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Archive for October, 2010

Guest column and podcast: No Better Time to Reinvent by Jennifer Oliver O’Connell

October 28th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoNo Better Time to Reinvent
by Jennifer Oliver O’Connell

I have spent a good majority of my working life as a contract, temporary and freelance worker. I have juggled a writing career with a technology career, and have successfully thrived and worked in the industrial age, the computer age, and now the online age! So, I have experience and a unique view on what it takes to Reinvent oneself: whether it’s for a new job, a new industry, or to achieve a particular life goal.

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For the past two years, I have worked with a group of people I have chosen to call “Transitioners.” Because of the great recession and the subsequent economic climate, these individuals have either lost their jobs or been downsized. While many of them simply require tools on how to search for work in this Online age of Social Media and Networking, about half have no interest in getting back into their same career field. These people have a vision for something more flexible, that offers better life balance, and that doesn’t require long commutes or personal and health compromises.

Because of this need, I’ve expanded my resource role to include Reinvention Coaching. Sound magical? It can be! Reinvention involves the same hard work you employ in looking for a new job, with the core focus on shifting your paradigm, and then learning to live in that new paradigm. Reinvention coaching is part Vision-Casting and part cheerleading, while also supplying practical tools, helps and resources to set someone on a different path. Whatever that path may be is up to the particular person.

So what precipitates someone Reinventing? I find it happens in certain phases of life:

One is a career change, whether it involves a new industry or a new role.

The other is a desire to achieve a specific goal. Goal setting is easy. Goal achievement requires transforming thought processes and life habits in order to accomplish the change.

And then there’s a major life change, such as divorce, empty nest syndrome, or changing physical or emotional circumstances. Along with career loss, many people have lost finances, homes, and their place in a community. Navigating these challenges requires a fresh start and a new perspective on what is essentially an unwanted change.

As a Reinvention Coach, I assist in visualizing a different career, life direction, or goal completion, and supply the prescriptions, resources and objective perspective that will result in achievement.

So what should someone thinking about Reinvention consider?

First, do you want to continue in the place, industry, or career that you’re in? Often, we’re immobilized because we feel stuck, or we just have no clue about the first step to take to move out of inertia.

Second, what is the cost of staying where you are? In terms of career, there are some industries that are simply GONE, and they will EVER return. Does it serve you to try to hold on to your place in this dying sphere, or would it better serve you to take your wealth of experience and marketable skills and position yourself for another industry?

Third, what do I need in order to move forward? For some, it will require a radical shift, for others it will require incorporating some new things and tweaking others. As a Reinvention Coach, I can diagnose and direct a person toward the required actions, and assist toward achievement, one step at a time.

Finally, Reinvention involves getting in touch with SELF-CARE. Whether it’s from doing a job you simply do not love, a jarring unwanted change, or simple career burnout, we develop unhealthy habits, and some have fallen into substance abuse. Core to Reinvention is learning to incorporate or reincorporate exercise, proper diet, supportive communities, and fresh attitudes and habits that build you up, rather than tear you down. Finding a holistic balance in your daily life will automatically filter down into your work and your environment.

That’s what Reinvention is all about. Illuminating a path, pointing toward a direction, and implementing the tools in order to move forward.

And there’s no better time than now! If you are interested, email me, and schedule a 45-minute consultation, where we can assess if it’s your time to Refocus, Rethink, and Reinvent!

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Weekly Career-Op Open Discussion Thread

October 24th, 2010 Comments off
DENVER - DECEMBER 08:  Josh Turner (C), 21, li...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

  • Got career issues you want to get off your chest?
  • Work not what it should be?
  • Don’t know what the next step is?
  • Have a great success in your job search?
This weekly open discussion will be your chance to engage me and your fellow Career Opportunities with whatever career thoughts are on your mind.
Add your comments here in this open thread! Keep is on-topic and nice and let’s all share what is happening in our careers this week.
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Little Boxes – and they all look just the same

October 24th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logo

“Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.”

