Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas coming randomly from my experiences

Posts Tagged ‘job

Reinvent ourselves.

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Confiance et douteRecently, I was listening to the news on the radio, about the employment market. My country like probably others has to face with a lack of talents. Indeed, despite the fact that the unemployment level amounted around 12%, there are available jobs that can be filled due to a mismatching between the requested skills and competences, and the available talent on the market. Mismatching, but also lack of talents on the market. These last decades, the market and the related needs is changing faster, and the talents need to follow the same evolution. But this in theory, but practically, the gap remains.

The economical environment has a huge impact on the work market and on the career evolution.  It was not unusual to have people having the same position during a big part of their career, with an indexed salary each year.  And it was not impossible to see young people starting their career, earning a lower salary to do the same job.  Such situation today is not sustainable anymore for companies.  The competition is always harder and each invested penny has to provide a good return, not only in term of financial return, but also in term of quality, productivity and growth.

Does it mean that for seniors, the chances to find a job are low, because they are too old? I don’t believe so, but it is obvious that today, you cannot just do the same job all your life. There are always possibilities, and the acquired experience is an asset you have to use for future challenges. Such evolution implies an appropriate evolution in your career. Such evolution is an asset for companies and organizations, but is also positive for people.  This career evolution implies a permanent education, a permanent acquisition process of new competences and skills. The combination of new skills and your experience is a useful innovation tool, and innovation is an essential key to develop successful and sustainable organizations. Definitively, these are people who make the organizations.

The development of the organizations and the technologies create specific needs, niches of specific competences. To fill these needs, we need talent. Talent means people with specific and added value skills, but also with strong experiences.  Here is a major point, the specificity of what you can deliver to the organization. What will be your difference criteria, and what will be the factor making that people will work with you and not with another?  To be able to answer to that need, you need to see a matching between the needs and trends of the market, and your acquired skills, but also with complementary skills you could acquire.  For instance, people working in finance and accounting departments offers financial services, but combining this with strong IT skills, they can build powerful tools and deliver added valued solutions for the organization. This combination of skills will make you as unique.  The added value provided by such combination of skills is higher than the sum of each skill.

By growing your skills and capacities, you give you the chance to open new doors to new opportunities.  And each opportunity gives you the chance to learn new things, to live new experiences.  Such process is successful if it is initiated and driven by passion. Passion and talent will make that you will offer the best of yourself, and in the mean time you will convince people to contract your services, your talent.  By subscribing to such process, you will certainly meet success, but it will impact positively your wellness and self confidence. The feeling to be useful and to still have an active place in the society has a positive impact on your physical and psychological health.  All this things will make that you will fill yourself as a creative actor of the society and not to be a slave.

Do what you are passionate by, reinvent yourself each day. It’s good for you, it’s good for your future, it’s good for the community.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

July 26, 2013 at 07:29

The discomfort zone

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The comfort and discomfort zone

When I started my career beginning of the 90’s, it was still believable to do your career or a big part of it in the same company. At that time, as my second job of my career, I was joining the Belgian subsidiary of a IT Japanese company with that thought. But around two years and half later, the company was restructuring and I was part of the people who lost their job. I was not really happy at that time and the future looked a bit dark in my eyes. The reason of such darkness was also that I saw people around me, people of the generation of my parents, working since many years in the same company and loosing their job in a few minutes. To my eyes, something was changing. The world of business and of jobs will not be the same than before.

When such things happen, it is always an opportunity to analyse your background and to understand the way you did. I remember that I had my second job because there was some knowledge and experiences needed, and that I had the chance to develop this knowledge in my previous job. The experience I acquired during my first job was clearly an asset to build my career, to get other opportunities. I compared also my first job and the second one to see what was different. As first job, it is always the one where you will learn a lot because it is your first experience, but in my case, another reason was that the small structure of the company where I was working, was an environment where you have to do a range of different tasks and where you can learn a lot of different things. My second job was an interesting one, but was only focused on a specific function. I was account receivable accountant at that time. By having a look to the two years in these Japanese company, I had to note that my career and work evolution was lower than in my previous job.

By thinking about this particular change in the work world, I conclude that before, the perspective to work on a long-term basis for the same company was seen as a positive and comfortable perspective, but this statement is not true anymore today. You can maybe still work for a long time in the same company, but the most important is to make sure that you will evolve in different functions, that you will expand your skills and knowledge.

