Money en-us catherined at cosmopolitan dot co dot za Copyright 2009 Extra Income Safety Tips We found these awesome tips on, and they apply to all online purchases

Database Do's
Spread the word through filtered networks only: on Facebook, for example, create a group and target only those you know and trust in real life – especially if your clients are going to come to your home or you are going to visit theirs.

Pop-up Shop Protection
Limit the time-frame so you get a lot of people in at the same time and not a stream of stragglers.
Bribe your beefy guy friends with free food; ask them to keep an eye on the door while they're hanging out.

Do Your Homework

For data-capturing, sales repping, online surveying etc, only sign up with well-established companies with a proven track record and speak to reps already working for the company.
Check sites like hellopeter to make sure they're bona fide.

Hostessing Smarts

Screen prospective guests via a Skype interview; get a deposit up-front; get a signed agreement with house rules and exactly what's on offer.
When it comes to storage, be sure you know the nature of what's being stored on your property (you don't want inflammable materials or illegal substances, for example) and address issues of insurance in a contract.

Online Buying and Selling Safeguards
(The following tips are from, but these tips apply to all online trading...)

Keep things local by meeting face-to-face to see the item and exchange money. Don’t send money (whether it's cash, cheque or direct bank transfer) if you’ve never seen the item. Similarly, don’t send items before receiving payment.
For your personal safety, meet in a well-lit public place.
Always take someone with you, or at least tell a friend where you’re going.
Never carry large sums of money with you. If you’re looking to buy something expensive, we recommend that you meet with the seller to view the item first. Once you’re ready to proceed with the purchase, either go to the bank with the seller to make the payment or arrange to meet somewhere safe with the money.
Watch out for requests to use money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. These services aren't meant for sending money to someone you don't know. In our experience, it is these forms of funds transfer that are favoured by fraudsters.
Check the item to make sure you’re happy with it before parting with any money.
Be aware of common online scams.
Use your common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00 +0200
Out With The Bad Habits
RELATED: 5 Ways To Change Your Bad Habits Into Good Ones

Habit #1 Checking your ego at the door

Modesty is an overrated virtue in the workplace. If you feel you’ve done a good job of something, give yourself a pat on the back-vocally. Successful women believe they’re the best, which is why they become the best. Tell your colleagues when you’re really proud of a task you’ve completed.

Habit #2 Not gossiping enough

It’s a mistake to stay out of the loop when it comes to office gossip because it’s a way for you to learn about changes in the company, as well as how highly people are regarded. You don’t want to be labelled a gossip, so walk the middle line. Pay attention to chat but don’t get too involved.

Habit #3 Keeping opinions to yourself

Being quiet and mysterious may work fine in your personal life but it certainly won’t fly in the workplace. Acting nonchalant in the office can be interpreted as aloofness and lack of interest. Resolve to read one newspaper or specialist magazine every day – especially the opinion pieces – to get you formulating opinions you can share.

Habit #4 Being little Miss Messy
If you’re badly organized and think that you can just wing it, you’ll come unstuck. Preparation always pays off. Spend 10 to 15 minutes each day prioritizing what needs to be done.

Habit #5 Slacking when the boss is away
Even when they are on holiday, bosses keep in touch and they know everything that’s going on in the office. If you slack off when they’re away, they’ll find out – and you will have missed out on a huge opportunity to shine.

Read more articles on Career
Read more articles on Mind Health
Read more articles on how to Kick Butt

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:00 +0200
Entrepreneurship 101
First things first
A business plan looks at the bigger picture and helps you to construct a strategy for the future. Without one that’s been researched thoroughly, you may have difficulty accessing finance. A good business plan is vital because it forces you to talk through key issues. It also helps you analyse who your customers and competitors are.

Before you borrow…
In an ideal world, you’ve already saved up all the cash you need to start your business. Unfortunately for many of us, starting a business will mean borrowing. The problem with borrowing money is the paying-it-back part. When you approach a bank or funding organisation, it will require security or surety from you. Your first stop in borrowing money should be ‘friends and family’.

It’s who you know
Friends and family are more likely to invest in you as a person, rather than in your business plan. But if you’re planning on asking the people closest to you for money, you need to know the risks and rewards first. Friends and family will probably offer you a more flexible arrangement for repaying the loan at little or no interest, and this should negotiated upfront. You’ll need to set up a contract - between you - no matter how informal to prevent awkwardness or even bitterness down the line. Know your sponsor’s expectations and ensure you communicate when you’re winning, and especially when you’re struggling to pay an installment on the loan.

Investor relations
Where else will you find someone to invest in your business? Leave it to the Angels. Angel investors are people who have already established their careers and made their money, and who have retired and are willing to fund or mentor up-and-coming business people.

Fri, 02 May 2014 12:00 +0200
How to Deal With Co-Workers from Hell
Negative Nancy, Olive the Over-Sharer, Suzi the CC-er, Delegating-Do-Nothing-Himself Denis and Simon the Saboteur… feel free to add your own personal alliterative coworker from hell. They can ruin morale and destroy the enjoyment you should be getting out of your work. Not to mention the real possibility that the Sabotaging Simons of this world may be out to ruin your career too.

RELATED: 7 Types of Toxic Friends

But none of them is going anywhere today or tomorrow. Rather than crying with irritation in the loo and sticking pins into a voodoo doll (don’t do these things at the same time – tears can affect your aim), your time would be better spent if you can see them as an opportunity to hone your people-management skills.

What is the ultimate goal of a good manager? To get your team members to WANT to give you what you need. To get there, it’s essential that you acknowledge that for every member of the team a different form of motivation is required. It’s not as simple as a carrot or a stick but you get the analogy.

So try to see your coworkers from hell as a challenge and a learning experience. If you succeed in getting them to behave the way the you want, you’ve won even if they think they’ve won (and especially if they think they’ve won).

First, think about what makes them the way they are – some people just have poor filters, others are repeating behaviour that’s worked for them before; few (besides Simon) are total trouble–makers of the Machiavellian school. So remove emotion from the equation and stop taking it personally.

Once you’ve worked out what motivates them, plan how to use this effectively to change their behaviour, prevent it from affecting you, or use it to further your own career.

Take old Olive. She brings all her personal problems to work, you know everything about her guy down to his favourite position, what she did last weekend, and probably every medical condition she’s ever experienced in waaaay too much detail. Olive is more than an irritation, she could negatively affect your career because ‘discretion' is not one of her personality traits. You need to be aware of what you tell her. But you can also use her indiscretion to your own advantage. Say you’ve done some amaaaaazing work that you want your boss to hear about. Sometimes it’s better if the message comes from someone else, right? Who you gonna tell the secret to…? (Hint: it’s NOT Simon!)

Suzi is cc-ing the whole company on every email she sends because she lacks confidence and is covering her back. Your first intervention would be to say, within her hearing, that you were often tempted to cc all and sundry until you discovered that the MD doesn’t like it, or until someone told you that floods of emails dissolve the strength of your message, or that it highlights a weakness (lack of confidence)… The next would be a calm and non-accusational request not to cc correspondence between the two of you to senior staff, or to leave you off the cc list.

RELATED: Beat Self-Doubt

Ah, Denis. Tough one. If he’s delegating he obviously has the seniority to do so. If the load he’s shifting from his desk to yours is affecting the quality of your work, you need to do something about it stat. He’s not going to get the letter of warning when you drop a ball; you are. He is never going to take that work on – but you can’t let overloading affect your output. And so, as much as you probably loathe him now, your aim is not revenge; your aim is to ensure you get what you want, which is a promotion for your brilliant work, preferably out of his department. Have a meeting with HR. Explain how much extra you’ve taken on and that while you’re thrilled about the extra responsibility, you’re concerned about quality. Do not accuse Denis. Keep it unemotional. You’ll need to be able to show that you’ve tried to keep up and that you’re enthusiastic about extra work, but you want to be able to give your work your best focus... Now that you’ve presented the problem, offer a solution – one that doesn’t involve Denis. Maybe offer to find and train an intern. Get permission for your solution from HR and after your meeting send a follow up email confirming your 'take outs from the discussion’. This acts as your record. Now, take HR’s advice, which is probably to discuss your solution with Denis. You can work it so he thinks he’s come up with the solution himself… HR will know better.

The only way to deal with Simon involves cyanide. JOKES! He’s trying to make himself look good by making you look bad. Somehow you need to convince him that you’re an ally he needs on his side, and particularly that you’re not in competition with him. (Ha! Of course you are, but he mustn’t know.) This will probably involve a lot of compliments through gritted teeth. But remember what you’re after: it is not 'crushing him into dust' – your goal is to prevent him sabotaging your career and winning the promotion you want. A really good, if sneaky, strategy is to ask his advice. This will effectively share the responsibility for success (or failure). By doing this, hard as it may be, you’re ensuring his cooperation – he’s hardly going to sabotage himself.

‘I can’t stand the Negative Nancy type,’ says Melissa. ’She makes you question your career choice and the stability of your position and the company you work for. While making tea in the kitchen she’ll slip into the conversation that the company is on a downward slope or cash strapped, and that you should get out while you can. It can go on for years. Yet surprisingly the company doesn’t close down and Negative Nancy doesn’t look for another job.’ Nothing spoils Nancy's day like relentless good humour. Contradict her gloominess, firmly disagree with her when she is negative about the company, tell her that dissing the boss makes you uncomfortable. And then, simply keep out of her way. There is not much she can do for or to you – no-one takes her seriously anyway. So smile and wave and don’t let her bring you down.

RELATED: Career Mistakes You Make in Your 20s

Just remember: dealing with coworkers from hell may involve some skullduggery, a hefty helping of psychology and a teeny dollop of ingeniousness but it should never involve confrontation. Now, Ms Machiavelli, go get 'em!

Read more about careers
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Tue, 20 May 2014 12:00 +0200
Like a boss
If, in the process you get to know them better and forge a better working relationship, you may well find that your stay-only-two-year plan becomes a five-year one. As Patricia King, in her book ‘Never Work for a Jerk!’ notes, ‘By learning to manage your boss, you can earn more job satisfaction, bring more motivation to the job and have more fun.’

The Raging Bull
Prone to fits of anger, this personality type thrives on power and control. Because they can’t trust anyone to do their job, they are often butting into things, usually causing more disruption than providing proper guidance.
How to deal: As far as possible, it is best to stay out of harm’s way. You will need to be strong and assertive when dealing with this type, otherwise the bully will find an easy target.

The Disengaged Phantom
This boss does not provide a supportive environment but is usually heavy handed with correction. He never really says what he means so you never really know where you stand with him. Also has low involvement with the team and is hardly in the office.
How to deal: It is best not to have any expectation of meaningful engagement with this type of manager. Rather focus on the tasks at hand and engage with colleagues to understand the bigger picture.

Valorie Burton, international bestselling author, speaker, and life coach, says: “The most successful people are always asking questions. They are open to learning. They assume they don't know it all, so they seek out people who know more and they observe and listen.”

The Misfit Pontificator
This type is kind and motherly but also mismatched to her management role. She would rather be your friend and is awkward when trying to be ‘bossy’. Has a tendency to ponder problems and is slow to provide decisive plans of action.
How to deal: Establish healthy boundaries and don’t get to personal. Due to their overly sensitive nature, ‘friend’ can easily turn to ‘foe’ if they feel they have been slighted in any way.

The Psychotic Downer
This boss creates the illusion of a serene and positive working environment. Until you take the job – and the monster behind the mask rears its ugly head. This person is typically a pathological liar and due to the maddening mind games, sucks the energy out of the team.
How to deal: This is one of the most dangerous types to work for as they are liable to drive you crazy. Literally. You will need to seriously assess whether its worth staying with the company for a limited time. If you feel that the skills you will gain is worth a short stint, then stick to your game plan and have rock solid exit strategy.

The True Leader
A rare find, this boss is the one we wish we could take with us on each career move. She is someone who has paid her dues, has gained respect for her fairness and integrity and is not the type to hoard the credit.
How to deal: Don’t be tempted to take advantage of her good nature. Learn as much as you can from her by asking questions and volunteering for projects. This type of mentoring leader will impart valuable skills that will accelerate your career development.

Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
10 Signs You Work at Cosmopolitan
1. You expect cake at least once a week. A birthday, a farewell, a break-up, a Friday, someone has PMS... all good enough reasons to get cake for the whole office.


2. Shirtless men frequent the building. Not so often that you're like 'oh there goes another hunk', but often enough to not be embarrassed about the fact that you were busy eating a baked potato at your desk when he walked in. 


3. Models come in for castings and make you realise that we can't keep blaming photoshop - some women really do look like that. 


4. There's always chocolate. But you don't try and eat it at your desk. You'll be lynched. You get a few slabs and share.


5. The mailroom is a place of joy and wonder, with clients sending you wonderful promo material like concert tickets, bottles of tequila and cupcakes. (Have we mentioned the cake?)


6. The beauty office is an even more wonderous forbidden forest. You count the days until the hallowed day of the Beauty Sale, when you can snap up a Chanel fragrance for R100 (and all money goes to charity, so you don't even have to feel bad about it).


7. But you still suck up to the beauty editor just in case she has an extra Essie nail polish lying around. #Winning


8. Your personal life is always fodder for a story. So are your friends' lives. Sorry friends. 


9. When you have a date... The whole office knows about it, gives you advice, and if you're lucky, the beauty editor will give you a quick mani or makeup touch up. You're then expected to report back in full, with no fewer than six colleagues crowding around your phone to analyse the post-date-Whatsapp convo. 


10. And when you have a break-up.... There's cake!


Thu, 06 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
How I Rocked My Interview (apparently) read my previous post, you will know that I thought I had blown my interview since it had only lasted 13 minutes. Instead, I had apparently impressed them and even though my interview was very short I managed to get the job.

Do your research
I applied for a online internship and I knew I would have to know something about what was going on with regards to social media. So before my interview, I checked what was happening on twitter. 


Arrive early 
Well, I arrived early and ended up hiding in the bathroom till it was time for my interview. And took selfies. Totes normal.

Dress up your CV
You know how you are always told your CV needs to be Arial, font 10, bla bla bla? I decided not to pay attention to that. I had a creative CV. It definetly stood out from all the other boring CV's.


Stalk your future boss
I don't 100% recommend this but I stalked Mimi's twitter before my interview and replied to one of her tweets. If she wasn't such a cool kid, she probably would have freaked out a lil bit. 

That's about it! I was ridiculously nervous but hey, who wouldn't be? I was applying for an internship at South Africa's Number 1 women's magazine! 
Fri, 31 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
Learn the Money-Making Script
It’s easier to negotiate the salary you want when you’re applying for a new job, says Durban career coach Noxolo Khoza. ‘You have to be willing to justify why you are worth the amount you have in mind. Most companies will try to get you for the lowest price possible, so go in prepared for that,’ she says.

‘My experience and expertise show that I’ll be making a valuable contribution to the company, and I would like a mutually beneficial relationship between the company and myself.’
This line shows that you are confident and have faith in your skills. Also, it isn’t aggressive but shows that you know your worth and are not willing to undersell yourself, says Khoza.

‘What salary did the company have in mind for this post?’
This is an important question because most companies will want you to suggest an amount first, says Khoza. ‘By asking this, they are forced to give you a range, which will give you a guide to help you decide whether or not it works for you. Naming a price first can be risky because you may name
an amount that’s below what they had in mind, and they will keep you there at the cheaper rate,’ she says.

It can be more difficult to get a raise where you’re already on the job. ‘However, if you feel that you’re being remunerated at a lower level than you should for the work you’re actually doing at present, or if your job responsibilities have increased or changed in nature, you have a pretty solid foundation to ask for a raise,’ says Krugersdorp industrial psychologist Louise Schubert.

‘In the last six to 12 months I have taken on extra responsibilities and achieved positive results, which I’ve recorded.’
This immediately shows your employer why you deserve a raise, says Khoza. Make sure that the items you list are things at which you have excelled in a tangible way.

‘I appreciate the `opportunity you have given me and I feel that, as a result, I have grown in the following ways...’
Employers don’t like to feel bullied – but they do like feeling that you appreciate your job. Highlighting gratitude removes animosity and clears the way for your motivation, says Khoza. However, she warns that even though you might have
a strong argument, it doesn’t guarantee success. ‘If you get a no, ask why and what you would have to do to get an increase. Put this on paper and follow up when you meet the criteria,’ she says.

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
The Real Way to Have it All You’re both busy at work, so why do you get stuck with all the at- home stuff?

Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober, authors of Getting To 50/50 (Bantam), tell you how to get your guy to do his share. These simple steps will get him to be your true partner so you can stop feeling like a nag.

1. Ask for what you need – and be specific
You think you and your guy should both clean up around the house, but he can’t read your mind. So ask him– nicely, not in a critical way – and listen to his response. Saying, ‘I want you to do more around the house’ won’t get you as far as ‘Let’s agree on what needs to get done around the house and divvy up the list.’ He may even have ideas for getting the job done better and/or faster (really!).

2. Be direct (not indirect)
Consider the household to-do list as something to tackle together. If one of you needs to be at home when the electrician comes, invite him to the appointment on his Outlook calendar; this way, it’s clearly a shared responsibility. As the appointment gets closer, discuss which one of you is more likely to be able to duck out of work for an hour.

3. Build up credits, then cash them in
Most days aren’t really 50/50 – they’re a ratio based on which person’s schedule is more packed. But just like you build credits with your boss, you and your
guy build credits with each other that you can cash in on days that are crazy- busy. So if you’ve done more than your share on a certain day, you’ve earned yourself some time to go out with friends at a future date, while he wraps up a household issue.

4. Make time for each other
Work takes up most of your day. But stealing away for an hour at lunch or a Saturday-night date can let you reconnect and remind yourself that, yes, he is still that great guy you fell in love with.

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
It’s Your Turn to Lean In  What happens when successful women come together to discuss their work and triumphs? Major inspiration! It’s time to form your own Lean In Circle

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg’s not only released a book, she’s launched a movement. It’s called Lean In, and its aim is to create a global community encouraging women to ‘lean in’ to their ambitions. One of the main components is the launch of Lean In Circles – groups of eight to 12 peers who meet regularly to explore work topics and share their experiences.

You can start your own circle. Go to for everything you’ll need. (Lean In provides the tools for anyone – or any company – to create a circle and find peers to participate in it.)


1. Choose members wisely

Pick people who are committed to supporting the success of all members, such as women (or men – they can join too) who are in It’s your turn to lean in similar stages in their careers. Your boss, your clients or people who could be up for the same job as you won’t work as well.

2. Define a shared vision
Before you get started, create a manifesto that states your reason for forming the circle and what you all hope to get out of it. Do you want to learn how to address tricky situations at work? Live up to your career potential? Write it down.

3.  Make it to the meeting
Decide on a commitment agreement together (such
as, members can’t miss more than two meetings per year) and then expect everyone to stick to it. To get the most out of a Lean In Circle, every member needs to be present, literally and figuratively.

4.  Keep things confidential
What happens in the circle stays in the circle. All members should be able to speak freely and know that no-one will spill their secrets.

5. Share experiences, not advice
The circle isn’t the place to advise another member on how to handle her difficult boss. Rather let her share her situation, then other members can share similar experiences if they have them. You want to learn from each other, not mentor each other.

Mon, 13 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
When Your Competition Gets Promoted Here’s how to deal when someone else gets the raise you deserve. HINT: Don’t cry about it!

Everything is going so well. You were the firm favourite for the promotion or got so close to your carroty dream job, you could smell it. But then some also-run shot past you, pipping you to the post and now you’re back in the starting gates career-wise.

‘Everyone would like to start at the top or be there within a certain time frame. However, there are always obstacles,’ says Faye Koonce, a US contract corporate recruiter who contract corporate recruiter. ‘You may need to join a smaller company in order to obtain that “brass ring” in the future.’

Here Is What You Should Do:

• In terms of improving your promotion odds, ‘Sometimes working for a second-tier company where there are not as many employees is smart move,’ says Koonce. ‘You can become a key employee in a shorter amount of time. After a while, you can again apply at the larger firms.’

• ‘Always look at more than one opportunity at a time,’ suggests Koonce. ‘There will always be a job you consider your “first choice”, but you won’t feel the rejection as badly when you have another one waiting in the wings.’

For more information on Life Planner click here.

Tue, 03 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Get Creatively Destructive Use ‘creative destruction’ in different areas of your life to evolve and improve yourself, says life and business coach Sonja Wilker.

Constantly question your beliefs (religious, political, philosophical) and replace old, incorrect ones with more accurate ones.

If someone constantly brings you down and holds you back, ask yourself whether life would be better without them, says Cape Town life and business coach Sonja Wilker. Speak up to give them an opportunity to change, then give them their marching orders – calmly and kindly, but firmly.


When relationships end, help the transition by shedding the things that evoke painful memories. It’s not necessary to delete old texts – they’re part of your history, says Wilker. But if things hold distressing memories for you, ditch or change them. ‘Decluttering will also bring a sense of lightness and release.’


Examine yours and ask those close to you to detail them, then quit those that don’t serve you – smoking, drinking, an irritating tic or giggle. Get professional help if necessary.


When changing beliefs, relationships or habits, you may need to sever the social connections that feed them. Take a break from your ex’s friends and your binge-drinking buddies, and cultivate new connections and interests, Sonja suggests. ‘You need to be different to attract different results.’

When you evolve to a new life stage, let go of aspects of your old identity that can hold you back. Looks and manners that worked at university may not cut it in the corporate world, and those that worked at one level in a job may not work at the next level. Drop them to be the best current you.

For more information on Life Planner click here.

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
New Year. New You. New Job? SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Answer these as part of your SWOT analysis:

• Am I satisfied with my performance over the last year?

• Am I using my strengths and talents?

• Am I fulfilling my potential in this environment?

• Am I fulfilled in my work?

• Does my company offer opportunities to development?

• What are my career goals for next year?

• How do these goals match up to the opportunities for my SWOT?

• What I would I like to do differently next year?

• Are there new challenges and opportunities I’d like to pursue?

• If I had loads of money, time and energy, would I still want to do what I do?

Consider your weaknesses and threats but do so objectively. Think of how you could turn them to positives next year, by focusing on your unique strengths and talents and really using them. People will be drawn to you and you’ll get the kinds of opportunities that will be a good fit.

For more information on Career click here.

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Say No To Negativity Secrets of Success (Regenesys Management). And while the reaction makes you feel better in the short term, it can come back to haunt you. Even if you had right on your side, you have lost the moral high ground – because you lost control.

