Last week I was in Nashville doing presentations at Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management. I was seriously impressed with the building (one building dedicated to the MBA program – sweet!), campus (the trees and flowers and plants are AMAZING), career center staff (very, very competent and on first-name basis with many students; also, very involved with the student process… much more involved than I’ve seen in many other places), students (sharp, great questions, and determined) and faculty (who came to one of my workshops – extra credit for them!).
I met Jared Degnan, owner of Marketing Diner, and twitterer at Twitter.com/marketingdiner. Jared comes across as a pretty nice guy, and is well known by many of his Owen peers. If I was going up against Jared for a marketing position, I’d be nervous. Why? Because his blog and tweets talking about marketing, and social marketing, would really set him apart from his competition. Check out the tagline for Marketing Diner (below the logo):
I think it’s easy to get consumed with school, work, social life, etc. when you are in school… that’s what happened to me. But Jared is developing his own job security by establishing a foundation to his personal brand RIGHT NOW. His blog is smart, but beyond that, he’s helping future employers, clients, employees, and others in the marketing space know who he is – his professional breadth and depth. He is giving you a window into his professional capacity, and could easily be seen as a thought leader in the marketing space.
Jared wins this month’s You Get It Personal Branding award, and becomes one of the very few winners that I’ve actually met in person!
Jared Degnan, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else ), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the two hour (!!) minute recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).
A professor at Owen asked “how do we get students to care more about networking?” He was probably even asking how to encourage them to DO IT — grow their network, nurture relationships.
My response started off with “you know the complaint about most professors is they don’t seem to care about career stuff. They teach their discipline, but don’t even talk about job search, career management, networking, or any of that stuff. How many professors actually network on their own??”
I probably started that response off wrong, however, I’ve heard it a lot and I saw it at Idaho State University, where I got my undergraduate and my MBA.
The last part of my response was better: “Let them know that they’ll probably be changing jobs every two years, for their entire career.” He liked that answer more
Two points about those “every two year” job changes:
They might be with the same company. I don’t want to preach doom and gloom about this – it still is possible to stay with one company for a long time. But you’ll probably be in different departments of capacities during your tenure there.
The job changes are not all going to be on your own terms. Getting laid off, downsized, reduction-in-forced (RIFed) are all in your future (probably).
It’s a lot easier for me to sell someone on the concept of JibberJobber after they’ve been beat up a few times in their career… maybe the message to students would be better accepted after they’ve been working at a few different companies.
Finally, I regularly ask myself how to get older professional to care about networking :p
I’m worse at sending holiday cards than I am at sending thank you cards! But this year is going to be different. I’m going to do it this year. Here’s my plan of attack:
Export all my contacts who I have an address for from JibberJobber, and determine if they are holiday card recipients or not (I should have been tagging my contacts, but I haven’t been diligent in that).
Do a mail merge from the file I get out into a word document, IF I’m going to print labels (not sure if I’m doing that or handwriting the addresses).
Find holiday cards to send out. Most will be Christmas cards, but some will be holiday cards.
Prepare them and get them all ready to go for a Dec 1 mailing.
I’m trying to figure out how to make this more meaningful and personal than the typical card… I’ve been at companies where they just tape them up on a wall and then throw them away… some cards simply have a name and a generic message… what could I do to make it more personal?
So I’m a newbie at this stuff… any suggestions? What am I missing? HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Online networking allows you to meet lots of people who you otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet. Instead of one-to-one networking, you can do one-to-thousands networking, and still have some level of intimacy. You can enhance your brand as a thought leader or subject matter expert, and learn from the best minds in a particular space. You can do it on your own time, from your own house… and you don’t even have to brush your teeth or comb your hair before you start!
Offline networking allows you to develop intimate relationships one-on-one where you can communicate with passion and excitement communicating with your voice fluctionation, body language, facial express, and touch. It’s a great opportunity to really get to know people, learn about their quirks, needs, desires, etc. in a setting where you both can devote your complete attention to one another. You can put your best foot forward and guage reactions immediately. And brushing teeth, combing hair, getting dressed up and actually talking with other human beings is a good thing
Of course, there are draw backs. Online it’s easy to trust someone who isn’t who you think they are. Not getting a timely response might lead you to draw wrong conclusions. Information overload grabs at our attention, and we can easily communicate something that is misunderstood (without being able to immediately know it’s misunderstood). It’s sometimes so easy that we overextend ourselves and drown in information and contacts, not really able to do anything but flounder.
Offline networking is a challenge because we have to dedicate time and gas money to travel to and from, sometimes pay for event or meals, go to an event where there aren’t enough of our target contacts (or there are too many, and not enough time), and my biggest challenge, weighing the opportunity cost in the in-person networking vs. what I could do from my office.
So which is better? Either may be more appropriate for different objectives, but both can and should be used in a complementary strategy. Don’t choose one or the other – do both.
For the last 5 years I’ve been on the road quite a bit. Before my trips I get all the necessary documentation ready, printing out itineraries, hotel information, rental car information, and maps and directions.
As prepared as I was, I usually would kind of get lost. I’m good with directions, but if there was a road closure, or if I missed an exit, I’d get anxious and frustrated.
