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A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life Of Recruitment Marketing Specialist Manager: Annalisa West

Marketing is an amazing sector and requires individuals of both intelligence and creativity. They use these attributes to draw and hold our attention and make us buy into the vision they are depicting. This is why the Find Your Flex team is excited to get the perspective of the amazing Annalisa West; Recruitment Marketing Specialist Manager for St. James’s Place.

We cannot wait to hear all about the day to day working life of such a varied and interesting role and hope you will find it inspiring and beneficial!

What does a working day look like for a Recruitment Marketing Specialist Manager?

My day can range from having meetings with key stakeholders, to creating promotional videos and writing articles for both traditional and social media.

How do you find a work life balance?

I’ve learnt to compartmentalize my life, be extremely organised and have a process for everything to maintain a good work life balance. Since becoming a mum this has become even more crucial because life is busy! Success for me regarding a great work life balance depends on having the right mindset and ensuring I don’t become overwhelmed, I always think ‘process not outcome’, which really helps. Regarding work, I set goals with workable, realistic steps of how I’ll achieve them. I have a clear process every day; I create a daily ‘to do’ list and I use the Eisenhower Matrix to plan my work in order of priority. What really helps is that, since having my first son (who is now 6), I am a homeworker. St. James’s Place are superb at looking after their employee’s welfare in this way and have certainly provided me with unwavering support, which I believe is reciprocated in the work I am able to produce for the company. Every Sunday evening I look at my work diary to plan what’s happening for the week ahead. I do this with my husband, who does the same, so we’re both aware of each other’s work commitments for the week.

In doing this we can then ensure that whatever responsibilities we have to our sons and our home life for the coming week are organised around work commitments. With anytime that’s left I plan when I can exercise and have time alone in my garden, which changes from week to week. Exercising 3-4 times a week and getting in my garden are non-negotiable things for me to do, even if it means fitting them in at six in the morning or in the evening when my children are in bed. I’m a keen gardener and always have been, it’s a creative outlet for me that I love where I can just switch off. I’m a firm believer that in order to bring my best to my work and home life, maintaining a good work life balance, I need to take care of my mental and physical health. Having time to switch off in the garden and exercising regularly definitely supports this.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Yes, St. James’s Place are very supportive of professional development, in fact I go so far as to say it’s actively encouraged, as part of our culture, for everyone to be the best version of themselves. If I’ve ever felt I the need to develop an area of my skills which will enable me to do my role more successfully, I can honestly say training has been fully supported throughout my (almost) 11 years with the company. There is a fantastic programme of internal workshops and training and opportunities to move jobs internally are openly advertised on our intranet for everyone to see. If you work hard at St. James’s Place it does not go unnoticed, it’s a great organisation that feels like a family, despite being a FTSE 100 company, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

I’m also delighted to be an integral part of the marketing team who promote our Academy programme, offering opportunities to people outside of the organisation a chance to change career and progress professionally. It’s a joy to interview people who have joined our Academy programme and hear how we’ve empowered them to begin a new career and it has changed the lives of both themselves and their family! So many people get to a stage in their career where they don’t feel they can progress, and they need a new challenge or a completely new career direction. For them the Academy is a fantastic programme. The programme offers high calibre and driven individuals an exciting chance to begin a career in financial advice.

What is the best part about being Recruitment Marketing Specialist Manager?

As I mentioned, I’m positively changing lives; with the promotional material I create I’m helping to find the next generation of Financial Advisers. This is so important to me in a profession where there’s only (circa) 26 thousand Financial Advisers in the UK and there’s literally millions of people with money to invest, who don’t have a Financial Adviser and would benefit from their guidance. I’m excited by the fact that I’m helping to make a difference to the profession and to help increase the avenues to advice for these investors. I also know, having interviewed many of the people who I’ve helped to attract to join St. James’s Place, that becoming a Financial Adviser is the best decision they’ve ever made and it has changed their lives in numerous ways. There’s so much satisfaction in knowing my role in the team as a marketeer is helping to make a difference to so many people, those who join us and become top-class Financial Advisers and those people who become clients of St. James’s Place and gain, in my opinion, the best financial advice.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Working with such a diverse group within St. James Place, it can be challenging to meet the production requirements for all the individual people or teams who want some form of marketing material. On occasion for logistical, time, budgetary or even creative reasons it’s not possible to give them precisely what they want and having to say ‘no’ when a piece of work someone wants just isn’t achievable is always tough. It doesn’t happen often and normally at worst we find a workable middle ground, but when it does it becomes a problem for which we always try to find a future solution.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

If you like storytelling, be that written or visual then, go for it! because you’d love a career in marketing. It’s challenging in a positive way; ascertaining the best way to engage with people, taking their vision (or sometimes just a thought) and turning it into a living breathing product designed to engage people and make them feel a certain way, understand a specific concept or just think about a new subject is very satisfying when it works well. There are often times when frustrations and complications test you along the way, but that makes it all the more fulfilling when your finished product is made public and does its job. It really does make you feel like you have achieved something, and I love it!