The comfort is something enjoyable when things are going well in your job. But the question is how long will it stay like this. In a fast moving environment where restructuring processes happen more and more in companies, the comfort feeling could be a danger. Skills, capabilities and experience are the guarantee to succeed in finding of job opportunities. But skills and capabilities are not something static, but dynamic. In a fast moving environment, your skills and competences have to move, to evolve too. As I mentioned before, you will probably have a job because the needed competences match with yours, but you have also to stay competitive on the job market place. It is the reason why the acquisition of new competences and the talent development is an asset and a necessity.

It is important to check time-to-time, in your professional as in your personal life where you are, where you were and where you want and have to go. When you see that things do not change a lot and that you are still in the same place, in the same function, that you do not see any evolution in your work, your career, than think that it is probably time to move to another challenge. Think also to follow some trainings in order to improve and increase your knowledge in specific areas, in some matters you are interested by and where you have really talent. Don’t do this only in your professional life, but also in your personal life, by having hobbies, fixing a goal to them and persevering in order to reach your goal. In other words, move from the comfort zone to the discomfort zone.

Move to the discomfort zone has to be an ongoing process. As many exercise, we have to be used to do it, we have to go over a certain inertia. At the beginning of my career, I was thinking to do my career in the same company. Today, as freelance consultant since few years, I cannot imagine anymore to move to such career if it would be possible.

This statement, this experience makes me take a few conclusions. In every negative event, you can always learn something and find opportunities. It is a characteristic of an entrepreneur mind, and you have to be the entrepreneur of your own life. Move to the discomfort zone will give you other opportunity, will contribute to your self-development and empower your self- confidence. Move to your discomfort zone is just a question of habit. With this, you will see that the discomfort zone is not so uncomfortable.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

May 2, 2011 at 21:20

Change, responsibility and self-confidence.

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Self-confidence & responsibility, ingredients to feed change?

When change is considered as new opportunities by some people, it is seen as a danger by others. Change is a question of mind and some people are not used to change. But the question to be asked is why there are not used to change. Or maybe why have they no motivation to operate changes.

If we are going back to many years ago, and maybe still today in some public organizations, people were supposed to do their job as it was told to them. They were not allowed to take initiatives or to change some rules. The change was only driven by some managers or responsibles, and the employees were only allowed to do things as it was decided. But is it still possible to manage things in such a way, in a fast moving environment? No, it is not.

The development of technologies has an important impact in term of organization in companies and institutions. Each change of operating mode needs also some changes in term of people management. But in order to drive this changes successfully, people have to be motivated by changes. It is only possible if some conditions are met.

  • Function and job description: people needs to have a clear job descriptions, to have a good picture about their function in the company and the implication of their work within the organization

  • Targets and objectives: Peter Drucker was saying that management by objective works if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time, you don’t. If people know their objective, they can organize their work to reach the objectives.

  • Team spirit: personal objectives are part of global objectives, the objectives of the company, of the organisation. Global objectives can only be reached if people are working together on an organized way. It implies to know how to work, who is doing what. Let us keep in mind that there is no personal success without common success.

  • Responsibilities: By defining a function and goals for each people, you are giving responsibilities. With the development of technologies, where each function requires more skills and capabilities than before, each people is playing a key role, but need to have the feeling that this role is taken into consideration by the management. People assume and are motivated to take their responsibilities if it is recognized by the management,

  • Feedback: Feedback is important. If people are doing mistake or are not going in the direction of the assigned goal, colleagues or management need to give feedback about what is going wrong, analyse the reasons of the mistake, and to discuss about the appropriate actions to be taken. We are learning more from our mistakes than from our successes. It will help people to anticipate potential mistakes and to be more proactive, and to increase the quality of work.

  • Self-confidence: By assigning clear goals, by helping people to reach these goals and by recognizing the added value of their work, people have the feeling to be part of the organization and become more self-confident. This self-confidence will make that they will not hesitate to take initiatives to improve the processes of the organization. It is clearly a win-win situation, where people are acquiring added value and the organization benefits from the work quality of dedicated people.

As we can see, change is not something we can decide in one day. It is not only a question of mind but also a question of culture of the organization. It is obvious that culture is conditioning people, but in a fast moving environment where flexibility become a key factor of success, people can only face revolutions if they are used to work within an evolution process. And in an environment where flexibility and adaptability become important factors of success, it is obvious that people have to be used to work within an evolution process.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 11, 2011 at 20:51

Those who created their job.

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Luc de Brabandere, enterprise philosopher.

Most of you already heard about that quote from Abraham Lincoln saying that “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This quote have more and more sense in a fast moving environment where we don’t know what will be our future. Today, job security is an oxymoron. As already written in a previous posting on this blog, the only existing job security is to expand our knowledge and capabilities. All what you can learn will probably be helpful for you in order to find and to get new opportunities. More than this, when something seems to begin obsolete, it is time to invent something, to find other solutions, to be creative. It is true for business, for product and services, but also for our career.

