Archive for February, 2010

Facebook 180

So you may or may not have read the Facebook post I wrote last year. It basically says bugger off and don’t ask to be my Facebook friend unless you’ve known me since we were, like, five (or something to that effect). Well, as some of you will know, I don’t really stick to that any more. 

The irony of the post is that, after I wrote it, several people I only know off twitter (who I’d not met) decided to add me as a friend. I made one exception. Then two. Then three. Then I needed a whole new Twitter privacy setting. Then I gave up any hope of keeping Facebook as a purely personal place and figured I might as well whore myself about anywhere and everywhere and befriend anyone. 

I’ll be honest though – I begrudge it a little (though it’s my own fault) and I reserve the right to rearrange my account at any time. In many ways I’m torn about my feelings towards Facebook. I like having my own private place where I can hang out with my friends and say dumb stuff. I already publicly say (slightly less) dumb stuff on Twitter, so it’s not like there isn’t already a medium to connect with me on that level. But on the other hand, it was nice to be able to tag people in pics after TRU London last week and it’s fun to connect more informally with those who remain fairly formal on Twitter.

So, for now, I’m available – not in all my glory, but in a carefully limited view of my glory – to add as a friend on Facebook. Do with me what you will…

More Un- Stuff!

Photo courtesy of Tristan Greaves

So you’re all up to speed on my TRU Source experience now, I trust! And so to days two and three! In case you missed them I have a selection of decent photos here, and some rubbishy mobile ones here. Or they’re on Facebook too.

My first taste of an unconference was TRU London I in November of last year. It was totally different to TRU London II in many respects. For a start, I think the venue has a big impact on the feel of an event: TRU I was in a massive atrium-style room in the Barclays Building at Canary Wharf, and had little pods where the tracks were held. The pods were too small really and the acoustics for anything non-pod were pretty abominable so I think Bill and Geoff were right to change venues. TwitJobSearch provided the Soho venue this time, but having the rooms so far apart did make it feel a little less joined up though, IMO. I didn’t always know what was going on where and, if you got a bit bored or fancied a change, then it wasn’t quite so easy to sneak off elsewhere, as office security was fairly tight! I did, however, feel the big room was very conducive to networking. There were plenty of seats, a Twitter Fountain of #trulondon tweets, refreshments and so on.

Track-wise, I also felt that things were a lot more interactive this time. At TRU I it felt to me as though it was mostly the track leaders doing the talking, but at TRU II there was a lot more interaction and opinion sharing, which was really nice.

I attended a variety of (official) tracks including:

  • The Candidate Experience
  • The Future of Recruitment
  • Recruiting Communities
  • Employee Vs Employer Branding
  • Sourcing
  • Social Media Circus

As well as some more unofficial ones including:

  • The Unattending Track (a personal favourite!)
  • The Pub Track

And I also attended an HR Happy Hour radio show with Steve Boese and met a ridiculous number of wonderful people from the UK and overseas – some of whom were new to me and some of whom were familiar in name and avatar if nothing else! To me, while the learning and sharing of ideas is obviously key, a big part of this kind of events is about the networking and that is one area in which TRU London II delivered 100%!

The organisation wasn’t perfect on day one, but by day two it felt as though things had been ironed out. I actually much preferred day two for a variety of reasons – for a start it felt more relaxed, there were less people so it was a bit less chaotic, and it just felt more… well… unconferency! I also won a Flip Video Camera from Jobsite which increased my seratonin levels somewhat! 🙂

So it was a busy few days, all in all, and there’s too much content to talk about for one blog post, so once I’ve assimilated everything and tried some new ideas out I’ll report back on my learning from my three days of TRU events. In the meantime though, there’s a few little thank you messages I’d like to pass on:

Thank you…

  • To Bill Boorman and Geoff Web for organising the event;
  • To Jobsite for my Flip Cam;
  • To Peter Gold for sharing (IMO) the most excellent ideas, all of which I intend to use;
  • To Matt Alder and Sara Headworth for the never ending and highly amusing soundbites at the Unattending Track;
  • To my twitter buddy Mervyn Dinnen for keeping me in a constant supply of lattes, smoothies and diet cokes, despite receiving not one drink in return! (Next time it’s on me – promise!)
  • To everyone who RT’d my copious tweets;
  • To all my non-recruitment Twitter followers who didn’t unfollow me!

