Archive For May 30, 2013

The Rise Of The Female Tech Entrepreneur

Women have always appeared in the Fortune 500 rich list here and there, but it’s only recently that their roles have become newsworthy – mainly thanks to two powerful women taking top jobs at the world’s biggest tech brands. As these companies become more powerful on a global scale, the actions of their CEOs come under scrutiny on a daily basis; if the CEO happens to be female, you can practically guarantee a news story will follow.

In this article, we’ll look at four female entrepreneurs that have climbed the ranks to positions of power.

First, there’s Sheryl Sandberg, the woman who assists CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. Sandberg is an ex-US government employee and was previously a high flyer at Google before becoming the first woman on Facebook’s board. Her official title is chief operating officer, and she appears regularly in the press.

Women in BusinessSandberg is a vocal believer in women’s ability to graduate towards senior roles in business, and her book Lean In is dedicated to discussing the topic. She extensively analyses the possible reasons for women holding back in the workplace. She also believes women should be comfortable in their own skin, particularly in a corporate environment, and is keen to promote equality at work and in the home.

Ursula Burns has served exactly three years as CEO of Xerox and has been tasked with the modernisation of the brand – no mean feat for a company that was founded more than a century ago. Her appointment is notable in the US: she was the first ever woman of colour to be in charge of an enterprise as massive as Xerox, and she is in the top 20 most powerful women on the planet.

On the company’s homepage, Burns says she values “ethical business practices”, and openly criticises organisations she believes to be sexist or discriminatory. It is estimated that she earned a cool $9.9 million last year, and her 2011 salary was comparable.

Marissa Meyer is perhaps the best-known example of a female CEO hitting the headlines. Now in charge of Yahoo!, Meyer started her working life at Google when the company was just starting out. Her speciality was A.I., and she quickly rose through the ranks to become Vice President of Search Products and User Experience.

Since 2012, Meyer has lead Yahoo! through a turbulent transition period. Rejecting extensive maternity leave, Meyer has banned employees from home working, although she herself worked from home towards the end of her pregnancy and paid to have a nursery built next to her corporate office. Despite ruffling feathers, she is determined to forge ahead with major changes.

With a background working in top jobs for The Walt Disney Company and eBay, and holding qualifications from Princeton and Harvard, Meg Whitman was well-placed to become CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Overall, Whitman is thought to be worth $1.3 billion; she spent $144 million on her campaign to become Governor of California three years ago. She lost.

Whitman has worked with some of the biggest names in the US, counting Steve Ballmer and Mitt Romney among former colleagues. At eBay, she was criticised for purchasing Skype, but that didn’t prevent HP from poaching her in 2011. Whitman is perhaps the most established high-profile CEO in the Fortune 500 list.

Sam Wright is a freelance writer working with prweekjobs.co.uk.

What Are Your Options If You’re Being Mistreated By An Employer?

Statistics show that almost half of all working people have been affected by bullying or harassment in the workplace, either by being the victim or by witnessing it happening to someone else. This statistic is far too high. If a child is being bullied at school then it’s taken very seriously by the parents and teachers involved and something is done about it. However, in the workplace people may be scared to come forward and report bullying behaviour for fear of the repercussions.

What constitutes bullying in the workplace?

  • Verbal abuse including shouting and swearing at a colleague or employee.
  • An individual being singled out for criticism or blame which is unjustified.
  • Playing practical jokes and pranks on an individual repeatedly.
  • Purposefully ignoring a particular employee’s contributions regularly.
  • Disrespectful language or actions aimed at embarrassing or humiliating an individual.

What constitutes harassment in the workplace?

  • Negative comments or actions based on an individual’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or religion is classed as harassment rather than just bullying. Harassment in the workplace on any of the grounds above is governed by law in most countries so the perpetrators can be prosecuted.

What are the effects of bullying and harassment in the workplace?

  • Effects on the individual: Stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, absenteeism, low productivity in the workplace, insomnia, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.
  • Effects on the employer: A high staff turnover and loss of revenue due to constantly having to train new staff; low morale amongst staff and therefore lack of motivation and low productivity; a difficulty in recruiting quality staff members as word spreads through the industry about the hostile working environment at the company.

As you can see, absolutely nothing good comes from bullying and harassment in the workplace. So if it’s happening to you or someone you know it’s imperative that you take action. There are several ways to tackle the problem:

  • Bullying in the workplaceTry not to react to the bullying. If you react in the heat of the moment your emotions will cloud your judgement and may lead you to say or do something which you later regret.
  • Take a step back and try to look at the situation objectively. Have you misinterpreted your colleague’s actions? Speak to friends or family to see if they feel like the actions of your colleague can be construed as bullying.
  • Keep a diary of any incidents that you deem to be bullying. If you have them down on paper you’ll be able to identify any patterns, and have a better body of evidence to present in the event of a grievance or tribunal.
  • Escalate the problem where possible. If it’s a colleague harassing you then inform your line manager and let them deal with it in the correct manner. If it’s your manager bullying you then speak to their manager or a union representative.
  • If none of the above works to resolve the situation and you end up feeling forced to resign due to ill health brought on by the stress of the situation, it’s always advisable to seek advice from an employment solicitor.