Each of us, we hope to meet success in our professional and private life. Some years ago, the success was to join a known company or group, and to make a whole career, joining a stable environment where you were benefiting from a good salary with a range of benefits. Today, such career perspectives are more improbable, in a fast moving economical environment where restructuring processes in companies imply jobs cutting as negative effects. Does it mean that success became also something improbable? It depends how we are defining success.

In our society, work is often considered as a constraint. By seeing work in such point of view, people will choose a job for bad reasons. Is it forbidden to believe that job could be something very enjoyable? It is up to us to decide it. Some people decided to do their job enjoyable, and some of them came to invent, to create their own job.

I will take the example of Luc De Branbandere, a Belgian consultant in creativity. This man has a diploma in mathematic sciences and started his career in a bank. He was quickly interested by all what is related to creativity. In order to move further in that subject, he made studies in philosophy. He wrote several books about ideas and creativity, books that I highly recommend. Luc De Brabandere is defining himself as an enterprise philosopher, coaching and helping companies in creativity processes.


Marc Ysaye, director of Classic 21

Let us take another example. Marc Ysaye, who is the drummer of the Belgian rock group Machiavel, made several small jobs during his youth, from taxi driver to trucks driver. He is passionate by rock’n roll music, and his knowledge of the rock’n roll is impressive. He joined the Belgian radio (RTBF) in 1982. In 1988, he created a radio broadcast, “Les Classiques”, presenting a rock’n roll group every Sunday morning on Classic 21, a chain of the RTBF. This radio broadcast is still a success today, and Marc Ysaye is the director of Classic 21 since 2004. Classic 21 is one of the most successful Belgian radio station dedicated to rock’n roll music.

We can find numerous example of self-made man, people meeting success by creating their own job, their own project. There are several reason why they meet such success, and some of them are the following:

  • The passion. Somebody who creates his own job is moved by a passion. Of course, he has to work hardly to build his project, but this work driven by passion make that he is considering his job as a hobby, as a game and not as a binding job.

  • The curiosity and the passion to learn. A self-made man wants to discover, to learn every day. His passion is a never-ending story, and by knowing that he can learn everyday, he has a feeling of happiness and is conquering his freedom day-after-day. All what he can learn and discover will be a strong row material to develop new projects and ideas.

  • Be the original instead of the copy. Oliviero Tuscani said that “We have not only to be the best, we have to be unique”. It is when you build your project based on your own experiences and passions that you build something unique and original. Of course, we are often inspired by other people, but this inspiration has to be only the needed energy to build our own project, our own legend as Paolo Coelho says.

  • Goal and conviction: Building your own project means that you have a goal, your own goal, and that you are convinced by what you are doing. Conviction is close to passion. It is only when you are convinced yourself that you will convince the other people. It is also when you are convinced by what you are doing that you maximize the chance to reach your goal.

  • Pay attention to opportunities: we are used to say that an opportunity is coming one time to you, not twice. It is important to pay attention to each opportunity. Meeting the right people at the right time and in the right place is not something that happen everyday. You cannot miss such chance. We are responsible of our successes and of our failures.

  • Work and perseverance: The most important and main project we have is our own life. It is something we have to build everyday in order to get long term results. By facing challenges and issues, and by working hard in order to find solutions and to reach your goal, you will learn about yourself, you will be more self -confident. It is by learning everyday, by increasing your skills and capabilities that you will be able to move your limits and face bigger challenges.

Is it possible to create our own future, our own job? Yes, it is, but a major point is to know how we define the success. Our definition will be related to our value. Is the success related to the money we are earning, to the projects we are winning, to the satisfaction level we are gaining from our activities? Success will be defined differently by each of us. But success will have to be integrated and found in our moving environment. It will be related to our value, but also linked to our capacity of change, of adaptability. As entrepreneurs of our own life, we need to have always a project in advance, to have always different interests, and to make them growth everyday. Is it impossible to create our future. Some people will answer they did not know it was impossible, so they did it !

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 3, 2011 at 22:34

Seniors at work, a win-win alternative.

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Seniors as mentor for juniors

The belgian business magazine published recently an article about a survey organized by Acerta Marketing Intelligence, about seniors employees. It appears that the trend about the work of the seniors is progressing on a positive way. Indeed, around 33% of companies are considering to keep the collaboration with their talented senior employees for a longer time and extend their active life. This is a positive sign given by companies, showing a change of mentality and vision. There are of course legal restriction to the extension of professional life, but some possibilities are existing and could be interesting for the economy.

