CompanyCulture

Company Culture – does it affect your Career Change Decisions

 What is Company Culture?  Company Culture isn’t just the mission statement, but also the values, ethics and goals of the company and how they affect you and the way the Company conducts its business.  Like people, Companies have their own unique personality and so do departments within each company.  This personality will decide whether you love your job or not.

Company Culture is now a major factor to consider when planning on a career change.  20 years ago you went to work, did your job and you left.  9 to 5 wasn’t just a movie, it was the company culture.  Clock in at 9 and out of there at 5.  An hour for lunch which you ate at your desk or you went to a restaurant.  Most professional companies didn’t have lunch rooms, if you were lucky there were vending machines for coffee.  Sales departments used to do team building events and some departments might have had corporate baseball teams, but that was it.

I remember when Ontario Hydro went to the open concept office.  Walls came down, everyone sat in pods.  One big happy family.   Oops – within a month, buffer panels came in for individual departments and groups.  Walls went back up for key positions, ie HR, CFOs etc.  It was a nice concept but unfeasible.  Too noisy and distracting.  Now we have the innovative Google office, new technologies and company culture has become an important part in career planning.

You will spend 1/3 of your life at work.  Not only do you have to like what you do, but you have to like the company and the people you work with.   Your company and your group within that company are like a baseball team.  Would you stay on the team if you weren’t enjoying yourself?  If you hated the Team Captain and didn’t like the way he was running the team, you would be out of there.  Yes it is harder to leave a job but if you don’t like the culture eventually you will move on.  Companies want you to fit in with their culture.  Retraining and rehiring new people is time consuming, costly and disruptive to running a business.  The Company will be assessing your culture fit.  It is important for you to recognize what the company will expect from you.  Experience, job satisfaction and salary are important parts when assessing a new career.  But so is the atmosphere in the company.

Start assessing the company as soon as you walk in the door.

Are the people in the elevators, hallways, reception desks friendly?  Look at everyone and everything as you walk through the office.   Does the atmosphere seem positive?  Or do the employees look bored and disgruntled.

Assess yourself honestly?

Are you the type of person who wants to show up, do your job and head home?  Do you like to read your book at your desk at lunch?  Or do you want to go into the lunch room and play ping pong?  Do you like team building outings or do you consider these an infringement on your free time?  If you have the attitude I’m paid for a 40 hour work week and that’s all you are getting from me then you need to make sure you find a company that only expects that from you.

Technology has changed the face of company culture.

Companies provide laptops and phones to their employees.  Along with that comes an expectation that they can reach you whenever they want.  Deadlines don’t fall within a 40 hour work week.

 

Team Building is becoming a fact of life in organizations

Find out what is expected of you.

Are there ping pong tournaments, Ax throwing parties (yes I said Ax throwing parties).  

Dinner nights, weekends away.

Is the atmosphere very competitive as a team or is it based  more on the individual.   

 

 

1/3 of your day will be spent with your team members and your group.  Enjoying the atmosphere and camaraderie where you work will make a big difference in your attitude about your job.  During the interview be sure to ask about the company culture.  At the interview with your actual team members assess their characters, are you on the same page, will you be able to get along.  Your team is like your family with less space to escape from them.  Do you like them?  If you do then grab this position, there is nothing better than wanting to get up in the morning to go to a fulfilling job.

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Maybe stress the stress test.

In this weeks P4Capital discussion, the executive team continues to talk about something most of us try to forget – the great recession of 2008.

In a follow-up to the stunning news of all the American banks passing part one of the stress test we have some bad news – a few banks didn’t in fact pass part two.

The P4Capital team investigates what this means, and how it will protect the world economy should the worst come to pass again.

Stay tuned.

Transcript


Amanda: So much for our winning streak. Several american banks couldn’t hold it together in the final inning, and failed part two of the stress test. The P4Capital team continues their discussion about what these results mean for the future of the economy, and what these banks are going to do about their failing grades.

I don’t think they can simply apply for extra credit.

Jeremy: All right, this week we’re doing part two in our Stress Test series. A couple of big European banks just failed the Stress Test in New York – Deutsche bank and Santander of Spain.

