the cupboard here.

Be yourself

I know, a fairly typical answer, but it’s important to remember that there’s no point being anything but who you are. However you behave when you get the job is how you’ll be expected to behave in the job, otherwise you have a lot of work ahead keeping up a facade that you’ll quickly get tired of!
Go in as yourself, offer the package that is your abilities, your work ethic and personality and then it’s genuinely you who has the job and you who has to continue it.
Of course, if you don’t really WANT the job but need the money, it probably isn’t a good idea to say that, but that’s in the realm of TOO honest!

Be on time and as they asked

Obvious again, I know, but you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many people I interviewed in my time who would roll in 5-20 minutes late for their interviews for no good reason, which really isn’t a way to make a good impression.
If you’re running late for whatever reason, call up and let them know and apologise and they will, more than likely, understand. If you’re going to be late, you may as well use it as an opportunity to show that you are courteous – could even add a couple points in your favour!
Also, if you have been asked to dress in a certain way for an interview or trial shift, then make sure you do! Obviously, if they have been inappropriate in their requests, then don’t bother with them, but do your absolute best to follow reasonable instructions.
I once gave a trial shift to someone and gave them very specific details of what to wear and also where to cheaply get anything to wear that they didn’t have as I really wanted them to have a good shot at the job and, as well as showing up late, they came wearing completely inappropriate clothes. I wish I could say it got better from there, but sadly that was just the start.

Listen, don’t panic

It’s very common, in my experience, for people to be focusing so much on how nervous they are and how much they want to impress that they forget to listen entirely. There’s a literal sinking feeling in your heart when you’re talking to an interviewee or new staff member and they are so panicky that they don’t hear a word you say, as much as you are trying to help them.
Take slow breaths, remember that you are going to do your best, everything will be okay and you don’t need to freak out. A little bit of nerves is great, letting it get out of hand can harm your chances. Take a moment to centre yourself and be in the moment and go at normal speed – no need to fly off at a hundred miles an hour!

I really hope this is of help to you and, if you’re going for jobs right now, good luck!
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Respect (And How to Give It)

10432552_1013181298695894_8304708746044163524_nSo I think we have all been told that we don’t respect enough. Whether it is your elders, your peers, your parents, your boss or the people who play important roles in your life that you may forget (like the barista that makes your coffee every day or the teller at the bank).

We’ve all done it, we’ve all heard it and I’m pretty sure we’ve all thought the same thing.
“What do you mean by ‘respect’?”
It’s a pretty good question, but it’s not really one that we are able to ask outright. We have to try little methods and test the water to find the best way to go without being inadvertantly disrespectful. It can be grueling to find that sweet spot.

One thing I noticed today what another dimention to respect that somehow managed to forget.
When I think of respect, I think of an apprentice who has watched the skill, discipline and restraint of his master as he has grown and taken that as a find example of how to be. The master is a master of himself as well as his art and practices all that he preaches. That feeling of awe and admiration the apprentice has towards his master is what I define as respect.
But, there was something I forgot:

There are two definitions to the term ‘respect’!

You have the sagely master-apprentice one:

“a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

And then you have:

“due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

Starting to make a little more sense now? Eh? Yeah…

There is a big difference between the two definitions and it ca be the deal-breaker. When someone is asking for respect, that is the due regard for feelings and rights. You may owe them that due to something they have given you, perhaps by raising you, homing you, paying for your college, having been there for you for a long time.
There is a fairly easy way to define the two of the meanings:
One is a feeling towards a person
The other is an attitude and consideration

So, this begs the question, how do you BE respectful? What is it that people need when they ask for respect?
Rather than thinking “What do you mean by ‘respect’?” you can turn the question around to “What do you need that I am not supplying you with?”