— Malvina Reynolds

When you are writing your resume or interviewing for a job, do you fall into a common trap? Despite all your unique insight and experience, do you end up looking and sounding like everyone else? Do you we end up looking like the “little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same?” For decades we have been taught to sit down, shut up, and act like everyone else. We have been taught to wear the same clothes, watch the same television shows, read the same books and have the same opinions. Even a cursory look at the world today will show you that this is no longer true. The world is an amazingly diverse place. Yet, when we go job hunting, we revert to methods from the 1950’s and beyond. We endeavour to be the “company man” who keeps his head down and makes it through our career relatively unscathed.

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In today’s work world, being the same as everyone else also makes you as expendable as everyone else. If one cog can be replaced with another, perhaps even cheaper, cog, it will be. When you endeavor to be the same as everyone else, you are limiting yourself in a very fundamental way. If you want to find and build the career you deserve, you need to highlight those traits that make you different from those around you. You need to be clear what unique insights, experience and training you have acquired that allow you to do a job a a much higher level than everyone around you.

Some of you might be thinking, “but won’t being different hurt my chances at getting jobs at the big corporations?” Yes, it just might prevent you being hired by those large corporations, but I would add that in most cases, you don’t want to be hired into a job where mediocrity is considered state of the art. Being “just good enough” should never be your goal. This is the thinking that traps hundreds of thousands of people in jobs they hate — jobs that leave them feeling empty without any sense of accomplishment beyond “time served.” I want you to think beyond the world as it was and start seeing new opportunities that exist outside of the boundaries of conventional work thought.

The fact is, your job search will be more difficult if you decide to take this path, but the end result will be infinitely more rewarding. While there are millions of companies looking for mediocre cogs to fill their corporate machine there are thousands of companies that have already seen a better way. They actively seek out people who are different and exceptional. These are the companies where you should be focusing your attention. Don’t waste time on companies that don’t “get it.” Focus on those that, through their actions, show a new way of thinking, working and hiring.

Focusing on what makes you different, unique and special raises you above the job candidate noise. I am sure you have seen something like this in real life. You are watching a play and one actor seems to rise above everyone else in the cast. There is something special about them. You can’t always define what it is, but you sense it. I have seen it the open mic night at my local coffee house. Performer after performer gets up to do their two songs, but the audience isn’t really paying attention. They chatter away, focusing on the conversations and their coffee until, suddenly, the place falls silent. This performer has demanded their attention and gotten it. They haven’t done it by shouting or chastising the audience, they commanded the attention through shear force of their performance.

You want to be this performer, this actor, this speaker, this worker. You want the shear quality of your work, your knowledge, your actions to make people take notice of you. You might be surprised to find that it isn’t that hard to stand out when everyone around you is so lackluster, so meek, so much the same as everyone else. Use this to your advantage. Even a small effort to display your uniqueness can have amazing results.

Look for opportunities to show who you are, what you do and how well you do it, whether that is in-person or online. Display your unique knowledge and skill and don’t just be the same as the “Little boxes on the hillside.” Rise above the typical work world and the typical careers you see. Your job is to build the career you deserve, not the one that other’s think best for you.

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What I’m Reading…Driven to Lead and Drive

October 18th, 2010 Comments off

Categories: Books Tags:

Pursuing your work as art, but also making money

October 17th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoI just finished reading Seth Godin’s latest books, Linchpin, and there is much to recommend there. He clearly describes and analyzes the dramatic shifts in the work world where being “good enough” simply isn’t enough anymore, especially when such work can easily be outsourced to thousands of others all over the world. If you want to have a successful career, you need to treat your work as art, and yourself as an artist, regardless of what you do.

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While the book rings true to my own experience in almost every way, it also fails to address one of the deepest burning issues I live with every day — how to make money pursuing your art. There are the typical assurances that doing your best work will attract money, which I believe, but it doesn’t address the day-to-day realities of putting cash into our pockets so we can buy groceries and pay the rent. I can’t fault Godin with being unable to answer this question. It is indeed one of those problems that seems to defy solution. That said, reading the book got me thinking (which I believe is the clearest sign of a good book) and I have developed a few ideas of my own.

