Landing a new job is an exciting chapter in most people’s lives. It brings forth an opportunity to learn new things, form new networks and hopefully, advance your career. The first few weeks of starting a new job can also be scary; you want to make sure that you’re doing your best at your job, while also fitting into a new organization seamlessly, and it’s not always an easy task. So what are some of the mistakes you can avoid?
1. Not seeking clarity on role deliverables and KPIs – Sure, you were hired because of your skills and competencies and you’ve talked over the role several times in the selection process. However, being on the ground doing the actual work is different, and of course, things are always changing in the workplace so every once in a while, you may be required to take up tasks, not in your JD. It is crucial to keep in mind that you will be assessed based on agreed KPIs. If this is not clear from day one, you may find yourself in a difficult situation at the end of your probation being assessed for areas you were not aware you were accountable for.
2. Isolating yourself from the team -Forming new relationships can be difficult for some of us, however, isolating yourself from the rest of the team and only choosing to focus on your work is not a great idea, as you think it might be. Team synergy is a critical element of most organizations’ success, and it’s important that you interact with the team to learn more about what areas you will need collaboration on, accelerate your adaptation into the culture and hey; this is also an opportunity to form new networks, who knows how they may come in handy in the future?
3. Setting unrealistic expectations – Starting a new job can put you under pressure to want to overextend yourself to please your boss, thus making you agree to or come up with unrealistic expectations within a short period of time. Before committing to this, we advise that you understand from your supervisor and the team how long certain tasks or projects have taken so that you don’t set yourself up for failure.
4. Not observing organization culture – Before you decide to do things like you were doing in your old job, or assume that they’re acceptable, take a few weeks to observe and become aware of how work is approached in your new workplace. What values are upheld often? What approaches seem non-negotiables?. Blasting loud music on your portable speaker, having casual Wednesdays or working from home may have been allowed in your previous company but doesn’t mean it’s standard for all organizations. Find out what the norms are, what processes are in place and ask as many questions as you can.
5. Criticizing everything without seeking to understand the context – When starting a new job, it can feel taxing to be trained all over again, on things you feel you already know. Therefore, you may feel the need to criticize the processes of your new organization because you find them tedious, or just different than what you were used to. This may then prompt you to suggest drastic changes that the organization may not be ready for at that particular time. Sure, new ideas are always welcome, however, suggesting them with a “been there done that” attitude comes across as a bit crass. Before suggesting new ideas, aim to learn more about how things have been done, how other team members feel about them and what impact they have on the organization so that you make informed opinions.
Here’s an insightful article with 5 questions you can ask when starting a new job that should help you if you just started working in a new job.
Find more exciting content about all things careers on our Career Happiness Center
In recent years, we have seen companies let go of hundreds, probably thousands of employees because their skills were no longer required. We are in an exciting era where businesses are stretched every day to think about how they can deliver their goals faster and effectively. As a result; technology uptake, process optimization to cut costs, and outsourcing are strategies that will only keep accelerating in the business world.
Unfortunately, for us job seekers, there will be ultimately a huge impact on how we approach work and the skills needed in this futuristic world. So how can you ensure you are ahead of the game and stay relevant in the job market?
1. Unlearning and relearning – With the rapidly changing delivery models, technology adaptation, increased need for creativity and collaboration, there is a strong need to unlearn several skills and mindsets that are becoming irrelevant. And as we drop these, we will also need to adopt a whole new mindset and skillset to thrive in these new workplaces. Self-driven learning will become not a luxury but a significant differentiator between those who meet the changes prepared and those who don’t. Read our article on 5 tips you can use to accelerate your learning with online courses
2. Cognitive flexibility – While multitasking is the ability to switch between different tasks, often effectively, cognitive flexibility is described as the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously by Wikipedia. This article explores 7 ways you can develop your cognitive flexibility, have a read and learn more about this critical skill, and what it means for you and your future.
3. Complex problem-solving – Surprisingly it does seem like the social and economic problems are becoming more and more complex. We are also getting into a phase where change is more urgent to ensure our businesses, and planet survives. To drive value, businesses have to focus more on the human who is the consumer, and as we know the human is a complex being. And how about robots and artificial intelligence. A creative approach to solving complex human and technological problems at work and beyond is now vital.
