SME Agony Uncle: Bobby Kerr answers all your business and work-related questions

Join Bobby on The Hard Shoulder every Tuesday, with thanks to Energia

Each week broadcaster, entrepreneur and agony uncle Bobby Kerr joins The Hard Shoulder to answer all your employment-related questions.

Before kicking off his slot this week, Bobby revealed that he will have a very special guest on Bobby's Late Breakfast this weekend - Santa Clause himself. If you or your children would like to speak to Santa on Christmas Eve with Bobby, email! 

A new year, a new job? 

This is a time of year where people start to think, new year, new me and maybe a new job. And believe it or not, your chances of getting a new job in the new year are actually good as the job market heats up again in January. 

However, Bobby says if you're in a job there are a few things you need to do to get yourself another job:

  1. Update your CV
  2. Possibly register with a recruitment agency 
  3. Network 
  4. Research 

"Applying for a job takes time so if you get yourself into the market in January, you should, if you're lucky, have a job by St. Patrick's Day," says Bobby.

Ivan asked Bobby what advice he would give to anyone who might be home for Christmas from abroad and considering the move back home permanently... 

Recruitment agencies are very aware of this, Bobby says, adding that a good job offer is one of the key reasons people who have emigrated might want to come home. 

Again, the time it takes for the process of getting and starting a new job is something to be considered here.

"You can't control the interview process, there might be two or three interviews that can take a period of weeks. There's your own notice that you'll have to give wherever you are, so just be realistic. 

I think being realistic and using the yard stick of New Year and St Patrick's day is a good way..." 

Michael: Carrying over leave... What's the ideal amount for bosses to allow? 

"Absolutely, this is fairly black and white. You do not have a right to carry over holidays, number one. But if you don't take all of your legal holiday entitlement during your holiday year, your employer may - and I stress - may allow you to carry over the leftover days to the next holiday year," Bobby says. 

Mary: I'm a supervisor in a busy office of a manufacturing company and my manager has told me he wants to conduct a two-way 365 degree appraisal of twelve people who work for me. I'm a bit uncomfortable having to encourage feedback. He says he will appraise me but doesn't feel the need for his own appraisal to be two-way. Shocking, isn't it? What should I do? 

"Well, it is kind of disappointing. I'm not sure it's shocking but it's definitely disappointing," says Bobby. 

"Look, I think you've probably got to roll with the punches here, Mary. You've been told as part of your job that you have to do an appraisal in a particular way but I really think you should talk to this manager and say 'it's not acceptable for me to conduct an appraisal in one way with my own people and not in the same way with you' and I think if he doesn't accept it, take it further," Bobby advises. 

Amy: I work in retail and accept that I have to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day as they're the two busiest days of the year. The roster went up this week and I see that I am the only one out of twelve employees who is rostered for all three - Christmas Eve, St Stephen's Day and New Year's Eve. I am the most recent recruit on the team and the manager says the roster is done on length of service but it seems somewhat unfair as I want to get home to my family. 

"Two things there, Amy, and the first thing is that the employer set out the rules before you started. When you started, you were told that it's on a service basis and a seniority basis. 

It's really too bad in a sense and I feel sorry for you that you are the latest recruit but next year there will be other people and you'll get the benefit of it," says Bobby. 

J Murray: Knowing you, Bobby, as a successful business person over your career, I would value your advice on the Bitcoin madness. Is it worth investing in? I've set aside €500 that I have accepted I could lose as in any investment. So my question in, in your professional opinion, is it a scam or is it a genuine investment opportunity? 

"The most important thing about this email is that he has clearly stated he has it to lose, in the sense that he isn't borrowing money to go invest in bitcoin, that's the first thing I'd say... Secondly, I'm not a great believer in investing in things I don't fully understand..."

"I'm saying I don't like the secrecy of it, I don't like that nobody knows who owns it and I do think that it's a bubble that will burst some day, it has to... It wouldn't be for me," Bobby says. 

You can listen back to all of Bobby’s employment advice from Tuesday’s The Hard Shoulder here:

If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to