These time, most of countries have to face with the problem of retirement and the payment of pensions. The proportion of retired people compared to active people is increasing and in a few years, the payment of pensions could be an issue. But the increase of retirement age is unacceptable for some politics and for trade unions. They consider that people have merited to stop to work and to let the jobs to the youth. We can agree on such view, but does it mean that everybody is happy to stop working?

The extension of the professional careers could be an advantage for the economy and for the people too. Here are some positive points:

  • The freedom to still work. Some people enjoy to work, because they like their job, and they always look for learning and progressing in the live. The age of retirement is something subjective. Age is a question of mind. There are people who are still young in their mind even if they are sixty years old.
  • Benefit for the health. Some studies showed that people pursuing a professional or a volunteer activity have a better psychic health. They can still work on a project, concretize a goal. Nicolas Hayek, the founder of Swatch, was used to say that like the artists, the entrepreneurs will never be retired, they just move to another function. Each people has to be the entrepreneur of his life, and should be allowed to continue a professional activity if he is still motivated.
  • The flexibility. The Seniors who want to continue to work, would maybe work on a part time basis, which could match with the needs of companies. The companies could contract the seniors for specific projects needing only a part time activity. This flexibility should be a win-win deal. The companies would benefit from the expertise of the seniors following their needs, and the seniors could still contribute to the economical activity and to maintain a positive work-life balance.
  • To act as a mentor. The academical background is important to face professional challenges, but the years of experience is also an asset. In a fast moving environment, we have to learn everyday. The seniors could contribute positively to the juniors career development. The juniors learned other things at school or university and will have different approach than the seniors. On the other hand, seniors have a lot of practical experience, giving the advantage to anticipate and to be more pro-active in certain situation. Seniors have more experience and knowledge, juniors have ideas and technical skills. By working together on a project, they can combine their competences and provide innovative and added valued solutions.
  • To share enthusiasm. By working with the juniors, the seniors who are still motivated to work, will show their motivation, their enthusiasm, what will be an example for the junior. If work is considered as a constraint, your life will be worse than the hell. First you have to chose the job you like, and to get the change to work with inspiring people.
  • A complementary financial revenue. The retirement allowance are lower than the paid salaries during the professional career. If a retired people can earn a complementary revenue, he can still maintain a certain level of life, which is positive for the economy. He can still contract services contributing to his wellness. In Belgium, a important part of the retired people are living under the poverty level.

The possibility to continue to work is an interesting and positive alternative which should be given for those who wants to continue to work. Work should not be seen as an obligation, but also as a right. Work is often seen as a constraint, but our life is full of constraints. The challenge of live is to live with these constraints and to be creative to face them. By learning from the constraints, we are reaching the freedom, the freedom to chose our constraints.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

February 19, 2011 at 23:55

Too late to change of career project?

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Jean Van Hamme, a former manager who became scenarist and writer.


Some of us, we are thinking time to time to change of job, to do something else more fitting with our expectation, with our ambition. But is it so easy to switch from a job to another, a new job where you will have to build a new reputation and expertise? Here are some important points to be considered in order to succeed in such transition.

  • Be convinced by you want to do in order to convince your future customers, your future employers. As already mentioned in a previous article, the only reason to do a job is because you like it and you will show the best you can do.

  • Make sure that you have enough talent and skills in the new activity you want to do. You decide to change of job, of activity because you discovered something you liked to do as a hobby, and you would like to improve your work satisfaction by doing something fitting more with your expectations. But the question to be asked is to know if you have enough talent to do this activity with a professional level. Try to interact with partners or other people acting in the same area than you, in order to evaluate your level of competences.There is a difference between somebody who can play piano and to play piano like Mozart.
  • Take the time to prepare your new activity and start only when you are feeling having enough control on things you can control. Be aware that you are starting a new activity where you have less experience than your competitors. You are starting as a junior and you will have to deal in an environment with senior competitors. You will have to invest time and energy in order to reach and provide a competitive quality level of competences. As often mentioned, most of the time, to succeed in such conversion needs 10% of talent and 90% of work.

  • Be innovative and creative. In the range of services you want to provide, try to innovate and to give a good reason to your customers to work with you and not with somebody else. Think out of the box is something important to make the difference between you and your competitors. The combination of different competences and skills can provide more added value than the addition of each competence (one and one make three). As said the Italian photographer Oliviero Tuscani, you have not only to be the best, you have to be “unique”.

