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What life skill do you wish you'd been equipped with to help you face the world of work? Share your thoughts with MN and Barclays...

(86 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 18-Oct-13 11:50:47

Here at MNHQ we are pleased to be involved with the Barclays LifeSkills programme.

This is a new programme giving young people the skills, information and most importantly the work experience opportunities they need to get ready for the world of work.

LifeSkills employs hands-on learning to give young people from the age of 11 to 19, the confidence they need to get started" . It's paid for by Barclays but works with loads of partners to develop and promote the programme.

Mumsnet will be supporting this initiative by hosting students at MNHQ for work experience, so we'd like you to share your top tips and experiences on this thread.

~ If you could go back and whisper in your own ear the day you started work, what would you say?!
~ What skills do you wish you'd had before you started work?
~ Who helped you before you started work with advice and support? What sort of support do you wish you had?

All comments very much welcome and we'd also love you to pledge your support for LifeSkills - just click below

If you're a teacher or have connections to children aged 11+ please also do spread the word and sign up here

If you're a business owner you could make a real difference for young people in your area, by offering work experience opportunities through LifeSkills register here

Or get in touch with your boss or HR department to see what work experience opportunities they can provide to help young people.

And remember, getting the message out there to schools, friends, family, whoever you can will give LifeSkills the push it needs to start moving. This is a nationwide move to get young people ready for work, and it needs your support.

thanks, MNHQ

lolancurly Mon 21-Oct-13 08:11:09

When I started work, I started to put on weight, as I would go out at lunch time and buy unhealthy snacks and lunch food. I think I should have learnt more about budgeting and thinking about the way that small expenditures every day add up; learning how to make your salary stretch out to the end of the month and not wasting it. I should have been thinking about taking a home prepared lunch into work and not getting into bad eating and spending habits.

choccyp1g Tue 22-Oct-13 16:01:16

I was painfully shy when I started work and it often came across as rude. I wish we'd had the emphasis on speaking and listening skills that DCs do nowadays.
Also I wish I hadn't slept with co-workers, (though one of them resulted in a long relationship and my DS)
Nobody gave me any advice, but I don't suppose I'd have listened anyway.

HedgeHogGroup Tue 22-Oct-13 19:14:56

Some young people act like the world owes them a job. Never be too proud to do the most menial task and learn to take direction from those more senior than you..... you do not always know better!

TigerTrumpet Tue 22-Oct-13 19:30:18

I could have done with the power of compelling yet inoffensive small talk and a crash course on what to not say when you're networking

Notmyidea Tue 22-Oct-13 19:44:59

I wish I'd had help with understanding workplace politics and how to be politely assertive.

ImperialBlether Tue 22-Oct-13 21:55:09

The nuns and other teachers at my school only knew about jobs in nursing and teaching. There was absolutely no mention of jobs. Lots of girls went on to university and it was thought they'd then go into teaching. The others, if they were reasonably bright, were encouraged to go into nursing. They really didn't have a clue about other jobs.

I would've liked women who did really interesting jobs to come in and talk about how they got them and what their everyday life involved.

I would have really liked money management to be taught in school, too. I think it's something that could be done at work, too, when a young person starts a full time job and could be given really valuable advice.

BruceWillisLovesMe Tue 22-Oct-13 23:14:42

I wish we'd had some sort of explanation on how to cope with the transition of going from calling every adult Mr TeachersName and Mrs TeachersName (or Ms wink ) at college aged 18 to these adults suddenly being our equals at work aged 18. I found it difficult to let go of the institutionalised pattern that older people are your boss (like at school) so ended up being patronised a lot by colleagues who were supposed to be my equals. It affected my work and confidence a lot.

Bunbaker Tue 22-Oct-13 23:23:23

I wish I had learned to touch type. Back in the 1970s only the less academically able did typing at school. Little did we know that 40 years later most people would be using a keyboard of sorts.

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 22-Oct-13 23:39:40

YY to touch-typing, that would have been handy.

I also wish I'd been better at getting up in the mornings- for much of my late teens, early 20s I was a lazy so and so and now feel I wasted a lot of time and missed opportunities. I mostly worked in pubs and hotels so the hours suited me but in retrospect I could have gone further faster had I been less nocturnal.

Confidence and assertiveness would have helped me. Coming from a family where routine was regimented and every original idea I had was shot down I was unable to think for myself and believed I was rubbish at everything.

