Training

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The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-feedback-first-90-days-successful-new-job

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There’s one thing you likely already know: If you still have an objective statement perched at the top of your resume, it’s time for some serious updating.

That formal (and, let’s be honest, totally useless) blurb of the past has since made way for something new: a summary statement.

So… uhh… what exactly is a summary statement? It’s a few short lines or bullet points that go at the top of your document and make it easy for the hiring manager to understand your experience and qualifications. Basically, it explains what you bring to the table for that employer.

It sounds simple in theory. But, if you’re anything like me, when you sit down to actually crank out that brief little blurb, you’re left staring at a menacing blinking text cursor for a good half hour. Yes, even I struggle with these—and I make my living as a writer.

Fortunately, there’s nothing like a little bit of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. So, I’ve pulled together three real resume summary statements that are sure to get a hiring manager’s attention.

Extract some lessons from what these people did well, and you’ll take a little bit of the stress and pain out of writing your own.

Who Needs a Summary Statement?

Just wait—before we jump right into the samples, this is an important question to answer.

If you’re one of those people who has righteously told yourself, “Psh, summary statement? I don’t need one of those!”—well, you might be right, they work better for some people than for others.

“Summary statements are usually best for more experienced professionals with years of experiences to tie together with a common theme. Or, alternatively, they can be used to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key transferable skills,” explains Muse writer, Lily Zhang, in her article on the topic.

If you’re someone with a pretty straightforward career history and path, that precious real estate might be better used for bullet points, rather than this type of paragraph. But, if you’re an experienced candidate or are changing careers? This could be just what you need to make your resume a little more cohesive.

1. Start by Saying Who You Are

“Editorial-minded marketer and communications strategist transforming the way brands interact with audiences through content. With over seven years of experience at consumer startups, media companies, and an agency, brings a thoughtful perspective and blend of creative chops and digital data-savvy. Entrepreneurial at heart and a team player recognized for impassioned approach and colorful ideas.”

Why it Works: “This is a great example of a concise and compelling summary because it explains who this professional is (first line), puts her experience into context (second line), and highlights her intangible strengths (final sentence),” explains Jaclyn Westlake, career expert, resume writer, and writer for The Muse, of this summary she worked on with a client.

But, what this statement does exceptionally well is start with a powerful statement about exactly who this candidate is and what she does. “If this were the only sentence a hiring manager read about this candidate, she’d still have a pretty good idea what this person is about,” Westlake adds.

2. Make it an Elevator Pitch

“High-achieving Enterprise software account manager driven to increase sales in established accounts while reaching out to prospects. Help Fortune 500 companies gain a competitive edge and increase revenue by identifying customer needs, providing recommendations, and implementing technology products that solve problems and enhance capabilities.”

Why it Works: One way to make writing your own resume summary statement easier? Think of it like an elevator pitch.

Since employers care most about what sort of value you can add to their organization, it’s smart to follow in the footsteps of this sample and use the bulk of your summary to emphasize not only what you do, but why it’s important.

“This summary clearly articulates who he is, whom he serves, and how he helps,” says Theresa Merrill, Muse Master Career Coach, of this client sample she provided.

Maybe you won’t use words like “gain a competitive edge” or “increase revenue” in your own statement. But, give some thought to how your skills and expertise help the overall organization, and then weave that into your statement.

3. Keep it Short

“Award-winning journalist and digital producer offering extensive experience in social media content curation, editing, and storytelling. Adept at transforming complex topics into innovative, engaging, and informative news stories.”

Why it Works: This one is significantly shorter than the other statements included here. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective.

“It’s short and sweet,” says Merrill of this statement she wrote for a client, “It highlights his expertise right away with a word like ‘award-winning’ and also shares what makes him unique.”

When you’re trying to keep things to one page, you know by now that space is limited on your resume. So, the more concise you can make your statement—while still ensuring it still packs a punch—the better.

If you do choose to move forward with a resume summary statement, remember to treat it as your own personal highlight reel.

“A summary isn’t meant to be a regurgitation of the information already on your resume,” concludes Westlake, “It should serve to further enhance the reader’s understanding of your experience, specialties, and strengths. It’s also an excellent way to tie your work history together to help hiring managers better understand how your experience would translate into the role they’re recruiting for.”

Think through what you bring to the table and then use these three samples as your inspiration, and you’re sure to craft a resume summary statement that grabs that hiring manager’s attention

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-resume-summary-examples-thatll-make-writing-your-own-easier

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Unemployment or changing jobs or being stuck in a career rut is stressful no matter how you look at it, but when you multiply it by two, it can really take a toll on you and your relationship.

When my husband and I lost our jobs within six weeks of each other, we were in shock—and found ourselves spending a lot of time together, for better or for worse. During that harrowing period, we attempted to reinvent ourselves as professionals without losing who we were as a couple.

Now that we’re both collecting paychecks again, it’s easy to see many of the mistakes we made as we navigated the rocky road back to full-time employment together. The following is my hard-won wisdom on how to handle joint career stress without losing your peace of mind or your relationship in the process.

Respect Each Other’s Methods

Remember the old “opposites attract?” Well, my husband and I approached our job searches from completely different angles. I regarded it as a numbers games, sending my resume far and wide, while my husband was more strategic, cultivating connections and networking with everyone he’d ever met.

When I tried to convince him to give my way a go when some of his leads didn’t pan out, he insisted his strategy would eventually bear fruit. Likewise, when he suggested I get back in touch with people I hadn’t spoken with in years, I hesitated. Though we were skeptical of each other’s methods, neither of us was right nor wrong.

Respect your partner’s approach to their career, and if you can borrow what’s working for them and incorporate it into your own game plan, all the better. Because, ultimately, both tactics led us to new positions.

Work as a Team

During a rough career patch, you can definitely feel isolated and alone. If there’s an upside to facing it as a couple, it’s that you’ve got a partner who is attempting to overcome the same hurdle, which means your relationship has probably never been filled with more empathy. Use that compassion to cheer each other on and be encouraging on those dark days when your inboxes seem to overflow with rejection emails.

In addition to providing emotional support, you can benefit from having a ready and willing interview partner. Trust me, it’s a lot better to make mistakes in a mock interview with your significant other than with your would-be boss.

Be Gentle With Each Other

When you’re feeling raw and vulnerable during this time, something as small as a sideways glance can feel like a devastating slight.

Though it might be tempting to offer advice, sometimes your partner may just want to vent and know that their feelings are heard and valid. It’s important to keep communication open and figure out what makes each of you feel supported.

When my husband was passed over for a position we were almost certain he’d get, I found myself saying things like, “I don’t understand. How could you not have gotten it?” This ultimately wasn’t helpful for either of us. People process these life events in different ways, so treat each other with care.

Put Away Your Pride and Get Help if You Need It

There’s no denying that a career bump can cause your confidence to plummet while your stress level skyrockets. These factors can wreak havoc on even the most rock-solid relationship. Just remember, you’re not alone.

From career counseling to marriage counseling, if this period is taking a toll on your mental health or your relationship, seek help. Having a professional third party provide strategies for navigating this difficult period can assist you in getting back on track.

Though it may not feel like it while you’re in the thick of it, you will come out on the other side, and when you do, your relationship may be stronger for having weathered this challenging period nobly together.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-deal-relationship-rough-career-change?ref=recently-published-0

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20 years ago, you probably would’ve laughed if someone said your life would one day be irrevocably changed by a company called Google. What’s a google?

But, as you know, Google’s become the largest entity in one of the biggest tech companies in the world. And it’s giving you a glimpse inside its robust research on what makes a great manager.

It’s no secret that being a good manager can make all the difference in how happy your team is and how well it performs. Google not only proved this to skeptics years ago, but also identified eight (later updated to 10) behaviours of its best managers. So why not learn from one of the most successful data-driven companies out there?

1. “Is a Good Coach”

Employees need and appreciate a manager who takes time to coach and challenge them, and not just when they’re behind.

As Muse contributor Avery Augustine put it, “When it comes to clients, the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease.” The same is true, she said, of employees you manage.

But “I realized that every employee needs to be managed—star performer or not,” she wrote. “And simply leaving some employees to do their jobs without any type of feedback or guidance was detrimental to their career development.”

2. “Empowers Team and Does Not Micromanage”

Micromanaging’s a common mistake managers make without even realizing it, one that discourages and frustrates employees.

But Google’s research found that its best managers don’t, instead offering the right balance of freedom and advice, showing they trust their direct reports, and advocating for the team, according to a sample breakdown from an internal presentation included in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article.

3. “Creates an Inclusive Team Environment, Showing Concern for Success and Well-Being”
In the first iteration of the list, this was described as “expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being.”

Several years later, the company’s updated this entry to reflect research on psychological safety that allows for risk-taking—which Google identified as an important characteristic of effective teams—and unbiasing, or the process of becoming aware of and combatting unconscious biases.

It’s not enough just to have a diverse team, good leaders and managers strive to create an inclusive environment every day.

4. “Is Productive and Results-Oriented”

Employees don’t want to work for a lazy boss. They’d rather be part of a team that’s productive and successful, and that’s hard to do if the leader doesn’t set the tone.

Former Muse editor Adrian Granzella Larssen explained that becoming a boss means you have to be on model behavior.

“As a manager, you’ll be looked to as a role model,” she wrote. “You can’t expect people to give their best at work if they don’t see you doing it, so be sure you’re always on your A game.” That means putting in the effort and getting results.

5. “Is a Good Communicator—Listens and Shares Information”

Communicating effectively is one of the basics of being a good manager (or a good employee for that matter). But it’s also important to remember that great managers prioritize listening.

“Focused, curious listening conveys an emotional and personal investment in those who work for us,” according to Muse contributor Kristi Hedges. “When you listen to people, they feel personally valued. It signals commitment.”

6. “Supports Career Development and Discusses Performance”

Google recently added the “discusses performance” component to this behaviour. The company pointed to research from Gallup that found only half of employees know what expectations they should be fulfilling at work.

“To free employees to take initiative and inspire high performance,” Gallup concluded, “managers need to set clear expectations, hold employees accountable for meeting them and respond quickly when employees need support.”

In other words, managers should not only help their team develop skills and advance their careers, but also be clear about expectations and give honest feedback about performance.

7. “Has a Clear Vision/Strategy for the Team”

Stephanie Davis, who won one of Google’s Great Manager Awards, told HBR that feedback reports helped her realize how important it was to communicate team vision in addition to company vision.

“They wanted me to interpret the higher-level vision for them,” she said. “So I started listening to the company’s earnings call with a different ear. I didn’t just come back to my team with what was said; I also shared what it meant for them.”

