Work

We are recruiting!

credit: Maire Brophy Discworld Convention
credit: Maire Brophy Discworld Convention

Know something about fashion and beauty that you are just dying to share with the rest of the world? Fancy yourself as a blogger, but are afraid of committing to your own blog? Want to be part of the quiet revolution but can’t quite figure out the secret handshake to get in? Well today is your lucky day – because we are recruiting and we want you!

 

We are looking for a blogger who is primarily interested in fashion and beauty from any part of the world to join the AHMBC team. The ideal candidate will:

 

  • Commit to submitting at least one article a month on any topic they choose.
  • Be active on Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram … any and all social media platforms really
  • Be interested in taking beautiful photos and understand how image crediting on blogs works
  • Love to write (and be good at it)
  • Be generally awesome and interesting

 

To apply to please send us the following items to clarke_cathy@hotmail.com:

  • A brief description of yourself and your background or interest in fashion and beauty
  • Your motivation or reasons for wanting to join our blog
  • Ten article topics that you would like to write for the blog
  • Your Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram handle(s)

 

Please note: this role isn’t paid, however you’ll be sure to get loads of great experience, exposure and hopefully the odd freebie!

 

 

Best of Luck,

 

Cathy & Vicky

 

 

How to ask for a raise

1950s RaiseThere is nothing worse than opening your online banking account and realising that you are over-drawn, again. Until you realise that the bank is going to start fining you so that you become deeper in debt, and even when you finally do get paid and clear it, this whole cycle is going to restart three days after payday. It is at those moments you think… do you know what  … I could really do with a raise.. but like most of us, you have probably never been told how to go about getting one?

If your organisation does not have a regular performance and salary review process, or your contract does not include an annual appraisal (or even better, guaranteed increase) then you will have to bite the bullet and ask for a raise – if you don’t ask you won’t get.

Here are some tips to make the process as successful as it can be.

1. Plan in advance.

Unfortunately it’s no good opening your horrendously overdrawn credit card bill one evening, and then marching into the boss’s office the next morning looking for a raise. You need time to plan your strategy, and get yourself prepared.

Start planning six months to a year before having that meeting.

Also give your boss time to prepare – don’t march into their office Friday afternoon when they are trying to get out the door or Monday morning when they are tackling a hundred emails; schedule a time for the meeting that is good for both of you and let them know the topic/agenda in advance.

2. Layout all the reasons why you are a more valuable asset now than you were when you last negotiated your salary.

Have several concrete examples where you either generated income or saved costs for the company. Make sure your contribution is clear, and how, if some else less experienced had been in your role then the outcome would have been different.

3. Prepare for negotiation

At the end of the day, you are basically asking your boss to pay themselves a little less so that they can pay you a little more, expect them to argue against the proposal. Know all the things that went wrong in the past year (there is always something) and think about the things you did to lessen the impact or even make it better.

Even if your boss does not bring up the particular examples you think of, the process of having prepared answers will better prepare you to be able to think on your feet in response to anything that they bring up.

4. Save up your bargaining chips.

If you traipse into your bosses office everyday making a series of financial demands (like you want a new chair cause you don’t like the colour of yours, or a new desk because Jayne in Accounting has a nicer one than you, or a new computer because yours is, like, so last year) then they are less likely to take this demand for a pay increase seriously and are already very used to refusing your demands without consequence. Save up the things you want and make a concise list – prioritise what you need verses what you want, and be prepared to be told that with the cost of the new chair, desk and computer there is simply no budget left to give you a raise.

5. Be specific. Have a figure or percentage in mind.

Do not ask for a general raise – be specific about what you want and have a reason for that figure. Also know that your boss will try to negotiate this down, so go in with a slightly higher figure and know where your bottom line is.

6. Compare yourself to the current market place – know the worth of your skillset.

This will allow you to make a more reasonable proposal, and help you provide a reason for the raise you are requesting. However, be clear on what it is that you are benchmarking yourself against – be sure to read the full job description and not just the job title.

7. Be prepared to give and take.

Your boss might agree to a raise, but it may come with extra responsibilities. Remain open-minded about these, and remember you can always end the conversation without conclusion so you can consider the options on the table and then resume the conversation again a few days later.

