Coping Mechanisms

How do you cope?

We all get stressed, overwhelmed and generally bloody annoyed by work and everyday life.  For me, it’s vitally important to have coping mechanisms that can help balance you out and keep your mental health on an even keel.

My default coping mechanism is rubbish comedy, so basically trying to make light of a situation with an inappropriate joke or two.  I think Will probably falls into this category as well.

Others that I’ve flirted with are; going for a run, binge-watching a whole series on Netflix, or even something as seemingly mundane as trying to complete a crossword (which I have done on at least 3 occasions in my life).

The above tend to work for me but I believe most people will be able to tap into something that can level them out – I’ve heard knitting is therapeutic, but I’m not touching that with a barge pole, let alone a knitting needle.

A coping mechanism doesn’t need to be a task.  A problem shared is a problem halved, so having conversations with trusted colleagues and friends can help massively.

Anyway, whatever enables you to get through the day make sure you tap into it, as it can a real asset (unless you can’t complete the crossword of course).


Getting shortchanged

Something which really grinds my gears is getting shortchanged.  Whether it be getting a dogshit service from a company that happily take a premium fee from your bank account each month, or being given the incorrect change when getting a newspaper from the local shop.  They both have a cost and that should then be replicated in the quality of the service delivered, or item being purchased.

True to form though, and because I’m one of those that doesn’t like to complain about stuff too much, I generally keep my mouth shut and walk away from these situations with the niggling voice echoing in my head “you should’ve said something”.  So, while we’re all making resolutions for the year ahead, one of mine is to not be satisfied with being shortchanged.  This is easier said than done, but I’m going to hold myself to it.  If the food given to me at a restaurant is a substandard version of something I could easily rustle up in my own kitchen it’s going back, if the hairdresser gives me the basin cut from hell I’m not going to just nod politely as they circle the hand mirror around my head, and if my gym membership doesn’t guarantee me losing at least half a stone by the end of the month I’m cancelling it (let’s be honest I probably will anyway).

In essence, I suppose what I’m getting at is holding people and businesses to account when they don’t deliver what they claim to.  Nobody is immune to criticism and formative feedback.  Don’t just accept being sold a crap car or holiday, and similarly don’t accept a below-par service from a recruitment agency (shameless plug).

Anyway, I’ll revisit these good intentions later on in the year to see if I’ve stayed true or if I’m just kidding myself.


It’s a cracker!

There’s plenty of stuff to look forward to at Christmas.  One thing I like in particular is pulling a cracker (not a euphemism), trying to put the paper crown on my oversized head, playing about with the shit gift inside, and reading some of the worst jokes ever written – no doubt composed by a bunch of middle-aged men who dig dad jokes.

Here’s a sample of some absolute crackers, many of which I’ll probably steal and pass off as my own:

What happened to the man who stole an Advent Calendar? He got 25 days!

Why does Santa have three gardens? So he can ‘ho ho ho’!

What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney? Claus-trophobia!

What is the best Christmas present in the world? A broken drum, you just can’t beat it!

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite!

What did the stamp say to the Christmas card? Stick with me and we’ll go places!

Why did no one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen on eBay? Because they were two deer!

Why don’t you ever see Santa in hospital? Because he has private elf care!

You’re probably groaning in despair at the quality of these, but at least it’s a bit of light relief (maybe).

Anyway, have a great Christmas and see you on the other side.


Stereotypical nonsense!

Absolutely bloody stereotypical. How many times have you heard someone talk about your profession in a stereotypical way? All accountants are boring, recruiters are worse than salesmen, all politicians are lying scumbags (although this is true) etc. You’re probably accustomed to assumptions whatever industry you’re in. While there might be an underlying truth to these, in my opinion, it is important that a rounded view is taken of any sector – afterall, there’s good and bad in every walk of life.

For example, I’ve had numerous shit experiences as a customer with car dealerships.  However, just recently, because the salesperson actually listened to my needs and didn’t try to oversell, I actually had a decent experience.  As a result, my view of this industry has changed somewhat from “they’re all utter rubbish” to “actually some are alright”.

Guess what, it’s exactly the same with recruiters. I’ve lost count of the number of candidates I’ve spoken with who’ve had bad experiences with recruiters and then written off the industry as a whole. This can ultimately be counter-productive for them moving forward, as that tarnished perspective can stop them from fully immersing themselves in the job-seeking process. I get it, there’s a level of precaution and distrust that exists, which has been formed through incidents that have happened in the past, but hey give us a chance.

