Personal Sustainability: The importance of a healthy work/life balance

Sustainability from a business perspective is focused on making decisions that provide long-term benefit and minimise negative impact. Along a similar vein, our own personal sustainability is also reliant on these choices; making sure that we’re acting with our long-term wellbeing in mind and avoiding settling for short-term ‘trade-offs.’

So, where do we start when it comes to making sure we’re achieving a proper work/life balance?

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An investment in personal wellbeing is an investment in the important aspects of life, particularly those that help us to create the most meaning such as work or relationships. As the saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” which unfortunately too many of us find ourselves doing in order to keep up with our increasingly busy schedules.

Economically, right now human beings are more productive than in all of history. Yet despite this, rates of suicide, depression and chronic disease are steadily climbing.

It’s becoming apparent that money doesn’t necessarily equal wealth when it comes to our personal lives, and too often wellbeing is measured against financial prosperity. Perhaps what we need now is a shift surrounding ideas of what constitutes a ‘good life.’ A focus on material wealth and corporate success has become the driver for unwise short-term trade-offs like over-working; which in turn leads to further ‘trading off’ of things like our health or valuable personal relationships, as we find we become too time poor to properly maintain them. While such decisions may provide short-term gain in the form of praise or bonuses, the long-term effects on our mental and physical wellbeing can lead to feelings of isolation, resentment and stress. In fact, among the top documented regrets from people at the end of their lives is “I wish I didn’t work so hard,” and “I wish I let myself be happier.” Human beings have a wonderful knack for focusing on the short-term, which can be seen throughout history as quick profit is time and time again placed above caring for the environment, even in the face of catastrophic consequences. If we can learn anything from this, it’s that trade-offs such as these only create more issues, and a real sustainability plan needs to determine if what we’re currently doing is going to bring negative ramifications in the future.

No matter how productive we may be on a particular day, if we do not derive a deep sense of meaning from what we are doing then we may be left feeling shallow and empty. In this sense, it’s important to find time in our lives right now to do the things that help us feel whole. Take some time to reflect on all the ways you make meaning in your life. Whether it’s creating, socialising, reading, cooking or exercising; no matter what it is, it’s important to make sure these activities are getting factored into your schedule every week. Make your happiness sustainable by centring it around fulfilling and enjoyable activities, rather than KPI’s and material objects. If the thing that truly gives you purpose is your line of work, make sure that you’re also setting aside time for self-care as working too much can actually make you less productive – defeating the whole purpose of working hard in the first place!

The most important thing that can be done right now is to take accountability for your own wellbeing. Cut back your work hours, say no to things, or simply take an extra half an hour in the day to go to the gym or prepare a meal. By recognising that there is no destination, that in fact, the journey is the most important part, we can start creating more fulfilling and satisfactory lives.

Landing your first role in Australia

At Talent Nation, we regularly receive enquiries from candidates looking to land their first role in Australia. These may be from individuals looking to transition back into the Australian market after time spent away, or someone who may have already made the move but is finding the employment market hard to break into. Here are our top 5 tips to assist in landing that first role on Australian soil.

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  1. Prepare.
  • Research the roles you are looking for – Does your experience translate to the local market? What are the skill gaps and can they be plugged by short courses?
  • Get your marketing materials in order – Ensure your CV is relevant to the local market and that it is tailored to the role you are applying for.
  • Location- Where is the work? Ideally, find a role before committing to a long-term lease or buying a property.

 

  1. Network.
  • Utilise your personal contacts as word of mouth is invaluable.
  • Leverage LinkedIn, join groups and actively contribute to discussions.
  • Attend relevant conferences and events to your sectors.

 

  1. Know where to look.
  • Search for specialist recruitment firms within your area of expertise, as there are many niche firms working on specialised roles.
  • Sign up to job boards (seek.com.au and au.indeed.com) as well as specialist boards (ethicaljobs.com.au and probonoaustralia.com.au).
  • Explore company websites – Many organisations have internal recruitment teams and will advertise their opportunities online.

 

  1. Gain local experience.
  • Whilst this is very much a catch 22 situation, it is easier to land a job when you have a job. The first role you enter may not be the one you want long-term but will act as a foot in the door for career development.

 

  1. Job application & interview process:
  • CVs and cover letters should be tailored to suit each role.
  • Be sure to do your research on the company that you are targeting, and your interviewers if possible.
  • Behavioural questions are fairly standard so prepare for these. Also, have some questions prepared for your interviewer (but not too many).

 

To provide some additional advice on landing your first role, we spoke to Michael de Soyza at EY who has been through the process and successfully gained employment here in Australia.  Here is some insight into his experience:

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If you would like any more information on any of these points, don’t hesitate to contact us at Talent Nation. You can also access our CV writing guide and interview preparation tips here. 

Talent Nation’s Top Interview Tips

So, you’ve landed an interview for your dream job… now you just need to know how to secure it. Skillset and experience are one thing, but organisations are equally as interested in finding a candidate who will mesh well with their team and culture.

Here are some ‘top tips’ to consider in order to put your best foot forward, allowing you to have a positive interview experience.

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Be prepared and do your research

You’ve probably heard this one over and over again, but it is a crucial element of any successful interview. Information is power! Preparation and research are key to presenting yourself as an informed candidate who has already invested time into the organisation. Preparing yourself also helps to minimise the stress that comes from being put on the spot. A large majority of hiring managers will value someone who has taken the time to understand the background of their organisation.

Be confident

Don’t be shy to discuss significant career achievements, ideally picking examples that demonstrate your ability to problem solve and come up with creative solutions. Practical examples of how you overcome adversity in the workplace give validity to what you’re saying and showcase your ability to work alongside others.

Be honest

Know your strengths and weaknesses and be ready to discuss how they relate back to the position you’re going for. No one is perfect, so admitting a personal or professional skill you want to work on shows you are human and not just talking yourself up for the job.

Have a conversation

Remember, a job interview shouldn’t just be one-sided. Take the opportunity to further understand the scope of the role by asking lots of open, valuable questions and also discuss the vision the business has for the future.

Follow up

If you have not heard about your progress from your recruiter within the specified timeframe (Note: it’s always a great idea to ask about this at the interview) then it would be wrong not to follow up! Quite often the recruitment process is a lengthy one, particularly if the role is one that requires a complex skill set and some of the decisions sit with a board of executives. Knowing where you stand (even if it is still undecided) may relieve some anxiety experienced during the recruitment process. In saying this, there are both appropriate and inappropriate ways to navigate this. A polite phone call and/or email should be fine, so make sure you’re not harassing anyone – that most definitely won’t get you the job!

At Talent Nation we make it our business to ensure that every candidate we put forward is prepared, informed and enthused about the role they are applying for. While interviews can be daunting, they are a necessary process to establish your career potential, showing what you can bring to the table beyond your ‘on paper’ experience.

 

Want more? Click here to understand how the Circular Economy can help us in the shift towards a sustainable future.