An example:

A friend of mine was recently a victim of bullying and harassment in the workplace. She has a disability, and one of her colleagues took it upon themselves to highlight this and use it to discriminate against her and humiliate her on several occasions. Her self-esteem and confidence were really knocked by this and she didn’t feel she got the relevant support from her line manager. Eventually the situation forced her to resign due to stress and anxiety. Upon doing so she contacted a local employment solicitor in Loughborough, her home town, and sought advice on pursuing a claim against her employer. In the end her employer was made to pay compensation to her, which gave her back her confidence and enabled her to find a new job which she’s very happy in.

The moral of the story is: If you feel you’re being mistreated it’s down to you to do something about it! Don’t stand back and let the bullies win, keep a log of all of the incidents, don’t rise to the bullies, and seek advice from an employment solicitor. Remember there are acts and laws in place to protect us in our place of work, so use them to your advantage and stand up to the bullies!

The Top Ways To Make Yourself More Employable

If you are currently searching for work, then no doubt you will have discovered just how soul crushing it can be. Rejection letters are one thing, but half the time you’ll probably find you don’t hear anything back at all.

Of course this is nothing personal – in most cases the decision will be made based on factors outside of your control simply pertaining to how you look on paper. Your experience, your grades and even your demographic will all make you viable or not before anyone has even read anything.

If you want to improve your chances of getting employed then, you need to find ways to improve these statistics so that at first glance your CV looks like one that the company could employ. Here we will look at some of the top things you can do to make yourself more employable and make your CV stand out for all the right reasons.

Pack the right caseExperience

Experience is one of the big things that employers are looking for, and grades alone unfortunately are not enough these days in a competitive job market. The problem of course is getting that experience in the first place when no one will give you a chance, so the solution is simply to volunteer or to at least look for very cheap work part time on top of your current job.

Grades

That said, grades and qualifications are important too, so if you can get any new qualifications added then this is worth looking into. It might mean a year out of work and a big investment, but in the long term it will pay off in dividends.

Gaps

Gaps in your CV are something that you should avoid at every cost. While you might feel that certain jobs are below you if you have higher aspirations than working in a supermarket, they are better than nothing as temp jobs if you risk having a gap in your CV otherwise. Take any work you can find, and then look for better jobs while you’re working. If you have a gap, then look for a good way to explain it at least.

Driving

Being able to drive is a huge boon to many employers and a great way to make yourself more employable – even if the jobs you’re looking for aren’t directly related to driving. If you can’t already drive, then make sure you look into learning. And if you can, then make sure that you keep your driving record clean and avoid any incidents.

Languages

If you can speak a foreign language, then this is something else that will benefit a great number of employers. Of course it’s not a requirement for most employers, but if you can speak another language this is sure to count in your favour so it’s worth learning if you have the time and the inclination.

Criminal Record

Likewise, it’s important to try and avoid any potential legal problems that could create a blight on an otherwise bright CV. While it may be too late to undo past misdeeds, certainly make sure that you avoid any future run-ins with the law.

This post was contributed by Samantha Brave from 4SafeDrivers.com. Samatha is a blogger and webmaster and likes writing articles covering various topics like driving, business tips and career advice.

Questions you should ask the interviewer

Interviews can be stressful for some and even enjoyable to others – it just depends on your perception of what you hope to achieve from them. Clearly you are hoping to be offered a job but that is not always the case; the interview should be a two way setting and often the candidate loses sight of this. I have been in interviews where I have known quite quickly that it is not the role for me, and walked away from interviews wondering if I actually would welcome an offer – therefore it is important to make sure you know if this is the one for you.

Notes

Most formal interviews will consist of an introduction from the interviewer followed by a series of questions presented to the candidate to understand how you work and react in situations, towards the end of the interview you will be presented with the opportunity to ask questions back. This is where some good planning comes into play; you need to think outside the box as the interviewer should answer a lot of questions in their introduction. A trap, a lot of candidates fall into is to respond with “I think you have answered everything I was going to ask” – this can come across as a lack of real interest in the business / role and can put interviewers off you.

Here are a few questions you may find useful to note down for future interviews:

  • What does the actual day to day work involve? (bearing in mind Project Management makes for constant change, there will still be core duties required of you)
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What are the main challenges the team / projects face at the moment?
  • Have you identified any weaknesses in the team; are these something you would like me to address from the start?
  • What do you think it might take to be really successful in this role?
  • Could you talk me through the management style here?
  • Do you have any specific projects in mind that the successful candidate will be working on?
  • Is it likely I will be working as part of a team and are the staff involved in different projects at any one time?
  • Does the business encourage employees to study and gain professional qualifications? What kind of support is in place?
  • What kind of backgrounds personally and professionally do the existing team have?

And to round up:

  • When can I expect to hear from you with a decision and do you usually call or write to let candidates know the outcome?
  • Would it be possible to gain some feedback from you regardless of the outcome?
  • Have I answered everything thoroughly enough for you or is there anything else you would like to ask me?

I recommend writing a list of questions to ask – always write down more than you need in case some are already covered by the interviewer (some interviewers are more thorough than others). Avoid any questions about pay, holidays, benefits, sick leave, hours of work etc as this can give a bad impression – these questions will be answered at the offer stage (if you get that far). Once you have a list of questions, place them in a folder and when you are asked for questions do remember your manners and ask if it is OK to refer to the list you prepared prior to the interview.