Archana: Apparently even Bank of America just received a conditional pass. This was part two of the stress test which actually happened last week, in which all of the 31 banks were cleared. Part two was essentially in order to assess their terms of raising capital by way of dividends, and these two banks essentially failed.

Jeremy: Bank of America’s actually going to try to do about 4 billion dollars into share buybacks, which they got the green light on. So Deutsche bank and Santander are going to face penalties where they can’t do any share buybacks right now, or raise dividends, but they’re still able to issue the dividends as they stand

Amanda: What does part two entail?

Shaheerah: Well it’s called the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, CCAR. And basically these banks that failed, now they have to make some changes in their plans or they could have to pay some financial penalties. Basically, it prevents these US entities of the foreign banks from distributing any capital to their parent companies.

Jim: With that said, the question Amanda asked was what does this all mean? It means basically that the United States has said that either you’re going to have enough cash to be banking in the US, or you’re not going to bank in the US. As simple as that. They want a very strong and healthy financial system to spur their growth into this new age of technology meeting business and new entities being created, which should sustain their economy for the next three to five decades.

Archana: I’m just curious to hear the thoughts of the P4Capital team here – do you think the introduction of these stress tests and various levels of scrutiny – what do you think about another 2008 like meltdown? Do you think we could avoid another one of those again?

Jim: Not a chance. As the elder statesman at the table by a considerable factor so, I have seen these financial games in various shapes and forms over four decades, well – let’s call it five. And there will be a new game at hand somewhere, sometime in the future, but the objective here is to get stability for at least a 10 year run, and then let the governing bodies a decade out from now worry with what’s on their plate at that point in time. But quite bluntly, we’re in full economic recovery right now Archana, but it is so tender. It could not support another meltdown of the magnitude that was unprecedented by the way, that happened in 2008.

Archana: I would actually agree with Jim. To me, the only constant there is change. And we’ve all witnessed this within the Capital Markets environment. Yeah I mean, this is a way for stabilizing the marketing and the economy as it stands right now, but 10 years from now something else might just crop up and the regulators at that point will try to put checks and balances in place too.

Jim: The interesting part about these Stress Tests, that’s probably also illustrative to all those other financial institutions is the absolute weakness of the underpinnings of technology. I had this discussion last week with a senior banker in downtown Toronto, and we talked about their base engine technologies, which was something that the group 20 years ago installed. So now, you’re trying to run a multi trillion business using ancient, antiquated technologies. It should be very interesting as they continue to work on stress tests to see if these banks, in this case the group of 31, are going to be able to sustain it in the future or not.

Jeremy: I think what caused the financial meltdown revolved around derivative products; credit derivatives, swaps, CDS’s they were called. That was-

Jim: MBS’s

Jeremy:-right, mortgage-backed securities. Basically predicated on the fact that banks were issuing mortgages to just about anyone with a pulse, and then bundling those mortgages off as fast as they could into securities. There were three different levels of risk – they were called trenches. The lowest trench were all sold at one price – medium. They had another price – the top-level; senior level they were called. Wasn’t even that much of a risk premium that companies were taking – companies such as AIG — and there ended up being massive defaults across all three levels of risk. Lots of problems there, and here we are six years later or so, and there is still not a clear picture of what risk looks like on balance sheets, especially in the derivatives business which is largely unregulated. There are lot of measures to see how they can measure this risk better, but we’re not there.

Jim: Yeah, but that’s symptomatic Jeremy. You know any time you try to modernize debt you’re running risk, full stop. Debt is debt. But the interesting part were the reverberations in the marketplace of 2008, and how it brought the global economy down to its knees, almost overnight. So, I look at it again and say can that game of taking, using your words – providing debt mortgages to anyone who can apply – is that going to be game on in the future? I doubt it

Jeremy: It will be a different game

Jim: Maybe it will be a different game, absolutely! We don’t know what that will be.

Jeremy: Maybe it’s going on already?

Jim: I would suggest it probably is, going on already.


 

That was the P4Capital team discussing the Stress Test, and what these failing grades mean for the banks going forward. Want to know more? Check out our website  and previous posts at www.planet4it.com or follow us @p4capital. Thanks and see you next time.

obstacles

Job Hunting – Little things to help you overcome those tricky obstacles

Job Hunting can be mind boggling.  Knowing what kind of job you are qualified for can be intimidating.  Don’t let things overwhelm you.  Think of the positives and form a plan to accomplish your goal.  First thing I do when anything is overwhelming me is make a list.

