Wish me luck as I cross over…

On Sept 1st, I start a new role at work. I admit that I’m nervous, mainly because I’m leaving a group of people who I have known and worked with for over 5 years. I now join the headquarters team who have a slightly different culture and group dynamics. My current team knows my ability but I have to prove it all over again. It’s a great opportunity that I’m very grateful for and SUPER excited about. These tips written by Dawn Barclay will come in handy:

1. You can prepare yourself mentally of how you want to be in your new role…you can think about your attitude, image, and communication skills. Yet you obviously can’t prepare others.
2. Be who you are. You were hired on the value you can bring.
3. If you were to start a new role ‘pretending’ (because you want people to like and love you) you will probably not be able to maintain that behaviour very long.
4. Read and understand more on social groups, the way groups form and social roles.
5. Time – even a new member of staff starting work (to the existing staff) is CHANGE and not a lot of people like change. It’s not personal.
6. You are ‘fresh’ remember, like a new-born baby you are not clouded or have any preconceived notions or ideas. So allow time to get to know everyone, make up your own mind instead of listening to the ‘this is what they are like’ stories from other people.
7. Being the newbie – just because the label is on you, it doesn’t mean to say you have to ‘shut up and go along with everything’ and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to say anything at all.
8. Praise yourself – this may seem a little wacko, but here’s what I mean. You may be a person that needs to ‘hear’ you are doing a good job – you need it. However, you may not get it in your new workplace. I’m not saying you need all the compliments under the sun, you just need to know if what you are doing is the right thing. Your new workplace might not be like that…one of unspoken ‘rules’ of the group might be ‘we just get on with it’. Learn how to compliment yourself – don’t wait for the external world to tell you.
9. If you are nervous, it will pass. As you entering a new situation you may feel uncomfortable I mean it’s not just a new job it’s: new people, policies, environment, politics, community – go with the flow. A good team will help with your transition (and yes there may be the odd bugger who does nothing to help you ) each moment will be come easier.
10. Ask for support and supervision. What if they don’t offer it? Suggest it?. In fact (it’s probably too late), it’s a very good interview question. Work is a place for forming friendships and long-lasting relationships (most couples meet through a working environment) yet at the end of the day it is work…you don’t have to sell your soul and divulge your deepest darkest secrets (you do that with friends).

Dawn Barclay is the owner of Potential Developments and publishes her newsletter for individuals seeking tools, resources and support to develop and realise their personal and professional potential. You can visit the main Potential Development site at:

Wish me luck, everyone!

Prequel to my last post for confused jobists

It is a light-hearted post but there was some seriousness behind it and the question I raise. Now that I’ve pretty much got my act together, I thought I would share this post from last November. Enjoy!


‘If I wasn’t an engineer, what would I be?’ I found myself wondering the other day. Sometimes, I skim through job ads in the local papers and its amazing how many exciting professions there are out there. Growing up in an oil-rich country in Africa, there seemed to be just a handful of “profitable” occupations. They included engineering, banking and perhaps government! But as I have met people from all works of life, I have subconsciously taken stock of what other jobs may be out there for a gal like me. What jobs activate my “buzz” button? What else can I do if for some reason, engineering doesn’t continue to work out ? Let’s have a look at my top 5 things to be when I grow up (in no particular order):

1. Talk show host: Maybe an over-rated job but I love it, love Oprah! I’d probably interview people trying to make a difference in the world. This job will give me a real opportunity to brand myself. I would be no good at the Jerry Springer stuff (I lack the ability to keep a straight face).

Keeping my boss on the straight and narrow, Awesome!

2. Executive Secretary/PA: It uses my very best strength. Organisation. I would love organising other people’s lives for a handsome fee! Also, the idea of being the right-hand person of a CEO or MD is very very attractive to an attention junkie like me 🙂

I can do wonders with make up

3. Make-up artist: About 3 years ago, I actually started to research schools for this. There were a handful of them in the London area but they cost an arm and a leg. I remember one particular one was about £4000 for a 3-week course!!! That amount of money could pay some kid’s way through university. But still, it is my fantasy to make-up models for the London or Milan fashion week. I can do wonders with some mascara and eye-shadow.

4. Motivational Speaker: Yeah, I know it’s similar to the talk show host but the main difference is that you have to motivate people. You can’t just say pointless things. I absolutely admire motivational speakers with favourites like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer. It would be a gift to be able to motivate people with the words of my mouth. After buying a book on Amazon.com on the world’s greatest speeches, I started to think that I can practice everyday, with every word I say bringing people up not tearing them down. In progress…


Having to hold a mic for a living would be great!

5. Singer: Last but by no means the least. But I can’t really sing so this is a long shot. When I hear amazing singing, I am sometimes moved to tears as my skin becomes riddled with goosebumps. The absolute best moments I’ve had is sitting in the audience as someone sang their heart out, causing my eyes to well up. This may have to do for now.  Fair enough.

All photo credits to http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Tips for the confused jobist

It’s taken ages to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I read engineering at school but never quite fit in. At the same time, I never really knew what I wanted to do instead. When people asked me, ‘So what do you want to do?’,  it was always answered with a silly, confused expression.

