Wayward Interview with Caroline Gellatly

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Since moving to London, I have had the pleasure of meeting some fabulous people. On person in particularly is the lovely Caroline Gellatly, she  has been a game changer in me settling into London Life. She is a wonderful woman, who brings magic and charisma wherever she goes. She also has given me the chance to take a sneak peak into her world of Philanthropy and what an inspiring place to be! So I decided the best way to share her with you all, is to interview her of course!

Could you please tell everyone a little about yourself, what do you do and what sector you work in?

Hi, Wayward Professional readers! I’m Caroline, and I work in the charitable sector as a major gifts manager for a national cancer charity, fundraising large donations from individuals towards our research. Outside of work, I enjoy exploring London with my friends (I’m on a particular mission to discover the best bottomless boozy brunch in the city – recommendations always welcome!), but my heart belongs to Rome (and Gregory Peck).

Why did you decide to go into this sector?

I fell into philanthropy by accident: I was applying for any reasonably bearable job that would take me post-degree, and landed a role as ‘Alumni Assistant’ at one of my university’s colleges. The job description included fundraising, which I quickly realised I loved: chatting to people for a good cause? Brilliant! My boss  was an incredible mentor – her career path and success really inspired me – and I was lucky to join the office at a time when staff a little above me were leaving, so I put myself forward and was promoted quickly to take on more of the aspects of the work I really enjoyed.

Scoring £20,000 gifts towards scholarships for hard-up but seriously bright students, and running a telephone campaign managing eighteen students for an intensive fortnight of fundraising, made me realise just how much this sector suited me. I absolutely love chatting to new people and building good relationships, and I also enjoy the sense of achievement and satisfaction from hitting ambitious targets, so high-level fundraising was a good fit.

How did you come about getting your current position and did you face any obstacles along the way?

I can’t stress the importance of a great recruiter enough. With 100% certainty, I wouldn’t be in my current position without an experienced and enthusiastic recruiter, who knew the industry and the standard of candidate out there extremely well, fighting my corner.

My recruiter helped me to narrow my focus to major gifts fundraising as my dream role, and advised me on how to best present the experience on my CV to fit those job descriptions. There were definitely obstacles – I was applying for roles which were asking for many more years of experience in fundraising than I had at the time – but my recruiter’s belief in and backing of me, as well as their practical instruction, gave me the confidence to shoot for that dream role, which I’m still loving now!

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What advice would you give to potential candidate wanting to get into the industry?

Fundraising is, in many ways, like selling – except you’re peddling a lovely warm fuzzy feeling of altruism instead of an actual object or service! – so any experience in pitching, proposal writing, or presentation giving can be spun towards this. And it goes without saying that immersing yourself in how charities function is a big plus: volunteer, or even better, become a trustee (check out Young Charity Trustees).

When you’re ready to make the move, speak to a bunch of recruiters  (I approached seven or eight) – you’ll likely chat to a few before finding the one who’s really going to gun for you. Look for someone who takes the time to speak to you at length on the phone, teases out experience or aspects of your previous roles which you haven’t given enough limelight, and maintains really frequent contact about multiple positions they’ve put you forward for. An independent recruiter with some prior experience of fundraising themselves – rather than a big, generalised corporate agency – will tend to be much more engaged, too.

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Now to the fun stuff, what is your favourite thing to do to unwind?

I drink too much cheap cava, constantly plot my next holiday (usually to Rome!), watch Old Hollywood musicals, and corral my Galentines into frequent Nando’s trips and Mindy Project catch-up sessions.

How do you allocate your time to make sure you have a good work life balance?

I love my job but generally manage my time and productivity quite well, and can switch off from any work-related stresses when I’m out of the office; if anything, it’s my work-life-rest balance that’s a bit off! I love to make the most of the city and to spend plenty of time with my wonderful friends – but that often means my diary’s absolutely packed, and I don’t get alone time, head space or an early night for weeks on end! So I’m trying to get better at scheduling quiet evenings in every few weeks to stay sane.

Lastly what is your favourite comfort meal?

An entire baking tray of my mum’s roast potatoes. Also, the smashed avocado-feta-chilli-and-poached-eggs on toast at the London Bridge Grind.

 

To London Friendships!

