Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
In seminars I've spoken at I've touched on this subject, but pay special attention to the Blackberry GPS example...
From the folks at Maple Creative:
The following were actually posted by employees on social media sites from their workstations, during business hours:
“Staff meeting is over. Thanks for sucking the life out of me–again.” [Brandon]
Ummm, hello, Brandon. Are you really that unhappy? Are you aware that your message can be read as: Brandon is a reactive, whiny drama-king who lacks the gumption to leave a job that sucks?
“Just hanging out here on Facebook – waiting for them to give me something to work on.” [Allison]
Really, Allison? Did you leave your brain at home this morning? I’d suggest you will find it hidden underneath that sack of ambition, which you also forgot to bring to work today.
And this now-infamous example from NextWeb.com of a young woman who was fired by her Facebook-friend-boss:
OMG I HATE MY JOB!!! My boss is a total pervvy wanker always making me do $hit stuff just to pi$$ me off!! WANKER!!
Obviously, she forgot that she had Friend’d her boss. Do take a moment and click over to read the boss’ response, which is classic!
The stories of so-called professionals getting fired, suspended, or disciplined as a result of what they posted, Tweeted, updated, chatted, or shared on social media sites are becoming more frequent and more outrageous. An article last Fall on Mashable, citing stats from a Proofpoint study, indicate that roughly 1 out of every 8 companies (12%) have fired an employee for reasons related to social networking. The rate of occurrence has doubled in a year’s time.
This is only going to worsen as GPS/location-based apps (like Foursquare and Brightkite) that run on our iPhones and Blackberries tell the world (and our employer) where we are.
Remember: In many cases, your phones are paid for by your company so it’s not hard to imagine the following exchange in the all-too-near future--
Boss: Dave, you weren’t really attending your aunt’s funeral yesterday, now were you?
Dave: What do you mean?
Boss: Well, unless they had the funeral at Wrigley Field, it looks like you enjoyed a Cubs double-header.
Dave (now perspiring): No way. I swear.
Boss (tossing a screen print at his soon-to-be fired employee): Dave, it’s all right here on the GPS report that we get from your Blackberry. And you might want to think about turning off Foursquare when you’re playing hooky – from your next job.
Do you know your company’s social media policy? Are employees allowed to spend time on sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube while at work? Or are such practices forbidden?
We can complain about “Big Brother” policies by employers. We can cry about how it’s wrong for management to “spy” on us. But here’s what it all boils down to: when you are on company time, you are on the company dime. The employer makes the rules and, when you accept a job, you accept their rules. So don’t allow your social media activities to undermine your success. Be smart and be informed – or your next Tweet may be in search of a job!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Posted: 13 Apr 2010 02:33 PM PDT
I am a member of a very special club. It’s a club that I’ve sometimes been embarrassed to be a part of, but at the moment, I’m quite proud to belong to.
I’ve been looking for a proper name for this club. Cast your vote or add an idea below:
* People of the Random Resume
* Knights of Les Resumes Incoherent
* Proud Owners of Resumes With Invisible Logic (otherwise and aptly known as POOR WILL).
I could go on with the names and in case you haven't guessed my issue, I've accomplished a lot during my career but my resume leaves people with a furrowed brow, if not a headache. There is no flow, there is no evidence of promotion.
I've never made career decisions strategically. I never took a job because of how it would look on my resume, or because of the next job it would prepare me for. Instead, I allowed myself to be led by my creative and intellectual appetite. I’ve moved from studying Shakespeare to writing books, from helping organizations navigate change to going to business school, from helping people giving their money away to coaching and writing.
I know lots of people like me, people who aren’t tying their careers to a company, an industry or even a function anymore. Instead, they are weaving careers with some combination of:
- The passions and interests they have at the time
- Their particular strengths and skills
- What life brings to their doorsteps
- Holistic priorities (money, location, work hours, colleagues, positive impact on the world)
Those are the people that this message is for and here’s what I want them to know:
- It’s Just Tradeoffs
This approach of designing a career out of current passions and interests rather than a long-term strategy is not without some tradeoffs:
- Starting from square one learning about new industries can feel overwhelming and frustrating.
- It might take you longer to find that next job, or make up your next pursuit (although I know plenty of stories to the contrary).
- For some people, this approach means pay cuts and financial losses at some points. It certainly precludes you from participating in very linear, hierarchical career tracks. You probably won’t end up as head surgeon or Supreme Court Justice doing your career this way.
But, none of these things are the end-of-the-world outcomes that the little voice of fear in your head is chattering about. These are simply tradeoffs and you get to decide if the tradeoffs are worth it for you.
- Learn to Define Your Value
All of our professional paths have consistency and order. It’s just that sometimes that consistency and order is not obvious at the surface level. It’s happening one level below the surface, in what I call “the work underneath your work.”
This is the work you actually do underneath your title, job, role, or project. That work comes out of who you really are – your particular strengths and gifts.
