How to Fire the Person From Hell From Your WorkLife 

Why Someone Who Drains or Derails You Needs to Be Gotten Rid Of 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

A Client, Collaborator or Colleague That Drains You With Too Many Demands, or Derails Your Morale, Needs to Be Fired From Your Worklife

Because for all the time you waste salvaging deteriorating relationships, you could instead be opening yourself up to doing great work with great people, and living a happy and healthy WorkLife as a result.

When You Know You Have to Fire Your Client, Your Collaborator or Your Colleague from Your WorkLife to Save Your Sanity: A Case Study:

Another Friday afternoon meeting with the client from hell, another weekend ruined by unrealistic demands. Those were Tony’s thoughts going into his meeting with George, and boy was he right. But this time he knew it was the beginning of the end of their relationship.

Tony knew he had to fire George as a client. He had to do it for his own morale and his mental health. He had to save himself from this toxic relationship, but as a freelancer this wasn’t going to be easy from a financial perspective. But let’s back up a little to understand Tony’s story, and how he found himself in this position.

Tony’s position as Marketing Executive at a non-profit organisation had been made redundant two years earlier. He had worked there for five years and really enjoyed his time. He was part of a small team, which meant he got exposure to all aspects of the job, and he had worked with really interesting companies, from business startups to SMEs in developing and building their marketing strategies.

It was always his dream to work for himself. The skills he’d developed, the experience he’d gained, together with the redundancy financial package he’d received, put him in a good position to work towards making his dream come true. And so he set out to find his first client.

Enter George.

It was at a tech networking event that they first met and got chatting. Tony told George he was setting up as a freelance marketing executive, having worked in the industry for five years. George said he needed support with his marketing, suggesting this would be good experience for George, and that he could introduce him to fellow business owners. His first gig as a freelancer, Tony couldn’t believe his luck, he was on a high, and over the next few days he prepared for the first of what was going to become the Friday afternoon meetings with the client from hell.

In fact when Tony reflected on those initial words, “It’ll be good experience for you,” he now knew these words should have been a red flag. He didn’t need experience, he had five years of experience; and he soon came to learn, that experience as a freelancer doesn’t pay the rent, and that in his haste to get his first client he had sold himself short. He hadn’t read between the lines.- George’s lines, that is. Working for experience means working for very little money. And as for the introductions to George’s fellow business owners, well, that was never forthcoming. It was simply another ploy by George to sucker him in, and suckered in he was. Tony thought to himself: “boy, did he see me and all my naivety and misplaced trust coming!”

The Friday afternoon meetings became a weekly thing. They weren’t needed, nor were the 6 pm dailycalls George constantly made, by way of checking in, checking up, and most often making changes to what they’d agreed. But George insisted on the meetings, and he insisted they needed to be face-to-face at his office — a taxi ride across town in Friday afternoon London traffic.

There was so much wrong with this relationship. Apart from paying very little, George never paid on time. The Friday afternoon meetings, the late evening calls, the constant changes to the brief they’d agreed on, and the continuous demands for more work on Tony’s part, without sufficient financial renumeration was having a really negative impact on Tony’s morale and his mental health. His relationship with his girlfriend was suffering, because he never had time to spend with her, and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been to visit his parents, or seen his friends.

Time and time again Tony questioned why he was doing this. He felt it was because George was his first client, and he felt that he owed him. He also felt if he couldn’t deliver on this work. If he failed his client, he would be failing himself, he would be a failure, his freelance business would be a failure. And so he persisted, telling himself it would get easier, that George would come to recognise and value the good work he was doing, and that they’d develop a better working relationship.

That wasn’t to be. That Friday afternoon meeting was to become the final, fateful meeting from hell.

As Tony had come to expect from these meetings, George wanted to make yet more changes to the brief that they’d agreed on. He demanded more from Tony, and he said all of this needed to be completed by Monday morning. Tony said that wasn’t possible. He had a friend’s wedding the next day, and immediately after the meeting he was catching a train out of London and wouldn’t return until Sunday night. He had already told George this. In fact he had wanted to travel earlier in the day, and had asked George if they could have this meeting remotely. George refused and insisted Tony come to his office. He then kept Tony waiting for an hour.

George’s behaviour was always unsettling, but today it was completely erratic. He kept getting up from the table and pacing back and forth. When he was sitting, he just kept tapping the table. He didn’t engage in any eye contact. He wouldn’t listen to anything Tony was trying to say, and kept cutting him off and talking over him.

Then about an hour into the meeting, when he demanded Tony work on the latest changes he needed over the weekend, and Tony told him he couldn’t, telling him again about the wedding he was going to, George completely flipped, shouting at Tony that he needed it done, and that if he didn’t do it, he wouldn’t pay him for any of the work he’d done on the project; and he’d tell everyone he knew how bad Tony’s work was. His final words were: “if you don’t do this, I’ll destroy you, and I’ll make sure you’ll never work as a marketing consultant again.”