Zoe

Adapting to Change

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You have been in a comfortable job now for some time, but all of a sudden new management comes along and shakes everything up. Scared and confused you hold on to any form of familiarity, why should these new people change the processes? there was nothing wrong with the old ones?! So you push against change, you strike, you refuse to learn any new systems they might present you…and all for what? Just to keep something you believe is good?

But have you actually thought about your surrounding environment, not everything revolves around how you feel and especially in business. Now it might seem a bit harsh and yes I know many of you would have taken offence immediately, yet there is some truth to my statement. Restructuring is never easy for anyone, anything from a break up with a loved one, to your perfect job being divvied away. Life is tough, though it doesn’t give you an excuse to act like a child, stopping your feet and throwing your toys out of your cot.

Many of us will do this at some point in our lives, and quite frankly I don’t blame any of you. However what we need to do as professional is quite frankly to act like one, you can give yourself one boo boo…but then that is it! No more tantrums, no more making other peoples lives difficult because you are not getting your way. Time to put on those big girl/boy panties on and make smart decision on how you are going to face this change!

But where do I begin you say? Well let’s start with a little bit of empathy, put yourself in other people’s shoes for just a moment and try to see their side of the story. I am not saying you have to agree with them, but understanding them is the right way to adapting to change. Analyse the proposed changes, what is different? Look at the explanations, how will these changes affect your job? Do you see where the managers are wanting to take the company? Asking questions like this will help you understand where your frustration might be coming from and also see the bigger picture for your team and company. You might even start to like the ideas…SHOCK!

Listen and observe how the changes are going. Are you benefiting or is your job slowly being entailed away to others? Become an analytical observer it is a sure fire way to be opened minded. The pro’s versus the con’s, the good the bad and the ugly. However the most important thing is to be objective, when you make it personal, you make it difficult for yourself. Yes, it is easier said then done, but you have to keep trying because you may find yourself jobless and not for the right reasons.

Chin up dears, it is not the end of the world. You will find once the changes set in you will be comfortable again, remember to relax and use my suggestion on how to be open minded when everything goes topsy turvy.

To adapting to change,

Zoe

 

Image credit: Joey Sforza

Stop Wasting Job Hunters Time!

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It’s time, after the same crap over and over again. It’s time to share with you the truth about the recruitment process in England, when I read this article by Alex Hazlehurst I instantly sympathised with her story. What I want to share with you is the recruitment process that I believe is crippling the prospect of my fellow kiwis and other international buddies looking for work in the UK.

Employers who are looking for candidates are the contributing factor as to why you might miss out on working for them. So let me give you a little background history about myself, I have a degree in business and have been working as an administrator for over 5 years. I have a 5 year Ancestry visa, on paper I am an appealing candidate, friendly, motivated and a person who has references to prove my worth.

When I landed in London I delved into the job hunting process, signed up to some reputable agency and within a week I had already been to 2 interviews. I felt like this was already a positive step, I would have a job in no time, but boy I was wrong. 4 months down the track and I still have yet to secure a permanent job, yes there was a great contract job for a month but that was only for holiday cover and there were no vacancies that suited me. I have meet with lovely recruiters who have sent me to countless job interviews, to my surprise the recruiters were sending me to jobs that were interesting and within my pay expectations.

The feedback I would get back from potential employers was “she is really lovely” or “she has fantastic communication skills”, but then what really got me was…. nothing, a week would go by and I would ring my recruiter and ask “have you heard anything?” and the answer I would get is “they are still interviewing other candidates” or “they have had to delay interviewing others because of (insert excuse)”.

At first I was understanding, I had been on the recruiting end and there are certain scenarios that do happen, however it was becoming a regular occurrence. Out of 5 interviews I would go to only 1 would get back to me within a week if I was through to the next stage or not. What I do know from experience is that most of the time when companies are recruiting they want someone relatively quickly. But then again I got it wrong, what I have discovered in England is that no one is in a hurry and I mean no one.

For me the average time it takes for a company to make a decision (whether they want to proceed to the next interview) is about 3-4 weeks, now that is pretty slow. When you think about it you have already gone for the initial interview, in which the company should have seen at least 4 people in that week; It makes you think well they must have liked at least 50% of them? They probably did but that is not the issue, the issue is the length of time it takes between the first interview and the second interview.

