The Dreaded L Word: Leads

No one plans to be in the position I am in now with the industry currently very un-boomy, but I still think there are some positives. I cannot recall the last time I had this much time to dedicate to me and whatever I wanted to do. These days, time is a luxury a lot of people wish for and dream off. So really, I should be thankful for all the time I have now. As with everything I have a couple of options on how to move forward with this. Do I use my time wisely or do I waste it?

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I am doing my best to get back into full time work. However, with the state of things, the job seeking venture does have its more challenging days. I think we have all read and heard a lot of the doom and gloom stories relating to unemployment. I do not want this entry to fall into that same category. It is too easy to get dragged into the negativity hole and even if I do have my more challenging days, I make a conscious effort to use the time I have now wisely. Be it reconnecting with people I have lost touch with; volunteering, attending workshops and events to enhance my skill set and network; exploring a sanity check Plan B of sorts; reading and learning as much as I can.

It is very important that I do not squander the time I have been gifted with, especially since I do not plan on this chapter of my life to be a long one. I need to ensure I am still being productive whilst I plot and plan my way back in. However, balance is the key to life right? So, I have to admit, there are days where it’s definitely nice to just Netflix and chill.

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During the productive days, I have been tapping into my skills and conducting industry research; looking at what organisations and roles I should be aiming for. I am also actively delving deeper into my motivations. I am so determined to get something out of this experience, to learn something, so I can look back on this not-so-delightful chapter fondly.

In the process of thinking about my motivations and what’s next career wise, I came up with the analogy of my current situation being like that of a Formula 1 driver. Before you scoff and close the page, just stick with me and remember we all deal with challenges in different ways. This is how I am coping with this curveball of mine. Okay so here goes. The way I think about it is I have the skills – I’m a quick learner, great at building relationships, I have operations and corporate experience, solid analytical and practical skills, and most importantly, I will step up to a challenge (and a whole lot more.) So in the F1 world I am like any of the drivers – I have the skills. I’ve worked my way through the training wheels, karting days and Formula Renault. I have done the study and the entry level roles, built my foundation. Now I am ready for the main stage!

Anyone who follows F1 or any sport for that matter knows that merely having skills isn’t enough. You can be highly skilled yet miss out on the highest accolades. I have the foundations to be a World Champion, possibly multiple times. But to get there, I need a damn good car and an excellent team. So far, I haven’t had the pleasure of having all the puzzle pieces at one time. I have had the pleasure of learning from some great bosses but all the puzzle pieces just hasn’t fall into place, yet. The resolve this time around is to locate all those elusive pieces in my next career move. I will welcome as many pole positions as I can get under my belt. The same goes for the fastest laps, podium finishes, and of course that spot on top of the dais. But in the long run, I am aiming for the ultimate prize – the World Champion!

Regardless of skill level, if the environment isn’t right then there isn’t much chance of great success. Without all the puzzle pieces, at the very best I will end up following in Mark Webber’s footsteps. Don’t get me wrong, he is a brilliant and well respected driver. He had a strong season a few years back but no championship. He had the skills, a decent car, a team of professionals but there was still something missing. He missed out on making the most out of several pole starts and there were other hurdles in his way. He was really close one year but never got the main prize. Yes, for those who just realised, I am a bit of an F1 nut.

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Anyway, back on my delusional career analysis. It’s not very original but wouldn’t it be nice to be like be Aryton Senna. He wasn’t just a world champion, he inspired a whole nation! Brazilians still speak fondly of how they would watch his races and they still speak with great sadness about his untimely demise. Not just that, he had the rivalry going on which pushed him to his limits. Barring reaching Senna levels, I would settle for Kimi Raikkonen or Jenson Button. Two very different personalities but both world champions. Why not Michael Schumacher or Sebastian Vettel? Well, it got boring there after the first few times. I do not think I would enjoy that sort of dominance but we can revisit this when I get my first championship trophy. I reserve the right to change my mind on this one.

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Now the biggest question is – what’s next for me? The sooner I have an answer for this the better! Because I am not an engineer, accountant, geologist, metallurgist, or any of those straightforward classifications, it is a bit harder to pigeon hole my skill set into a specific area of the business. I have recruitment and operations background, but my desire to gain more experience on the operations side of things makes it a bit more challenging to put me in a straightforward classification box. Unfortunately, due to the unforeseen speed bump there are some restrictions as to what I can do especially in the next 12 months. So a thorough reassessment and rerouting of my previous career master plan is the order of the day. Anyone who is shares my position and is currently looking for work knows that the opportunities that are available are fairly limited.