Tony was dumbstruck. He had been feeling anxious throughout the meeting, now his blood pressure had risen sky high. He still doesn’t know how, but he somehow managed to hold it together. He got up from the table, and said: “We’re finished, this relationship is over, I’m terminating this project. We both know you owe me for the work I’ve done, I’m going to write that off, because I don’t want to have anything to do with you ever again. If you want to pursue this, if you want to bad mouth me, there will be repercussions, that I can guarantee you. I’ll be seeing my best friend who is a solicitor at the wedding this weekend. I’ll brief him fully on the situation. Here’s his card. Anything else you’ve got to say, say it to him.” With that Tony walked out of George’s office.

He never did hear from George again. Tony recognised he was a bully, and in standing up to him, he had disempowered him.

Although shaken by the whole experience, Tony also felt a great sense of relief. He felt he’d gotten his WorkLife back, and was determined not to lose it again. He knew he needed to define what that was — what it was he wanted, and as importantly what it was he didn’t want. In terms of the people he wanted to work with, and the work he wanted to do, and also making time for the people he wanted to spend time with outside of work, and the things outside of work he wanted to make time to do.

Book Wisdom

Tony picked up a copy of Small is the New Big by Seth Godin. One of the first questions Godin poses is: “How Dare You? How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” Going on to say: “I Dare You. I dare you to read any ten of these essays and still be comfortable settling for what you’ve got. You don’t have to settle for the status quo, for being good enough, for getting by, for working all night.”

This question, these words echoed loudly for Tony. He was determined to draw on the wisdom of the essays, the stories Godin shared, to give himself the feedback he needed to make his WorkLife work for him.

Tony drew the following wisdom from the essay/story: Do Less.

“Years ago, when I started my first company, I believed in two things: Survival is Success and Take the best project you can get, but take a project. I figured that if I was always busy and I managed to avoid wiping out, sooner or later everything would work out.”

“Maybe you need to be a lot pickier about what you do and for whom you do it.”

“Consider the architect who designs just a few major buildings a year. Obviously he has to dig deep to do work of a high enough quality to earn these commissions. But by not cluttering his life and his reputation with a string of low-budget, boring projects, he actually increases his chances of getting great projects in the future.”

“Take a look at your client list. What would happen if you fired half of your clients? If you fire the customers who pay late, give you a hard time, have you work on low-leverage projects, and are rarely the source of positive recommendations. Would your business improve?”

“Leaving off that last business project not only makes our profits go up, but it can also dramatically improve the rest of our lives.”

Words of Wisdom

Knowing when to pull the plug on toxic work relationships gives you more time to find good people to work with. That can be colleagues, collaborators or clients.

Sage Wisdom

“The ability to change fast is the single best asset in a world that is changing fast.” Seth Godin

Epilogue

Do something that matters with people who matter. This is Tony’s motto for his WorkLife. This is the motto which guides him in deciding every project he takes on, and in how he lives his WorkLife today.

Today’s Featured Book is: Small is the New Big Seth Godin

Today’s story was featured in my book: How To Use Your Voice To Express And Protect Your Identity from The School Of WorkLife Book Series.

Click on the above title for an inside view of the book, where you will see the stories and assignments. Tap the link below to see the other books in the series. 

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 2/7/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Live True To Who You Really Are

How To Use Your Voice To Express and Protect Your Identity

How To Overcome Self-Doubt Through Self-Appreciation

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

How Working Remotely Helped Lawyers Make the Best of a Bad Situation 

A Lesson in How to Get Creative in Your Thinking to Navigate Through Difficult Times 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

The type of changes to our way of working brought about by the economic downturn of 2007 was, I think, quite interesting in how it caused the entrepreneurs among us to get creative in our thinking of how to make the best of a bad situation.

In a lot of cases, the doom and gloom of late will also bring about quite enterprising and more fulfilling ways to work. Life’s most difficult situations can also be the most transformative, as I expect many of us have come to learn.

Let me take you back in time to 2007 and let me tell you Gerald and Barbara’s stories.

The world of law had been severely impacted by what had been going on in the economy. Bearing in mind the historically traditional approach to work in this profession, there have been a number of successful spin-offs where lawyers having found themselves out of work made the most of combining their considerable experience while also utilising technology to join forces with other equally talented lawyers across the various disciplines of law to offer a solution that provides the same professional service the client would expect from a leading law firm that’s extremely more affordable — Virtual Law.

Who’d have thought Cyber Space law would work in the law profession, which is steeped in the tradition of in-person, face-to-face meetings. But work it does for Gerald and Barbara: two lawyers who established their work in this way.

Gerald is a senior Commercial Lawyer who has joined forces with a newly formed virtual law company.

Barbara is a family lawyer who chose this way of working to facilitate being a mum and wanting to be at home bringing up her daughter with the ability of being able to attend those all so important school events, in the knowledge that a sudden transaction won’t take over her life.

