Karren Brady gives career advice from from stressful workloads to launching a business at 17

APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.

Today she helps out a woman who is finding her workload too much and a 17-year-old who wants to start a business.

Q: Several members of my team have been laid off in the last few months, and although I’m grateful to still have a job, I’ve had to pick up a lot of their work, which I’m finding hugely stressful.

How can I address this with my boss without putting my job on the line should there be further redundancies?

Lia, via email

A: I really feel for you, and I can well imagine you’re worried that if you tell your boss you have too much to do you could be perceived as ungrateful, not being committed, or even lazy, hence your “put up and shut up” attitude.

But this is dangerous for your wellbeing and also damaging for your career, as when you’re juggling so many things it’s inevitable that some work will be below standard. So you need to speak to your boss.

No good employer would want you to feel this way, but they won’t know how you are feeling unless you say something.

You could start by acknowledging that these are difficult times and you are prepared to take on extra work, and then point out some of the issues by saying something like: “It’s taking me six hours a week to prepare these reports – is that in line with your expectations?” Or: “The research for this project took around 12 hours – do you have any suggestions to reduce the time involved?”

Offer some solutions by identifying work that could be deleted, delayed or delegated. And ask your colleagues if they feel overworked, too.

You might be able to find ways of doing tasks more efficiently.

Importantly, learn to stop saying yes if you are asked to take on more work. Be polite, explain what hours you’re already putting in and the work you are now covering. It’s hard to argue with the facts.

Be a boss

Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.

It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you! Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.

Q: I’m 17 and have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Although I have a couple of good ideas, I don’t have the finance to make any of these a reality yet.

Would you recommend studying and saving for university and waiting to launch my business after I get a degree, or just start it now?

Hannah, via email

A: You are never too young to have a good idea – Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook when he was 19! Even if you only have the basics, such as knowing how to set up a website and market your product or service via social media, you can reach out to a global audience and see if your idea really works.

So I’d do both – launch a business and keep studying. Lots of people have full-time jobs and their own business on the side, so they can be sure their company is sustainable before giving up their job.

There are extra challenges to being 17, as until you’re 18 you won’t be able to open your own business bank account, get credit or raise business finance, but you can start to detail your idea and prepare it for launch. Come up with a business plan, with a name and logo.

All the entrepreneurs I know are passionate and self-motivated, and are risk-takers and lifelong learners. They also accept that not all their ideas work, so don’t get discouraged if your first concept isn’t as much of a success as you’d like.

Many people have an idea for a business, but not everyone has the tenacity, energy or determination to launch one. I admire your drive, and I say just go for it!

Compiled by: Claire Frost

Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

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