Safe problem. Quality problem.

You know that problem that’s been kicking around inside your head for the past 3+ months? C’mon… you know the one. It’s the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing in your head at night. Yea, that’s the one… that’s a Safe Problem.

Safe problems are lingering issues that are within our control such as: procrastination, hesitation, overeating, blaming others for your troubles, avoiding commitment to a relationship or avoiding making a decision.

On the other hand, a quality problem is much different - you’ve had plenty of those before as well.

Quality problems involve a risky forward-thinking decision such as: changing jobs, starting a business, committing to a relationship or leaving a relationship etc.,

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Book Club: So good they can't ignore you

Cal Newport has written a very engaging and important book on the topic of whether or not you should follow your passion. He questions this ubiquitous advice, its real world implications and the financial viability of following through on following your passion.

“The happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do. On reflection, this makes sense.” Cal Newport

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Have you heard about Fear-Setting?

When it comes to making big decisions that will have big consequences, we all get nervous. What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if I fail? What happens if I can’t go back? These are all valid concerns and should be dealt with rather than avoided and left to ruminate in our heads.

There’s a great exercise by a bloggers named Tim Ferriss called Fear-Setting which he outlines in his Ted Talk below. Basically, it’s about breaking each fear into three steps:

  1. DEFINE - state exactly what the fear is

  2. PREVENT - outline how you could possibly prevent it from happening

  3. REPAIR - describe how you could deal with it even if it did come to pass

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Create a professional summary to "sell yourself"

“You need to sell yourself more“ is a phrase you’ve probably heard one hundred times or more. But the chances are that you don’t like the idea of selling yourself at all. Something about it seems awful, or disingenuous. But, never the less, we need to be able to do it - especially if we’re competing against others who are selling themselves really well. Below are some points you can use to sell yourself well and to talk about yourself in interviews. The idea is that you don’t sell yourself as more than you are, but not less than you are, just exactly as you are, and honestly. That way, you’ll have no trouble backing up what you’ve said and it will give you more confidence when describing your career.

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How to sell yourself and sound humble
  1. I had the opportunity to work with a great team which allowed me to...

  2. My role involves taking responsibility for...

  3. I've really worked hard over the past few years to develop my skills in...

  4. I've been fortunate enough to work with clients/stakeholders and deliver..., which resulted in an increase/improvement

  5. Luckily, after some trial and error, I figured out that..., which was key because it meant that...

  6. The benefit of the (qualifications/experience/manager/mentor) that I've had, ensured that...

  7. The (challenge) that I've had in my previous role has facilitated and empowered my personal/professional development in terms of...

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Job Application Management

Sending lots of applications to job postings, companies, professional contacts can be confusing. Below I’ve attached a spreadsheet that should help you organise the various applications, along with when you should follow up with them.

I would normally give a company two weeks to respond to an application (maybe longer if it’s the public sector), and then follow up with an email. If there’s no response to that, it's worth calling them a week later to check on the progress of the application.

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How to leave your job

When should you leave your job?

  • Firstly, you have to consider your financial stability and employment options - you need to be financially stable to leave your job, and ideally you should have another job to go to.

  • You should leave your job if you are extremely unhappy in it and you’ve been unhappy in it for a while. I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all have parts of our jobs that we don’t like, but we should aim for about 80% or more satisfaction - I think that’s reasonable.

  • You should leave your job if the environment is toxic and you’ve tried to make it better.

  • You should leave you job if you get offered a better opportunity with good conditions in the contract.

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What do you value?

Here is a really simple exercise for an area of your career that you're struggling with at the moment. Think of what the challenge is and then ask yourself:

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Ronan Kennedy
The script for quitting your job

Sometimes quitting is a job difficult. We worry about the consequences for our career, the rebuttal from our manager or even just an awkward conversation. Lots of different thoughts can go through your mind: “what if they ask me to stay?”, “what if they offer me a position in a different department that I don’t want?“, “what if they guilt me into staying for another few months or promise me there will be changes, when I know in reality that nothing will change?“. And so on…

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Creating Compelling Work Goals

What are your targets for this year? It’s the same question if you’re a business owner or an employee.

One of the big issues I see people having in this area is the lack of clarity around what the actual goals are. They might know generally speaking what they have to do - but they don’t know how to do it and when to have it done by. That’s why I created a handy template that you can use to identify and track your goals. Please click the button below to open the document.

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