Knowledge is Power

There are so many new people following my blog and "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" on Facebook (thanks!!) that I thought I would do as Julie Andrews did in the Sound of Music when she was teaching the Von Trapp family to sing and "start at the very beginning".

Not with Do-Re-Mi (I'm going to have that going through my head all day now!) but with why I think Career Chicks need Hot Tips. Or rather why they need skills to develop and manage their careers.

Which for me is simple. Well I've decided to take a simple approach to the issue, which is this: women have always played really valuable roles in all parts of society including business. Historically though, business has been dominated by men. And the culture of business that has evolved  is one which more closely resembles how men communicate with each other than how all people interact.

Which means the workplace is full of subtleties and nuances - that just aren't necessarily intuitive for career chicks. The best way to counter this is to start by understanding what's going on. And then decide what you're going to do about it.

If you're launching a product or a new business one of the necessary steps is to conduct a competitive analysis. If you play sports it makes sense to understand your opposition. To manage your career you need the skills to be successful and to understand the environment.

It's not about discrimination. Men versus women. Or people trying to deliberately work against you. I think it's about how business is evolving and realizing that where we all have individual challenges in our careers, understanding why, and how we can deal with them.

Having the knowledge about how business works is a very good place to start.

Here's how I start "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" - which might give you a few insights.

On the surface everything looks as it should for career prospects in the world of business. Men and women pursue their careers with equal vigour and the opportunities for career success are available to all. Men and women have the same access to training, roles, promotions and salaries. Rewards and success are based on merit and dependent only on the knowledge, skills, experience and effort that each individual applies to his or her role. However, all is not as it seems.

Over and over again, capable and ambitious Career Chicks find that their efforts are not recognised, the value they bring to a business or organisation and their contributions are not appreciated and the success they aspire to is not realised. Often, they think, “It must be me. I must be doing something wrong.” It seems the only rational explanation.

Otherwise, why aren’t Career Chicks getting ahead? The answer, as it turns out, isn’t obvious because the workplace culture is full of subtleties and nuances in the way that men work that affect your success.

The more you know about what is really going on, the better equipped you are to work out these subtleties and positively influence your own destiny … what you know provides a solid foundation of information on which you can develop and base your opinions and beliefs. And it becomes the basis of the decisions you make and things you do in your life. Like whether you want to develop a career and how you’ll go about it. And how you’ll achieve the level of success you aspire to. However, not being aware of the subtleties and    nuances of the work environment may just be holding back Career Chicks (like you) from achieving success. Knowledge of how the business environment works and what is required for success is the rationale behind Hot Tips for Career Chicks. Knowledge is the secret to the CODE for career success, knowing what to do with that information is even more crucial.

Until next blog - Karen

If you can help #qld floods's an enormous job

Donations can be made at
I live in Sydney, but this week my heart is in Queensland where I went to school, got my first job, and built life-long friendships. It's where my family and many of my friends still live. And today it's under water. 
As I watch hour after hour of news coverage it's hard to believe that 75% of the state is impacted by floods.

Incredible when you think that the area is almost 6 times the size of the United Kingdom and twice as big as Texas. And it's all wet, very wet.

Over the last three weeks the state has been going under flood waters. There has been tragic loss of life. Others have lost all that they have spent their lives working for. There is still angst and fear. My family and friends are all okay as they live in the higher suburbs. Even so, there have been frantic phone calls and text messages checking up on them. Particularly our extended family in Toowoomba. I can't imagine what it has been like for people who have not had good news.

People have been filling sandbags, others making ham sandwiches and political leaders have been communicating with poise, heart and confidence. Everyone on the ground is pitching in. But they will need some help.

I remember the 1974 floods (I was young, very young!) and going through my wardrobe so Dad could drop our small donation down to the local church. Not quite a practical option this time around.

The people of Queensland are strong and they will come back from this. But as a heartbroken elderley man I just saw interviewed on the news said, "it's an enormous job". And no matter how strong these folk are they could do with a helping hand.

The media is talking about billions of dollars to repair the damage, the country's budget surplus is in question and economic commentators are already speculating about what this will mean for Australia. But for many people it will mean mud. Dirty, stinking mud all over everything that they own - that will need to be replaced.

There are people in every place in the world who need help and many of us have our own challenges and responsibilities. But as another gentlemen who was interviewed today from an evacuation center said, "it's a very short fall from the top to the bottom".

If you can help those who feel they have fallen please donate.

What they will need to help them get back on their feet is money. If you can help I urge you to do so. The Queensland Government are running the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal to help communities and individuals as needed.

Let's help those Queenslanders get rid of some mud!

- Karen

Watch your "Brand"

Katy Perry's 'brand' includes
how she presents herself
 The internet is abuzz with all sorts of commentary about the photo of Katy Perry that hubbie Russell Brand posted on twitter earlier today. Headlines are screaming, Marital trouble for Russell-Katy?, Katy looks Perry different without make-up, and Russ posts pasty Katy on Twitter.

As amusing as the headlines are - all the articles seem to agree on one thing. Katy probably isn't all that happy with Mr Brand at the moment. She's worked hard on her 'brand' over the last few years. And it doesn't include the "I've just got out of bed" look. There would have been big bucks and lots of effort in every wig, costume and look presented to the public. Whether for an on-stage appearance or a walk through Heathrow airport. Which is why the pundits are betting that all is not well in the Perry-Brand household in the short term.

It's also a good reminder to all of us about the downside of social media. We may not have invested quite as much in stylists and image consultants as Katy but all Career Chicks have a brand (not the Russell variety). It's how we look and how we present ourselves to the world.

It's that 'first impression' that we make that we want to say competent and capable. If you work hard at your work and at how you present yourself - you don't want it to come undone because of the indiscreet picture on facebook, twitter or anywhere else on the Net.

I'm pretty sure Russell didn't mean any harm to Katy. With a bit of luck he loves her with and without makeup. But it serves as a reminder that others can post stuff and images about us that we would rather not be on display.

One good trick is to set up a google alert for your name so that you get notified of anything on the Internet that Google finds about you. If you know you can deal with it!

Personally, I'm quite pleased to find out that Katy is human after all. But I do hope that when I go to see her when she comes to Sydney in May that she does have the make-up, costumes and wigs on display. That's the California Career girl I want to see!