A clear and shared vision can also help members of your team work well together.

 

8. “Has Key Technical Skills to Help Advise the Team”

When Google first released its list of behaviors, the findings were somewhat anti-climactic. “My first reaction was, that’s it?” Laszlo Bock, then the Vice President of People Operations, told The New York Times in 2011.

The entries on the list may’ve been obvious, but their relative importance wasn’t, as Bock’s team found out when it ranked the behaviours.

“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” he said. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison.”

So all hope isn’t lost if you find yourself managing people who know more than you.

9. “Collaborates Across Google”

Google recently extended its list by two when its employee survey found that effective cross-organization collaboration and stronger decision-making were important to Googlers.

Whether you’re at a large corporation, an early-stage startup, or a nonprofit, managing your team and leading it to success can depend at least in part on how well you can work with other teams.

Muse contributor Rebecca Andruszka gave some tips for improving communication with other departments for “the collective betterment of the company” (and, as she wrote, to avoid feeling like you work in Congress).

10. “Is a Strong Decision Maker”

Google’s last addition is a reminder that while it’s important for a manager to listen and share information, employees also appreciate one who can make decisions.

Muse Founder and President Alex Cavoulacos urged managers to go one step further and tell their teams not only what decision they’ve made, but also why they’ve made it. The small extra effort helps the team understand context and priorities, improve their own future decision-making, and stay engaged as well as informed.

One of the reasons this research was so effective was that it used internal data to prove what makes managers great at Google (and the company’s re:Work website provides some first steps for others who want to try to replicate its approach).

But that doesn’t mean the list isn’t helpful for people who don’t work there. After all, Google did go from being a made-up word to a household name in just a few years. People and companies now look to it as an example, not only in innovation, but also in its approach to management.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-behaviors-make-great-google-manager?ref=recently-published-2

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So, you’ve got a gap in your resume? Maybe you decided to travel, or go back to school, or maybe you looked after a sick relative, or you took time out to be a parent yourself. Whatever the reason, you’re probably feeling like your job hunt is going to be that much harder. Surely any recruiter looking at your resume is going to run a mile away.

Not necessarily.

Most employers nowadays recognize that it’s rare for anyone to stay with just one or two companies for their whole career. Plus, job security isn’t what it used to be (unfortunately).

As a recruiter, I’ve interviewed my fair share of candidates, and if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this. Think about how to present your gap. With a little foresight, you can turn a potentially tricky interview situation into a masterclass in personal branding.

1. So, You Lost Your Job
Some people find it embarrassing to talk about being laid off, but it’s unlikely to elicit anything but sympathy from your interviewer. It’s fairly commonplace these days. Just remember not to badmouth your past company or boss. Instead, focus your response on all the positive things you achieved while you were there.

Don’t Say
“That #!&$! company had it in for me from day one. I probably would’ve left anyway.”

Do Say
“Unfortunately, the company had to implement some budget cuts and, due to their ‘last-in, first-out’ policy, I was made redundant. However, I’m proud of what I achieved during my time there, something which can be reinforced by my previous manager, who’s one of my referees.”

2. So, You Quit Your Job and Traveled the World
The key with this one is to focus on how traveling contributed to your personal development, rather than how much fun you had schlepping around the world with nothing but a backpack and a smile. If you took on any paid or volunteer work during this time, concentrate your response on the additional personal and professional skills it’s given you.

Don’t Say
“Well let’s face it, partying in Thailand is a lot more fun than going to work. I’m pretty sure I had an awesome time, but I can’t actually remember most of it.”

Do Say
“I spent a number of years working at a company in a very demanding job, in which–as you’ll see from my references–I was very successful. But I’d reached a stage in my career where I wanted to focus on my personal growth. The time I spent traveling taught me a lot about how to get along with people of all ages and cultures. Now I feel more than ready to jump back into my career with renewed energy and focus and I feel this role is the ideal way to do that.”

3. So, You Went Back to School
This is perhaps the easiest one to explain. Particularly if what you did is relevant to your chosen career. Even if not, it’s easy to put positive spin on something that requires a certain level of intelligence and hard work.

Don’t say
“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I stayed in school rather than getting a job. I am still uncertain if this career path is right for me.”

Do Say
“I wanted to expand my career options by completing some training/getting a qualification in x. Now that I’ve achieved my educational goals, I’m looking forward to using my qualifications to benefit the company I work for. This role is the perfect way for me to do that because…”

4. So, You Took Time Off for Health Reasons
Brevity’s key here. The interviewer won’t expect (or want) you to go into painstaking detail about an attack of depression or a serious back operation. Prepare a straightforward explanation that you’re comfortable sharing. Mention how proud you are that you were able to overcome your health problems and then move the conversation swiftly into the present day by discussing the relevant skills you have to offer this company.

Don’t Say
“Whoa, yeah, things were pretty bad there for a while..”

Do Say
“I went through a tough time emotionally/physically due to… and I took some time out to concentrate on getting better, so I could get back to work as quickly as possible. I’m pleased that I overcame that challenge because it’s made me a stronger person but now I’m fully recovered and ready to focus on the next stage of my career.”

5. So, You Had to Take Care of Your Family
Remember, caring for the sick or elderly and raising a family are tough jobs that require a huge range of skills, which you now have in abundance. No interviewer should make you feel like your decision to prioritize family over career reflects badly on you.

If you had time to keep your skills and industry knowledge up to date, make sure you mention this. End the discussion by telling the interviewer that you’re excited to recommit yourself to your career. And remember, any company worth your time and effort should recognize what an all-round superhero you clearly are.

Don’t Say
“I live the closest to my mom so I drew the short straw in having to take care of her. I just couldn’t handle looking after her and holding down a job!”

Do Say
“After a lot of thought, I decided that my top priority was my child/elderly parent/sick spouse. However, I made sure to keep my professional skills up to date during that time. Now I’m in a position to refocus on my career and I’m looking forward to utilizing all the additional soft skills I’ve learnt.”

Lastly, remember that lying on your resume or in interview is a really bad idea. When you’re asked about a gap in your employment, take a deep breath and acknowledge the interviewer’s concern. Stay composed and don’t get defensive: it will reassure the interviewer that you’re confident and comfortable with your reasons so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be too.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/explain-resume-gap-interview-right-way?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

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You know the feeling. You’ve been selling for a few years, you’re regularly hitting your numbers, and you think you’re ready for a promotion. But sales is a labour-intensive job. The day-to-day stress can be deflating, and most of the time, it takes everything you’ve got just to meet your goal.

So, how do you get to the next level without taking your foot off the revenue pedal? Not by working an extra three hours every day—that’s only going to burn you out. Instead, do a few little things every day to flex your leadership muscles and still meet goals.

Here are five smalls tasks to incorporate into your daily workflow to build towards a promotion. And remember, it’s not about getting the position, it’s about becoming the person who deserves the position.

1. Help Your Colleagues
You might not have the title of sales leader, but by helping your co-workers you can start being a leader on your floor today. After all, a title won’t make people follow you, their trust and belief in you will—and you don’t need a title to build that.

New reps always need help when they start. Ask if you can help them ramp up and find success. It might be as simple as telling them how to access certain software or letting a new rep listen to a few of your calls. Or, offer to do a few ride-alongs.

When you have small talk with co-workers, ask them how they’re doing and really listen to their response. Then, ask to help.

A few months ago, I noticed a recently promoted colleague struggling to perform. We decided to review a few call recordings and see if we could identify gaps. Turns out, an hour of my time was enough to kick his performance into high gear.

2. Stop Eating Alone
If you’re like me, you’re glued to your computer and phone most of the day, spilling lunch on your keyboard and slurping down quick mugs of coffee on your way back from the kitchen.

Instead of staring at your screen for 10 straight hours, use lunch or coffee breaks to network. If you sell for a company with multiple sales teams, meet with reps and leadership in other teams to learn what their segments are experiencing.

Learn how they made it to where they are today. What was their first job? Did they attend any special trainings or classes? What was their big break, and what did they do once they got there? Pick someone who’s career you’d like to emulate and ask them what steps you should take to achieve the same type of growth.

3. Understand the Skills You Need
And find out how to get them. Be honest with yourself—you’ll need to know how to do more than hit an individual quota when it comes to managing a team.

If you’re a great salesperson but don’t know how to interview people, ask your boss, “If I hit 115% of goal, can I sit in on your next interview call?”

Have hiring down but need to be better at running efficient meetings? Ask for the opportunity to run your team’s weekly call review if you exceed next month’s goal. Need to work on one-on-one coaching? Ask if you can mentor someone on the sales team.

It might be hard in the beginning, but telling your boss you’d rather receive these opportunities than a bonus will show how serious you are about making it to the next level.

4. Solve a Problem
To find growth opportunities, look for company or team gaps and fill them. Is there a communication gap between sales and marketing? Find out how to fix it. Does your company have a major initiative coming up? Get ahead by solving potential pain points.

I knew someone who kept getting crushed by competitors when he was a sales rep. He was selling software that was difficult to install, and his competitors beat him every time because they had partnerships with software implementation specialists.

Instead of taking this problem to his boss and complaining, he made his own deal with an implementation company and started winning business—a lot of business.

His company took notice of the increased volume and asked for his secret. When he told them what he’d been doing, they decided to scale his partnership framework and put him in charge.

5. Always Be Learning
Leadership requires a broad skill set, and reading gives you the alternative strategies you need to excel in your daily work. If you’re not reading sales books and blogs, you should be.

Think you don’t have time? Load up on sales and leadership podcasts or audiobooks on your commute or while you’re cooking dinner.

And, if your company offers class reimbursement, take advantage and enroll in local or online seminars.

Lastly, regularly attend meetups or other networking events in your city. You can learn as much from other people facing similar challenges as you can from the pages of a book.

It’s one thing to want a promotion and another thing to work for one. Start by incorporating these five strategies into your workflow, and see your manager and co-workers take notice.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-get-a-promotion-in-sales?ref=recently-published-0

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Young classical musicians will be performing at events across the Hunter thanks to a new support program.

The money comes from Newcastle City Council’s Support for Arts and Cultural Organisations program.

The Newcastle Youth Orchestra (NYO), Catapult Dance and The Lock-Up were announced as the first recipients for the funding.

“The project based funding is designed to support the growth and vitality of Newcastle’s arts and cultural,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

NYO’s project includes over a dozen public performances over the course of its two-year grant period, professional development opportunities for its musicians, expanding its performances beyond Newcastle to Singleton and the Central Coast, and the purchase of new music.

Orchestra Manager Sally Ebert said the organisation was grateful for the opportunity.

