2018 review and career resolutions for the new year

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If you’re anything like us, we’re guessing whatever you expected from 2018 wasn’t…well, whatever THAT was.

It’s certainly been an eventful year, where even the legendary Sunset Beach would have struggled to top the procession of implausible storylines and ever-more-outlandish plot twists.

Thankfully we've had a great year at Harris Hill though, and among many highlights we’ve thoroughly enjoyed having guest blogger Nicola Greenbrook on board, bringing us a fresh perspective on intriguing topics from her diverse background in HR, the charity sector, commercial firms, freelance writing and as a still-fairly-new mum!

Much more to come from Nicola next year, plus a wealth of new features we're excited to bring you, and if you're thinking it might be time for a new job too, why not take our quiz and find out?

In the meantime, our sincere thanks for reading this year, we hope you’ve found something interesting or useful along the way, and to see us into 2019, Nicola’s translated key tips from her columns into career goals for the year ahead. Assuming we haven’t all been repurposed as fruit pickers by the summer...

Wedged between the festivities, last-minute Christmas shopping and enjoying a steady flow of prosecco-on-tap in December, I try to reclaim some time to reflect on the twelve months gone by. It’s a useful time to contemplate life or career milestones/achievements; what went well, not so well, and why - and any useful insights to pack up in your kit bag for the new year. 

I’m a natural reflector and very curious (qualities the CIPD believes important for HR and L&D professionals. Phew.) so I’m interested in the world around me and strive to find ways to do things a bit better. Even if you forgo the traditional concept of resolutions, it can be useful to have some aspirations to dip into every now and then.

I’ve loved writing a range of articles for Harris Hill in 2018 and having the opportunity to interview two inspiring and successful charity professionals. Here’s a round-up of my articles, along with some suggested personal and career resolutions for your own personal 2019 compendium. 

January 2018 - Making a career change


In January, I shared my personal experience of a career change and how utterly terrifying but hugely fulfilling it can be.

I’d recently resigned from a senior charity HR role without the comfort of another job to go; to enable me to balance my HR career with a growing freelance business, and still be a good Mum to my precious two-year old son. I was keen to share my own adventures in transformation with anyone nervously considering doing the same.

I offered some tips on what to consider when embarking on such a change - like doing the maths, having a plan and keeping focused. 

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will take calculated risks in the pursuit of achieving my life and career goals*


February 2018 - How to conquer your interview fears


This month, I tackled one of the most unnatural forms of human interaction head on - THE JOB INTERVIEW.  

Drawing on my own experiences and some invaluable advice from a range of senior charity professionals, I shared ten ways to ensure an interview doesn’t metamorphose into an ordeal. This includes doing a dummy run, going all out with your prep and dressing for success. (I also confessed that I toppled down the stairs on the way in to a recent interview - not advised).

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will be not let fear get in the way of nailing the interview for my dream job*


March 2018 - Charity Careers: Sara Rees



I had the pleasure of interviewing Sara Rees for Harris Hill’s new feature, Charity Careers. I invited Sara, Head of Fundraising for Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity, to share her personal career story to date and describe how she navigates the professional world (plus what she’s reading and her dream vs actual breakfast).

Learning about Sara’s inspiring career so far, her thirst for learning and the energy she derives from the invaluable work of her team was infectious. She also shared the best piece of advice that always sticks in her mind.

  2019 Career Resolution  

*Tell yourself now what you’d tell your young self; ‘I am unique; I know my strengths, I trust myself, I don’t need to seek approval or try to be someone else….I can handle it*

April 2018 - That awkward moment: why we should embrace everyday embarrassments in working life


For April’s feature, we went all-out cringe and focused on awkwardness; one of the most uncomfortable but common qualities we experience daily in our personal and professional lives.

 shared learnings from Melissa Dahl’s excellent book 'Cringeworthy: How to Make the Most of Uncomfortable Situations' and provided some insight into why we feel awkward, how to manage it, and why even the most painful moments could be valuable to our development.

With tips that included not running away from a red-faced moment, planning a difficult conversation and altering our mindsets, this month we were ready and willing to embrace the cringeworthy.

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will reframe an ‘awkward’ moment and manage it well; growing my courage and experience in the process*

May 2018 - Would HR in the charity sector work for you? Here’s the inside view. 


In May, I asked my friends and colleagues in the charity HR sector to join me in exploring what makes working in charity HR so different from other sectors and the challenges unique to not-for-profit.

We also shared some tips those wanting to make a career change and for charity HR people looking to improve their current processes.