Thank you to Annalisa for sharing your insights as a Recruitment Marketing Specialist Manager!

The Find Your Flex team would like to thank Annalisa for highlighting the amazing hallmarks of her role! It’s truly inspiring to gain such a balanced perspective on what working in a senior Marketing role looks like and know that anyone who reads this will know they have the perfect insight into whether this would be a career that they themselves would aim for

There are many different careers out there and if you want to gain some more insights, why not check out A Day in the Life of The Head of UX and Optimisation: Becky Franks?

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A Day In The Life Of... Careers Flexible Working Future of work

A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Tomchenko

Alex is the Founder and CEO of Glambook; an all-in-one platform created to aid beauty professionals grow their budding businesses. Alex has an extremely positive and forward-thinking outlook on the life of a CEO. He highlights how much time, dedication and hard work it takes to build a thriving business. While also pointing out the need to decompress when you can and leave business at the door and make time for yourself. 

Alex also has some unique views on the meaning of progress and how transferable skills can be used to help build a brand. He also points out the importance of utilizing fresh talent prepared to soak up new ways of doing things and how this can be more beneficial to growing businesses than recruiting based on experience. This is definitely a mindset geared toward the future of working and we are excited to learn more about Alex and his working life as a Founder and CEO.   

What does a working day look like for a Founder & CEO?

I wake up at 7:00am and after a nutritious breakfast I start checking my inbox and messages. We meet with the team at 9:00am to help us align on priorities and set up the tone for the day. Before lunch, I’m focused on monitoring our results and growth and take a few more business meetings. After lunch, I spend time on mapping out business goals and tasks, aligning on workflow and hosting additional meetings. Towards the end of the day, I look at our daily progress and that helps me identify our goals and tasks for the next day. I go to bed at 11:30pm.

How do you find a work life balance?

To be honest, it’s not easy to strike a perfect work and life balance during the growth stage of a startup. What helps is that I work on something that I’m truly passionate about and I do it together with my wife, who is my co-founder. While we don’t have a strict schedule that divides our business and personal lives, we manage to find time for both. Usually, we are busy with work during the day and late evenings are reserved for things not related to business.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Progress is an important part of life. However, progress doesn’t necessarily mean doing something new. Often, it’s finding a new way to do something. At Glambook, we’re doing just that, finding a way to transition the beauty industry into the digital space. I’m a believer that opportunities for progress are always here and they will always be available.

What is the best part about being Founder & CEO?

The best part of my job is to have freedom to create a product the way you envision it. To create a product that will bring value to your users. If you can’t find something that works for you, you can create it. During my 13+ years spearheading a digital marketing agency, I gained valuable experience in promoting and growing other people’s products, so now I am fortunate to have an opportunity to finally use those skills and experience to build and grow my own product.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Challenges help you have a different perspective, think outside of the box and look for alternatives, which means constant growth and development. I’m not a big fan of formalities – to have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, or create documents for the sake of having them, so I prefer to focus on things that matter, bring value and make a process more meaningful.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is something I’ve learned the hard way during my time at the digital marketing agency. It’s a much smoother and easier task to bring a beginner up to speed than trying to ask an established expert to re-learn and do things differently. An established professional may already have their own point of view and past experiences that prevent them from seeing a full picture. For someone who is just starting out in a new industry, there’s a much higher chance of being successful. Be curious, goal-oriented and motivated by the project you’re about to kick off. As the saying goes, if you’re trying to do the impossible, do it with people who don’t know that this is impossible.

THANK YOU TO ALEX FOR SHARING HIS INSIGHTS AS A FOUNDER AND CEO WITH US!

These were some amazing and unique insights from Alex, who shows us what it means to have the entrepreneur mindset, having not only the passion to create something unique but also to keep your eye on the future. Alex showcases a forward-thinking mindset, highlighting the fact that experience isn’t everything and if you do have experience, it is important to be flexible in your approach to different aspects of business. A refreshing take on the working life of a Founder and CEO! Alex also made the point of how his skills in marketing were transferable when creating his own product and business, which is something all of our readers should consider. We hope you enjoyed reading all about Alex’s amazing and interesting work life!

For other takes on the working life of a Founder and CEO why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Bozhin.