For example, my friend Kalli has moved from HR to Marketing to teaching roles across a few different industries, but consistently, she has been solving tough, time-pressured operational problems with a very collaborative, consensus driven approach. That’s one of her particular gifts, and it shows up in every job she’s been in.
What have you really been doing in your work—in across your various past roles? Creating new ideas, building teams, negotiating relationships, problem solving, mediating, synthesizing, organizing, fire-extinguishing? Look at your work history through this lens and see what you discover.
- Find a way to talk about the work underneath your work, and look for opportunities to do it.
Find some succinct language to describe what you really do – the work underneath your work – so that you can share it with prospective employers, current employers, and colleagues. Talk about it so that the people around you know the kinds of opportunities you are looking for and that you thrive in.
Look for opportunities to do the work underneath your work. Look for problems that need the particular kind of solutions you bring, gaps that your particular gifts can fill.
Industry expertise is decreasing in value. As information becomes democratized, what used to be hard to gain “industry expertise” is becoming much more accessible--through online sources, books, and live and virtual education.
In fact, industry expertise is just one more form of technical knowledge. As Daniel Pink argues in A Whole New Mind, technical knowledge is declining in value because jobs based on it are becoming outsourced or automated. Certain fundamental, cross industry, cross-functional skills such as design, meaning-making, and synthesis now create the greatest economic value.
Plus, as the pace of change accelerates, everyone is constantly learning their industry anew, whether they just entered it or have been working within it for a long time.
For those of us with seemingly incoherent resumes, and for those longing to go do some thing that won’t make obvious sense on their resume, this is all very, very good news.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
It's more than a cell phone plan.
I have three kids, two step-kids, two step-grandsons, and I'm only 50!
My three are in order again, age-wise:
Rachael is 26, Josh is 25, and Tiff turned 24 this week.
Then there is Ian who turned 29 a few months ago and Abby who will be 22 this summer.
Looking back on what my life was like when I was their age:
At 22 I got married, 23 we had our first, 24, we had our second and by the time I was 26 and our last one was born, we decided to stop!
I've gone from growing up as an only child to having a houseful of children. Tiff is married, Josh is getting married later this year, and then in 2011 both Rachael and Abby are planning on marrying. It's going to be be a busy couple of years.
A couple days ago, I took Monday off and drove to Indianapolis where Tiff and her husband Jon live. Like the rest of my family, I cherish and am proud of them. It was her birthday and last week, they got word that their offer on a house was accepted. One of the things that I'm also impressed with is how frugal they are. Tiff said it will be an empty house at first since they don't have much furniture, but they also are determined to live within their means and not accept loans from family. This is a lesson for everyone to learn.
And then there's my wife Kathy. A little over ten years ago we met and a year later we married.
Neither one of us would have imagined how ours lives would be a decade later, and I'm very thankful and blessed to have her as my partner. Along with our relationship, we've been supportive of each other as parents too.
Friendships are important too.
I've met so many people in the past 7 years that I've been working for the group of radio stations that I'm with. And I count many of them friends including some of my co-workers past and present.
Living in the town I grew up in, (I returned in 1998 after my father passed away), I've reconnected with several friends from my past too.
Friends and family are more than Facebook and Twitter Friends and Followers, they're the real folks that we care about and that make our lives richer. Thanks to each and everyone of you.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
It's not a disease or parasite. A bookworm is someone who likes to read books. Like my daughter Tiffany who is celebrating her birthday today. # 24.
Ever since she was a little girl, she had her nose in a book. So today, I took the day off and drive a couple hours south to Indianapolis to take her to lunch and give her a book that I bet she hasn't read yet.
And speaking of reading.... read this from the DLM blog:
Posted: 31 Mar 2010 07:28 AM PDTAs a kid, I was exposed to a strong reading culture. Although my parents were not well educated, they clearly understood the importance of reading and our house was full of books. I remember visiting friends’ houses and being amazed at how little books they had around! The benefits of reading are enormous, and we could probably come up with hundreds, but for me, there are a few benefits that really stand out. Let's talk about the benefits and then I'll discuss how to fit reading into your busy, non-stop life.
- Reading broadens your horizon – it gives you access to new perspectives and ideas. It can give you a whole new way of seeing things.
- Reading is an active mental process. You have to be intellectually engaged when you read, and this can keep your mind sharp and alert. Your brain, like a muscle, will develop with greater use. There is even research suggesting that people who are more mentally active have a lower chance of developing certain degenerative brain diseases in later life.
- Reading builds discipline. Like any habit, it can be hard to build the habit of reading. But by setting aside a time each day to read and sticking to it, you are disciplining yourself. This discipline will ripple out and affect other areas of you life – if you can read regularly, then you can also exercise, write, or do anything else you would like to do on a more regular basis.
- Reading builds focus. When you read, you have to concentrate. Reading, for me, is a form of meditation. If you read regularly, you are more likely to be able to focus on other things.