  • What kind of jobs does your education qualify you for
  • What experience do you have and is it transferable from industry to industry, ie banking to government
  • Who do you know in the industry
    • Call them and set up an information interview to find out what types of jobs you would be qualified for or that would interest you
  • Network – let everyone know you are looking.  Do you volunteer, let the board know you are looking for a new job.  Play sports or children play sports, teams are a great place to network.  The gym, yoga studio – everyone knows someone who knows someone and most people are more than happy to lend a hand.
  • Use a Recruiter.  Recruiters have job boards sometimes exclusive to them.  Research your recruiter and find the one who deals with the companies on your list of places you would like to work.  Also find the Recruiter who deals with your skills.  Recruiters specialize – IT, Finance, Admin, etc so make sure you contact the right one.  Be diligent don’t them forget about you, keep in touch with him/her.
  • Check the job boards.  Don’t be afraid to recontact your Recruiter and let him/her know about job openings.
  • Check specific company websites.  Again before applying online check with your Recruiter to see if he has a contact there.
  • Connect with people on LinkedIn who work for specific targeted companies that you are interested in
  • And then go back and do it all again
There is a job out there with your name on it.

 

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Don’t stress the stress test

In this week’s P4Capital discussion, the executive team talks about something most of us try to forget – the great recession of 2008.

The news isn’t bad though; for the first time since they were invoked, all American banks have passed the Stress Test.

The P4Capital team investigates what this means, and how it will protect the world economy should the worst come to pass again.

Stay tuned.

 

Transcript


Amanda: Do you remember the recession of 2008? When the banks all caused the world economy to crumble? When  jobs evaporated like shallow water and dollar values plummeted world wide? Well, the banks certainly do, and to make sure the Great recession doesn’t happen again, they introduced a series of stress tests. And for the first time, in 2015 all the American banks have passed.

Jim: This week’s topic is about the American banks passing stress tests, and the significance to not only the North American economy, but the global economy as well.

Jeremy: For those of you that don’t know what a stress test is, the top 30 or so US banks have all agreed to undergo stress testing, in which they will look at different factors and variables and examine how these would affect their capital reserves, and their ability to do business. So for example they might look at what would happen if unemployment was to rise by 2%, inflation were to rise by 3% and interest rates were to be cut by  .5%.

Archana: Just backtracking a bit here, the stress test was essentially introduced after the financial meltdown of 2008, and it’s seen as a huge step in boosting consumer confidence in the US financial system.  In 2008, we all know how that story played out; the banks had to be bailed out, the government essentially funding about 700 billion to bail out the biggest lenders in the US.

Shaheerah: The whole purpose of this test is to ensure that these banks will have enough capital, and they will be able to continue to lend to businesses and households even in a very dark economic recession. These stress tests focus on some important risks, and those risks are credit risk, market risk and liquidity risk.

Jim: The interesting part, now the US Greenback is soaring  out there and the banks that support the US dollar are now passed all the latest stress tests, is that it looks like the US economy is now back on extremely firm foundation and footing, and will be the engine that drives the global economy. We haven’t seen that in a while. The argument can be at least 7 years, some argue all the way back to 2000.

Jeremy: It’s actually the sixth year anniversary today of the low of the S&P 500. It’s up over 200% over the past six years, so it’s been one heck of a bull market.

Amanda: The date we are recording this is March 9, 2015 for our listeners who are tuning in at a later date. What does this mean for the Canadian economy?

Shaheerah: Yes, so now bringing that discussion back to Canada, Canadian banks are ranked the world’s soundest for seven straight years by the world economic form. Canadian banks are actually outperforming the US banks even in the midst of the dropping oil prices and part of the reason is we have fewer regulations and less competition than the banks of the US. And both TD and BMO, among other banks are also expanding in the US because the US will see more economic growth than Canada over the next two years.

