CAFFEINE CRAZY

coffee-addictionI will be the first person to admit I love coffee – the taste, the smell and the ritual of drinking it with friends or while working. Whether it is good or bad for you, everyone has their vices and I figure mine could be worse.

Thank heavens I am not the only one who has an obsession with this black liquid . A recent survey (by Career Builder) showed that 46% of full-time workers are less productive without coffee, and I will chime in and say I am a nicer person once I have had one in the morning!

So who are all these people at work drinking coffee? Topping the list of coffee consuming professions are –

Scientists/Lab Technicianslet’s hope all that caffeine doesn’t impact their lab results, instead it inspires them to solve the world’s problems
Marketing/PR Professionalit is in the job description!
Education Administratorit has to be to relieve the boredom of the job
Editor/Writer think Newsroom and working 20 hours a day
Healthcare Administratoragain…. boring reports
Physiciansee it can’t be that bad if Doctors are drinking it

So where are all these caffeine addicts. You may be surprised to know they aren’t in the US or Australia, but are in Northern Europe.

The top 5 coffee drinking nations (per capita) are – Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

So while you are sipping on your coffee reading this, know that you are drinking one of the 500 billion cups of coffee consumed each year!

OUTSOURCE ME!

Child-cleaningI am the first person to admit I am a HUGE advocate of outsourcing whatever I can.

I have been known to be somewhat of a control freak (I can hear my family screaming yes at this point!) but over the years I have managed to let go of the need to make sure everything is 100% perfect and give way to someone else having a go at it.

The fact is, we have been outsourcing personal tasks forever, it just didn’t have a label.

When I was growing up it was called working for your pocket money. And if you have ever had the opportunity to have a personal assistant I would put money on the fact that they have carried out some “non-business related” outsourcing task for you at some point, whether it be booking personal travel or paying a phone bill.

Generally the most popular tasks to outsource are – housecleaning, laundry and ironing, grocery shopping, dog walking (not sure what the point is having a dog if you don’t have time to take it outside), car washing and good old lawn mowing. But more and more people are slowly trusting others to pay their bills, or to buy a gift for their loved one.

So how do you get on-board the express train to “easy life”?

The 4 Hour Workweek is really the original how-to guide for ideas on better managing your personal tasks

But if you want to jump straight in you can try some of the following sites (sadly these are not available in all countries).

My favourite one – www.fiverr.com
Basically a list of offerings from people who will do “X” for $5. There are real some gems on offer!

www.taskrabbit.com
One of the better known (and tested) sites

www.elance.com
A great resource for small business with everything from logo design to building your website

www.fancyhands.com
For $25 a month your personal admin issues are solved

Now all this free time now means more time to relax. I am off to order a bottle of wine online that will be delivered chilled to my door in under an hour… now that is service!

PROFESSOR OR TAILOR?

fishCareer change time and wondering if your resume has too many or too few jobs listed on it?

Well if you happen to have held eleven jobs and are over 46 years old, don’t panic, as you are an average worker according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (USA). If you have a tertiary degree chances are that you have had more jobs than someone without one, and men also have moved roles more than women.

And where to work? The countries where you have the best chance of earning the highest average wage – Australia , Luxemborg, Japan, United States, Switzerland, Monaco, New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands. The worst… Sierra Leone.

So should you start thinking about a career change? If you answer yes to one of these, chances are you should.
1. You keep promising yourself you’ll quit but never do
2. You have no interest in getting your boss’s job
3. The politics are too tricky, there aren’t enough resources, or you don’t have any excitement on the bigger picture front

But be warned, switching jobs can also be detrimental to your health.

Nearly half of America workers have put on weight at their current job – 28% have gained more than 4kgs, and 13% have gained more than 9kgs. You don’t want that to happen every time you opt for a career move.

In Japan 10,000 workers per year drop dead at their desks as a result of 60- to 70-hour work weeks. The phenomenon is known as “karoshi” (death from overwork)

So in your next role you may want to consider being a university professor as apparently that is viewed as the least stressful job, just ahead of being a tailor/seamstress!

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY… VERSION 2.0

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International Women’s Day (IWD) has come and gone for another year with celebrations around the world on March 8 focusing primarily on achievements by women in the areas of politics, economics and social activities. And let me preface this post by saying I think IWD is a powerful platform for women’s issues and the people behind it do amazing work. This year’s theme was Violence Against Women – a hugely impactful topic for any woman.