“NYO is a relatively new organisation, we’re entering our sixth year, and this support will help us take our performances to the next level and cement our reputation in the region,” Ms Ebert said.

While the first round projects are getting underway, other Newcastle based arts and cultural organisations are invited to apply for the second round of funding, with expressions of interest now open.

The next round of funding will be allocated to two eligible organisations for projects to commence in the 2018-19 financial year. A total of $100,000 is available, subject to final adoption of council’s annual budget for 2018-19. An organisation may apply for up to $70,000 per year for up to three years.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5231313/new-funding-for-arts-and-theatre-across-the-newcastle-area/

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I feel like I need more than just a traditional resume or cover letter in order to stand out to the tech companies I want to work for. What else can I do to separate myself from the competition that’s applying to these innovative companies?

 

Dear Desperate to Stand Out,

You really hit the nail on the head. Competition’s tough across the board and tech is leading the way.

Your first step to getting noticed is to get in the right mindset. What does that mean? Don’t think like a recruiter, but more like a marketer. Your product is your experience. Here’s how a marketer would sell it.

1. Focus on Presentation
Maybe you’re not a graphic designer, but that shouldn’t be stand in the way of creating an eye-catching resume. There are plenty of tools that make design easy for everyone—many even offer templates designed by experts.

And don’t just stop there. Think of all the other points of contact a recruiter could have with you—including your LinkedIn profile, other social media handles, a blog, an online portfolio, and so on. Make sure they are all polished and contribute to a cohesive personal brand.

2. Spread the Word
A solid resume or cover letter doesn’t accomplish anything if the right people don’t see it. One surefire way to stand out is to proactively put it in front of the right people and to make it easy for them to notice it.

For example, there’s a story of a candidate who used Snapchat geo filters to advertise his portfolio in front of creative directors at the agencies he wanted to work for. You may not want to go that far, but that core idea has some merit. Think of how you can make yourself discoverable.

Don’t be intimidated. This can be something as straightforward as finding an acquaintance who works at the company and asking for a referral, or even dropping a friendly note to the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3. Make it Personal
Anything that starts with the dreaded, “To Whom it May Concern” will find it’s way to the trash can in a hurry. But, it’s hard to ignore a message when it’s highly targeted and personalized.

Start by showing that you took the time to get to know both the hiring manager and the company. Stand out from the competition by finding unique themes, attributes, projects, values, or needs you have in common and then incorporating those into your application materials.

Proving that you’ve done your homework on the role and the company empowers you to present yourself as a seamless fit, while also demonstrating your high level of interest in that opportunity.

Getting the job you want with the company you want to work for can be challenging. But, the right mindset and approach will help you reach your goals faster.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/stand-out-against-tough-job-search-competition

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Let’s be clear: It’s innovate or die out there.

Ideas are the currency that buys you a starring role in today’s workplace. But too many people prioritize ownership over adoption, and watch their ideas waste away as a result. Truth is, you’ll be more effective if you work collaboratively with a team to turn ideas into action.

Here’s why you should ditch the old ideation silo and give your best thoughts to the group.

 

Team Buy-In Makes Things Happen
Ideas are often the prelude to change, and change generally rubs people the wrong way. So, how to get around the very human—but avoidable—friction that comes from shaking things up? Go out of your way to gain your team’s buy-in on the things that may affect them.

Especially if you’re a manager, inclusive decision-making may not only get you a better outcome by melding more minds during the ideation and decision-making processes, it ensures that the team understands the motives and considerations behind new ways of working. Ultimately that means less pushback, a deeper awareness about what led to decisions in the first place, and a more evenly distributed stake in the outcome.

Whether or not you’re a manager, this is a good way to conquer any resistance to change.

 

Tap Into a More Diverse Range of Opinions
A team brainstorm may be no better than a private one if everyone in the group thinks the same way. You need to mix it up.

Study after study has shown that diverse groups—gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, age, etc.—produce better ideas and make better decisions. Cloverpop, a company that tracks companies’ decisions to help them manage the decision-making process, found in a two-year study that gender-mixed teams comprising a wide range of ages and geographic representations made better decisions than homogeneous teams 87 percent of the time.

Makes sense. People with different backgrounds have different outlooks, motivations and experiences that shape their contributions at work. Hearing their voices and ideas produces a more well-rounded exchange of thoughts vetted by a wider variety of perspectives.

You may have to do some work to get a good mix of people in the room, but it’s worth it. While you’re at it, don’t discount less obvious diversity factors, like years of experience and time at your company.

 

See How Ideas Hold Up Against Messy Human Stuff
We’re all human, and regardless of race or gender or any of the other factors above, we’re simply wired differently.

For example, think about Myers-Briggs psychological types. People have different ways of perceiving and interpreting information, different thought patterns and emotional reflexes. The idealists on your team will have different ideas than the cynics. The process-oriented people will see things differently from the gut-driven types.

Working through ideas with a mix of personalities will help you find middle ground and flesh out a plan of action that works for everyone.

 

Test Your Assumptions
Idea sharing can be a valuable vetting exercise if everyone’s encouraged to speak candidly. Ask people to poke holes in your logic, to prove why your proposal won’t work, and to name every single thing that could possibly go wrong. The harder to tear down, the better the idea. Use the feedback to reformulate your idea until you’ve patched the flaws.

If you’re a team lead, this is even more critical. Sometimes you have to design new ways of working but you’re not the best person to do so because you’re not the closest to the facts on the ground—the people who work for you are. They can probably see the peril that lurks in a new idea right off the bat, and they’ll respect you more for recognizing that and hearing what they have to say.

 

Turn Ideas Into Action
In some ways, the idea is the easy part. The real challenge is executing.

If you think of ideas not as inventions that come out of thin air but as innovative solutions to complex problems, you and your team will have a better foundation for brainstorming.

And in the end, you’ll have a much easier time activating ideas if they’re vetted by a diverse group willing to provide constructive criticism, even if it means swallowing some pride and surrendering credit for the outcome.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-your-next-big-idea-should-come-from-a-team?ref=recently-published-2

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Newcastle business owners looking for compensation to reduce the impact of light rail construction have instead been offered advice and assistance from a service that’s already available to businesses across NSW.

It was NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs’ main offer of help to more than 120 business people she addressed in Newcastle on Wednesday at an emotionally-charged meeting that ended with shouting from the floor. Ms Hobbs also offered to be part of a new working group to help businesses in the coming months and said Newcastle traders that required mediation wouldn’t face the $750 fee that the final stage usually costs.

 But several CBD business owners spoke of the hardship that they and their neighbours had faced since construction had closed large sections of Hunter Street. They called for better access, compensation and a greater effort to draw people back into the city.

Paul Murphy, who owns Churchills Carpet Court, argued that the state government should make low-interest loans or grants available to businesses, similar to what was offered in the wake of the 1989 earthquake. Traffic engineer Ron Brown said the difficulties people currently faced driving into the city was “a big obstacle”.

Ms Hobbs said the situation in Sydney, where the government was granting rent relief to businesses in the light rail construction zone because of delays, was different from the Hunter’s situation.

While she was “not ruling out” advocating for a grant, loan or compensation program for Newcastle businesses, she cautioned that extensive investigations would have to take place before she would approach NSW Treasury.

“I appreciate the fact that you believe you are going through a disrupted period in your lives – and you are,” she said. “One of the difficult things is you have to live through it.”

Ms Hobbs said business owners were entitled to four free consultations with Business Connect, a support service available across NSW that can help sort out cash-flow problems, give social media advice, provide mediation and contact landlords on behalf of business owners.

Late in the meeting when Ms Hobbs was referring to the expected benefits light rail would bring to the city, an audience member yelled: “if we’re still here”.

Another attendee followed: “Newcastle businesses will be doing great when it’s all done, but they’ll be different businesses”.

Hunter Development Corporation CEO and Revitalising Newcastle project manager Michael Cassel also took questions and gave an update on the progress of the light rail project.

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the issue of assistance for businesses was “unresolved and something we are going to have to work on”.

Mr Hawes and executive manager of business advocacy group Newcastle Now Michael Neilson – whose groups organised the meeting at the suggestion of Ms Hobbs’ office – both said the key to getting through the difficult period was working together and “looking forward, not looking back”.

In a statement after the meeting, Mr Hawes said “there was a lot of emotion in the room” and business owners had delivered a clear message.

Call for access, not more advertising

If you ask Bernie Hockings, easing the pain of light rail construction for city businesses isn’t about getting the job done quicker – it’s about doing it “better”.

Mr Hockings, who owns Metro Cycles, was one of several frustrated business owners who made their feelings clear to NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs at a meeting on Wednesday. His comments came after Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel assured the gathering that the job was being completed as quickly as possible.

Mr Hockings dismissed suggestions from the crowd that loans or grants should be available to affected businesses – he said improving access to businesses should be the top priority.

“I don’t want more advertising, I want access. Do it better, not faster,” he said. “If you paid me to get out of my lease and out of the city, I would.”

He told the Herald he had been hesitant to speak up because when he had in the past, internet trolls targeted his business’ Facebook page.

 

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5186506/if-were-still-here-newcastle-traders-tell-small-business-commissioner-of-plight/

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Being stuck in a rut sucks. If there’s one thing I could wish for you, it’s that you never have to deal with a situation that holds you back from being happy, successful, or fulfilled.

That, unfortunately, is an unrealistic wish (even more unrealistic than wishing I could turn everything I touch into chocolate). Because like failure, ruts are inevitable. And the good news about that not-so-fun fact is that they ultimately help make us stronger, smarter, and more successful individuals.

Just look at a few people in your life who you admire—how many of them went through a struggle that forced them to reevaluate their goals or path?

Since I’m someone who doesn’t love surprises (except the birthday kind), I’m going to tell you right now exactly which ruts you’ll find yourself in throughout your career.

 

1. Being Bored
No matter how much you love your job, how many hours you work, or how large the pile of to-dos is on your desk, there will come a time when you will find yourself suddenly underwhelmed, unmotivated, or unstimulated at your job for days on end.

It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your boss has stopped challenging you. Or, maybe you’re making the mistake of not seeking out challenges, or looking for exciting projects. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself in a new role that isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be.

Whatever the reason, boredom is usually pretty fixable. You can ask your boss for better projects, or see if you can chip in on what other teams are working on, or find ways to keep learning, like taking online classes or attending conferences related to your industry. If that still leaves you no better than you were before, it may be time to move on and find a role that’s more engaging.

2. Feeling Unhappy
Unhappiness is a more serious sign to keep an eye on.

Why is it so much more common than we realize? Because for one, we’re fickle beings—we’re always changing our minds and shifting our priorities. Which means the things we want in our careers now may change one, two, five years from now. That’s OK!