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A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life of the Head of UX & Optimisation: Becky Franks

This week Find Your Flex is excited to be delving in to the life of Becky Franks; Head of UX and Optimisation for the Co-Operative Bank. But it doesn’t stop there, Becky is also the lead their Digital Bees colleague network. As a woman who wears many hats for the company and does so splendidly, we are ecstatic to see what Becky’s working day looks like. We hope our readers will find this interesting and perhaps even consider Becky’s path if pursuing a career in the same field!

What does a working day look like for the Head of UX & Optimisation and Lead on Digital Bees?

One of the things I love about my job is the variety of my role. In UX we have 5 teams, UX Design, Research, Service Design, Content and Optimisation. One day I might be in a workshop coming up with ideas for new propositions with the UX team, the next day I could be working with stakeholders outside of the team looking at how we tackle diversity and inclusion across the Bank. Through the Digital Bees I have spoken at events, conferences, to students and the general public to improve their digital skills and confidence. No day is the same.

How do you find a work life balance?

My work life balance is good, as a Digital Leadership team we regularly review how the teams are working and if anyone is working over their hours we will raise this with the individual to find out why. We have always been able to work from home which makes a real difference as you can us your lunch times to sort out things at home or go for a run. I real enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from home.

Are there opportunities to progress?

100%! I have been at the Bank 4.5 years and have been promoted twice. I started as a Manager, moved to Lead and am now a Head of. There are always opportunities for people to progress who work hard and align to our values.

What is the best part about being the Head of UX & Optimisation and Lead on Digital Bees?

I really enjoy Leading my team and the Digital Bees and I love supporting people to progress and get the best out of them. I like bringing people together and tackling any issues as a team. There are some really talented and knowledgeably people in the team and I love learning from them.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

One of the most important parts of my job is to build strong stakeholder relationships. And make sure that the team does the same. Working from home means you have to put extra effort in. And make the effort to call and speak to people to resolve any issues before they escalate. It can also be hard to support so many people, my diary is usually back to back with meetings I sometimes miss out on supporting the team and attending meets as I just don’t have enough hours in the day.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

Go for it! We have a really mixed team. Some people have degrees others have worked in the Bank and moved into the team and learnt on the job. Everyone has to start somewhere, if you want a role in UX there are lots of online courses. Be proactive, complete courses and do some voluntary work in UX, it looks great on your CV. If people tell me they don’t have time to do that I’d question how much they really want a role in UX! Opportunities are there but you need to work for them – you’re the only person who can change your career.

Thank you to Becky for sharing your insights as the Head of UX & Optimisation and Lead on Digital Bees!

It is inspiring to see someone take on so many responsibilities and also make the time for work life balance! Becky has given a perfect example of how hard work can pay off. And how to go about climbing the ladder of an organisation like the Co-Operative Group. We at Find Your Flex thank Becky Franks for giving us the scoop on what her working day looks like. And what it could look like for you if you wished to pursue the same or similar role!

If you want to find out about the work days of other careers, why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Co-Founder and CPO: Jacob Sever?

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Careers Flexible Working Future of work Industry Flexers

Career Flexibility

When it comes to getting what you want from your career, having an attitude of flexibility can help you to take advantage of all the possibilities.

To have Career Flexibility and achieve your goals, you’ll want to set your boundaries. What are the areas where you can’t or won’t compromise? Salary? Location? Hours? Could you be tempted to travel further for more money or to work more hours for a really good role? If you can say ‘nothing would tempt me…’ then you know that you’ve drawn your line in the sand!

How could you achieve your aims by working differently? Often our attitudes to employment are quite rigid. We are limited by what we have done and influenced by our families and friends.

What would life look like beyond PAYE? How do you feel about self-employment? Freelancing? Consultancy? Employing others? If you have concerns, how could you address them? Could you combine self-employment with a part-time or seasonal PAYE role for security? If you worry about finding work, could you work as a freelancer or consultant for someone else?

Could you work two or more different jobs (sometimes known as a portfolio career)? This could broaden your horizons or allow you to experiment safely in a new career direction knowing that the old one is still bringing in money.

Could you job share your previous role or a new one? This could open up a wealth of more senior and interesting roles that aren’t advertised as part time.

Could you develop a hobby or interest into a side hustle? How could that become your main source of income?

In what areas, are you an ‘expert’? Not the world expert, but knowledgeable and experienced in a particular area. Is there something you know how to do that you could teach or train others to do?

Would you retrain to upskill or update your career? Would you retrain in order to change careers completely?

Whatever the job market or economic situation, Career Flexibility is a mindset for personal growth and new opportunities.

Career Coaching and Training to Relaunch Careers

Re-establishing your career after a parental career break or redundancy can be a daunting prospect. You may not be able to return to the job you did before, or your priorities may have changed and you would like to do something different. Whether your career gap is months or years, we are here to help.