But what I really can’t say is that I feel the same passion for the IWD corporate celebrations. Lunches are held at work/in offices, emails are sent from diversity teams and CEO’s praise women in the organization, and then on March 9… all goes back to normal. To be honest most people are too busy to even notice it has happened.

So in light of this, I have penned my thoughts on what might be a more appropriate International Women’s Day celebration in the corporate world (and women who work by staying at home and raising their child/children you are of course more than welcome to join in too)

There is no need to send emails telling us how great we are, we know this already. And by the way, women tell each other all the time. (Except if you are Marissa Mayer using your power for evil, not good)

Let’s not waste time with a token lunch of sandwiches and juice in the office, if you really want us to “network” and talk about women’s issues, put the money on a tab at the local wine bar and give us the afternoon off.

At the next “bring the kids to work day” the men will look after the kids all day (while we are at the wine bar).

And finally, let’s just be done with it. The best way to celebrate IWD would be to buy us all a new Prada bag (aka “computer bag” for tax purposes). I am sure that would guarantee employee loyalty at least for another twelve months.

Ideas are welcome as I start to put together my list of requests for International Women’s Day 2014.

FEELING OLD?

hungover-womanWe all know the population is aging everywhere, and to put it into perspective one third of babies born in 2012 are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday! (there were only 316,600 centurions in 2011)

So if you want to feel young by hanging out with older people where should you go?

The number one place is Monaco, where the median age is 50, and on the upside most likely everyone there is wealthy and retired so not a bad place to be.

Following suit are –

Japan 45.4; Germany 45.3; Italy 43.8; Austria 43.4; Greece 42.8; San Marino 42.8; Slovenia 42.8; Finland 42.7; Belgium 42.6

The UK comes in at 22 (40.2); Australia 34 (37.9); USA at 38 (37.1), and outside of Japan, China is the next highest Asia country at 41st spot (35.9).

At the other end of the scale Uganda is the youngest (15.1) followed by Niger, Mali and Zambia, all under 17.

And age aside, if you are a working female chances are you are going to look your oldest (and worst) at 3.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon. This is when the effects of any alcohol consumed over the weekend hit home, stress levels are at their highest, and the body is most tired…. It really is hump day!

Knowing this, I say book in for a massage or facial every week at this time and the problem is easily solved!

ARE YOU IN THE HOLIDAY ZONE?

It was Deepavali in India yesterday and it’s Thanksgiving in the USA next week, but are you getting your fair share of days off work?

Living in Singapore we sit somewhere in the middle when it comes to allocation of public holidays. I also like the reasoning for the holidays as it reflects an international country that embraces different religions and beliefs – 2 x Christian (Christmas, Easter); 2 x Muslim (Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji); 2 x Chinese New Year; 1 x Buddist (Vesak); 1 x Hindu (Deepavali) and then NY Day, National Day and Labour Day.

But if you are looking for even more days off you may want to consider living in Columbia or Malaysia who have the most per year with 16 public holidays, closely followed by Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Lebanon and Slovakia with 15 days.

Stay away from Mexico who has the worst at 7 days, and coming in at only 8 days is Serbia, Vietnam, Romania and The Netherlands.

And if you are just looking for an excuse to take a day off here are few of the more creative public holidays that have been granted –

Samoa – Driving Side Switch Days. In 2009 2 days holiday was granted as the country switched from driving on the right to driving on the left.

Australia – Melbourne Cup Day. Where else in the world do you get a day off to watch a horse race!

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AT WORK

Christmas decorations are going up earlier each year and the local supermarket is already stacked with Christmas crackers and angel shaped chocolate (not complaints on that one!).

So I thought I would get in early too as we near the festive season, and cover off some of the things you need to consider at work when giving gifts.

Company Policy – please read it before giving or accepting gifts from suppliers, co-workers, customers. There are so many anti-bribery laws in place now, that if you stray from this your Christmas gift may be that you don’t have a job.

Gifts for the Boss – it’s not necessary. A nice card with a note of thanks inside is enough. If you really want to do something than a good suggestion is always a donation to a charity of their choice.

Gifts to Employees – Stay away from anything too personal, or that might offend. And please do not give something with the company logo on it, that is just poor form and insulting! Gift vouchers are always a winner, spa treatments, or half a day off to do Christmas shopping is a nice gesture. And remember, everyone is born equal so make sure the value is the same for everyone.

I will save work Christmas party rules for a another day, as that deserves its own post!