The other reason is because sometimes we’re really bad at recognizing when we’re miserable. We’ll place the blame on other things (woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad commute, a crazy boss) rather than accept that something bigger is affecting us.Figure out what is making you unhappy and use that information to decide what your next steps will be.

Maybe it means transferring roles internally, changing companies, or switching industries entirely. Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe it’s talking to your boss about an overwhelming workload. Or asking your co-worker to stop talking to you when you’re working at your desk.

Whatever the cause, take the time to identify it and start making moves to solve it.

3. Doubting Your Career Path
Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find yourself satisfied in the same role in the same industry throughout your entire career.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unsure about what you want to do next—even if you’ve spent 10 years in your role and are now doubting everything. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change, whatever that means for you. The even better news is that you don’t have to have it all figured out when you’re 30, 40, 50.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” Don’t be finished.

 

4. Feeling Like Nothing’s Going Right
Ever have those months when nothing’s going right? You keep messing up basic tasks, your manager keeps sending your work back with heavy revisions, your co-workers keep shutting down your ideas?

It could be your fault—if you’re job searching, for example, and getting nowhere, it might be worth reconsidering you’re approach.

But it could also be due to external forces, like a company restructuring or a bad boss. If so, it’s worth figuring out whether these can be fixed, and if not, what steps you can take to better set yourself up for success.

 

5. Having to Deal With a (Big) Change
Your company just went through a huge merger, half your department got laid off, you got laid off, they brought in a new boss, or oyou’ve moved to an entirely new city for a job.

One day, something major will happen that will shake up how you do things and think about your career. While it’s practically impossible to prepare for something like this, remember that it’s common. And, that it’s salvageable. And, that the feelings of loss and doubt and frustration and sadness won’t last forever. And, that you’ll come out stronger and more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. If you don’t believe me, read this.

 

The last thing I want to emphasize is that it’s easy to feel alone when you’re in these ruts, or that no one understands what you’re going through. But I can confidently tell you that everyone experiences these. Why else would I write this article?

So, don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in one—if you don’t, you’ll regret not making a change sooner. And if you still feel like the only one, chat with people just like you (and get some reassuring advice) on our Stuck in a Rut discussions platform.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/career-ruts-everyone-will-get-into-some-point?ref=recently-published-1

 

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The man in charge of rolling out Newcastle’s new bus network says it will be a “quantum step up” for commuters in the city.

Mark Dunlop took over from Keolis Downer Hunter chief executive Campbell Mason in December after 33 years in South Australia’s public transport system.

On Sunday, he will take the wheel as Keolis Downer’s Newcastle Transport launches an overhaul of bus routes and timetables six months after the state government privatised the network.

Mr Dunlop, who moved to Newcastle in September, said his team had drawn on customer and driver feedback, Opal data and the company’s Australian and international experience to devise the network.

“Overall, from what I’ve looked at this network, I’m very confident that the package overall is a quantum step up,” he said.

“The network here hasn’t changed since 2008, and, whilst I haven’t been in Newcastle for that long, but with any community the dynamics and geography and social parameters change over that time.

“Something that traditionally ran down the street in 1953 is going to change.

“Yes, will there be issues? Will there be people trying to work through it? It’s a big change. We understand that. We understand it can be daunting.”

Some commuters have complained about losing direct bus services to the CBD and other key destinations, such as shopping centres.

Mr Dunlop said the new network was based on routes feeding into “spines” of high-frequency services, which would require more transfers for some commuters.

“It’s all about high-frequency routes and feeding into those and giving more travel options. There are people who will have to change a bus, but that’s all been built in and timetabled.

“It’s not hop off a bus and wait 20 minutes.

“It’s all been timetabled to connect and you’re on a spine that’s with a 15-minute frequency.

“Our operations team and designers have worked hard to make sure that all meshes together.”

The company, which also runs bus networks in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, has drawn flak from Newcastle commuters and the government for underpaying drivers and cancelling services.

The Newcastle Herald reported this week that on-time running statistics for buses had deteriorated in the three months after Keolis Downer took over, a problem the company attributed to “Supercars, school formals and King Street congestion”.

Mr Dunlop would not disclose the firm’s targets for increased patronage on the new network but was confident the timetables had been “appropriately timed to real conditions”.

“I think all of us have to acknowledge what everyone’s been dealing with in traversing Newcastle,” he said. “That’s a matter of life, but the new network has taken that into account.”

He said the company would continue to adapt the network based on customer feedback.

Keolis Downer will have “travel concierges” and pink-shirted customer service staff on board buses and ferries from Sunday to help commuters.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5164294/keolis-downer-says-bus-changes-big-step-ahead-for-newcastle/

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Worried what your boss thinks of you—if they like you, trust you, and think your contributions match up to their expectations?

If so, you’re not alone. Considering you’ll end up spending 10 years of your life at work, getting along with your boss is not only critical to succeeding in your career, but matters for your overall happiness and engagement at the office.

With that in mind, here are three easy ways to develop an effective, productive, and mutually rewarding relationship with your manager (even if they’re a tough cookie to crack):

1. Stop Using Email to Have Important Conversations
Is email your go-to forum for everything? In certain cases, it could be hurting your relationship. Even if it’s your manager’s favorite medium, it’s time to break the pattern of always relying on this.

Opt for in-person meetings if the conversation’s beyond a task or agenda-setting item—for example, if you’re asking for something or apologizing for a mistake. Not only is it just polite, it’ll most likely lead to a more productive discussion and help ensure you and your boss are truly on the same page.

“All of us are the worst possible version of ourselves in digital media,” adds Celeste Headlee, journalist and author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. “We might think we are persuasive in email, but scientifically, we are so much more persuasive in person.”

2. See Your Relationship With Your Boss as a Two-Way Street
Too often, we see ourselves as the executors and our managers as the creators of work, forgetting that our manager is also responsible for their own assignments.

So, if you want to immediately improve your relationship, ask them this simple question: “What can I do for you?” By opening up this conversation, you open the door for them to delegate projects they may not have otherwise considered. And, taking on stretch assignments can improve your visibility and lead to career advancement.

3. Be a Good Recipient of Feedback (and Ask Pointed Questions)

Get in the mindset that you want actual, honest feedback—and be physically ready for it.
Even if the feedback seems insensitive, kindly explain how the approach hurt your feelings, but then ask questions to get at the root of the problem, making it clear you really do want to improve. If you’re a good feedback recipient, your boss will be more likely to share valuable advice with you, which will ultimately help you grow.

And, if you’re finding that you only getting positive feedback, ask your manager to be more specific, or try mentioning something you wish you’d handled differently.

“If you open a dialogue with self-reflection, you give your boss—who might be uncomfortable giving you criticism—the opportunity to go on the learning journey with you,” advises Denise Cox, VP of Technical Services at Cisco Systems.

Finally, don’t wait for periodic reviews to get constructive feedback. If you can, ask your manager to schedule time to meet one-on-one weekly or monthly.

Research by Gallup shows that 50% of employees leave their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career,” which means building the right kind of relationship with your boss can make a real difference to your job satisfaction and career progression. Plus, it’ll make your friends and family find you much more enjoyable to be around outside of work.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-creating-productive-relationship-boss?ref=recently-published-0

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The prospect of returning to work after years away from my career was daunting. I faced a host of challenges: a lack of recent and relevant experience, outdated corporate skills, and uncertainty about my Baby Boomer place in a Millennial-focused world.

I still thought, however, based upon my early career success and an advanced degree in my field, that I’d get a great offer in no time. It didn’t happen. My strategy—jumping into a role that was the wrong fit (and later leaving), followed by picking up consulting gigs here and there and then trying to explain it all in a resume with gaps and changes—was failing. I needed a strategic shift.

So I changed everything, from how I was approaching the job search process to my end goal. As a result, I applied for and landed a returnship, with Goldman Sachs. (If you’ve never heard of it, a returnship is an internship for people returning to the workforce.) It enabled me to add current and substantive experience to my resume, and reset my career path so I could once again move forward.

Here are the six most important lessons I learned in my quest to get back on track.

1. Update Your Online Presence
Being a somewhat tech-savvy boomer, I had a LinkedIn profile.

But too many people have ones that are lackluster or outdated. If that’s you, place this at the top of your to-do list. Both recruiters and hiring managers use the site to find and screen candidates.

I left off dates for my degrees to minimize age bias, and truncated my experience to the past 10 to 15 years (I recommend you do the same!).

2. Network—Always
You may think that networking is just for young professionals who need to meet new people. That’s simply not true. It’s beneficial regardless of your age.

For example, I had a friend put in a good word for me, and I know that helped me to be considered for the role at Goldman.

Here are four things you should start doing (if you’re not already):

Periodically touch base with professional contacts. Be memorable by sending a personal note and an interesting article once a month.
Let the other person know that you respect their time by being specific when you have an “ask.” Say (or write): “I’d really appreciate your perspective—can we speak/meet for 15 minutes?” And then stick with that time commitment.
Extend your network. Ask your contacts to connect you with their contacts.
Follow-up with a thank you note, every time. Take it to the next level by offering to be of help if they ever need your perspective or expertise.

3. Make it Easy for People to Help You
If you’re asking someone to refer you, give them everything they need, so they can simply send along your details.

So, if you’re applying to a role at their company, this includes the job name, job number, your resume, and bullets outlining what skills and experience you’d bring that match the requirements for the role.

People are busy, and so if you give them a complete email they can simply forward, it’s a lot more likely it’ll get passed on.

4. Refine Your Elevator Pitch
When you’ve had a lot of experience, it’s important (though often hard) to be clear about your objectives.

What are your areas of expertise?

What type of role are you looking for?

It’ll be tempting to rattle off everything you’ve done in the past, or say, “I can really do anything.” But a long speech can be overwhelming for listeners—and can make you look overqualified—and unfocused. So, cut it down and zero in on one thing you want the other person to come away with. My rule of thumb is that it should be no longer than 30 seconds.

5. Practice Self-Care
Unreturned emails, closed doors, and rejection all sting. But, it happens to pretty much everyone, especially when you’re outside the “sweet spot” of hiring prospects.

There’ll be surprises for better and worse: People that you’d have bet would be right there to help aren’t; and people you barely knew will do all they can.

So, it’s all the more important to be kind to yourself: go the gym, meet friends, and see a movie! That stuff may seem frivolous when you’re job searching, but it’ll help you feel happier—and keep you from letting your identity be wrapped up in your professional life.

6. Pay it Forward
Once you’ve landed in your new role, do what you can to help a colleague or friend of a friend. It could be at work, like offering to mentor junior employees.