I learnt motivation is often the key driver for charity HR professionals, that the most common misconceptions about working for a charity can be easily dispelled and that prior charity experience isn’t always necessary when considering a leap from corporate to charity - even for the large organisations.

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will consider work that can potentially change the world - on a voluntary or permanent basis* 

June 2018 - How to start a new job… and survive


If you started a new job in 2018 you might agree with the CIPD’s depiction of how it feels;  ‘…like going to a party where you don't know anybody - pretty intimidating and not very enjoyable’. 

I began a new role in May and although I love it now, I felt like the shy, terrified new girl for the whole of month one. So I wrote a feature about being the newbie, what strategies to deploy, and what to do (and not to do) in your first few weeks into a new job to ensure a successful inauguration.

From ‘starting before you start’, preparing yourself for feeling utterly silly and bringing your entire self to work,  my tips were aimed at easing your newbie nerves and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone so you could enjoy the party.


  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will aim to always make a good impression, consider my ‘personal brand’ and be friendly to everyone as a rule*

July 2018 - How to overcome impostor syndrome


This month, we delved a little deeper into the psychological pattern of Impostor Syndrome (IS) - the persistent inability to believe your success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved. I outlined the symptoms to look out for, why we need to tackle IS to avoid people-pleasing, overworking and becoming stressed or depressed and ways to cope with it. 

I was surprised to learn IS doesn’t discriminate; the most outwardly confident and successful people - Maya Angelou, Albert Einstein, Tina Fey and Lupita Nyong’o - were amongst the award-winning, high achievers affected.

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will defy impostor syndrome and remember it’s hard work, tenacity and skill - not luck - that drives my success*        


August 2018 - Charity Careers: Hannah Sanders


In the second Charity Careers interview of 2018, we met enthusiastic polymath Hannah Sanders, Consumer Brand Partnerships Lead for Save the Children.


I discovered that by studying hard, learning from the guidance of some inspiring colleagues and having a constant appetite for knowledge, Hannah secured her dream job. She shared some great insights and left us in awe with her zest for life and impressive hobbies that included drawing, Lindy Hop dancing and learning Welsh.


  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will be curious, inquisitive and build an appetite for knowledge to broaden my skills and advance my career*

September 2018 - How to be productive at work


Are you one of the half of workers who regularly fall down an Instagram rabbit hole, find it difficult to sidestep chatty co-workers and suffer from email overwhelm?


In September, I shared some useful hacks to limit procrastination and help us all be more productive at work. Tips included avoiding starting anything without a to-do, get to know when you’re ‘peak you’ and avoid overdoing it or eroding performance by working through lunch. As Maya Angelou once wisely said, 'Nothing will work unless you do’.


  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will reframe the day’s first hour as ‘Power Hour’; planning, prioritising and organising my day rather than looking at my phone*

October 2018 - The (subtle) power of introversion


In October, I warned Harris Hill Blog readers that the introverts were coming… and that it was good for business. 

I shared my research on introversion, ambiversion and extroversion and why being an introvert doesn’t equal low-energy, a lack of resilience or rudeness. Conversely, introverts make great leaders, have excellent listening skills and use their preference for quiet working to boost creativity and deliver. I made the case for the quietly contemplative, encouraged by the work of attorney-turned-author Susan Cain and her Quiet Revolution, and outlined some ideas to channel introversion into success at work. 

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will embrace my personal traits, rather than correct them, and learn how to use them to my advantage*

November 2018 - Why a workplace mistake could be the best move you’ve made

Finally, in November I shone the spotlight on the the work blooper - the nausea-inducing, embarrassment-causing (but great for pub anecdotes) experience of making a huge mistake.

I wrote about why we make mistakes, reassured readers that it’s good to make mistakes, provided some insight on what you can learn from a mistake and suggested ways to manoeuvre your way out of a potential crisis.

I reached out to friends, colleagues and LinkedIn’ers to ask if they’d be willing to reveal their most unforgettable career-clangers - and the result was a fascinating (and hilarious) tapestry of goofs to entertain and reassure anyone who still feels sick about the mistake they made three months ago. 

  2019 Career Resolution  

*I will not ruminate over mistakes I’ve made at work but use them to do better next time*




I wish you all a happy, healthy and successful 2019; crammed full of all the things you love doing.

Merry Christmas!


Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer 

Contact Nicola

More from the Harris Hill blog:

► Quiz: Should you look for a new job in 2019? 

► Specialist charity recruitment: now available in Scotland!

► Back to the blog index

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