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Archive for April, 2010

[Tip] Money…

April 25th, 2010 Comments off

“[Tip] Don’t lose yourself in pursuit of money. I see it happen in ways large and small everyday. Money is important but not all.”

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CareerCampLA 2010: Resume Writing: How to Get Your Foot in the Door with Markell Steele

April 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Markell Steele of presents Resume Writing: How to Get Your Foot in the Door at CareerCampLA 2010.


Watch Resume Writing: How to Get Your Foot in the Door – iPod Ready Video


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The trouble of being self-sustaining in your career

April 19th, 2010 1 comment

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There is an old cliche quote that says, “Behind every great man is a woman” with a host of addendum on the end to fit the specific situation. While I don’t dispute this, except to say that it also works the other way, there are times in our lives and career when we must be self-sustaining. There are times when the support of a spouse simply isn’t available for a host of reasons. It is in these times that we can all “fall down” and find our careers mired in the mud only because we simply don’t have enough individual energy to move us forward. Sometimes, we all need a cheerleader on the sidelines. Without them, something can seem dramatically absent from our lives and our work.

I am mainly talking about spouses, of all sorts, in this column, as this is my own experience. Close friends and family can also be “sustainers” in your career and their absence can be just as damaging. “Sustainers” help us through the rough spots in our careers by providing advice, support, wisdom and, most importantly, their energy. We all have an ebb and flow to our personal and work energy and sustainers help us get through the low spots without foundering on the rocks of sleep and self-doubt.

Sustainers can be absent from our lives for a number of reasons, even though they may be physically present. Often there is simply a lack of interest in the careers of our spouses. In my relationship, my wife has no great interest in careers, technology or new media — three of my greatest interests and also where I focus the majority of my work. This lack of interest doesn’t stem from malice, but rather the fact that she has her own busy career in television writing and now, as a university educator. Second, she is not terribly enthralled with any of my career interests. This is probably quite common in many relationships. We don’t always have to love everything our partner does.

This means, though, that we must each be self-sustaining in our own, individual careers. We may support each other emotionally and physically, but we need to look elsewhere for our career support. Usually we have to look inwards. We have to be able to push on when the writing isn’t going well. We have to find our own reasons to continue working on a new project. We need to find our own ways of keeping our energy going, even when we might rather take a nap.

The trouble, of course, is that we only have so much energy, so much willpower, so much creativity and, without a sustainer to help us, we can fall down. I am sure this has happened to you, just as it has happened to me. We can fall into a pit where nothing seems important enough to work on — nothing seems worth the effort — or, as in my case, nothing is more important than sleep. It can be very tiring to be your sole, best, cheerleader and nearly impossible to maintain for long periods.

So, what do you do when you need a sustainer in your life? You go and find one. I have several groups of like-minded folks I meet with regularly for specifically this reason. My New Media Interchange and New Media Mastermind groups help me explore that area of my work, BarCampLA and LA Geek Dinners feed the technology side and Tuesdays with Transitioners gives me a place to discuss career issues. I need these groups, and the conversation they bring, to keep me moving forward, give me a place to vent my frustration and get a little cheerleading from my companions.

Don’t be surprised, or dismayed, to find that you are having trouble sustaining your own energy about your work. It is a common problem, but the solutions are just as common. If, due to a difference in interests, lack of time or other issue, your spouse can’t provide you the support you need, reach out to friends, family and fellow interested people to keep your interest and energy at a productive level. We all need a cheerleader in our lives and sometimes we have to go out and find them.

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I Like This – April 19, 2010

April 19th, 2010 Comments off
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I Like This – April 12, 2010

April 12th, 2010 Comments off
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Video: CareerCampLA: Your Career, Your Terms with

April 7th, 2010 Comments off

George and Mary-Lynn from present “Your Career, Your Terms” at CareerCampLA live via Skype video at CareerCampLA 2010.

Watch “Your Career. Your Terms” with George and Mary-Lynn of – iPod Ready Video

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Everything you do MUST have value to others

April 2nd, 2010 Comments off

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There comes a time, maybe many times, when you can’t understand what other people are thinking. You are putting out energy, attention, physical labor, — as Churchill once said, “blood, sweat, toil and tears” — and yet no one seems to care. You think your story, your cause, your writing, your work, your business is the most important thing in the world and all you get in return is silence.

It’s easy to come up with a hundred reasons why no one cares. “They’re stupid.”, “They’re evil.”, “They’re Republican.”, “They’re Democrat.”, “They’re rich, poor, black, white purple, speak another language. It’s the economy, the government, the world, the flux, the weather, the tides.” We can come up with thousands of reason why our work and our lives aren’t fully appreciated. We do this out of self-preservation. If we allow ourselves to think of the “real” reason no one is paying attention, it might break our hearts.

There are 2 reasons why people aren’t paying attention to you and your work. The first reason could simply be that they don’t know you. They haven’t encountered you or your work and to them, you don’t even exist…yet. This can be countered. There are so many methods to expose yourself to others these days. It only takes a little work on the Internet to build quite a large group of people who “know” you. In fact, this is much easier than ever before and can be accomplished with a little hard work.

The second problem overwhelms the first, however. It can overwhelm us and kill our desire to create. It is partially under our control, but also part of the infinitely complex dance of human interaction. This problem is one of the most difficult to face in life, but it is also one that we MUST face if we hope to live the life we deserve:

Our work is ignored or dismissed because people do not see value in it.

Sure, we may see the deeper value and that can be important in its own right, but in order to make people pay attention, it must have value to them. If not, it might be a short term curiosity, a pleasant distraction along the path of life, or even a minor annoyance, but without value, it will make little or no impact and mean little to them.

So, you can rail against the world, the weather or the weekend, but it all comes down to value.

No one using your online community? They don’t see the value. No one listening to you podcast? They don’t see the value. No one coming to your play, your television show, you concert, your book signing? They don’t see the value. Human beings want to improve their lives. They want to have important new experiences. They want to feel growth, both intellectually and emotionally. Their first judge of your material is, “What’s in it for me? How will this help me be a better, happier, funnier, healthier, smarter person?”

If you examine your own thoughts, I think you can see this is true. You do the same each and every day. You look at objects, shows, books, Facebook Friends and Twitter followers and wonder, “What’s in it for me?” If you do this, you must imagine that others do the same. We are all human and all subject to some very fundamental laws about the way we think and act.

While it can be depressing to realize that some of your work does not have value to others, it also shows us a path to a better place. No matter how bleak it might seem, we can always address the most basic question – “How can I make it valuable to them? If people don’t see the value, how can I show it to them in a better way? How can I ‘prove’ it?” There are an endless number of ways of acting on this question, but you will have to figure out your next step based on your own wants, needs and desires.

Whatever you do, don’t think you can prove the value by shouting at them, “How stupid can you be!?!?” This is counter productive at best and outright destructive at its worst. Instead you need to talk with them, sit with them, listen to them and figure out how your work can have value to them. Then, you need to show that value. You can tell people why they should be interested over and over without result, but when you show them the value, the results are immediate.

Is one of your projects failing? Are your books not selling? Is your company struggling? Are people simply not listening? If so, take out your notebook, look deeply at your work and find ways to make it valuable to your clients, your customers, your audience, your department, your company, your publisher, your agent, your wife, your family. Value is a natural attractant. When you find the value, people will find you.

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