8. Have alternatives in mind.

If your boss says no, unfortunately the company cannot afford raises right now, have some alternatives ready that they might be able to consider instead:

  • Could you stay on the same salary but work reduced hours? Possibly get a half day on a Friday, start later or finish earlier? This is a raise, just in a different disguise; and it might make a greater contribution to your quality of life than a bit more cash.
  • Would they pay for you to go on a course or attend a conference? This will not only benefit them because it will improve your skills while you are with their organisation, but it will also benefit you as it prepares you for future roles. Plus some of these can be tax deductible.
  • Would they allow you accompany them to an industry event and introduce you to some of their network or contacts? This allows you to piggy back on their already established network – something that is worth its weight in gold.

9. If they refuse all your proposals, that’s ok, remain calm, all is not lost.

The simple reality is that some organisations allot a certain level of resources to a role, and they cannot assign any more to it. They accept candidates that will grow into the role (rather than being full prepared for the role) because the organisation have the ability to offer a good training or mentoring programme, thereby allowing them to pay that candidate a little less. It is wonderful that you as an employee have now grown and flourished in the role and are now worth more, but they still cannot afford to increase resources in that area.

All is not lost. By opening the conversation you are least opening their eyes to the fact that you have matured in the role that you are in, and that you are looking to progress. You have laid the groundwork for this conversation, and should you have it again, you will not be starting from scratch.

You might also have revealed to yourself that you have outgrown this role in this company, and perhaps it is time for a change, rather than just a raise. By comparing yourself to the market you might have realised that there are actually other jobs out there that you are now eligible for, which you may not have had the experience or skills for last time you looked. You can take all the skills you have learned in this role and bring them to an organisation that is willing to pay for them rather than grow them.

10. Do not ever issue an ultimatum you don’t mean. “If you don’t give me a raise, I will …”

The worst outcome from this conversation is not being refused a raise, it is being forced to resign because you lost your cool, issued an ultimatum, the company called your bluff and you were forced to follow through. Your current salary, no matter how insignificant it is to you now, will look monstrous from the dole queue. Do not get yourself into this situation.

11. Remember the implications of accepting a raise.

Although it is rarely explicitly said, the implication of taking a raise is that the company is buying your loyalty for another six months to a year. Not that there is anything that they can do if you do decide to hand in your notice and leave three months later, but it might leave a very bad taste in this employer’s mouth, which might come back to haunt you if you want to work with them in the future, particularly in a small industry. Bear this in mind as you accept your raise.

12. Regardless of the outcome, leave the meeting on good terms.

Nothing is ever final, there is really no end to any discussion, so even if you are bitterly disappointed and incredibly frustrated, remember to smile and thank the other person for their time at the end of the meeting. This is not a time to throw a temper tantrum or storm off in a huff (not that I really know when the time for those actions is). Not only does it look petty and unprofessional, you still have to work in this office for the foreseeable future, and you do not want to turn that working atmosphere hostile.

So they are our top tips – is there anything that you would add from your experience?

 

 

How to dress for your office

1960s Office 2

We have all been there, particularly now in cold wet March –

You wake up late. Again. Drag yourself from the bed. Can’t find your hairbrush so do the best you can to tame the mane with your hands. Put on whatever looks clean enough. Throw the makeup bag in the bottom of your handbag knowing you are not going to get a chance to get near it until lunchtime at the earliest. Run for the bus and promptly fall asleep against the window giving your hair that much envied punk/manga look.

Yes that’s right, people only need to look at you to know you’re a winner. Or not.

Like it or not, people judge others based on their appearance – now I don’t mean their crystal white Hollywood smile or their gym-perfect abs, I mean their general presentably and professionalism. While your ‘Just Woke Up’ look is great for the weekend, this might not be the image you want to present to the people who determine your take home pay. People make snap judgements and then stick to them. Treat it right, and this could work in your favour.

1. Be attractive, do not be overtly sexual.

Unless you work in the red-light district, slept with someone to get your current role and are planning to repeat this strategy for your next promotion, or are otherwise employed by the sex industry, don’t dress like you are. That means no underwear brandishing, no accidental flashing, no casual mooning. It might be ok for Rhianna to dress like that at work, but unless you are an up-and-coming pop star, it’s not ok for you. It is hard to listen to someone, take them seriously or act on their advice if you are distracted by their Coyote Ugly get-up wondering where they dance on tables at lunchtime. There is a line between attractive and sexy – find it and stay on the right side of it.