A few months ago when I was in Orlando I had a packed trip. I was doing a number of presentations from Orlando to Tampa, and had a lot of driving to do. I thought I was smart by saving the Google maps and directions to my laptop, but when I tried to open the file without an internet connection I couldn’t see what I was hoping to see. Major frustration.
It was on that trip that I decided to buy a GPS system. My first GPS experience was on my Silicon Valley book tour trip, driving around that area with my publisher for a week. I thought it was wierd that he needed a GPS since he lived there, but I was very impressed with the technology. I asked him if he wanted me to “turn The Lady on” when it looked like we needed help finding our next address. Mitchell remarked “it’s worth it (the $300ish price tag) if it helps you get to one meeting ontime.”
Fast forward a few weeks… I landed back home from my Orlando trip and before I even went home I bought a GPS system. I absolutely LOVE it. I don’t use it much in Utah, because of the street system here (don’t usually need it), but EVERY time I go somewhere else I bring it and HEAVILY rely on it. In fact, this week in Nashville I had the thought “what would I need more, my wallet (with ID and credit cards) or my GPS?” At that time I figured I needed my GPS more.
I actually found my GPS for about $175 (discontinued floor model). It is a 4″ wide Magellan, and I wonder why it took me so long to make this investment. This one tool has significantly changed my stress level and my ability to go to diferent places when I travel. I affectionately named her The Lady.
I wonder, what are the tools that we should have for managing our careers, or a job search (two different sets of tools, I’d argue)? Are we trying to do without the tools, instead of paying $50 here or $200 there? I’m not suggesting that you go out right now and stockpile tools and resources, but going without the right tool will hinder your progress. Just ask a tradesman what their opinion of expensive vs. bargain tools is. The plumbers and carpenters I know invest in their tools, because that helps them do their jobs better, faster, and with higher quality.
Are you investing in your career tools, or are you skimping to save a buck now?
This is a story about wasting a bunch of time, thinking I knew what I was doing. It’s kind of like chasing after career bliss… read on.
I’m in Tennessee. On Tuesday night I decided to go look for a Chinese restaurant, and hit Wal-Mart while I was out. I asked the front desk if there was a Wal-Mart close by (had to buy some stuff) and figured I’d find some restaurants near the Wal-Mart. They said it was kind of far away, and instead of getting directions, I figured I’d just use my GPS. I knew exactly what I wanted (shaving cream & Chinese food (not together)), where I should go (Wal-Mart), and how to get there (with “The Lady,” aka, my Magellan GPS).
I got on the highway, obedient to The Lady, and quickly found myself in some of the worst traffic I’ve ever been in. About an hour later I got to the Wal-Mart that was only 10 minutes away, but decided to look for a Chinese restaurant before going to Wal-Mart. I drove around aimlessly for quite a while, got frustrated and decided to just go into a Walgreens to get the shaving cream.
About 90 minutes had passed by this point, I was hungry and tired.
As I got close to my hotel I found a Chinese restaurant. Only 2 blocks from my hotel.
And I found a Walgreens close to the Chinese restaurant.
I had spent almost two hours driving around, looking, chasing my dream, getting hungrier and more frustrated as time went on… and everything I wanted was just a minute or two from my hotel.
I think it’s kind of like our careers. We have this plan… this idea of how things are supposed to go, and we chase it for years, maybe decades, only to find what we really wanted was right under our nose.
I hope your career bliss doesn’t take the same path my Wal-Mart trip took
I have a bunch of neighbors and friends who own their own business. Of course, yesterday, I made the case (again) that YOU own your own business, and are CEO of Me, Inc, but these are people who really don’t work for “The Man” and have a real, legal company.
I’ll focus on the ones who are in financial pain right now: those involved in house stuff… real estate, mortgage and construction.
Try and tell them we’re not in a recession. Whether the country is in a recession or not, they are in a personal recession!
Is your income diversified enough (to minimize risk)?
This totally applies to you, no matter where your main paycheck comes from. Here’s an example of how that works with my real estate buddies. Assume you are a realtor right now, and have had a bunch of strong years, with great income.
But now, the market dropped out from under you, and your income went away. What else can you do?
When I was newly married I sold restaurant cards. You’ve probably bought coupon books, about an inch thick, with all kinds of coupons on savings for all kinds of products and services… it was kind of like that. Except these cards where only for one restaurant, and had 10 or 15 free meals and appetizers. It was a screaming deal, and I sold a bunch of them for $20/each. I got to keep $10, and the guy who ran the company got the other $10.
What if a realtor, who understands sales, and relationships, and business, and is not afraid to talk to a restaurant owner or manager, starts a side business. He doesn’t need to sell the cards (he could hire high school kids or friends who want to make a buck to sell them, and get an override on each sale), although it’s good and easy money (any money is good when your income is $0).
Think about this – you set up a business, manage it in a hands-off way, get a thousand bucks (or more) each month… that is a new revenue stream.
You know what’s interesting? The realtor is an entrepreneur, isn’t he? If times are slow, and one income stream is slowing (or cut off), why now look at other revenue streams?