Or, it could be that someone contacts you seeking your advice. Remember how you felt when you were job searching and do your best to find the time!

And of course, when you’re hiring in the future, give those who’ve had winding career paths a second look.

After my 10-week returnship program ended, I was asked to stay on for another year—and I did, happily. When my role recently came to an end, leaving Goldman Sachs was bittersweet.

But one thing that made me feel better is that I knew I was ready to find my next, more permanent position. On this search, I have not only a solid and recent accomplishment to leverage, but all of the lessons I’ve learned the last time around, as well as some new and treasured Millennial friends.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-6-best-job-search-lessons-i-learned-after-10-years-away-best-of?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

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Whether you consider this fact disheartening or motivating, you can’t deny its truth: You probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with anyone else.

When you’re in the office at least 40 hours per week, the people you work with become a big part of your life. So it pays to have solid relationships with them.

Not only does that give you a strategic advantage in the workplace (hey, it never hurts to be well-liked!), it also makes work that much more enjoyable.

If you don’t consider yourself particularly close with your colleagues, don’t worry—cultivating a more caring and supportive atmosphere at work doesn’t need to be a complicated undertaking.

Here are four super simple things you can do to show your co-workers that you care and, as a result, make your office a place that you look forward to spending time in.

1. Offer Help

Think of the last time you were struggling at work. Maybe you were swamped and overwhelmed, or perhaps you were stuck on a challenging project.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone had stopped by your desk and provided some advice? Or even offered to take something off your plate? Wouldn’t that alone have made you feel so much more valued and supported?

Absolutely. So, why not do that same thing for a colleague? When you see someone who’s stressed or confused, just ask: Is there anything I can do to help?

Even if your co-worker doesn’t actually take you up on your offer, just the fact that you recognized the challenge and wanted to do something about it goes a long way in fostering a more empathetic culture.

2. Get Personal

No, you don’t need to get too personal—after all, you’re still in the office.

But, even though you’re in a work setting, aim to forge a relationship with the whole person—not just a job title.

This means that the more you can get to know about your colleagues’ interests and passions outside the office, the easier it will be to connect with them on a more human level.

Whether it’s asking about his marathon training or admiring her desktop background featuring a photo from her recent vacation, don’t neglect to strike up the occasional small talk. Doing so will demonstrate your investment in them, while also giving you common ground that you can use to connect even further.

3. Provide Recognition

Everybody loves to get a pat on the back for a job well done—that’s universal. But gratitude and adequate recognition can easily fall by the wayside when we’re wrapped up in the chaos of our everyday lives.

Step up and be that colleague who always applauds the hard work of your team members. Maybe that involves sending a quick Slack message to let her know how much you enjoyed her presentation. Or, perhaps it means highlighting your co-worker’s contributions when your boss commends you for your own hard work on a recent project.

These sorts of comments might seem small, but they can make a huge impact when it comes to helping others in your office feel valued.

4. Do Something Nice

Little acts of kindness won’t go unnoticed—particularly in the office. So, when’s the last time you did something nice just because you felt like it?

Go ahead and pick up some bagels on your way into work one morning (when in doubt, free food is always effective). When you’re heading out for lunch, ask that colleague who looks insanely busy if you can get anything for him.

Your co-workers are sure to appreciate those little niceties and treats that you sneak in every now and then. Plus, as an added bonus, doing these sorts of things makes you feel good too!

These four strategies are great for showing your co-workers that you actually care about them. And they’re incredibly simple and take almost zero effort on your part.

So, if you’re eager to forge better, more supportive relationships with your colleagues (and if you aren’t, you definitely should be!), put these four tips to work. You’re sure to become one of the most-liked people in your office—while simultaneously cultivating a more positive atmosphere for your entire team.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-easy-things-you-can-do-to-show-your-coworkers-you-care?ref=recently-published-1

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Meetings are expensive. Not because you’re charging people to attend (obviously), but because they use people’s time; time that could be spent doing lots of other revenue-generating things. In fact, one study found that a recurring meeting of mid-level managers was costing one company $15 million a year!.

$15 million a year!

Not to mention, you also need to take into account the prep time as well as the context-switching time. Professor Gloria Mark at University of California, Irvine found that it takes an average of 25 minutes for a worker to return to their original task after an interruption.

Knowing these stats means that when I’m debating whether I need to call a meeting, I ask myself what it’s worth (literally). Is this the best use of everyone’s time, mine included? And not so infrequently, the answer is “nope.”

So, what to do then? Easy! Send a simple but critical email to keep everyone informed and on track.

What to Include

There are three key things you need to cover:

Logistics: why the meeting was canceled and, if it’s a recurring meeting, what to expect for next time
Action: any critical action items completed or pending
Information: any updates or general FYIs for the group

Note: Don’t fall into the trap of putting the action items and logistics last. Having the most critical information higher up ensures that it’s seen when your colleagues skim their email. Oh, and a bonus tip for you: Put people’s names in bold if they need to do anything to make triple sure they notice.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/turn-meeting-into-an-email-template

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The University of Newcastle (UON) has attracted $12.2m in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding to investigate some of the nation’s and world’s greatest health challenges.

Announced today by the Assistant Minister for Health, the Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the NHMRC funding for Newcastle will support 17 research projects and three fellowships.

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said the NHMRC’s support for Newcastle’s researchers was testament to the University’s reputation for conducting world-class research.

“The University of Newcastle boasts some of the most accomplished, innovative and internationally-renowned minds in health and medicine,” Professor Hall said.

“Today’s announcement by the Australian Government bolsters Newcastle’s outstanding research performance in stroke and fertility, and acknowledges our strengths in research delivery across respiratory diseases, cancers and, mental health and substance use.”

“Research carried out at UON benefits not only the Hunter community, but also creates impact both nationally, and worldwide. Today’s announcement of almost $12 million in new funding will allow our academics to continue to lead the way in health and medical research.”

The NHMRC funding announcement includes support for the following projects:

$1.4m to Professor Amanda Baker and her team to develop Quitlink: Accessible smoking cessation support for people living with severe and enduring mental illness. This project will use the peer workforce, whose development in mental health services is a national priority, to bridge the persistent gap between mental health services and Quitline.
$385,000 to Dr Chantal Donovan and her team to target remodelling in COPD, chronic asthma and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). These diseases have enormous socioeconomic burdens in worldwide, and are amongst the most common, debilitating lung diseases, characterised by a loss of lung function leading to severe breathing difficulties.
$870,000 to Associate Professor Christopher Dayas and his team: Cognitive inflexibility and the development of pathological habits in brain diseases.
$1.1m to Professor Murray Cairns and his team to examine complete genomics for mechanistic insight and precision treatments of schizophrenia.
$640,000 to Professor Murray Cairns to investigate the network biomarkers of traumatic stress resilience and sensitivity. This project will explore why some individuals exposed to trauma respond adversely while others do not. Traumatic stress is a significant precursor for chronic mental and physical illness, which collectively represent a substantial burden of disease globally.
$650,000 to Associate Professor Brett Graham and his team who will determine how a recently discovered network of nerve cells in the spinal cord contributes to extreme, persistent pain, and explore how it could be targeted to provide pain relief.
$1m to Associate Professor Christopher Grainge and his team to investigate whether bronchoconstriction (airway narrowing) worsens asthma.
$925,000 to Professor Philip Hansbro and his team explain the role and potential for therapeutic targeting of toll-like-receptor 7 (TLR7) in emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
$905,000 to Professor Phil Hansbro and his team to define the roles and targeting interferon-epsilon as a new therapy for influenza in asthma and COPD.
$820,000 to Dr Gerard Kaiko and his team to investigate functional characterisation of novel metabolites in asthma and identification of new biomarkers.
$175,000 to Dr Heather Lee and her team to target cancer-initiating cells with DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitors, which may lead to the prevention of cancer progression.
$405,000 to Associate Professor Joerg Lehmann and his team: First ever system to continuously and directly measure the internal anatomy to guide breast cancer radiation treatment under deep inspiration breath hold.
$530,000 to Professor Brett Nixon and his team for their project: Elucidating the role of epididymosomes in the transfer of fertility-modulating proteins and regulatory classes of RNA to maturing spermatozoa.
$450,000 to Dr Kirsty Pringle and her team to explore the factors that inhibit the trigger of preterm birth, the single largest cause of death in infants. This may lead to the identification of novel treatments that have the potential to delay the onset of preterm labour.
$510,000 to Associate Professor Rohan Walker and his team to investigate paralysis of microglial (a type of cell located throughout the brain and spinal cord) in post-stroke neurodegeneration (SND): help or hindrance?
$490,000 for Associate Professor Rohan Walker to assess stroke induced disturbances in glymphatic clearance: implications for brain repair?
$675,000 Professor Xu Dong Zhang for their project: Role of lncRNA IDH1-AS1 in regulating c-Myc driven-glycolysis and tumorigenesis.
The NHMRC also announced three Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships to UON researchers:

Associate Professor Gillian Gould, School of Medicine and Public Health ($180,000)
Mrs Rachel Sutherland, School of Health Sciences ($180,000)
Dr Kate Bartlem, School of Psychology ($180,000) – offered under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Next Generation Clinical Researchers Program from the MRFF Health Special Account.
Professor Christopher Grainge is a Staff Specialist in Respiratory & General Medicine at Hunter New England Health. Dr Rachel Sutherland is Nutrition Manager at HNE Population Health. Dr Kate Bartlem is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at HNE Population Health.

Source: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/$12.2m-to-support-newcastles-vital-health-and-medical-research

 

1

Fact: Working with other people is hard. Even when you like them.

And over the years, I’ve tried different strategies to improve relationships (or, at the very least, prevent myself from freaking out in people’s faces).

But then, last year, I started going to therapy to deal with a situation outside the office. And I was surprised to realise that a lot of the advice I was getting could be applied to the workplace, too.

In fact, by using these therapist-approved strategies, I’m able to deal with difficult work situations much better now. So, before you let co-workers drive you up another wall, here are three new things to try.

1. Validate the Person’s Feelings Before You Do Anything Else

You know that passive aggressive co-worker who drives you nuts? Dealing with their behaviour can be super annoying!

Now, most of us don’t need therapy to recognise that we don’t have any control over others’ moods or behavior. But, instead of getting irritated about it, my therapist taught me a trick that makes that reality way easier to accept. All I have to do is imagine why someone might be acting the way they are, identify how I would feel if I were in their position, and then validate that feeling.

