How To Multitask – The GenY Way

February 1st, 2010

With the sheer amount of information and relationships we have to deal with I’d say ‘hyperactive’ be a very appropriate word to describe our generation. And with hyperactivity comes a great deal to juggle in our life – so how to handle it?

By redefining the word “multitasking”. Instead of doing multiple tasks at once, do multiple tasks sequentially. Think about it this way:

We have two eyes to focus on an object;

We have two ears to place a voice;

We have two feet to take one step forward;

And We have two hands to hold our child.

Just because we like to think we can do more things at once in reality it’s not in our nature.

So next time you feel overwhelmed remember only one thing is ever at the top of a list of priorities. Others will remember a job well done long after the wait.

Perception is Reality

January 15th, 2010

Something happens. You go forth at the best of your ability with the best intentions. Things seem to pan out alright – you did what you had to do according to plan. Then you turn around to find that others around you respond in ways you didn’t anticipate. It may even be the case the response was undesirable.

What went wrong? You trace back through your steps – nope, everything occurred as intended. Except the response.

Well, being as unpredictable and illogical as we are it is no surprise the ‘human factor’ is at play here. While you may understand your own actions very well, it’s not in our nature to put in the effort to try and understand other people’s circumstances. At least off first impressions. We lean towards simplicity and the ‘easy way’ – no one has time or patience for explanations.

And to me, that itself is a tragedy of human nature.

The Human-Element Economy: A Brief Examination of Our Obsession with Bigger Paychecks

January 3rd, 2010

Getting into the workforce seems like the natural progression from graduating these days. We set ourselves up with education, usually in a specific field, then dress up our resume as best we can and then compete for the career of our dreams. We get our foot in the door and things start to pick up steam from there. Sometimes it leads to the success we’re looking for, sometimes it doesn’t but what we have in common is that we always seem to strive for more.

The reasons why we strive for more are varied. For some a mortgage has to be paid, an ego needs boosting or an obsession with shoes has to be fulfilled. And with these needs draws us towards the ever-so-delicious higher paycheck. But it is very easy to over-simplify our needs to a dollar/euro/pound salary.

Instead, take ‘other’ salaries into account – emotional salaries (positive and negative). In other words, what price would you put onto things such as flexibility, enjoyment, time with friends and family, stress, responsibility? And yes, I did just say to put a number against things that are considered ‘priceless’.

Now, put a price on your own capability; what do you think your value is in the workplace at this very moment? With this we can put it into this formula:

V – Pe + Ne = S

where: V = Self-assessed value in the workforce; Pe = Cost of Positive emotional/social elements; Ne = Gain from Negative emotional/social elements; S = Salary range of an ideal job

Using this representation career-oriented people tend to have a higher Ne value (making more sacrifices to achieve more pay), whereas family-oriented people may have a higher Pe value (making more sacrifices to achieve a better balanced life).

So come promotion/new job time take a moment to really look at what you want and how you want to balance your life. You may not use the above formula explicitly but at the very least take the principles into consideration. Realise what you’re willing to sacrifice and you may end up netting more than what your employer can give you.

The New New Years Resolution

December 22nd, 2009

The end of the year is approaching and for many this sparks the time to put together New Years resolutions. Whether it’s to shed a few kilosbranch out into self-employment or to travel, there are endless objectives people can set their sights on.

But it got me wondering why we do this.

The simple explanation is that we want to improve ourselves; to get out of our bad habits. But to be compelled to change only once every 365 days just spells doom for the resolution. An unpleasant assumption to make but they’re not exactly known for being successful.

Perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.

In moving forward, it pays to look back at where you came from. Reminiscing has a way of giving perspective, which is a key ingredient of motivation. And one way we reconnect with our past is to listen to music, the type that carries the weight of particular times our lives. Songs where the lyrics spoke our mind and the melody resonated with us.

So make a playlist of the songs that represent the moments that made who you are – a soundtrack of your life, so to speak.

And for the bold move… share it with others. Let them see where you came from. Let them hear your story.

Now your resolution has greater meaning.

