Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Blog Has Moved!

This blog has moved to All of the content on this blog will remain here, but you can read new posts at the new site. Thank you for your support!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Having Fun With Social Media

I stumbled upon an enjoyable video by Ben Stiller, which finds him updating his Facebook profile. Like all of us, he's trying to understand the many dimensions of social media...with funny results...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thoughts on Labor Day Weekend

As we celebrate Labor Day weekend 2009, I feel a huge sense of uncertainty regarding my work life and my career. As it turns out, 2009 has become another year of the transition for me.

At this time, I want to thank all of my family and friends for supporting me and praying for me during this challenging time in my life. Please know that your prayers and support mean more to me than I can express.

During my five months in transition, I have been surprised by three things in particular:

1) The large number of people who are in transition like me. About a month ago, I went to a networking event at a suburban church where over 100 of us were stuffed into a very warm room. Rather than feeling any sense of "strength in numbers," I felt a huge rush of sadness and helplessness. Thankfully the feeling went away quickly.

When I go to a library during a typical weekday, I am amazed by the number of people who are waiting to use the computers or working on their laptops. I am also amazed at the large number of people I meet at networking sessions who are looking for employment opportunities.

Currently the national unemployment rate hovers at 9.7 percent. This figure covers those of us receiving unemployment benefits. I know there are a lot of people who have either given up looking for a new job or they are severely underemployed. Whatever the case, there are many days when this 9.7 percent figure feels way too low.

2) I am amazed at the number of people that seem unaffected by the current unemployment challenges that are occurring. While part of me feels jealous of people who are living with a sense of "business as usual," I am comforted by this sense of "normalcy" in the work world. It gives me hope to see this at a time when my life does not feel anywhere near "normal."

3) I am amazed at the great amount of resiliency among people in transition. I've met plenty of people who need to express their pain, disappointment and frustration about their situation. But I have met many more people that are optimistic and positive about their situation. During this challenging time many of us are looking for, dare I say, a better job and a better life.

For a spiritual perspective about work and Labor Day Weekend, please check out a great article from one of my favorite columnists from the Chicago Sun-Times, Cathleen Falsani. You can check out the article at the Sun-Times or Cathleen's Blog.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Like" Part Three

Earlier this year, I wrote a couple posts about the over-use of "like" in our daily conversations. I shared a couple videos from performance poet (and former English teacher) Taylor Mali. You can check out these posts here and here.

While browsing Taylor's blog, I noticed that there is now a version of that performance with a very effective use of typography. Created by Ronnie Bruce, this version really brings the meaning of the performance to life. FYI, Taylor is coming out with a new book of poetry, which will soon be available on his website.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Receiving Advice

How many times has someone said, "you should...?" You can respond one of two ways: either say "thank you" and make a mental note to yourself or you can mutter something under your breath and try to come across as grateful for the suggestion.

Sometimes this advice is unsolicited or comes from a total stranger. Ideally the advice comes from someone who cares about your well-being like a family member, friend or mentor.

Recently, Fortune Magazine featured a cover story about successful people and the greatest advice they've ever received.

General David Patraeus received some advice from his boss while he was a captain in the army. His boss told him, " I think you ought to look for an out-of-your intellectual comfort zone experience." This advice let Patraeus to get a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton University and has helped him in his current position as Commanding General in Iraq. For the full story, click here.

While working as a systems engineer at IBM, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark was advised by his manager to use his dry sense of humor to help diffuse tension in his department. In addition to his great technical skills, this advice led him to his current success. To read more, click here. president Joanna Shields received this advice from her father, "Your career is long and the business world is small. Always act with integrity. Never take the last dollar off the table." This advice helped Shields in her dealings to sell the company to AOL. For more info on this, click here.

I'm very fortunate to have received some great advice from my parents and other family members over the years - the type of advice that encouraged me to go to college, do my homework, save my money, etc. I have become a better person as a result. But I've also received advice from someone who didn't know me...the type of advice that changed me significantly. I will be sharing this soon on the re-launch of 360 Degree Self.

How about you...what is the best advice you've ever received? The worst?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blog Update and Learning

I continue to work on the re-launch of this blog using WordPress and the Thesis theme. While Thesis makes customizing blogs much easier than many themes out there, I didn't anticipate all of the technical challenges that I've encountered. I've been dropping CSS code in at a not-so-furious pace. Three weeks ago, I wasn't familiar with CSS, but today I am dreaming about CSS code in my sleep. In true do-it-yourself fashion, I am scouring the very helpful Thesis support board and consulting my CSS in 24 Hours book. I am happy with the new design and excited to re-launch in a couple weeks.

Honestly, I'm amazed that I've been able learn this code and design the blog myself (though I cannot give myself too much credit since the design is very simple and clean). There have been plenty of moments that I have been more than willing to shell out money for some help. That would have been the easy way. But, somewhere in all of this coding, is a lesson for me. My instincts tell me that I may soon be helping other people with their blog and that these lessons will come in handy some day soon.

Besides dropping code into the custom stylesheet, I have attending some very interesting networking sessions and met some very talented people along the way. I will be sharing some of these thoughts soon on the new blog. The key point of emphasis that I wanted to stress is the opportunity for all of us to learn. No matter what challenge we're facing or how much we want to give up - we have the opportunity to overcome these challenges and become stronger.

I don't know much about the organization that created this video, but I found it interesting...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Making Lemonade

Thanks to a Chris Guillebeau re-Tweet of a Jonathan Fields Tweet, I stumbled upon this very interesting video. According to information provided on the site, more than 70,000 advertising professionals have been laid off in our current recession. As a former advertising professional who was laid off from two advertising jobs, I can identify very strongly.

One thing that always attracted me to working in that industry was working in a creative environment. This video gives you a slice of how just a few of these creative individuals are dealing with their layoffs. Whether you are between jobs or you create storyboards or pivot tables for a living, you might enjoy this...