‘Acting graciously indicates a degree of maturity – that we’re in touch with ourselves and aren’t threatened by another’s achievements,’ says Durban psychologist Alison Rielly. It’s the opposite of jealousy. Look at the person who’s awakening negative feelings in you – the colleague who landed the promotion you wanted, the friend who got the guy you fancied, the boss who throws work back at you – understand that deep down you’re reacting negatively because ‘you don’t feel okay about yourself’.

Instead of acting defensively or going on the attack, says Rielly, acknowledge what you feeling. Is it anger, hurt, fear or jealousy? And ask yourself: Why do you feel this way? What does this person have that I don’t? What did she do differently? What can I learn from her and from this situation?’

For more on careers click here

Thu, 28 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Awesome #COSMOquotes Shareable, downloadable, loveable and free career advice from the latest issue of COSMO.

We heart-heart-heart!

Like, tweet, share with your friends, post to Pinterest, make a mental note, make a screen saver, print-out-cut-out-and-stick-on-your-mirror/fridge/laptop!!!

Meet Toya and the rest of our 2013 Awesome Women
on page 68 in the December issue of COSMO.

Rakhi is a Durban-based psychologist who gave us great input on identifying
the fear that is holding us back – and how to overcome it. (Like a BOSS!)
Read 'What would you do if you weren't afraid?' on page 48 of our December issue.
(And find more great career advice from Rakhi here.) PIC GETTY

Ready for a celeb pep-talk? Alicia Keys has something to share with you (a little preview:
choose your peeps, make mistakes, put YOU first, take a risk, listen to yourself and inspire each other).
Yes, you do need more: read 'My Keys to Success' on page 38 in COSMO December.
(In the meantime, here's a little peek at Ms Keys' workout routine.)

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
8 Ways to Deal With a Crying Colleague Give Her
1. Give her an escape by saying something like ‘Let’s take a break’, advises Dr Caren Scheepers, a psychologist with IRODO consulting in Pretoria.

2. Touch her upper arm to reassure her.

3. Give her a glass of water.

4. Listen to her as if she wants to share.

Stop Her
5. Stop her if the information is too personal and might embarrass her afterwards.

Bathroom Talk

6. Ask whether she wants to use the bathroom.

7. But beware: ‘A too-intimate relationship could develop,’ Scheepers warns. ‘If the person is a subordinate who bursts into tears as soon as you give negative feedback, allow her time out, then re-engage or reschedule and have the meeting despite the tears.’

8. Show empathy by saying ‘this is difficult for you…,’ she suggests. ‘This is not sympathy or agreeing that “it’s terrible”, or that it would be terrible for you.’

Thu, 28 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Job Interview Don'ts Don’t be Unprepared
Do research the company in case they ask you a questions. Or slip in a little comment you read about them online. Brownie points!

Don’t Dress Inappropriately

In the real world, you are judged on how you dressed. Remember, this is the company’s first impression of you. Make sure it’s a good one. Dress professionally and don’t be untidy. Do not wear distracting clothes that show of your legs or cleavage.

Don’t be Late
Ensure that you get to the interview 15 minutes before the time in case you need to fill out any forms or go through security. Drive the route the day before to make sure you don’t get lost and so that you can see what traffic is like.

Don’t Insult your Previous Employees

No matter how unreasonable your previous boss was, do not slate them. It will make you seem childish and immature.

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Really Important Things To Do Before Starting Your Business
1. Make sure your idea or concept fills a gap or solves a problem in the marketplace. And be able to describe it in one snappy sentence, in case you meet Mark Shuttleworth or Sir Richard Branson in a lift and you’re asked, ‘What do you do?’

2. Draw up a plan with deadlines. What’s your goal? How will you achieve it, step by step? By when?

3. Educate yourself and you’ll save time, money and tear-stained tissues! Find a mentor who’s a successful businessperson, and ask him or her for advice, and feedback on each step as you proceed. Also, listen to Pavlo Phitidis’ Small Business Focus on the Money Show, Talk Radio 702 (or 567MW in the Cape) every Thursday evening. It’s a free course in practical entrepreneurship, presented in bite-sized portions weekly. Download The Money Show podcasts on

4. Dovetail your new venture with your current job. Most businesses take a minimum of two to three years to get off the ground. Don’t throw in your job because you’re convinced you’re going to make an overnight fortune; nurture your business after hours until it’s paying the bills.

5. Don’t go into crazy debt. If you need to use your credit card to get your business started, stop! Use what’s free or cheap, or get people who believe in your idea to fund you.

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Old School Career Lessons Hand Written Notes
It honestly does not take long to write out a little thank you note to a co-worker that helped you with that crazy deadline. It gives them something to keep and it shows you have taken some time to actually thank them. Stop at Typo and grab one of their quirky note pads for the next time you need to thank someone!

Store Those Praises
Everyone likes compliments. Even if you feel a little bit awkward, deep down, you love it when someone compliments you. Store the emails your boss or co-workers have sent you so that when you are having a bad day, you can read through them. It’s an instant way to pick yourself up.

Respect Others
This one goes way back. Be nice and show integrity. Don’t entertain office gossip and general rule breaking. Respect yourself and others. Remember, you are a professional. Your life should not be a scene out of Mean Girls.

Make an Effort

Yes we know that beauty comes from the inside but dressing sloppily shows that you are lazy and aren’t interested. Impress your boss and co-workers from the day you arrive till the day you leave!

Tue, 19 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Fear of Achievement
Panic one
All my old colleagues will hate me

If you’ve always enjoyed being one of the gang, this is bound to be a worry. If you get promoted, there’ll be a change in dynamics. But – while we all like to be liked – in business, respect is more important and can feel as good in the long run. Gain that respect by being fair, consistent and honest. ‘The hostility you may feel from old colleagues is most likely jealousy,’ says Caitlin Friedman, coauthor of The Girl’s Guide To Being A Boss (Without Being A Bitch) (Crown Business). ‘Your job is to rise above the pettiness and motivate your team to do good work. Delegate respectfully, share big-picture thinking with them and don’t let them see you sweat.’ Take care of things you know are an issue for colleagues – such as the fact they’re the only ones working all day on Christmas Eve.

Panic two
I’ll be found out

Feeling like a fake and attributing your success to chance rather than ability is a big issue for women and is so common it has its own psychological term: impostor syndrome. The key is to ask yourself where your anxiety stems from. ‘If it’s a skills shortage, read a manual or get some training,’ says Friedman. ‘If it’s about low self-esteem, you can “fake it till you make it”. Even if you’re terrified inside, it’s always a sound move to appear confident to your employees. Be clear about your opinions, assignments and expectations. It’s amazing how quickly faking confidence can turn into genuinely feeling it.’

Panic three
I hate the thought of giving anyone a hard time

No-one likes the idea of wielding the big stick but things will go pear-shaped at some point – and you’ll have to deal with it. Simple preparation will make face-offs easier. ‘First, think through the issue and rehearse what you’re going to say, focusing on behaviour (not personality) and citing examples,’ says US management trainer and coach Julia Tipler. ‘This means saying things such as, “you’ve missed three deadlines”, rather than, “you’re unreliable”. There’s an easy-to-follow formula for delivering negative feedback: 1) state the problem clearly; 2) say why it matters and explain the effect on the team; 3) ask for an explanation and be prepared to change your mind if you’re provided with information you were unaware of; and 4) agree on what needs to happen to put things right in the future.’ See? It’s far less scary than you think.

Panic four
I’m younger than everyone else

Carrying out appraisals on staff members a decade older than you can be daunting. But if you lack confidence simply because of being young, remind yourself that you got the promotion because the bosses thought you were the best candidate. Personal-development expert Dena Michelli, author of Make It Happen: How To Get Ahead And Be Happy At Work (A&C Black), suggests focusing on the positive. ‘Managing people who are older and have been doing the job for a long time gives you an opportunity to tap into their corporate memory,’ she says. ‘Use their knowledge to avoid going down paths that led to failure before.’ Just don’t ask for advice all the time or your team may perceive you as weak. ‘They won’t mind a young boss – but no-one wants a weak boss,’ she says.

Panic five
I’ll have to manage the person who didn’t get the job

This is a common problem – colleagues apply for the same job and then have to deal with the winner-loser scenario. If it happens to you, remember that the interviewer thought you were the best person for the job – it should give you confidence to tackle the issue. ‘It’s a good idea to have one-on-one conversations with each of your team members when you get a new job,’ says Tipler. ‘This is the perfect opportunity to talk to a former colleague who you know applied for the position. Empathise and show you realise he or she might be disappointed. If possible, offer the person new responsibilities that will widen his or her experience so he or she will be better equipped the next time a promotion comes up.’

Panic six
I’ll have to socialise with dull bigwigs

If the only kind of golf that you’re interested in is the VW in your garage, the idea of a management schmooze at the 18th hole may leave you cold. But becoming part of the senior team at a company doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your social life. ‘These people are human beings. Don’t dismiss them as dull without giving them a chance,’ says Michelli. ‘Remember, you’re building a professional network, not a social one. Look for the positives, such as coaching opportunities – finding a mentor can really help you develop (’

Panic seven
Why would they listen to me?

Many of us are afraid of coming across as the wicked witch of management – but asking someone to do something that is part of his or her job isn’t being a bully. ‘Be crystal clear about what you want done,’ says Michelli. ‘Use “I” statements, such as “I need you to do this”. To avoid misunderstandings, ask people to repeat what they think you’ve asked them to do. Ask whether they have any concerns and listen to them. If the concerns are valid, find a solution together to ensure the job will be done well.’

Panic eight
I’ll have to sing the company song

Like it or lump it, you will be The Management and you’ll have to be professional. That means biting your tongue a little. ‘You have to stop moaning. If you disagree with a company policy, discuss it – behind closed doors – with your boss,’ says Tipler. If you’re in front of the team, you have to find a way to defend or explain company decisions. ‘Focusing on the benefits to the business is a good one,’ she says. ‘You won’t last long if you adopt a “don’t shoot the messenger” approach.’ It undermines your authority to be seen to have to implement a policy you’ve openly disagreed with. If you have to let off steam, find a safe outlet – for example, a mate in a different line of business – and curse the useless bigwigs over a glass of red wine.

Wed, 06 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
The CV That Will Get You The Job Refinery29 recently posted about a research study by career site TheLadders that reported that people only take six seconds... just six seconds, to look at your CV and decide whether you make the interview cut or not. And here we thought making a first impression couldn't be that hard. 

Hard to believe that in just six seconds, through a method the researchers called "eye-tracking", your potential employer has looked at your name, current job title, company, start and end dates, previous job title and company, plus those start and end dates, and your education background. Hard to even say it all in six seconds, but that is all that stands between you and your dream job! But there is good news, there is always good news, there are easy ways to make your CV stand out to your potential employers in six seconds. 

Proofreading is a must, once your potential employer spots a mistake it's bye bye dream job, so make sure your CV is without error. A well organised layout is also important according to leading job site Monster, that means a no fancy fonts, no small fonts, and lots of clear space - organised layout. 

COSMO Tip: Do your research, you might be good at cooking but unless you are applying for a chef's position don't include that in your CV. Only include skills you know the company is looking for. 

Tue, 05 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Face Value Whether you’re looking for a career change or want to improve on your current skills, Face to Face Beauty & Make-Up Design School Parktown has a course to suit your needs.

With so many opportunities to choose from, a career in beauty and make-up can be a long and fulfilling one. You might dream of working on magazine or film shoots as a make-up artist or running your own beauty salon from home. The growing beauty and make-up industry offers employment opportunities in beauty salons, departmental stores, spas, movie and television studios or even travelling the world on cruise ships.

Face to Face Beauty & Make-up Design School offers full and part time courses in all subjects related to make-up artistry and beauty therapy. Giving you the tools to map out an exciting new career path.

The college is fully accredited both nationally with the Services Seta (3725) and Internationally with CIDESCO, ITEC and City & Guilds and is celebrating its 48th year of training professionals in the Industry.

Contact us on or telephone number (011) 726-8166/8144 or 2644 or visit our website and Blog

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Office-Party Etiquette
Before arriving, set a limit on how much you’ll drink and stick to it. It’s easier to say no to the third martini if you’ve decided ahead of time that you’ll stop at two.

If it’s going to be a lunch party in the sun, remember that alcohol has a greater effect on you if you’re dehydrated. Make sure you alternate each alcoholic drink with a soft drink or glass of water to keep your body’s water concentration normal.

Drinking on a full stomach means the alcohol will reach your brain more slowly. But avoid salty snacks such as chips and biltong, which increase your thirst and may lead to you consuming more booze. Instead, go for high-protein and high-carb snacks. (Meat, cheese and bread are good options.)

Keep an eye out for bartenders who top up your drink without asking you.

Make sure you’ve got a safe ride home after the party. Even better, offer to help organise the event and include a company-sponsored shuttle service in your planning.

Don’t go to the other extreme, sitting silently in a corner and leaving early. A seeming unwillingness to socialise with your colleagues can also harm your reputation.

For more career articles, click here 

Wed, 11 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
Starting Pay Point raise or new job, the money you make will be based on your current pay.’

Getting employers to loosen their wallets isn’t easy but there are some sneaky, subtle ways to bump up the numbers.

Price yourself right
Before you begin the interview process, figure out how much you can ask for without making the interviewers shake their heads and laugh. Find out what people in your field with the same level of experience as yours are paid. When it’s time to tell your (hopefully) future boss, let them know you’re aware of the going rate. Aside from backing your salary expectation, this also makes you come across as well-informed.

Make yourself look expensive
Job interviewing is a bit like dating: right or wrong, people usually find you more desirable when you have other options. Set up interviews at other companies. ‘If you can say, “I’d love to work for you, but I also have a pending offer from company X”, you’ll be in a much better position,’ says executive coach Kathi Elster.

Don’t mention money
‘Avoid talking about money for as long as possible,’ says Alexandra Levit, author of New Job, New You: A Guide To Reinventing Yourself In A Bright New Career (Ballantine Books). ‘You want them to be so impressed with you. At that point, the salary becomes less of an issue.’

Keep the numbers loose
Don’t limit yourself to a single number. Instead, when the hiring manager asks what you want to be paid, ask what the salary range is. If the range is fairly small, Browne suggests saying, ‘Great. That’s in line with what I am looking for.’ If the range is large, for example, R196 000 to R280 000, say “Great! I’m looking to make in the R265 000 to R280 000 range”. The reason for the range is to make sure that you are somewhere in the ballpark you are looking for.

Don’t accept the first offer
Hearing that beautiful phrase “You’re Hired!” can be amazing. However, in the euphoria of being offered a job it can be easy to feel so relieved that you immediately take whatever salary the employer offers you. ‘That’s the worst thing you can do,’ says Browne. Instead, Browne suggests taking a decidedly quieter approach. After they say what they’d like to pay you, pause. Then say the number out loud. Then pause again. If the interviewer says there might be some flexibility, ask him or her to tell you more about the flexibility.

Be nice
One of the biggest myths in the business world is that shrewd negotiation involves being mean and nasty. But pounding fists on the table and demanding exorbitant fees is not the right thing to do. If you want an employer to pay you more, it’s important that you stay friendly and positive.

So, whether you want to stay in your current job, or are applying for a new one, make sure you’re getting what you deserve.

Here is a selected list of job titles and what you should be earning (per month)*

For more career information, click here

Tue, 03 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
How to Find (and Keep) a Work Mentor New Girl On The Job: Advice From The Trenches (Cidatel). While some offices and professional groups have formal mentoring programmes, Seligson says the most successful pairings are those that develop more spontaneously. This doesn’t mean you should just sit at your desk hoping you’ll get noticed by someone senior who has a sudden urge to take you under her wing! You need to be proactive – without pushing too hard. Remember that this is a professional relationship you’re working towards, not a friendship – so barrelling across to her desk and asking her to lunch is inappropriate, and will probably just get her guard up. Remember, too, you’re wanting to ask a huge favour of her – so read on for advice on asking nicely.

Go Slow
Identify the person whose guidance you’d like, and begin with short, casual chats in the lift or at the coffee machine, advises Seligson. This will be easier if you know something about her, adds Sheila Wellington, clinical professor of management and organisations at New York University’s Stern School of Business and co-author of Be Your Own Mentor: Strategies From Women On The Secrets Of Success (Random House). Research the committees she is on, the charities she cares about, the articles she’s published or public appearances she’s made. Then the next time you’re standing with her at the water cooler, you can say, ‘I thought you handled that obnoxious caller on yesterday’s talk show remarkably well!’ or ‘I believe you’re on the board of my local animal shelter. I adopted a cat from there last year.’ Assuming of course, that you did think she handled it well, or do have a cat from the shelter! Insincerity is unpleasant, and will probably backfire. Wellington also cautions that knowing too much about her will make you look like a stalker. Definitely don’t mention anything your Google search may have revealed about her personal life – her daughters’ soccer scores or her favourite chick-lit books, for example. ‘That will make her feel really weird,’ says Seligson.

Knock, Knock!
Next, take any opportunities that arise to have short work-related discussions. Popping into her office to contribute a helpful suggestion – such as telling her about an interesting talk you heard by someone in a related field. Then start asking for a little advice occasionally. But make your questions very specific. This is not the time to say ‘How can I move up in the company?’
Vague or sweeping questions are an imposition, requiring the person to give a lot of thought to her answer, especially if she doesn’t really know you. Rather ask a simple question. ‘It makes it easy for them to help you, and makes them want to help you,’ says Seligson. For example, ask her for a couple of pointers on how to present figures in a presentation. Wellington says you should now also try to get a sense of how open to the idea of mentoring you she might be. Notice how she reacts, if, say, you approach her after a presentation and say something such as, ‘That was surprising research you referred to – it made me see the problem from a new perspective.’ If she looks at you blankly, says thanks and moves on, she may not be the one. But if she says, ‘Oh, that’s good to know! Yes, found it on this great website…’ you may have just started a beautiful relationship.

Memo To Self
Even if she seems to have been receptive to your requests for guidance, don’t push her too hard. ‘Don’t say, “Will you be my mentor?” It can be a real turn-off,’ says Wellington. Rather ask her if she could spare 10 minutes some time when it suits her for a chat, says Elizabeth Freedman, author of Work 101: Learning The Ropes Of The Workplace Without Hanging Yourself (Delta). Give her an idea of what you’re hoping to discuss. If she agrees, plan what you’re going to say. You don’t want her to feel you’ve wasted her time waffling or that you’ve put her in an awkward position by asking questions she couldn’t possibly answer. ‘Think of it as an informational interview – show up prepared,’ says Freedman. This is an opportunity to ask general questions about your company – areas where it’s developing – and get some feedback on your performance. Did you make your points clearly enough in the last meeting? Does she have any suggestions on how you could become more visible in the company?

Take And Give
Your mentor may have your dream career – or even your dream life – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to give her. ‘Often young women think they don’t have anything to offer, but everyone does,’ says Wellington. Perhaps you can help her get up to speed on social networking. Or send her a link to an article or blog that might help her market research. Your assistance doesn’t have to be work-related. You are sending a message that you don’t take help for granted and that you recognise that she is not obligated to give it.

Take care, too, to give her some space. Freedman says that burdening mentors with unrealistic expectations is one of the biggest mistakes young women make. ‘This is someone you should reach out to periodically,’ she says. If you are calling every week, or trying to make another appointment with her as soon as one ends, you’re going to annoy her. Stay connected without being a pain.

For more career advice, click here

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Find Your Career Speed Part One: Fast Forward

Get Passionate
Work is an expression of who we are, - and if we are good at what we do, are passionate about it and can make money at the same time, work becomes so absorbing that the long hours required of a fast forwarder are not a struggle.

Hey, I’m Over Here
Information is important to decision makers and you need to package I carefully when presenting it. If the boss is a numbers man, have your fingers ready; if they are a words man; rely on compelling written or verbal motivations. To get the right kind of attention from the people who count, you need to position yourself distinctively and memorably by being excellent at what you do.

I’ll Take That One
Select assignments that showcase your abilities, but remember that the shiniest stars make sure that the people around them shine brightly in the process too. True leadership means inspiring people to want to work with you to achieve the results you need to deliver.

For more on Careers, click here

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Find Your Career Speed Part Two: Slow Down
Slow It Down

Plan Ahead
Slowing down can be a positive thing if it’s something you do by choice and not because you’ve run out of options. ‘Stickability’ is something employers look for on your CV, especially as you reach more senior positions. If your career fast-forward means you’ve reached your five-year goal ahead of schedule, your career clock might need to be reset. If you love where you are, set yourself a new five-year plan to stay there and maximise the opportunity.

100% Perfect
When slowing down it is vital to keep yourself as marketable as possible. Learn new skills, focus on things you know you might not be good at.

Shift Your Focus
The key is to keep seeking out new challenges. Whether you request a transfer between departments or develop a new idea for the existing business, it’s important that you keep exploring.

For part one on Find Your Career Speed, click here
For more on Careers, click here

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
A Crying Shame
Rihanna has it right, says Eckstein, because ‘in business you have a role to play. You’re responsible to colleagues and employers, and must fulfil that role regardless of where you are emotionally.’

‘When people see you cry they want to fix it. So it sets up the dynamic: when you cry, you get what you want, but they walk away thinking “this person is weak”,’ says Margaret Morford, author of Management Courage: Having The Heart Of A Lion (Cold River Studio). Co-workers may shy away from you because they fear that you’ll crack, while superiors may tiptoe around issues, question your ability to get the job done without melting down, or lose respect for your lack of emotional restraint. Either way, you will battle to grow and get ahead.

Why Cry, Baby?
This is not to say that you should not cry after hours. ‘Tears are chemically cleansing – a good cry literally helps you feel better,’ says Dr Caren Scheepers, a psychologist with IRODO Consulting in Pretoria.

Crying relieves stress and can be cathartic, a release valve for emotions, says US biochemist Dr William Frey, author of Crying: The Mystery Of Tears (Winston Press). In a major study, 85% of women and 73% of men said they feel better after crying.

Still, crying is heavily frowned upon in the working environment. ‘Cry and you’re out of here – women in business don’t cry, my dear!’ snapped Martha Stewart when a contestant teared up on her TV show, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.

Interestingly, research shows that women see crying as a sign of weakness and irrationality as much as men do. ‘The more male-dominated the profession, the greater the censure of crying’ say Alice Eagly and Linda Carli, authors of Through The Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders (Harvard Business School Press). ‘People scrutinise women’s behaviour in very masculine environments, searching for any weakness.’ The two quote professional advice given to women engineers: ‘While crying is expected in extreme situations (such as breaking an arm, or a death in the family), it is considered taboo for professional women in response to normal work situations…Nothing reinforces the negative stereotype of women being ruled by emotions rather than professionalism like a crying female professional.’