Both lawyers provide quality work in the same way they would have done within the organisations they worked in.

Surely this has to be a win/win situation all around. The client is happy because the nature of the delivery of the work has enabled the lawyer to significantly reduce costs incurred – overheads such as costs of premises and travel expenses. Each lawyer has created a way of working that, in the short term, provides them with a great way of providing their services that fits into their lifestyle in the way they want it to do.

They may choose to continue with this arrangement, and they may find that it completely works for them, or they may decide to return to a more corporate environment.

If so, it’s a great way of demonstrating their ability to develop business, which of course is a key factor on that road to partnership and beyond.

This story is from the economic downturn of 2007. We’ve come far since then in how we manage our WorkLives. However, economic downturns always bring about new challenges. This new one we’re facing following the pandemic will be no different. Nor will we be different in getting creative in our thinking of how to make the best of a bad situation.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories, I share my own experiences, and with permission, stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

..

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 1/7/21 I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Your WorkLife Your Way

How To Be Creative in Your Thinking

How To Use Turning Points to Start Something Different and Better

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

How Being a Perpetual Student Could Become Your Comfort Blanket 

Because While Learning Is Wonderful It Can Sometimes Hold You Back 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

Start With Where You Are With What You’ve Got and With Who You Are A Case Study:

And Remember the Old Adage: While Learning Is Wonderful, It Can Sometimes Hold You Back, It Can Be Your Comfort Blanket

Maria was in her early 50s when she began her return journey to the world of acting. Over thirty years earlier, on finishing school, she had gone straight onto drama school, gaining a BA (Hons) in Drama & Theatre Arts. Soon after she married and started a family. She chose to be a stay-at-home mum, and to put her dream of becoming an actor on hold.

Over the years she kept her hand in by being involved in her local community theatre, mostly behind the scenes, helping out with whatever needed to be done on productions, as General Production Runners assistant — from making costumes, to office administration to promoting ticket sales, and cleaning up.

Start With Where You Are With What You’ve Got and With Who You Are: A Case Study:

Her dream of becoming an actor had never gone away, and in recent years she had successfully auditioned for small roles in her community theatre productions. This reignited her quenched fire and she knew she wanted more. She wanted bigger roles in her local theatre productions, and she also wanted roles in bigger theatre productions, as well as roles in film and TV.

To achieve this she knew she needed to develop her skills, and so began her quest to learn, and learn and then learn some more. And so, she took class, after class, after class. This helped to give her the confidence to successfully audition for those bigger roles in her local community theatre productions.

Three years later she had taken every course possible at all of London drama schools offering part time courses, and she’d played most of the leading roles in her local community theatre productions. She had put all of the skills she had learnt to good practice, both on stage in the theatrical productions she had been involved with, and on screen by becoming involved in student short film productions.

She was at a point where she wanted to perform on stages other than those that were considered to be amateur dramatics productions, or even fringe theatre. And she wanted to move away from student films to be part of mainstream films and TV productions.

This was when she hit a barrier. She didn’t believe she could achieve this starting from where she was, with what she had, and with who she was. She believed she needed to attend a leading drama school, undertake a full-time course — the courses she identified would take two years. This she believed would allow her to start from a better place, with what she needed, and with who she would be by the end of the course.

Maria identified three London schools she wanted to apply to, each of them offered two-year courses, and so she began to prepare for auditions. She was successful in being offered a place at one of the schools.

Over coffee, Maria shared her good news with her trusted friend Bella. They’d attended Drama School together all those years ago. Bella had gone on to become an actor, and played roles on stage, film, and TV. In between times when she wasn’t performing, she taught acting at a leading drama school.

Bella wasn’t convinced that Maria’s belief that she needed to attend a leading drama school and undertake a two year course was true, or that it was the only option that Maria had, or indeed the best option. She had been to see Maria’s most recent stage performances, and she’d watched the short films she’d acted in. Bella was impressed with her performances, and she thought that Maria was actually holding herself back, and that she was in danger of becoming a perpetual student. She gently broached this with Maria, sharing these:

Word of Wisdom

While learning is wonderful, it can sometimes hold you back, it can be your comfort blanket.

She went on to ask Maria to consider the following questions:

What will going to a leading drama school for the next two years give you?

What will not going to a leading drama school for the next two years give you?

What will you gain by doing this?

What will you lose by doing this?

Can you get what you want in any other way?

Maria was thrown by what Bella said. Before they met she was convinced that going to a leading drama school, and undertaking a full-time course, was not only the best option, but the only real option she had. Now she was less certain. Because she valued Bella’s thinking, she knew she needed to give the questions Bella had posed serious consideration.