For example, if a client asks me to turn a project in sooner than we’d initially agreed and then gets annoyed when I say no, I’ll first try to identify why they might be making this request. Maybe their boss is putting pressure on them. If that were me, I’d be feeling really stressed out. And, I’d be disappointed if my request for an accelerated deadline were turned down. So, I’ll tell my client, “I imagine that this is probably disappointing for you.”

I know it sounds a little hokey, but this works wonders. By trying to empathise (even if I think the person’s wrong) and then validating what they’re feeling, I’m able to shift my attitude from frustration to empathy.

And, the client feels heard, too. Nine times out of 10, they’ll calmly reply, “Yes, I do feel disappointed.” It’s like identifying the feeling takes the hot air out of the situation. I’m then able to reiterate that I can’t accommodate an earlier deadline without things escalating.
2. Say What You’re Actually Thinking—and Say it Clearly

When I used to find myself in an awkward situation, I’d usually scramble to make things less awkward as quickly as possible. This usually meant bending over backward to make the other person happy, with no regard for my needs or feelings.

Now, I use a simple formula that I learned in therapy to clearly and concisely make my point:

the change I’d like + why the current option isn’t working + why my preference is better

For example, I had a client who said she hated my proposal. I’m perfectly fine with constructive feedback, but telling me you hate something doesn’t help me at all. So I said, “I’d like us to communicate with each other more respectfully because telling me you hate something doesn’t feel constructive. I’d prefer if you provided me with specific feedback about what isn’t working for you because that’ll help me to to deliver the work product you’re looking for.”

She immediately apologised and we were able to get on the same page from there.

As I’ve become more comfortable telling people what does or doesn’t work for me, being more assertive has gotten less scary. Even better, it’s made my working relationships stronger and more honest.
3. Set Boundaries

I’m a recovering people pleaser with a serious compulsion to say “No problem!” without even thinking. This usually leads to me feeling stressed and resentful, which isn’t good for me (or fair to my co-workers).

Getting comfortable with setting boundaries has made a huge difference. When a client asks me to sit in on a last-minute meeting or my boss wants me to work late, I now pause and consider whether or not it’s something I am willing and able to take on. If it’s not, I simply say, “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.” If it makes, sense, I’ll offer up a reason or an alternative solution. But sometimes, no just means no.

I’ve learned that setting boundaries can also be a proactive exercise. I’ll often tell new clients up front that I don’t check emails over the weekend or that I need a full 24 hours to respond to new requests. Managing expectations and setting boundaries from the start helps me to avoid annoying or uncomfortable situations in the future.

In no way am I suggesting that you should start saying no to every request from your boss, or setting ridiculous boundaries with your co-workers. These relationships are two-way streets, and you’ll sometimes need to bend to accommodate others.

I also understand that not everyone can turn down their manager when she asks them to work late or to avoid email all weekend—everyone’s boundaries will be different. But, learning about these strategies has made it way easier for me to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations, so I’m pretty sure that they’ll work for you, too.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-strategies-thatll-make-working-with-people-easier-because-its-hard?ref=carousel-slide-2

1

You’ve likely heard the advice to add numbers to your resume bullets. It helps recruiters really picture the impact you’ve made in your position, and it frankly just sounds more impressive.

See for yourself: Which person would you hire?

Person 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project, and developing computerized material take-off sheets.

Person 2: Initiated and managed tracking systems used for the Green District water decontamination project, saving $125,000 on the overall project through a 30% decrease of staff allocation time.

Exactly.

Of course, I know what you might be thinking: Sounds great, but what if I just don’t really work with hard numbers? Maybe you’re in a role that requires softer skills, or maybe you don’t have hard data or sales reports to pull from.

That’s OK! Truthfully, no matter what you do, you can add some numbers and data to your resume to give it that extra touch.

Here are three ways to quantify your experience without being in an inherently quant-y field:

1. Range

Not knowing the exact figure for things is often a big deterrent for using numbers in resumes. But one way to overcome this is to use a range.

It’s perfectly fine to not know exactly how many clients you see a month or how many calls you take a week, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still quantify it.

Give it your best estimate, and the range will show that there is a bit of leeway. And, of course, focus on your impact.

2. Frequency

Now that you know it’s fine to use a range, one of the easiest ways to add some numbers is to include how frequently you do a particular task (after all, that’s a number that applies to pretty much everyone).

This is particularly helpful in illustrating your work in high-volume situations—a hiring manager will be able to see just how much you can handle.

3. Scale

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Employers across the board care about money—and saving it. Including the frequency of your actions give a great sense of scale, but an even more eye-catching way to do this is to talk about the bottom line.

Think about all the things you do that ultimately save your company money, whether it’s streamlining a procedure, saving time, or negotiating discounts with vendors. Multiply those actions by how frequently you do them, and pop them into your resume bullets (remembering, again, that rough numbers are OK).

Numbers make such a huge difference in resumes—no matter what your work involves.

So, the next time you’re polishing your resume, try adding a few numbers to quantify your work and see how they really drive home the impact you’re capable of making.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-quantify-your-resume-bullets-when-you-dont-work-with-numbers?ref=carousel-slide-1

1

A Facebook post has sparked a storm of nostalgic excitement among the Newcastle community.

Could beloved restaurant Big Al’s be reopening in Newcastle?

That was the promise from a mystery hospitality operator on Facebook on Saturday.

Thousands of Novocastrians were ecstatic with the news, but no further information has been released.

Fairfax Media attempted to make contact with the anonymous poster and received this message in response.

“Thank you for you interest in the return of the iconic Big Al’s Family Restaurant. The social media response to our post has been overwhelming, with a reach of over 180,000 people. We won’t be releasing any further details at this early stage. However, the relaunch of Big Al’s will involve experienced hospitality operators, carefully recreating the sandwich and subs which everyone has come to know and love. We will be releasing more details over the coming months for a relaunch in the first half of 2018. Thank you.”

It looks like the popular family restaurant, which closed in October 2006, really is due for a comeback.

The burgers, the fries, the little red plastic baskets and all. It is almost too much to handle!
Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5006007/big-als-could-be-in-for-a-big-comeback/

1

You’ve waited months for this moment—the chance to prove your worth to your boss and get a leg up in your career.

Let me break it to you: You won’t get what you want if you don’t prepare properly. In fact, your review will only go well if you get organized and collect all your information before the talk.

So, with that in mind, here’s what you need to do the night of your next performance review to put yourself in a great position for a productive conversation that’ll get you ahead in your career and get you on your boss’ good side:

1. Learn How to Respond to Feedback

You know not to yell (right?). But do you know there are ways to respond to negative feedback that actually make you look good?

You’re going to want to pay attention to the following because it’s possible you’ll receive some not-so-great feedback. And even if you’ve been doing fabulous work, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to receive some form of constructive criticism (no one’s perfect, after all).

First, as Muse Career Coach Emily Liou points out in an article about handling negative feedback, own up to your mistakes and be ready to offer a solution or show initiative to do better.

And, says Muse Writer Rich Moy, avoid blurting out things like “I didn’t realize that was wrong” or “It won’t happen again!”

2. Collect Your Accomplishments

Think you deserve a raise?

It’s so important to state your case by listing out your accomplishments (including how much money you’ve made for the company, the skills you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the projects you’ve completed) over the past six months or year.

3. Review Your Current Goals

Did you set goals at your last review? Or, do you have some personal ones of your own?

Either way, reviews are a great time to look back at what you were hoping to accomplish and see if you, well, actually did them.

If you met your goals, what did you learn along the way? Which ones are you most proud of? How can you build on them in the future?

And if you didn’t achieve them, how far did you get? Did your priorities change? What held you back? What can you do differently going forward?

Jot down some notes to discuss further with your manager when you meet. Which leads me to…

4. Set Some New Goals

Now that you know how far you’ve come, now you can decide where you want to go.

Do this by setting some realistic, yet ambitious goals. Consider the following:

What skills would you like to master by your next review?
What responsibilities do you want to take on?
What projects are you passionate about pursuing?
What weaknesses would you like to improve upon?
What goals would you like to continue to build on?
What role do you want to shoot for one to three years from now? What can you do now to put yourself in the running?

5. Prepare Any Lingering Questions

Especially if one-on-one time is rare in your office, reviews are super helpful for getting some of your most burning questions answered. It could be about the status of your team or department, or the goals of the company, or possibilities for career growth (like budget to get some professional development help).

6. Prepare for a Tough Conversation

Maybe your boss will bring up some serious concerns. Maybe you even seen a performance improvement plan coming. Or, maybe it’ll be a normal review on your manager’s end, but you’re going to have to raise your hand to discuss bigger issues.

For example, now’s a good time to talk about the fact that you’re bored in your role or you’d like to consider an internal transfer.

Having these conversations is hard! But being prepared makes it a little easier.

7. Pat Yourself on the Back

Finally, give yourself some credit for making it to this big milestone. Sure, it happens every year, and you may not even receive anything special except for a simple “Great work” from your manager, but you’ve made it through what was probably a busy, exhausting, or even tumultuous period—look back on it, pat yourself on the back for everything awesome you did, and know you’re going to kick even more butt after this review.

 

Now all you have to do is double-check your review time (in case you have a jam-packed day), lay out a slightly-nicer-than-usual outfit (it doesn’t hurt), and get some beauty sleep.

And no matter what happens, because you’ve prepared, you’re sure to handle it like a champ.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-things-to-do-the-night-before-a-review-if-you-want-it-to-go-well?ref=carousel-slide-1

 

1

Can you get me a job at your company, please?

Do you know the CEO—and can I talk to her?

Want to see my resume? It’s awesome, I swear.

These are the things we’d like to say to people when we’re networking, but for obvious reasons can’t.

So, the question always becomes, what can we ask?

I recently read Molly Beck’s book Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence. And in it, she breaks down the art of networking into bite-sized steps—one of which talks about good versus bad favours.

The concept is simple: Some things you choose to ask your network are better than others. And this means the difference between someone wanting to help you out and someone wanting nothing to do with your request.

If you read the quotes above and cringed at the thought of saying them to someone you knew, you already know what a bad favour is.

So, what makes a good favour?

“The key to a great favour is to ask a particular, definable question whose answer cannot be found on Google and can be answered easily in a paragraph or so via email,” says Beck in the book.

Let’s break that down a bit more:

 

It Should Be Specific

Your ask should be tailored to the person and not super open-ended. Beck gives the example “Can I pick your brain?” as both being way too vague and asking too much of someone (and for free, mind you). You’re better off saying something like, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into finance like yourself?”

 

It Should Be Non-Googleable

Don’t ask someone a question that you can look up yourself. Beck uses “What open jobs does your company have?” as an example that you could easily search on your own time.