In The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, And Secret Beliefs Of Men In The Workplace (Multnomah Publishers), bestselling author Shaunti Feldhahn reports that men have better boundaries between their work and personal lives than women. For men, ‘at work, the personal world goes away,’ she says, and they see women who don’t manage this and take things personally as ‘emotional’ and ‘high maintenance’. I found that the belief that “emotion means you are not thinking” is nearly universal among men,’ Feldhahn concludes.

For Crying Out Loud
This doesn’t mean that these views are accurate and that women who cry are actually weak and incompetent. Life coaches and psychologists explain that crying is not just a reflection of feelings and sensitivity, but also a complex form of social communication. It can invite concern, sympathy, suspicion (about motives) or scorn, depending on the circumstances and the way the crier cries. Shaking with sobs is seen as less acceptable than simply having eyes shining with tears, which can be viewed as having a strong emotion but trying valiantly to keep it under control. A US study has also found that men’s tears are often viewed more positively than women’s – because men cry less often and less overtly, they’re given the benefit of the doubt.

Men frequently show an emotion that’s potentially far more damaging than tears in the workplace – anger. Yet slamming down their hands on desks, having a stand-up row with a colleague or verbally demolishing a subordinate is generally more readily accepted, and even approved of as a sign of passion.

Most women know they shouldn’t cry at work, but sometimes you can’t help it. so what can you do about it?

Read This And Don’t Weep!

Catch Yourself
‘Recognise the signs when you are losing control,’ advises Scheepers. Common signs are a tight chest, weak knees, shallow breathing, prickly eyes and a rising tide of emotion.

Pull Yourself Up
Slow down your movements, Scheepers suggests. ‘Drink some water, take a deep breath and calm down. Looking up will take the concentration of energy from the primitive/reptile brain to the frontal brain lobe, allowing you to think through an appropriate response.’

Eckstein advises literally ‘pulling yourself up’ – adopting a confident posture by standing or sitting tall. ‘I get clients to practise every day, standing against the wall and breathing deeply five times. If it becomes a habit and you find yourself heading towards a situation where you feel you can’t cope, you can self-correct and generate positive energy.’

Get Out Of Your Head
When you feel tears about to rise, focus on what else is going on around you. If the tearfulness is a response to what someone has said to you, focus on the content of what has been said, not the perceived criticism, and on solutions: what do you need to do to recover and get ahead? Ask him or her, or start planning in your head how you will do so.

Get Out Of The Office
Should tears well up anyway, excuse yourself quickly and get out of the office. Eckstein suggests telling the person: ‘As you can see, I feel strongly about this; I’d like to take some time out and talk about it later. Thanks for your understanding.’ Head for the ladies’ room or your car and have a private cathartic weep. Then breathe deeply. Refresh your makeup, put your shoulders back, smile and get back to work. The simplest damage control is to say: ‘Thanks for understanding; I’d like to revisit what we were saying.’ Always go back and engage with colleagues and address their concerns, says Scheepers. ‘Do not withdraw – negotiate solutions.’

Anticipate Emotional Situations
Some potentially emotional situations can be anticipated – for example, a performance assessment. Prepare by using what you know about the person and what you expect to hear, and practise responses to defuse your anxiety and build confidence.

Know Yourself
‘Self-refection under the guidance of a good coach can help,’ says Eckstein. ‘When do you feel tearful? What’s the emotion behind it – fear, frustration, hurt, jealousy, resentment, helplessness, anger? Depending on how deep-seated your emotions are, you might benefit from seeing a psychologist.’

Respond, Don’t React
Crying is a reaction, not a response. To learn to respond positively, consider anger-management or assertive training. Eckstein recommends practising the following, in a firm but friendly voice: ‘When you do/say…, I feel…because…; I would prefer you to…’ For example: ‘Cynthia, when you attack me unnecessarily in a meeting, I feel vulnerable because it’s something over which I have no control. I’d prefer you to bring up these things in private.’

If you often get tearful at work, your personal life might be intruding. Think of the two as separate countries where things are done differently – when you move from one to the other, you cross a border. ‘Be careful of sharing too much about your personal problems at work with colleagues,’ says Scheepers. ‘Rather ask for support from human-resources personnel or an employee-assistance programme.’ Away from the office, look for support from friends, family or a therapist.

Bounce Back!
‘We all have vulnerable moments – it’s how you recover that counts,’ says Eckstein. ‘Let what you’ve learnt strengthen you for next time.’

Be Upbeat
Finally, bosses are impressed by a good recovery. ‘You can’t judge anybody by a moment,’ says Nick Ragone, author of Presidential Leadership (Prometheus Books). He’d much rather have good employees ‘cry in (his) office than go nuts or quit’.

For more career advice, click here 

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Be Salary Savvy
Below is a selected list of job titles and what you should be earning (per month)*

- Junior level: R5 000 – R16 500
- Mid level: R6 700 – R19 000
- Senior level: R19 000 – R23 000

If your job position/field is not listed here, email and we’ll find out what the salary range is for you, or go to; or

* These statistics are based on countrywide surveys and your salary will depend on which city you live in (generally salaries are the highest in Johannesburg and lower in Cape Town and Durban).


Sun, 21 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
10 Ways to Manage Your Boss (Part One) Get To The Point
If you think you’re busy, imagine how much more she has going on! The more senior the position, the more responsibility and decisions a person has to handle. When you go and see her about something, don’t waste her time – make sure you have a list of everything your want to discuss and tick it off as you go along. She’ll appreciate your consideration and will realise that you’re all business.

Take Criticism
Friction arising between bosses and employees usually begins with criticism of the employee’s performance. Your natural response is to defend yourself, especially if you’ve put in your best effort. But instead of getting emotional - which could lead to tears – listen carefully to everything that’s being said and ask yourself whether it’s warranted. You can use the criticism in a positive way by improving your performance.

Pick Your Battles
All bosses want things done for the least possible outlay. Unfortunately this means trying to increase your workload without increasing your salary. While we all know that this is unfair (and your boss does too) it’s not always wise to point it out. Bear in mind that she has her own boss to report to, and explain gently that you already have your hands full and you don’t think you can do a good job of what she’s asking you to do.

Use Her Strengths
Your boss probably landed her present job because of a certain skill or quality. Maybe it was her uncanny ability to spot a gap in the market or her excellent attention to detail, Make a point of noting her strengths and trying to appreciate them. User her whenever you can – by observing what she does and asking for her input. By doing so you not only giver her ego an always-welcome boost but you also create an important learning opportunity for yourself.

Don’t Push
A frequent complaint is that bosses don’t give their employees what they need to do their jobs effectively – bigger budgets, roomier offices or newer PCs – but all these things cost the company money. Your boss probably knows things you don’t: the company could be planning to expand, and needs the resources to do so. So although the occasional well-timed reminder can be effective, don’t become a pushy whiner.
Thu, 04 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Make Yourself Unretrenchable  1. Be Available
‘Develop the reputation for being someone who is willing to try new things and face new challenges,’ says Jenny Handley, author of Raise Your Profile (Jenny Handley Promotions). Whether you offer to assist or mentor junior staff to take on a tough client, your willingness to put your hand up and volunteer for tasks that others might run from shows you’re prepared to do whatever needs to be done to streamline efficiency and save the company money.

2. Mind The Gap
Keep an eye out for what’s missing or needs improvement in your office and be solution-driven instead of a problem-finder. Kim Meredith, author of Work Diva: How To Climb The Corporate Ladder Without Selling Your Soul (Oshun Books), suggests you come up with a solution for every problem you encounter. ‘Never enter a meeting with a complaint that you don’t have at least one solution for,’ she says. It can be a gesture as small as organising cake for a colleague’s birthday or suggesting better ways to interact with clients. Whatever it is, it demonstrates that you are committed to the wellbeing of the company, and that you have ideas, not just moans and groans.

3. Get To Know Mr (or Ms) Big
In her book, Meredith describes the importance of making sure the head honcho (and not just your immediate superior) is familiar with you and your work within the company. Many companies have business heads that are rarely present or are holed up on the 50th-floor offices to which workers lower down the ranks have no access. Do not be deterred by this. Make meaningful small talk if you meet him or her in the elevator (keep it professional, though – your superior does not need details of the crazy weekend you’ve just had), or talk about the projects and goings-on in your particular department. Mr/Ms Big is the means to your end and he or she will appreciate your efforts to share your world, and will remember you for it.

4. Be Transparent
No-one likes posers or fakes. When you’re pretending to be something you’re not, the only person you’re usually fooling is yourself. Measured modesty and honesty go a long way towards showing your true character to others. ‘Ensure integrity at all times,’ says Handley. ‘Be a role model, tell the truth, always be able to explain yourself in any situation and go the extra mile.’

According to Akhona Dabula, HR director at East London’s Amathole District Municipality, employers gauge people’s work ethic by answering the following questions: are they clock watchers? Do they abuse sick leave? Do they meet deadlines? Are they punctual? Khanyisa Marawu, former Nedbank HR manager for the Eastern Cape, also stresses that employers need performers at this time, so it’s vital to be able to ‘swim like a swan’: poised and elegant to outsiders, but beneath the calm exterior paddling like mad to ensure the company survives during the hard times.

5. Be a Cash Crusader
You don’t have to be Captain Planet to save the world – and your company – from environmental (and financial) disaster. Being proactive about saving resources such as paper and electricity and keeping the phone bill as low as possible will help to ease the financial burden on your company. Your actions will lead others to follow suit and soon everyone will know you were the office eco-trendsetter.

6. Don’t Get Stale
Fortunately (or unfortunately), acquiring knowledge doesn’t end after your university degree. It’s important to make sure your skills don’t get rusty or outdated. You don’t have to enrol at a college, but make sure you improve and update your skills so that you are best at what you do. Refine yourself by reading between the lines of your performance appraisals. Don’t just discard the form – work on the points mentioned. ‘Always ask others for honest feedback about yourself and start working on changing the negatives into positives,’ says Marawu. The more skills you have, the less likely you are to get retrenched.

7. Exude Positivity – And Spread It Around
As clichéd as it may sound, the saying ‘attitude determines your altitude’ is often true. ‘Passion, animation and excitement are contagious; those around you will benefit from your attitude when you bring life to your work,’ says Handley. Negative energy is the easiest to breed in an office faced with retrenchments and, as difficult as it is, becoming ‘a source of calm and a strong presence in the workplace’ makes you less likely to get retrenched than if you join in the negative reactivity that a crisis can bring, says Cape Town mindfulness-meditation coach Linda Kantor. Lead by example and be the change you want to see – others will follow.

8. Look The Part
‘Part of the “vibe” you give off is in how you dress. Dress like a professional and you will be treated with professionalism,’ says Meredith. The length of your skirt could be the difference between getting a favourable nod professionally or an unwelcome wink or side glance! Handley says you should take it further by considering whether you look the part for your industry. For example, if you’re in the health sector make sure you stay in shape and look healthy.

9. Market Your Hidden Talents
Don’t be afraid to share your big ideas. Many people have talents and hobbies that are completely separate from their daily jobs and showing a broad interest in a variety of topics shows your curiosity for the bigger picture, says Meredith. Your bosses will start looking at you as a potential leader and a valuable asset.

10. Brand Yourself
Consider yourself a brand and develop a unique selling point that sets you apart from your colleagues. Play to your strengths and develop a reputation for being trustworthy. Be consistent and ‘always deliver on your brand promise’, as it will be tested, warns Handley. During tough times people stick to what they know and can trust. If you’ve had a good track record, this should be you.
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Life's Little Hiccups You Get The Sack
Bounce Back: ‘First of all don’t walk around acting beaten down,’ says Caitlin Friedman, co-author of The Girls Guide to Kicking Your Career into Gear (Crown Business). ‘Be honest but upbeat. Say, ‘It was disappointing, but here’s what I’m going to do now.’ It’s better to be the person who talks about it than to have it be the elephant in the room.’

Next, face the fact that rejection provides information – so use it. ‘Think honestly about why you got fired,’ advises Bernado Carducci, professor of psychology. ‘Perhaps there’s a slowdown in your industry overall, but maybe it’s something about you. Perhaps you were spending too much time cruising the internet, or your sales were going down.’

This is your chance to figure out whether you actually liked doing that job anyway (were your sales down because you were bored stiff? Had you outgrown your position?). ‘If you can take some emotion out of the situation, you’ll learn a lot,’ says Friedman. ‘For many people, being fired is the best thing that ever happens to them, because they use it to think creatively about their career.’

Preventative Measures: ‘Firing rarely happens out of the blue,’ says Friedman. In hindsight the clues are everywhere. So, if your boss isn’t quite meeting your eye, you feel suddenly left out of the loop on your key projects, you were turned down for a promotion or there’s less pressure on you to achieve goals or score big coups, it’s probably worth staying late… to update your CV.

Throughout your career, Friedman suggests maintaining your ‘five-year plan’. Even if you’re at a junior level, start to meet people in your industry – attending conference and events, and building relationships with people in your company who might mentor you. ‘The bigger your world is, the better off you’ll be if you’re fired,’ Friedman says. ‘A lot of people just figure they are working hard and will be rewarded, but it doesn’t work that way.’

You hate the career you’ve chosen

Bounce back: First question: Do you hate your career choice, or is it simply your job (or boss)? Think about what really motivates you: is it money? Creativity? Autonomy? Make a list of the achievements for which you receive the most compliments. Then, advises Friedman, research your options by joining professional groups, going to conferences, or simply asking people what they love about their work.

Preventative Measures: Friedman suggests doing a career evaluation every six months: how have the past six months been? Where do you want to be next year? Ask yourself, where did this idea of being a (fill in your career here) come from? Do I experience joy in it? Those internal queries can help you recalibrate sooner rather than later.
Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:00 +0200
Beat The Job-Hunting Blues
Do something job-based every day.
Call a recruitment consultant, e-mail a former colleague or review your CV to make sure it’s up-to-date.

Keep busy.
Visit relatives or volunteer at a charity. Be useful.

Swallow your pride.
All experience is good experience. If it means paying the rent, suck it up.

Consider other options.
Short courses and work experience are great ways of trying new things.

Visit a careers counsellor.
Go online or check the yellow pages to find one in your area.
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 12:00 +0200
Make Yourself Indispensable
1. Be Flexible
Even if you’re asked to something out of your comfort zone/beyond your job description, say ‘yes.’ You can always ask someone for help and advice later.

2. Embrace New Challenges
Instead of whining that you don’t have the skills to perform a certain task, learn them. By taking on more responsibility your boss will start to rely on you more which makes you harder to replace.

3. Be Low Maintenance
Complaining about all that’s wrong every five minutes will have your boss wishing you would go away. Not good. If there is a serious problem, by all means address it. For the smaller issues, stop whingeing and get on with it.

4. Be Enthusiastic
Your boss knows very well there are parts of your job that suck. Too bad, so sad. If you don’t want to do it, there is somebody else who will, so put a smile on your dial and get filing.

5. Get there early and leave late
Screeching in at 9:15am with a latte and a hangover doesn’t spell professional. And your boss does notice. Stop partying on week nights and make your job your top priority.

Thu, 30 May 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Things Not to Do in a Job Interview
The interview went so well that you just couldn’t wait to spread the news. Well, you may have just tweeted yourself out of a job. Sharing deets – good or bad – about your job hunt with, oh, the entire world shows an employer that you don’t know the first thing about discretion. And don’t think for a second that they won’t scope you out online. ‘Hiring managers tell me it’s all but certain that they’ll Google a prospective candidate,’ says Dr Paul Powers, author of Winning Job Interviews (Career Press). That means your Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter pages are fair game. His advice: Stay mum on the job opportunity – online as well as with others in your industry – until you’re officially hired.
Thu, 16 May 2013 12:00 +0200
Are You In The Right Job?

Psychologists refer to something called 'positive stress', which refers to the human need to be challenged. You might think staying home doing nothing all day sounds fab, but in reality, good stress is an integral part of feeling fulfilled in the world. If you can do your job with your eyes closed and are often bored, you shouldn't be there. Your job should 'grow' you and make you smarter. If it doesn't, get out of your comfort zone and find something else.

Thu, 25 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
Get What You Want at Work

What You Want: To seem like a team player.

How To Get It: Put up a picture of your dog (or even a friend's pup) in your workplace.

Why It Works: When people look at shots of a pet dog, they not only tend to presume you're loyal, but they may also act more loyal towards you. But don't paper your cube with canines. Research shows that too many personal shots make others perceive you as a less professional worker.

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Survive In an Office Full Of Men

Don't try too hard to fit in by agreeing with everything your male colleagues say. On the contrary, you'll earn respect by having your own opinion, so make your voice heard at work. And not just in meetings, either - join in on discussions, even if they're about 'guy topics'. There's no need to pretend you loved every Batman movie ever made. By the same token, if you want to declare your undying love for the Kardashians, be brave and do it.

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
Hold-You-Back Habits Successful Women Ditch you!

When it comes to work, all of us have a hold-me-back habit - something we do regularly and unknowingly that stops us maxing our potential. 'Professionally, what many women lack is not ability, but confidence,' says Philippa Lamb, co-author of Jumpstart Your Career (Pearson Education Canada). 'There's not a job in the world that women can't do if we just "sell" ourselves as well as our male counterparts.' So follow these to-the-top tips and stop stalling!

Modesty is an overrated virtue in the workplace. 'Successful women believe they're the best, which is why they become the best,' says Lamb. 'It's not rocket science.'

Try-It Tip: Tell your colleagues when you're really proud of a task you've completed. Make a pact with yourself to utter either of these sentences this week: 'I finished that in record time,' or 'I really enjoyed that assignment. It couldn't have gone better.'

Fri, 18 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
Caught In The Act!

'I hired a waitress, and two weeks later, I read an e-mail from her that was directed to a manager, thanking him for "a great time in the walk-in freezer." She added that she wasn't going to wear underwear on her next shift. She didn't realise that I always read the manager's e-mail because it's a mass bin for all prospective employees. I told the owner, who immediately fired both of them for breaking corporate rules.' - Lia*, 31

Advice you'll never find in the employee handbook: Never use company e-mail to conduct risqué business. HR has every right to inspect its contents.

*Names have been changed

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 12:00 +0200
Work Habits That Hurt You

'Boys are often encouraged to toot their own horns; girls are socialised to think that people will like them more if they're modest,' says Woodhull's executive director, Wende Jager-Hyman. But if you don't champion your victories, who will? Sorry, but your boss is too busy. Chances are, she doesn't even know how damn hard you're working – so you need to tell her. A quick e-mail saying 'It took long hours, but it was worth it – the venture was a success!' can open her eyes… and fast-track your career.

Tue, 13 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Keep a Low Profile
Says Tasneem Mohamed, marketing manager of the Landelahni Recruitment Group, 'Social media is being used as a recruitment tool by employers, and particularly in the technology industry.' And once a video or comment has been posted on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, it is virtually impossible to withdraw it. According to the 2012 technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide, 'Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate's social media profile has caused them not to hire that person. Previous surveys had found that almost 40% of survey respondents check out potential employees' profiles on social media sites. But this was the first evidence that candidates are actually being rejected because of them.'

'Your social media profile is a powerful tool that can unlock job opportunities, but it must be managed in a responsible way. Your online footprint is a reflection of your personal brand. Your profile, status updates, threads and pictures form a picture that may influence a potential employer's hiring decision. While the benefits of accessibility, reach and impact make social media a powerful tool for job seekers, there are a few pitfalls that you should be aware of,' advises Mohamed. These include:

Having a social media identity means potential employers have access to personal information that would otherwise be private, such as photos, comments and networks.

By posting inappropriate photographs of yourself you may jeopardise the way a potential employer views you.

Inconsistencies in your social media profile across different platforms and misalignment with your CV may create a perception of deception or dishonesty.

On Facebook, your status updates, postings and threads should not be used as a forum to complain about your current boss or organisation. Don't post anything that could embarrass you in the future.

Make sure you activate security settings on accounts like Facebook. This will make you less vulnerable to people posting comments on your page that could impact negatively on your professional image.

Thu, 25 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
Get That Job!

When you submit your cover letter and CV online, it can seem like it's being sucked into a black hole. But, recruiters say that's the best way to apply. If you e-mail it to a specific department, it might end up with the wrong person.

Inside tip: Wait two days after a job is first posted before submitting your info. 'When HR goes through the deluge of CVs, they read the last ones first,' says recruitment expert, Jo Prabhu. 'If yours comes in later – but still before the deadline – it has a higher likelihood of being read.' Also, leave a phone message with HR saying that you just sent in your CV and you're very interested in the job. They may remember your name and enthusiasm when they come across your info.

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Meeting SOS

Cover Your Ass: Mouth the words 'I'm sorry', and discreetly slip into the nearest seat.

Damage Control Post-Meeting: Apologise to your boss face to face, and assure her that it won't happen again.

Why It Works: Your slip-up is subtler if you don't interrupt the meeting to offer reasons for your lateness. Plus, skipping the excuses shows you're willing to own up to your mistake… and not repeat it.

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
Stay On Top Of Your Game

It can be totally overwhelming arriving at your desk with 140 things to do. Instead of tackling several different tasks at the same time and not finishing anything, plan your attack by making a list of everything that needs doing, starting with the most pressing and ending with the least urgent. Then calmly start at the top and work your way through, ticking things off as you go along.

Wed, 03 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
How To Complain About a Colleague

Give them a chance to change before involving anyone else. If you have a problem, try to discuss it in a non-confrontational way.

Tue, 11 Sep 2012 12:00 +0200
Don't Get Bitten By The Office Bitch

Her MO: Ms Sticky Fingers swipes your ideas and passes them off as her own.

How To Deal: If you're forced to talk about your proposals with her, try to keep the conversations via e-mail. That way, you have a stockpile of ammunition on standby if she tries to pass off your brilliance as her own. If she doesn't stop, print out the proof that she's a shady thief.

Thu, 30 Aug 2012 12:00 +0200
Make-It-Big Tips

'Don't be bombastic about your accomplishments in an interview, but don't be too modest, either. It shows that you might require too much motivation to get your confidence up to where it should already be. I can't babysit people. There's a tempo to my efficiency; I can't take chances on having that interrupted.'
- Donald Trump, chairman and president of the Trump Organisation

Tue, 31 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Diet Wars At Work

Workplace weight-loss challenges are a valid method of addressing the millions of adults who are overweight or obese - but there is a vulnerable segment of young women in our society to consider who, when exposed to such a competitive weight-loss environment, may find it does more harm to their health than good.