There are some guidelines that can help you find they line. Answer the following questions:

  • a) Do I look like a backing dancer in a hip-hop video?
  • b) Could my co-workers give an alarming accurate description of today’s underwear choices?
  • c) When I sit down, can I feel the cold seat on my buttocks?
  • d) When I sit down or lean over, can my office tell if I am a tights, stockings or hold-ups kinda gal?
  • e) If I were sitting opposite my mum/ my granny/ nuns/ leery old men would I feel exposed in today’s outfit choice?

If you answer yes to any of the above, you are on the wrong side of the line. Go home and put some clothes on before you catch your death!

 

2. Every day makes an impression.

Many people get their next job based on the network they establish in their current role.
This should be born in mind as you interact with your current colleagues, people in the wider office and organisation and new people (aka your network). It’s not just common courtesy to remember their name, what they do, that not-so-funny story about their fourth kid – its information you could use to your advantage later, so pay attention.
Chances are they will also be paying attention to you, so if it looks like you fell out of bed backwards, are always running in late and really could not give a rat’s arse about this job, that will resonate and that will be their impression of you. Each time you are observed in a dishevelled state it adds to the person’s impression of you and that is the impression they will express if they are ever asked for their opinion of you.
Where are all these impressions leading – what do you care what these people think about you?
People are slow to hire disaffected, disengaged people who cannot self-motivate, as this is an important leadership skill required for senior roles. If people think you are happy swirling away at the bottom of the barrel, then that is where you will stay, and it will take an opportunity from outside your network to prove that wrong – which really defeats the point of having a network.
Your attire contributes heavily to that impression. You don’t have to look like you just fell out of a Ralph Lauren Ad; just be neat, clean and presentable.
So find something, anything, you like about the job to motivate you, get out of bed twenty minutes early to put yourself together and arrive on time.

 

3. Dress appropriately for the culture of your office

If you work in a financial house, legal firm or large formal corporation, the chances are it’s a suits sort of place. If you work in a creative, technology or new industry type, chances are it is a casual sort of place. Figure out which sort you are in early on and dress appropriately.
Wearing suits to an informal office is as inappropriate as wearing a tracksuit to a formal office, because it shows that you do not understand the culture of the organisation and that you hold yourself apart from the values of your colleagues and organisation.
That said, you should also remember your position in that organisation. Unless you are a maverick genius, it is advisable to be slightly more presentable the further you go up the chain. This does not mean suits and a tie, just new jeans, the occasional kitten heel, not holes that were not there when you bought it.

 

4. Dress appropriately for your role in that office.

It’s all very well to dress for the job you want, but if your current role requires you to run all around town or be on your feet for eight hours, then there is no point in wearing those Jimmy Choo stilettos that you know you will be wearing when you rule the world.
Similarly if you are required to inspect properties, climb ladders, walk around dusty sheds, see into a crawl space then you fabulous white pencil skirt is not going to work.
Also, some organisations, particularly customer facing sales roles, hire based on a look, be it conservative or alternative, because it fits with the brand image. A bank teller is expected to be the perfect Pollyanna (even if they are not under the uniform), while a tattoo artist is expected to support some nice tattoos and have a more alternative look. If you change your look dramatically overnight you might suddenly jar with the brand, which puts your role in a perilous position. That is not to say that you cannot experiment with new looks – covered tattoos is always a fun look to explore! – just keep the day job in mind while you do.

 

5. Dress appropriate to the day’s agenda

While you might wear pretty much the same thing day-in day-out, some days you will be doing something slightly different to your normal day job, and it’s good to dress for those days too.
In the absence of other information, people think they are similar to those that share their style. You can use your clothes to exploit this simple fact and turn it to your advantage.
Clothes allow you to build up a rapport with people and given how easy it is to change an outfit, it is easy to use this to your advantage. Give people an outfit that will put them at their ease, and make them feel comfortable.
For instance if you normally dress very causally but today are meeting the accountants or other business minded people from your organisation, it can be better to dress more conservatively than you would normally, given that these individuals will be accustomed to doing business with people in suits. This is not the best meeting to debut your totally on trend Vivien Westwood outfit. On the other hand, if you are meeting clients who are hiring you based on your cutting edge alternative brand, then ditch the frumpy pants suit and rock that Westwood.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s