Category Archives: Retrenchment & Redundancy


Our Fear Can Keep Us Stuck In a Worklife Rut – Can Asking For A 10% Discount Off Your Next Coffee Get You Out Of The Rut?

02J68316 ‘The Tim Ferris Experiment’ is a great business show by Tim Ferris author of The 4 Hour Work Week. The show opens with him talking about fear and how it holds so many of us back from doing things that are important to us – from changing jobs or careers, to setting up a business or asking for a pay increase.

One of the people on the show is a women who is considering setting up her own yoga studio. Tim Ferris and Co give her the task of going into a café and ordering a coffee, asking for 10% off. The women is fearful of going in and asking for the discount.  They ask her if people ask her for discounts ever (she is a freelance yoga instructor).  She does not reply however you get the sense that they do. The penny seems to drop and she goes for it.

The key to overcoming fear is to face it head on, which she does. Research suggests that if you don’t act on the decision to do something out of your normal routinue within 5 seconds, chances are you won’t act. So there is only a small window of opportunity each time to convince yourself to move out of our comfort zone.

It is a small step, asking for a discount on a coffee however for the woman it is a pretty big thing.  She goes into the café and passively asks “Can I order a coffee with 10% off? Would that be ok?”  The assistant gives her the discount and asks “What is the occasion?”  What appeared completely daunting became a little bit of fun.  Plus she got what she wanted.   The show goes on with more of her fears being tackled and coaching to get her business up and running.

The point is that we all experience fear – even the most successful people, they just know how to manage it and don’t let it hold them back from achieving the life they want.  Overcoming fear is a major blocker  for so many people in their worklife which is understandable.  The difference is that to achieve the worklife we want we need to take small steps towards achieving our goals -which entails overcoming our fear one step at a time.

There is nothing wrong with actively asking for what we need to achieve our worklife goals. When you do this authentically, with confidence and focus how effective it is. Just start small and build up. Start by asking for 10% off your next coffee order!

Incidentally when it comes to salary negotiation, it is generally accepted that employers are willing to pay an additional 10% above the salary they say is on offer when recruiting for a new role!

Kelly is the Author of The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation

Looking to Change Careers in 2015? The ‘Next Step Career Change Program’ is for You!

kelly biz logo 2 smallThe Next Step Career Change Program is designed for busy professionals and executives who are looking to make a successful career change. The program offers structure, accountability, flexibility of session delivery and ongoing coaching support.

You might be looking to make a career change and don’t know where to start, or you may have some career directions in mind but are not sure which path to take. Alternatively, you may have been retrenched and are looking to use this time to find a career you are passionate about.

If you are looking to start a new career in 2015 this program is for you.

What the program includes:

  • Initial 90 minute session; client career story and needs analysis
  • MBTI / The Majors Profiling Tool: 60 minute debrief and workbook
  • 4 x 60 minute sessions; covering core career change and job search areas. These can be conducted face to face or via Skype/ phone.
    • Self reflection work: values & skills card sorts, vision/goals, target jobs & industries – one session
    • Research, Networking Job Search Strategy – one session
    • CV writing / LinkedIn & Personal Branding – one session
    • Interview Preparation & Coaching – one session

Fees & materials:

Program materials include; 5 career workbooks, The Majors Report and ‘You’ve Got Personality’ book by Mary McGuiness, plus Career Key.

Total: 6 Sessions     Fee: $990 plus gst    Materials: $65 plus gst

It is important to note that clients are expected to do additional work outside of the sessions.

*Clients seeking additional support can purchase sessions at a reduced rate.

**Clients can swap the MBTI session for a 60 minute career session.


To make a booking or to find out more contact Kelly Magowan or call 0417 330 673

Status Anxiety & Its Impact on Our Careers

psychDo you suffer from status anxiety at work? Alain De Botton has done a terrific job in his book ‘Status Anxiety’  explaining how and why most of us are ‘consciously or unconsciously’ status orientated in life and work. As the excerpt below from his book clarifies so succinctly.

“This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that rarely gets mentioned directly: an anxiety about what others think of us; about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety. We care about our status for a simple reason: because most people tend to be nice to us according to the amount of status we have (it is no coincidence that the first question we tend to be asked by new acquaintances is ‘ What do you do?’).”