But that’s changed in the past year. After starting my MBA (something I knew I wanted to do), I continuously made mental notes of areas that I found particularly interesting. Then I went off and did my research, which was something like:

  1. Identify area of interest e.g. marketing, web design, personnel management e.t.c.
  2. Act as a job seeker and SEARCH for roles in that area (the internet, job boards and social networking sites like LinkedIn are great for this).
  3. Take note of the JOB DESCRIPTION (what you’d be expected to do and be responsible for) Is it still of interest? If yes,
  4. Note the SKILLS employers expect from a potential candidate. Do you have them? If no, what can you do to get them? Can you get it in your current role? Should you consider personal development e.g. self-study, taught courses or perhaps a new role that provides such skills?
  5. Consider SALARY expectations. Is it what you thought it was? Is it reasonable such that you can live comfortably on it?
  6. And finally, give yourself a timeline. How long will it take you to get where you want to go? 6 months, 5 years?

Note that it’s okay to take a temporary hit on salary if  long-term, the role provides skills that will get you to the ‘Promise Land’. Money isn’t everything… And remember you are not applying for the roles now. You are just  discovering what opportunities are out there and subsequently setting out a personal plan to be the perfect candidate for the role in X numbers of years.

Now I have a good idea where I want to go and roughly how to get there. It’s made me happier and more confident. And it’s wiped that silly, confused look off my face :).

How to start a riot

I was a little relieved to see that even London, a business capital of the “first world” turned into a jungle for a short time. Don’t get me wrong. Every act of vandalism and violence was uncalled for and should be seriously punished. However, as I watched the news, I couldn’t help thinking how the London scenes resembled any troubled scene from any crowded city in a third world country. It appears there’s a slow but effective recipe that could start a riot.  With the right mix of anger, frustration and injustice, ANY country can become a jungle.


Innocent people have suffered and lost their livelihood in the senseless looting and arson attacks. I can’t help thinking that this is synonymous with the third world. The innocent and poor suffer while the guilty and rich watch from afar. It’s almost laughable how ignorant some of these rioters are. Did they really think they could get away with burning people’s property and causing mass chaos? They probably didn’t think about it – some rioters were as young as 11 years old! There are many possible reasons for what has been happening in London and its environs this past week. Some are discussed by Single Malt Monkey in his post called ‘Blame the parents’, where he points to recent triggers in society and government.

One interview with one of the looters exposes the depth of ignornace among the culprit. When one man was asked why he looted a nearby store, he said, ‘It’s free stuff, innit?’

No, no, sweetie. It’s STOLEN stuff…

Why I’ve never been Freshly Pressed.


Image via Wikipedia

What is Freshly Pressed?

Come on. You knew I was going to write about this sooner or later.But don’t worry. I’ll try to be reasonable.

For those who don’t blog on WordPress, every day a handful of blog posts are selected and featured on the Freshly Pressed page. Selected posts are usually ones that are well-written (free of grammatical errors), have a catchy title and preferably have a picture in them. I suppose the post itself has to be interesting too but that’s just my guess.

My Wonder Months

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I try to aim high whenever possible. This means I’m very fairly competitive so winning stuff e.g. featuring on freshly pressed is something that would be nice to happen. But nine months in, it hasn’t. My first 10 posts or so were written with a certain “this may be freshly pressed” anxiety. I REALLY wanted to feature – as in on purpose. So when I wasn’t featured, I was convinced I was hopeless at blogging or that I wasn’t interesting enough. But I enjoy blogging. It’s my corner, my thoughts. To this end, I decided that I was just going to write without the added pressure of wanting to be freshly pressed. Hell, I may invent ‘Staley Pressed’ – as long as I feature in something. Hehe!

To put this in perspective, you must know that there are around half a million(500,000) or more new posts every day. If you followed the Freshly Pressed link in ‘What is Freshly Pressed?’, you’ll also find that just 10 or so posts are selected. Therefore, my chances are 1 to 50,000. Not a FAT chance, to be honest.

In good terms with being undiscovered

I’m not sure how but I have gradually come to terms with this. I doubt my grammar is great and I sometimes find spelling mistakes that make me gasp for air. But hey, I have a full-time job, a full-time husband and two full-time kids (both under 6 years old). I’m also a part-time student and a part-time a-bunch-of-other-things so I admit that I don’t check my grammar or spelling as thoroughly as I should. I probably have uninteresting post titles and guess what? I’m not one in a million. Or even one in half a million.

You know, I have a funny feeling that being Freshly Pressed comes with an acute anti-climax. I suspect it’ll be kinda like the time when someone I desperately wanted approval from finally said they were proud of me. Thousands come to your blog because you’ve been featured, there are hundreds of comments to read (and respond to) and you worry yourself sick about how to keep these readers coming back. I’m guessing a huge proportion don’t return.

Well, maybe I’ve talked myself out of the desire to be featured through this rationale. Who knows. But my posts are reasonably interesting if I do say so myself. I’m just (happily) undiscovered.

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