The issue of stereotyping reaches a new level when it comes to sex, race, age and religion – a highly emotive subject which is probably best placed for another time.

Anyway, let’s move on. If you want to give us a shout we can try and alter any negative preconceptions you have of recruiters…..hopefully.




We make choices and decisions on a daily basis.  Some big, some small.  Some significant, others not so much.

The spectrum can range from whether to hand your notice in at work to whether you should have your burger with or without ketchup (the answer is always with by the way).

The reasonings behind making certain choices is an interesting one and can vary from person to person.  Some opt for a methodical approach where they will carefully consider their options before making an informed decision. Others will potentially be more impulsive and choose to go on a gut instinct to ‘act now’.  Some will just make a decision based on what they are comfortable with so as to maintain an air of security and familiarity, others will be more willing to take a risk and push the boundaries of their comfort zone in the hope that their choice will pay off big time.

In my experience there is no hard and fast rule about how to make a choice.  Circumstances, time constraints, environment and other factors can all come into play.  Ultimately some choices will end up being a gamble and it is whether you are willing to pay the price if it goes spectacularly wrong – this is where your risk assessment skills will get tested to the max.  It’s important to remember that not all choices are permanent and as long as you’re not causing anyone else any intentional harm or distress a new decision can always be made.

So in short, make a choice and if it goes tits up just learn from it, move on and try but not to repeat the same mistake again!

Don’t get left out in the cold

There’s a big temptation at this time of year to down tools and coast along into 2020 in a job you hate.  The little voice in your head keeps popping up saying “I’ll start looking on January 1st.  New year new me and all that.”

Word of advice though, just because we’re entering into the festive period it doesn’t mean that there aren’t great job opportunities out there, or employers going through an extremely busy period – especially if their business has seasonal variance geared towards the back end of the calendar year.

It would be prudent to get ahead of the game.  If you see an amazing role being advertised, don’t hesitate too much.  The likelihood that it will still be on the market come the new year is extremely slim, and even if it is, the probability of being able to shoehorn your way into the recruitment process for that position which has been ticking along for a month or so is even more remote.

Now there is the possibility that any position you are able to secure won’t actually start until the new year, but taking the initiative now so you’re not playing catch up can only be a good thing.  Just imagine being able to muck around in the snow over the Christmas break (if there is any) safe in the knowledge that you will be starting a new venture in your working life, rather than dreading returning to work.

So, don’t procrastinate and get left out in the cold. Be proactive and put yourself forward – even if it is to be a stand-in elf at Santa’s grotto. We’ve got a bunch of positions that could be of interest to you so get on our jobs page and start applying – unfortunately we don’t have any elf roles at the moment though.

Healthy competition

A little competition doesn’t do anyone any harm. However, there’s a point where the competitive spirit can go too far, where a win at all costs attitude can take over. This can ultimately lead to bad practice, which in turn can damage your brand beyond repair.

In the world of recruitment, a world that gets loads of bad press, there are multiple reports of malpractice – some examples of which are completely unforgivable.  Like any industry though, recruitment has it’s good and bad.  If you’ve had a negative experience, then fair enough have a moan about it on LinkedIn, but it would be counterproductive in the long run to tarnish a whole sector with the same brush.

So what’s the advice?  Put simply, shop around like you would with any other purchase or investment – this is something we would advise to both clients and candidates.  Take an analytical approach to it, do your due diligence by looking at a range of recruiters and what they offer.  Questions such as the following may be worth asking; Are they a specialist in a certain sector and does that matter? Do they deal purely in perm recruitment, or temp, or a combination of both?  What is the fee structure and will you get enough bang for your buck? Higher fees don’t necessarily mean a better service and vice versa.  Surely you don’t want a half-arsed recruiter just firing a bunch of CVs at you in the hope that one of them happens to be of the right calibre.

Healthy competition helps maintain and improve standards across all industries, which is why it is so important.  As previously mentioned we would always recommend speaking to a range of recruiters across the market, just so you can realise for yourself who is in the elite bracket – we believe that’s where we reside, so look forward to speaking to you soon.

What next?

So, I’ve been speaking to a few candidates recently who have mentioned the dreaded ‘R’ word – redundancy.  There seems to be a bit of a wave of this at the moment.  I don’t know if it is due to the specific sectors I deal with, uncertainty over Brexit, the time of year, or a combination of all these factors plus some other ones thrown in for good measure.