Money management I agree should be taught in schools and how to budget and run a house. Might have stopped me going into debt...

Boaty Wed 23-Oct-13 08:16:04

I agree with assertiveness/confidence on a personal development level. Practically....money matters, I didn't understand financial matters still don't everyone rented on our estate, I still rent, so I have no understanding of mortgages. The only people I know with money grew up with money and are more money savvy.
Typing would have been handy but we still had the old 'whack the keys' type writers when I was school.
I struggled to cope with the idea of spending my time working. I was very immature and really struggled with the idea of transition from 9-4 until the age of 18 at school to 9-6 at work for the rest of my life! It seemed like such a waste of my life! still does grin

AlyssB Wed 23-Oct-13 18:33:11

I wish it hadn't taken me so long to 'get' constructive criticism! I now realise that people point out where you have gone wrong to help you & make sure you get it right, not to just point out how shit you are while still learning!

Very different from the grading structure & red pen notes in school! Most people you work with want you to be good at your job to make theirs easier! Such a different feedback system from school!

I remember the biggest shock starting work age 16 as being expected to

. Manage my own time.
I remember looking about in a slight panic wondering what I was supposed to be doing. School was all about following instructions, I expected to be told what to do next in the workplace by my boss after every task smile
I hadn't a clue.

I wish i had been taught how to not be so blunt smile i think people are a bit wary of me because i tend to speak before i process what it might sound like

RubySparks Thu 24-Oct-13 07:19:49

Confidence in my own abilities so I could go for what I wanted instead of just accepting job changes (even good ones like being promoted were never things I went after).

Svrider Thu 24-Oct-13 08:37:42

Yy to constructive feedback
I was always being told I was "brilliant at the small comprehensive and easily achieved great GCSEs
The transition to A levels at a large college in a city was huge
I was absolutely distraught at my first feedback session
I was totally convinced the lectures were telling me I wasn't good enough
I sort of coasted from then on

I've recently re-read the reports
They were actually pretty positive, and I can now see they were offering me the extra help that I needed to jump from GCSE to A level
I REALLY wish I'd realised this at the time
So my advice would be tell people if you need help
They won't know otherwisewink

IDugUpADiamond Thu 24-Oct-13 11:18:19

Getting on with all sorts of people
Not making things personal
Adapting to change
Being able to do small talk
Effective networking

LazyScare Thu 24-Oct-13 12:31:38

^ If you could go back and whisper in your own ear the day you started work, what would you say?!^

This is not about you. Noone here owes you anything. It's about the job. Do it to the best of your ability. Be mature and responsible for yourself. This Isn't School (at school, the teachers are there to help you. At work, you have to help the business or you won't be there long. Adjust your thinking and behaviour accordingly).

~ What skills do you wish you'd had before you started work?

Better Memory, better understanding of taxes, pensions, and worker's rights.

~ Who helped you before you started work with advice and support? What sort of support do you wish you had?

NOT the school careers advisor. Totally, utterly useless. Probably my dad (who was a prince's trust mentor and business consultant after many years running self-employed companies.)

youretoastmildred Thu 24-Oct-13 14:50:35

I would have liked to have been told about the different standard for "acceptable" or "good" which is that you have to do it all, and you have to get it all right.
When I was at school I used to do the homework I could do off the top of my head and if that meant not knowing / guessing 2 out of 10, it was still a good mark. I never put any effort into anything. It was difficult for me to get to grips with the fact that, at work, once you have done the easy first 8, the job hasn't really started yet. It's those last 2 that is the job.

dahville Thu 24-Oct-13 17:43:57

I could have done with knowing the difference between the times to speak up and the appropriate times to listen.

TheOpposibleThumb Thu 24-Oct-13 21:02:22

Love what you're doing, or leave.

TheBitchesOfWeestick Thu 24-Oct-13 21:34:02

I just wish I'd had a clue about career, as opposed to job. The feeling of shock, in my final term of uni, to discover all my party-hard friends busily applying for graduate jobs that I didn't even know existed will never leave my memory. I had no confidence, no understanding of how to build a career, how to find a goal and work towards it...it was all about survival. I ended up stagnating in dead end jobs and wondering how I could get out of them to a better place. Still haven't figured it out.

starfishmummy Fri 25-Oct-13 17:18:30

I think that I would have liked to have had some sort of assertiveness training, lots of interview practice and more information on planning finances for the future.

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