A light-hearted office weight-loss competition can go too far. Consulting psychologist and clinical nutritionist Selina Byrne says there is potential for women who are predisposed to obsessive thinking about food to trigger past or existing problems, if their colleagues are suddenly focused on weight. 'These people are not moderate thinkers,' says Byrne. 'I've seen people who get competitive (and resort to drastic measures). There are a lot of products on the market that have high levels of caffeine and other substances that are so-called metabolic boosters. Imagine what they do to the nervous system; they make people anxious and agitated - it can really upset stress hormones and mood. There are also women who do frequent colonic irrigation. They want to be the best at being slim.'

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Smarten Up Your CV

It's important to tailor your cover letter specifically to the job you are applying for. Like the recurring comments Idols judges use ('It was too pitchy' or 'It wasn't your best song choice'), job applicants can also lack creativity and initiative in their choice of words. Many candidates vaguely state, 'I believe I am suited to this position,' leaving a potential employer to wonder, 'Which position is that? The one I have advertised, or the other ten that you have also sent your CV out for today?' Employers are looking to hire someone who is interested in their company specifically, and the advertised position. In place of the word 'position' in your cover letter, it's best to list the job title as it was advertised. For example, 'I believe I am suited to be an online writer for' - then go on to explain how exactly you are suited to that position by listing the skills you have acquired during your education or previous positions. If you can't do that, the position is not the right one for you and you're wasting both you and your potential employer's time.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
How To Fireproof Your Job

Put yourself in your boss's shoes for a moment. If you had to give someone the axe, whom would you choose: the upbeat go-getter who has a smile for everyone, or the sad sack who's just punching the clock and using up the Ricoffy? Productivity and salary are, of course, major factors when it comes to trimming staff, but don't underestimate the value of a positive attitude. 'Making the best of everything instead of complaining is exactly what the higher-ups want to see,' explains Gayle Lantz, author of Take The Bull By The Horns (WorkMatters Press). Ask for constructive feedback from managers, and request to be put on any projects that interest you… even if it means taking on some extra work.

Thu, 31 May 2012 12:00 +0200
Energise Your Workday

Drab colours and mass-produced furniture probably grace your work area. That utilitarian atmosphere needs spicing up since you look at it all day. The most rejuvenating method is to decorate it with items that remind you of nature - try placing a couple of seashells or a bowl filled with pretty rocks on your desk.

Tue, 26 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
The Zodiac of Teamwork

'There is no doubt that working effectively within a team environment comprised of different personalities is an art form,' says Kim Meszaros, marketing executive at Kelly Recruitment. 'The secret lies in understanding and appreciating that each person has different and important strengths to contribute to the smooth running of the workplace.' A person born under the zodiac sign of the tiger, for example, is colourful and passionate, which are positive qualities when engaging with clients on a social level. Need to make an impression and clinch the deal? Send the tiger forth to conquer...

By contrast, the snake, who is a deep thinker and softly-spoken, might be better placed in a desk-bound position where the power of their minds can be put to good use, while the pig who is honest, gallant, sturdy and sociable, but can also be naïve, over-dependent and self-indulgent may need some friendly supervision to stay motivated (this sign shouldn't work from home or according to strict deadlines, as they often have trouble completing tasks on time). They may also need a bit of nudge to make it up the career ladder.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Jerks At Work: How To Deal

Say you catch a male staffer ogling your chest. Telling human resources ASAP may be more trouble than it's worth if his behaviour is immature rather than intimidating. So, if you merely wish to be left alone, fire back with a comment that conveys you want his behaviour to stop (e.g., 'I should print you a copy of the company's sexual harassment policy. You need a refresher course'). If he doesn't stop, be more direct: 'You're making me uncomfortable. Please stop.' If he still continues or gets physical, the next step is to…

Fri, 13 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Labour of Love?
There was a time you loved your job and couldn't wait to get to the office, but with the everyday routine of work responsibilities, it's easy to get bored and despondent. 'Like every important relationship in your life, maintaining a commitment to what you do is a mental state that you need to consciously work on,' says Kim Meszaros, marketing executive at Kelly Recruitment. 'Keeping the 'romance' alive requires you to be an active and willing participant in your job, and there are several steps you can take to put the spark back into it'.

Good jobs are not to be taken for granted in these tough economic times, and how you approach yours says a lot about you. Employers want people who are passionate about what they do, and knowing that you make a difference makes your job rewarding and increases your enthusiasm. If you're not enjoying your job as much as you once did, employ a touch of 'relationship therapy' by considering the following:

• Exceed Expectations: Aim to exceed expectations in your daily tasks. The reward will be praise and possibly even promotion, and you'll benefit personally from the extra challenge.

• Reward yourself for jobs well done: Celebrate your achievements. Get your girlfriends around and let them share in your success. This will drive you to work even harder.

• Find significance in what you do: Think about why you first entered your current working relationship, and refer back to this whenever you feel your spirits sagging. Remind yourself of your career path, and that you're on your way to getting where you want to be.
• Mix it up: New perspectives are in; mundane is out. Strive to think 'outside the box' and aim to be creative in all you say and do.

• Money can't buy you love: Just as financial gain is not the basis for a successful relationship, your job shouldn't just be about your pay slip. It should be the opportunity to employ your skills and use your strengths in a personally fulfilling way.

• Manage your stress: Some workplace stress is expected, but too often anxiety is self-induced. Stop worrying about things you can't control, and focus on doing your daily tasks to the best of your abilities. Make sure you do non work-related stuff after hours to unwind and de-stress.

• Relationships work:
Happy employees have good relationships with colleagues. Having positive office relationships means you have a good support system and people you can trust. This has enormous psychological benefits when the workload weighs you down.

• Fall in love again: Make the decision to fall in love with your job again. You can do this by making a list of all the things you like about your job. Reminding yourself why you took the job in the first place will automatically put you in a more positive frame of mind.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
Important Interview Questions
'What are the biggest challenges?' It'll clarify exactly what the position entails. 'It also lets you talk more about why you're qualified for the job,' says Tory Johnson, founder and CEO of Women for Hire.
'Why is the position open?'
'What's the next step in the process?'
'When will you make a decision?'

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
So... You Got Fired Landing On The Right Side Of Your Ass (Three Rivers Press). But it happened, so now what? Well, we asked the experts to put it into perspective and provide the advice you need to get back on the corporate ladder.

Coping With The Shock You're called into your higher-up's office, she shuts the door and tells you to sit down, and then BAM!, she gives you the boot. Once you finish picking your jaw up off the floor, you'll probably be overcome by a whole range of reactions. 'You may feel like curling up into a ball and retreating from life, but you have to deal head-on with the emotions the firing rouses or they will bubble up at an inopportune time, like at a future job interview,' says Laskoff. To address the issue, vent to a few close friends (or a therapist). Unloading everything will help you determine exactly what it is you're feeling. 'By assessing what went wrong and doing some reflecting, you may even realise that the job wasn't suited to your skills or that your heart just wasn't in it,' says Dr Susan Murphy, co-author of In The Company Of Women(Tarcher). 'Though you need to accept some responsibility for getting fired, you also have to recognise that your work environment could have contributed to it.' In other words, just because you lost that job does not mean you won't be an asset somewhere else.
Getting Off The Couch
Pounding The Pavement
Handling The Job Interview

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Too Sexy For Work?
Dressed To Thrill Some career experts think this trend of dressing sexily for work has as much to do with showing independence and non-conformism as with choosing purposely provocative clothing. 'It's more of a generational issue, sort of an entitlement that says, "I march to my own drum. I'm proud to be my own person,"' says Tory Johnson, founder of Women for Hire, a recruitment services company in the US. Especially with people who are recently out of school or university, says Johnson, 'They want to dress for who they are, not necessarily for their work environment.' Twenty-somethings may feel that way at this moment in history because 'they are being told by the media that they are in the power seat,' says Caitlin Friedman, co-author of The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch) (Crown Business). 'The celebrities who get lots of press coverage are in their twenties,' she explains.

Then, there is simply the clueless factor: With casual Fridays spreading to every day of the week, it's hard to know what to wear anymore. 'There's a new frontier of what is casual,' says Sarah Sardella, benefits manager at the search firm 'It used to be that you were expected to wear pantyhose, a skirt of a certain length.... but there are no clear-cut guidelines anymore. Blend that with the current flesh-baring fashions and you have young women wearing slip-slops, mini-skirts, and midriff tops to work.' Clearly people are taking notice... and many disapprove.
The Price Of Being Provocative
Where To Draw The Line

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Is Your Job In Danger?
Signal #1: Your boss starts breathing down your neck or giving you a hard time.
What It Means: She may be trying to get you to resign before she has to fire you.

Signal #2: The head honcho is late for a meeting she's set up with you or never asks what you're working on anymore.
What It Means: She no longer considers you a key part of the staff.

Signal #3: You stop receiving e-mail updates or invitations to team meetings.
What It Means: You're being squeezed out of the loop.

Signal #4: Your workload lessens (and it's not just a slow period).
What It Means: Your superiors could be preparing for your leaving by transferring some of your tasks to other employees.

Signal #5: There's a negative change in your boss's attitude toward you.
What It Means: She's feeling uncomfortable because she knows that she's going to have to let you go soon.

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Is He Hooking Up at Work?
It seems like every day you hear about another celeb hooking up with a hot co-star on set, while his or her significant other is out of sight and obviously out of mind. And as much as we'd like to think it's the kind of thing that only happens in Hollywood, on-the-job liaisons are just as common outside Tinseltown. In fact, statistics show that the work-place has become the number one breeding ground for cheating. According to a study done by infidelity expert, Dr Shirley Class, 62% of men who admitted to having an affair had done so with someone they met at work.

'You often spend more time with co-workers than with your partner, which can create intense bonding,' says Dr Bonnie Eaker Weil, author of Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery? (Infinity Publishing). To ensure your guy is doing his job rather than his coffee-break buddy, follow these tips.

Know His Business Sure, it may get boring when he goes on and on about his pain-in-the-ass boss or other people he works with, but if he can't talk to you about the work-place highs and lows, he may open up to someone who understands all the pressure he's under. 'The more you know, the more he can share with you and the less likely he'll be to confide in his attractive co-worker,' says Dr Don-David Lusterman, author of Intensity: A Survival Guide (New Harbinger Publications).

To come across as genuinely interested (rather than annoyingly nosy), ask specific questions that address how he handled certain tasks or dealt with a difficult higher-up. Otherwise, it's like pulling teeth. 'If you simply ask him how work is or whats up, he'll say 'It's fine' or 'Nothing,'' says Dr Alon Gratch, author of If Men Could Talk (Little, Brown and Company). 'But when you ask targeted questions, it's easier to get him talking.' With some insight, you'll also be able to determine if his late nights make sense or seem suspicious. Is he working on a project that would require him to work more hours or send him out of town for a long weekend? If he knows that you know what he's up to, it's harder for him to pull late nights or grab drinks with a cute co-worker without any explanation.
Be a Presence
Identify The Biggest Threat
Stay On His Mind 24/7

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
The Secrets Behind His Small Talk
He Brags About Some Big Accomplishment You Think: Show-off.

It Could Mean: He may just really like you. By boasting, he's actually trying to impress you by 'proving' that he could be a provider.
He Hates His Job Or His Boss
He Laughs About Office Pranks
He's Work-Obsessed

Mon, 12 Dec 2011 12:00 +0200
Balance Your Success
Success Scenario #1: You Have Status Having a partner who's constantly being praised is the easiest success scenario to deal with, says Dr Alon Gratch, author of If Love Could Think (Harmony). However, there are still issues he has to contend with. 'Even if he does better than you financially, you may be the one getting all the attention when you go out socially, while no one cares to ask about his job,' explains licensed marriage therapist and author of It's Mostly His Fault (Grand Central Publishing), Robert Mark Alter. 'And for some men, it's a real blow to the ego because it's in a man's nature to have a competitive drive.'

For others, however, it merely involves a mind shift. 'Men who thrive in this scenario are able to rewrite the rules about the real definition of manliness for themselves,' says Alter. 'Instead of looking at it as not having as big of a name as hers, his masculine identity comes from serving as her provider in the relationship, whether it's financial or emotional or both,' says Alter. 'Secondly, he must realise that her power and status don't subtract from his, as if there were a limited supply between them.' Still, it's not entirely up to a guy to tackle this transition - you need to take action too. And the first step is making him feel like he's sharing in - not shadowed by - your status.

Bottom line: 'Your public triumphs have to feel like a triumph for both of you as a unit,' says Alter. 'Otherwise, competitiveness and resentment can creep in.'
Success Scenario #2: You Have Money
Success Scenario #3: You Have Status and Money

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
The Rules Of Office Romance, an American employment agency, conducted an informal poll with 800 respondents and discovered that 72% of men and 60% of women are secretly infatuated with a co-worker, while a 2007 Office Romance Survey from indicated that 17% of the people interviewed have actually been caught doing the deed at work... in the kitchen, on the stairwell and, yes, on their boss's desk (all together now, ewwwww!) If you find yourself wandering down the passage towards Kevin in accounts a little more often than necessary – or, have already gotten down-and-dirty after- hours in the boardroom – here's how to date a workmate without wrecking your career.

Know Your Company's Policy On Office Romance Some companies are broad-minded and elect to turn a blind eye – as long as the relationship doesn't impact on either of your performance. Others outlaw it completely, while others still have rules, for example, that one member of a couple does not report to the other. It's important to know what your company's stance is and to respect it at all times.

If your company does not have an official stance, it might be a good idea to tell your boss before she hears it from somebody else. Assure her that it won't affect your performance and that you'll keep things above-board and completely professional.
Never Mix Business With Pleasure
Don't Confuse Boredom With Love
When It's The Boss You're Bonking

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
Escape Pre-Holiday Meltdown
Stop-The-Panic Step #1: Rundown To Relaxation 'Write a "chill-out countdown" of everything you want to achieve before you go away. It helps you to prioritise, and gives the tasks a positive spin: work is bringing you closer to your holiday.'
Stop-The-Panic Step #2: Gather Your Supporters
Stop-The-Panic Step #3: Early Handover
Stop-The-Panic Step #4: Show Off On Your Last Day
Stop-The-Panic Step #5: Time To Switch Off

Thu, 08 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Getting Oriented In The Office
Put Relationships First Don't put paperwork at the centre of your orientation programme. Instead, add a personal touch by assigning 'mentors' to each new employee so they can put a face to the organisation they are now representing, and start to build interpersonal relationships with their team members. 'Learning the ins-and-out's of the business through colleagues' experience is always more helpful for new employees, as this gives them a special insight into the organisation and its strengths,' says Wordon.
Put Faces To Names
Upfront Info
Right Foot Forward

Wed, 24 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
The Keys To Success Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, besides talent, getting ahead professionally hinges on certain key qualities… and they're ones you already possess. Having a passion for what you're doing, a commitment to long-term goals and the grit to persevere are big predictors of success, says Dr Angela Duckworth, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

Of course, these traits make perfect sense: Passion keeps you excited about the hard work required. Drive causes you to aim high. And grit helps you weather the inevitable hiccups. 'What surprises most people is that these simple characteristics can actually trump your level of intelligence and experience when it comes to accomplishing what you want,' says career expert, Carol Frohlinger. Stoke your reserves of these qualities, and you'll be well on your way to stardom. Here's how:

Passion Being psyched to be a part of your industry keeps you on course, even on tedious days. But passion won't knock on your door and identify itself. 'You have to explore until something speaks to you,' says Rebecca Shambaugh, author of It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor (McGraw-Hill Education).

To Find Your Passion:
Consider your best personality traits. If you are a nurturing type, teaching could be for you. If you're a social whirlwind, PR may be your thing. As you brainstorm options, use your university's alumni network to find someone with that job, and invite him or her out for coffee. When you walk away dying to learn more, you're on the right track. And just because you already know what field you love, it doesn't mean that any related job will satisfy you. You can always keep customising. 'Think about what part of your day you look forward to, and then ask your boss for additional similar projects,' says Frohlinger. Fill your day with more of what you like best and you'll create a job that exhilarates you and, therefore, one that you thrive in.

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Are You Stuck in a Sucky Job?
Improve Your Workspace Photos and plants can work wonders, but there's an even better way to infuse new life into a work area. 'Get control of clutter,' advises Jeffrey McGrew, co-owner of a sustainable interior-design firm. 'Clear off the junk from your desk and you'll feel less stressed.' Next, make sure your job doesn't literally make you sick, by avoiding ailments like carpal-tunnel syndrome. Position your computer monitor a couple feet away at eye level, make sure there is no glare, and sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
Talk Amongst Yourselves
Maximise Your Downtime

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Step Into That Top Job Now Take Control Of Your Career (McGraw-Hill Professional). 'People who don't strictly have the right experience do it every day. In fact, many employers look for candidates who could 'grow' into a job. The secret to bagging it is simple - don't oversell yourself.'

With a little CV magic, a dash of attitude and a lot of guts, you can get the top job - just follow our simple rules.

Tailoring Your CV When it comes to selling yourself, remember the key difference between dating and job-hunting. Adding a few fictional extras onto your online dating profile is a little bit naughty, but fibbing on your CV is downright disastrous and can, in fact, be a criminal offence if you actually get a job by deception. And it's all too easy to get found out, especially if you lie about previous job titles, experience and qualifications.

Instead, Lees advises tailoring and perfecting your CV every time you apply for a position. 'There's a big difference between stretching the truth and creating an alternative reality when it comes to writing a CV,' he says. 'And it's usually pretty evident to a potential employer if you've done the latter. If you have obvious gaps on your CV, be upfront; don't gloss over them. Companies may disregard these gaps if you can explain why your particular experience in other areas has its own merits.' So how can you create a winning CV? 'Less is most definitely more,' Lees says. 'Make sure the first page presents concrete evidence of your achievements, but don't bother including skills that less experienced people would list. So if you're the office junior but you're applying for a junior managerial role, you don't need to mention that you looked after the phofocopier.' Instead, explain that you were responsible for looking after ofter less-experienced members of staff.
Get Yourself Out There
Blag The Interview
Fix First-Day Fears

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Beat The Office Bully
Stealing Your Idea 'If you feel a colleague is passing off your ideas as their own, the only way to deal with it is to expose them,' says Michelli. Don't storm in and make an accusation, though - even if you are angry and emotional. Instead, explain how their behaviour made you feel, or you could try to build a bridge between you by saying something like, 'You obviously thought my idea was good; perhaps we could work together on the next project.' This will make the person take responsibility for their actions.
Bad-Mouthing You To The Boss
Faking Friendship

Fri, 03 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Career Shortcuts The Modern Girl's Guide to Life (William Morrow Paperbacks). That hunger you have isn't a bad thing, but you have to go about things in the best and most effective way.

To help you, we consulted the professionals and came up with six strategies to fast-track you to your ultimate goal. This means scrapping some of the old, standard rules you've heard before and adopting new, renegade stuff. The trick is to find the shortcuts and make them work for you, so you can leapfrog and achieve success in less time, says career coach Randall Hansen. Which means that while your peers are putting in gruelling hours and waiting for the boss to notice them, your career will be cruising at a higher altitude. Whoopee!

Old Rule: Have a Five-Year Career Plan New Thinking: Know What? Just Wing It

If you're entering the fast lane, being bound by a strict time-line is going to slow you down. It's true that you need a road map to get you where you're going, but don't get so hypnotised by the well-trodden highway that you run out of fuel before you reach your destination, or miss an interesting detour that might get you there faster and expose you to fresh experiences. For example, you want to own a restaurant. You could start out as a waitress and work your way up to manager, learning the food business as you go. It's a solid way to gain valuable experience, but if you want to be a restauranteur - like, right this minute - look out for alternative paths. Maybe you grab the chance to work as a food or equipment supplier, connecting with other vendors who have insider tips, and forging a unique, more lateral relationship with seasoned owners. The point is the clear route is not always the most productive one. To get ahead, you need to be flexible and open to pioneering your own custom-made course.
Old Rule: Be Tastefully Modest
Old Rule: Get Lots Of Experience
Old Rule: Rely On The Internet Or HR
Old Rule: Be a Whizz At Doing Everything
Old Rule: Brown-Nose The Boss

Tue, 31 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Dating a Co-Worker
Testing The Waves Before making a move, it's a good idea to suss out whether your work crush has the hots for you, too. 'Some tip-offs are if he starts hanging around your work space a lot or asks you to grab lunch or after-work drinks,' says Stephanie Losee, co-author of Office Mate (Adams Media). It's also promising if he's in an unrelated department, yet asks your opinion on a project of his - it indicates that he is looking for an excuse to talk to you and values your opinion, notes Losee. You can do your own digging by jokingly saying, 'Everyone thinks we're seeing each other, ha ha. Crazy, right?' If he casts a wide grin or seems into the idea, the coast is clear to start flirting and see what happens.
Avoid Getting Busted
When To Come Clean

Tue, 24 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Fall In Love With Work
Your Job Does Not Define You...
But your attitude does, as well as the way you carry out your day-to-day work. To really feel the love, you need to realise that every job will have some elements you don't like. It's up to you to develop a positive attitude towards the tasks that appeal to you less, and to muster the enthusiasm to perform them as well as you perform the aspects you do enjoy.

Find Significance In What You Do
Make a point of remembering why you wanted this job in the first place, and how attractive it seemed. Nothing has changed but your mindset. Make a list of all the things that appealed to you, and refer back to it when you find your spirit sinking.

Money Can't Buy You Love
Just as financial gain is not the basis for a successful relationship, your job shouldn't be about your pay-slip, but more about what ignites your passion. Think about your strengths, and whether there is a way to incorporate more of these into your day-to-day routine. Doing things you are good at improves your overall state of mind, and this will positively affect your working life.

Fall In Love Again
Make the decision to fall in love with your job again. This you can achieve by remaining positive at work, paying more attention to your surroundings, treating your colleagues with respect and taking on additional tasks that don't fall within your realm of responsibility. 'Choose to love your job,' advises Wordon. 'Like every great relationship, keeping your career fresh and exciting is at the heart of job satisfaction and creativity.'

To escape the rut you may have found yourself in, Wordon suggests taking the following step-by-step approach:

1. Be Proud Take pride in what you do and never downplay your achievements. Celebrate your talents to keep your actions vibrant and effective.
2. Mix It Up
3. Get Innovative
4. Breathing Space

Thu, 19 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Pump Up Your Payslip
1. Get noticed. Volunteer for presentations and tell people what you've achieved, but avoid telling everyone. Instead of bragging about how clever you are, be enthusiastic about how your work will help the company.