Consider their role in your life –

if you upset these people, how are you disprespecting the things they have done for you. Do they feed you, pay for the home you live in, pay for your wifi or support you? Have they supported you through university or helped to pay off your car.
I mean, oweing someone respect doesn’t mean that they can’t do any wrong, but it does mean that you owe them the benifit of respectable behaviour and coonsideration for them having done those things for you.
So, if someone has done something good or kind for you, either occasionally or over a long space of time, it is especially important to consider their feelings. They have done good by you or supported you and so you owe them a return of consideration, occasionaly a ‘get out of jail free’ card to let a few problems slide and to do your best to show your appreciation for them.

When someone is demanding your respect, the thing they are really asking for is your consideration for them. They have done something, or numerous things, for you and they want you to trust their judgement, respect their values or just to let them do their thing without interference.
Let them have it and there won’t be a problem.
So here are a few situations where respect comes into play and how you should try to approach it.

Parents

This is probably the most common one because when we are growing up we see our parents as these powerful, almost divine, figures in our lives who have the power to raise you, but you also believe they have the power to END you too. It’s amazing how we can have such high expectaitons of them. Now, for some parents cannot be respected. Perhaps they were abusive or uncaring or they just don’t have any relationship with them, but for most of us, we have a relationship with our parents where they have raised us, fed us, clothed us and done their best.
When you grow up, there comes a time when you start to realise that your parents are just people. Everyone is a little bit messed up and they are no exception. We all have flaws, have problems, get irritated, get emotional or over aggressive sometimes. Normally it is okay, but it is profoundly difficult for kids to accept the same of their parents.
Sadly, this is very difficult to overcome as you spend most, if not all, of your childhood seeing your parents as these amazing, almost super-human, creatures who are supposed to be perfect, but can’t possibly be so. However, you CAN find a way around it.

Everyone makes mistakes – When you are dealing with your parents, remember that they are people and, just like everyone else, they can be touchy, rash, harsh, flawed, have poor judgement and make bad choices sometimes- and it’s okay!
Remember that it is their life that they are living and, just like you want for yourself, everyone should have the right to behave as they want in life. There are always consequences to how you behave, but you have every right to do it anyway.
Their house, their rules – If something in your house is unfair, then you have a right to feel offended by it but, as long as that unfairness isn’t infringing on your health or safety, then there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Sometimes, you have to understand that people have reasons for stuff and you also can’t have everything. Here are a few examples of times when you might hit tension:
Staying out late – Do your parents ever get mad because you stay out too late? If they do, before you get mad, try to consider WHY they are like that. There could be a whole number of reasons why:
they are worried about your safety. They may fully trust you to take care of yourself and make good choices, but sometimes in life that isn’t enough to keep yourself safe. Remember that bad stuff can happen and it’s the scariest thing in the world for them to think that it could happen to you. Cut them some slack, they love you!
There could also be the fear of problems. If they go to bed and you get home after them, they may be concerned that the door might get left unlocked or you locked out. They might want to go to sleep, but don’t want to go before they know you are back safely.
Arguments – This is a tough scenario because everyone is entitled to their feelings, but it can sometimes be taken as a disrespect when you voice them.

What I would recommend, after years and years of stupidly just blurting out my feelings, is to try and avoid the argument stage if you can. Try to be understanding and compassionate with your parent’s wishes and try to make it so that you can, instead of getting heated, changing things so that you can have a calm and reasonable conversation. Try to avoid slipping into a childish state and try to keep a level head.

Also, be open to having your mind changed! Maybe that party miles away from home with people you don’t know well isn’t the best idea. Maybe going out all the time isn’t good for you. Why are they argueing their point?? I’m pretty sure that they don’t set out with the intention to have a blazing row because those aren’t enjoyable for ANYBODY. I doubt they’d contradict you or say no purely so they can have the pleasure of an arguement.