The four things we cover:

1. Career Clarity – work out what to do next and how to get there.

2. CV-Writing – refresh or start your CV from scratch ready to market your expertise. We can also help you create a LinkedIn profile for the opportunities you want to attract.

3. Job Search – use your time effectively and efficiently to find the right job for you.

4. Interview Skills – regain confidence using our three step approach for interview success.

We do this through standalone e-learning and blended coaching programmes.

View our career programmes http://bit.ly/careercoachingprogrammes

Book a free career consultation https://bit.ly/careerconsultcp

Get your free guide to discover the best sites for flexible jobs https://bit.ly/flexjobsites

Join our Facebook Group for career break mums: https://www.facebook.com/groups/careerbreakmumsbycoachingpartners

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A Day In The Life Of... Business Career Returners Careers Flexible Working

A Day in the Life Of a Life & Business Coach: Veena Hedges

The most inspiring roles are ones that help people bring their dreams to fruition. The primary goal of a Life & Business Coach is to provide people with the tools and support to help them achieve their goals. But what does a working day of a Life and Business Coach look like?

We are excited to hear from the amazing Veena Hedges. Veena has had many experiences already throughout her career journey; from starring in shows such as Grange Hill, Children’s Ward and the Bill, to earning a degree in business management and starting and running two companies in global recruitment and property respectively.

These are just some of the professional accomplishments in Veena’s life and now she helps others achieve their goals as a Life and Business Coach. We at Find Your Flex could not think of anyone better equipped!

What does a working day look like for a Life & Business Coach?

It looks the way I want it to look. First comes looking after me, then comes looking after my clients and in-between comes looking after the family.

How do you find a work life balance?

Through taking the time to sit with a coach and primarily working out what’s most important to me. Then, with their support, making a plan to find time and space to fit everything in, making sure the important bits are put in first.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Always! Everything is changing all the time, anything that sits still grows mold, even water. As humans our challenge is to keep embracing change, be in front of the curve, be open to new exciting opportunities everywhere. In work, in travel, in cuisine, in relationships, in entertainment, in books, in fashion etc. Every time we learn something new, we are progressing. Self development is the meaning of being born human, why we are put on this earth.

What is the best part about being Life & Business Coach?

To support and encourage a person’s metamorphosis from a caterpillar to butterfly. It inspires me, gives me a sense of wonderment and purpose.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

I’m not so great at selling myself.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

I would ask them if they like helping people and if they’re able to support someone make their own decisions without any judgment, advice or own ideas into the mix. I would advise them to get a proper qualification from The Coaching Academy which is the accredited body.

THANK YOU TO VEENA FOR SHARING HER INSIGHTS AS A LIFE & BUSINESS COACH!

Veena has really shined a light on not only the ins and outs of being a Life and Business Coach, but the importance of work-life balance. Veena’s views on how life must come first and how work needs to be prioritised is truly inspiring. This exactly what we at Find Your Flex want everyone to recognise. We thank Veena for this amazing piece that will inspire our readers!

To learn more about Veena’s journey and if you yourself feel you would benefit from her expertise, check out her website here.

If you want to find out about the work days of other careers, why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Co-Founder and CPO: Jacob Sever?

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A Day In The Life Of... Careers

A Day in the Life Of a Co-Founder and CPO: Jacob Sever

A day in the life of a Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer (CPO) requires the traits of a passionate leader, a strategic thinker and relationship builder. Sumsub is company who’s purpose is to prevent online fraud and keep businesses and people safe and secure. Therefore, Co-Founder and CPO Jacob Sever has all these traits and more, and we excited to share with you what his daily working life looks like!

As a co-founder and the Chief Product Officer, Jacob plays a leading role in driving key strategic initiatives across the global business. And specializes in online customer due diligence relationships with financial institutions.

What does a working day look like for a Co-Founder & CPO?

It’s rather simple—early mornings, coffee, and a bike ride to the office. Then, generally speaking, there are multiple calls with our team leaders, R&D, CEO, and CTO. We have discussions about our future growth strategies and operations, review urgent issues and approve or discount certain ideas brought to us by our team. I have some time to focus on my own tasks and go through urgent emails that need my attention.

Of course there are breaks here and there too, but I’m in a work-mode most of the time. I try my best to separate life and work, but it’s not easy, being in charge of an international company across several countries, or even continents. This is true even though there are four Sumsub founders in charge.

How do you find a work life balance?

Setting boundaries and making sure you stick to them. It’s a healthy way to take a break from work, though I’m often bad at following my own advice. This gets even more complicated considering that I work with two of my brothers, so family dinners sometimes sideway into brainstorming sessions.