Jim: Therefore, expansion equals more jobs and more overall health to the Canadian economy which has in fact had a phenomenal bull run itself for almost a decade, with the exception of that mid, let’s call it September 2008 to September 2009 period, which is very good news indeed. The interesting part was the measurement of risk as well too, and watching how the different financial institutions are now responding by getting rid of their archaic technologies and moving into faster engines which are allowing them to monitor risk with more clarity and make better decisions going forward.

Jeremy: Also, if banks in the US don’t pass their stress test then sanctions can be placed on them such as what happened with Citibank. I believe it was last year they failed some of the stress tests so they weren’t able to have any share buybacks or authorize any dividend increases. They did pass them sufficiently enough so they didn’t have to cut dividends though. Not coincidently there is a new CEO implemented there.

Jim: Yeah, no kidding! How many of the competent Citi people fled to get to financial institutions that would pay them appropriate bonuses and how many should have got fired?

Jeremy: True. Goldman actually didn’t do as well as expected on these tests, so their share price was down 1.7% the day the tests were released, largely as investors are concerned that the similar sanctions may be in the future for Goldman Sachs.

Jim: Well, considering the US government is one of the largest borrowers on the planet, and they’re only going to borrow money from their financial institutions that pass their rules-

Jeremy: and China!

Jim: -And China, yeah! I think it’s very important that these FI’s that are on the line get up to speed.

Archana: Incidentally, this is apparently the first year since the Dodd-Frank act stress test, or as it’s called DFast,  that all the 31 US banks actually passed the test. Citigroup actually flunked the test last year and the CEO actually went on record saying that he is quite intent getting the books in order, or otherwise his job is on the line. And apparently they did well this year. Again, this DFast is apparently round one of the new stress test measures that the government has introduced. Part two is to be unveiled this week, which is primarily due with whether the Fed will announce whether the capital plans of these big banks are going to be accepted or rejected in terms of their share buyback and dividends. So it’s not exactly clear whether all 31 banks will go through – that remains to be seen.

Jim: Could be a lot of nervous executives wondering if they can get their bonuses paid or not!

 


That was the P4Capital team discussing the Stress Test, and how it will protect the economy going forward. Want to know more? Check out our website  and previous posts at www.planet4it.com or follow us @p4capital. Thanks and see you next time.

fired

Terminated or Fired – Now What?

Being fired is a tough experience and it narrows your options.  Here are some suggestions on how to deal with this situation.

 

Prepare yourself to move on:

  • Take responsibility for what happened.
  • Deal with the pain, anger or shame.  Talk to your friends for support.  Consider getting professional help.  There is not much in life that teaches us how to deal with bad situations so take corrective action.  The alternative is a lot of unhappiness for a lot longer.
  • Don’t confuse a lay-off with firing.  Layoffs happen all the time when organizations go through change. Don’t beat yourself up over something that wasn’t your fault.

 

Goal

Get a new job, even if it will be for a short term, as in a contract, and may not be your dream position.  This job will re-establish your resume credibility.

 

Steps to find a new job

Job

 

  • Contact people you worked with in the past who could take you back.
  • Contact friends and colleagues who know you as a good person and will support you –maybe hand your resume/recommend you to their boss.
  • Contact everyone who could be a good reference for you.  Often there are people from the company from which you were let go who are aware the firing may not have been entirely your fault. People from the prior jobs would not be affected by what happened recently.

 

Options to Answer the Question Why You Left

 

Full disclosure – I was fired because…

If it was a personality conflict, explain that it had never happened before and that what you learned from the situation is that sometimes conflict can’t be resolved and that you should have taken action to move on earlier, yourself.  Immediately offer a list of references whom you know will say positive things about you.

It was a mutual decision and explain you have a severance plan.

Immediately offer a list of references.

Say nothing about the termination.

This may back fire if an employment check reveals you were fired and you had not been candid about it.

Don’t ruminate/blame.

I can’t think of a way this approach will ever work.  It is a sub-set of never criticizing a former boss, company or colleagues. It just makes people feel uncomfortable and you look  like complainer/whiner and  leave the impression you are immature and untrustworthy.


