Go Home!!


Working back a little today? Need to do a little unpaid overtime? Think again. It’s officially Go Home on Time Day. Yep … that’s actually a thing.

National Go Home on Time Day is an initiative of The Australia Institute, Australia’s most influential progressive think tank.

The day was conceived in 2009 as a light-hearted way to start a serious conversation about the impact of poor work/life balance on our health, relationships and workplaces.

Now in its seventh year, Go Home on Time Day on Wednesday 18 November is a great way to recognise that life doesn’t need to revolve around work.

If you’re someone who feels you need to go above and beyond … all the time … it’s probably time to reassess.

While many people can afford to be a little more conscientious at work, there’s a growing number of employees who are putting a little too much effort into their work at the expense of family, friends and relaxation.

The Australia Institute doesn’t just thing that the extra time you’re putting in is hurting you, your family and your relationships, they believe it’s hurting Australia. You can read their full report here. So if putting in all those extra hours is something you’ve been meaning to deal with at some time, make that time today and go home on time. Then start to think through how to pull back those hours that really do belong to you. Do it not only for yourself but for those you love. Here are a few hints to get you started.

Measures that could improve work life balance include:
1. Starting a conversation about work life balance with your employer.
2. Deciding what time you are going home before you go to work
3. Scheduling activities after work to ensure you leave on time
4. Improving workplace practices around recognising and responding to work
related stress.
5. Requiring all organisations that employ more than 100 staff to publish the
results of an externally conducted, and nationally consistent, survey of
employee satisfaction.

So … what time are you going home today?

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What do you really own?

work tools

My old soldering iron died a few days ago so on Saturday I dropped into a major hardware chain to grab a new one. I got a great lesson in how not to do retail.

Once I had chosen a soldering iron I headed to the tool counter where there were three staff members chatting. The assistant on the customer side of the counter moved slightly, just enough to allow me to put my item on the counter, but continued chatting with the other two.

They kept their conversation going while the female assistant scanned my item without even acknowledging me. The only time she spoke to me was when I handed over my plastic card and she asked which account I wanted to use.

I can’t speak for everyone at the company concerned, and I’m sure they have plenty of dedicated staff members who provide excellent assistance, but for those three staff members it seemed more about going through the motions while waiting for pay day.

When a friend heard about my experience she told me about a similar experience at the same store which caused her to go across the road to a smaller retailer where prices where slightly higher. The other retailer couldn’t compete on price but they cared enough to give good advice and great customer service. It’s not hard to understand why they made the sale that day.

What’s going on?

These incidents got me thinking. I reckon the small retailer in my friend’s story did the right thing because they owned the business. They weren’t just waiting for pay day. In fact, if they didn’t do the right thing, there would be no pay day. Owning a business means that you rise and fall with the successes and failures of the business. If the customers stop walking through the door you can’t just go get another job.

Also, if you own a business you usually work in an area of interest or even passion. Someone with a love for food is unlikely to buy a gardening business. They’re more likely to start a restaurant or buy a cafe. It follows that the business is less likely to feel like a drudgery to the owner because they’re doing something that creates a real spark for them.

Ownership changes everything.

Obviously it’s not practical to have every business only staffed by business owners but it is possible to build a sense of ownership amongst employees. It might be a different kind of ownership but ownership does change everything.

I don’t own the radio station where I work but I have a strong sense of ownership. I own the vision and the values of my workplace. I truly believe in what we’re doing and I believe that I’m playing a vital part in furthering our purposes as a radio station.

That ownership extends to a wide range of areas. It means that I’m constantly aware of the fact that I represent the station at all times, not just when I’m at work. I don’t want the radio station’s reputation to suffer, therefore, if it’s under my control, I won’t do anything that would see that happen.

If the time ever comes to move on to a new job you can be sure that it’ll be to something that I can feel passionate about; something that gives me that sense of ownership.

What do you own?

Ownership isn’t just restricted to work. I have a sense of ownership for a range of things in which I’m involved.

How about you? Do you own your job or is it just a way to fund your life? Do you have other interests and involvements that create a sense of ownership for you?

Post Script: I was asked to forward details of the hardware store incident to the chain which I did yesterday. The manager of the hardware store concerned has phoned me to say that she is investigating what went on over the weekend. She has reviewed CCTV footage which backs up my explanation of events and she is not happy. She has promised to get back in touch with me once her investigation is complete and she has spoken to all involved.

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New Job Mistakes

We’ve all been there. We’ve sweated over the job application, made it through the interrogation … er … interview, and been rewarded for our efforts with a brand new job. Brilliant. We’ve made it. Or have we?

Getting a new job can be a bit of an ordeal but then comes the real test. How are we going to make it through the early days, weeks and months? How long will it be before we’re no longer known around the office as, “the new guy”?

We’re being told that the first three months of any new job will either make or break our career move.

Career expert Russell Johnson says the biggest mistake people make when they start in a new workplace is they don’t realise how important the first three months actually are.

“The first day is the most important day, first week is the most important week, and by the time the first 90 days are over you’re either in or you’re toast,” said Mr Johnson, managing director of EPR Career Management.

“It’s simply that people are making their impression and first impressions are notoriously difficult to change – we make them emotionally, non-rationally, and intuitively.” – PerthNow

That’s all we need. We’re already concerned about making a good impression and now we’re told that we’ve got to be ‘absolutely fabulous’ from day one.

Apparently you’re likely to come unstuck in your first few months if:

* You’re a “know-it-all”
* You get a reputation for procrastination
* You try too hard to fit in
* You try to make the best of a bad situation
* You put up with a job that’s not what you expected
* You are too opinionated before you know the business

There are other mistakes but according to Russell Johnson but these are some the biggies.

Have you ever done anything embarrassing in the early days of a new job? What advice would you give someone who’s starting a new job?

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Do you hate the 9 to 5?

Normally at this time of day I’d be rocketing towards work on my bike. I’d be enjoying the scenery of the Swan River as I pedaled along the bike path next to the freeway.

Today is different. In fact every day this week and next week will be different. I’m currently taking two weeks of my annual leave. I’m enjoying my break but it won’t be too much of a strain when I have to return to work. Seeing as no one has offered to pay me for 52 weeks annual leave each year I have to head back to work eventually but thankfully I enjoy my job. I wanted to work in radio from when I was very, very young and so I’m pretty much living the dream.

Unfortunately it’s not the same for everyone. There are millions of people around the world who dislike or even hate their jobs. I understand that in some places people need to settle for anything that puts food on the table for their family but there are many people, especially in developed nations, who could change their workplace yet don’t.

I wonder why.

What do you think? Why do people settle for jobs that don’t really thrill them?

Years ago there was a lot of talk about job satisfaction. Then there were many years of high unemployment and less talk about job satisfaction. People were encouraged to get whatever job they could and that was enough. Over the last couple of years we made our way through the global financial crisis and jobs were harder to find again. Thankfully, in Australia at least, employment opportunities are much better now.

Are you in a job that you enjoy? If you could do anything you wanted for work, what would you be doing? What’s stopping you from moving towards that goal? What did you dream of doing when you were young? Did that dream ever come true?

What do you think stops other people from pursuing a job they love? Let’s get some conversation going. I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

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