Thursday, 14 June 2012

Know your lessons learnt...

Here is a scenario... You are a junior at your company; you get assigned to a role and a team with a manager. You are relatively new to the organisation and you have not yet come to understand their ways of working or how they deal with clients.

You then find yourself in a situation where you are to represent the interests of the entire team as the only attendee in a meeting. The client starts to bombard you with requests and you are so nervous that you are afraid you will miss some of those actions you have been instructed to do and you try your hand at using short hand and picking out keywords, hoping to trigger your memory later on and update your notes.

You need to provide feedback to the team and your manager does not seem to have time to discuss anything with you and help you make sense of things. Basically... you are left to your own devises. Trying to decipher your notes becomes a scientific matter and you realise that so many things were said that you should have asked clarity on but they had moved through so many of them so fast that you could not have managed had you even asked clarity on just one of them.

How do you deal with such a situation?

Sadly, there is no foolproof method for surviving situations like this. Before you even come out of the other side of it, you will probably have had sleepless nights, lost your hair due to stress and maybe even had a breakdown.

They call it 'throwing you in the deep end' but it' more like feeding you to the wolves and laughing about it when they discover that said wolves did not devour you whole but left some pieces of you for them to scavenge on.

First thing you do when you get to the meeting is suppress your nerves and introduce yourself. State as clearly as you can your role, if you know it, and how much of the situation you understand, if any. You will find that clients appreciate honesty and they will either make the decision to reschedule the meeting or go out of their way to make sure you understand.

If the meeting was carried out anyway, ask to compare the notes of other attendees with your own and you might discover that they also took little to nothing at the meeting, or you hit gold and they have notes that make more sense that your gibberish. That way you are able to save face with your manager and look impressive in the process.

The only advice I can give, which I came to in retrospect, having survived these situations is that you can use it to boost your interview and cite it as a way you dealt with a difficult situation. It is also a lesson for you on what not to do when you become a manager.

Peace be with you and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Know the law...

Dear reader.

Most of us go through life accepting ill treatment from different sources. There are many reasons for this but I will just touch on a few. If you are someone who does not like confrontations or is not assertive, you often find yourself giving in to unreasonable demands from other people that do not necessarily hold your best interest at the core. People who may be exerting this kind of torture on you may be your family members, so-called friends and employers.

The law can apply in every aspect of your life so long as you know of it and how to apply it. For example, do some of you know that under South African labour law you are only expected to obey reasonable requests or instructions from your employer so long as they are not illegal? That if you are asked to work overtime and you are not holding a senior or managerial position, you have the right to be paid for the overtime you put in.

Some managers will try and sweeten an offer to a potential client by offering lots of free overtime work which they will tell you to specify on the client's time sheet while you are only allowed to log eight hours in the company timesheet that goes to payroll.

This is my first blog and I do not want to get longwinded here. The bottom line is knowledge can and will protect you, so know the law!

Peace be with you and thanks for reading.