Are there opportunities to progress?

I think opportunities are always there. It just depends on what direction you want to grow.

What is the best part about being co-founder & CPO?

Being a founder is amazing as you can surround yourself with the most ambitious and experienced people out there, letting them inspire you, so you can inspire in return. Having built a great team and having met many of our hard-working partners, it really is the ultimate driver that gives me the motivation to be better at my job every day.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Being online most of the time and having to make final decisions in a flash. And there are a lot of heavy and urgent decisions that need to be made every day.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

As a Chief Product Officer, you are able to oversee the entire scope of product-related activities and develop sensitivity for your customers, making sure your product is built in a way that brings them the ultimate value. I love bridging business and technology in order to solve challenges and benefit real people—save their time and keep them away from trouble in a most user-friendly way. It’s very rewarding.

THANK YOU TO JACOB FOR SHARING HIS INSIGHTS AS A CO-FOUNDER AND CPO WITH US!

Its amazing to gain the different insights from business leaders and to hear Jacob’s point of view on what it is like being a co-founder and CPO! This is sure to be of vital interest to other like-minded individuals wishing to follow their passions to a fulfilling career.

To learn more about the work Jacob and his colleagues take a look at the company website here.

To gain insights from another founder and business leader, check out our post on the Day in the Life Of Alex Bozhin!

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Equality and Diversity Flexible Working

Hello International Women in Engineering Day!

It’s June 23rd! Which means all the best people working in the engineering sector will be celebrating International Women in Engineering Day (INWED).

INWED is the ‘World’s biggest initiative celebrating the achievements of women in engineering and allied roles’ led by the Women’s Engineering Society (which, side note, is my favourite engineering organisation but that’s likely not so important!).

Engineers + women = #EngineeringHeroes

This year’s theme is #EngineeringHeroes which could not be more apt for me… Here’s why.

Design Her In
Design Her In – a collaborative campaign to find solutions for the fundamental barriers to women participating in the engineering profession.

Speak Out Revolution’s #DesignHerIn campaign, launched in response to experiences women were sharing in the Speak Out Dashboard, explored the fundamental barriers to women participating in the engineering profession. 

The campaign identified 11 themes from women working across a broad range of industries including nuclear, construction, defence, energy and transportation, and the collective insights were very clear – the profession has not yet designed women into it’s workforce. 

The Top 5 barriers women in engineering identified to their advancement.

Top 5 Barriers to women participating in the engineering profession
  • No representation at senior leadership level
  • Unchallenged everyday sexism
  • Poor leadership and management of female staff
  • No access to truly flexible or part time working
  • Unfair pay compared to male counterparts

Today I will be celebrating all women working in engineering regardless of their accomplishments. Women who likely work without representation in senior leadership, face everyday sexism, are poorly managed, don’t have the flexibility they really need and are paid less than. 

These women (~12% of the workforce at last count) drive innovation within the sector by continuing to contribute their diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds to design and deliver solutions that serve everyone in our society, in spite of working environments and cultures not designed for them. 

Creating a more inclusive profession

Frequently in discussion amongst my own professional network is the lack of flexibility in working patterns, and availability of part time working. This particularly impacts working parents and disproportionately women either blocking them from serious consideration for promotion or forcing them to leave the profession amongst other detrimental outcomes. 

Flexible and part time working patterns benefit many demographics (not just women), inviting diversity of thought into our workplaces, essential to any engineering organisation that values innovation. 

If the engineering sector were handing out wishes this INWED, my wish would be for all companies celebrating to make all their open roles (at the point of advertisement) full time, part time, role share and flexible with a strong remote component. 

I expect this would go a long way to fulfilling my second wish of an embargo on senior leadership explaining that the underrepresentation of women in their organisation is because “We just don’t get CV’s from women”… Sigh

So as you and your organisation celebrate your #EngineeringHeroes I’d like to ask:

What tangible steps are you taking to remove these barriers in your organisation…?

If you’d like to make my wish come true but are struggling with the how, reach out to Find | Your | Flex who can uniquely help your organisation. You could simply post your flexible roles on their job platform or ask about their power hour consultations. They completely understand that initiating and driving change within an organisation can be difficult. So, they are on hand to help you with any HR issues you have.

About Speak Out Revolution

Speak Out Revolution is a not-for-profit, founded in 2020, working to cancel the culture of silence on harassment and bullying in workplaces across the UK. 

They host the Speak Out Dashboard, available on desktop at speakoutrevolution.co.uk/dashboard, sharing global insights into workplace harassment & bullying and the route to resolution for targets of poor behaviours. 

If you’ve worked in a toxic culture or with difficult people, spare 10 minutes to support their work by adding your experience anonymously here.

