Monday, 24 January 2011

Running Downhill

In my latest post “The Ugly Truth about “Having a Bad Day” I was suggesting that there is no problem of sharing your downs as long as you share it with right people. Today I would like to highlight one of the sources of a “bad day” talking about how trying to run too fast down the hill could lead to the awkward situation which you didn’t think of before.

It has all started couple of months a go, after a summer break which I have prescribed to myself, following my 5 years long study at University while working full time and more hours. I decided not to push any further development and having job which paid my bills I have once again tasted life with book on the bedside table or stargazing with my telescope during warm summer evenings (I guess I feel a bit cheesy now). Some other things I was pleased to do, was to catch up with all tasks which I had to postpone for last couple of years, such as sorting out my iTunes library, movie collection or pictures, and generally de-cluttering my living space. I was so excited about my new freedom that I have made number of camping trips that summer, quite a few of them being one night stay.

I have started to disrespect my home space, as the time spent there was always related to catching up with readings of textbooks or writing assignments with very little “finally at home” feelings. I had this feeling of compulsion and wanted to spend as much time away from home as possible. It took me a while to rebuild my relation with my house but it was incredibly rewarding letting it happen on its own with no agenda to reinforce it. And so, I woke up one day sometimes in November and felt that I was ready for my next steps in my life of HR professional. And as I always do, also this time I took it really “fast and curious” (although “fast and furious” might just describe it more accurately).

Twitter, Blogging, Linked In, Job-hunting- served all the time on the same plate and all while having a full time job already. "When Multitasking Kills" is another post I am working on, but just to give you some idea, imagine running down the hill so fast that you loose control of your legs and the only way to stop is to fall. One thing you learn is that you can not overtake yourself! Your body won’t let you! You have courage but there are forces out of your control which will almost certainly ask for paying back for your reckless behaviour.
You start to do mistakes more often than ever and have people around you looking at you suspiciously. Your closest will look for the ways to tell you about that you are loosing it, but other lot will just watch and forget the other you. 
We do say that “first impression is important” but we should also learn to accept that the last impression is usually the one remembered.

I have done it before when I have decided that working and studying full time will be fun, knowing absolutely nothing about how much one man can take. While it was incredibly exciting journey, I remember that over 5 years I have been less and less enthusiastic about this way of life. I also remember when I’ve submitted my last paper and sat in the car park trying to find any signs of “hurray” state of mind. I couldn’t find it though as by then I was already badly damaged and it took me a while to recover and fully appreciate my achievements.
Now talking performance there is no need to go into details, but generally speaking you will never deliver the same with this sort of attitude.

Lessons for HRbees

Multitasking kills (now this one is to be discussed in later post but generally speaking there is growing evidence among various psychological studies that “Multitasking is not efficient, nor does it get more work done faster. Quite the opposite. One task interferes with another, so everything takes longer because the brain loses time--and accuracy--in repeatedly shifting its effort” ( There are many tools to help you with management of your time spent on different things throughout a day. Dividing your tasks into short, medium and long term categories is one of the basic ones.

One step at the time, it’s not a cliché but something what worked perfectly at the beginning of our life when we have learned to walk and talk. So once again don’t try to overtake yourself. There is nothing wrong to push a bit harder sometimes. Just watch it!

Eat, Drink, Sleep, are things you can’t fool........Seriously!

Don’t mind the endless list of tasks you have. Think about the one which you have just ticked off. Try not to be frustrated from not getting done enough.

You feel like there is a mess in your concept? See if there is a way you could make sense out of it and ask for help from others, but mainly try to relax, as some things are meant to be chaotic and they will also very often sort themselves out.

Now-here is the golden one I have learned myself. 
Give yourself “me” time regularly. Not “me” who you want to be, but “me” who you are right now. We all seem to have tendency to act as someone who we want to be, forgetting how much disgusting it could be to our real “me”. Don’t take me wrong, changing some of your habits which you yourself are not proud of anymore is important, but take it easy!  

Reflect. Nothing beats good self-reflection on what you do and what it does.