See you next time! 🙂

And the winner is…

…ME! 🙂

Thanks to Jobsite, I won an Ultra HD Flip Video Camera at TRU London last week. How exciting is that! Here’s a little thank you note to everyone who played a part in my win…


Photo courtesy of Craig Fisher

So last week was, for me at least, three days of TRU events; all arranged by Bill Boorman and Geoff Webb. First of all there was TRU Source, and then there was two days of TRU London. And what a fab three days it was!

But let’s start with TRU Source, and I’ll do a separate post for TRU London…

Wednesday saw me hauling my suitcase up some narrow stairs in an office in Covent Garden (actually, that’s somewhat of a lie – Brendan Murphy carried both mine and his bags most of the way up… What a gent! :)) to be met with a room overflowing with people. The group was split into two and (on the grounds that there was no way I was lugging my bag back down the stairs, plus it seemed unkind to ask Brendan to do it for me again having only just got it to the third floor) I stayed put!

We started the morning with Marie Journey and Jim Stroud. What a pair! Now I hate to get all gushy, but I have to say, TRU Source was an excellent event IMHO and I loved everyone there. Both Marie and Jim just had this unsurpressable energy and passion for sourcing, combined with an infinite knowledge of resources. I’d cleverly left my notebook and my netbook in the bottom of my suitcase so resorted to taking notes on the back of my old shopping lists until my kindly neighbour lent me half his notepad (and believe me I needed it!)

We broke for lunch early (Marie was hungry!) and had a chance for networking and chit chat. I got my first hug from Jim Stroud (the first of many, I might add – he’s such a hugslut!) and then Geoff Web did a bit of ad libbing and a Q&A session with us while we waited for the second session to start.

The afternoon brought with it a change of faces and we had another fantastic session with Katharine Robinson and Irina Shamaeva. Irina is, like, the goddess of all things boolean and was a fountain of search knowledge! Katharine was the UK sourcing representative and had oodles of useful rousources for us to look at. She also started the session with an excellent example of why you should be searching for people and not for CV’s – only two people in the room had current CV’s online! And there must have been over 20 of us!

I’m not even going to begin to tell you everything I learned because a) it will take too long b) you should have gone yourself, and c)… well there isn’t a c), sorry. I have to say though that I thoroughly enjoyed the day and came away feeling at least 5 IQ points more intelligent than I went in!

TRU Source was, IMHO, rather overshadowed by TRU London and I think that was a real shame. While TRU London was a fantastic event, TRU Source was an unsurpassed learning experience and I think it deserved it’s own moment of glory. Despite spending some six hours with five of the best sourcers out there, I also felt we’d hardly scratched the surface, and this was emphasised on Friday when I attended the TRU London Sourcing track and found I was still learning a raft of new skills!

I hope that Bill and Geoff run more UK sourcing events because I think there’s a lot we recruiters can learn. Next time, though, maybe we need a two day event for TRU Source by itself!

Work related stress

There are people in this world who are always stressed about their job. They moan about it and (genuinely, I believe) get really upset and harassed by the problems and conflict that the role brings about.

Now I’m not unsympathetic to work related stress, and there are some jobs where it pretty much goes without saying: For paramedics, firefighters, social workers, and so on, stress is pretty much a daily occurrence in their lives. But on the whole (and I know this is a sweeping statement), office workers don’t really have much to grumble about. We don’t look death in the eye every day and people’s lives don’t really depend on us (though I concede their livelihoods often do!)

I understand totally that stress in the workplace can be caused by more than the obvious though. I’m not that obtuse – honest! There’s a whole host of things that can have an impact – from trying to do a role you are not trained for, to not receiving support from colleagues and, not least of all, from bullying and harassment. But honestly; this is where I fall down a little…

Annabel Kaye recently posed a question on Twitter about grievances. We exchanged a couple of tweets on the topic and she asked what, if anything, would make me more likely to raise a grievance. I tell you – my mind went blank! Now I’ve worked in jobs I’ve hated and for people who’ve been bullies and I’ve never raised a grievance. I genuinely can not imagine a situation where I would! Maybe (maybe!) if I had a problem with one person or aspect of a role, and it was something I felt was worth trying to resolve, then I would consider it. But only if the good really outweighed the bad overall, and only if resolving it wasn’t going to be like stirring up a hornets nest! Even then though, I sincerely doubt I’d ever make it to grievance level. If I have a problem with someone or something, then I talk about it. I’d like to think that my colleagues and managers are mature enough to do likewise and for me not to have to make matters formal just to have my basic working environment and rights maintained.

