DPIC Interview with Jane Normal

This morning I am meeting with Jane Normal. Jane holds a degree in Business and an Intermediate Diploma from the DPIC. Jane is currently in an active volunteering role as Head of Household Management and manages a team of 3. Here Jane runs us through her amazing career path.
Deirdre “Jane, thank you for agreeing to take the time to talk to DPIC magazine today. Can I start by asking what made you choose your current career path?”
Jane “Well Deirdre, I didn’t always believe that I would have the position that I have now. I got a good degree and spent my early career trying to find a job that excited me, inspired me and challenged me all at once. Rather later than most I stumbled across an area that excited me – HR and I felt that it was a great time to follow the path.”
Deirdre “Why didn’t you continue on this path?”
Jane “I had a family, and although my children were not babies, they needed my help with homework and to collect them from school. I just couldn’t put my dream ahead of their education and happiness. So I thought I’d add to my CV and get a DPIC qualification whilst at home.
I studied for my Intermediate diploma and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I got to work with students from all different industries who were actively pursuing an HR career. I listened to their experiences and gained a new perspective on my own early HR career. I regularly attended DPIC meetings and threw myself into what I thought to be the start of something…. Yet it wasn’t to be. With my DPIC certificate in hand and a spring in my step, I felt validated. It was now confirmed how my knowledge, experience and life skills were valuable and that I could show to potential employers that I was a creditable HR professional.”
Deirdre “What did you do next?”
Jane “ Well Deirdre, I started about writing my CV, adding all the transferrable skills that I had, even managing to put an HR/ L&D spin on childcare and started applying for positions. I can honestly say that nothing prepared me for the 100% rejection rate. There I was, an intelligent, focused, driven, resilient woman with tenacity and common sense abundant, yet to employment agencies I was invisible. On more than one occasion I rang for feedback to ask why I had not been shortlisted and the answer time and time again was that employers wanted someone who had recent and relevant work experience. Relevant! I began to explain how flexible, resilient employees with up to date knowledge and drive should be a valued commodity but was knocked back time and again. Eventually the resilient me admitted defeat.”
Deirdre “So what advice would you give to HRs in today’s job market?”
Jane “I would say to women everywhere that your skills are transferable and if you can apply directly to companies you will have a much better chance at getting to interview. I would add that the job searching via social media offers nothing to me and women like me because of the ‘filters’ that employment agencies use and the sheer volume that they need to sort. I believe that I and other Janes like me should be valued as a highly sought after resource.”
Deirdre “Thank you Jane and I wish you well. Lots to think about there before, during and after starting a family. When is the right time? When you’re young, before a career starts like Jane or later in life when you’re older and more established in your career? That’s all from DPIC magazine this week, look out for our next discussion “Lack of female presence on the board – why?”

Thank you for reading my little ‘tongue in cheek’ piece about our often glossed over highly intelligent yet family focused Jane Normals.  Love to all Janes out there.  Natalie

Lean Down the Mountain… Grow your own Grit!

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Les Arcs, 2016 – I fall down but I get up again!

 

It has been a long time since I tried something new.  I’m not just talking about the new deli filling at the sandwich shop but really trying a completely new activity, with no experience at all, going in totally blind.  Last month I took the plunge and after a long time procrastinating, and a long drive through France to get there I went skiing.  Now for many of you this is no big deal but I am an adult who had never even seen a ski in the flesh or put my foot anywhere near a ski boot, but I really wanted to learn how to ski, I have done since I was a child.

As I strapped my feet into the unforgiving boots and manoeuvred myself over to the nursery slope my heart was in my mouth, my breathing quickened and my ears rang, the adrenaline was pumping hard.  I was certain that I was going to misjudge a curve and shoot off the side of the mountain breaking my legs and ruining the experience for everyone.  I know that I am not good when I feel that I’m not in control of myself!  Lean down the mountain?  I thought they were mad, every bone in my body was telling me not to.

My ski instructor was a burly French lady with a quick wit who saw through my smiling, singing façade.  She took control and through her strength I developed my own.  I fell a lot, and each evening I counted new bruises.  With each passing day I became braver and on the last day I joined my friends (all avid and utterly brilliant skiers) and skied down the mountain without the support of the instructor.

I know that I am still no Chemmy Alcott but I have overcome the barriers that I erected for myself.  I truly believe that this would not have been possible if I had not trusted my instructor when she told me “you will ski!”.  I trusted my guide, believed in myself and stepped out of my comfort zone. 

I am fascinated by how we resist change, we’re mostly afraid and rarely push our boundaries.  Adam Phillips a British Psychoanalyst and Philosopher noted that ,“we think we know more about the experiences that we don’t have, than the experiences we do.  The unlived life becomes more significant and what’s not possible becomes the story of our lives”.  Its true, isn’t it?  We know all about the consequences, the possible pitfalls, and the reasons why we shouldn’t try something; why we shouldn’t make that jump; shouldn’t lean down the mountain.  It goes against all we ‘know’ to be true. 

That’s great, we’re all nervous of change but to grow and develop as people we have to make changes, take the next step.  How do we go from knowing ‘what’s not possible ‘to ‘having a go’?  What does it take?

Grit!  It’s all about having determination and pushing yourself to grow.  Writers on the subject suggest that some people naturally have more grit than others and while that is undoubtedly true, grit is also something that you can learn, cultivate and grow, by changing your mindset, trying new things, being determined and not being afraid to fail and to try again.  Some of the most successful people, such as Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and Marc Zuckerberg all failed.  The failing wasn’t their undoing, it spurred them on to try again and ultimately guaranteed their eventual success.  If you’ve got some time on your hands a worthwhile read on the success of failing comes from Jia Jiang in his book “Rejection Proof”.  Jia, upon quitting his job to become an entrepreneur and failing, set about to devote 6 months to getting rejected every single day.  He made unreasonable requests from everyone, even asking to see the CEO of a company in order to have a staring competition with her, amazingly she agreed to see him!  Jiang noticed that the more he asked for things the better he became at communicating and negotiating.  Needless to say he know commands large audiences as a TED talks speaker and has realised his dream of being a successful entrepreneur.

So, come on, let’s go, let’s lean down the mountain, take the chance, make that step outside our comfort zone, and ask the question.  We may fail, we may be rejected but we will always learn, as Jiang did, and will improve and before we know it we’ll get there!

I’m off now, once more to push my boundaries.  So, I invite you all to share, comment and send this to all of your connections to help me on my grit growing journey – Hey, if you don’t ask…

Good luck, be brave, show grit and determination, and please do post a comment and keep me posted of your progress too!  Thank you for reading.  Natalie