Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Makes A Good Blog?

I started The Working Gal six months ago and as 2009 is drawing to a close, I can’t help but reflect the year that had passes me by – taking stock of what had transpired and whether the goals that I set for myself earlier are met or not. I must confess I’m not a good keeper of goals. I realized some time ago and since then, making new resolutions had never been my thing. But when I set out something new, I do make a mental note of what I hope to achieve. So, there you go…I’m now in a reflective mood.

So, this year is when I really started blogging. I had never put down my thots on writing that much in my entire life until this year - I still can’t believe it myself. I started The Working Gal more like an experiment because I wanted to see the difference between maintaining a blog within a corporate website and a personal blog, but on the same theme: careers (oh well, what else do I know, rite?) But wait a minute…I got carried away and decided to start another blog (oh yes, the blogging flu just got into me)

Seriously, I’m still learning the blogging ropes and I went scouting for clues on what makes a successful blog, specifically a career blog. No tips on good career blog (readers, if you found a real good article, let me know) but stumbled a good one on what makes for a good blog. Well, I hope this inspire you as much as it did to me…

1. Good blogs have a voice.

Who wrote this? What is their name? What can I figure out about who they are that they have never overtly told me? What’s their personality like and what do they have to contribute – even when it’s “just” curation. What tics and foibles fascinate make me about this blog and the person who makes it? Most importantly: what obsesses this person?

2. Good blogs reflect focused obsessions.

People start real blogs because they think about something a lot. Maybe even five things. But, their brain so overflows with curiosity about a family of topics that they can’t stop reading and writing about it. They make and consume smart forebrain porn. So: where do this person’s obsessions take them?

3. Good blogs are the product of “Attention times Interest.”

A blog shows me where someone’s attention tends to go. Then, on some level, they encourage me to follow the evolution of their interest through a day or a year. There’s a story here. Ethical “via” links make it easy for me to follow their specific trail of attention, then join them for a walk made out of words.

4. Good blog posts are made of paragraphs.

Blog posts are written, not defecated. They show some level of craft, thinking, and continuity beyond the word count mandated by the Owner of Your Plantation. If a blog has fixed limits on post minimums and maximums? It’s not a blog: it’s a website that hires writers. Which is fine. But, it’s not really a blog.

5. Good “non-post” blogs have style and curation.

Some of the best blogs use unusual formats, employ only photos and video, or utilize the list format to artistic effect. I regret there are not more blogs that see format as the container for creativity – rather than an excuse to write less or link without context more.

6. Good blogs are weird.

Blogs make fart noises and occasionally vex readers with the degree to which the blogger’s obsession will inevitably diverge from the reader’s. If this isn’t happening every few weeks, the blogger is either bored, half-assing, or taking new medication.

7. Good blogs make you want to start your own blog.

At some point, everyone wants to kill the Buddha and make their own obsessions the focus. This is good. It means you care.

8. Good blogs try.

I’ve come to believe that creative life in the first-world comes down to those who try just a little bit harder. Then, there’s the other 98%. They’re still eating the free continental breakfast over at FriendFeed. A good blog is written by a blogger who thinks longer, works harder, and obsesses more. Ultimately, a good blogger tries. That’s why “good” is getting rare.

9. Good blogs know when to break their own rules. Duh. I made a list, didn’t I? Yes. I did. Big fan.

Me meeting all that? No, far from it. A good blogger I’ll be in the long run I'm not sure but I know one thing for certain though – the more I blog, the more I learn – not just the subject matter alone but also more about myself. And I think that’s worth it! So 2010, here I come and bloggers out there, I'm still AROUND.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top 10 Work Stressors

Why do you plan to leave your job?

The working hours are very long..

I bet if you are an interviewer, this is one of the common replies you would have heard many times before. This is also a sign that the person is undergoing a lot of stress and when the person has reached the stage of putting himself right in front of you, it’s just short of telling you he had enough and it’s time to move on.

Some time ago, writer David R. Butcher, from a study of more than 3,000 people, reports the top 10 work stresses:

1. Workload

2. Feeling undervalued

3. Deadlines

4. Type of work people have to do

5. Having to take on other people’s work

6. Lack of job satisfaction

7. Lack of control over the working day

8. Having to work long hours

9. Frustration with the working environment

10. Targets

Are you facing any of the above right now?

If yes, it’s not a good idea to let that stress prolong for we all know what stress can do to our health – it hurts us physically and mentally. Therefore, it’s important to recognize it as a work stress and the next step is to see whether there is anything you can do to prevent it from getting worse. If the nature of it is going to be temporary, i..e, heavy workload due to some extra projects that came on board and they will be over soon, then the best way is to learn to manage your stress.

Otherwise, the best way out to save your health or overall well-being is probably a change of working environment.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

10 Most Common Reasons Given For Not Attending Job Interviews

One of the most frustrating moments in a Recruiter's life is to call up the client/employer to advise the job interview arranged earlier has to be canceled.

I encountered that again today. This gentleman is officially without a job as of today because his contract work ended yesterday. As of last Thursday, he was very excited to receive the news that he got short listed for an interview. Over the weekend, something must have occurred that caused the change of mind. Check out his reason: I don't think I should go for the interview because I do not have any transport. My reply was, "No worries. The company is willing to provide you the transport." Stunned by my reply, he went on to justify the true reason why he does not want to attend the interview was that the nature of work that requires field work is just not his thing now. What shall I say? Cliched at best, no? I can probe further and he will continue to justify and this will go on and on. Experience does make a difference and in cases like this, no persuasion is needed because ultimately it is his career and he should be more concerned than I am.

Is his reason one of the common ones? Probably not. My list below is compiled from my many years of experience as a HR Practitioner and now in the recruitment business. Some of them are valid but most of them are really lame, indicating man's worst nature when comes to careers: fickleness.

  1. Just got another offer.
  2. Discussed with my husband over the weekend. He said I should not try for the job. Err...why? It's personal. I can't tell.
  3. Have second thoughts on the location.
  4. Sick. I think I'll just passed this.
  5. Forgotten that I actually have a company training to attend.
  6. I cannot locate the office and had been spending the past half an hour looking for it. Tell them I'm not keen anymore.
  7. Have to go back hometown last minute - parents are sick.
  8. Car broke down. I'll passed this opportunity.
  9. Not so keen about the company anymore. Heard something unpleasant about them from some friends.
  10. The worst: No notice given- just did not turn up and the hand phone line went dead. It's like the guy has just decided to take a vacation out of planet earth. When finally managed to locate him, usually a couple of days later, the common reply, "Oh, I totally forgotten about that. I was outstation."
Giving last minute notices with lame excuses or not turning up at all without any notice are examples of poor job hunting ethics. This can be avoided if you take some time to seriously consider a job interview invitation. Most people unfortunately have the "kiasu" mentality by saying yes to whatever that comes their way and thought it was not a problem to cancel it at last minute.