Tag Archives: Work/Life Balance

How To Boost Your Income With A Flexible Retirement

The Over 50s are flying the flag for flexible working

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With the cost of living rising for everyone, many retirees today are worried that their pensions may not be enough for them to enjoy their retirement. This uncertainty is also reflected in employment figures as only 38% of those above the state pension age are in fact fully retired. With the number of over-65 works doubling in the last decade alone, finding a rewarding job that offers the chance to also enjoy your life is no small task.

While older workers may not always feel ahead of the next tech trend in the office, they are in fact championing a new working culture in the UK through working flexibly. ‘Flexible working’ can refer to any working pattern outwith the typical Monday to Friday 9 till 5 and can include part-time, shift work, working from home and job sharing, all options very popular with workers in their 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, workers in their 60s reject the typical 35 hours for a much more manageable 24, offering both a secure income and time to socialise outside of work.

While flexible working can be seen as the solution for older workers wishing to stagger their retirement with further employment, finding quality job vacancies that can offer flexible hours can be difficult.  Following her own struggle to find flexible work after having twins, businesswoman Tracey Eker sought to rectify this problem by launching Flexiworkforce.com, the only UK-wide job site dedicated to flexible jobs.

Discussing the potential of flexible working to empower older workers, Tracey Eker asserts that, ‘Flexible working can be an ideal solution for older workers who working but would like the chance to also enjoy their life a bit more. There are many long-term unemployed workers who have been out of the workforce because of a lack of adequate flexible working but employers are actually desperate for their skills. Through Flexiworkforce we can connect these groups!

Flexiworkforce will be attending the upcoming ‘The 50+ Show’ in Glasgow this month as well as giving presentations on the potential of flexible working for older workers, including discussion with Jo Swinson, Cabinet Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, and the banking chain Santander.

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How to Write an Effective Personal Profile

 

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A key concern to bear in mind when putting together a new CV is the personal statement, sometimes called a candidate profile or career summary, that allows the employer or recruiter to quickly identify your core skills and the value that you can bring to the business. Your personal profile should be concise and persuasive enough to convince the recruiter that you are a candidate more than worth interviewing.

Summarising your entire career history into a short 50-200 word paragraph (no more) may at first seem like a daunting task. Indeed, many candidates find it difficult to stick to a few core points, and end up rambling as a result. However, following these few simple steps will enable you to quickly create a compelling profile for your CV

1. Match Your Profile to Your Job Specification

This may seem obvious, but tailoring your experience and skillset to the job description is one of the most important things you can when attempting to show how you would be perfect for the role in question. If you believe that you are a perfect fit for the role,

It’s important to read the job specification carefully and ensure not only that your skills and experience match but you reflect this in your statement.

2. First or third person?

It can be difficult to know whether you should write your profile in the first or third person, as there are no definitive rules about what is best. However, some CV writers are of the view that first person is preferable, in that it gives your CV a sense of direct authenticity that third person does not. In a CV, you are essentially telling the story of your life, and arguably, writing in the first person is most effective way to do this. Crucially, never mix the two!

3. Include the following 

-Who are you? (What is your employment background and education)?

-How will your skills help the organisation? (Be sure to match your own skills and experiences closely to the job specifications!)

 4. Finish with a career aim

This will show employer that you have ambition, and are capable of proving your skills in order to move up in their organisation. Again, try to match this to the job description or the role provided.

 Example:

“As recent graduate from Strathclyde University, with a 2:1 honours degree in International Marketing, I have undertaken several internships within local start-up businesses such as Glasgow Radio and Clyde PR. These placements have enabled me to develop not only specific marketing industry experience, but also key transferable skills set in this fast-paced sector.

During placement with Glasgow Radio, I worked in the marketing team contributing to projects – such as social media campaign– and managed my own research, liaised with journalists and the digital marketing manager, put together media reports and participated in group project meetings. Using excellent communication skills, I developed and maintained successful working relationships with those round about me.

 Looking to secure a position in marketing/PR, where I can add value to the organisation and continue to build on my current skillset further”.

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Work Life Balance- a ‘Radical’ Decision?

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Max Shireson is the CEO of a top Silicon Valley software company. He received considerable media attention last week, after blogging about his ‘radical’ decision to opt for increased work/life balance, leaving his high-power role.

Despite his success in the world of work, the man was dissatisfied at the extent to which his position required him to take a step back from family commitments, and spending time with his three children.
“Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have a meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so,”

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Image via Business Insider

It is reasonable to question why has this case received so much attention, as a newsworthy story? Max Shireson is not the only man to have ever expressed a desire to spend more time with his family. More and more men are seeking jobs flexible enough to enable them to successfully juggle their work with family life. However, it’s rare to see the CEO of a high-profile company prioritising family over work:

“As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO”.

Max Shireson’s story is important, in that it will help to further smash taboos surrounding traditional gender roles, proving that a man’s decision to opt for work/life balance and family commitments is every bit as valid as a woman’s. It will take time to change long-held notions, but gradual change often occurs from the top down, meaning that Shireson’s story may inspire an entire generation of men to rethink the way they work.

Should We All Just Forget About Work/Life Balance?

