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“The honeymoon doesn’t last forever. It is true for jobs as well. If you’ve been in your current job for two years or longer, you may be finding many tasks and situations tedious and repetitive, and the day-to-day may be wearing thin,” says Merge Gupta-Sunderji, a speaker, author, mentor to senior leaders and the chief executive officer of the leadership development consultancy Turning Managers Into Leaders.
“While the most obvious solution may be to find another job, don’t be so quick to jump ship. There can be value in staying with the tried-and-true, as long as you can find a way to love what you’re doing once again.”
Read the full article for Ms. Gupta-Sunderji’s nine ways to reinvigorate and refresh your attitude about your work.
Lisa LaFlamme and 10 other notable Canadians on the power of a fresh start
Lisa LaFlamme has remained largely silent since CTV abruptly ended her contract last summer. In a recent sit-down with The Globe and Mail, Ms. LaFlamme says she is still processing the events of the past six months, but she tries to keep things in perspective.
“It wasn’t a cancer diagnosis. It wasn’t a war breaking out. It wasn’t an earthquake,” she said. “People lose their jobs. And I did.”
To this day, she says, strangers still regularly stop her to offer kind words and support. This, she says, has been a real comfort. Although, inevitably, people want to know what she plans to do next. Another show? Radio? Podcasts? A book? Something outside of journalism? Ms. LaFlamme says she honestly doesn’t know yet.
“It takes more time than people might imagine to rewire the brain and I am taking that time to think,” she said.
Read the full article to hear more from Lisa LaFlamme and 10 other notable Canadians, including Giller prize winner Suzette Mayr and Canada’s Drag Race star Gisèle Lullaby.
How Opal Rowe turned a craving into a thriving business
“Like most Jamaicans, I love patties – sometimes for a snack, or for lunch. One particular evening a few years ago I came home and wanted to eat something that was really comforting but not heavy. It occurred to me that I was craving a patty,” says Opal Rowe, owner of Stush Patties.
“There are many places, like in Scarborough, Ont., for instance, where you can get patties in locations like the subway. For this reason, many people think they’re widely available. But there’s a lot of people who don’t take the subway, or don’t travel to those particular stations. I started thinking about the whole patty industry, and I realized that you normally have to go out of your way to buy them. And you can’t really take them anywhere – you have to eat them right away.
“I thought there was room for improvement. As great and as wide a variety as we have, this was an area that was lacking. Let’s say you go to a party – you hardly ever see patties. You see tacos, you see samosas. I wanted to change this.”
Read the full article for how Ms. Rowe made her small business dream a reality.
In case you missed it
How to handle conflict in the workplace
Early in her career, newly hired at a top consulting firm with a freshly minted PhD under her belt, Beatrix Dart was introduced to a client who promptly asked her to bring coffee for the entire group.
“I didn’t know how to react. While I did go and get coffee for everybody, it didn’t feel right. As I came back I casually said, ‘Did I give you my business card?’ and handed it to him,” says Dr. Dart, now professor of strategy and executive director of the Initiative for Women in Business at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. “Luckily it had my Dr. title on it and that changed the entire conversation and his behaviour toward me.”
In this instance, Dr. Dart relied on humour to make her point and de-escalated a workplace conflict without coming across as overly aggressive. In other cases, directness works much more efficiently, she says, recalling a time several years later when another client insisted on grabbing lunch at notorious eatery Hooters together.
Dr. Dart refused outright.
“There are times when you simply owe it to yourself to be firm and say no, and that includes anything that goes into a clear sexual context or makes you uncomfortable.”
Read the full article.
Networking and leadership training aren’t just for white-collar workers – women in manufacturing need these opportunities too
Wenyi He was just 26 years old when she was promoted to production manager at AGI Westfield, a Manitoba-based company that makes augers for the agricultural industry. When working on the manufacturing floor, Ms. He is mostly in the company of welders. About 70 per cent of them are men – some more than double her age.
“I did have a lot of challenges since I’m young and I’m a woman,” Ms. He recalls of starting the role last year. “They think, ‘You know nothing about the [manufacturing] floor.’”
This past spring, Ms. He participated in a leadership development program operated by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), where she gained soft skills in communication, leadership and delegation. She says she learned that she can’t always provide solutions for the people she works with. “I want them involved. We need to brainstorm and solve the problem together.”
She’s already noticed a difference in her work, especially when it comes to streamlining production, which is an integral part of her job. “I talk to [the machine operators] very often and show them my passion for the work,” she says.
Read the full article.
Ask Women and Work
Question: I scaled back my career to support my kids when they were in their teens. Now, as they are leaving the nest, I’m ready to look for a new position that will reignite my career and hopefully increase my earnings. I’m starting to apply for positions, but I have not written a cover letter in a very long time. Is there a secret to standing out?
We asked Ibiyemi Balogun, manager, graduate careers & student engagement at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Toronto Metropolitan University, and founder, Foot In The Door Consulting, to tackle this one:
First, I wanted to validate that your choice to take a step back to support your family is incredibly inspiring. I know when I was a teenager, those years were tough, so having a parent around is key.
When it comes to applying for new positions and building out a cover letter, there are many ways to go about it. But before I dive into cover letter tips, I want to make sure that you have properly engaged with the job market by re-engaging with your network. We have seen incredible changes to the job market in the last two years, and the latest trends show that candidates have a bit more power than they used to and that the reach of your network will determine how far you go in the job search process.
While applying online is a viable option, tapping into your network will beat that, 9 times out of 10. A simple message on LinkedIn, either in a post or through a DM, re-introducing yourself to the market will go a long way.
Now, on to those cover letter secrets.
When building a cover letter, it is important to understand the audience. Generally speaking, when you put together a job application, there are three audiences: the Applicant Tracking System (or ATS, which is software used by recruiters), the recruiter and the hiring manager. The audience for your cover letter is typically not the ATS or the recruiter. Recruiters don’t read cover letters but hiring managers might. I say “might” because unfortunately the job search and recruitment process can be broken or fragmented. Although a job might require you to submit a cover letter, it has a 10-15 per cent chance of being read by anyone.
So, my first tip is don’t spend too much time creating a cover letter; ten minutes should be enough to convey your interest in a job.
My second tip is to create a strong template that clearly identifies the following:
- Who are you? State your experience (years, function and industry). If you have recently completed a certification or degree, feel free to add education.
- Why are you applying? This should include your skill set with a concrete example from a past experience. This is a great place to also add in quantifiable metrics to showcase your success.
- Why are you interested in this employer specifically? Research their LinkedIn page to see how you connect with the organization or with the hiring leader. LinkedIn can tell you what people and organizations are passionate about and give you reasons why you might want to work for them.
Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at GWC@globeandmail.com.
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