About the author – Marie Hemingway

Marie is the founder and director of Speak Out Revolution.

Photo of Marie Hemingway
Marie Hemingway, Founder and Director of Speak out Revolution.

She is a strategy consultant helping businesses transform their people, processes and technology to drive positive business outcomes with expertise in strategic investment decision making, digital transformation and organisational change.

She is a board member for the Women’s Infrastructure Network focused on expanding the network outside of London, creating cross sector opportunities for women to network, exchange ideas and help shape the infrastructure agenda.

Connect with Marie on LinkedIn here.

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Business Careers

A Day in the Life Of a Founder and CEO: Alex Bozhin

Being a leader in business can be a long and difficult road, especially if you are a founder and/or CEO of an organisation. However if you have the drive and determination, every day in the life of a Founder and CEO can be rewarding as Alex Bozhin shares with Find Your Flex.

Alex managed to build a fast-growing company in Postoplan; an automated marketing platform for social networks and messengers. Alex is proud that 95% of his team stayed with the company since the beginning. He developed not only an efficient company structure but also corporate standards that allow to onboard new employees being fully remote. He would now like to share his journey and experience so far, to help and inspire existing and aspiring business leaders.

What does a working day look like for a Founder & CEO?

My workday begins at 6-7am. This has already become a habit, so I don’t use an alarm. I always do my morning warm-up exercises, and then spend about two hours on strategic issues, such as plans, indices, goals. Then comes breakfast.

Between 9am and 2pm, I have meetings and calls with my team, partners and investors. I try to use these hours as effectively as possible, and I believe that things should always be discussed in person because that’s much more efficient than exchanging a hundred letters.

The hours between 2pm and 5pm are usually spent on less important projects, dealing with mail and managerial tasks. During this period, I also try to go for a short walk, have lunch and get some exercise. I leave work that requires the least mental effort for the evening, and use this time to plan my next day. I work more than eight hours a day, but try to keep a work-life balance, improving the effectiveness of my actions.

How do you find a work life balance?

I believe that dividing my workday in two helps me to preserve the work-life balance. I think that leisure time should be treated as a separate task that mustn’t be skipped. We may have plenty of internal resources and work for 16 hours straight, but such an approach has a negative impact on effectiveness. This is why I try to switch back and forth between work and leisure and spend my lunch with family.

Physical exercise also helps to reduce stress. I spent a lot of time fine tuning this balance, and things, obviously, change as time goes by. The company is growing, and that means the growth of both responsibility and obligations. On the weekends, I try to work no more than seven hours a day to avoid burnout. I cannot stop working on weekends altogether, because when your company has a monthly growth of 20%, you have to work hard to keep up. Nonetheless, I’m convinced that doing things outside of work is an important resource of energy.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Opportunities are always there. For me, opportunities are all about balance. I don’t work because I’m forced to, for me, it’s both a hobby and a part of my life. This is why I don’t have negative emotions when I work long hours. But it’s important to add that I’m finding points of growth not just in my work, but also in my personal interests and family.

What is the best part about being Founder & CEO?

The best thing is to receive positive feedback from clients and investors. When an investor writes to give you a positive evaluation and notes the company’s growth, for me that’s recognition of my professional expertise. When users say that we have the best user support, it’s important for me that I’m doing something big and that my efforts to make something better than others are recognized.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

The most difficult things are the mundane tasks, and that’s not just all the documents one has to deal with, but doing any kind of same-type tasks. I also believe that hiring new people is difficult. You are given a very short time to judge both the person’s level of expertise and their ability to fit in with the team and uphold the company’s values. We routinely reject those who have the necessary experience, but won’t fit in with the team. So, that’s difficult. But corporate values and team cohesion have greater importance to us.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

Learn to build relationships with people. This is the key factor in any job and profession. It’s not difficult to learn new skills, but stepping up the career ladder depends on your ability to find common ground with people around you. Even experienced managers may have a hard time discerning a genius behind a standoffish person. Learning the art of communication requires more than just the ability to be easy-going and non-confrontational. You also have to learn to keep the promises given to the team, the company, and your superior. The market is huge, but having a reputation of reliable and easy-going employee will definitely help you in building your career.

Thank you to Alex for sharing his insights as a Founder and CEO with us!

We are delighted to gain these valuable insights about Alex’s personal journey as a Founder and CEO. We hope it benefits others who are wishing to start their own company or have reached the position of CEO or a similar leadership role.

To find out more about Alex and his organisation visit Postoplan’s site here.

If you would like to read about the Day in the Life of People in other roles, why not check out our post on the Day in the Life Of Dr Ranj?