- Perhaps most importantly, you learn new things through reading. Of course, you need to put what you read into action, but reading the right things can give you amazing new ideas. You can tap into the minds of all kinds of people. Books are a way of communicating with the world. They can change your life.
- Switch off the computer
Like so many other people, I spend a lot of time ‘reading’ on the Internet. The benefit of the Internet is that I have access to an enormous amount of information and can access it with an ease which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. But there is a downside, of course – there is so much information that I easily get distracted, and end up flicking from one site to another, never really reading anything in detail.
So the first bit of advice I would give for really getting into a serious reading habit is – switch off the computer! Pick up a real book, sit down and start to read.
- Go to bed a little earlier
I keep several books by my bedside and I usually read a chapter before I turn out the lights. This can be a really good way to end the day – it distracts you from any problems you might have had during the day so that your mind can settle down, and can make you feel sleepy.
- Throw a book into your bag
Carry a light paperback around with you. When you find yourself waiting for something, on the train or bus, or just bored, you can get the book out. Reading will alleviate your boredom and can make your journey fly.
- Join a library
Yes, they’re still out there! Libraries have changed a lot in recent years and are now hubs of information. But the main activity of the library is still to provide books, and there is little more enjoyable than spending a couple of hours perusing the shelves, delving into the pages and choosing a few really good reads.
- Choose the right books
It’s important that reading is not a chore: it should be a real pleasure – something to look forward to! I remember, as a teacher in the UK, witnessing the endless initiatives to get kids to read. They almost never met with much success. And then, suddenly, everyone was reading – kids, adults, old people – sitting in cafes and on railway stations and airports, sitting on benches and walls and even on the floor – just reading. Why? Harry Potter had somehow managed to inspire a huge chunk of the population. People found that reading the Harry Potter books was enjoyable, and so they were busily turning page after page while the world went by.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Posted: 26 Mar 2010 07:01 AM PDT
At various times, we take breaks from the normal run of life. Sometimes, this is due to work itself (e.g. a conference) and sometimes it's a vacation. Whatever the reason, there's always going to be a transition period where you need to get back into your regular working routine once you come home.
Instead of getting hugely stressed trying to catch up, here's a simple five-step process to getting back into your normal routine:
- Clear Urgent Tasks Before You Leave
When you've got a planned break like a vacation coming up, make an effort to prepare for it. Most of us do this naturally, but it can be too easy to stick our heads in the sand and hope that everything will magically come together!
One crucial thing to do is to clear anything urgent before you go away. Obviously you'll take care of tasks which need to be done before you go – but look ahead a bit for deadlines that occur soon after your return. You don't want to be frantically trying to complete that big report on your first day back in the office.
Sometimes, of course, a break may be unplanned – due to illness or a family emergency, for instance. In that case, you may need to hand over or delegate any tasks with upcoming deadlines: don't assume that you'll necessarily be back in the office as quickly as you're hoping.
- Plan a Couple of Catch-Up Days
We often think that we can go straight from vacation mode back into work mode – but it's worth planning some transition time. Book an extra day off so that you've got time to get over your jetlag and catch up with your laundry. At work, don't schedule meetings for your first day or two back in the office – treat these as "catch-up" days: you'll need to clear that email backlog!
If you work for yourself, this is just as crucial. You may even want to tell clients that you're away for a bit longer than you really are ... this gives you a chance to catch up on things without dealing with phone calls or sudden requests.
- Ease Yourself Back In
Have you ever come back from a conference or vacation and thrown yourself straight back into work, only to end up feeling exhausted? You may well have been busy – even if it's not directly on work – during your vacation, and the switch back into your regular routine can take a toll.
Instead of trying to be superman or superwoman, how about easing yourself back into work or life gently? Tackle some simple tasks instead of something high-powered; where you've got control over your own schedule, try working a half day or two at first, in order to get back into "work mode". If your break was partly for stress-relief, there's no sense in coming straight back to the usual busyness!
- Make and Follow a To-Do List
I find that after a break, it's hard to remember exactly what I was working on or what needs to be done next. Rather than grabbing the first task which presents itself to your mind, sit down for ten – fifteen minutes and make a list of what needs to be done. This helps you prioritize, so that you don't end up trying to cram loads into your first days back at your desk.
A to-do list is also a good way to battle overwhelm: you won't be worrying that you've forgotten about something vital, and you can focus on just completing one task then moving on to the next.
- (Re)-Establish Good Habits
If you've had a long break, it can take time to get back into your usual good habits. Perhaps you find yourself chatting too much when you should be working, or your mind wanders constantly when you're trying to focus. Work on getting back into your good habits.
In some cases, you may want to use your return from a break as a chance to establish some good habits. Often, a vacation or other break from work can help us to come back into our "normal" life with a fresh perspective. Is there anything which needs to change? Perhaps you want to make a real effort to finish work on time each day, or maybe you've realized that if your inbox can survive untended for a week, you don't need to check emails at 8am every day.