Reflecting on these questions, this is the feedback Maria gave herself:

Going to a leading drama school for the next two years would give me great credibility. To have been accepted onto the course in the first place was a great achievement. The audition process was tough, and places were limited. I know from the feedback I received that the school had seen something in me for me to have been successful in being offered a place. Building on this over the course of two years, I could only get better because of the intensive training she would undertake.

Not going to a leading drama school for the next two years would give me — well, it would give me two years to focus on getting the roles I aspire to get, on stage, on film and on TV. A head start as such. If I was good enough to be accepted into this school, well, maybe I’m good enough to begin to get small roles, which in turn could lead to something bigger.

I would gain more skills and more confidence as a result of doing this.

I would lose the opportunity to be out in the real world auditioning for real roles and gaining real world experience in the industry, and potentially being offered roles by doing this.

I could get the experience in another way by identifying my learning gaps, learning what I need to bridge those gaps, and then putting that into practice, enabling me to learn and grow.

Maria was confused. She really didn’t know what to do for the best. She had two months before she needed to accept her place, and she also had the option of deferring for one year.

She and Bella met for coffee again, and Maria shared the feedback she’d given herself, prompted by Bella’s questions. Bella had brought along a book which she believed would be helpful to Maria.

Book Wisdom

The book was The Intent to Live Achieving Your True Potential As An Actor by Larry Moss.

Moss shares the techniques he has developed over thirty years to help actors set their emotions and imagination on fire, resulting in performances that are powerful, authentic and career changing.

From the foundations of script analysis to the nuances of physicalisation and sensory work, here are the case studies, exercises, and insights that enable you to connect personally with a script, develop your character from the inside out, overcome fear and inhibition, and master the technical skills required for success in the theatre, television, and movies.

These words from the back cover spoke to Maria. Immediately she made the decision to spend the two months she had before she needed to make her decision, learning as much as she could from Moss. She wasn’t convinced she could get the learning she needed from a book, but she was willing to give it a go.

Sage Wisdom

“I call this book The Intent to Live rather than the Intent to Act because great actors don’t seem to be acting, they seem to be actually living. You know you’re in the presence of the best actors when you forget you’re sitting in an audience watching make-believe and instead you are catapulted onto the screen or stage and blasted into the lives of the characters.”

“I want to tell you another, more personal reason for the title of this book. When I was a young actor, I had many negative feelings about myself and about my life. I made a decision not to destroy myself but to understand and heal the pain that at times seemed so overwhelming. In other words, I made a decision to live. And one of the things that helped me was learning the craft of acting.” Larry Moss

Epilogue

Maria did in fact learn a lot through the book. Not as much as she knew she would learn attending drama school full-time for two years, but enough to allow her to know that her best decision at the end of the two months was to defer for one year. This would allow her time to put the learning she had gained into practice, and to continue this learn/practice loop by continuing to identify her skills gap. She made the decision to start with where she was, with what she had, and with who she was.

Today’s Featured Book is The Intent to Live Achieving Your True Potential As An Actor by Larry Moss.

Today’s story was featured in my book: How To Embrace The Superpower of Self-Awareness from The School Of WorkLife book series.

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

.……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 30/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Fine-Tune The Superpower of Observation

How To Plan Effectively: Professionally and Personally  

How To Be Autonomous in Your Development and Growth

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

A Lesson in How To Handle a Bad Boss 

3 Steps To Help You To Speak Up and To Give Your Boss a Chance to Respond

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

One reason that workers become unhappy at work is bad management. A bad boss can turn even a good working environment into an uncomfortable and unhappy workplace.

They are in a position of power, you, however, are not powerless, BUT you do need to take responsibility to speak up in an attempt to change the situation.

An essential strategy is to Speak Up: Having a frank conversation with your boss about the problem in a calm and professional manner can help you work towards resolving it.

Yes, there are bosses who are inherently bad and misuse their position of power, but there are also bosses who have lost their way and are behaving out of character, and there are bosses who are unaware of the impact of their behaviour.

The way in which you approach the conversation will be dependent on your relationship.

The key thing is to prepare and to approach it from an objective standpoint.

To do this, you need to:

Step 1:

Put yourself in their shoes to understand how they see the world and the workplace. To help with this, consider:

What keeps them up at night.

What challenges they’re facing.

What they’d love to do more of/less of on a daily basis.

Step 2:

Plan what you’re going to say:

Be clear on the points you want to get across and the overall objective you want to achieve from the meeting.

Step 3:

Be prepared for obstacles/objections:

Arrange a time to talk, keep it brief and to the point. Some bosses want to know the agenda before the meeting, and others don’t. Work with their preferences.

Anticipate their reaction/argument/defence — having put yourself in their shoes and planning what you need to say, you’ll be forearmed to deal with this.

The important thing is to speak up and to give your boss a chance to respond.

Speaking up rather than cowering in silence for fear of an awkward conversation takes courage, but you owe that to yourself and your boss.

Having a genuine desire to work collaboratively to make things work better can open the door to a new level of respect and trust.

