The following article was written by a mentee on our mentoring programme, there’s some great insights and tips in there and so we wanted to share it.


Janelle Hardacre
PR Officer at National Housing Federation

Work birthday – 10 things I’ve learnt

Feb 2, 2015

I can’t be the only one who’s guilty of living so much in the moment at work that I forget what I’ve actually been doing. So, to mark my first year in my current role, I’m having a nostalgic look back at what I’ve learnt and what I can build on.

  1. Be an emo…

Well actually become an Emotional Intelligence buff. I’ve been absolutely fascinated by this topic ever since I heard from Hazel Waddington (Principal Income Manager at Bolton at Home) as part of the HDN Mentoring Scheme. Emotional intelligence at work matters twice as much as exam results, technical know-how and IQ. I believe that having real self-awareness and an understanding how to work with others’ emotions is key to getting the best results and working in the most effective and motivated teams, and I experience good and bad examples of it pretty much every day. There’s tons of evidence out there if you don’t believe me. Daniel Goleman is an excellent starting point.

  1. A change can do you good

Changes at work to colleagues, teams, managers and processes can be a real challenge, and I’ve had my fair share in a short space of time. But what I can safely say is that I’ve learnt a lot about how to be flexible and adaptable and to really appreciate those times when the team really becomes a well oiled machine

  1. Take the rough with the smooth

We all want to love our jobs and look forward to heading into work on a morning, but each one of us has experienced those times when unfortunately hard work doesn’t necessarily pay off and we start to question if it’s all worth it. This is especially true for those of us in PR! If I ever have those days now, I try to think back to those good days when I’ve made a difference and remind me why I do love my job (and I’m pleased to say there have definitely been a few this year). It might seem a bit odd, but it’s worth writing those examples down to jog the memory on those darker days

  1. ‘If you don’t PR yourself, no-one else will’ (Thanks Paul Sutton)

This has been a development area of mine, and now being based in a small regional office away from HQ, it’s all the more important for me to raise my profile both internally and externally. It can feel a bit unnatural but sometimes it’s important to blow your own trumpet and put yourself out of your comfort zone.

  1. Me time

I can’t stress how important a good culture of work/life balance has been for me and I really feel I’ve got that now. Being trusted to manage my own time (within reason) and to know that extra hours can be claimed back has without doubt made me more productive and more motivated (not to mention healthier!)

  1. Lean in

As a mentee on the HDN mentoring programme, this is a phrase we hear pretty much every time we meet. Coined by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, it basically reminds you to say yes, put your hand up for opportunities at work and overcome those internal and external obstacles that might be getting in your way. I haven’t read the book yet but the phrase is a good one to try and live by!

  1. People = why I love my job

Meeting a mentor every few weeks has made me much more aware of when I’m having a good day and asking myself why it’s been good. I’ve realised the common theme is always people. I don’t mind having the odd day on my own and getting my head down, but I thrive off interacting with new people, getting stuck into new situations and ultimately listening to stories. It’s made me much more aware of how I plan my weeks and months and how I’m going to be at my best.

  1. I heart MCR

I work at a national organisation based in London but get to work from one of my favourite places in the world, Manchester. What more could I ask for? And don’t get me started on all the brilliant comms folk who happen to be based in the North West.

  1. There really is a housing crisis

If I didn’t know there was a housing crisis a year ago, I certainly do now. People’s experiences and the latest stats still shock me every day. It’s always easier to sell a story to a journalist when you really believe in it and know it’s true, so it’s been a real eye opener to work on the Homes for Britain campaign.


  1. LinkedIn’s got loads better

So I’ve been having a little spruce up of my profile. Pretty sure I’m very late to this party but fab to see that you can now add photos and presentations to your profile. Plus, as of now I have just uploaded my first post. While I do use social media every day, I’m determined to follow developments a bit more closely now and keep up with the changing nature of comms. PR is a different animal now.

In an ideal world this will turn into a conversation rather than a one way broadcast (here’s hoping!) so over to you! Always worth taking a moment to think about what you’ve actually achieved over the past year.

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