Be realistic

You’ve found your dream job, the one you’ve always wanted – it is just perfect. Are you sure about that, or are you overlooking some important detail? How do you respond when a few potential problems emerge?

CyclingUphill_TotalWomensCycling

Photo credit: TotalWomensCycling.com

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Elements of a great placement

I have often been asked what makes a great placement, and although I’ve not published this before, the list below is a combination of the best practice I have witnessed and recommendations I propose.WorkPlacementsDoneWell Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions – think big and eat more chocolate

I wrote this last year but decided to reblog it this year. After all, it still makes a great deal of sense.

earlyinitiative

With only three weeks remaining of the well-worn 2012, our attention starts to turn towards the sleek and shiny new 2013. Full of possibilities, excitement, opportunities and challenges, it looms large on our horizon. For many it will be the start of something new; for others it will bring something to an end. One thing we can be sure of – uncertainty.

December is traditionally the time for setting New Year’s Resolutions – those promises we make to ourselves and others about what we’re going to do differently in the new year.

Before rushing to add “join the gym; eat less chocolate; drink less wine” to the list of resolutions, I would recommend reading this lovely poem by Nadine Stair (aged 85). More about its background here.

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“The End”. It never is though…

On 4th August 2012 Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins woke up as Olympic champions with gold medals reminding them that a day earlier they had won the final race in the Women’s Double Sculls at Dorney Lake. But now they felt empty, lost and on unfamiliar ground. For every day of the previous four years all their plans had been about working towards 3rd August 2012. Everything they did in training, every little detail they planned was all about delivering their best performance on that one occasion – the final – with no second chances. The only deliverable which mattered to them was a gold medal on 3rd August. All their plans ended on that date. It was as if 3rd August was the last day ever, and nothing existed after it.

GraingerWatkins winning gold_2 Continue reading

The future – watch it happen or make it happen?

Probably not a name familiar to most, Corning are a huge name in glass products. They deliver components to manufacturers of products which support our everyday lives including mobile phones, tablets, televisions and fibre-optic cables. I first came across them in the context of GorillaGlass for smartphones.

This visionary video shows their view of the future. It’s not all going to happen overnight, but it’s a glimpse of what is on the horizon.

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The corporate ladder – don’t rush to start climbing

Wanting to climb the corporate ladder is a perfectly natural feeling feeling for most of us. After all, it is a clear demonstration of progress – not just to ourselves, but also to our peers. Few graduates would deny that they have such aspirations.

Corporate organisations are like a jungle. There is a clear hierarchy, with a well-developed food chain and an inherent superiority at the top of the trees. The view from the top is no doubt spectacular and far-reaching but it is a long way from the jungle floor where most of the activity is.rainforest
The further up the tree one climbs, the more distant becomes the view of the undergrowth and the life which thrives in it. Learning about how a business operates involves a great deal of studying the undergrowth – spending time there, understanding how everything fits together and what makes it work.

Be different – stand out

One of the questions I am most frequently asked when I’m speaking to students, is “How do I stand out from all the other students? We’re all applying for the same jobs, and we all have the same qualifications“. It is a fair question to ask – with supply exceeding demand employers tend to be picky. Very picky.

Be-Different-3 What practical steps can a student take? Actually, it is surprisingly easy. Continue reading

Sporting success provides a model for career success

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 awards were screened last night, and after the absolutely exceptional sporting year we have had in Great Britain, it was sure to be a close contest. In the event, it was won by Bradley Wiggins, followed by Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray – but the final result (decided by a public telephone vote) seemed largely academic in comparison to their sporting achievements earlier in the year.BradleyWiggins_SPOTY2012[Photo courtesy of BBC]

I couldn’t help but notice the parallel with career success, particularly with students (graduates and school-leavers) who are taking the first steps in their working lives. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions – think big and eat more chocolate

With only three weeks remaining of the well-worn 2012, our attention starts to turn towards the sleek and shiny new 2013. Full of possibilities, excitement, opportunities and challenges, it looms large on our horizon. For many it will be the start of something new; for others it will bring something to an end. One thing we can be sure of – uncertainty.

December is traditionally the time for setting New Year’s Resolutions – those promises we make to ourselves and others about what we’re going to do differently in the new year.

Before rushing to add “join the gym; eat less chocolate; drink less wine” to the list of resolutions, I would recommend reading this lovely poem by Nadine Stair (aged 85). More about its background here. Continue reading

Royal baby frenzy confirms the benefits of preparation

When Clarence House Press Office announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby, the world’s media machine rushed into action, with some British newspapers publishing multi-page “Royal Baby Special” sections, covering the story from every possible angle.

baby-newspapers_2417684k[Photo courtesy of EPA/ Andy Rain, The Daily Telegraph]

The BBC Diplomatic and royal correspondent quickly published a piece looking at the changes to accession traditions; the Wikipedia entry for Kate Middleton was updated to reflect the announcement; and betting shop William Hill started offering odds on a wide range of factors including not just name and date, but also birth weight, hair colour, and many others.

The speed with which so much has been published is impressive – but it owes far more to good preparation than an ability to write quickly. Following the wedding of Catherine and William in April 2011, it was only a matter of time before a pregnancy was announced and a full range of stories could therefore be prepared in anticipation of the announcement. Continue reading