A door that will remain permanently closed otherwise.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 28/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Live True To Who You Really Are

How To Use Your Voice To Express and Protect Your Identity

How To Overcome Your Fear To Live Your Life With Courage

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Because of Longevity There’s Space For a Whole New Worklife Chapter 

How to Establish Yourself in a Way That’s Meaningful to You

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

Is It Ever Too Late For Your Next WorkLife Chapter?

Well, no, I don’t think so, and recently, I began work with John, who Is 64. John wanted to consider his next WorkLife move.

John’s WorkLife began in the forces where he was an engineer before moving into production management in the computer industry. From there, he moved into design and manufacturing in the telecoms industry, then on to operations director in the pharmaceutical industry before moving into consultancy work in the tobacco industry.

His work took him all over the world, and along the way, he undertook various pieces of research and development and also worked closely with HR departments delivering training and development.

Then he decided to retire and move to the South of France, but a few months and many gastronomic delights later, John was beginning to become a little bored and wondered if he had retired just a little too early.

Not one to sit on his laurels, he undertook a building development project which led to another and before he knew it, he was sourcing French properties for folks back in the UK and project managing the development work.

So as you can appreciate, John is a man of many talents. When we began our work together, he wanted to figure out what he wanted to do that would fit into semi-retirement — keep him mentally stimulated but also give him the scope to do nothing if he chose to. Nothing other than developing his appreciation for fine wines, fine food and fine art, that is, oh and learning to speak French and playing boules.

This was no ordinary job search campaign, and we soon agreed his best plan of action was to connect with people he’d met throughout his WorkLife, just by way of catching up for a coffee or beer and having a chat about things in general.

Well, no sooner did he do this than when an opportunity arose for him to deliver some very specialist consultancy training work.  He would be required to Train the Trainers – the Consultancy Firm’s consultants for this specific field-based work.

He’s now established himself as the person they come to when they bring new consultants on board, and he’s also been asked to be a Non-Executive Director supporting the development of talent with a commitment of one day a month over ten months of the year.

Un coup de chance? (a stroke of good luck?) — Maybe a little luck, but I’ve come to learn the better we are, the luckier we become! And John is top of the game in terms of being good.

So, it’s never too late to begin the next chapter of your WorkLife, and a lot of employers will value the wealth of skills and experience you will bring to the organisation.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories, I share my own experiences, and with permission, stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

John’s story was featured in How To Start Something New In Difficult Times which is part of the School of WorkLife Book Series

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 27/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Plan Effectively: Professionally and Personally  

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively  

How To Build Your WorkLife Around What Engages and Inspires You

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

How Can You Move to the Next Stage of Your WorkLife After Redundancy? 

How to Come up With a Good Idea That Gives You a Renewed Zest For Life 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

Life After Redundancy What Next?

The Good News: With Creative Thinking and Strategic Planning, You Can Move to the Next Stage of Your Worklife with a Renewed Zest for Life

It is disturbing for anyone to lose their job, particularly after years of service. During the current economic climate, a number of industries have been so severely impacted that people are having to reinvent themselves to consider completely different WorkLife paths, and many are setting up in business themselves, which may seem a risky prospect taking into account the current state of the economy. It certainly needs a good idea and an effective business plan to make a successful venture.

But how do you go about coming up with that ‘good idea’? Well, let me tell you Tim’s story.

Tim was made redundant from his role in Human Resources in the Educational Sector. Now, of course, Tim’s skills were quite transferable across sectors, but he was actually thinking of doing something new, and he considered the redundancy payout he’d received a gift, and he wanted to ensure he invested it in the best possible business venture, one that would be fulfilling for him and sustain him and his family in both the short and long term.

We talked about his interests and hobbies, one of which is scale model making, an unusual idea you may be thinking but sometimes the more unusual and unique the idea, the easier it is to research.

So Tim went about researching his idea, and in the meantime, he kept himself busy with a little painting and decorating for his own home and also for friends and family who were happy to engage his services to carry out work they themselves didn’t have the time or inclination to do.

Well, as I’ve come to learn, once you have an awareness of what you want, you’ll begin to see opportunities in the most unexpected of places. It’s just like when you buy a new silver Mercedes (I wish), all of a sudden you’ll see silver Mercedes everywhere.

Well, true to this belief, Tim discovered a woman who had an established scale model making business who was due to retire, and he bought the business from her.

This was a good brand with an established customer base and great potential. The woman didn’t use computers and, as a result, didn’t utilise the web. Tim has built an effective web marketing plan into his business plan, and with hard work and a fair wind, it should provide a nice income stream to supplement his savings and investments. The good thing is the margins are lucrative, and the costs are low.

On top of that, Tim has become a School Parent Governor at his daughter’s school, which he’s finding interesting and he’s enjoying applying past learnt management and people skills in a new context.