 

It Should Be Short

Many of your requests will be sent over email to someone who’s already pretty busy, Beck points out, so they should be able to answer it without spending hours crafting a response.

 

Now of course, if the person seems excited to chat with you, you can ask to meet in person. But, Beck suggests, “If and when people say yes, keep in mind that you are working around their schedule, not yours, and you should be traveling to go to a place that’s easy for them to get to. Additionally, when you do meet for coffee or even a meal, you should be paying for them.”

Finally, the author says, every favour should come with a gift. Because this person is going out of their way for you, you should do the same—meaning you should include at least two beneficial things in your initial reach-out. Now, before you worry that you have to send a fruit basket and a bottle of wine every time you ask someone to grab coffee, don’t. It can be as simple as a compliment, a book recommendation, or an introduction to someone you think they would benefit from knowing.

(But if they end up helping you out in a big way, you might want to send them one of these thank you items.)

One of the most memorable favours I’ve ever gotten asked was when a reader of my blog emailed me to say that her friend was a big fan of my writing, and would I consider doing a birthday shout-out on the blog to her? It made my day that she and her friend thought so highly of my blog, and it was such a cool way to make someone feel special on their birthday. Of course I said yes. That super-unique favour opened up a great line of communication between all three of us.

Your request may be simpler (or, even more complicated) than this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll make it that much easier for someone to say yes—and be excited about it, too.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-networking-expert-on-how-to-ask-people-for-career-favors-and-get-a-yes?ref=carousel-slide-3

2

A messenger from another planet was spreading the gospel of change in Newcastle two weeks ago.

Her name: Kaila Colbin.

Her message: prepare yourself for great technological change.

Colbin is an ambassador for Singularity University, a Silicon Valley think tank and business incubator that aims to educate people about technology change in society.

Singularity University has planned its first Australian Summit for February 2018 in Sydney, with several speakers covering topics on technology and change.

Colbin, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, curated the organisation’s first summit in New Zealand.

Among her chief interests is artificial intelligence (AI).

“I’m interested in technological unemployment. What are we doing about jobs, that are being replaced by AI,” Colbin says. “Do we have systems, processes and structures in place to retrain people for new jobs. Are we looking effectively at all the possible policy responses to that, in terms of minimum basic income or affirmative action for humans, or a whole range of possibilities we can be thinking about now.”

Among the topics that come into that discussion: provision of a universal basic income and continuous learning.

Colbin points to the notion of society changing its lifestyle model – “Right now, the first third of our life is education, the second third is work and the third is retirement. We have to move away from that model and towards a model where we take those things and we slice them up into thin slices and we shuffle them together.

“So we do a bit of education and them we deploy that out in the real world, then we do some more education and we deploy that in the real world.

“So instead of you’ve learned to be your thing . . . you are that thing for the rest of your life, it is a model of continuous adaptation for the rest of your life because we don’t know what jobs are going to look like 10 or 15 years from now.”

Colbin was keen to visit Newcastle, even for day, because she had heard much about it from the ReNew Newcastle project created by Marcus Westbury. Colbin is heavily involved in the regeneration of Christchurch.

She called it “one of the most fascinating cities to live in in the world”. And acknowledged it has much in common with Newcastle.

“We have similarities in collective sense – our unique position, our scale, the society that we have, the kind of people we have. We have the opportunity to reimagine the way we want to live together in a new way,” Colbin says. “We have the opportunity to be innovative in a way that larger cities struggle with.”

Colbin addressed several groups in Newcastle in her short stay, encouraging attendance the Singular University Australia Summit, where technology and change will be front and centre on the agenda.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4953443/finding-our-way-into-the-future/

1

Your first few weeks at a new job can be exhilarating. It’s often fast-paced and full of brand new things that can reignite a spark that you lost. After all, that might’ve been your reason for looking for this new gig in the first place.

But, it can also be overwhelming. And when you look at all the meetings on your calendar, you might think that your goal is to survive it. You can always go back and re-learn anything you missed this week, right?

And in a lot of ways, that’s true. Nobody expects you to master everything you learn during your first month, especially when it comes to understanding the finer details about your company. But there is an important question you should ask in every meeting you have (when it makes sense, of course):

How can my work make your life easier?

You might be thinking, “I barely know where the coffee machine is! How can I think about helping anyone else right now?” And that’s totally fair. But on my first day at my current job, my boss suggested that I set up meetings with everyone on my team and ask each of them this question. It was terrifying, and if I’m being honest, I really didn’t want to do it. But I didn’t want to disappoint my new boss more, so I got over my fear and piped up.

And when I did, I was pleasantly surprised by how it went.

Some people had really strong opinions. Others told me that they hadn’t even thought about it, but appreciated that I opened the conversation with that question. But what I ultimately learned was that your intro meetings don’t have to be a one-way street.

As much as you have to learn, it’s important to remember that you were hired to bring something different to the table—and you can do that as early as your first week on the job.

Again, I’m not going to pretend that this won’t be uncomfortable. I also understand that in some meetings, this will be seen as completely out-of-context. But when the opportunity presents itself and it feels like the next natural thing to say—challenge yourself to say it.

And then, before you worry you’re putting too much on your plate, know that you can respond with, “That’s really interesting to hear, once I’m completely onboarded, I’d love to find more time to discuss how can I start making this happen.”

I know. Asking this question might not make your first month any easier, but it’ll make the exact right impression on your new team. Not to mention, it’ll set you up to prioritize your tasks correctly. So take a deep breath and do it!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-question-to-ask-when-youre-new-at-work?ref=carousel-slide-3

1

The Hunter Region’s lack of highly-paid jobs could be greatly improved with a much bigger injection of state infrastructure funding, a leading academic says.

This lack of higher incomes meant less consumption and less opportunity, University of Western Sydney Professor Phillip O’Neill said

Only 6 per cent of Hunter residents earn more than $2000 a week, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

The Hunter is slightly ahead of its regional neighbour, the Central Coast, an area where 5 per cent of citizens earn that kind of money.

In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, 17 per cent of people make more than $2000 a week.

Professor O’Neill, who teaches geography and urban studies, said there was an absence in the Hunter of “very highly paid professional services occupations, in particular law and finance”.

The decline of heavy industry like BHP and the sale of coal mines to global corporations added to a lack of senior positions, he said.

An exodus of senior positions in the region’s public sector since the 1980s and 1990s was also a factor.

Professor O’Neill said the Hunter had its positives, including a world-class university and TAFE, but “a lot of graduates from those institutions are forced to leave the region” to get good jobs.

Other attractive attributes included Newcastle Airport, the M1 motorway and Newcastle’s harbourside location.

But by world standards, the region was not competitive enough, he said.

He said it was difficult to think of any solution, other than a concerted government effort to attract a core of quality employers.

“There are good lessons in Australia to how governments can build concentrations of work,” he said.

“One is the Barangaroo project in Sydney.”

He said the NSW government had built infrastructure and partnered with the private sector to create this precinct.

“Barangaroo will yield 25,000 high-quality professional services jobs,” he said.

“If it takes that sort of effort to generate that number of jobs on the edge of Sydney Harbour in the middle of a global city, why would governments think that jobs can somehow spring up spontaneously in a regional city without similar effort?”

While the NSW government is spending $650 million to revitalise Newcastle, it is spending much more at Barangaroo.

Additionally, it is spending billions on the Sydney Metro rail system, which will have a station at Barangaroo.

“Every successful professional services conglomeration has excellent amenity for workers and high-speed transport and telecommunications connections,” Professor O’Neill, who lives in the Hunter, said.

Investment in Newcastle was “unbalanced because it’s biased towards residential”.

“It’s high quality residential and, no doubt, it’s the type of development that would attract qualified young professionals,” he said.

“But we don’t see the type of commercial and infrastructure development that significant employers would be looking for to invest in downtown Newcastle.”

As such, apartments would more likely attract retirees than workers, he said.

Newcastle City Council said it had, for years, been working with Hunter Development Corporation, Urban Growth and the Department of Planning to revitalise the city centre.

“Council has also examined the future role of Wickham, adjacent to the new commercial core, through the recently released master plan for the suburb,” a spokesman said.

“The vision sees Wickham evolving into a diverse and dynamic mixed-use precinct.

“As part of the master plan, proposals are being considered to increase building heights along the rail corridor to help promote the growth of employment opportunities, including service industries.”

Professor O’Neill said the Hunter was evolving into “a broader service-based economy”.

“The sorts of jobs that are typical of a population-based service sector aren’t highly-paid positions,” he said.

“They also include a higher proportion of casual and part-time positions.

“This gives you a larger number of people in the $20,000 to $30,000 a year bracket – almost certainly they are part-time and casual workers.”

The ABS figures show that 30 per cent of Hunter residents earn $15,600 to $41,600 a year.

Professor O’Neill said the coal industry had provided numerous jobs worth more than $100,000 over the last decade.

“Those coal numbers have backed away in recent years,” he said.

“There isn’t a high concentration of occupations in the Hunter that pay in excess of $100,000 per annum, at least as far as wages and salary earners are concerned.

“If anything, the likelihood of finding those jobs is diminishing.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4941580/how-newcastle-could-attract-the-big-bucks-photos-poll/

1

You know those days when you leave work feeling amazing, pumped that you were highly productive? On the flipside, I’m sure you have days that are just the opposite. Ones that leave you feeling frustrated, wondering whether you got anything done. What if there was a way to end every day knowing that it was successful?

Unfortunately, there’s no bulletproof formula to guarantee this, but there are certain practices you can follow that’ll help.

Here are five habits that, if practiced daily, can boost your success at work:

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals have grown wildly popular and I can understand why. Earlier this year, I started a journal and committed to writing down one thing I’m grateful for every day. At 159 days in, I’m still going strong. I found that expressing gratitude every morning before work gets me in the right mindset and helps me prepare for the day’s challenges.

But don’t take my word for it. A study by UCLA found that people who regularly wrote down what they were grateful for were more optimistic and cheerful than those who didn’t. Interestingly, they also had fewer doctor visits and fewer work absences. Expressing gratitude daily is a simple, quick practice that has a massive impact, and there’s even an app for it in case you’re not a fan of physical journaling like I am.

2. Reduce Context Switching

Context switching is when you jump between various, unrelated tasks. You’re heads down on a project but get interrupted by an urgent message. A few minutes later, a conversation between co-workers distracts you, and, after you finally refocus, you remember an email you should have responded to earlier in the day. Does this sound like your day?

While rapid context switching may seem like the norm of the modern worker, Jessica Harris from Trello explains how it comes at a high cost:

We spend an average of just one minute and 15 seconds on a task before being interrupted.

It takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted.