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Career Change Careers

A Day In The Life of…Dr Ranj

Time for something new on Find Your Flex. In the weeks and months to come we’re going to be doing some Q&A style articles and videos with people from a variety of different professions so you can get a flavour of what it’s like to work in their chosen field and we’re kicking off with an amazing example. We are delighted to welcome doctor, writer and broadcaster Dr Ranj Singh to FindYourFlex.co.uk.

You will no doubt have seen Dr Ranj on TV. He is the resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning and presented Dr Ranj on Call as well as having a very impressive run on Strictly Come Dancing. Dr Ranj has also just published a superb book for tweenage and teenage boys called How to Grow Up and Feel Amazing.

In this Q&A, Dr Ranj tells us about his work as a paediatric doctor. He also tells us a bit about his book. Do have a read and learn more about his very impressive and diverse career!

Tell us about your latest book?

How to Grow Up and Feel Amazing! is a modern, up-to-date and honest growing-up guide for boys and anyone else that might be interested in the challenges they face. 

It covers everything from how your body and mind changes, to having healthy relationships, to dealing with social media, as well as how to get the most out of every day. We go beyond that to also look at what it actually means to be a boy, exploring ideas around stereotypes, diversity and inclusion. 

Plus you’ll get an insight into the things I went through when I was a kid and what I learned. I want every young person that reads this book to feel like they are not the only one going through puberty. I want them to feel more confident about themselves, and also feel empowered to seek help if they are struggling – something that boys really need right now. I didn’t always have that when I was growing up, and I really wish I did – but we can make sure that people have it now.

What inspired you to write it?

It’s the book I needed when I was growing up! When I wrote it, I always kept asking myself: what did I wish someone had told me?

I wrote this book to educate and empower any young person that picks it up and reads it. I want it to be that companion that you can turn to for reassurance about anything that is happening in your life, but also helps you learn how to deal with it. It’s that friendly, non-judgemental friend who can allay your fears and advise you on how to make things better. I want the reader to feel happier, hopeful and inspired to dream and be better. I made a specific point of putting my own life mantra in it: dream big, work hard and be kind. Those are words I live my own life by and they have helped me immensely, and I hope they’ll help other people too.

I’ve also tried to make it as relevant to as many people as possible. I don’t want anyone to feel like it doesn’t consider, understand or mention them. That’s why we talk about sexuality and identity as well as biology, puberty and everything else. And you’ll see from the amazing illustrations by David O’Connell that there are people of every background, colour and culture in there. This book is for everyone.

Moving on to your life as a doctor, what does a working day look like for a doctor?

Well, a ‘working day’ could be any day of the week, daytime or nighttime. It’s a 24/7 job. I work in Children’s A&E and Intensive Care, so I tend to do shift work. Each shift lasts around 13 hours and every one is different. Some days are steady, and others completely hectic and unpredictable. That’s one of the wonderful things about my job – no two days are the same and it’s never boring!

How do you find a work life balance?

Probably not very well! I’m guilty of not switching off when I should and working late into the evenings. But I always make sure that I have some time to down tools and have fun too. I love my various jobs, both within and outside medicine, and the variety keeps me going. 

What is the best part about your job?

The variety of the work and the people I get to work with. It keeps me busy and interested. I found I’m naturally suited to flexible working because it means I get to do different things. I feel very lucky to be able to do so. There is an inherent lack of security in that sometimes, but I’m the kind of person that likes to try out different things and go with what works. It’s going OK so far!

Is there a difficult part to your job?

Working in hospital can sometimes be difficult because of the long hours and also the nature of the stuff you’re dealing with. So you have to be both physically and emotionally resilient. My media work can be unpredictable and quite demanding, so that needs a lot of energy and attention too.

So overall, I guess the hardest part is remembering to allow yourself time to rest and recover. Sometimes I have to tell myself that taking a break is just as important as doing something – because it’s in those spaces that you get a chance to reflect, recover and refocus.

If someone was considering a career in medicine, what advice would you give to them?

I would say aim for the stars. No matter who you are or where you are from, go for the best that you can be, without fear. You can deal with the challenges as they come along, but there is no reason why you can’t dream and strive for those goals.

The first thing I can remember is wanting to be an astronaut. No idea why… I guess it just seemed like a cool job. Then I wanted to be a teacher, but soon changed my mind when I saw how hard teachers have to work! Eventually I settled on wanting to become a doctor. I realised that I loved science, had a fascination with how things worked and really wanted to help others. So medicine seemed like a logical choice. 