4. Digital literacy – Ok maybe you don’t need to become the next best software developer. However, can you efficiently and effectively utilize different project management tools at work? How about collaboration tools such as Asana or Google Drive? If you wish to reap the joys of remote working then get your A-game on some of these!
5. Innovation & Creativity – The one key skill we are guaranteed technology will never touch is creativity. How are you developing this muscle? This article further expounds why AI may never match human creativity in a more nuanced way, dig in and research more.
We live you with these two insightful articles for further reading;
– 9 ideas that summarize the future of work (and how you can prepare for it)
– How digital trends are moulding your future workforce (focusing on Africa); relevant to those employed, and employers alike
If you’re looking to learn more about the future of work, Google has plenty more information 🙂
Keep up with the trends and updates this decade, so that you’re not caught unawares. One way to do that is by visiting our Career Happiness Center which we are constantly updating with insightful information on all things careers!
Do you ever hold a mirror up to yourself when you feel stuck in your career? Do you ever wonder what you could be doing wrong that is preventing you from getting to that next level?
Career advancement means different things for different people; it could be a salary increase, a promotion, a new job with more responsibilities, a new career altogether, or, relocating to a different country and widening your intercultural skills.
Obviously, there are external factors that often are not in our control such as the current socio-economic system, a narrow job market, industry trends and so forth. However, we are capable of being in charge of factors such as motivation, discipline, commitment and how we implement the things that will get us to where we want to be.
We will, therefore, be talking about some of the things we can control in this post because if there’s ever been a good time to start being in charge of your career, it’s today.
1. Not seeking out learning opportunities – It’s 2020 and we can’t stop reminding you about The Future of Work and how it impacts our jobs today, in a very accelerated manner whose impact will be even more visible in the next few years. Self-driven upskilling is going to be your armor for staying in the front line of your career and smoothly transitioning through the different phases that may impact your job.
2. Not acknowledging constructive feedback – One of the major ways to self-improve is by utilizing feedback given to us by our supervisors, peers, and even family and friends. It’s important to have a sense of self-responsibility in order for us to critically analyze the feedback we’re given, and take the necessary steps to self-improve. Often, it’s easier to place blame on other factors instead of on ourselves, and this can prevent us from advancing in our careers because we fail to identify areas of growth we can work on. Read more about how to take constructive criticism and why it’s’ important to be accountable at work in this article that we wrote last year.
3. Not acting upon your career plans – It can feel good to talk about our career plans and fantasize about them actualizing. However, acting on them is more important. If you’re aware of where you want to be, don’t keep postponing the execution part of it. Go to that networking event, reach out to that hiring manager on LinkedIn, find a career coach to work with. Whatever it is, the time is now.
4. Imposter syndrome – You know when people congratulate you for your achievements and you resort to attributing it to lady luck or other external factors? Yet you know too well, that you put in the hard work and are actually good at your job? That’s imposter syndrome at work; “the fear of being revealed as a “fraud” or “imposter” who does not deserve the things he or she has obtained in life” (Wikipedia). Imposter syndrome feeds into our self-limitation and makes us feel as though we don’t deserve to thrive in the areas that we do in our lives, including our careers, thus preventing us from taking leaps that will advance it even further. If you’re going through this phase, here’s an article with a few tips on how you can combat it. You can also reach out to us to join our next Imposter Syndrome Master Class:)
5. Not communicating your career needs – If you keep quiet about your needs or fail to ask for help to get to the next level in your career, you’re really not helping yourself at all. If you’re in a job where your needs are not being met, where your expectations are perhaps unclear, you need to voice this. Don’t be afraid to follow up on that connection request you asked for two weeks ago, or ask to be assigned to a project you’re passionate about at work. People are not mind-readers, speak up 🙂
Have you experienced any of these? How have you dealt with them? We’d love to hear from you!
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Do you ever wonder about the things you could be doing that are sabotaging your career? We compiled a list of 5 things we have seen drag people behind in realizing their full potential. If any of these represent you, get out of your own way, now! Or at least, try to.