2. Look out for pivotal projects and get involved, even if it means increasing your workload. You'll soon be seen as someone who's always in the thick of it.

3. Update yourself: go on courses, learn from your team and train in any new computer programmes your company uses.

4. Self-review your performance every few months. Write a list of what you've achieved and learnt. How have you made money? What could you get involved in next?

5. People respond better to you if you're positive. Don't moan. Do suggest ways you could make your work run more smoothly.

6. Enlist the help of a coach or mentor at work who can advise you on your career path and let you know how you're seen by other members of the company.

7. Cultivate good relationships with the key decision-makers in your office, whether it's your boss or his/her power-wielding PA.

8. Behave as if you've already been promoted. Show you can handle more responsibility and you'll get it.

9. Find out how much you're realistically worth. Check the going rate for your sort of work by looking at job adverts. If you're not earning enough, think about how you can maximise your role to persuade your boss that you deserve a raise.

10. If you're offered a job with a higher salary elsewhere, you can use it as a bargaining tool. Explain to your boss that you've had an attractive offer you want to make them aware of, though you love your current company. Be positive and don't threaten to leave unless you're prepared to – they may call your bluff and you'll be forced to go.

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
You Got Promoted - Now What? Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office (Little, Brown and Company). Don't be nervous. No matter where you are on the career ladder, here's how to ensure post-promotion success.

On-The-Job Overhaul #1: Bite Off More Than You Can Chew As soon as you move into your new position, stretch your work boundaries and tackle more ambitious projects so the head honchos feel confident about promoting you. 'Your bosses gave you a boost because they believe that you will bring creativity and initiative to your different duties,' explains Dr Susan Murphy, co-author of In The Company Of Women. 'Sure, it's a little scary, but reassure them that they made the right decision by immediately taking on bigger challenges.'
On-The-Job Overhaul #2: Rejigger Relationships
On-The-Job Overhaul #3: Make Over Your Habits
On-The-Job Overhaul #4: Deal With Disaster

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Feng Shui Your Desk
1. To start with, give your desk a good clean out (and make sure you do it regularly). lf you can, burn a little sage or sandalwood to clear away any negativity. Then it's time to corner some good feng shui.

2. When you stand at the entrance to any space (your office/desk/home), the far right corner is your relationship area. Good things to have in it include: fresh flowers, especially peonies (not roses, unless you remove the thorns), photos of happy couples, or a pair of elephants facing each other. A bad thing to have in your relationship zone is a, er, fire extinguisher. If you don't get along with your boss, look out for chairs that face away from each other.

3. The abundance zone is always in the far left corner of the space. Use it to bring love, money, friends… whatever you need right now. Double the abundance with a small mirror that reflects your corner's contents. Things you do not want in this area: anything broken, knives, scissors or cactus plants. Things you do want in this area: sunshine, fresh flowers, healthy plants or photos of boats.

4. The space directly in front of you represents your career, so make sure it's always clean and uncluttered. Also, choose a positive screen saver - it's the image you'll see the most of each day. Banish bad-vibe scenes like walls or barren landscapes, and go for positive images like flowers or fish.

5. The bottom right area relates to travel and the support you get from others. Decorate it with images from travel brochures, postcards and photos of friends living overseas, and opportunities for new adventures may just land in your lap.

Tue, 08 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Annoying Co-Workers
The world is full of annoying people – from the chick blabbing loudly into her cell phone on the train, to the guy who jumps the queue because he's 'running late'. Most of the time, the best way to handle them is simple - avoid them. But there's one place you can't escape people who are rude, lazy or just plain nasty - work.

'In the office, you spend your day with people you haven't chosen to be with, and you have to work towards a common goal,' says Rachel Weingarten, author of Career and Corporate Cool. 'You can't ignore them because they could affect the future of your career.'

A study carried out by Christine Pearson, a professor of management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, found that 52% of 1400 office workers surveyed lost significant work time stewing over a conflict with a co-worker. And a University of Washington study found that even one office idiot can end up polluting an entire team.

'This is the number-one issue in the workplace today,' says Marsha Petrie Sue, author of Toxic People (John Wiley and Sons Ltd). The biggest mistake: treating all co-workers exactly the same. 'Different behaviours require very different techniques,' says Sue.

ANNOYING CO-WORKER #1: The Gossip This girl knows everything - from who is having an affair to who is about to be fired. Her fascinating facts and lively personality make her fun to be around - but beware. Have you noticed she also takes a little too much interest in your life? As in, 'Who was that I saw you having lunch with?' And, 'Wow, you're really dressed up today. Got any interesting appointments?'

Deal With It: Distract her. Don't lecture her about the hazards of gossip - she'll just think you're uptight, and possibly make you the next subject of her tawdry tales. Instead, gossip with her about celebrities, rather than co-workers. If she starts dishing about the boss's relationship dramas, change the subject to Katy and Russell. Next, convince her you're the most boring person alive. Give her a lot of details about the weekend you spent painting the walls. 'It's no fun to gossip about someone who isn't very interesting,' says Weingarten.
ANNOYING CO-WORKER #2: The Spotlight Stealer
ANNOYING CO-WORKER #3: The Underminer
ANNOYING CO-WORKER #4: Your 'Best Friend'

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Party Your Way To a Pay Raise demanding a raise is doomed to failure (no matter how sensible it seems at the time). But a more subtle strategy has a good chance of boosting your career prospects – and your bank balance. Author of Networking: Work Your Contacts To Supercharge Your Career, Nicholas King, says, 'The relaxed atmosphere of a work party is perfect for demonstrating you're an ambitious employee. Play up your strengths – it could pave the way for a promotion.'

Don't Hog The Boss Don't spend hours telling your boss how fabulous you are. Instead, prove it by working the room like a pro. 'There's a tendency to stick with the people we know,' says King, 'and while you should let your hair down with friends, make an effort to chat to people you don't normally mix with – from other department heads to office juniors.' And, yes, the hot guy from marketing. You might make new friends and you never know when you may meet someone who changes your career – or life – forever.
Look The Part
Pick The Perfect Plus-One
A Grand Exit

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
Stress Baggage
Here's how to bounce back:

Assess The Damage 'Some people experience the after-effects in their bodies, while others are hard-hit emotionally,' says McGrath. So avoid situations that exacerbate your vulnerabilities. If you're tired, skip your workout; if you're cranky, avoid that annoying co-worker.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
ID Your Pamper Points

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 12:00 +0200
Get Your Dream Job
December 2010 'This is the time of year when we start to think about what we want from the next 12 months - including work,' promises Lees, author of How To Get A Job You'll Love. 'Spending time planning your career now could transform your life next year, so get the ball rolling instead of just dreaming about the future.'

Action: Conduct a year-end 'you' review: note down what you've learnt, your achievements and breakthroughs. Work with a trusted colleague who can remind you of the things you're good at and the times you made a difference.
February 2011
May 2011
August 2011

Mon, 06 Dec 2010 12:00 +0200
Be a Brand Champion
Being a brand champion positively contributes to the culture and reputation of your company, says Wordon, so it's important to use your passion to make your company work for you.

Let the experts give you some handy advice on how to become a brand champion.

Step 1: Know Yourself Before championing your company's brand, it's important to understand that you, too, are a brand, says Wordon. Find out what it is that you as a brand stand for, and ensure that your brand can align with the brand of your company, he adds.
Step 2: Understand the Brand
Step 3: Look Up
Step 4: Join the Team
Step 5: Work as a Team

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
'Meet Me at The Water Cooler'
Rat-Trap #1: Befriending The New Girl Beware, girls: the work love-rat is primed to strike on your first day. 'I befriend new colleagues with a smile and a guided tour of the office - especially if they're a babe,' says Stephen, 28. 'After a week I'll be taking her for lunch, then I make my move.' So ensure you make yours - well away from him.
Rat-Trap #2: Becoming a Confidante
Rat-Trap #3: Keeping Past Conquests Quiet
Rat-Trap #4: Sending Flirty E-mails
Rat-Trap #5: Being One of the Guys

Wed, 17 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
Beat The Boss' Mood
According to head researcher and associate professor of social psychology at the University of Amsterdam, Dr Gerben A. Van Kleef, low epistemic motivation means you view your boss' feedback as an attack, where as high epistemic motivation means you view angry feedback as a form of constructive criticism.

Stress, environmental noise, fatigue and deadlines contribute to low epistemic motivation. Your reaction to an angry boss is likely to be more constructive and beneficial when there are no pressing deadlines, he explains. However, 'when people have low epistemic motivation, they are less motivated to think deeply about their boss' anger.' You miss out on important information that the anger conveys and you become annoyed with yourself. But just because you have low epistemic motivation, doesn't mean you can't be helped.

'Try not to take the feedback personally,' says career coach and director of Careers By Design, Anna Martyn. 'Managers who display anger or aggression openly instead of remaining in control are not handling their own stress-coping mechanism very well, and in most cases, have very low emotional intelligence.' This is why you're getting the brunt of their anger, she says.

According to Van Kleef, low epistemic motivation can be increased under the right circumstances. Epistemic motivation is increased when people like their work and find it important, when they are working in an inspiring and motivating office and performing interesting tasks, as well as when an employee is held accountable for their work, and is invited to explain what they did and how they did it, he says. In this way, he adds, an employee responds more constructively to a boss' anger.

However, if you aren't able to escape your surroundings or make your job more interesting, ask your boss for the facts, suggests Martyn. If you are in the wrong, apologise and correct your mistake or behaviour, listen to your boss' feedback and ask questions so you understand where you can improve your performance and ensure the situation doesn't happen again, she says. 'Try not to allow your emotions to get the better of you and remain objective and neutral. Your maturity will help, even if your boss is acting like an infant.'

Van Kleef agrees. 'For many people, the instinctive first response to another's anger is mutual anger. This is their gut reaction.' He believes, in certain circumstances, you should try and think again, as you might understand why your boss is angry (for example, if the work you delivered was actually a bit sloppy). This could help you cope with any negative feelings you might have, he adds.

However, if you feel you are being treated unfairly, says Martyn, wait for an appropriate time when tempers have cooled down to address your concerns and reset your boundaries of behaviour. 'If you feel you can't discuss your boss' anger or verbal attacking with him or her, address your concerns with HR or your management team.'

Those with high epistemic motivation would naturally want to correct their behaviour and ensure their work performance improves so their boss will once again be happy with them, explains Martyn. 'This is an emotional response, a need to please the boss and be a "good employee".' While there is nothing wrong with improving your work and making changes to please your boss, Martyn warns this could be motivated by fear and unease, as opposed to creativity or a genuine desire to please. While some might react 'positively' to angry attacks from their boss, she explains, if his or her behaviour doesn't improve over time, who would want to keep working for in such a negative environment? 'The odd reprimand may work and generate good working results, but not repeatedly.'

If you are in a situation where a temperamental boss is managing you, try not to take it personally, says Martyn. She advises you listen to what is being said and not how it is being said. The best bet is to try and understand your boss' workload and needs and once you understand their challenges and how they like things to be done, you can best carry out your responsibilities, she says.

'If the attacks continue and you have tried everything in your power to correct the situation to no avail, then start applying for another position and get out of there,' recommends Martyn. 'No one should work for a person who undermines their confidence and makes them tread on egg shells all day.'

Wed, 27 Oct 2010 12:00 +0200
A Fool-Proof Job Interview
Interview Insider #1 What Should I Do To Prepare?
Become an expert:
'Read the job description thoroughly and write down the key points involved in the role,' suggests Renee Bernays, senior HR consultant for a recruitment firm. 'Then give examples of your own skills and how they relate to the position.'

'Go to their website and scour trade journals to get a real feel for the industry,' says Skye Sanders, marketing manager for Contiki Holidays.
Interview Insider #2
Interview Insider #3
Interview Insider #4
Interview Insider #5

What to say when a rather too-personal question is hurled your way...

SHOCKER #1: 'Are you thinking about having children?'
'No employer should ask this,' says Wilson. 'If put in this position, l suggest you remain neutral.' '"I may decide to one day," would be an appropriate response.'

SHOCKER #2: 'How many drinks do you have a week?'
'There's no harm in saying you enjoy a drink now and then – all in moderation, of course,' says Sanders.

SHOCKER #3: 'What other jobs have you applied for?'
'Be honest. This is an excellent negotiation tool, because it shows you're in demand,' advises Bernays.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 12:00 +0200
Career Overhaul
Brakes Stop. You're moving up the ladder in your chosen career, but is it right for you? Many of us stay in the same job for longer than we should as we're scared to take a pay cut. 'Once we've bought a flat or got used to a certain lifestyle, most of us need all our monthly income to pay for it,' says Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips, a senior consultant at specialist management company. 'Write a list of the reasons you don't like your job, then consider whether your collection of handbags, or drinks after work every night, is worth your happiness. Sometimes you might need to take a small pay cut, but doing a job you enjoy is worth more in the long run.'

Wed, 29 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
When it comes to references, says Anna Martyn, career coach and managing director of Careers By Design, you need to choose them carefully as one luke-warm reference could have a negative impact on the final job offer. ‘Ideally, a manager or supervisor should be selected; someone who was worked with you directly and observed your abilities and accomplishments.’

Before you put someone’s name on your application form or CV, make sure you ask for his or her permission first, says Martyn. Brief your potential references on the types of positions you’re applying for and give them reasons why you feel you would be best suited to that type of work. Ensure you update their names and contact details on a regular basis, as it’s not the responsibility of the company or employment agency to track down and source telephone numbers on your behalf, Martyn warns.

According to Martyn, there are two main types of references: verbal or written. Having a written letter for your career portfolio is great, she says, but it’s the verbal reference that companies tend to go for, as most recruiters have a worksheet or template they work from on a constant basis.

Keep these questions in mind when choosing your references, as these are the most common questions a potential employer will ask them.
• What date did she work for you?
• What was her job title?
• What was she earning when she left the company?
• What would you say are her strengths and weaknesses?
• Why did she leave?
• Would you re-hire her?
• Was she a good team player?
• How did she interact with management?

Characteristics such as your honesty, loyalty, integrity, work ethic and reliability will also be reviewed, she adds. ‘Should you have applied for a position with more responsibility, the questions could also focus on significant achievements, adaptability, stress tolerance, resilience and decision-making abilities.’

Obviously, explains Martyn, a negative reference from a previous employer will rule out you landing the new job. She suggests the best way to handle this situation is to draft a formal letter to your reference explaining, that during your job search, you have become aware of the negative impact their reference is having on your future career. ‘Request a formal meeting to discuss and resolve any issues or grievances,’ Martyn says. Should this not work, seek legal advice.

‘Honesty is the best policy when divulging information to a company,’ says Martyn. ‘If you give “better career prospects” as a reason for leaving and during a reference it comes to light you were dismissed or asked to leave, your credibility is blown and so are your chances of gaining employment.’ She recommends you be genuine and open about your previous mistakes.

The biggest mistake you can make is to manufacture false references, she says. Professionals can detect fraudulent references instantly and it won’t only be you losing credibility, but your reference as well, she warns.

‘Should you be successful and a position is offered to you, remember to call the people who have provided you with a positive reference,’ says Martyn. ‘Give them the good news, along with your sincere thanks, as this will ensure that should you require their assistance in the future, they will be more than willing to accommodate you.

‘A good reference is an accomplishment. Knowing others will always be willing to vouch for your credibility is worth the extra effort and hard work.’

Thu, 09 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
Busy Is Better happy time.

When you have lots on your plate and rely heavily on your well-oiled system to keep you focused and on track, you can’t afford to be disorganised, says productivity specialist and professional organiser, Tracey Foulkes, owner of Get Organised. But when the rush is over and the deadlines have been met, she says, it’s easy to find yourself suddenly struggling to adjust to a different pace. Often, you’ll find yourself spending three-times longer on a project when there are no time constraints. If you find yourself fumbling through your usually, organised day not knowing what to do, says Foulkes, try these...

Plan Ahead ‘Get into the flow of creating and keeping a "One day it will be nice to…" project list,’ suggests Foulkes. Next to each entry, she says, indicate the amount of time you estimate the project will take you. When you have an opening in your schedule, don’t waste time wondering what to do next, pull out your list instead.
Spring Clean
Rising Challenges

If you’re still staring out the window, wondering what to do next, follow Martyn’s tips to keep yourself busy.

1. Do some filing
2. Read through company newsletters or any manuals you haven’t had time to go through
3. Water your pot plants
4. Re-establish contact with people, business associates and customers you haven’t spoken to in a while
5. Take on a new project, or offer to help someone with their project
6. Invite a colleague or co-worker to lunch to catch up
7. Plan an office tea party; bake some treats and make it a special occasion
8. Ask you manager if you can help with anything
9. Run errands
10. Take a couple of days off to refresh yourself
11. Learn a new skill
12. Look at upgrading your IT skills
13. Update your diary and birthday lists and set reminders
14. Come up with some new ideas that may generate business
15. Network and update your social networking sites
16. Plan your work schedule for the coming weeks
17. Take care of yourself: book a facial, manicure or pedicure – but do it quietly so the entire office doesn't hear
18. Go on a training course and attend seminars, workshops or lectures
19. Re-look at your career and start considering putting together a job search strategy to apply for a more challenging position
20. Re-organise your finances

Tue, 24 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
On Holiday At Work
But remember, there’s a difference between keeping yourself motivated by recalling fond memories of past holidays and just shutting down all together, warns Martyn. You don’t want to risk losing your job.

ON HOLIDAY TIP #1 Got souvenirs from your most recent trip? Leave a few at work to remind yourself of the good times.

‘Small mementos, photos, a coffee mug or even wearing special jewellery or clothes bought while on holiday will bring back fond memories and lighten your mood,’ says Anna Martyn, career coach and managing director of Careers By Design. You could even make a holiday playlist and listen to it while you’re grafting away at your desk. But don’t go overboard by cluttering your desk.

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Howdy, Pardner
But through their fights they were able to put together a business plan and some capital, and today Google is the biggest search engine in the world, worth billions.

Going into business with a partner, friend or family member can be stressful. But if you’ve got all the important bits in place early on – such as finances, a sound business plan, marketable skills, all the legal requirements – you could be on your way to becoming the next Page/Brin success story.

‘Going into business with someone is like getting married,’ says Buhle Dlamini, managing director of Young and Able, a company aimed at helping young entrepreneurs reach their potential. ‘It’s important to find the right people to align yourself with. You have to be comfortable with each other and you need to trust that you have each other’s best interests at heart,’ he says. Remember: the time you spend with your new partner during office hours is not going to be the same as when you socialise after hours and on weekends. At work, you have to maintain your professionalism around each other at all times in order for the business to be successful.

According to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), people choose to go into partnerships for four reasons: to supplement their skills set, to get a boost of capital, to get help managing the business once it’s grown, or to be able to take a step back by becoming a ‘silent partner’.

Deciding on your roles upfront is essential. Louise Churches, 29, started Jo’burg public-relations firm Simon Says Communications with her friend Melanie Letcher. ‘Although we’re very alike, Mel and I have different strengths that we bring to the business,’ she says. But they try to overlap in every aspect of the business to ensure a sense of security for their staff and clients. ‘Nothing needs to fall apart just because one of us is out of the office,’ says Churches.

Dlamini believes your skills should complement one another, so if one of you is a leader, the other should be good at following through. ‘People should be given roles they can deliver on, which should be decided in advance,’ he says. ‘The business won’t work if functions are dished out randomly. Both people are accountable to each other. Agree to meet once a month or every two weeks to catch up on how the business stands and for brainstorming new ideas.’

There’s also a lot of legal stuff to take care of. First, you need to decide on what kind of business you’re going to set up in terms of the law. There are a number of options. The most common forms are the partnership, close corporation (CC) or private company, says Intikab Esat, a lawyer at international law firm Shepstone and Wylie.

‘The advantage of a partnership is that it can be set up quickly and fewer formalities are required,’ he says. ‘The business is owned directly by the partners in their names, although a trading name is often used. The main drawback is that the partners will be personally liable for the debts of the business should things go wrong, which is a big risk.’

Esat points out that this is the reason many businesses opt to form a CC or private company because, by law, the company itself is seen as a separate legal entity, so the partners’ personal assets won’t be seized if the company folds.

Next, you need a written agreement. According to Esat, a partnership can be established without a written contract, but it is sensible to seek legal advice to ensure that your interests in the business are protected. ‘In the partnership agreement, you need to address the legal and practical issues of being in business,’ he says. ‘It will cover matters such as financing, how profits will be shared, management rights, the expectations of the partners and their roles, the reporting structure, meetings, accounting and what to do if one or both of you wants to get out.’ The partners may periodically adjust the agreement as the business grows.

You may need to register for any or all of the following, depending on your type of business: provisional tax, employees’ tax, income tax, value-added tax, trading licences, your business name, Unemployment Insurance Fund, workmen’s compensation insurance, trademarks, patents or designs.

The Department of Labour, the Department of Trade and Industry, Seda and their affiliates are useful sources of advice, as is the website, where you can download a basic partnership-agreement or CC form.

‘Your business plan is there to tell people what you’re about as a company,’ says Dlamini. In it, you and your partner should lay out your plans and values in a succinct yet comprehensive manner. ‘A good business plan addresses what goals and targets you aim to achieve as a business and shows potential investors how you plan to do that,’ he says. The document needs to be updated continually as your business grows.

More than 70% of new businesses fail within the first three years. But if your business is growing and doing well, it may be time to bring in new people. Says Dlamini, ‘As the business grows, you may need to assume a different, much bigger leadership role. You will have to set the tone for the business and may need to learn to let go and allow others to take over its day-to-day running.’

If the business is not working out as you hoped it would and you no longer wish to be associated with the company, ‘the outgoing partner’s shares can be bought out by the remaining partners or by an approved third party,’ says Esat. Otherwise, you could both decide to sell the business outright or liquidate and distribute the proceeds according to the original partnership agreement.

An important factor that contributes to your potential for success is keeping your partnership strong through mutual respect and communication. Churches says, ‘We take our business partnership – and our friendship – very seriously, and feel a strong sense of moral obligation to each other. It’s all about accountability, so if I let Mel down, I’m letting myself down too.’

Thu, 17 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
Digital-Proof Your Career
#1 PROTOCOL, PROTOCOL, PROTOCOL Companies are now advertising their vacancies online, whether it is directly on their website, through job portals or via professional associations, says Martyn. There is a very specific protocol for applying for a position online and 95% of applications do not follow this protocol, she adds. Make sure your application is always directly geared towards the position you are applying for, she advises. ‘Always follow up in person to ensure that your information has been received and monitor your progress by keeping a log of all applications.’ (Check out our latest vacancies here.)

Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
Beat First-Day Nerves Transform Your Life (Infinite Ideas Limited). 'But it's important not to let them sink your self-esteem. The problem is, if you keep thinking you're not good enough to be there or that your new colleagues don't like you, you'll begin to behave as it this is true and not give yourself the chance to soar that you deserve.'

Here's how to turn those negative naggings around...

'What If I Make a Bad First Impression?'
Want to make your mark without being put in the 'diva' box? Then think of a friend or an old colleague you really respect, and the last time you had a tricky conversation with them. Write down what it was you appreciated about the way they handled themselves – was it the tone they used, the way they listened or the fact they made eye contact? Mimic this behaviour in your new job and people will be impressed.

'What If They Think I'm Not Good Enough?'
Look at the facts: you've been given the job, so your new boss believes you're capable of doing it. Don't convince yourself you can't. Instead of panicking when you're given your first big task, think about what information you need to succeed and make sure you get it. Whose help should you ask for? What research should you do? Where could things go wrong and how can you stop that happening?

'What If My Workmates Are Cliquey?'
You can't make people like you, but you can act in a way that shows you're worthy of their time. Imagine you're six months into the job: what kind of relationship do you want with colleagues? Do you want to be seen as a mentor? Someone who helps when they're stuck? How can you get to this point? Support their ideas, remember facts about their lives and they'll have no reason to complain.

'What If I'm Sat In The Dead Zone?
Got to your new desk only to find it full of your predecessor's mess? Or that you're positioned away from all the action? Don't panic. It's far more likely that your boss has been too busy to set everything up for you than to be a sign they don't want you there. Use this as an opportunity to show your worth. Get on the phone to IT and get your computer working, find out who to call to get rid of the rubbish and introduce yourself to the team you want to be sat with. This isn't a time to moan but one to show you can handle it.

Wed, 26 May 2010 12:00 +0200
Caught In The Web

Fashion Stylist
How she makes the web work for her:
'The web is the centre of my business and there is no way I can work without it. My website is the main way potential clients learn about me, my company and my services. I also use Facebook, Twitter and my blog. These social media sites have allowed me to upload pictures, videos and documents from my portfolio, keep clients updated on any news and share ideas and concepts with other stylists. It's been an indispensable part of my business. When I first started out, harnessing the power of the web was a key part of my marketing strategy.

How to make the web work for you:
'Getting a website up and running (one that looks professional, doesn't have spelling mistakes, is easy to navigate, stylish and above all, communicates exactly what you need it to without being too wordy) is the first step in fully utilising the power of the Internet. Linked to this is making sure you shop around for a web developer that you trust implicitly. They must understand you as a person, what your business is all about and how you want your business to grow. Essentially, they need to share your vision. From there, I would use various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog to enhance the website's efficacy. While a website is static and can be costly to constantly update if you aren't a whizz with computers, a blog is the perfect way to update content, thoughts, ideas, pictures and videos. I always say: if you aren't on the Internet, you aren't in business. It's a no-brainer.'

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Mon, 17 May 2010 12:00 +0200
On The Job
'When your boss raises your rank, you need to amp up your performance so you can meet her or his higher standards,' explains Lois P. Frankel, author of Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office (Little, Brown and Company). Here's how to ensure post-promotion success.


Bite off as much as you can chew
As soon as you move into your new position, tackle more ambitious projects. 'Your bosses gave you a boost because they believe you will bring creativity and initiative to your new duties,' explains Susan Murphy, co-author of In the Company of Women (Penguin Putman Inc). 'Reassure them they made the right decision by immediately taking on bigger challenges.'
Wed, 21 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Downshift To Your Dream Career
Jeremy Clare, life coach and director of careers coaching service 'Whatever Next...?', explains how to find your dream job, regardless of salary.

'Focus on your personal values, whether that means more time, increased creativity or helping others,' says Clare. 'Making a list of the real reasons you're doing this will motivate you when times are tough.'


'Before you even think about quitting your current job, research the practicalities of your dream profession so you don't have unrealistic expectations,' advises Clare. 'What's the salary? Will it increase over time? Do you need specific qualifications? If you need to retrain, do you have savings to tide you over?'

Less money won't just affect your bond or rent repayments. 'There are lots of things to think about, such as job satisfaction, financial commitments and work/lifestyle issues. How will it affect your relationship? What about your holidays? Many people don't consider these things when changing careers.'

'You may need to downsize your living standards, so get a housemate,' suggests Clare. 'If you have a bond, renegotiate a better deal.' Downshifting your career means stepping out of personal and professional comfort zones – but it's worth it to follow your dream. ]]>
Wed, 24 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
New Kid On The Block
Before you start your job, says Lawrence Wordon, MD of Kelly Recruitment in Johannesburg, find out everything you can about your role in the company, and more specifically within the team you'll be joining. 'You will be better equipped to comment confidently on certain subjects and your thoroughness is likely to impress the right people.'

Fitting in takes time, so don't fret if you're not immediately bosom buddies with your new co-workers. 'Concentrate on building solid relationships with your team,' says Wordon. Little things like a firm handshake, remembering names and eye contact will help you build instant rapport with your new colleagues, he says.

Without going overboard, be eager to join the new team. 'Everyone loves a new starter who is excited about being on board,' says Anna Martyn, Executive Search Specialist and the founder of placement agency, Careers By Design. 'Always be willing to listen, learn, offer help where it is needed and take a sincere interest in the work and projects you are given.'

Wordon agrees and believes conveying your eagerness to be a part of the team will help breakdown any barriers and lay foundations for deeper connections, something he says is not only necessary, but vital to your success in your new job.

'Understanding everyone's responsibilities will give you a grasp on how the team operates as well as direct you to the correct person to speak to when asking for help,' says Wordon. Each member of the team will be different, so look out for the natural leader, the organiser, the helper, etc. and ensure you fit in where necessary,' he says. 'Take care, at least in the beginning, not to steal anyone else's role – especially not the leader's.'

Martyn says a common mistake is to immediately make suggestions as to how things can be improved – without fully understanding how the system works. Get to know these systems first, and then prove to your team that you're an asset and not sanctimonious.

Also, don't bring your past into your new position by comparing the new work environment to your previous one, Martyn continues. Don't suck up or become overly friendly with management just yet, and never ever bad mouth your ex boss or colleagues – you need to show your new team your positive side.

When you're the new kid on the block, make sure you don't clock-watch, warns Wordon.

Martyn agrees: 'Work ethic is huge when starting with a new team, so watch your time-keeping and maximise your performance levels.' During your first month, she says, the most important thing is to be positive and enthusiastic about learning and developing within your new team and company. Even if that means a little overtime at first.

'Volunteering for the tasks no one else wants to do will show that you are a willing and enthusiastic employee,' says Wordon. With a can-do attitude, you will show both your colleagues and your employer that you mean business, and this is the best way to integrate yourself into any team. ]]>
Wed, 10 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
So You Want To Be A Model
But while it’s true that modelling is a lot more fun than many a nine-to-five job, it’s still a job – and, like any job, it has its downs as well as ups. We spoke to some models and former models to find out what it’s really like.

Is it difficult to remain modest when you’re making money off your looks?

At first, l found modelling a lot of fun because everyone’s constantly giving you compliments. But being judged on your looks continuously in such a competitive environment soon starts to erode your self-esteem. You become very self-critical and feel you should be thinner and prettier.
But it’s fun as well, right?
Sure! Last year I did a commercial for a Dutch suit company that entailed me being hoisted nine storeys high with Batman and The Joker both trying to reach me. People looking out of their office windows were amazed!
What’s your advice to aspiring models?
Be true to yourself, because it’s easy to get lost in such a shallow world. And do something outside modelling that brings you pleasure – beading, yoga, dancing, it doesn’t matter what, as long as it keeps you from becoming completely immersed in the industry.


What’s been your best job?
I starred in a music video for an Indian singer, Himesh Reshammiya, and I’m going on a Bollywood tour of the United States with him.
Does it ever get uncomfortable when stylists are dressing you?
Definitely! You basically have to stand there while people pinch you, tug you, pull you and touch you in places where only your man should touch you. And then there are other people around who are constantly gawking and making comments.
Do you ever feel seriously insecure?
When l was working in Japan, I’d constantly be told that l was too fat – by my agency and by clients. Once they told me I needed to lose 4cm around my bum and thighs in two weeks. It was virtually impossible for me – I have an athletic build and am not a naturally skinny kid. But they kept pushing me, so I stopped eating. For two weeks solid, I lived on coffee. I lost the centimetres and they let me stay. But then I gained the weight back and the complaints began again. This time, I made myself throw up to lose weight – until I decided it wasn’t worth it, and came home.
Do you still watch your weight?
Yes, but I’m not ridiculous about it anymore. I just try to eat sensibly. In Paris, you hear of girls as young as 14 being fed cotton wool dipped in orange juice by their agents, because the cotton wool makes them feel full without adding any kilojoules.
What advice would you give to aspiring models?
Know yourself and what you will and will not do. Don’t be easily swayed. And never give up, because if it works out, it’s really worth the ride!

What do you like least about modelling?

When you tell people you’re a model, they immediately assume you’re stupid and have nothing to say for yourself.
And what do you like most?
If you enjoy being pampered, this is the job for you – you get to have your nails and makeup done all the time!
Is the money good?
Too often agencies exploit models. I had a great three-year contract with a top brand of hair products but pulled out when I discovered my agency wasn’t passing on my fee. That agency is now closing down because it can’t pay its tax debt. Agencies often aren’t upfront about how much money you’re going to get from a job. A friend of mine was told she was being sent to New York, all expenses paid. But when she returned home, her agency deducted money from her fee for accommodation and meals, so she made much less than she’d expected.
What’s your advice to young models?
A clever girl realises that her modelling career won’t last forever and will use her contacts to get into other areas. I’m concentrating less on modelling now, and starting to set up a hair-and-beauty business.

How often do you work?

It varies. You can work for four days in a row and then not get another job for a week.
How long is a working day for a model?
A shoot often takes a full day, starting at 4am and not ending until 8.30pm.
What jobs have you enjoyed most?
I’ve been on a lot of trips that were fun, particularly the Sports Illustrated shoots. You get to know everyone well, you’re away for a week or so and although you work hard you also get to lie in the sun and have massages. I also enjoyed the Wonderbra campaign. Again, I got to know the team well, and that makes for a good working environment.
What do people generally not know about this industry?
It can be physically exhausting. An arched back may make for a sexy pose in a magazine, but you feel like a contortionist getting into that position and holding it for hours. It’s also not great to pose in a freezing sea or kneel on shells while showing off a bikini. Once, in the Caribbean, both my knees were bleeding by the time we’d finished shooting.

How often do you work?

On average about three days a week.
How does it feel knowing models have a short shelf life?
It doesn’t bother me. I’m about to study law and criminology, so I’II have another career to look forward to.
What’s been the best advice you’ve been given?
My dad told me that getting rejected doesn’t mean I’m worth any less. There’s always a second chance.
What is the competition like among the girls?
It can get quite stiff, especially if you’re a black girl in Cape Town. You’re all fighting for that one job…

Why did you stop modelling?

In 1994 I decided to leave New York, where I was living, to travel around the world on a motorbike. But my career was already slowing down then.
How did it feel to be a world-famous model?
When people paid me respect because l was a model, I feel a little embarrassed – I didn’t think I deserved respect for being just a face.
Did modelling ever make you feel insecure?
Definitely! I never thought I was beautiful and I was meeting some really beautiful people, such as Christy Turlington.
If you’re not a great beauty, why did the world treat you like one?
I think because I came from South Africa, and there was that whole political thing.
Has the industry changed much since you were a model?
I think it’s become more businesslike. I’m told, for instance, that an agency will now send a representative along with its models when they travel to try to stop them being poached by scouts from other agencies.
What advice would you give someone starting a modelling career?
Make as much money as you can while you can, but have something else to fall back on.

How often do you work?
As a model, you’re basically a freelancer so you don’t have a fixed routine with set hours. You can have one month of working five days a week and then a month with no work at all.
What do you do when you’re not working?
As little as possible! l catch up on sleep, spend time with my family and friends, and do some charity work.
How do you feel about being judged solely on your looks?
It can go to your head. But then I remind myself it’s largely just good makeup and that the real me is what’s left when that’s all washed off!
What assumptions do people tend to make when they discover you’re a model?
That I’m a bitch. And also that I live a perfect life and that I am perfect and wake up looking perfect. Which is all so not true!

• Submit photographs of yourself to modelling agencies. They don’t have to be professionally done but they do have to be recent. Choose photos of you with and without makeup, wearing clothes that show off your figure. Send in a variety of full-length and head-and-shoulders shots that show different poses and facial expressions.
• Visit the websites of different agencies. They often provide information on how to submit photos, as well as details of open days.
• Remember that agencies are only really interested in women 1,75m or taller.
• If an agency is interested, it will set up an interview with you, says model booker Wendy Brown of Outlaws Model Agency in Cape Town. At the meeting, the agency team will measure your height and take digital photographs of you. After that, the agency will decide whether it wants to put you on its books. ]]>
Wed, 17 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
Tricky Work Conversations
‘About what I said after that second bottle…’

‘This is one of the most common situations to cause embarrassment with a boss,’ says Jenny Ungless, life coach at ‘The best approach is a simple, private, verbal apology for your behaviour (an e-mail won’t do!).’ Don’t dig yourself in deeper by trying to explain why you said what you said when you’d had a few drinks, though. Ungless advises you, ‘Apologise; say you didn’t mean it and that it won’t happen again. And leave it at that.’

‘I’m seeing someone I work with’

‘When you need to come clean about a work relationship, honesty is the best policy,’ says Ungless. ‘Your boss doesn’t need to know all the details but it’s polite to let them know what’s going on – especially if you both have the same manager. Some companies have strict policies about couples working together, particularly if one of them is in a position of authority over another. Check the rules.’

‘I’m leaving’
‘However tempting it is, don’t tell your workmates you’re leaving before you tell your boss, as you run the risk they’ll hear it from a third party,’ says Ungless. And even if you’re officially meant to resign to HR, she advises telling your boss in private first. ‘It’s best to explain it properly, and you’ll need a reference, so leave on good terms.’

‘I have a problem at work... it’s you’

‘If you don’t get on with your boss, be honest about it,’ says Ungless. ‘If they’re making your life a misery, ask for an informal chat. Be diplomatic and only mention relevant issues. Give examples of when your boss has upset you and say how you think the situation could have been handled.’ lf you’re worried he/she won’t listen or take you seriously, make notes, which (as a last resort) you could show HR. ]]>
Mon, 15 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
Pressure Points PRESSURE POINT #1: You haven’t heard back from a client, and your deadline is in an hour.
Before you start hyperventilating, take a breath and think clearly. While the clients ‘is always right’, your boss expects your work completed on time too. Be as pro-active as possible, advises Lawrence Wordon, managing director of Kelly recruitment agency in Johannesburg. If you’re waiting on a response to a question, think of all the realistically possible answers you could receive. Then try to plan ahead for each situation, so when you do receive the client’s response you can immediately take action. Keep your boss in the know and never submit any information without your client’s knowledge or approval, he warns.

If that doesn’t work, simply ‘call the client, explain the deadline, and ask for [immediate] feedback,’ says Anna Martyn, executive search specialist and founder of placement agency, Careers By Design.

PRESSURE POINT #2: It’s 3am and you have a presentation at 8am, but you’re still not finished.
The feeling of not having enough time is frustrating, stressful and sometimes immobilising. But don’t fret. Make yourself a cup of strong coffee, recommends Martyn. Open the windows for fresh air and calmly work through until your presentation is finished, she adds.

‘Don’t procrastinate at this hour,’ says Wordon. ‘Complete your presentation by providing a brief outline of your idea or concept, but make sure that you can present your idea in detail.’ While you might think you’re de-motivated at 3am, you’ll feel even worse when you wake up with drool all over your unfinished spreadsheets. ‘Never underestimate the value of thorough planning,’ advises Wordon. ‘It is the solid foundation of your success in your job.’

PRESSURE POINT #3: You’re already busy with an important project when your boss gives you another task. Both need to be completed by the end of the day.
Watching new work pile up on your already overcrowded desk is never comforting, but prioritising your workload is the best way to handle the paper pile. ‘Talk directly to your boss,’ advises Martyn. ‘Give him or her your project progress report with a designated time frame until completion.’

‘If you are not sure which task is more important at this stage, speak up!’ says Wordon. Ask your boss which task is more important. ‘You might even be able to delegate one of your tasks.’

PRESSURE POINT #4: You’re in a meeting and get blamed for something that wasn’t your fault.
One of your ‘less-efficient’ colleagues has decided to make you responsible for their mistake and you’re understandably angry. But, before you throw yourself across the table and show your co-worker what your stilettos are made of, relax. ‘Don’t be confrontational in the meeting or disrespect your boss,’ warns Martyn. ‘State clearly that you have facts proving that you were not at fault and will address it after the meeting in private.’

‘Explain in a calm manner that there must have been a misunderstanding and explain how you understood the situation,’ advises Wordon.

When you speak with your boss after the meeting, make sure all of your facts are in order and address him or her in a professional, non-personal manner, says Martyn. She recommends that when your boss apologises, ensure he or she does this publicly, with the same people who were in the meeting to ensure your name and reputation remain intact.

However, it’s best now to dwell on these matters, says Wordon. ‘Rather focus on what can be done to rectify the situation, or complete the task as soon as possible.’

PRESSURE POINT #5: Your colleague isn’t pulling his or her weight, but is getting all of the credit.

‘The suggested tactic would be to call a meeting with your boss and address your concerns directly with management,’ says Martyn. She advises you use facts and figures and remain completely professional and non-emotional. Ask their advice on how to handle the situation should it re-occur and indicate that credit should be issued fairly in the future, she adds. Alternatively, she suggests meeting with your colleague directly and addressing your concerns with him or her.

‘These matters should be dealt with in a sensitive manner and it is best to discuss these kinds of issues during an appraisal,’ says Wordon. If you have one coming up soon, be prepared and show positive results to your boss, he says. ‘Indicate how your performance has improved productivity or saved the company money; nothing tells your boss how valuable you are than an increase in efficiency and effectiveness.’ ]]>
Wed, 27 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
Post-Holiday Blues Take it easy.
Spend 15 minutes chatting with co-workers in the morning. 'You'll feel relaxed and back in the loop,' says John D. Drake, PhD, author of Downshifting (Berrett-Koehler Publishers).

Start with something you love.
Kick off your comeback by tackling an assignment you enjoy. 'The feeling of accomplishment will lighten your down mood,' explains Drake.

Stretch out your mellow mind-set.
'Focus on how refreshed the days off have left you,' recommends Drake. Hang up pictures from the cruise you went on or a family holiday photo.

Plot your next escape.
Make future plans, like an autumn trip or a date with your guy,' says Drake. ]]>
Tue, 12 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
Old-School Career Lessons Overcoming Underearning (HarperCollins), gives four examples:

– not SMSes or e-mails, but proper handwritten notes. Send them to clients as a follow-up to thank them for a great meeting or to a prospective employer who interviewed you. This sets you apart from other candidates and gives professional relationships a personal touch.

STORE PRAISE MAILS from your boss or manager that document feedback on a ‘job well done’. Then, come appraisal time, you’ll have proof of how well you’ve been doing.

HAVE INTEGRITY by being respectful to everyone, from the bottom of the ladder right up to the top, as you never know who your next boss will be. And while you’re at it, leave gossip, plagiarism and tendencies to snitch on others in the playground.

MAKE AN EFFORT – not just in the quality of your work but in the way you look. First impressions are, after all, based on your appearance. So, from your initial interview to the day you leave the company, dress to impress – looking sloppy sends the message that you’re lazy or just can’t get it together. ]]>
Mon, 28 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Detox Your Desk Space
'Air conditioning can cause throat irritation and headaches, but you can counteract the negative effects,' explains Jones.
Detox it: 'Use a fan or open a window,' he says. 'Drink lots of water to offset its dehydrating effects and put a bowl of it on your desk to keep the air around you fresh.'

Women's desks can harbour up to four times more germs than their male colleagues'. Ladies, it's time to get cleaning!
Detox it: The people behind Computer Cleaning Week recommend using an air duster to blast crumbs and dirt from between your keyboard keys. 'Then clean them with an antibacterial wipe,' suggests Stewart Anderson of Durable UK. 'Avoid eating at your desk and clean your phone once a day, as it's also a bacteria hot spot.'

If you spend hours sitting down, it could spell trouble for your back and shoulders.
Detox it: 'Sitting incorrectly and cradling the phone between your shoulder and neck puts twice as much pressure on your back as standing,' says Tim Hutchful of the British Chiropractic Association. 'Make sure your ears are in line with your shoulders, which should be directly above your hips, and align your knees so they sit below your pelvis to keep your back's natural shape.' ]]>
Mon, 30 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
Get It Covered
Covering letters are simply a letter of introduction to a potential employer. And because it's your first impression, it's vital that you maximise the impact by making the letter as dynamic as possible.

Before you even begin to sell yourself, get the correct spelling, title and address of the person you are sending your CV (and covering letter) to. Your letter must state what job you are applying for and draw attention to specific points in your CV that could influence the decision to employ you. A covering letter must never be more than one page.

It is essential that your first paragraph sparks the employer's interest. Begin by letting him or her know how your appointment to the position could benefit their company. Give your unique selling points – points that will make you stand out from other applicants. Don't forget to specify which position you are applying for.

The second paragraph should contain a very brief summary of your CV, in other words, your professional experience and/or academic qualifications. Only provide information that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Be sure to emphasise your accomplishments and achievements rather than job description and responsibilities.

Research the company, in other words, the company's values or culture, and relate it back to your own personality and values. Detail why you should be considered for the position, expand on your abilities while simultaneously showing your extensive knowledge of the company.

The conclusion is a call for action. Request an interview and express your confidence that you are fit for the job.

'I have excellent written and verbal communication skills.' Keep your letter simple and to the point. Don't use unnecessary words.
'I am a team player.' Never use clichés.
'Although I don't have experience in this field, I am a quick learner.' Don't emphasise your weaknesses.
'I am currently earning R5 000 a month and am looking to earn at least R10 000.' Don't talk about salary.
'I have been out of a job for more than 6 months…' Don't sound desperate.
'My husband and I recently got divorced and that is why I am currently looking for a job.' Don't disclose personal information that is irrelevant. ]]>
Thu, 26 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
While LinkedIn is probably the most well-known of its kind, the range of possibilities when it comes to professional networking are endless. And if you can't find a network to suit your needs, you can create one on (Ning allows its users to create their own network, for example, for bankers, AnalyticBridge for analysts and FilmCommunity for the movie industry.)