The moral of this story: There is life after redundancy, and with creative thinking and strategic planning, you can move to the next stage of your WorkLife with a renewed zest for life.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories I share my own experiences, and with permission stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

.……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 24/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Use Turning Points to Start Something Different and Better

How To Build Your WorkLife Around What Engages and Inspires You

How To Successfully Invent and Reinvent Yourself 

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

How to Take The Cork Out of the Bottle of Something You Want to Release

What You Need to Do First Is to Give It a Chance to Breathe

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

My First Book Was Like a Cork From a Bottle

I took out that cork and one year later I had published 2 paperbacks, 27 e-books and was working on my next paperback.

That’s 30 books!

The First two paperbacks I self-published – Your WorkLife Your Way – the book and the accompanying Your WorkLife Your Way Workbook.

Why?

Because I like to learn how to do things and self-publishing is a good way to learn how the world of books as a writer works.

I also self-published the 27 e-books — The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Why?

Because I think self-publishing is a good option for e-books.

I then worked with a publishing company on my next paperback, WorkLife Book Club.

Why?

Because I want to experience how that will be.

And also, the company belongs to the editor I worked with on my other books.

My first book, when I took the cork out of the bottle, led to many more books and to a relationship with a publisher.

It also led to many stories that I share on my website blog and on platforms for writers.

All of this happened because I took the cork out of the bottle of something I wanted to release and then I gave it a chance to breathe.

Have you an experience of taking a cork out of a bottle?

Or do you have a bottle you want to take a cork out of?

The stories I bring you are created from questions and answers drawn from WorkLife lessons. What I’m trying to do is to highlight different answers, to provide you with a pathway so that even if a particular story doesn’t apply to you, you understand there is a path to follow. 

Whatever you want to do, there is a clear path to it, and once you understand those steps, it becomes much more intuitive, and perhaps it even gives you the courage to get started. Because that’s what you need most, the courage to get started. The courage to take the cork out of the bottle.

.……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 23/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively

How To Let Curiosity Be Your Driving Force  

How To Be Vulnerable and Courageous  

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Good Times and Bad Times Bring About Great Resignations

Three Lessons Learnt From Times Of Change and Uncertainty Gone By

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

I left Investment Banking in 2003.

Was it a Great Resignation?

I can’t say it was, but I can say it was greatly significant.

During my 12+ years in Investment Banking, I had always worked on a freelance basis, on three-month rolling contracts that could be ended with a two week notice period by either party. In 2003, there was a slowing in the market, and the bank decided to end much of their contract work in order to make the jobs of permanent staff more secure. I was offered a permanent position, which I declined. It was the push I needed. And so my resignation couldn’t be called a great resignation, but it could be called greatly significant.

Why? 

Because it was the beginning of a new WorkLife chapter, which has gotten me to where I am today.

It took a little time, though, because first, I needed to figure out what I would do next. Which was to become a WorkLife learning practitioner and writer, helping people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives. That required getting my degree in Career Coaching and Management. It was quite a balancing act working to bring in much-needed income, which I did by facilitating workshops while studying and gaining practical experience that would allow me to launch my new WorkLife.

This brings me to:

Lesson One of Three Lessons Learnt From Times Of Change and Uncertainty Gone By.

1. We can overestimate what we can achieve in one year and underestimate what we can achieve in three years and beyond.

Fast forward to 2006, and I’m working with people who were part of the Great Resignation movement of that time. People who were willing to take a risk on leaving a job that wasn’t fulfilling to them, to go in search of a new WorkLife that aligned with what was important to them — both in and out of work.

Why were they willing to take this risk?

Because at that time, it was a buoyant job market, and this helped mitigate the risk. If things didn’t work out, or if things didn’t happen as quickly as needed, they could go back to what they were doing or get another job in the interim.

Within two years, those good times came crashing down when we hit the recession of 2008 and beyond. Those that kept their jobs hung on to them for dear life. Those who lost their jobs, who wanted to get back into full-time employment, began the challenge to make that happen. And those, who like me, figured the loss of their job was the push they needed to do something different started working to make that happen.

My work shifted to delivering Outplacement programmes, helping people make the transition that was right for them, whether that was getting back into the workplace in a similar role or beginning something new.

This wasn’t a time of Great Resignations but Forced Redundancies.

For this story, I will focus on the learning I gained from the people who began a new WorkLife chapter.

This brings me to:

Lesson Two of Three Lessons Learnt From Times Of Change and Uncertainty Gone By.

“There’s a saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. The truth is you will work harder than you ever thought possible, but the tools will feel light in your hands.” Tim Cook

This is because all the time, you will be carving out the WorkLife that fits your wants and needs.

Fast forward to the present day. So much has shifted in the last year. People have come to realise that the world we live in is not secure, and trusting your future to an organisation, even if it’s a good organisation, doesn’t make it safe. If you love your job and want to keep doing it, you may also want to build something for yourself, perhaps a side hustle that will give you extra security. And if you don’t love your job, perhaps now is the push you need to make your Great Resignation.