1. Procrastination – We’ve all been guilty about procrastinating on different things pertaining to our lives. However, when you’re constantly procrastinating on matters to do with your career, you may be digging yourself into a hole, given how it influences a big chunk of our lives. If you’re finding yourself; postponing updating your CV, updating your LinkedIn, reaching out to person A that might connect you to person B or not going to X networking events like you wrote down in your career resolutions, you need to re-evaluate why this is the case and make necessary changes. This article offers insight on why we procrastinate and how we can stop
2. Not investing in your personal growth – The world is constantly changing; technology is evolving every day, organization needs are changing, and adaptability remains a KEY prerequisite in thriving in today’s workplace. Further, investing in personal growth increases your self-awareness and advances your ability to know what you need at different stages in your career. Investment is not always synonymous with money, it could mean investing your time to take up a free online course, listening to a podcast, reading an article, and so forth. With the speed at which we’re now able to consume content, make sure you’re also setting aside time to consume content that will further your career development.
3. Refusing to get out of your comfort zone – Resisting change, because you’re comfortable with what feels familiar to you can greatly stagnate your skills and knowledge. Meaningful career development calls for uncomfortability; getting that promotion requires you to put fear aside and talk to your boss, changing jobs requires you to approach strangers on LinkedIn and ask for help, feeling stuck may require you to work with a Career Coach and so forth. Often times, our career development is hinged on us taking the first step.
4. You’re always blaming external factors – Do you find yourself often pointing fingers at others or external factors when things are not going great in your career? Have you received a couple of warning letters and still feel like it was unfair? Do ALL your job applications get rejected at a certain stage and you blame XYZ? Sometimes, it’s critical to look at ourselves inwardly and ask how we are failing ourselves from succeeding. Maybe you’re not very good at receiving feedback and acting on it to self improve, or maybe your interview skills are not great and you don’t answer interviewers questions adequately thus the consistent rejections at that stage. Read our article on how 5 ways you can become accountable at work. Hopefully, you gain some insights that apply generally as well.
5. You’re afraid to ask for help – If we’re being completely honest, pride is up there as a reason as to why people don’t ask for help when it comes to their careers, and other things. That, in addition to comparing ourselves to the achievements of our peers, thus being afraid to seem weak in front of them. Career progression is full of complexities, and often at times, we can’t do it alone. We need a support system, an accountability partner, and networks that can connect us with other networks that can help us push our dreams a step closer. If you’re job hunting and are afraid to ask for help, here is an article we wrote about how to ask for help when job hunting and what not to do.
If you saw yourself in any of the above points, or all of them, know that it’s never too late, and you can still take charge of your career. If you’re confused and don’t know what to do first, reach out to us today!
Sign up to our Career Coaching Program http://bit.ly/careertransformation_signup and transform your career, with the right tools and support.
We want to play a game today; called truth or truth. Ever seen those adverts on local newspapers with a photo and caption ‘So and So no longer works here?’ We shall never know the real issues that earned them a moment of fame on a local daily, but we know that type of publicity is likely to negatively influence their future career aspirations. Whoever sees the advert (and many managers and recruiters do), makes a mental note somewhere ‘to not recommend this person’.
Similarly, as a job seeker, there are several actions and behaviors that are likely to push your profile into a ‘to not recommend list’ otherwise referred to as the “Blacklist”. The following are the ways in which you can fall into this trap, so read on to see why;
1. Making countless applications – We’ve touched on this before. While this may seem like a harmless habit because you’re trying to give everything a chance, it may not sit well with most recruiters/hiring managers. Throwing in your application, for all and any jobs an organization puts out, even when you do not meet core criteria is not advisable. What you’re essentially doing is communicating that you have no regard for the needs of the organizations at this point in time. We understand it’s difficult to get a job; believe it or not, it breaks our hearts to disqualify candidates all the time. So try as much as you can to apply for jobs that are closely related to your background, to avoid getting blacklisted.
2. Being self-entitled, and arrogant – We are well aware that most people dislike recruiters or people in HR. Ha! To some extent, it is true that we inform who should be considered or not, in a position. However, it is also true that part of the accountability falls on the job seekers themselves. Being arrogant to a recruiter; which we have often experienced, automatically puts you in the red zone. Feeling entitled because you’ve maybe had many years of experience, and ignoring other factors such as your culture fit within the organization, and how your exposure fits into the current stage of the organization does not serve you.