Working as an independent computer and New Media consultant over the last 15+ years has shown me the great need of assembling income from a variety of sources. Some weeks I book several computer calls. On others, it is made up of New Media and podcasting consulting. Other weeks leave me without much income at all. It is the nature of the freelancing beast to have both feast and famine. One thing I am not very good at is the typical, tried and true method of sales. I address this in a number of ways and I think it provides a rubric for those of you who are starting to pursue your work as art.

One comment I often hear from my friends and my peers is “Wow, you really do a lot!” Yes, I do do a lot, in a wide variety of topic areas, but it never really seems like a lot to me. The fact is, everything I do is integrated into my life. When I am at an event, I usually capture some photos or a bit of video that I can then use later in my blogs and podcasts. I am going to be at the event anyway, why wouldn’t I take a few moments to collect that content? This means that I don’t have to constantly feel I am “working” to feed my blogs. It all blends into one.

I believe that in order to create your art, whatever it might be, you need to think the same way about generating income from your art. You have to integrate monetization into the process and not think of it as something you do after the work is created. I see now that I need to do this even more myself. Despite the fact that I intuitively understood the need for integrating my work into my life, I had never really thought of doing the same with monetization. This clearly shows the blinders we can all wear at times and also how a good book can help you to remove those blinders.

So, how do you integrate monetization into your life without feeling you are constantly engaged in the hard sell? One of the first ways to start making money from your work is to setup and use affiliate marketing opportunities to sell those products you love and use most. I am a member of Amazon Affiliates which allows me to gain a small percentage of each item I recommend and sell. This doesn’t mean that I bombard people with affiliate links and advertising. Rather, it allows me to integrate a small bit of monetization into my daily work. When I mention a book, video or other product in my blogs and writing, I am able to link people directly to a great source of reviews and information while also, perhaps, making some money if the reader decides to buy the product. Linking to Amazon provides value to the reader and also provides a value to me, simply as part of the process of creating the content. There are literally thousands of different affiliate programs out there. Look for opportunities to gain a little by integrating them into your work where possible and appropriate.

Next, start adding a column, a checkbox, a todo item to every project you begin. Along with planning and creating the content, think of ways that allow you to monetize the project from the very beginning. What affiliate links can you include? Can you sell an expanded version of the content? Can you sell it as audio or video? Can you develop a speaking engagement or class around the content? Is this blog post a chapter in a larger book?

By thinking about these opportunities at the beginning of a project it begins to integrate into your work. Instead of having to look for opportunities for making money later, you keep that thought in mind as you create each piece. This doesn’t mean you abandon those projects that don’t immediately have a clear way to make money. You may only discover their money-making potential after you create them, or after you discover that they are a part of a larger product. The important thing is to keep the thought in mind as you go through your day so you naturally discover money-making opportunities as you go..

I am a firm believer that you can pursue your art while still supporting yourself and your family. In fact, I think that this is one of the biggest changes occurring in the world today. It will fundamentally change the way that most of us make our living and affect our children even more. It is not easy living on the cutting edge, but by integrating early thoughts of monetization into your work, your art and your life, I think you will find a way to thrive in this new work world.

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I Like This – October 13, 2010

October 13th, 2010 Comments off
Categories: Elsewhere Tags:

What are you saying, and thinking, about your work and career?

October 11th, 2010 2 comments

Career Opportunities podcast logoWant to know what people all over the world think about their work and career? Visit and enter work, career, job, or any other phrase you want. Then hit enter and watch the world zeitgeist pour into your browser. Never before have you been able to put your finger on the pulse of the world in such a detailed way.

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Of course, you can use this same method to divine what you think about your work and career, too. Much like an old-fashioned paper journal (which I still carry around, by the way) your social media stream captures your feelings, your thoughts, your disappointments every time you post a note to your friends or the world. This information can be a goldmine when it comes time to for the “hard thinking” I often mention in columns. Reviewing your social media streams can give you a clear indication of how you are doing in your career and whether you might need to make some major changes.