This brings me to:

Lesson Three of Three Lessons Learnt From Times Of Change and Uncertainty Gone By.

You Have Much of What You Need Within You, and What You Don’t Have, You Will Be Able to Find or Figure Out.

For example, over the last year, I couldn’t deliver the live learning workshops I had planned, so I wrote 27 e-books, which I’ve called The School Of WorkLife book series. The series is designed to help people manage their WorkLife learning and transitions through times of change and uncertainty. Through good times and bad times. To help people navigate their pathways, to be ready for the Big Resignation, should that be the next chapter of their WorkLife story.

And I had much of what I needed within me to do that. I’ve been a collector of people’s amazing WorkLife stories since 2003 when I made my significant resignation. Since then, I’ve also created many learning programmes.

In writing the books, I simply told people’s powerful stories of WorkLife challenges and successes. I shared the exercises which helped navigate these situations, which I presented as learning assignments for people to work through.

I worked with an editor in self-publishing the e-books, and that led me to work with his publishing company on my next paperback, WorkLife Book Club.

If I can do it, so can you, and you never know where your new WorkLife chapter will lead you, and what doors and opportunities will open along the way.

Tap the link below to see the books in The School Of WorkLife series.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 21/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Use Turning Points to Start Something Different and Better

How To Build Your WorkLife Around What Engages and Inspires You

How To Successfully Invent and Reinvent Yourself  

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

How to Come Back When You Discover The Grass Wasn’t Greener After All 

What Can You Do When Your Leap of Faith Doesn’t Work Out? 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

Sometimes after following a leap of faith into something new, we realise our original choice was a better one, but we then struggle to get back to that.

When people come to me saying they’re unhappy in their work and want to find something that has more meaning to them and is inspiring in a way that gets them out of bed in the morning and keeps them sustained throughout the day —  in the here and now and into the future. 

I always say that as we go through the process and we consider, evaluate, and reality check a number of options, they may discover that the job they’re in is not so bad after all or perhaps the new WorkLife they choose will take a little time and planning and in the short-term, they may have to stay put, but they will need to effect some changes to improve their current circumstances. Now that’s not what people want to hear, but it is better to know before jumping ship that the grass is not always greener.

The Greener Grass syndrome is probably something we all know of or have experienced. Sometimes when a client comes to me, it’s because they made a leap into something new, and they’ve come to realise that actually, their original WorkLife was a better choice for them, but they’re finding it a challenge to get back in.

Let’s take Arjun’s story as an example:

Arjun began his WorkLife in Human Rights law, which he really enjoyed. He was involved in some high profile cases, which drew attention to him and his talent. As a result, he was head-hunted into the arena of Commercial law and supported in his re-training. A completely different world which he may have enjoyed for a time but soon grew tired of and, as a result, considered law might not actually be for him.

And so he took a sabbatical, during which time he set up a juice bar which took off overnight and became a huge success, but then the recession hit and his business was affected, and he had to let his staff go, and he was running a one-man show and working all the hours under the sun. This took a toll on his health, and he became seriously ill and had to sell his business. During the long road to recovery, he had plenty of time for reflection, and he came to realise that law was his passion, not Commercial law but Human Rights law, and so he set about getting back into doing this.

This is where he began to encounter obstacles. Having been away from this area of law for over three years, his CV wasn’t getting past 1st base with recruitment consultants or job boards, and so he began to work with a WorkLife Coach.

It’s important to have the bases of recruitment consultants and job boards covered, but in this current competitive environment, you can only be proactive about connecting with consultants and applying for jobs, but then you’re reactive because you’re waiting for an opportunity to come through. So you need to be proactive with moving your job search on to speculative approaches and networking.

Arjun and his coach both knew that once he got in front of an employer, he’d get the job. This was because he made a great first impression, he was passionate about his work, and he would get the opportunity to explain why he left this particular area and why he wanted to return.

But he was still facing a brick wall. He could not get past 1st base of being invited along for an interview. And, so he had to consider what else could be done.

I’m a firm believer of ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will come’ or an opportunity will arise and out of no way will come a way. This is exactly what happened. By way of research that Arjun was carrying out as a part of his job search strategy, he came across an opportunity that would support him in getting back into human rights law.

But it was in South Africa. While he knew the particular piece of work would look great on his CV and allow him to connect and network with individuals and organisations that could facilitate his move back into what he wanted to do, it would involve moving to South Africa for six months.

He loved his life in London, but he knew he had to do what he had to do and so he applied and was successful in securing the role. At the end of the six months, he accepted a three-year assignment to work closely with the United Nations. This was part of his longer-term plan that came about much more quickly than he had dreamed.

And so, before making that move to what you might consider are greener pastures, perhaps first take time to consider if there are any changes you can effect to make your current situation better.