Nadine

Nadine is one of the original members and owners of Planet4IT, and has watched the company become something great.
She is the Chief Financial officer here, and her hard work ensures everything is kept in tip top shape.
Another role she has is to help companies find the top talent out there.
Her track record speaks for itself.
Nadine can be reached through email, or by calling Planet4IT

 

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Resume Formatting can be the Key to getting the Interview

Resume Formatting can be the Key to getting the Interview

Resumes can be the key to opening the door to your first interview or a direct path to the trash bin.  Hiring Managers and Recruiters see 100’s of resumes for every job opening.  There are 1,940,000 entries on google for “the 6 second scan of your resume”.  Yes – 6 seconds.  Barely more than a blink.  If you pass the scan the resume gets moved to the “follow up file” for a more in-depth look at.  At this point you might get an email or a phone call looking for more detailed job related exposure.

Planet4iT has been using the format in our slideshare presentation very successfully for the last 15 years.  Give it a try and good luck with your job hunting.

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Through the Crystal Ball Part 2

Last week we speculated on what the future might hold for fossil fuels and renewable energy. Now, the P4Capital executive team concludes that discussion with this week’s round table discussion.

Stay tuned.

Transcript


Amanda: And we’re back! Here is part two of through the crystal ball: the future of oil.

Jeremy: So that immediately suggests again that demand for oil will drop due to a technology shift. In fact, if one actually looks at the history of oil as a technology driver it’s less than 100 years old. In most economies it’s less than 75 years old. Which, that breakthrough that Shaheerah noted right now, will change the composition and make up of most trading markets around the world instantaneously as that becomes a commercialized venue for fuel.

Shaheerah: I also wanted to mention some predictions that scientists have made. So currently right now we are in 2015. By 10 years from now, scientists predict that by 2025, methods of converting and storing solar energy will be so advanced that solar energy is actually going to become the primary source of energy on the planet. A company called Tesla has predicted that by 2025, electric vehicles will take over the traditional vehicles we have. Batteries will store more energy in 2025, and batteries will recharge 10 times faster, resulting in electric vehicle fleets that can be used both on the ground and in the air. And so, small-scale commercial aircraft will be powered by light lithium ion batteries. This will actually be the preferred way of short-haul flights.

Jim: And again as a supplements to Shaheerah’s point right now, Tesla is a fine, fine automobile. There are no fossil fuels in Tesla what-so-ever. So how long will it be that one can drive your car from here to 500 km away without worrying about any refuelling. I think that day is within the next year.

Amanda: On a side note here, a car called the Strati is hoping to hit the roads later this year, that’s in 2015. This is a 3D printed car. It takes 24 hours from conception to finished product.

Jim: And when had I talked about the smart manufacturing that in fact is exactly prime example A of what smart manufacturing is. You walk in, you work with a 3D cartographer, and you’re able to come back the next day for your finished product. Mind blowing, is it not?

Archana: It sure seems like we’re living in exciting times, all the data that Shaheerah and Jim just provided to us, I mean it just seems like the amount of technological advances that we’ve made. Obviously, oil is going to become less and less relevant over the coming years. But a recent study by a US government backed energy information administration actually estimated that only about 11% of the world market energy consumption at the moment comes from renewable energy sources, which includes your geothermal, your hydro power, your solar, wind and other sources. BP actually puts this at 9% of world-wide energy consumption in 2013. So just about 9% of worldwide energy consumption was attributed to renewable energy resources in 2013. By estimates, they put this number by, 2040 at 15% of global energy needs coming from renewable energy sources. All these technology advances does make me wonder why has the adoption been so slow. One of the reasons that I, while I was researching this subject, that I can across was the cost of production, storage and the transportation of these bio fuels still remains very high.

Jeremy: There’s another point to be made here about how the future of manufacturing is dependent on oil. To look at it from a different angle that we have, and to quote the movie The Graduate, plastics – the future is plastics.

Jim: Again, somewhat interesting commentary by Jeremy. P4Capital is dedicated to the women and men who work within the trading systems; all sorts of products and monies as they’re being trading. This change in the way fuel is developed into the overall economy will mean dramatic, systematic shifts in the way money is moved around the world. I’m wondering if today’s technologies in the capital markets, and those that have invested in their wealth management portfolios, are quite aware of what’s going on in these changing times.


 

That concludes the P4Capital teams discussion on the future of fossil fuels.  To listen to part one, or just check out some of our other round table discussions, check out our website  at http://www.planet4it.com or follow us @p4capital. Thanks and see you next time.