Co-workers

Everyone needs to feel repsected at times. We all have egos and most of us have ones that bruise like a banana in a game of dodgeball. More often than not, people feel they are not respected because their egos are not getting what they need.
Everyone likes to feel important at times, so it is vital that you listen to what the people around you have to say. Do you always shoot down their ideas the moment they’ve said them? How willing are you to trust their instinct or follow their lead?
Even if you are in a position of authority, it doesn’t mean that no-one below you has good ideas and it doesn’t make you any less of a good leader to listen to what others have to say.
Try to remember how far a little caring and support goes. Ask how your co-workers are doing, listen to them when they talk and have consideration for them as a person, not a working machine.
If you are in a workplace and feeling disrespected, try to tell that to someone in a considerate and non-aggressive way. Maybe ask if they have any suggestions for how to garner more respect or have your ideas and opinions listened to a little more.
If you work with someone who is getting aggressive or disruptive from feeling disrespected, try to have a talk with them about how they are viewed and give them gentle suggestions for how to change their situation. Maybe have a friendly work with other co-workers of higher-ups about making sure that employee is treated with a little more care and consideration. A happy team is a thriving team, so making people feel good can only benifit everyone.

Bosses

You’re boss is the godfather of all respect. They decide that they are going to give you work in return for the money that we all need in life. No money makes life very difficult, so we owe a lot to our bosses that have chosen to employ us.
Remember with your boss to always keep in mind how hard it is running or managing a business – especially a smaller or independant business.
They have so much to keep in mind and so many problems to face and solve that sometimes they are not as friendly, talkative or open as others may want them to be. Having compassion is the best way forward and understanding the pressure that your boss is under.
Either position a boss is in is difficult. If they are the owner of a small business, they have a lot of competition and have to fight the battle of staying afloat in a difficult climate as well as the affect of huge corporations and taxes. If you work for a small business, understand the pressure that your boss is under.
If you work for a huge corporation, then your boss most certainly has a lot of pressure (and responcibility of a LOT of money) hanging over their head. Imagine being put in charge of a branch of a corporation where one mistake could lose you millions. It happens and no boss wants it to happen to them. They’re under extreme pressure to make sure that they keep everyone on the ladder above, as well as below, them happy too.
So, compassion is a must have when dealing with a boss, but you also need to ensure that you are communicating with them in the right way.
What sort of boss do you have? Are they someone who you can be friendly with? Do they like humour and banter or do they require a bit more formality than a group trip to the pub?
For me, I am lucky because my boss at the restaurant I work for is great! She works hard, spends time with the staff, cares about every one of us and is a lot of fun to be around! I respect her in every way as a person and a leader.
When you are with your boss, remember that they have that position for a reason, whether they were employed in it or started their own business, they deserve to be there and so they are WELL WORTH listening to. If they ask you to do something, listen. If they have a problem, listen.
Remember that no boss wants to feel like their staff don’t like them. I work in management and that’s the thing I fear the most of all. Remember that your boss is a human being, so don’t be afraid to ask them if they are okay if they look sad or tell them you’re there for them if they seem like they’ve got a lot on their plate.
SO, compassion, listening, knowing what formality is okay and not okay and remember their humanity.
If you ever feel abused by a boss or seriously neglected, don’t feel you have to respect that kind of behaviour and take action. Abuse, whether physical, verbal or mental, is never okay.

Family

Ah family, a group of people who love each other, care and get on each other’s nerves on a regular basis!
Family is tricky because, while there is quite a standard hirachy, everyone has their own needs for respect. The youngest member of the family should the the bottom of the “Food chain”, but that won’t stop them yelling about the fact they never get listened to.
You grandparents want respect, your parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and eventually your kids, nephews, neices, grandkids and so on ALL need their respect tanks filled and don’t like it any less than nice and full.
Like with most of these examples, a lot of respect comes down to compassion. The grandparents raised the parents that raised you, so they want respect for that and your understanding that they are, escentially, the reason you’re here!
Siblings, whether older or younger than you, want your respect because you grew up together (or at least grew up one after the other in the same family) and you are peers. You know each other’s best and worst traits, you’ve heard them cry and cheer about stuff and they want to know that you, one of the people who know most about them, respects them, trusts their opinions and decisions and believes in their capabilities.
Most siblings also want support but without you trying to decide stuff for them. Telling your sibling that the guy they like is an idiot won’t usually go down very well. They want you to support them and be there for them without feeing like they can’t make their own decisions or mistakes.
Let them fly as they please, but catch them if they fall.
Non-direct family, such as uncles, aunts, etc should be treated with respect because of what they mean to your immediate family. They are your parent’s siblings, were there with them growing up and are important to them, so you should treat them with respect.
I think the best attitude in general is to be respectful to the people around you who are important to you (and the people important to them). If you value their presence, input and positive impact on your life, then show them the respect they need in return to keep up what they are doing.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and found it helpful. If you have any comments or questions on respect, let share them in the comments below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter. Xx

