Kate Middleton - becoming a Princess is a serious career move

Today Kate Middleton will be joining the firm otherwise known as The British Royal Family. "The Firm" is in fact the term that the Royals use to refer to themselves - the ultimate family business.

And a business enterprise it is indeed. CPI Financial have published a study by international consultants PWC who estimate the commercial benefit of the Royal Wedding alone at 107 million British Pounds!

As Kate walks down the aisle at 11 am British time today - she will not only be walking into her place in history as a member of the Royal Family - and whether she emerges as a Princess or a Duchess - she will be making a serious career commitment.

Unlike ourselves who can manage our own career direction, Kate's decision to join 'The Firm' will make her fairly (to say the least) visible to well, everyone and she will be judged by all on her performance.

Our careers might not have the same visibility as Kate's will have but others do watch and judge our performance and it's interesting now to reflect on how (we think) she has prepared for this career move:

1. Established her own style  - not just how she looks but how she is known to interact with others.

2. Taken time to make the decision - obviously she had to wait for the proposal but the years of preparation that have led up to today will all help her performance and her confidence in her new career.

3. Watched and learnt the skills she needs - just looked at how she has developed the skills to work and greet a crowd.

4. Worked with mentors - Prince William, Camilla and others have been providing her advice and guidance.

5. Made her own decision about her career and life choices. She might be going to have Dad by her side as she walks down the aisle (it is a traditional wedding after all) - but he is going to leave her at the altar and she will be moving into her new life on her own. All the signs are is that this is what she wants.

Which is excellent news - as I am going to end the career analysis and get back to the continuous T.V. coverage of hats, dresses, hairstyles and all things William and Kate. After all the disasters of recent times it's fun to have some good news.

If you're one of the anticipated 2 billion people who will be watching - enjoy!

Thanks for the chat,

- Karen

Learning to Delegate is hard to do!

The results of a survey of 600 career women in Australia was recently released that showed that 85% of the women surveyed prefer to do laundry themselves rather than delegating it to family members who would "do it wrong".

Laundry the report said was seen as a task that "invoked a sense of accomplishment when complete".

The women surveyed and defined as 'progressive' live in cities on the east coast of Australia, are between 30 - 45 years of age, have a tertiary education, a household income of more than $90,000 per annum and they work an average of 50 hours per week.

Whether the respondents actually like doing the laundry (It's interesting to note at this point that the report was actually commissioned by a manufacturer of laundry powder) cooking, parenting and shopping that were the most favoured tasks nominated - there does seem to be an issue about delegating.

The survey found that 84% of the women believe that there is more expected of them than was expected of their mothers in terms of career, lifestyle and household tasks, and most women believe that they undertake the majority of the laundry (85%), shopping (88%) and parenting (91%) duties.

Yet when it comes to tasks women would prefer to relinquish 49% would delegate cleaning, yet the preference to delegate laundry was only 4%, shopping 2% and parenting - 1%.

It seems that there is a gap between carrying the majority of the workload and the willingness to delegate.

Generally I have observed that when there are tasks that women can do, that is, they have the capability to do it - they are reluctant to do it - regardless of their capacity to do it. We seem to think if we have the skills to do something we should do it regardless of whether we have enough time.

And we tend to think that no one else can do it quite as well as we can.

It's hard to learn to delegate. Will it be done as well as you will do it? Will you take you just as long to organise someone else to do it than if you did it yourself? Are you being lazy? These are the questions that haunt us all.

The reality is that you can't do everything. If you work 50 hours a week, sleep for 56, travel to and from work for 10 - that's not leaving a whole lot of hours for living the rest of your life. Whether you spend them in the laundry or hanging out with friends is your choice or whatever. Just make sure it's your choice - it's what you want to do not what you think you should do.

It's the same principle at work - you can't do everything yourself and we need to learn to delegate there too.

Housework might not be a dirty word for women in Australia and giving yourself permission to not do it can be difficult.

But Career Chicks are conducting negotiations and making important decisions and trade-offs every day. The risks associated with washing lingerie and jeans in the same load seem pretty acceptable to me.

I'm just sayin'

Thanks for the chat

- Karen

5 Fast Tips... for survival when you're really busy!

Hi Chicks!

Well it looks like I am on a theme here - as last week's one and only blog was about how to look after yourself!

This week's is about survival when you're really busy!

A reflection that I am really busy at the moment. But I have prioritized what is important and I don't want to go all week and not post a blog. I know that the rest of the week is going to be hectic...so here it is!