3. Being dishonest – This could vary; lying about your past work experiences by exaggerating your successes, the role you held, your age and past successes is a valid reason to have a recruiter blacklist you. This is why we insist that you clearly understand the role before, and practice integrity before you put yourself in a precarious position, where your lies are debunked, and you ruin your reputation. Background checks and referral calls will eventually unearth any lies.
4. Badgering the recruiter/hiring manager – It’s fairly okay for you to check in with a recruiter after, say two weeks of silence, if they had promised to get back and they haven’t, or if the hiring manager had scheduled a phone call and he didn’t call. However, consistently checking in with the recruiter or hiring team every other day is a bit too much and unprofessional. It’s even worse when you’re calling at ungodly hours. Please understand that recruiters/hiring managers are human too, and sometimes the lack of communication could be as a result of an impromptu change in the company, which they are also figuring how to communicate. To be on the safe side, always ask when you should hear from them, so there is no room for assumption.
5. Dropping out of the selection process unjustifiably – Picture this; you’ve gone through a rigorous selection process; done phone interviews, in-person conversations, take-home tests, and so forth. The hiring manager has expressed a strong interest to want to give you an offer, and then you just drop out of the selection process and don’t provide a valid reason. It’s unprofessional and leading. We understand switching jobs can be scary, but we advocate that you communicate any fears or doubts as early as you can, to avoid such outcomes and maintain a good working relationship, who knows what the future holds?
Read our blog post on the ways you are sabotaging your job search to learn more about the traps you should avoid.
For most people who feel stuck in their careers; whether it’s being in a job they don’t like, job applications making little to no progress, or, wanting to switch careers and not knowing where to start, it can seem daunting to want to ask for help. And this can lead one to question their abilities, sense of worth and suffer from imposter syndrome. This is where a Career Coach should come in.
Jobs and careers occupy a big chunk of our lives, so it’s critical that we invest time, and sometimes our resources to figure out what we can’t seem to do on our own, that is impeding us from progressing further, or feeling fulfilled.
So we compiled a list of reasons as to why you need a career coach:
1. Tailor-made solutions – Sure, Google is great, but the articles you’re reading are unlikely offering solutions tailored to your needs, personality, and maybe, current confusion, and they may not define your problem as you’d like. A Career Coach exists exactly for this purpose; to help you define your challenges, provide you with clarity, and help you map out what you want to do. Not only that, but working with a Career Coach provides you with an opportunity to get real-time feedback on the progress of action steps agreed upon.
2. Increased self-awareness – Because Career Coaches use a variety of tools to assess your needs and help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, interests, goals and so much more, the result is an increased awareness of self, which enables one to make informed decisions about their jobs and careers.
3. Improved accountability – Because life can get really busy, or, procrastination can get in the way of progress, a Career Coach helps you to become more accountable to yourself. With agreed-upon action plans, whether it’s revising your CV, creating an elevator pitch, looking for volunteering opportunities to transition careers, and so forth, it’s hard to avoid accountability when you’re investing to improve your current situation.
4. Honest feedback – Most of us ask for career advice from family, and friends because it’s easier and cheaper to do so. A career coach tells you what you NEED to hear. A friend may look at your CV and tell you it’s great, a career coach will look at it, and point out 10 mistakes. Why? Because that’s their expertise, and their opinions are not biased; their role is to point out your inconsistency, dismantle some of the myths you may have about jobs and careers, and pretty much give you a reality check of what needs to be done. Who wouldn’t want that?
5. Build confidence – Unless you were not intentionally invested in your career coaching sessions, it’s hard to not build up your confidence as a result. One of the key roles career coaching plays is to identify some of the fears you have around pursuing your goals and providing you with the information and tools to conquer them and help you get out of that comfort zone. Career coaching helps you introspect, ask yourself difficult questions, and face some of your fears that bar you from achieving your potential.
Have you worked with a Career Coach before? What was your experience?
If not, at edge, we have a number of Career Coaching Programs that aim to answer some of your most pressing career queries and provide you with the tools to navigate these challenges. In fact, We’re currently offering 10 scholarships to 10 lucky people, for our Career Accelerator Program. Sign up here http://bit.ly/careertransformation_signup and tell a friend to tell a friend!
Get a sneak peek our career coaching by watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvRnyw8_D7Q