Lack of performance: What’s blocking you?  

So that title wasn’t intended to sound so sexual. Anyway, it’s there now!  But, that is genuinely the topic of today’s post: What areas of your life are you failing to perform in and why? (That still sounds so dirty….)

key4I suppose the title could have been ‘how to succeed’ or ‘how to get everything you want in life’, but the purpose of this isn’t to just hand you advice for what to do to get what you want, but to also teach you what to look out for so you know when you aren’t quite on track. Otherwise it would be like giving you a fishing rod when you’re at a river with no fish – pointless and not very helpful.

Hopefully this information will help you to avoid reaching standstills in your life that consume your time and waste your precious energy. This is all stuff that I am currently having to do in my life and so we are all in this together. And remember that there is no shame in your life being a little out of order. There was never an instruction manual for life, so there’s no need for you to feel bad for not having it all worked out.

 

Together, we can work out what’s in our way and collectively work together to break those blocks like we’re an 80s gamer!

 

1. Begin first by having a think about what it is that you want. Make a list and try to be as specific and clear as you can be. Write down as much as you can about that particular subject or area, everything about it that you want to do or learn.

Clearly knowing what you want helps you to lock onto the paths to attaining or achieving it by putting into words that your problem-solving mind is best at working out.

 

2. Look at other people succeeding in that area. Now, don’t look at them and think “Why are they so great, while I suck?!” as that will just set you back. Look at what they do which helps them succeed. What habits do they have? Are there any special behaviours they have that help them get what they want?

If you can, try to talk to these people so you can get first-hand advice from the people in the positions you want to be in. Some people may not necessarily want to help someone to become successful in the same area as them (some people feel easily threatened) so ask around until you find someone willing to honestly share what they know – there’ll be someone!

 

3. Take a day or two to examine yourself. Don’t do anything any differently to usual, except pay attention to what you are doing and take note.

What are you doing when you should be doing ‘X’? What side-tracks you? Are there any blatant causes of distraction or procrastination?

Don’t do anything at this point to ‘fix’ it. Just observe and take note.

 

4. What are the biggest blocks? Tiredness? Work? Absentmindedness? Socialising? The internet? Commitments?

Look at all the things that stop you or steer you off course for your goals?

 

5 How do these affect your progress? Currently, my bedroom is an absolute mess. There are boxes everywhere, laundry on the floor, bags of clothes I keep forgetting to donate, half finished organising jobs to do and too much random garbage surrounding me. That means that I cannot sit down at my desk (or even see my desk) to do any work. Thus I have to work in a different room where there are other sounds to distract me, I’m not in my office space and I feel more idle than I would if I had my office space (and bedroom) in a tidy manner.

I also want to film Youtube videos for Learn With Amy, but my bedroom is waaaay to messy to film in.

I also work a LOT, so that means I am out of the house most of the day and come home late at night. After a long day at work, I am too tired to tidy, so that is left until my days off, which means they can’t be spent working—it’s a vicious cycle!

Be honest with yourself about your progress is being affected. Don’t shy away from admitting it – embrace it and turn it around on itself!

 

6. Think about simple and realistic ways that you can solve your problem. Try to avoid intricate and detailed MacGyver solutions. Just stay simple and find out what you need to do. You may even need to try a few solutions before you find the right one(s) for you.

For example, tomorrow I am going to give myself the morning, and not a minute past 12, to get my room and office space sorted and ready for me to work so that I can use all of the rest of my day to get my work done.