Finally, in the spirit of mindfulness, I found incredibly regenerating regularly turning off all the noises around me (could be your PC, TV, Ipod etc.). Cook something nice for yourself, sit down and enjoy every peace on your plate like there is nothing else on earth to think about. I am not an expert in easing my mind but if you want to know more check out blog from Alison Ashford where you might just find your new coping mechanism with everyday stress.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Ugly Truth about “Having a Bad Day”

We all feel a bit down every now and then...right?
Bad day via
And then, we naturally seek something to fix that feeling. 
We all seem to have our own way of dealing with it, but most of us find comforting sharing their feelings with others. Wife or husband, friends or work colleagues, your boss or your mates from social media sites. It seems to work most of the time and that is not because of what they have told you, but rather because they have listened. We are social animals after all and contact with others is incredibly beneficial especially in situation where you are a bit lost and want quickly find someone who knows how you feel. 

And then there is the ugly truth about sharing your state of mind where nothing seems to be straight. 

World is not always pink, and whoever pretends either in their life or on their blogs and websites that this is the case, is wrong and probably smokes something! It is like if you are asked on interview “What are your weaknesses?” and we all state silly things which we know for sure,  that will be either funny or hard to believe, and that it will leave none if not positive impression on your interviewer.
So what exactly happens when you are talking about your real weaknesses? Well, while everybody says that it is perfectly human to have bad days and that everybody has one every now and then, they are not lying, yet what they don’t tell you is that your “bad day” has quite possibly marked you down. Consciously by some, subconsciously by others. In the worst scenario your confession will make someone eating you alive. And if I say someone I really mean us. The natural selection can be really seen everywhere, and getting a job in HR is not an exception. It is the reality of the world where information means power and you can only take care of yourself and your family if you are one step ahead of someone else. Depressing? Hell yeah! But at the end of the day it is all about how much you can take. Why? Well, yes you are only human and you can feel a bit down every now and then, but take it home with you and share it with your wife or friends. Take a big breath and remember that very few if anyone at all, is interested in your whining. Also remember the day you wake up and nothing is impossible for you because this is the day which counts, not the one where you feel drowning. All you need to do is to make sure that only you know about “bad days” and share with the rest of the world the good ones only. Do you need help? - Maybe, but to start with, you need to chill out and remember that “Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked”.  

What would I do?
I would still share my weaknesses, as I believe that people should not be afraid of expressing themselves at the time when they have doubts, as that’s the time they need support but also a great source of feedback for their personal and professional development. The greatest truth I have learned about myself happened always when I was not afraid to admit what others kept for themselves. Nevertheless you also have to bear in mind the hidden consequences of sharing your Achilles' heel, therefore I would think twice about person I am sharing it with.

Final note
Sometimes I am getting feedbacks from my followers that I should avoid writing negatively on my blog especially if I am using it as a tool for my job hunt. Well truth is, that my blogging was always more about trying to share as much as possible with people at the beginning of their HR career and I think it is important for all HR beginners to know that having a bad day is normal, but learning how to deal with it in most appropriate way is a skill which we all have to learn. I have started to use my blog as a tool for presenting myself to potential employers, and then I have realized that this might affect the way I want to write about reality of HRbeginner’s life. I am willing to take the risk nonetheless, and go back to my initial mission of this blog. I am hoping to continue being inspirational for all HRbees who subscribed to my blog not only through showing off my strengths but also admitting my “bad days”. I also hope that to potential employers, my experience, skills and abilities as well as my love to this sector will always count more than occasional posts about ugly truth of “HRbeginner’s” life. I also realize that my writing can not always be a blog of choice and that I will have moments when I will appear to be less convincing, but I will tell you this: “I am the HR and a good one it is just my HR-world is not my oyster just yet”.   

To all HR beginners.
I am not an expert on many things and should you have one of these “bad days” you will have to find your own way how to tackle it. Nevertheless should you ever feel like sharing (stranger to stranger way) I am here to listen to say the least. Email me at, DM me via twitter @hrbeginner or call me 00447849854295

To all
 What are your bad days like? How do you cope with them?

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Brand Begins with You. By Cyndy Trivella

For some time I have been experiencing the euphoria of having and building my own brand online. I have learned from my own mistakes but also watching others trying to achieve the same. To this day I am still seeing my virtual life at the beginning of its existence while I am truly amazed by the speed of its evolution. Building up and maintaining your online presence is with no doubt an important element of your professional but also personal development, whether you are a graduate, studying, or just about to commence your journey as HR professional. 
Following post written by Cynthia Trivella is targeted on graduates and talks about importance of keeping your online profile attractive and well presentable. Thank you Cyndy for sharing it with us.