Heavily multitasking can temporarily lower your IQ by up to 15 points.

You probably can’t eliminate context switching altogether, but being mindful of the productivity damage it causes will allow you to create rules to avoid distraction (more on that in a second).

3. Create “If/When-Then” Plans

I learned about this habit from Robert Cialdini’s book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Here’s how it works. You pick a cue, then pick a desirable action that you can link to that cue. Here are a few “if/when-then” rules I follow:

If/when I need to work without interruption, then I leave my desk and find a drop-by room.
If/when it’s time to eat lunch, then I order a salad. Boring, I know.
If/when I get a calendar invite for Thursday (when my company has a no-meeting policy), then I move the meeting to a different day.
Research suggests that people who use “if/when-then” planning are between two and three times more likely to achieve their goals. This type of planning is effective because you’re proactively creating automatic responses. When situations arise that might prevent you from reaching your long-term goals, you’ve already decided how you’ll act.

4. Exercise—Even if Only for a Few Minutes

You know you should exercise—the benefits are significant. But knowing isn’t the tough part—it’s finding time in your busy schedule to make it happen.

Running, cycling, or going to the gym may be ideal, but all you really need is a few minutes. One option is the 7-Minute Workout. It’s an intense workout you can do almost anywhere and is proven to deliver results.

Taking a short break to go on a walk is a great way to reduce stress. A few years back I committed to going on one walk in the middle of the workday.

These quick strolls elevated my heart rate, for just a few minutes, and it enabled me to go back to my work with renewed focus. So, even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, exercising for only a few minutes each day is still worth it.

5. Have a Shutdown Ritual

Eric Barker, a best-selling author who wrote an entire book on success, teaches the importance of having a “shutdown ritual” in which you take the time to close out the day’s business and prepare for tomorrow. His research found that the simple act of writing down the things you need to take care of the next day can settle your brain and help you relax.

My shutdown ritual includes making a concise list (no more than three) of the most important things I need to do the next day. Since committing to this practice I’ve found that I think less about work when I’m out of the office. My ritual also includes cleaning my desk and shutting down my laptop, practices signaling that my work day has come to an end.

It turns out that implementing this has been found to relieve anxiety and help you enjoy your evening.

One final thought. While each of these five habits is intended to help you be more successful, it’s important to also pause and take a moment to define what success means to you.

These are guidelines, and, ultimately, you’ve got to create your own standard of excellence and measure progress accordingly. Because real, lasting success comes by aligning your actions with what’s most important to you.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-habits-thatll-ensure-youll-end-every-day-feeling-successful?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Acclimating to a new company can be both exhilarating and daunting. You want to jump into the role with enthusiasm, come across as a fast learner, and prove that hiring you was 110% worth it.

I know: I returned to work after 10 years away and put a lot of pressure on myself to adjust as quickly as possible. While my re-entry was through a fairly unique 10-week returnship program (a.k.a., an internship program for mid-career professionals who’ve taken a break), I was subject to the same uncertainty anyone would feel upon going back to the workforce after time away.

Fortunately, in addition to my background in front-line business roles, I’d had experience in leadership and professional development, so I realized that assessing the landscape and “fitting in” would be critical to my success.

With that in mind, here are my four best tips for adjusting:

1. Pay Attention to Company Culture

The role of culture can’t be overstated: Cultural norms can span the range of high-level company values to very specific action steps. They usually come in the form of unwritten rules.

For example:

Are senior leaders approachable, or is there a more formal channel that you need to be aware of?
Do colleagues eat lunch at their desks, or use that time to meet and network?
Do people leave at a reasonable hour or is facetime important?
Are they “always on” (through emails and logging in), even when they’re out of the office?
Culture’s the outcome of encouraged and accepted behaviors. And sometimes, there are aspects of culture that aren’t discovered until you make a mistake. For example, early on in a new role, I mentioned “business development” when referencing a topic. The senior leader in the room stopped the meeting to inform me that our firm never engages in selling, therefore the proper term was “client development.”

It didn’t count against me: Mistakes happen! But one way I was able to fit in and move beyond my faux pas was to make a note of it and use the preferred terminology moving forward.

2. Be Open to New Experiences

Regardless of your most recent role, changing companies means you’re entering a new situation. And this new group will inevitably do things differently.

Rather than fight to do things the way you’re used to, embrace the opportunity to adopt new approaches. For example, if your new team seems more focused on output than on strategy and analysis, learn more about the associated business impact before trying to change direction.

Or, if your boss is heavily focused on a thorough analysis of ROI before moving forward with a new program, make your best attempt to understand the drivers of that need.

Try it the new way at least once. That way you’ll give yourself a chance to determine which battles are worth fighting (and which aren’t).

3. Take the Time to Build Your Network

Your co-workers will be key to your success at your new company. Achieving results will require knowing whom to reach out to—at every level.

Figure out who has the insights, time, or interest to help you and introduce yourself. You’ll find that most people are happy to share their expertise if you ask. And take the time to see if you have skills, insights or contacts that would be of help to your new colleagues. It never hurts to build good will. The stronger your internal network, the easier time you’ll have when you need help.

Bonus: You can also build your overall network, by updating your online profile with your new role. It’s a natural reason for people to reach out and reconnect, which is always worthwhile.

4. Learn All You Can

The benefits of exposing yourself to multiple perspectives and new experiences are vast. If you remain open-minded and park your ego at the door, you’re bound to benefit from an amazing amount of learning.

Seriously, by just carrying around a notebook your first few days, jotting down questions, and seeking out answers, you’ll pick up so much more knowledge than you had before. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re supposed to know this—the fact is that you don’t and the more quickly you learn, the more at ease you’ll feel.

Above all, it’s important to remember that you’re entering a group of established professionals and they’ll respect you for taking the time to understand how everything works.

While you may feel an urge to share your past (and possibly lofty) experiences with your new team to establish yourself, resist the temptation to brag. Rather, use time with your colleagues to understand what they do and what they see as priorities. There will be plenty of time to add your perspective once you’ve gotten a more complete picture and have the data you need.

Before long, you’ll stop feeling like “the new person” and start feeling like someone who’s been there forever—in the best way possible.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-tips-thatll-make-easing-back-into-office-life-a-little-easier?ref=carousel-slide-1

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Your paycheck just got a bit heftier, and you’re thinking about finally biting the bullet and buying yourself that new computer, or taking your significant other out to a super nice restaurant, or splurging on a massage more than once a year. Or, maybe you’re trying to be more fiscally responsible, so you’ve decided to throw all that extra money into a savings account that you’ll one day use for something important.

Turns out, neither of these options is guaranteed to make you as happy in the long term as a third option—buying yourself time.

A recent study cited in The Washington Post found that some of the happiest people are those who invest their hard-earned money into outsourcing chores they dislike to do, such as cleaning or grocery shopping.

And, these findings doesn’t discriminate based on household income, marital status, or number of children—meaning no matter who you are and how much you make, this applies to you, too (even if you’d argue having the latest cool products is all the happiness you need).

So, why do so many of us lean toward buying nice things the second our bank accounts grow? Says the article’s author Jenna Gallegos, “…we’re hesitant to trade money, which is concrete and measurable, for time, which is much more uncertain,” while we know exactly what we’re getting our money for when we buy goods.

And yet, time is so valuable in our lives and careers. It means the difference between leaving work early or staying late, getting all our tasks done or only getting halfway through our to-do list, checking our email on vacation or having the luxury to truly unplug. So, if we could afford to get back an extra hour in the morning, or free up our evenings or weekends to work on things that actually matter to us, wouldn’t we be willing to pay for it?

Consider it the next time you get a raise or bonus—maybe you trade an expensive smartwatch for a laundry service that delivers (because sorting whites and colors every Sunday morning drives you crazy).

Of course I’m not saying that you can’t treat yourself to something you’ve worked hard for, but having clean clothes magically appear when you need them and an entire Sunday to yourself sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-way-to-spend-your-raise-if-you-want-to-be-happier?ref=carousel-slide-1

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THE Grateful is, well, grateful.

The “one for one” pay-it-forward bouquet business launched barely six months ago by Newcastle mums Gemma McBurnie and Jessica Shuwalow has reached a milestone.

The online floral business has delivered more than 500 of its bouquets to the John Hunter Hospital and Ronald McDonald House thanks to the support of local businesses and individuals.

The Grateful works on the concept of allowing clients to buy a bouquet knowing that another similar bouquet will then be donated to the hospital.

“It’s almost like it’s become bigger than us, The Grateful has its own legs and we are just keeping it going, the community support has been amazing,” says Mrs Shuwalow.

“And when you go to the hospital, people come running up to say thank you and that we’ve made their week, so it’s taken off.

“It’s not really about the numbers [of bouquets] but it’s about the impact.”

Friends Mrs McBurnie and Mrs Shuwalow began their venture late in 2016, determined to run a business that “removes transactional consumerism” and allows customers to bring cheer to themselves and others.

Hunter businesses soon learnt of the venture and many take part in a subscription program where they receive a weekly bouquet for their office, home, clients or employees and then sponsor a particular area of the hospital or Ronald McDonald House where their donated bouquet goes.

At the end of each week following the delivery of their donated bouquets, participants receive an ‘feel good’ email update with some pictures and a story about their donated bouquet, which businesses can then share with their network.

Mrs Shuwalow said the business has grown organically – both she and Ms McBurnie have young children and have not actively promoted it – and relied on word of mouth: “For us it’s not about the money so far, it’s been more about the cause.”

And the community has rallied to the cause.

“We’ve had people calling to offer jars or vases which we use to put the flowers in, or just to donate, it’s been overwhelming,” she says.

“People feel so good with the concept, it puts things in perspective, like ‘Hey, I can afford flowers if it’s once a week or yearly but I can share that’, because there is someone else always worse off than you, so be grateful for the good things.”

The Grateful supports local florists in sourcing its blooms and its founders plan to open a bricks and mortar store in Carrington with the same concept, this time dealing in homewares and clothing.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4871084/idea-blooms-to-create-a-fresh-way-of-giving/?cs=4200

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Local engineering company Varley Group has secured the contract to unload cargos of wind turbines from ships arriving at Newcastle Port.

The contract win comes after the shipping company caved to community pressure and agreed to stop using Singaporean workers to unload the ships.

“As the wind turbine parts are welded to the deck of the ship, this is specialised work that calls for specialised metal workers to ensure safety,” Federal member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said.

“It was always outrageous to deploy a fly-in crew from Singapore to unload ships at our port when there is an abundance of skilled workers right here in Newcastle.

“The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, workers and community members united to send a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable in Newcastle.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4863141/varley-group-wins-contract-to-use-local-workers/