This applies to EVERYONE… whether you have a job or not, whether you own your own business or not… you need to think about multiple streams of income.
What are YOU doing to ensure your main income stream is not your ONLY income stream?
Growing up, my dream had always been to work up a corporate ladder and become a senior executive, perhaps a big-company CEO. Even while I was in college I had this as my goal, thinking I’d take the expatriote route and go overseas for a number of years.
Of course, life happened, and my well-thought-out career path to that corner office took a number of detours. The last major detour was when I got laid off in 2006, and then started my own company (the same year).
I thought that my company would JUST provide web software for people interested in career management, relationship management, job hunters, and possibly work with HR and recruiters. Within a year I was writing a book, and even speaking.
I wanted to be careful to not spread myself too thin, but as my own boss, I loved the ability to figure out which new opportunities would be complementary to JibberJobber’s goals, and which would be distractions. It was fun to figure out what my company could do, become, offer. I was a real entrepreneur!
You know what’s great about that? I remember in my last role, the CEO/founder of Varsity looked at me and said “YOU ARE NOT AN ENTREPRENEUR!” He made it very clear that I didn’t have what it took, like he did. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
I’m an entrepreneur. I love it. It’s not easy, but it’s empowering… it’s exciting, it’s liberating, and I love it!
The same way I make decisions about my company, you make decisions about your career path. In fact, owning my business right now is simply a step in my career path. No matter what you are doing right now, whether you are CEO of a big company, unemployed, happy or unhappy… YOU make decisions about your career path.
Do you stay? What do you learn right now? What will your year (or quarter) look like? Are there partnerships you are in that don’t make sense, and others you need to work harder on? Is your income diversified enough (to minimize risk)?
Whatever you choose to do as CEO of Me, Inc., please do it ON PURPOSE. Don’t shirk your duties as CEO!
I was asked a few weeks back how to get your picture to show up next to your comment on this blog. For example, if you look at yesterday’s post, you’ll see pictures for Karen Swim and myself, but no one else.
Doing this once will impact not just this blog, but other blogs also. When I commented on a TechCrunch post, I saw my picture come up automatically.
All you do is go to Gravatar.com (that is: globally recognized avatars), set up an account, put in your picture (this will be the one that shows up everywhere), and you are good to go!
It’s that simple, and will be recognized on blogs that tap into Gravatar. The logic behind this is based on the e-mail address you use for your Gravatar account, AND the e-mail address you use when you leave a comment… if they are the same, your image should show up. If you want to comment anonymously, don’t put your e-mail address.
Actually, I abhorred my lawnmower. Abhor, according to dictionary.com, means “to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly; loathe; abominate.” But after making one little change on Saturday afternoon, I came to actually like my lawnmower again. If you abhor your job (or, if you have ever typed “hate my job” in a search engine ), then read on – this might help.
A couple of years ago I took the bag off my lawnmower to throw out all the grass clippings. Somehow, the spring that keeps the bag on “broke.” From then on, anytime I mowed the lawn, I’d get a healthy spray of grass and dirt right at my face. I’m sure it was a funny site (for others) to watch me pushing a lawnmower and getting a straight shot of stuff flowing right at my head. Funny for them, extremely frustrating for me. It was like self-imposed torture.
I put up with it for years. Dozens of mowings. Grumbling, unhappy… even abhorring.
But on Saturday I finally decided to see exactly what the problem was. I’m not very mechanical, so if something doesn’t work right I’m not inclined to stick my head in it and try and figure it out. I don’t have the right tools, or know-how, and usually end up making it worse.
Except this Saturday – I was in a “do it yourself” (DIY) mood. I looked down at the spring on the left (the bad spring), and compared it with the spring on the right. Guess what? Nothing was broken at all! The spring on the left just wasn’t secured like the spring on the right… ! All I had to do was get some plyers, secure it, and I should be good! I did that, and five minutes later I was cruising along, liking my lawnmower, and perhaps on the road to *loving* my lawnmower!
I was amazed that something so small and easy to fix was such a thorn in my side for years.
I was neglectful, and didn’t take proper ownership of my lawnmower. I did my job begrudgingly, not stopping to figure out what could have made it better. I took the default, not even trying to empower myself.
I wonder, how many of us do that with our careers? Maybe we loathe, hate, abhor, despise our jobs… but we just sit around and do it, accepting by default what is given to us. Perhaps:
… we hate our work hours.
… our coworkers are not the right team members.
… our projects aren’t challenging enough.
… our pay isn’t up to market level, or what we should be pulling in.
… we don’t have strong relationships with people in our office.
… we aren’t getting proper recognition for our amazing accomplishments.
In a job search, perhaps:
… the recruiter isn’t calling us back.
… our resume isn’t getting us into interviews (my resume was keeping me out of interviews, big time!).
… our interviews aren’t getting us to the next level.
… the people we network with aren’t giving back, just taking, taking, taking!
In our personal career management, if we just accept the default we are given, we may never know what career bliss could be.
I challenge you to find that one tweak, whether big or little, put your CEO of Me, Inc. hat on, and take charge of your job, or job search. It may make the difference between abhor and love, and it will be worth it!