The Pursuit of a Work-Life Balance (Blog 2)

I met with Tim Smart for the second time in late January at the Hyatt.  On this occasion we discussed methods of establishing a work-life balance.

It can be difficult to make time for relaxation and personal interests when the demands of work are high.  Tim gave a number of examples of colleagues whom had different approaches to the question – pointing out that those at the very top of their academic circles had devoted a huge amount of time, potentially at the cost of their personal/family lives.  We also discussed whether money is of importance and how this is a poor goal in entrepreunship, rather to work with another aim and see whether this develops into a profitable business.

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Lunch @ Edgbaston

The holidays are over, a new year has begun and with that comes a variety of new resolutions and aspirations. For me though this year stands as the clear point in transition from an undergraduate with a generally very laid back lifestyle into a professional aspiring to build a successful career in the built infrastructure industry as a civil engineer. Should the applications and assessments I am currently in the process of completely pay dividends, I will be starting on a less clearly defined path, where choice plays an even more significant role and the layers of safety nets put in place since birth get thinner.

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Best Advice

Apologies for the late post about how my mentor and I (Baroness Patience Wheatcroft) are getting on, but I can assure you that things are going swimmingly. I couldn’t have hoped for a savvier mentor and her recent advice has helped enormously in developing a strategy for job-hunting success.

I hope to make both this and future blog posts as informative to you (the reader) as possible. I imagine you have no desire to read solely about how amazing my time with my mentor is and so I will try to impart some of the pearls of wisdom passed onto me by Patience by way of a thank you for reading about my exploits.

But first, a little bit about my career goals.

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Thinking short-term and long-term

First contact was made in November where Mike and I had a phone conversation and introduced ourselves. Mike is the Chairman of Southern water and also the Chairman of Premier Oil Plc; two engineering companies. I find that Mike is  one of the easiest people to talk to, and after introductions we got down to talking about my current prospects and what my aims are for the future.

I have an open criteria for a graduate job in that I would like it to have scope for advancement, be in some way relevant to my degree and to have the possibility to conduct work abroad. Mike asked me what I wanted from the mentoring programme and I stated that I wanted to develop mid and long term career goals, develop some personal skills and to nail down where I’m going with my degree.

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Nerves at the First Meeting

Hi! I am a final year student studying medical science and am currently being mentored by Sir Liam Donaldson, Ex-chief Medical Officer for 12 years as well as a host of other titles and qualifications.

I went to London last week (mid December) to meet Sir Liam Donaldson for the first time. I have to admit being extremely nervous and having no idea what to expect! After some brief introductions, we got down to discussing my applications and CVs during which he gave me some extremely useful advice about what was good and what I could improve. The best part of the meeting for me was discussing interview techniques – something that is very important in the coming years, yet I have next to no experience of it; Sir Liam suggested possible questions they might ask as well as ideas on how to stand out.

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Tips and hints on how to stand OUT from the crowd (Blog 2)

After having the amazing opportunity to go to London and watch Phyllida work on her new film The Iron Lady, Phyllida set me the task of writing a “wish list” for my future career dreams and aspirations, specifically asking me to focus on the ways in which her knowledge and expertise could help me on my way to achieve my goals and dreams. Having created a rough outline of what my ideal job would be (Television Producer) Phyllida and I arranged a Skype conversation to talk through the ways in which I could make these dreams come true. Phyllida was absolutely amazing during the Skype conversation, opening my eyes to different roots and avenues which I could pursue. For me, the greatest advice Phyllida gave to me was her honesty about the difficulty in breaking into such a competitive industry like the media whilst at the same time, offering me advice and guidance on how to improve my CV and stand out from the crowd.

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What a great First Meeting with my mentor Martin Devenish

Coffee @ Birmingham New Street

Although a phone conversation to kick things off and arrange the first meeting was my first contact with my mentor, Martin Devenish we had a chance to sit and talk properly over coffee at Birmingham New Street Station on 31st October 2011. I had spent the day in lectures covering financial decision making in the business environment, asking the essential question of what is money and the role it plays in the society in which we live and he had been at Aston University, working with small and medium sized businesses in a bid to help the managers effectively deal with the business and commercial side to the products and services they offered.

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