However, if you're looking for something a little more specific, here are some of the top professional networks you could look into.

Behance Network
Benefits: Connecting creative professionals from around the world, Behance allows you to upload your portfolio and showcase your work to potential employers and head-hunters.
Who should join: Photographers, writers, architects, choreographers, makeup and hair stylists, designers, artists, as well as those involved in advertising, should definitely check out Behance as a potential portfolio and networking outlet.

Finance 3.0
Benefits: A finance community for those in all sectors of the business sphere, where you can meet others in your field, discuss ideas and issues, and learn from other professionals.
Who should join: Go for it if you're in the finance industry€ whether you're an accountant, investment banker or risk analyst.

Benefits: This network connects global creatives who want to find and share resources to assist with innovative ideas. So, if you've created the latest hairclip or think you've discovered the answer to modern art, get sharing.
Who should join: Anyone with a new idea.

Benefits: Professionals connect through making important business decisions, discussions and research.
Who should join: If your industry focuses on customer service, marketing, human resources, sales, finance, information technology, or if you own a small business, Focus might be able to connect you with some valuable contacts.

Benefits: XING connects more than 8 million users worldwide, with a primary focus on keeping you connected with people who can assist you professionally.
Who should join: Bearing in mind XING has over 30 000 expert groups, there's a category for everyone.

Benefits: This is the site for promoting and marketing yourself, as it is wholly dedicated to personal online branding.
Who should join: Because Ziggs doesn't focus on one particular field, anyone can join. Whether you're a pilot, life coach, interior designer or personal shopper, you'll be able to connect with others in your field on this site. ]]>
Wed, 11 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
Speak Up For Success
'Not only does using words such as like and you know make you seem unpolished and inexperienced, but it makes people disregard your ideas because you sound as if you don't have confidence in what you're saying,' says Kristen Gustafson, author of Graduate! Everything You Need To Succeed After College (Capital Books).
THE FIX: Pause for a few seconds before the start of each sentence to compose your thoughts. Knowing in advance what you'll say eliminates the need to stop and think mid-sentence, which is usually when people fall prey to using fillers.

Do you end every sentence with a question mark? If your voice rises slightly as though you're constantly asking a question, you could come across as unsure or unconfident.
THE FIX: Focus on making your intonation go downwards at the ends of statements. One way to do this is to visualise the full stop at the end of the sentence, which helps you lose the doubtful tone and end more emphatically.

According to Ellen Kaye, author of Maximize Your Presentation Skills (Prima Lifestyles), women are more likely than men to begin statement with, 'This is probably stupid but…' or, 'I don't know if this is right, but…' Think about it: How is anyone going to get behind your ideas if you don't take them seriously?
THE FIX: This mistake is usually rooted in insecurity, says Kay Henry, former director of the MBA for Executives programme at Rice University in Texas in the US. Boost your confidence by mentally filing away every compliment you receive and referring to it often, she suggests. Start your suggestions with assured phrases. For example, before you offer an idea, begin with saying something like, 'I have a plan that might solve the problem.'
Tue, 03 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
Celeb-spiration: Halle Berry
After winning the Best Actress Oscar in 2002, Halle won a Worst Actress Razzie in 2005 for her not-so¬-stellar performance in Catwoman. She accepted the award in person. By thanking the producers for putting her in that 'God¬ awful movie', she proved her sense of humour was still intact.
In the real world: If you've said or done something mortifying, such as sending an e-mail about the new hottie at work to everyone in the office (including the new hottie), do your best to maintain perspective. Will you lose your job over it? Unlikely. Give yourself 24 hours to wallow in self-pity, then move on.

Celeb-spiration: Sienna Miller
She was more famous for being with Jude Law than for her acting, so she took a West End role to prove herself.
In the real world: Get your boss to see you from a professional perspective by deciding where you want to be in five years' time. Having a goal will make you refocus – and working hard will make people forget any personal incidents.

Celeb-spiration: Madonna
When her movie career flopped, she went back to what she was good at: music.
In the real world: Tried something new that didn't work out? Put it down to experience. Write down positive comments from past appraisals or client e-mails and ask your colleagues how they see you. From that, decide what your strengths are and play to them in future.

Celeb-spiration: Girls Aloud
Critics put them in the reality¬-TV dustbin but in the UK they're considered to be the biggest girl band since the Spice Girls, with three number ones and 10 consecutive top-10 singles.
In the real world: Rehearse! Get to work early and plan your day. What tricky situations could arise and how should you deal with them? Be prepared and you'll have the confidence to deal with anyone who tries to put you down.

Celeb-spiration: Kate Moss
Following her 'Cocaine Kate' expose in 2005, the model was dropped from major modelling contracts (including Burberry). While she may not have admitted to taking drugs, she did take responsibility for her actions by making a public apology. She was scooped right back up by Burberry and, with her first clothing line on sale in Topshop, she's back at the top of her game.
In the real world: Own up to your mistake. Rein in your emotions and be professional, and do whatever is needed to move forwards. Put in extra hours at the office and focus your efforts on the next project. Your hard work will not go unnoticed.


Celeb-spiration: Gwen Stefani
She made the scary switch from No Doubt front woman to solo sensation look simple.
In the real world: Moving out of your comfort zone is nerve-wracking. But here's a secret: going solo doesn't necessarily mean going it alone. Do you think Gwen didn't have help? Follow her lead and speak to colleagues whose opinions are invaluable. It's not cheating – it's research! ]]>
Mon, 21 Sep 2009 12:00 +0200
It's Not Personal
The arrival of the pink slip is never comforting. In fact, it's downright depressing. But don't let redundancy drag you down to a level you can't pull yourself back up from. Redundancy doesn't mean it's the end of your career, even if we are in the middle of a recession. According to Anna Martyn, executive search specialist and founder of placement agency Careers By Design, you need to realise that right now no company can guarantee your job security. 'A retrenchment is an opportunity to look at your career path and ensure you are on the right track,' says Martyn. It's important to try and stay positive and be proactive. You've got nothing to lose.

The first influx of emotions you can expect after being made redundant won't be pretty. According to Gayleen Baxter, chief operating officer and spokesperson for Kelly, 'Losing an income can be particularly stressful and daunting. You might experience anger, anxiousness, fear and even depression. The reality is that losing your job can be traumatic, taking its toll on your emotional wellbeing, affecting your self-esteem and even your relationships.'

Martyn suggests focusing on rebuilding your self-confidence and forming a strong support group of positive people.

According to life and relationship soach, Shelley Lewin, 'Losing your job could open the door to a job you really love and it can be the catalyst for chasing after a long sought dream.' Losing your job may leave you with a terrible feeling, but turning it into something positive can help you re-enter the job market feeling optimistic and, more importantly, confident. 'You may find yourself generating new ideas which awaken your entrepreneurialism,' continues Lewin. She says being free from the perceived 'security' of your previous job may even help you build up the courage to start your own company. 'A retrenchment package could become the capital for a new business.'

After the shock has set in, get up and bounce back. Our experts identified three key areas you should focus on when re-entering the job market.

1. Brand yourself
Employers want to know what's in it for them if they hire you, says Baxter. 'You need to embark on a self-branding campaign that focuses on showing prospective employers what you can and will accomplish for them.'

2. Skills to spare?
'Try to learn as many transferable skills as you can – multi-skilling is the key to securing employment opportunities in a recession,' says Martyn. Baxter suggests pursuing flexible job opportunities, such as freelancing. 'Besides offering flexibility, [it can] help you expand your skills, expose you to a variety of industries and allow you to impress a potential long-term employer. If you prove yourself indispensable on a flexible assignment, it could turn into a full-time position.'

3. Network, network, network
Yes, it's true, it's not about what you know, it's about who you know. 'Making your job search known to your network of friends, family and acquaintances is the most underused advice,' says Baxter. 'Many feel uncomfortable asking for help, not appreciating the value of word-of-mouth. Being referred often holds more weight than if you applied for a job by yourself.' Martyn agrees: 'If someone is willing to vouch for your suitability for a position, you're already half way there.'
Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:00 +0200
Beat Your Office Blunders
'Help, I burst into tears in the office'
The solution: Work got too much and you ended up sniffling by the printer? Don't panic. Regain control by taking five minutes (whether it's outside or in the bathroom) to calm down, wash your face and remind yourself that you're only upset because you care about your job. When you go back, focus on business facts, not feelings. And remember: no problem is insoluble.

'OK, I did plagiarise a little bit'
The solution: If you've 'borrowed' a competitor's idea a little (or a lot), own up... then remind your boss how important it is for you to keep an eye on what the competition's doing. It shows that you're aware of the marketplace. Explain you simply intended to 'grow and adapt the idea' to suit your company.

'Yes, that is my CV on the printer'
The solution: You should update your CV every time you gain a new skill (it helps in appraisals), so if you don't want your boss to think that you're applying for other positions, this is the perfect explanation for why you're printing out your CV. If you are unhappy at work, why not use being caught out as an opportunity to explain that you need more challenges? Just be sure to do it in a positive way.

'I moaned about work in the toilets and then my boss came out of a cubicle'
The solution: Say, 'Obviously I didn't intend for you to hear that, but I'm glad you did. It means we can talk about it.' If they fly off the handle, politely point out this was exactly why you were reluctant to approach them. Don't be aggressive; instead stress you want to have a good working relationship. And, next time, check under the bathroom doors before you bitch!
Fri, 10 Jul 2009 12:00 +0200
Take Charge... Ugly Betty, but Wilhelmina Slater knows how to climb the career ladder.

Famed for comments like 'poor people are so cheap', she's manipulatively sly and has an attitude awful enough to make you cringe. But she's also got some things right, especially in her career at Meade Publications. Wilhelmina is driven and determined and she may be able to help you climb your career ladder all the way to the top.

WILHELMINA TRAIT #1: Never let anyone take credit for your work.
'It is inevitable that some of your ideas will be credited to your boss,' says Anna Martyn, executive search specialist and founder of Careers By Design. Making the boss look good is one thing, but your colleagues? If someone takes credit for your work, inform your superior. But don't turn it into a petty tattle-tale, think like Wilhelmina: You're climbing the career ladder just like your colleagues and you certainly don't want them reaching the top before you do.

WILHELMINA TRAIT #2: Know who is important in the company and how to get on their good side.
Martyn believes, 'Building, nurturing and utilising your network is the key to career success, and there is a strategic way to meet and network with people of influence.' Getting on a VIPs good side requires a give-and-take relationship, something Wilhelmina is well aware of. By taking an interest in someone and helping them when and where you can (even if it's on a personal level), will leave them with a good impression of you and keep you on their radar.

WILHELMINA TRAIT #3: Be determined and focused and have a career plan.
'Failing to plan means you are planning to fail,' says Gayleen Baxter, chief operating officer and spokesperson for Kelly. Wilhelmina plans everything down to the tiniest detail. It's crucial to outline what steps you will have to take to further your career goals on a yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily basis. If you don't plan you won't know when you're ready for new and bigger challenges, says Baxter.

WILHELMINA TRAIT #4: Know how to sell yourself and your company.
If there's one thing Wilhelmina does well, it's selling her status as a dependable and professional employee of Meade Publications. According to Baxter, 'Performing well consistently and meeting deadlines builds credibility with your superiors and clients.' She suggests taking on additional responsibilities, working longer hours and tackling tasks others don't want as possible career jump-starters. 'You will soon be known as a dependable employee who not only gets the job done, but does it confidently and with a positive attitude,' says Baxter.

WILHELMINA TRAIT #5: Behave like you dress... impeccably.
Head to toe in Valentino, Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana, Wilhelmina is always flawlessly dressed. You, however, don't need to go that far. As long as you're not meandering about in scuffed jeans and low-cut tops, there shouldn't be a problem. Dressing appropriately is key and according to Baxter, selling yourself includes dressing the part – if you want to be a manager, you have to dress like it. 'Behave how a manager should behave and dress appropriately to show you know what a manager should look like,' says Baxter.

* The official Ugly Betty website. ]]>
Thu, 18 Jun 2009 12:00 +0200
Too Sexy For Work? Casual Fridays are one thing, but wearing clothes to your 9-to-5 that are better suited for Saturday night clubbing is another. Find out what’s behind the flesh-baring trend and whether you could be an offender.

A funny thing has been happening on the way to the office recently: A lot of young women have been shedding their clothes... or sexing up the clothes they do wear.

This dressing-down-and-daringly craze is certainly raising eyebrows. But maybe these ladies are taking their cues from working women on TV these days (think of the hot young investigators on CSI: Miami or the shapely hospital administrator on House, whose skirts provocatively hug her hips). A few years ago the US edition of FHM magazine even published a lingerie spread featuring women executives from the reality show The Apprentice.

Some career experts think this trend of dressing sexy for work has as much to do with showing independence and non-conformance as with choosing purposely provocative clothing.

‘It’s more of a generational issue, sort of an entitlement that says “I march to my own beat. I’m proud to be my own person”,’ says Tory Johnson, CEO and founder of Women for Hire, a recruitment services company. ‘They want to dress for who they are, not necessarily for their work environment.’

Twenty-somethings may feel this way at this moment in history because ‘they are being told by the media that they are in the power seat,’ says Caitlin Friedman, co-author of The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss (A&C Black Publishers). ‘The celebrities who get lots of press coverage are in their 20s,’ she explains. ‘Huge Internet companies like YouTube are being created by young people.’

Then there is simply the clueless factor: With casual Fridays spreading to every day of the week, it’s hard to know what to wear anymore. ‘There’s a new frontier of what is casual,’ says Sarah Sardella, benefits manager at, another recruitment agency. ‘It used to be that you were expected to wear nylons, a skirt of a certain length... but there are no clear-cut guidelines anymore. Blend that with the current flesh-baring fashions and you have young women wearing flip-flops, miniskirts and tank tops to work.’

There is indeed a hefty downside to dressing so alluringly at work, and it was starkly confirmed in a study published in Psychology Of Women Quarterly in 2005. Participants were shown videotapes of a businesswoman dressed neutrally (slacks, turtleneck, jacket, flats, minimal makeup) and more provocatively (more makeup, tousled hair, tight knee-length skirt, low-cut shirt with cardigan, high heels). When the sexy dresser was described as a senior executive, she was evaluated as being less intelligent and capable than the neutrally dressed executive. But when the woman was described as a receptionist, the ratings were the same across the board.

And yes, there is a double standard here, ‘Men don’t have a lot of choices in how they dress for work,’ points out Peter Glick, PhD, professor of psychology at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the lead author on the study. ‘But because women do make deliberate choices, people make a lot of inferences from how they present themselves.’ And unfortunately, he adds, women are still often categorised into one of three slots: homemaker, career woman or sexy woman. If you seem to veer toward one category, it can damage your standing in another.

‘The problem,’ says Glick, ‘is that in media and on television, we’re seeing the sexualisation of professional women, but in the true-life workplace, it can be a real trap.’

What you have to keep in mind, says Sardella, is that in the work arena, ‘you’re creating a brand for yourself – the product is you – and your appearance plays into that.’ Her first rule: Neatness. Her second: Match your environment. ‘Pay attention to what others are wearing,’ she advises, ‘particularly those in positions of authority or respect.’ The one situation in which you should always err on the conservative side, Sardella adds, is your initial job interview – no matter how hip you think the company is.

Certain fields do offer more latitude. ‘In trend-focused businesses like advertising, graphic design, web design and public relations,’ says Friedman, ‘a more sexy or casual style can often be appropriate and a conservative suit might even be out of place... but there are limits.’

Friedman concludes, ‘You don’t need to have zero sex appeal or style.’ But if you want to ensure that the perception of you at work stays professional, you might want to save that slit-up-to-there skirt for your next killer date.

Thu, 12 Mar 2009 12:00 +0200
Career Mistakes in Your 20s
Here are 20 of the biggest bloopers you can make when you're starting out in your career.


This is almost as bad as listening too little, says Haydee Antezana, head of Professional Impressions, a consultancy in Johannesburg. 'A new PA once said to me, before leading me into her boss's office, "Excuse him, he's not feeling great today – he's just been served with his divorce papers." This is way too much info.' Also remember that, while your friends may admire your wit, clients and colleagues may find you less than charming if they don't share your thinking or humour.

'Too many 20-somethings don't yet know the golden rule of not listening to or passing on gossip,' says Cindy Norcott, business-award-winning owner of Pro Appointments and Studentemps employment agencies in Durban. 'I've seen chances of success in a company cut short immediately because of it.'

Young people tend to job-hop for even a little more money, says Norcott. When you're starting out, work experience should be more important than money. 'Besides,' she says, 'jumping too often doesn't make you attractive to potential employers.'

Conversely, specialist researcher Claire Gatonby of Research House, in Durban, says one of the biggest mistakes is to stay in a dead-end job because you're afraid that leaving early will look bad on your CV. 'It's better to admit incompatibility and move rather than hang around when there's no future,' she says.

'Never burn bridges. The world's too small,' says Gatonby. 'Plus, you're almost guaranteed that your new employer will know your old employer.' Since starting her own company, Gatonby has been getting business from former employers and associates.

'The market pays for particular skills and experience, and until you have the minimum levels of both, you won't be paid a fat salary,' says Norcott. She recently heard of a young trainee manager who, after two months, told his manager he was ready for a more senior position. 'The manager was horrified,' she says. 'He felt the trainee hadn't even found his feet yet.'

If you tend to think you know it all, says image and fashion stylist Lynne McMaster of Dress By Lynne in Durban, 'people won't be receptive to you or supportive of you, or bother to give you feedback'. Every job has its menial and repetitive aspects, says Norcott. 'If you're asked to make coffee for the boss or unpack stock when you're starting out, don't take offence.' Your willingness will be noted and will affect your promotion beyond more basic duties.

On the other hand, you need to say no to requests that are genuinely unreasonable. 'It's not what you say, it's how you say it,' says McMaster. Always explain your reasons – calmly and politely, but firmly.

'One of the worst mistakes is being too friendly with the boss, then being faced with a change in management,' says Gatonby, 'or being too friendly with colleagues, then getting promoted.' When you're younger, you often want everyone to like you. 'That's not possible,' says Antezana, 'and worrying what others think wastes your energy.'

Accept that your boss has more knowledge and experience than you and draw from it, says McMaster. 'Remember, she once started her career just like you. My first boss used to tell me, 'Every boss has faults – use the good and leave the bad behind".'

Those in their 20s tend to be impatient for success, says McMaster. 'Rather be over-ready for a promotion, so when you get it you're able to do the job comfortably. Climb too fast and you can fall quickly, with no support from below.'

'Travel before taking your first position,' advises Gatonby. She worked for four years and had an established career path, which was put on hold when she went to London for two years. 'When I got back I was two years behind in the South African job market, and the experience I'd gained abroad didn't compensate for the time I'd lost.'


Norcott had a young graduate who, after a gruelling six-week training period, informed her boss she was going overseas in three days' time. 'This had obviously been organised for quite a while,' says Norcott. Behaviour like this, she warns, has a way of coming back to bite you.

'I've hired many 20-somethings who seem to have an amazing ability to party all night and still pull off a full day's work,' says Norcott. 'But at some point, with this lifestyle, they make mistakes or become ratty, and this can affect the whole team.'

Some employees spend hours on personal calls and emails, only to complain that they're working too hard. 'I don't think it's limited to younger people,' says Norcott, 'but they tend to be indiscreet about it, and about what they say. I've heard of a few who've lost their jobs for slating their boss in an email to friends.'

Networking is vital for getting ahead, says Antezana. And it's not hard. At functions, don't crouch in a corner SMSing your buddies. Find the function organiser and ask him or her to introduce you to guests. 'And don't spend more than 10 minutes per person,' says Antezana. 'You need to make contacts, not contracts.'

Most 20-somethlngs have short-term goals, such as getting a job, a promotion or a company car, says industrial psychologist and corporate-change specialist Robyn Sandy, MD of Interchange International SA. 'That's fine, provided these goals are part of a bigger plan – on their own they mean little and can set you back. Long-term goals bring ongoing success.' Create a vision of where you want to be and measure your progress towards it annually.


When you're young it's tempting to skimp on 'homework', says Antezana. 'But it's vital to be able to ask relevant questions and give great feedback at meetings and presentations.' If you don't know the answer to a question, don't wing it. 'Ask for time to formulate a confident answer, for example by saying, "May I get back to you on that point?'''

You can be easily shaken when you're starting out on your career path. 'You need not only to accept constructive criticism but also to invite it – it's how you learn,' says Antezana. Even if it's not constructive, keep cool. 'Ask for justification, such as, "Can you give me an example of when I acted that way?'''

Defensiveness signals immaturity and insecurity – and so does grovelling. Don't make excuses or blame others. 'You're a team player, and no-one likes a telltale,' Antezana says. Take responsibility and apologise sincerely, but don't go on and on. 'Try to provide a solution to rectify the situation. And learn from it, of course.'

Mon, 23 Feb 2009 12:00 +0200
I'm About To Be What?!
1. You usually have a chatty relationship with the boss, however when you now pass him or her in the corridor, they can't make eye contact with you. And this happens on more than one occasion.
SOLUTION: Viv Gordon, owner of Viv Gordon Placements, a specialist recruitment agency, says you should think carefully about any situation where you might not have performed your job to a satisfactory level. Make an appointment with your boss and ask if there is any room for improvement as you would like to ensure that you are performing your tasks well. Claire Bourquin of Claire Bourquin Recruitment Consultants advises you to set up regular meetings at work with your colleagues and managers to encourage positive dialogue and idea generation.

2. There is less work to be done. Interruptions in the supply chain mean that budgets might be cut and projects halted, and can lead lapses in your usual workload.
SOLUTION: 'Use the Internet to research competitors and trends in your industry if your office is not as busy as it was,' says Bourquin. 'Free time is not to work on Facebook.' Use this extra time to generate ideas on how to survive a possible career hiatus.

3. Loyal suppliers you have used on a regular basis will no longer supply you with a product or a service because your company has not paid its bills.
SOLUTION: Speak to your line manager and advise him or her of the situation. Gordon says you need to make sure your boss knows the 'lack of delivery' is not due to you not being efficient or doing your job, but because accounts are not being paid.