  • Listen to the experiences of your partners and competitors. You can learn a lot of then and anticipate actions or difficult times. Feedback is an important source of information, in order to perceive the fast moving environment you are working in.

  • Measure the impact your new career can have on your private life and on your family. As already mentioned, a change of job or activity implies more work and efforts, more time dedicated to your project and as consequences, a change in your work life balance. Do not hesitate to speak about your project with your family, about the impact it can have. It is important to have the support of your family, but it is important too to minimize the negative impacts on your family life.

  • Measure the financial impact of your project. In the case of a new activity as self-employed, it will take time to generate revenues. You need to have a clear overview about the risk you want to take. Set up a limit you do not want to go over. Try to develop a plan of alternative revenues. I was reading recently the experience of an accountant who changed of professional direction. He invested his capital in real estate and had rent revenues, ensuring regular revenue to be able to live. In other words, try to minimize your risk or to have an alternative plan in case of failure.

  • Do not forget that to start a new activity, a new enterprise, is always a risk. Be aware that there is always a risk to fail. But this failure has not to be seen as a negative thing. From this failure, you will probably learn much more than from a success. But it is important to limit the damage and to take the decision to stop. Define first the risk limit you would not cross over.

    As conclusion, I would say that to move to a new career plan is not an easy exercise, but not an impossible exercise too. It implies to have a good knowledge about yourself.But you can have probably hide talents you will discover by doing such exercise. And even if your new project fails, think first that your attempt to change of career project is not useless. You discovered and learned many things which will probably help you to think about another project and succeed it.

    To change of career or launch a new activity is always an important decision. As said Peter Drucker, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

    Picture : Jean Van Hamme


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

October 11, 2010 at 21:44

Why to do this job ?

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Michel Kacenelenbogen, founder of the theater "Le Public"

Last week, I was dining in a restaurant with my family, and I heard from another table a woman talking about a member of her family. She was telling that the person found a job in the administration, and that it was the best professional situation, because he will get a better pension when he will be retired. It is a fact that in Belgium, the people working in the public administration will have a better pension when they will be retired, compared to the pension gained by people from the private sector and the independents, which are lower. By hearing such opinion, I was thinking about this “strategy” of career.

I can understand easily that people could be concerned about their future, and it is always interesting to think on a long term basis. But if you think only on a long term basis, if you think only about the future, you will probably miss the present. Is it reasonable to choose a job in function of future benefit you will gain, and, in this case, when you will be retired? I have doubt about it. In my mind, the only reason to do a job is because you like to do it. I know that everybody has not the chance every time to get the opportunity or the chance to do the job of his dreams, but in this matter, we have to start by thinking on another way.

To do a boring job you do not like, because you are expecting a better pension, make me think that you are waiting for the week end, the end of the month to be paid, the holiday, your retirement, …..the death !! Personally, I do not find this as an exciting perspective, and I want to say too that unfortunately, some people never reached the age of retirement because accidental circumstances of life. Let us think about the consequence of not enjoying a job, particularly when you are teacher, doctor,…This could have consequences for you but also for other people, because the motivation is not there.

Not only for people, there are also consequences for the economy. I agree that a country need to have a performing administration, and of course need people to fill functions, but if everybody was choosing a job only for pension level reason, it is obvious that our economy would not be competitive, and the public finance should not be on the top.

I mention here a problem of incentive, but the problem is not only a question of incentive, but more a question of how we consider the success. Is the only way of success material, by having a high position in an administration or in a company, by having a bigger house than the one of your neighbors? Or is the success the fact to realize your projects, by measuring concrete results and achievement, by gaining expertise and knowledge, expanding your capabilities …and good memories! Let me tell you the story about a Belgian guy, Michel Kacenelenbogen, a Belgian theater actor, and fonder of the theater “Le Public”. When he was young, he was dreaming to become an actor, and to found a theater. In order to realize his dream, he founded a marketing agency, KI Partners, in 1993. The goal was to earn money to be able to concretize his dream. Eleven years later, in 1994, he founded his theater, “Le Public”, which is one of the most popular and innovative theater in Brussels. He finally met the success, in accordance with his dreams, his vision of life.

By telling this, I want to underline also the importance of interest for things. We are living in a society where we are more considering things as useful or not. But by having curiosity, interest for culture, to learn languages, we are giving us the tools to develop our own career, to discover ourselves. By increasing our potential, our capabilities, we are giving us the chance to have choices, to realize our dreams, to conquer our freedom.

Do you think that by choosing the job you like you will have a good pension later, I do not know, but you will be happy now,..and for a long time!

Picture from :

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 21, 2010 at 22:11