Merry Career-Mas!

JustineI love this time of year, late December, just before Christmas, end of year exhaustion and running on adrenalin. The new year is just around the corner, and despite your fatigue from a busy year, the new year heralds promise and opportunity. You tell yourself all those things you didn’t quite achieve or get to this year – will be nailed next year. And – maybe they will – I am after all an eternal optimist.

For many people I talk with, it has been a particularly tough year – personally and more so professionally.  A change of government, a dip in the resources sector, international economic uncertainty, redundancies, restructures, rationalisations…

It seems to me that when we are under constant pressure to perform or deliver we can sometimes lose perspective. We switch to our emotional rather than rational behaviour, say things we regret, react quickly without consideration. It gets worse towards the end of the year, when we are tired, stressed and in need of a break. It doesn’t help either, when every time you walk into a public space, bad Christmas carols are playing.

I believe it is important to take time out, particularly when you feel you are getting to this point. And if you notice your change in behavior, pat yourself on the back for your high level of emotional intelligence and self-reflection.

I recently booked myself into a top end health spa. I systematically worked my way through the spa treatment menu, the staff there thought I had become a permanent fixture. I left feeling balanced, cleansed and happy and better placed to take on the world.

When I got back, I remember someone saying to me how lucky I was to have been able to go. At the time I thought, it was more due to better planning than luck, but I guess having the means and time at my disposal has a bit to do with luck.

If we are to cope and perform at a high level, we have to take time out, whether just to sit outside and listen to the birds, walk on the beach, swim in the ocean or hang out with loved ones eating great food…

Work, career, business… These are just aspects of our lives, not the entirety. Sometimes they tend to blow out of proportion and cloud our vision. We are multidimensional and need many facets in life to make us happy and fulfilled.

So – take some time out, spoil yourself in whatever way works for you.  Get perspective, take control and seek out the opportunities you deserve.  The new year is the perfect time to put in place the building blocks to your happiness…

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The Australian Dollar Butterfly Effect

Australia is currently experiencing a sort of monetary renaissance period, as the AUD sits atop the US dollar (despite a slight drop following the US Presidential Election). However, weak commodity prices that come in response to this high dollar are doing particular industries no favours when it comes to employment.

Large mining companies are hiring sluggishly as the high exchange rate and weak commodity prices take their toll, restricting cash flows and the progress of new projects. As these companies slow their existing projects and halt new ones, the need for staff will drop off. However LNG (liquefied natural gas) has not been adversely affected, with a multi-billion dollar CSG to LNG export project developed by Australian Pacific LNG (a joint venture between Origin, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec) scheduled to go ahead and continue through until early 2015. So overall, organisations that encompass a wider range of resources will still be hiring in certain areas.

These adverse affects are also being felt in Education, as foreign students are less inclined to study abroad in Australia as our dollar climbs higher in the Foreign Exchange. Without the up-front fees of these students, large educational institutions are experiencing budget constraints, resulting in an influx of redundancies and hiring freezes.

It may sometimes seem difficult to predict when and where job cuts will happen and when you may need to commence a search to keep yourself in work, but in these turbulent economic times, if you keep an eye on the ripple effects caused by change and to keep abreast of things as they happen, you’ll be able to see cause and effect in the job market and stay ahead.