“Reputations are created every day and every minute.” ~ Anonymous

So you’ve made the leap. You have finished your formal education and now the fun begins… you want to work doing something meaningful, make money, and make a way for yourself in the World. Congratulations and welcome to the next day of the rest of your life! It’s feels so different now.
I remember when I graduated from college. It felt to me, at least, like I was now worthy and every employer out there should know it. I had a head full of freshly ingrained knowledge and more ambition than ever before in my life. The good news was that my degree, by virtue of its general nature, opened up a variety of opportunities for me. The bad news was that because of its unspecific nature, it was difficult for employers to figure out just where I could provide value. So I began my hunt like many students while I was still in school. I was competing with people who had the same desire as I, to secure the position of my dreams and knock that employer’s socks off.
Well after 3 months of searching, I did find a job. It was actually a pretty good one. I always dabbled in work that focused on people, so securing a position as Training and Development Coordinator within Human Resources was a great opportunity as my first job out of school, and one that opened the door to some great future job opportunities. So as I reflect on where I was then and where I am today, it makes me think about the journey to get here. My life changed in more ways than I can imagine, but the one constant through it all is the person that I am. That persona evolved into what is known today as my personal brand.
With the advent of social media and social networks, the value of the personal brand has taken on greater meaning than ever before. It is absolutely transparent, easily known and just a click away on a computer, iPad, Blackberry, etc. Your personal brand is something that you will hone over your lifetime. It describes you, but it may not define you. The best way to look at you from the perspective of another person is to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Now think about this in terms of an employer. Imagine yourself as a seasoned recruiter in a Fortune 500 organization who is looking to fill an entry-level position in marketing. You know that you’re looking for a recent college grad who’s A-level, and willing to come in and learn the company’s business, grass roots style. As a job seeker, you see this position on the TweetMyJOBS channel on Twitter. It looks interesting so you apply. Then that sacred day arrives, the phone rings with an invitation to interview. You know your resume and cover letters are good representations of your brand, why else would you have gotten the call.  But have you thought about the other pieces that comprise your image? Some of those pieces are found in your Facebook and MySpace accounts, your Twitter, Four Square and Gowalla updates, and on your LinkedIn profile -- and this is just a short list. So the big questions are what have you done to get these image pieces in place to support your resume and more importantly support you during the interview process?
I can tell you in fact that employers leave very little to uncertainty when it comes to talent acquisition. And I think more so today than ever before. With the lightening fast speed at which you can communicate with your peers, so can an employer locate these communications that expose you… for better or worse. Companies not only want to know you are capable of doing a job; they need to know you are the person you claim to be during the interview process. No one is perfect and from what I see, employers understand this. You, as the job seeker, just need to be astutely aware of what information is “out there” about you and be prepared to handle questions from a prospective employer. You will, like any company, deal with the effects of your brand and be called upon to explain and acknowledge its existence. With transparency being a keyword of the times, there is no hiding. What has happened, happened; it’s history, but know this, there are no excuses. You will be assessed on what you are, who you know, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and for the purposes of starting your career, how you acknowledge how you want the prospective employer to view you. You have control over this. Your brand reputation is your own and something no one can take from you, nor can anyone alter this if you don’t want. But you’ve got to take responsibility and control. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a mistake or suffer a bump in the road; chances are you will. What is more important is how you manage a snafu and control the spin around it.
So what’s the point? Simply this, your brand will carry you through life – both personally and professionally. Treat it with kindness and nurture it. In return, you’ll receive a lifetime of benefits that will sustain you as the person you are and raise you as the person you want to be.  

Cyndy is the Director of Business Development in Kansas City for NAS Recruitment Communications, a Director on the Board for SHRM of Greater Kansas City and a committee member on the National HR Standards Workforce Planning Taskforce for the Society of Human Resource Management. Cyndy began her career in Human Resource Communications on Madison Avenue in New York City over 12 years ago. Prior to that, she worked in corporate human resources as a recruiter and as a training and development coordinator.