I can guarantee that one of the reasons I didn’t make the cut for some second interviews is that they couldn’t remember how I interviewed the first time. I believe the length of time does matter when you are interviewing, companies need to set aside time slots so that they can meet potential candidates, then a minimum of a week later get the next the people they want in for a second round to eliminate any doubts. How difficult would that be? Sadly it just seem too difficult for companies to do this, why can’t they allocate someone to do the task and get the great candidates through the door? Are they searching for candidates too early? What companies need to realise is that candidates are looking to work for as soon as you want them, why waste time pushing interviews further back? I feel like companies have missed out on amazing people because of how slowly they handle things. 

So employers take a moment to realise the possibilities you have and how you can acquire an amazing employee, if you need an employee quite quickly put it out there and conduct the interviews. If you are thinking about it, sit on it, maybe talk with you recruiter and ask about the caliber of people they have. Most of all make the time for these interviews, the people you might need could just be one application away and to my fellow job hunters, keep smiling and keep applying the right employer will snap you up! as for me I am following my own advice, I feel that I am finally getting closer to securing the job that I really want.

To future employment,

Zoe

Image from Anna Dziubinska

My Killer First Job

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It is hard to believe at times that I have been working already for 12 years! Yup, you read that right. What an amazing ride it has been, the jobs and the life experience that I have already made has been so enjoyable. I know not everything has been amazing all the time, there has been hard times like disputes with work colleagues or not being valued by your boss; but I digress. Let goes back in time, back to when I was a 15 year old fresh faced high school-er looking to make my first buck.

“I have got you a job” was the words that came out of my fathers mouth. Just 2 weeks after I had turned 15 my father had organised an interview with a popular cafe not far from home. “What?!” I felt like it was so unfair that I had to go to work, so soon after my birthday as well.

I meet with the general manager from the coffee shop a few days later and we discussed the hours that I would work and how much I would be paid, which to my surprise was well above the minimum wage. Many of my friends who already had jobs were being paid minimum wage, which meant they had to work 3 days after school for 3 hours at a time to meet what I would in one whole day. My opinion started to change, “maybe only working one day a week might not be so bad”. I was more worried about my time that what I could earn, many can relate that when you are a teenager spending time with your friends is more important.

A week after the discussions it was my first day on the job, with my new printed t-shirt with the company’s logo on it I walked into my first job. The day was over so quickly it had hardly felt like it had begun, I learn’t how to work a till, distribute coffee beans and pack up the shop for the day. My work colleagues were really welcoming and very focused, their work ethic was inspirational; also they both made a wicked cup of coffee. Over the next few weeks my somber view on having to work turned into an enjoyment, every Saturday I would work with amazing people learning the art of making the perfect cup of coffee. I had never meet people so passionate about what they do, after a awhile it began to rub off on me.

What I took away from working for this company was that you can enjoy working, people are passionate about what they do and work hard to achieve their goals within the company. I feel really lucky to have had a chance to fall straight into a job I enjoyed, its sad hearing that others were not so lucky in their first jobs but it is a hit and miss to try and find “that amazing” job experience. If you are searching for an experience similar to what I had, then head on over to The Ladders Job Search section, they provide comprehensive information on what career opportunities are available in the US; so maybe you just might find your own killer job!

Have you had an amazing first job or even just a general job experience? I would love to hear about it, so leave a comment below!

To work life experiences,

Zoe

 This post was in collaboration with The Ladders team, who are dedicated to helping you find that killer job!

Image via Seemi Samuel

5 Ways To Overcome Negative Thinking

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Almost a month ago I landed in England to follow my dreams of living abroad. Since then I have visited family in Scotland and Germany, plus I caught up with my brother in London too. I still have a few more people to see and I feel so bad that I have not done it yet! But then I realise I have only been here a month and I just need to chill out, also I have been frustrated that I have not found a job yet and it feels like I am going backwards…

Then yesterday I just went STOP! this overthinking is ridiculous and I need to set myself straight. We are all guilty on putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves, when I reflected back I realised I had not been in the country enough to properly look for work. This also coincided with not seeing all the people I want to see in England, I just have not been around! However in the back of my mind there is that little person going “well you should get onto it, stop being lazy”. BUT I AM NOT BEING LAZY my conscious yells back, I have been travelling! please give me a break.