4. HR sends out a memo informing everyone they'll only be paid part of their salary, but promises the full balance will be paid soon.
SOLUTION: Get your CV ready and start looking for alternative employment, says Gordon. Advise your creditors that your debit orders won't be met on their due date and that you will pay them as soon as you receive your full salary. Bourquin suggests you talk to your manager and find out what you can about how the business is really doing. This way you are not in the dark with regards to your company and your own career. You also become part of the process of finding solutions, not just waiting for the axe to drop.

5. Your line manager is dressed in 'interview' clothes on more than one occasion and goes out to meetings not in his or her diary.
SOLUTION: This might not necessarily be a bad thing – there might be a promotion opportunity for you to fill the gap created if your manager leaves the company. Gordon says you should use this to your advantage by ensuring that you are on top of your game and know what is going on in your department and the business as a whole.

Stick to routine. 'If you are in a sales role keep your calls regular. They may not at this time yield a sale but the customer relationship management won't go unnoticed when the market turns,' says Bourquin.

Work and play under the same roof. Even if your budget is modest, you can network and socialize at home. This is a positive way to share ideas in trying times. You could turn your book club into a savings club, with money managers as guest speakers. 'This is the time to be innovative. The new-look book club forges new ideas and new team dynamics.'

In the international economic climate of uncertainty, you need to do be smart. Gordon points out that 'quite a few of the larger international advertising agencies have had "directives" from abroad that no new staff can be recruited and if anyone leaves, they will not be replaced'.

Both Bourquin and Gordon encourage a positive attitude and a sense of preparedness to the challenges we all face in the job market.

'This is the year of the professional. If you stick to the routine and use the new ideas you glean from your networks, reading and questioning top performers, you will be prepared for any eventuality – ignorance is not bliss at this time,' Bourquin continues. 'We don't believe that you should wallow in the bad times. South African's are resilient and the times will change.'
Mon, 16 Feb 2009 12:00 +0200
Stay Monday-Morning Sane 1. CLUTTER DOWN
Use quiet Friday afternoons to tidy up your desk and delete old emails. 'Since your working space will be organised, coming in on Monday morning won't feel as overwhelming,' says Leland.

Don't overload yourself with a long to-do-on-Monday list. 'You'll just lose focus,' she says. Get the top-priority activities out of the way first and take it from there.

Choose to work on assignments you enjoy first. 'This will up your motivation levels to get on with drab work later,' Leland says.


Make evening plans – go for drinks with colleagues or have dinner with your man. 'Things look so much better when you've got something to look forward to at the end of the day,' the author says.

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 12:00 +0200
Kickstart Your Creativity LOOK AT THINGS ANOTHER WAY
Rob Bevan and Tim Wright, co-authors of Unleash Your Creativity: Secrets Of Creative Genius (Infinite Ideas Limited), suggest that changing your point of view rearranges your physical relationship with everything around you. So the next time you want to get a better handle on a situation, they propose inspecting it from another angle. You could literally stand on a chair, or imagine yourself looking at the scenario from far away to again some mental and emotional distance and think more clearly about the possibilities open to you.

'Often our ideas are generic and unoriginal but they're none the worse for that they can still be very useful building blocks to play with,' say Bevan and Wright.

It's a great help for brainstorming ideas. They say, 'Feed Google any term you like and it will bring you a host of sites to look at in milliseconds – chances are you'll find something unexpected that sparks your imagination.'

Mon, 08 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Promotion, DIY-Style YOU WANT: More responsibility.
GET IT BY: Speaking your manager’s language.
Tread carefully here: some bosses respond positively to go-getters, while others may feel threatened. Hine says, ‘Show you can be trusted by getting your work done first and then volunteering on other projects.’ By listening to and mirroring your boss’s language and negotiation skills, you’ll be getting him on your side on a subconscious level.

YOU WANT: More respect.
GET IT BY: Showing a corner office attitude.
A-grade managers use intuitive flair in dealing with anyone. Show your star potential by making an effort to get along with colleagues you’d usually avoid. Ask about their interests and what assignments they are working on. ‘Not only does it give you insight into other areas of the company, it will also make people warm to you,’ says Hine.

YOU WANT: More money.
GET IT BY: Looking for it somewhere else.
If your efforts to get a pay rise have been unsuccessful, think laterally. ‘Find out if your company freelances out any tasks that you could take on in your own time to earn extra cash,’ advises Hine. You may end up with more cash and diversified experience.

YOU WANT: Recognition in the industry.
GET IT BY: Faking it until you make it.
If you want everyone to think you’re a success, start acting like it! ‘Watch someone that you admire in your field and decide what sets them apart. Then mirror it,’ says Hine. Treat clients as your manager would and they’ll not only think you’re a force to be reckoned with, they might just want to hire you themselves.

From John Hine, author of The Smart Way To Get What You Want (Living Skills Today)
Sun, 20 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
Nail It!

Use that nervous pre-interview energy to make 100% sure you know your stuff. ‘Remember, unless you’ve been head-hunted, you’re probably not the only candidate that’s being interviewed,’ says Jo-Ann Sudbury, CEO of sound, lighting and AV hire company Upstage Productions. ‘Always prepare well and you’ll leave a lasting impression.’

It’s vital to learn as much about the company as possible, says Chantal Lascaris, MD of corporate-clothing design studio The Style Factory and COSMO’s 2005 Mover of the Year. ‘Find out exactly what the company does, where they are placed in the marketplace and who their competitors are,’ she says. That way, you’re showing interest and initiative.

Take time to prepare your own responses to the standard interviewing questions. Kate Moodley, general manager of insurance subsidiary Momentum, suggests you practise your answers with a friend or a family member. ‘They will be able to give you honest feedback on parts you can improve and help you refine your answers,’ she says.

Prepare your CV – proofread for errors – and make copies of relevant certificates, reference letters and qualifications. ‘A future employer may need these documents to verify the validity of the details on your CV,’ says Karen Doyle, CEO of recruitment company Ambit Recruitment.


Arrive about 10 minutes early on the day. Being late will only serve to make you flustered and your interviewer frustrated – not the first impression you’re after.

‘No matter how good your CV is, if you don’t look and sound credible, people won’t buy into what you’re saying,’ says Vanessa Bluen, MD of corporate-training company The Consultant Powerhouse. ‘You are the message. Look professional, clean and tidy, and avoid excesses such as big earrings, bright lipstick, tall heels and big hair.’

While you’re waiting, make sure to be warm, polite and friendly to the receptionist – many execs ask their receptionists what their first impression of a candidate was. Then, when the time comes to go into the interview, Bluen advises you to offer your interviewer a firm handshake and introduce yourself with your name and surname.


During the interview, Doyle suggests allowing the interviewer to take the lead and set the tone. ‘Make eye contact and answer her questions concisely in a clear, confident voice,’ she says. ‘Be prepared to answer questions about your education, training, skills and work experience, as well as the personality traits that make you exactly what they are looking for.’ And if you’re asked a broad-ranging question, such as ‘What are your weaknesses?’, remembering the ‘challenge, action, result’ concept, will help you to break it down. ‘Describe the challenges you’ve experienced, the actions you took and the results you achieved,’ says Bluen.

Terri Brown, strategic director at internal-marketing consultancy Actuate, urges you to ‘ask questions about the industry, the business and the specific role you’ll be playing, what you’ll be doing day to day and what you’ll be accountable for.’

When it’s your turn to ask questions, Rebecca Eliot, CEO of customer-and-relationship-management company LifeWorld Relationship Management suggests keeping them position-specific and avoiding discussing money or perks until prompted. Ask things such as why the position is available, how many people have held the post in the past five years, what the challenges of the position are and how (and when) your performance will be judged.

When you’re satisfied that all your questions have been answered and the interview is over, thank the interviewer for his or her time and the opportunity, and ask how long it will take for a decision to be made.


After the interview, Zanele Batyashe, general manager of Luendo Holdings and co-winner of The Apprentice SA, suggests e-mailing the interviewer, thanking him or her for his or her time and confirming the decision date you discussed in the interview.

And don’t waste time hovering by the phone. Annie Malan, MD of national consumer-promotions company Annie Malan Promotions, advises you to book more interviews. ‘Sitting around wastes time,’ she says. ‘Rather mobilise excess energy into opportunity. If you are successful at more than one company, you have the luxury of choosing the job that’s right for you.’

But if after two weeks you still haven’t heard anything, Ipeleng Mkhari, CEO of Motseng Investment Holdings and COSMO’s 2006 Mover of the Year, suggests following up via e-mail or phone. ‘If you’ve been unsuccessful, ask their advice on what you need to do to improve,’ says Mkhari. Then, says Brown, ‘Pour yourself a glass of wine and hit the classifieds. Often, being unsuccessful has very little to do with you not being good enough – sometimes it just comes down to the fit.’


A second interview can be tricky because many candidates aren’t sure what its purpose is. Eliot says that, if you’ve reached the short list, you’ve made an impression – you then need to prepare to answer more in-depth questions about yourself, your goals and your place within the company. For Batyashe, this is the true test of a candidate – a way to get to know him or her better.

‘People are always more relaxed in the second interview,’ says Malan. ‘Just be careful not to let your guard down – the offer isn’t on the table yet.’

If you haven’t had the opportunity to talk salary and perks, says Doyle, now’s the time. ‘It’s acceptable to ask for a breakdown of the package and what your nett income will be,’ she says. Just keep your negotiation skills honed and nearby, and if you don’t understand anything, ask.
Sat, 19 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
Top Tips
1. Playing It Safe Can Backfire

Most people see taking risks as opening themselves up to unnecessary, maybe even dangerous chances. But the truth is, avoiding risks won’t keep you safe, nor will it guarantee a smooth ride at work or in life.

In fact, the opposite is often true. It’s like the monkey parable: a monkey sees a nut in a hole and reaches in to grab it. Once he’s closed his fist around it, he can’t get his hand back out of the narrow opening. Now he’s stuck. He can’t free himself unless he lets go of the nut but because he’s afraid to lose it, he won’t let go.

Trying to avoid risks is like clinging to that nut. You may think you’re playing it safe by holding on to what you have but in reality you’re just hindering your own progress.

2. Failing = Success

The consequences of failure – much like the potential consequences of taking risks – are almost never as terrible as they seem. Just about anyone you can think of who’s hugely successful has overcome failure to get where he or she is today. Think Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high-school basketball team; or JK Rowling, who was turned down by a number of publishers before one finally decided to take a chance on her manuscript about a young wizard named Harry Potter.

3. Heed the Two-Step Rule

Anyone can go the extra mile. Try to make a habit of taking a step or two beyond what you’ve been asked to do.

A couple of years ago, an article in one of Hearst’s magazines, House Beautiful, misidentified the legendary Estée Lauder chairman, Leonard Lauder. It was an innocent mistake but an incredibly stupid one, and once I was told about it, I knew we needed to fess up immediately. It was a Friday afternoon. I phoned Lauder’s office and learnt from his assistant that he and his wife were travelling in France. Hearing my desperation, the assistant gave me the number of his hotel in Paris.

‘Leonard, I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘And most of all, I’m embarrassed.’ He laughed and told me all was forgiven. And, as he later told an interviewer for a magazine article profiling me, he was pleased I’d gone to the trouble of tracking him down to apologise.

4. Give Up Control … Sometimes

In an office environment there are many factors you can’t control. The trickiest of these are often interpersonal. People get on each other’s nerves, step on each other’s toes, vie for each other’s jobs and, sometimes, get inappropriately involved with each other. At one point much earlier in my career, I had a boss who was having an affair with a subordinate of his, an awkward situation that made all our lives more complicated. It would have been easy to get upset about the situation – but to what end? The only thing you can do is accept what you can’t change and work around it. This will allow you to have a degree of power over it.

5. Show Your Ignorance

The act of asking is one of the most important elements of success. All too often, people fear that asking questions reveals ignorance, yet the opposite is true. The root of the word ‘ignorance’ is, after all, ‘ignore’. When you ask about something, you’re taking a step towards understanding it. On the other hand, if you ignore the fact that you don’t know something, you won’t get away with it for long.

6. If You Think You Know the Answer, Check Again

There’s an old saying among journalists: ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it.’ And you can be sure that the minute you take something for granted, it won’t be what you thought it was.

Take my name, for example. When I was in high school – a skinny, awkward preteen with big dreams – I decided I wanted to be different. So one day, I changed the spelling of my name from Cathy to Cathie. Silly, I know … but what can I say?

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve received letters addressed to Cathy Black or Kathy Black or Kathleen Black. It may seem like a small issue but it’s a big deal to me – and it’s the quickest way to lower my opinion of the person who wrote the letter.

7. Sometimes You Have to Boss Your Boss

When I watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada, one scene that stuck in my head was when the assistant, Andy, stood behind her boss Miranda’s shoulder at a party, whispering the names of the guests as they approached. Smooth as satin, Miranda greeted each person, coming off as an attentive and caring hostess rather than the frosty, bored snob she really was. There’s no quicker, easier way to earn your boss’s respect and gratitude than by helping him or her look good.

8. Have a No-Surprises Policy

Never surprise your boss. If you have bad news, tell it. If you have good news, share it. No-one likes to feel left out of the loop – and hiding a crisis from someone who needs to know about it virtually guarantees the problem will be compounded. Think of your boss as a small woodland animal: make no startling moves or strange gestures. Do the work to make things easier on him or her.

9. Be a Little Naughty

Breaking the rules is an underappreciated and underutilised skill. If you look at any list of highly successful people, it’s invariably populated with rulebreakers – from university dropouts such as Bill Gates to Internet wunderkinds such as Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who refused to believe that a little start-up couldn’t take on the biggest, richest companies in cyberspace. These people trusted their ideas – and themselves – enough to know which rules they could break. You can do the same.

10. It’s Not PC, But Looks Count

The way you present yourself makes a huge difference in how people perceive you – and not just in a superficial way. People make judgments about your abilities, self-confidence and savvy based in part on what you choose to wear and how you carry yourself.

When I was looking for my first job after finishing my studies, I wrangled an interview at Condé Nast, then one of the biggest magazine-publishing companies in New York. I dressed in a nice, conservative suit and felt pretty good about how I looked … until I stepped into the elevator in the Condé Nast building.

I immediately felt the penetrating gazes of half a dozen fashionably dressed young women as they looked me up and down, several of them clutching Louis Vuitton bags. Suddenly, I felt like a complete hayseed. I couldn’t help but be self-conscious – exactly the opposite of how you want to feel when going for an interview – and all because I hadn’t given enough thought that morning to how I should dress. The experience taught me a lesson I never forgot.
Fri, 18 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200

You may want your boss to remember you – but not for your awkwardness in a business meeting or a chance out-of-office meeting. Karen Miles, co-author of Career Advice You Wish Your Mum Had Told You (Pennon Publishing), has the following advice for handling both situations in a way that impresses.


· DO be prepared – If you’re not, you’re sending the message that you don’t tale your job seriously.

· DON’T make it fun – Keep your presentation light and humorous and encourage participation. ‘But beware of too much fun – this could distract people from your message,’ Says Miles.

· DO be direct – Say what you want to say, instead of ‘I thought we should maybe do this,’ say, ‘We should try this.’


· DO acknowledge her - ‘You’ll look ridiculous if your boss spots you doing a 180-degree turn and dashing off with a full trolley,’ says Miles. But don’t chase her to the other end of the store to say hello either.

· DON’T comment on what’s in her trolley – it really isn’t any of your business, so don’t make comments about the jumbo pack of condoms in her trolley. And don’t gossip about it to colleagues later.

· DO keep it short and sweet – Just like you, your boss may not be in the mood to talk to someone from the office, so say your hellos, ask about her day and keep walking.
Sun, 25 May 2008 12:00 +0200
The Young and The Restless SEE IT COMING
Watch for the symptoms and deal with boredom early on. “Spot the thought and feelings that occur just before enthusiasm disappears and tackle these,” advises Dr Chris Johnson (author of Find Your Power).

Set goals to keep you inspired – motivation is a powerful banisher of boredom.

Once you embark on anything, whether it’s a job, a relationship, an art course or exercise, push past the first burst of excitement to experience the satisfaction that comes from sustained effort and commitment, says Durban life coach Cathy Yuill.


When boredom threatens, don’t give up on what you’re doing – first try doing it a little differently, breaking routines and bringing in a sense of novelty.

Don’t isolate yourself in seeking relief from boredom.


Get out and exercise – it’s a great boredom-beater and re-energiser, says Durban lifestyle and fitness coach Noeleen Bridle.

There’s some drudgery in everyone’s life. Don’t let it overwhelm you.

If you truly can’t find anything to grab you in all that’s out there, write, paint or compose something yourself!
Fri, 23 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Imagine a relaxed evening where people take turns to stand up and chat about their interests, their creativity, their ideas and projects. Sounds like an amateur, open-mic for hobbyists (yawn)? No way. The tone set by the participant-driven, global community initiative attracts a fascinating array of creative and entrepreneurial individuals and collectives who want to share their ideas and build their networks. Each mini talk is so fast, it's almost all over before you started! (And we all know quickies are never boring.)

Now that Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have proven that we love being connected, Pecha Kucha Night is proving that we like doing it in the flesh. And in groups. Make the most of Pecha Kucha Nights by taking, and taking, and taking some more with these tips.

These gatherings are not date nights or singles' clubs. They're designed to work in an informal environment even though you might feel a little intimidated by the amount of talent gathered in one room – by design, Pecha Kucha attracts the brightest minds in all fields.

TAKE A SEAT: Get some wine, sit back and relax. You're there to learn, but also to have fun.

TAKE NOTES: Each talk lasts only six-and-a-half minutes and speakers are always dropping useful names and websites. Because of the time restriction, you won't be overloaded with too much detail, but you may want to jot down a few notes on topics and ideas to read up on the next day.

TAKE A CHANCE: It's all about networking. Use the 20-minute intervals to get up and talk to someone you don't know – target the person whose work or ideas you're most interested in. Even if you're not sure what you want to ask that person, things get going once you start chatting. Don't be shy.

What's the point of mingling with South Africa's hot shots for one evening and never drawing on their knowledge and experience ever again? Ask for business cards so you can contact people and really pick their brain.

Remember, you don't have to be an orator or a professional to join in. If you've got something to share, or something to learn, you bet Pecha Kucha's got a stage and a slide projector just waiting for you. Although these talks are currently only hosted in Cape Town, you can set up your own Pecha Kucha Night in your city. Click here for more information.

(P.S. If the gathering DOES inspire a naughty game, you could call it Pecha Kuchi Koo)
Fri, 16 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Top Networking Tips FIND YOUR STYLE
Each person’s networking method is based on his or her personality. Outgoing people may walk into a room and become the life of the party, while introverts prefer one-on-one chats. Choose the method that suits your personality.

Networking can happen anywhere, so proactively seek to meet new people wherever you are. Xolisa Mbanga, a 24-year-old accountant in Jo’burg, was in her gynae’s waiting room when she started chatting to a woman who turned out to be the head of human resources at a large corporation. Months later, when Mbanga needed a job change, she contacted her.

Even if you aren’t looking for a new job or career change, networking is a good way to build contacts in your field. The people you meet may give you information on how to move up in your field. If you are looking for a job, don’t ask someone you’ve just met for one. This makes the person feel uneasy and makes you look desperate. Build the relationship first.

Listening is a must when networking. Ask people questions about themselves and use positive body language such as nodding to show you’re interested in what they’re saying. When it’s your turn to talk about yourself, subtly emphasise your strong points without taking over the conversation or showing off.
Wed, 14 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Get CV Savvy
‘Some candidates spend more time planning an interview outfit than writing their CV,’ says Sarah Berry, author of Finding A Job: How To Write A Perfect CV In A Weekend (Cassell Illustrated). ‘Yet without the right approach, an excellent CV and sales tactics, you won’t need that new outfit anyway!’

Hit the bull’s-eye!

The first step to writing a great CV is to decide which format works best for you.

‘Ten years ago it was acceptable to have a one-size-fits-all approach to your CV,’ says Berry. ‘But with today’s competitive job market, what’s needed is a “couture” CV that you can adjust to highlight the ways you can benefit a particular company.’

Instead of merely listing your work experience in the traditional chronological format, a tailored or targeted CV focuses on your skills and experience, backed up by examples, to show that you are suitably qualified and capable of taking on the new challenge. Like Amanda Reekie, director of marketing-strategy company ImagiNATION Alliance, many employers today prefer a targeted CV. ‘I like to see what people have actually achieved, what skills they have acquired and whether their experience builds a pattern towards a focused career path,’ she says.

Then there’s the alternative CV, which breaks all the old rules. But beware: while submitting an alternative CV for a creative position in an advertising, design or media company would score you bonus points, it would be a kamikaze move at a financial-services company.

‘It’s great to see someone who has creativity and different concepts but it must be geared to the appropriate environment,’ says Lisa Sorer, MD of fashion-accessories company Maks and Blaze.

Use it or lose it?

After deciding on the right format, you need to decide what to include. Toss out all details unrelated to the job on offer.

A covering letter is a must, according to Tracy Jean-Pierre, MD of corporate-training company Red Peg. ‘This helps to show the recruiter that you aren’t randomly responding to adverts and that you have a genuine interest in the position,’ she says.

While the first page of the CV should include essential personal information such as your phone numbers and return address, Sorer advises that you leave out unnecessary details such as weight, height and religion.

Valerie Wolmarans, MD of recruitment agency Emakhosini Management, says you should address every criterion listed in the job advertisement. Don’t ignore or lie about a particular skill or qualification the company is looking for if you don’t have it. ‘It’s better to be honest and say you haven’t done that before – but always emphasise you have the potential to gain that skill because companies often recruit on potential,’ she says.

Include your qualifications and employment history but draw attention to key responsibilities, daily tasks and achievements in previous positions, says Zea Fredricks, co-director of transport company Tri Link Logistics. ‘Your core values, goals and ambitions are also important because these often determine whether you will fit in in the working environment,’ she says. A short list of key references should add the finishing touch to the CV.

Choose me, pick me!

‘Wherever you can, add a bit of your unique personality and style,’ says Reekie. ‘Always be professional but let a bit of yourself peep through.’

And don’t be afraid to show too much interest. ‘It’s my company, I’m passionate about it and I want people who are equally passionate about it,’ says Fredricks. ‘Always say what has attracted you to the company and why you really want to be a part of it.’

Sorer agrees but believes the best way to make sure you get noticed among the herd is also the simplest: put in lots of effort. ‘Do a mock-up presentation, pitch to an imaginary client – anything you can think of to make them say, “This person took the time and energy to stand out”,’ she says.
Fri, 09 May 2008 12:00 +0200