I’m a great believer in second chances and I like to think I’d never quit on a role without trying to resolve any problems first, but I would want to do it informally, and if it wasn’t resolved reasonably speedily then I wouldn’t waste my time bringing up the issue again. In my experience, it’s often those at the top of the food chain who are the biggest culprits too and, if this is the case, then who are you meant to turn to?! To me (and this is only my personal opinion) if the problem is major and not likely to be easily resolved, then I won’t stick around. I don’t want to work for a company where the owner is a bully – that kind of behavior seeps down through the management chain and often becomes seen as “acceptable”. Likewise, I don’t want to work for a company that allows whole groups of people to bully and intimidate other members of staff. And, for me at least, this applies on so many levels: Don’t want to train me to do my job properly? Then I don’t want to work for you. Don’t want to support your staff? Then I don’t want to work for you either! I know it’s a very black and white view, but I’m a black and white kinda girl! I either love you or I hate you – there’s not generally many grey areas in my life!

Everyone likes to gripe about work sometimes and I’m all for venting because we all need to do it and it’s part of what makes life bearable! But if your job really has such a negative an impact on your life that it’s causing you to be stressed and is affecting your health and life, then you have to ask yourself: Is it worth it? We work 7, 8, 9 hours a day – that’s the bulk of our waking day. Yes, not many of us can afford to be out of work and I’m not for a moment suggest that you hastily hand your notice in, but do be honest with yourself! Ask yourself what it really is that makes you so stressed at work and try and formulate a plan of action to remedy it. Maybe that involves an informal chat with a manager or colleague; maybe it involves raising an official grievance; or maybe it means recognising that the role just isn’t for you and that it’s time to look at moving on. Whichever: Don’t let work related stress rule your life – it’s just not worth it!

If you’re an employer and want to find out more then you should check out the
ACAS Stress at Work PDF Advisory Booklet.

The Problem with Short-Time Working

I suppose I always knew this day would come, I just didn’t realise quite how soon it would arrive. For those of you who know me or who follow my blog with any regularity (and rest assured, you are loved!) you’ll already know that I currently split my time between two jobs. There’s my “proper job” as a recruiter in the construction industry, and my “freelance job” consulting with a university on graduates and the buzz word of the day: Employability. This came about because my “proper job” had to put me on short-time working just under a year ago due to the recession. I held off looking for any other work for a long time in order to avoid the complications that have now arisen… Plus, you know, it was nice being a part-time lady of leisure for a while (albeit a poor one)! But here I am… Between a rock and a hard place.

Yesterday my “proper job” said that they’d like to increase my days from three a week to four a week. I am genuinely really pleased – though it’s partly due to the fact that another member of staff has left, it’s great that they’re in a position to ask me rather than letting the days go as “natural wastage,” and hopefully-maybe-possibly it means the beginning of the end and an eventual upturn in business for us. But I only started the university work a little over three months ago and I’m deep into it now. I sincerely doubt it could cope with just one day a week’s attention. In fact, I was only saying the other day that it could do with more really.

So here I am. Contractually the recruitment job can ask me back at any time, however I did ask permission before taking on the freelance work and it’s not fair to just walk out on the university. But what to do?! My recruitment job can still only offer four days a week and is still not as secure as it once was. But the freelance work, while guaranteed for another two months (and possibly to be extended a further six on top of that) is still freelance and is not really any more secure itself.

The university were kind enough to take me on on very flexible terms due to my situation and I enjoy the work – it’s a new, interesting challenge for me and really good for my professional development. I don’t want to burn my bridges with them. But, likewise, my employer has been flexible about my getting another role and has kept me on where others have fallen by the wayside. I love the company and everything they stand for. And I don’t want to burn my bridges with them either!

So what to do… Until I can speak to the university later in the week I don’t really know where they stand on the issue but, presuming they’d still like my services for two days a week, I’m not really sure where that leaves me. The worst thing is that I don’t even know what I want really. I like both jobs. A lot. And I like working for both companies. And I actually enjoy splitting my week in two, too!

I always knew this day would come. I knew that taking on a second job would ultimately end up complicating things and it was for exactly this reason that I shied away from finding one sooner. But in the end I didn’t really have a choice. And now I have to lay my cards out on the table for all to see, and see where the tide takes me…

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About Me

Over ten years’ recruitment, employability, HR and sales experience in both the private and public sectors. I've worked in construction recruitment, FMCG headhunting, and in higher education on the employability agenda.

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