My interest is how status anxiety relates to our careers – our worklife in fact. I think it starts with our parents. They can have a huge influence over our careers and how we view career status. As adults we tend to hear our parents engaging in job title status related discussions with their friends about how well X,Y, and Z are doing in their careers. There is nothing worse than having to listen to your parents tell you how well your contemporaries are doing on the workfront and or their partners! Worse still when you are unemployed! Many parents seem to want to show how ‘successful’ their children are and having status orientated job titles and jobs seems to be an effective way of doing this. Unfortunately a great sounding job title does not equal job happiness – and when do you parents brag to others about your job happiness?

While job titles are not all bad, a negative aspect is that they are a label and labels can be misleading. They can also lead to segregation and all sorts of other negative associations. Job titles can be truly un-helpful in our careers as people may not look too much into the content of the job but rather be swayed by the job title. From resumes to job ads to workplaces – a great sounding job title seems to give you a lot more status and career progression. The content of the job seems to play second fiddle to the title!

While I don’t expect this to change anytime soon, I do believe there are a few ways to manage status when it comes to job seeking.

What is behind the job title?

It begins with looking beyond the job title when job seeking and looking at the content of the job ad and position description (if available). Don’t be fooled by a great sounding job title or put off by a lame one. Sometimes people don’t apply for their dream job because it has been mis-labelled and they think they are over or under qualified. I have seen this occur on a regular basis. If you are not sure, do as much due diligence as you can on and offline around the job. A good place to start is ONet if you are not sure about certain job types and titles.

Selling your achievements

When job seeking your job title can hold a lot of weight and in those instances when your job title does not reflect the core job and what you have achieved, it is important to include relevant achievements stories. While listing your responsibilities is good, achievement stories have a much greater impact on the reader. If you can flesh out your transferable skills that are aligned with the job you are targeting and demonstrate these in achievement stories it can help position you better.

Job titles

I certainly don’t advocate making up jobs you have done however if your employer has given you a completely obscure or irrelevant job title that is not relevant to what you do, then it is fair to change this to be more aligned with what the general market uses. An ill fitting job title means that recruiters may overlook your experience. So if for example your job title is Accountant and only a small part of what you do is the actual accounting work and the remainder is more operations and staff management, you may be better for example to have either, Operations Manager or a combined Accountant / Operations Management. You could even try to get your employer to change your job title if you have a good business case to do so.


Networking is important in the job search as a resume cannot do justice to your career to date and where you want it to go and why. This comes through best when you meet with people face to face and they can see your passion and listen first hand to your story. Putting yourself in networking situations that are relevant to what you are targeting on the job front is a must. It avoids the focus being so much on what your current job title is and enables you to talk about what you want to be doing in your next role and what you bring.


At different times throughout our careers, job titles can have both a positive and a negative impact. In those instances where your job title is not working for you (as highlighted above) there are a few things you can do to better position yourself and your career.

Please share your views on status anxiety and how it relates to our careers.


Toyota’s Redundancy Performance

I spoke with Kath Walters yesterday from Leading Company in relation to the retrenchments at Toyota. Kath has written a great piece ‘Eight leadership challenges facing Toyota’ in which I am referenced. I am keen to add further points to this article and clarify my views.

Yes, the reality is that retrenchments (the role is made redundant, the person is retrenched) are part of work life for everyone and have been for 10 plus years now. Nor is it unusual for most of us to expect to be retrenched multiple times in our careers.

As the Leading Company article highlights, the key is for organisations to manage the process in the most dignified manner possible, adhering to best practise, which unfortunately does not always occur.

When we join an employer, we engage in a contract with each party agreeing to uphold their end of the bargain. I don’t advocate employers unfairly treating employees, nor do I advocate employees taking advantage of their employers. While the majority of employers and employees do the right thing, there are always those that play by their own rules!

In the instance of Toyota, it was a mixture of both the company not performing, resulting in them assessing staff who had low performance ratings.  It is likely that those low performing staff were doing so for a variety of reasons – from not being in the right work environment, the right job or just not being engaged due to their own personal reasons.  One would hope that Toyota took the steps to address and assist them, before making decision to go down the redundancy path.

I certainly wish that those who lost their jobs with Toyota receive great outplacement support and go on to find rewarding jobs and careers.