The other dreaded ‘R’ word – ‘restructure’ seems to be cropping up a lot as well which can subsequently lead on to redundancy.  A typical case scenario, which puts this in perspective, is where a large company buys out and takes over another generally smaller one.  They will probably come in with a certain message to the existing employees – “your jobs are safe and there is nothing to worry about”.  Fast forward 6 to 12 months and the employees are sat in front of their line manager and an HR representative discussing what sort of redundancy package they’re going to get.  They’ve become victims of restructuring.  Due to the take-over, roles have become duplicated, processes have become obsolete and work has been shifted to another site 200 miles away.

Let’s face it, the situation isn’t nice and I can tell you that from first-hand experience.  However, what’s vitally important at this stage is ‘what you do next’.  I’ve compiled a shortlist, that isn’t necessarily in any kind of order, but can hopefully be of some help:

–  Accept it – the decision to make you redundant has been made and rest assured you’re not alone – it is nothing to be ashamed of.

– Speak to friends and family – you’ll need a strong support network around you.  Use them as a sounding board and talk to them about similar experiences they have gone through.  Don’t suffer in silence.

– Be proactive – it’s all about what you do next.  Update your CV and Linkedin profile and make them as polished as possible.  Let employers and recruiters know you’re available through job boards and social media – you’ll be surprised at how many people want to help – even if it is for their own self-benefit, as well as yours.

– Don’t rush it – hopefully, your redundancy period will allow you enough time to seek out your next career move with as little financial impact as possible.  There is the temptation to take any job offer that comes your way, but make sure it is the right move for you as you don’t want to be back to square one a few months down the line.

– Be resilient – the job-seeking process can be laborious and full of highs and lows.  Stick at it and you will get there!

Anyway, I hope the above has given some of you going through similar experiences a modicum of reassurance.  Remember we’re always here to listen, and while I cannot promise I will place in a job, I can certainly promise that I will help you in whatever way I can!




Addicted to Acceptance

Acceptance is addictive and in my opinion a lot of us are addicts. This may have always been true, but instant gratification on social media platforms means getting our acceptance fix is easier than ever.

If you think about the stages of your life there are many moments where you wanted to be accepted. Becoming part of a friendship group, being picked for a sports team for the first time, or being made a job offer, are all notable examples. Now there are levels to this and some moments of acceptance are more profound than others. The lower levels tend to come in the form of ‘likes’ from a comment or post you’ve put on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. At the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got the big stuff; getting a ‘yes’ to a marriage proposal falls into this category, (probably…..for some).

No doubt there will be a scientific reason behind our need for acceptance. In my head, it’ll be something to do with an inherent biological need to feel secure and safe in our surroundings. If true there’s no need to feel guilty about wanting to feel accepted, after all should we go against the grain of nature just to try and be different? In my view no, as you will be fighting an unnecessary battle that will potentially lead to alienating yourself from a lot of great things in life.

This does come with a health warning though as the seemingly trivial subject matter of being addicted to acceptance can ultimately turn into an obsession, which can have very negative implications on your mental wellbeing.

So, while I’m not saying in any way that addiction is a good thing, it is fine to have somewhat of a desire to be accepted. Surely it’s preferable to being a lone wolf in the long run.

What did you say?

I don’t pretend to be a master of the English language, but I do love a good ‘saying’ and there’s plenty of them out there.  Here are a select few which I use on a regular basis and some that are a bit odd:

– ‘A bad workman always blames his tools’ – I’ve done this on many an occasion, especially when doing DIY around the house.

– ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ – Errrr….not really sure what that means – potentially that you should hold on to what you have and not risk it for greater reward???

– ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ – yeah, but it depends on how long you’re talking about, my other half loves it when I bugger off for a few hours.

– ‘A cat has nine lives’ – not the ones I’ve had.

– ‘A chain is only as strong as its weakest link’ – Teamwork people.

– ‘Actions speak louder than words’ – be a doer and stop talking so much – I probably should take my own advice here.

– ‘A drowning man will clutch at a straw’ – not an issue there due to the amount of plastic straws in the ocean.

Language is ever-evolving and new words and sayings enter into speech on a daily basis.  Added to this the way in which we communicate this language through nuances such as dialect, colloquialisms and accents, then you’ve got a fascinating blend.

At OX Seven we try and communicate in a way that promotes engagement in order to open up a dialogue with others.  Our job adverts are a prime example of this, so please feel free to have a perusal through them on our website (make sure you do this).

So as a takeaway from this have a think about how you use language, the words you use, the way in which you deliver them and your audience – I think there’s merit in it.