I always think if your career is a 70% fit in terms of your values, interests, and motivators, you’ll be able to get some of what might be missing in your life outside of work.

For example, you might not like being desk-bound or office or city-based, and so you figure out how to design your work so that it doesn’t demand you’re always at your desk or in the office and at weekends you get out in the country. In most cases, this is achievable as we move towards a more mobile way of working.

Now, all that said, I do actually think that we all have more than one career in our lifetime, and with longevity, there’s space for a whole new career between retirement and death, but that’s for another post.

Arjun’s story was featured in my book: Your WorkLife Your Way.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories, I share my own experiences and, with permission, stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities. 

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POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 17/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Make Your Values Matter

How To Use Your Purpose To Help Others  

How To Plan Effectively: Professionally and Personally

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Why Bizarre Interview Questions Are Asked and How to Handle Them 

What Makes an Interview Question a Good Insightful Question? 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

Part of a series of stories of weird questions people were asked at interviews, how they answered them, and what the interviewer may have been looking for in asking these questions. This series also considers what makes a question, a good question from the point of view of being an insightful question.

How Would You Count the Hairs on a Cat?

William was asked this question when he was interviewing for a project management role at an investment bank in the City of London. He was given a pen and paper, and calculator to work it out! He was thankful for this because it gave him time to gather his thoughts, and while he didn’t calculate, he did scribble down a few thoughts.

His answer was: “I’d weigh one hair, then shave the cat and weigh all the hair I shaved off, I’d then divide the overall hair weight by the individual hair weight to get the number of hairs on the cat.” He got the job!

What the interviewers were looking for was a candidate who could demonstrate their ability to think on the spot, showing creativity and intuitiveness as well as logical and practical thinking, including how they would go about solving difficult and even unusual challenges that might arise, and also to have conviction in their answer and the confidence to communicate this. The interviewers were more interested in how candidates got to an answer, as opposed to what the answer might be.

Such challenging questions are becoming ever more commonplace in interviews it seems, as employers seek to get past the polish to hire the best candidate. With so many self-help websites, candidates can be quite polished on standard interview questions, making it difficult for people to stand out if they ask the routine questions. So doing things differently will help them get to the best candidate, or so the thinking goes.

I asked William how easy it was for him to know how to answer this type of question, and if there’s anything he does to help him prepare. He told me that he loves to think about things in different ways and to explore the hidden side of everything. He went on to share this:

Book Wisdom

The book Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner is described as a rogue economist exploring the hidden side of everything, saying it’s all about using information about the world around us to get to the heart of what’s really happening under the surface of everyday life.

They talk about building the chapters around admittedly freakish questions, such as: “What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?”  They say: “If you ask enough questions, strange as they seem at the time, you may eventually learn something worthwhile.”

They go on to say: “The first trick of asking questions is to determine if your question is a good one. Just because a question has never been asked does not make it good. Smart people have been asking questions for quite a few centuries now, so many of the questions that haven’t been asked are bound to yield some uninteresting answers.

“But if you can question something that people really care about and find an answer that may surprise them — that is, if you can overturn the conventional wisdom — then you may have some luck.”

In researching this story, and as part of my ongoing research into considering what makes a question an insightful question, I came across these:

Words of Wisdom

If you’re on the other side of the table (the interviewee) you’ll need an arsenal of questions, too. Because at some point you’ll be asked: Do you have any questions for me? Lori Goler, VP of People at Facebook.

Goler goes on to share the following:

Sage Wisdom

The question “What is your biggest problem and can I help solve it?” is a question she posed when she cold-called Sheryl Sandberg. She was hoping to land a job, any job at Facebook. When Sheryl responded “Recruiting, we have amazing people, and we want to continue to build the team.” Despite never having worked as a recruiter, Goler jumped at the opportunity; and after a few months working as a recruiter, when the head of HR moved to a different team, Goler moved into the role. She has been Facebook’s head of Recruiting and HR ever since.

Epilogue

William’s interview was some years ago now. A more recent HubSpot blog post, says: “Hiring managers have heard about using these curveball questions to identify the best candidates. Fortunately, for intelligent and qualified candidates everywhere, studies have found that the brainteaser interview questions made famous by Silicon Valley and Wall Street are just as silly as they sound.” It goes on to say: “There’s a need to get creative in asking questions to understand if, for example, a candidate is a team player.”

Because of my interest in insightful questions, this is a subject I’ll come back to again.

Today I leave you with the question:

What is an important question for you to have in your arsenal of questions to get your foot in the door of a company you aspire to work at?

Use the self-feedback that comes to you through reflecting on this question, to build your arsenal of questions for all of the opportunities you want to pursue in your WorkLife.

Today’s featured book is: Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 16/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively 

How To Be Creative in Your Thinking  

How To Let Curiosity Be Your Driving Force   

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.