So, let’s begin to use your own words against you — or more hopefully — use your own words to make your work and career the one you deserve. First, you need to look at your social media streams as if they were coming from a close personal friend instead of yourself. It can be difficult to disassociate yourself from your own words, but it is worth a try. Think about how you would feel and respond if your best friend had written these posts on Facebook or Twitter. What would you think about them as a person, as a worker, as a careerist? What messages would call for response? Where could you help, guide, chide or support?

On the darker side, would you even want to be friends with a person who left similar messages? Sometimes we can present the worst side of our nature online without even thinking about it. Our social media streams become the repository of everything that stinks in our lives. We use it as a dumping ground to get it out of our head. Don’t fall victim to this common trap, though. If you feel you must present the bad with the good, seek out some balance between them. Your deepest, darkest secrets are probably best contained within private files on your own computer or in your paper journal. These areas are for you and you alone. There you can rant to your heart’s content, secure in the knowledge that you won’t be giving others a negative view of your life.

In my own streams I try to range between the extremes, never settling on one or the other. My goal, and I think an admirable goal for you too, is to present as well rounded a picture of life as possible. Few lives are unrelentingly good or bad and your online life should reflect that. We all have bad days. That is OK. In fact, we can even make these bad days useful. Rather than simply ranting about your life, consider asking for help. Putting a productive spin on your “grumbly days” is a great way of rising above them. It also allows others to see that you are not just wallowing in your despair, but actively trying to find ways to make your life better, even in the midst of conflict.

Finally, your friends both online and in real life can be a great source of assistance to you. Connect up with the people you trust most and ask them, directly, how they perceive your online personae. Do they laugh at your stories or are they worried that you might be having trouble in your life? Do they think you are hiding a wonderful part of your life instead of sharing that with others? How do they think you are appearing to the semi-strangers that might be following you? What are their favorite items in your stream? Are there items they think you might want to avoid posting to your streams? A fresh eye is always helpful when trying to review your own life and close friends are some of the best resources you have.

Think about what you are saying about your work and career in your social streams. There is much self-knowledge to be found there. Social media might seem ephemeral, but, like a paper journal, it leaves a trail that can be mined for deeper insight into your life, work and career. Make it a regular habit to dig through your streams and see what you turn up. I am guessing you will be pleasantly surprised and spurred to an even better career.

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Event: October 18: Jennifer “Jungle Jenny” Michaels at Tuesdays with Transitioners

October 6th, 2010 Comments off

October 18: Jennifer “Jungle Jenny” Michaels will be our guest speaker at Tuesdays with Transitioners!

“Jungle Jenny” is Jennifer J. Michaels alter ego.  Jenny is a passionate conservationist whose goal is to protect and preserve the planet, all animals, their habitats/ ecosystems and biodiversity.  Jungle Jenny has traveled around the globe in order to see these wonderful wild creatures and capture a photograph of them in their natural habitat/ ecosystems.

Toward that end, she has created Jungle Jenny TV to encourage everyone to recognize, accept and develop their relationship with nature.

Jenny has translated her passion into a marketeable brand, and she wants to show you how to do the same. Whether it is a 9 to 5 brick-and-mortar job, or an entrepreneurial opportunity, Jenny will give you tools on how to present your best self, and how to get others to take notice.

Categories: Community, Elsewhere, Events Tags:

I Like This – October 6, 2010

October 6th, 2010 Comments off
Categories: Elsewhere Tags:

Douglas’ Curated Information

October 6th, 2010 Comments off

Curator (from Latin cura, care), means manager, overseer.

Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallery, museum, or archive) is a content specialist responsible for an institution’s collections. The object of a traditional curator’s concern necessarily involves tangible objects of some sort, whether it be inter alia artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific collections. More recently, new kinds of curators are emerging: curators of digital data objects, and biocurators. — Wikipedia

Each day as I read my current RSS feeds, I mark interesting items to share with the world. You can follow these curated feeds directly within Google Reader or access them via your own RSS reader or web pages. Below are linked my main curated feeds. Click to visit the web page and there you will find an RSS link that allows you to subscribe to that feed. These feeds allow you to tame, in some small way, the “firehose” of information that the Internet generates every day.

Douglas’ Curated News Feeds:

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