We all go through times that are incredibly busy and when you like your work this can be exhilarating. It can also be a bit overwhelming and leave you feeling guilty about what's not being done.

So here's a short post with 5 Fast Tips for survival when you're really busy:

1. Focus on outputs - be clear on exactly what needs to be done by when. Write a list if it helps.

2. Prioritize what absolutely must be done. Self - explanatory I hope!

3. Delegate - you may not have any staff but if there is someone else who is willing to help - ask! The worst they can say is no, and if you asked nicely you aren't any worse off. And if they can help - yippee! This applies at home as well as at work. If you're the one who normally cooks, picks up the dry-cleaning etc. - ask for some help. Good practice for your negotiating skills.

4. Be prepared to let things not get done. Shock! Horror! But if you are up against a looming deadline something has to give. If it means more unopened emails (not related to your deadline) than you usually have or unopened post - so be it. It will still be waiting for you when things calm down.

5. Still take time for you. You might have to reduce your walk or gym session - but you will feel so much better if you can still squeeze in 15 minutes for you. Remember the chat about a cup of tea last week?

And don't forget to breath. Deeply. It will help you refocus.

Thanks for the short chat! Gotta go..things to do, places to be and breathing to do!

- Karen

5 Fast Tips... to look after yourself!

5 Fast Tips to look after yourself
A heart attack is not good for your career.

Not only does it put your life in jeopardy - which is a fairly major consideration, but it can also have a negative impact on your career. If you're from the 'oh, but I would pull through' school of thought - think about the fact that you'll miss time at work and possibly slip back from your rung on the career ladder.

This week the findings of a British study were released that show there is a 67% increase of getting heart disease for people who work over 11 hours a day and a 45% increase for those who work 10 hours a day - versus people who work a 7-8 hour day.

Certainly food for thought.

Taking time for ourselves is essential to not only have the Utopian 'balanced life' but to look after our health and ensure we have time for all that Chick maintenance stuff that is essential to how we present ourselves to the world (hair, waxing, facials etc.)

Time out also helps us keep on top of our game. Time away from a topic, issue or environment can give us a new perspective and allow us to be more productive. The other day I took 15 minutes out to make a cup of tea and actually drink it whilst it was hot - by the time I was walking back to my desk I had prioritized what I should work on next and had thought of a new approach to an issue I was trying to resolve. Far more than I would have achieved by rushing back to start bashing the keyboard again (and letting my tea go cold, again!).

Here's 5 Fast Tips for taking time for yourself and the career benefits they may deliver:

1. Have a manicure or pedicure - you can't even text or read email on your smart phone whilst you are getting your fingernails done. A great way to get a break and others will be impressed that you are well organised enough to have the time to get your nails done.

2. Take a yoga class - or have a facial or massage - not just relaxing treats - they can help you manage the pressures and stresses of the work environment.

3. Exercise - great for stress management as above and you also get the benefits of those endorphins that kick in! (Within your health considerations of course!) For me its also the time I get to listen to music. 

4. Spend time on your hobby or something you love. You'll enjoy it, it'll give you a mental break and something interesting to talk about when you are networking. From a career perspective being 'well rounded' in your life and interests can really add to your professional reputation.  Have a look at the CEOs and senior managers in many organisations and you'll find that they are often on the boards or actively involved in artistic and sporting activities.

5. Make a cup of tea - or go for a walk to the water cooler. Take a break from what you are doing, clear your head and come back to your work with a fresh approach.

And don't work 11 hours a day!!

Thanks for the chat - I'm off to make a cup of tea.

- Karen 

The Job Interview: How to get the edge on your competitors.

Movie Day: The Pepsi Max Job Interview
Many job interviews are conducted as behavioural interviews.

That is, it's where the interviewers are looking for examples of what you have done in the past - to demonstrate or provide 'proof' that you will be able to demonstrate those behaviours again in the future. Specifically when you are doing the job that they are interviewing you for.

The topic of job interview was brought to mind when I saw someone share the old Pepsi Max what-you-shouldn't- do at a job interview commercial on their Facebook wall this week.

It's less than a minute long - take a quick look:

Nice idea if you could get away with it - but probably not all that practical. What happens if the person interviewing doesn't have a fish tank?

Alternatively, what will give you the edge in a job interview is the combination of:
  • how you present yourself in appearance
  • the relevance of your examples
  • the insightfulness of your questions
  • the quality of your answers, and
  • the relevance of your skills and experience.
This is what will stand you apart from your competitors...which is what we all want!

Hope you enjoyed today's little video on Movie Day here at Career Chick Chat.

Thanks for the chat!

- Karen