Does the quest for a ‘perfect ‘balance’ set us up for failure?

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It’s been hard to ignore the recent debate over the issue of work/life balance. ‘Work/life balance’ previously being viewed as something for all to strive for, has come under fire of late, as a vague buzzword, void of any real meaning. The term was slammed by Kate Hilton in the Huffington Post:  ‘Is there a more over-used and empty phrase in modern life than “work-life balance”? I can’t think of one. Perhaps that’s because I am asked several times a week how I achieve it.’

Others admit that the fabled happy medium is rarely achieved by successfully juggling all areas of life simultaneously, and that placing ‘work/life balance’ on a pedestal only sets us up for unrealistic expectations for our careers and lifestyles. The situation may be even more challenging for working mothers and fathers, who all too often, view a perfect work life balance as a way to cancel out ‘working parent guilt’.

A recent Forbes article by Edmund Ingham told us that entrepreneurs should simply forget about the concept of work life balance altogether: ‘ the curse of it is, the more successful you are, the less downtime you have.’

Even recent graduates are being told that attempting to balance work and life is detrimental to career progression. In this controversial article, the CEO of Backupify Rob May states that in order for graduates to get to the ‘equivalent of the Olympics’ in their career, they must stop trying to master balancing life and work, and instead focus aim to focus their energies on the latter, ‘The rewards in the future will be worth the sacrifices you’re making now” May assures us.

In 21st century employment it appears that work and life are constantly merging closer and closer together. We work from home, we check our emails after clocking off in the evening, and often pick up work from Friday at the weekend.  Now far removed from the 20th century attitudes of our forebears, many of us find ourselves ‘living to work’ rather than the opposite. So is work/life balance a myth? Is it better to cast off the idea as an outdated concept and move on, rather than to continue to strive obsessively for an elusive harmony which continually evades us?

One solution is to stop aiming for a perfect harmony between work and life, instead setting up a system of rough boundaries to limit the crossover between work and life. This might mean refusing to check your email after 7pm, or limiting the amount of time you spend working at the weekends to less than 60 minutes.

Live Well Spokesman Adam Green advocates using the ‘third space’ to improve work/life balance, which he describes as the period of time spent between finishing work at the end of the day and beginning downtime and leisure activities in the evening. He believes that a positive attitude is key to this:

‘Most people tend to dwell on the negative things in their day which can be bad news for your family who have to deal with you when you walk in the door. Try focusing on being positive and what went well in your day, what you achieved and how things will be better tomorrow’

Therefore, when understood as a matter of setting boundaries, work/life balance becomes a more tangible and achievable reality. If you do ‘live to work’ aiming a degree of separation between the two will have a positive effect on both your work and your life.

How to Open Up Your Career and find Greater Fulfillment

Is it possible to turn your current job into the job of your dreams?

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Are you stressing yourself out over a job which is offering you little in way of way of personal fulfillment? Perhaps you have good reason to be looking for new opportunities, but maybe it’s the case that you’d rather focus your energies on improving the career you have!

It’s only natural to sometimes feel stuck in a dead end, and if you start to think about this a lot then you know it’s time to think about looking for a new role. However, it’s important to understand the difference between wanting a new job, and simply wanting a more fulfilling role which offers more scope for career fulfillment and personal development.

Only you can know how best to improve your career, but here are some points that you should consider when transforming  your current role into your dream role!

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What is good?

There are good and bad aspects of every job out there, regardless of how soul-destroying you believe your current role to be! Make a list of every good point of you current job, as this will enable you to see clearly the aspects of your job that you value and would like to maintain as your career progresses

What could be better?

If you are reading this article then there must be some aspects of your current role that you dislike. You have not failed, as a career is just one long learning curve, and being able to figure out  your career likes and dislikes is key to working out what you actually want to do. It’s more than okay to realise that your job is not all it cracked up to be- as long as you take positive steps forward to improve the situation!

Do you crave more flexibility?

Many people are envious of those who work from home, but perhaps you feel as though your career is genuinely too ridgid and stifling. You can now request flexible working thanks to recent legislative changes. Alternatively, you could use Flexiworkforce to search for flexible opportunities in your field which will allow you to cast off ‘presenteeism’ and gain opportunities with companies that are progressive and forward-thinking in their approach to working hours. Making the jump to freelancing may also be an effective solution to shaking up your current career and gaining more control over your work life.

What would happen if…

You told your employer that you wanted to change either your hours or the remit of your current position. Would your request be met with scorn or indifference, or would your employer be willing to accommodate your request in order to help you progress in your career?

Could you do more?

Maybe it’s the case that you’re simply not making the most of your current role. Explore the potential for training and professional development within your organisation. If you have an idea for a new project, bring it up with your boss and gauge their reaction to your proactive attitude. If they encourage you then you may find it easy to find greater fulfillment by expanding your current role. However, if your employer tells you that it’s not feasible, perhaps it’s time to look for new opportunities.

What would get you onto the right path?

It’s essential to identify what you need to do in order to change your attitude to work. Whether you want to find greater fulfillment by gaining new skills, or desire a more flexible working schedule, only after you’ve identified the issue can you begin to move on in search of what you really want.