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So I have implemented several approaches. Relying on Seek and other job boards can definitely break ones spirit. It is important in this market to not just passively job search but to actively reach out as well. I am actively researching to understand what roles I can do, which organisations I would fit in and do my best in. I am delving deep to understand where I could make the most difference. The more I understand this, the better I can pitch myself and land that exciting next role. It is fairly slim pickings for job seekers at the moment but that definitely doesn’t mean give up. I have an idea in my head as to where I want to end up next. Unfortunately, all this introspection and determination isn’t enough to land me my next career adventure. It isn’t just up to me as market forces need to align for the next opportunity to become a reality.

 

To maintain the balance and keep myself sane, I am also slowly working on Plan B. To keep me occupied when the passive job search and targeted research gets a little demoralising, I am exploring a little start up business of sorts. One I can juggle with my Plan A when I land that next awesome gig (which I know is just around the corner.) It would be very easy to fall into a career black hole at this point in time but as the inspiring speakers at the WIMWA Summit touched on, its times like this that make us tougher and more resilient.

With all the research, workshops and events recently, one of the most enduring lessons I came across is that part of being resilient is acknowledging and accepting vulnerabilities. In line with this lesson, I ask those in my network for tips or leads. I realise that for some, any sentence with leads or tips is as appealing as when a partner approaches you with the dreaded “we need to talk.”  Yes, I find that the L and T words can at times seem as bad as the F or C words.

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Today it’s pressing the publish button for this post!

However, as part of this getting out of my comfort zone exercise, I am going to push it and will even use two dreaded L words in one go – Looking for Leads. Yes, I am asking those in my network for any leads for my next awesome career move.  Anyone out there who has some insights, can recommended courses, events, people I can approach and speak to, a potential role which aligns with my skill set, please let me know. I would thoroughly welcome the opportunity to pick someone’s brain so I can better plan my next steps. I do not expect anyone to hand me a contract for that next awesome role straight off the bat, but I would appreciate any leads as to what’s out there and not just what’s on Seek. Tips and words of wisdom are also very welcome. I love learning from everyone and will soak it all in like a sponge!

 

The Gift(s)

It’s that very important time of year again. October is here! The weather is warming up. The garden is going insane and most importantly, it’s my birthday and my dirty work anniversary month. Although it is a bit presumptuous for me to declare the full three years as I have spent nearly nine months now on the sidelines and away from the plant… Technically it still is three years doing FIFO, so I am claiming it regardless.

Presents... they come in all shapes and sizes. A tissue bow on my gym bag. Lots of creative people out here!
Gifts… they come in all shapes and sizes. A tissue bow on my gym bag. Lots of creative people out here!

I always get very excited in the lead up to my birthday. I commence the countdown about six weeks beforehand and by the time it’s my birthday week, I am thoroughly exhausted and no longer care. This is why I am writing this a bit early, before the excitement exhaustion kicks in!

Without question, over the last three years I have annoyed a great number of people here. Some intentionally, others not so – I have been informed my laugh puts people off. Thankfully, there’s enough hearing protection around the place to assist those with that problem. However, it appears that I have also made some great friends, or alright acquaintances at best, as I have gotten a few presents through the years from my colleagues. My birthday and anniversary month had me thinking about all the lovely little trinkets I have acquired from the people I work it on-site over the last few years.

Technically not a present but a very pleasant surprise to walk into. A towel pup!
Technically not a present but a very pleasant surprise to walk into. A towel pup!

Majority of these probably don’t mean a great deal to anyone but I, even the people who gave these to me may not realise how grateful I am for these little things.

I really appreciate even the smallest and most random of things. I may not come across as super sentimental but deep down, I am a little bit (although I will deny this if someone feels the need to verify this statement in person). An SMS to see how things are or to check how my doctor’s appointment was goes a long way in securing a spot on my People I Like list (also known as my People I Don’t Want to Throw into the Crusher YET list). Although certain comments like me being as noisy as certain super noisy people on-site negates the nice SMS gesture and puts you on the other list, the Crusher Feed list. Yes, FF I mean you. But thankfully, it’s my birthday month so you have a chance to make a transition, depends entirely on what present you get me of course…

Anyway, to celebrate October, I decided to share with everyone some of the awesome things I have acquired over the years.