 

7. Remember why you are here. Don’t let yourself forget your goal. The worst thing is when you forget that you are supposed to be focusing on a goal and you just trail off. That’s when the work gets forgotten and how you end up staring at your screen like ‘How did I get here?!’

Stay sharp and keep your eye on the prize!

 

8. Be strict but fair. Like a good leader, be understanding and kind to yourself, but don’t coddle yourself.

In life, we don’t get the luxury of being lead, so we have to lead ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need leadership skills. You can’t just treat yourself badly and expect good results. Respect breeds respect, especially with the self!

 

9. It’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help can be so powerful. It can instantly unlock key answers that you didn’t know were right there, simply by putting out that request for help.

Whether you are asking help from a friend, a co-worker, someone in the industry of your choice, a family member, me, a teacher or even just the universe, asking for help very clearly says “I could use a hand here” and can be exactly the key to getting you rolling again.

What pursuits have you felt blocked in recently? Let us know in the comments, or send me a message using the message box below, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. X

 

Over Fire and Glass– Fear, danger and learning what we don’t need

I recently took a trip down to London Ealing for training to work as a volunteer at the London Screenwriters’ Festival.

Initially I assumed that the training day would involve just meeting the others involved, assigning lists, learning times, names and titles, but it was in fact nothing like that.

The training day, as it turned out, wasn’t training to know exactly what we will need for the festival, but it was in fact training to BE exactly what we will need for the festival.

Chris Jones, our leader and Creative Director of the whole event, lead us in becoming the best team and individuals possible—as much for our personal gain as for that of the festival.

Chris shared with us the truths about life that are so easily overlooked, breaking myths about looking good, fear and the ‘stories’ we all carry with us.

What do we fear? Attention, social interaction, failure, loss, danger, hurt, success, disappointment, the unknown, snakes, spiders, bananas, ghosts—you name it!

But what in this life do we really have to be afraid of? Physical danger is perhaps the only major fear that should be taken seriously – it is what stops us walking in front of cars, attempting to cuddle crocodiles and standing in fire.

But we discovered that, if you give up your limitations (including your negative beliefs, your pointless fears and your self-doubt), you really can do a lot. You can even walk on fire!

If you can walk across fire and not get hurt or face your fears down and walk across broken glass, then what can’t you do?

It was those experiences that really put my thoughts into perspective.

I have wasted time afraid of so many things when, it turns out, I could even face and survive the fears of things that COULD hurt me.

I walked barefoot over glass and fire… so why was I afraid of pursing my goals/asking for that opportunity/joining in/having fun?

 

During the course of that training day we also realised the incredible strength of vulnerability. We openly and honestly told each other the things we wanted, the things we feared and shared, as a team, our stories and experiences that had shaped us into who we are.

It was a beautiful, touching and eye-opening experience to watch as, with each person’s ‘confession’, we grew more in awe of the courage and diversity that surrounded us. I was blown away to see the souls of the people who minutes earlier had been strangers I was too shy to talk to, and I was so grateful that they embraced me just the same when it came to my turn to speak.

I wish that I could share and replicate the feeling of that day for you all. What Chris shared with us was the gift of ourselves. He opened our eyes to the truth that was in us all along.

We are all good enough.

We are all strong enough.

We will not be unloved for being ourselves.

There is no danger in being human.

There is strength in weakness.

We can do anything—including walking on fire!

 

I don’t want to discuss too much about the day, but I want to share with you all a promise I made while I was there.

I promised to encourage everyone around me in the same ways that I was encouraged that day. To look people in the eye, honestly and openly and to not let that imagined fear taint the human interactions I will have.

And that promise is extended to all of my readers here. That’s why I run this site. I wanted to make a place where I could share my growth and help other people to grow and learn with me.

So let’s keep learning, keep growing and keep giving it our all!

I’ll share more about the stuff I learnt in smaller posts over the next days and weeks. Catch you later Xx