So that’s what I have started doing, getting rid of that little person in back of my head so I can have a break. I know many of you can relate to this, especially in the work place when all your deadlines are due or you feel delayed by other people.

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Therefore I am going to share with you my tips on how to realign you thinking (or other words dampening or getting rid of that negative thinking, that evil voice in the back of your head).

  • Simple Meditation: I am what you call an overactive imagination sort of gal, constantly thinking and analysing things. Plus I am a great sleep talker, which I have found out is one symptom of an overactive imagination. Therefore I find it difficult to meditate, but by recommendation I found Headspace an app that helps you with the baby steps of mediation and other situations. I also like it because it does not make you feel guilty if you missed a day etc. Plus the app is adorable so it brings me visual stimulation when I use it, also the results are great! I may not be a great meditator but I do notice changes. Like now, I am writing this post with much better focus and it is giving me great satisfaction! Winning!
  • Write a List: When you write a list you can then work towards completing it, this does not work for everyone as it might aggravate them feeling like you haven’t finished and it there staring you in the face. If that’s the case just use you phone calendar and allocate things each day, week or month and put a reminder message to it. Doing this means you can let it go and think about or things, I do both methods as this really helps my relax more. A written list for things at home, like washing, shopping or parties I am going to attend. Then my phone calendar for my blog posts, job appointments and future people I need to contact.
  • Talk it out with someone: It doesn’t matter is you don’t have a significant other, friends or family can be that bouncing board you need. I use my boyfriend and my parents to talk about my doubts and fairs about work life. For my more personal stuff that is what my girlfriends/guyfriends are for! Talking it out with someone can help you see the bigger picture and make you feel more centered with you choices.
  • Watch Tedx videos: Look no further for inspirational people and innovative ideas, I always find watching these videos to be extremely uplifting and educational.
  • Argue with yourself: Debate with your inner self, logically tell yourself why you should not think this way. Write metaphors and read motivational quote, tell yourself this is a better way and this is way I am going to think. It might sound silly but it can have an enormous impact long term.

Well I hope you find these points helpful, we all have days when we feel like we should be achieving more than what we have right now. Make the subtle changes and work towards your work or personal goal.

I believe in you!

Zoe

Photos from Gratisography

#RadicalSelfLoveJuly

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Happy July Everyone!

I am so excited this month because there are few things happening, 1) I finally got to go on my trip to Cairns! I was going to write a blog post about my experience but I was having too much of a good time; so there will be a review to follow I promise! 2) I have been doing Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love July Instagram Challenge, this is so much fun and I love seeing peoples creative ways 🙂 3) my friend Sara at BusinessBF is finally going to be in Auckland (YAY) so now we can hangout a bit more soooooo excited….can’t you tell?

So for your viewing pleasure and convenience I have linked together some of my Instagram post of #RadicalSelfLoveJuly

Day 1) Silly Selfie

Day 2) Your Idol

Day 3) Positive Graffiti

Day 4) Your reflection

If you want to get on bored just click here and you can join in! It doesn’t matter if you start late, this is so much fun and I really recommend it for anyone 🙂 Do follow me on Twitter or Instagram for my challenge posts!!

Much Love and Magic

Zoe

 

Those items you cannot live without (desk edition)

When we are at work there are certain staple items we reach for that make our work much easier, so for today I have complied my top 5 items commonly reached for at work.

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Pens – I am addicted to ink pens, I enjoy the colours and consistency they give, plus I always get comments on how nice my pens are! Great conversation starter if you are new to the job…

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Sticky Notes– whoever created these was a genius! The colours and sizing appeal to the organisation freak inside of me. Whether you use them to take down phone messages or as reminder you put on documents these are super handy!

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Folders– I like the clear plastic sleeve ones that you can get in different colours, they are great organisation tools and them being slightly see through helps you remember quickly what is inside each folder.

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Stapler– if you don’t staple important documents together you are bound to lose them…period.

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Hole Puncher– how are you suppose to file things away without hole punching?!

I know some of you will agree with me on these points, but if you have any other items you think are just as important hit me up on twitter or leave a comment below. I always love to hear back from you 🙂

Much Love and Magic

Z