A door locking device from Mr. Carpeto. You have all read about my struggle with the cleaners waking me up. The lovely Carpets got me this nifty little thing; it’s to stop anyone from entering your room as it keeps it locked even if they have the key. Although it hasn’t happened to me, some of the guys had been woken up by cleaners actually entering their room while they are still in there – supposedly some caught in semi compromising positions. Although I never had that issue when I was still doing nights there have been several near-misses in the last few months as I change my morning routine. The cleaner has opened my door just as I am about to walk out – thankfully nothing embarrassing has happened yet but the close calls are enough to get me to start using this magnificent tool.

Safety first! Locked from the inside, prevents the likelihood of indecent encounters with the cleaners.
Safety first! Locked from the inside, prevents the likelihood of indecent encounters with the cleaners.

My woes about the cold nights also did not go astray, as a certain someone currently teetering on the Crusher Feed list gave me this pocket warmer last year. Sadly, when I actually needed it I couldn’t work out how it is supposed to function and I couldn’t find the gift giver to clarify … so it has never been used. From what I can gather it’s something which emits heat in your pocket – but there’s some technical bits beforehand which I couldn’t work out. But isn’t it pretty though? I may not get it to function as required, but its decorative and that works just as well for me (especially when its not too cold).

I think its the requirement for lighter fluid that has me scared on this one. It may have to remain a shiny decorative fixture for now...
I think its the requirement for lighter fluid that has me scared on this one. It may have to remain a shiny decorative fixture for now…

An old coin from Indy the feather-man, well technically he is the Enviro-man but he wears feathers on his cap so I am going to go with feather-man. He found this on one of his environment technician excursions, or whatever it is that enviro’s do. I used to collect coins as a kid so when he asked if I wanted it, I said, heck yeah! He didn’t give it to me all grotty, he buffed it so it is in the state that it’s in now – display case material! He reckons that this type of coin was pulled from circulation in the early 1950’s and was most likely thrown into a fire as it is a bit singed.

My very pretty penny.
My very pretty penny.

From the most entertaining comedy duo on site, also known as the drill and blast guys mentioned a few blog entries ago – a Disgust eraser and the most awesome USB drive ever. The eraser was a random thing his daughter had left in his bag and when he handed it to me as a joke at the bar that night, I took it. Disgust is my favourite character from the movie Inside Out so I am most definitely keeping it – hopefully his daughter doesn’t ask for it back. Might make it uncomfortable then!

The beginning of what could potentially be an extensive Disgust collection. Yes, I am very much in touch with my inner child.
The beginning of what could potentially be an extensive Disgust collection. Yes, I am very much in touch with my inner child.

The USB drive, supposedly the other half of the dynamic duo was at a conference and was racking his brain for what he could give to me. Of course, this story being true is as likely as me hitting the next lottery jackpot! But I excitedly accepted the USB and in my usual mature manner, showed it to everyone I could because I really think it is pretty awesome.

No words...
No words…

In terms of actual occasion presents I have been very lucky too. I got my one and only honey badger shirt for my second Christmas on site. This was when only two of us did a Kris Kringle for Christmas! It was really challenging trying to figure out who got it for me but thankfully I was able to narrow it down. The previous year when the whole crew was involved in the Kris Kringle I also got a pretty awesome bag plus toiletry kit. Which was surprising as someone else got a mankini and another one something even worse… Miss Andy also started me on a bit of an obsession with gym tops after giving me my first viscose material tank for my birthday last year. For those of you out there who exercise, do yourself a favour and check out anything that’s viscose fabric.

Nothing indeed...
Nothing indeed…

There’s also the various teas I have had the pleasure of indulging in. I have never been a big tea drinker, up until I started working with the Curly one. He always has a box of tea in his bag and he has me hooked now. The best cup of tea I had was the one that was there waiting for me one morning when I wasn’t feeling well. I went out and did my first round of area checks, by the time I came back there was a warm cup of tea waiting for me to help me feel a bit better. When we changed areas and no longer worked together, I would get tea bags every now and again on the morning trips to work to continue on our tea experiences.

Another birthday present from a few years ago from a colleague.
Another birthday present from a few years ago from a colleague.

These are a few of the things I am very much appreciative of in my time on-site. As much as there are people who make it challenging. There are also a number of people, and their smallest of gestures, who make it more than worthwhile.

And of course, special shout out to the Dunning-Kruger poster boys and the Darwin Award contenders I have come across. Thanks to you lot, my mane now sparkles in the right lighting. Yes, those smart guys in the white coat argue that grey (or technically white) hair cannot be attributed to stress. However, I like to give credit where credit is due.

Going for The Clooney look this year!
Going for The Clooney look this year!