But I was never really that academic and I didn’t think I could make it. And I didn’t know any doctors so didn’t have any idea of what it entailed. Fortunately, we were very good friends with our local pharmacist who advised me to just aim as high as I could and see what happened. He was absolutely right, and that’s a piece of advice I’ve carried with me throughout my career. Just give it your best shot – no matter where you end up, you’ll be in a better place than where you started.

Oh, and always remember, nothing good ever comes easy… so be prepared to put the work in!

Lots of youngsters will be stressing about GCSE and A-level assessments. What advice would you give to mums and dads to help their children cope?

The thing to remember is that these young people aren’t just dealing with exam stress. They’re trying to figure out growing up too! As adults we can forget what it feels like to be a young teen and we need to try and throw ourselves back to the feelings we experienced. That’s easier said than done though, and the best advice I can give any parent is to create an atmosphere where your children can talk about their stress and anxiety if they need to. Try and answer their questions and above all else, support them. Anything you can do to encourage them to take healthy breaks from revision is important too – no one performs at their best if they’re exhausted.

Growing up is such a confusing time for young people and even more so after the year we’ve just had. Trying to put yourself in their shoes is really helpful, which is why I think it’s really worthwhile for parents to read my book themselves – it will help them understand and empathise with their kids and what they’re feeling.

Finally, where can readers get a copy of How to Grow Up and Feel Amazing? 

How to Grow Up and Feel Amazing! is available from all good bookshops and online here.

Thank you to Dr Ranj for being the first to contribute to our ‘A Day In The Life Of…’ series.

You may also be interested in checking out our rough guide to roles in health and social care, the opportunities really are endless in this sector.

Categories
Careers Interviews And CV's

Make your CV land an interview

Are you struggling to land that interview and wondering why? There could be several reasons for this and we explore these further in our blog:

Is your personal statement engaging?

You have approximately 6 seconds to grab your reader and get your CV read. Write a snappy introduction stating the industries you have excelled in and skills you can bring to the role. What value do you bring? What is your USP? Make your introduction relevant to the role.

Have you spent time tailoring your CV?

You need to be tailoring your core CV for each job application.  It’s far better to apply for a few jobs well and spend time tailoring your CV for these positions, than to send your CV out on mass.

Tailoring your CV does not need to take long. Spend 30 minutes tweaking your core CV so that it reflects what the employer is looking for and what skills and achievements are of importance to them. Include some of the keywords used in the job description to beat those applicant tracking systems.

Is the contents of your CV relevant?

There is no need to list every single job you have ever held. Keep it relevant to the job you are applying for – what skills and aspects of previous roles are going to help you land this job? Ensure you tell the reader about the most relevant experiences, qualifications, achievements and skills you have early on in your CV. Avoid leaving the best for last as your CV may not be read to the end.

Are you using meaningless soundbites?

It is easy to fall into the trap of reeling off soundbites in your CV and regurgitating the job description. For instance stating that you are a hard-working, team player with excellent attention to detail. This is not going to help you to stand out from the crowd and tells the reader very little about you. 

Instead, take these key words and weave them into your CV in your own words. Go that step further and provide evidence to support these statements, quantifying your skills and achievements where you can.

Is your CV inviting to read? 

Your CV needs to be short, easy and inviting to read. Aim for 1-2 pages. Your CV is essentially your career highlights and a sales pitch, rather than a list of everything you have ever done. Keep paragraphs short, make use of bullet points and utilise white space. A simple, short format will keep your reader happy.

Are you proofreading your CV?

The contents of your CV may be great but spelling and grammar can let you down at the last hurdle and lead to your CV ending up in that ‘no’ pile. Spend time proofreading your CV for spelling, punctuation, grammar and format.   Use a free download like Grammarly to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation as you write.

It’s very easy to overlook these aspects of CV writing but they are quick to remedy.  When you’ve finished writing your CV, imagine you are picking it up for the first time. What jumps out at you? Is that what you intended? What changes do you need to make to pass the five-second glance?

If you’re not sure, ask someone else to review it for you, a fresh pair of eyes may spot what you’ve missed.

These quick tips will help ensure your CV is read and increases your chances of landing that interview.

Need some expert help with your CV?

Our Mastering CVs course makes it easier for you to quickly refresh and update your CV so that you are ready to market your expertise successfully and secure that interview.

We will give you templates and guide you step-by-step through the process of writing your CV. We’ll explain how to structure your CV, what to write for each section, how to handle career gaps and how to tailor your CV for the job you want. We will help you to present yourself successfully as the perfect candidate for the job.

Find out more here: https://bit.ly/careercoachingprogrammes

Book in for a free 20 minute career consultation: https://bit.ly/careerconsultcp

Discover where to look for flexible jobs: https://bit.ly/flexjobsites

By Coaching Partners, Becky Wilding-Jones and Rachel Veal