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Careers Lifestyle

The Right Mindset is Vital on your Career Journey

Tis’ the season to be jolly! We at Find Your Flex hope you are all enjoying the festive season; feeling merry, giving and thankful for all the positivity Christmas brings. Such is the mindset of this time of year.

Speaking of mindset; Find Your Flex wants to give you all a Christmas present that will last you a lifetime! But we’ll get to that later. For now we are posing the question of why mindset is so important on your career journey?

The answer might seem obvious; a positive mindset is the best way to achieve your goals. That is certainly true, but that’s a generalising view.

When we go deeper there are different types of mindsets when on your career journey. And they can all be empowering or detrimental to where you end up. Even a positive mindset can be the wrong kind for a certain stage of your career.

Have a defeatist Mindset never gets you anywhere

Searching for your ideal job role that will mark the beginning or the next stage in your career journey, can be a daunting thing. You can put a lot of pressure on yourself because of this.

Arguably your mindset is the most important aspect of looking for work. It can be what makes or breaks an application or an interview.

Referring back to pressure, you can sometimes have the mindset that you’re not good enough or don’t fit the requirements. The more job applications you see that make you feel unworthy, the more ingrained you can get into this way of thinking. Avoid this mindset at all costs as it is a long road to nowhere good.

If you don’t know this already, Find Your Flex is here to let you in on the secret: most employers don’t really expect you to tick every box on a job application. Even the so-called “essential requirements.”

What you have to understand is, in the employers’ minds; that is the perfect candidate. And nobody’s perfect, so it’s like a test; see which boxes do get ticked and how the other aspects that might be lacking, are compensated for.

Find Your Flex has campaigned for this to change as we believe it is an unfair way of advertising jobs. And that employers are missing out on a lot of Talent because of this. Job descriptions should be output based; describing solely the output of the job and not set out an essential criteria for the applicant. For more on output, click here.

Regardless of how stacked job descriptions appear, or how many applications don’t go anywhere, do not put yourself down because of it. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole with that way of thinking and it will never lead to success.

You are not owed anything

On the other end of the scale, you can never just assume you have done enough to get a job and be content with that. I’m speaking with some experience here.

Overconfidence and naivety will never fuel a mindset that will benefit you.

Sometimes we can be naive about what will get us into our ideal job role. I was naive when initially looking to secure a role. I believed that since I worked hard to achieve my degree, that should show employers I’m a good fit for their role. I was wrong.

For graduates fresh out of uni, if all you have is your degree and nothing else, I’m here to tell you it is not enough. That may not seem fair but unfortunately it is the truth.

Not to say your degree isn’t an important part of your CV, it is. But if that’s all you have there will be others with that and more. Read John Adam’s thoughts on Universities in the modern world for more on this subject. Although, its not just about graduates looking to start their careers.

If you have years of experience in a role, you might think that should automatically make you fit for a similar role you are applying for. That might not be the case.

If you were in the same role for 10+ years and that role did not change or you didn’t accumulate any new skills during that time, there is an issue.

A lot can change in that time. If you refer to past experience alone, an employer can view you as set in your ways or even outdated.

Even certain positive mindsets can be detrimental if they are overly positive to the point of being unrealistic. Always look for that balance between optimistic and realistic.

Complacency vs Progression

It is important to maintain a healthy mindset while in work. This can sometimes be difficult when you’re not necessarily where you want to be in your career.

When climbing the ladder you should be actively trying to increase your knowledge, skills and experience. This can be done both inside and outside of work.

If you want to progress in your career quickly, you should always be looking for new opportunities everywhere. Not just where you currently work.

However climbing the ladder might not be what you want. There’s no law that says you can’t be content with your current position and should constantly be seeking more. Your current role may facilitate your life well enough. You don’t need to be constantly thinking: “what’s next?”

That does not mean you should stop developing. Be content sure, but don’t get complacent. Because the only certain thing in life is that nothing is for certain.

You never know what is round the corner, especially in the digital age where job roles are becoming automated all the time. Or the company you work for may hit hard times and be forced make redundancies.

I touched upon this earlier; if you spend years in a role that does not alter and you learn nothing new in all that time, you put yourself at a disadvantage.

Even if you are happy with your current role, you should still keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to improve your skill set. Even simply keeping up to date with the latest developments that affect your role and learning the skills that come with these.

The mindset you have must always keep the future in sight. Whether climbing the ladder or having a back up plan; always keep developing yourself.

So what is the Mindset you need for Success?

If you think you have to have different mindsets for each stage of your career journey, you don’t. There is one mindset that accounts for every point of your professional life from start to finish.

Find Your Flex wants you to have said mindset, but we also want to bring you more than that throughout your career journey. Other tools and advice that will empower you to achieve your career goals and enable you to put life first.

To find out the true mindset to success, visit here to download the pdf. Think of it as opening the door to an Advent Calendar, what is inside may not be as sweet as chocolate, but what you will receive is far more rewarding and empowering!

Keep your eye out, holidays are coming, but so are great things from Find Your Flex!

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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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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?