[List] A selection of elemental motives for career development

December 16th, 2009

After writing up my previous post I’ve had a thought more about what sort of outcomes people can come across when breaking down their motivation for the current or intended careers. So here is a list of what I have come up with. Feel free to add your own in the comments :)

  • Teach others about the world
  • Teach others about themselves
  • Motivate the unmotivated
  • Lead the unfortunate out of crisis
  • Lead the capable to victory
  • Create something beautiful
  • Establish and promote freedom
  • Accomplish fairness and balance
  • Discover the world
  • Discover the universe
  • Bring people together
  • Protect the important
  • Protect the weak
  • Make life easier
  • Make life liveable
  • Entertain
  • Clean the planet
  • Be a beacon for faith
  • Be a mother
  • Be a father
  • Forge alliances
  • Build a community
  • Save lives

What do you *really* want to do with your life?

December 15th, 2009

The VCE results have come in for 2009 and for year 12s around Australia I’m sure it was a moment of relief, joy, disappointment or even indifference.

Reliving my own experience I recall the apparent gravity of the situation – being handed a number that will steer a young adult towards a university degree which in turn has an almost direct impact on what he/she will be doing for a career (or two…or three…)

And while I didn’t acknowledge it at the time, it was so…unnatural.

It’s easy to say you want to be an accountant, teacher or microbiologist specialising in infectious diseases of diabetic foot ulcers. The proliferation of specialised university courses makes this easy to pigeonhole ourselves in such a way. But they’re just job titles / skill sets; labels to place upon ourselves to give us a sense of belonging and social rank.

Despite the past successes most of us have achieved such as scoring a degree of choice and landing a decent job I sense an air incertitude among our generation. Reality has hit after reaching the other end of a system that was conveniently pushing us along to where we are now. Though resolving it is really quite simple.

So as an exercise, whether you’re feeling unsettled about where you are or are absolutely certain you know what you’re doing, it pays to step back and ask yourself: “what do I really want to do with my life?”. And when answering it, I mean really completely deconstructing the very notion of what your current, or ‘to-be’ career is.

For instance, say you want to be a criminal lawyer. You don’t really want to be acriminal lawyer, thats just a job title. Instead, see it for what core moral, ethical or emotional values it entails, and see if that resonates with you. As a criminal lawyer you probably want things to be fair, establish a sense of balance and justice. Or you want to defend the weak to give you a sense of pride. Or perhaps you want security and comfort.

What ever it is, it’s these core values that drive us. And finding the right ones gives much more meaning than what any job title can provide.

An opportunity within the indistinct – a government experience

December 11th, 2009

Starting up a business can be done a number of different ways. Some people are fortunate or dedicated enough to have saved a decent amount of capital to get them going. Others aren’t so lucky so they’re under pressure to get things going as lean and mean as possible.

For myself I feel like I sit in the middle; I’m not comfortable enough to not stress about finances, but I have a small enough amount to give me a sense of hunger to do right. But thinking about dollar values and chances of success any cash I can get my hands on I think will do my venture good.

And so I applied for unemployment welfare to take some pressure off.

Now this is the perplexing bit: being a job-seeker benefit it is required applicants search for work they are capable of. I was also told the benefit is not for those who want to start their own business. On the other hand, there is also a government initiative to provide the same financial assistance specifically for those who want to start their own small business. However, in order to be suitable for the small business grant you need to be on an unemployment benefit looking for full time work.

In effect this causes a small ‘trap’ for those looking to start their own venture to get caught back into the general employment system, which is giving me mixed messages of the government’s stance on new ventures.

So what’s it going to be? Encourage entrepreneurship or herd people into the workforce?

Well I don’t really blame the government if their policy takes the risk-averse path of encouraging employment, new ventures are a hard sell after all. But innovation does have the potential to drive new economies. So looking at both sides of the scale it’s easy to understand why there is vagueness when dealing with government policies and procedures.

So what can be done about this? Power on. Head towards what you desire. If you come across small barriers like this then battle through them as practice – there’s plenty of them to come.