This is my first post to address alternative careers.
Many people who entered the workplace 10, 20, or more years ago are reconsidering their career choices.
In some cases, the decision to seek a new occupation is motivated by the desire for a change. In other instances, external factors are forcing people who enjoy their work to turn to alternative occupations.
Case in point: The information technology profession has been greatly affected by offshore outsourcing which – despite generating a fraction of the media coverage it received several years ago – continues to be used by companies as a cost control measure … and at a rate that is only increasing.
Thousands of computer professionals affected by offshoring have already switched to teaching, nursing and other occupations they believe will protect them from the practice. And those who remain in the IT field continue to be concerned about offshoring’s potential impact on the security of their jobs.
However, to the extent that computer professionals feel threatened by offshoring – or have already made 180-degree career changes – it may reflect their lack of information about the importance of computer knowledge in occupations that are not on the traditional IT career path.
A new book, Debugging Your Information Technology Career, addresses this lack of information. The author, Janice Weinberg, a friend for more than 20 years, is a Connecticut career consultant who was formerly a computer professional at IBM and GE.
If you know a computer professional – or someone who is considering becoming one – you may want to tell them about this book, which I believe they’ll find both enlightening and encouraging.
More information about Debugging Your Information Technology Career is available at Janice’s Career Solutions website.
- The best blogging techniques.
- How to get traffic to your blog.
- How to turn your blog into money.
I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.
Communication is the backbone of online networking.
According to the principle of “High Tech/High Touch” we need more rather than less intimate communication in these digital times.
Social networking sites present us with excellent tools to communicate asynchronously through commenting, messaging, posting bulletins and posting blogs.
There are new advances almost daily, but social networking sites still only partially address our need to relate more intimately in real time through synchronous channels such as instant messaging, telephony, video and face-to-face meetings.
To network more successfully, get more personal!
One thing that might hold you back is a concern for your personal security, especially if you’re a woman, and even more so if you’re a single woman. I will suggest several ways to mitigate this concern.
You could also be uncomfortable getting closer to a certain individual (hopefully not me LOL). Rely on your instincts and intuition. Exercise good judgment — but don’t be overly paranoid.
Here are my favorite ways to ensure a modicum of privacy while taking communication to the next level. They complement networking on any site.
- Get a headset with a microphone for US$20 or so, and download Skype to your computer. Skype lets you talk for free and anonymously to other users all over the world. It also permits small conference calls. With a headset both of your hands will be free to operate your computer or to take notes.
- Give out your cell phone number. You’ll enjoy the convenience of speaking anytime anywhere without revealing your full name or your address. Some disadvantages of using your cell phone are that you might incur cost and that you may receive annoying calls from time to time. You must decide for yourself whether it’s worth it.
- Get your own free conference number and PIN. You and your friend can call in at the same time to speak. If it’s your conference line, you can be sure that there’s no way to capture your phone number. The main down side here is that this protects you but not the other person.
- Install Trillian on your computer. Trillian lets you instant message people on Yahoo, MSN, ICQ and AIM all from one program. Instant messaging is not as good as talking, but it’s real time and interactive — definitely a step in the right direction.
- Starbucks anybody?
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We consider three ways to organize your contacts within social networking sites.
Many social networking sites let you select Top Friends and Favorites, public and private lists respectively of your most important contacts.
Visitors don’t need to click through to another page to view your Top Friends. They’re right there “on top”.
You implicitly recommend to others that they visit your Top Friends and connect with them.
Sites generally establish a maximum number of Top Friends. Therefore, as you meet new people, or as your priorities change, you may need to delete some Top Friends to make room for new ones.
Your Favorites on the other hand cannot be viewed by anybody except you. Sites do not generally establish maximums for Favorites or the maximums are large.
You can use your Favorites for your contact list, people with whom you wish to stay in touch. And when you decide that you no longer wish to re-contact a person, you simply delete them from your Favorites.
If you prefer, you can organize your contact list in a more detailed or systematic fashion using your browser’s Bookmarking capabilities. You can save a link to each important contact’s profile page or each important blog post.
You can easily create folders and sub-folders of Bookmarks (even a sub-folder for each contact with links to his or her profiles and blog posts on multiple social networking sites).
While Bookmarking can be tedious, it offers plenty of control and flexibility.
Years ago I learned the acronym F-O-R-M standing for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money. Talk about these four things and you’ll quickly learn what a person needs and how you might be able to help him or her.
I suggest that you use this formula in your online dialogs but with one important caution.
You cannot discuss money before you and your friend develop adequate mutual trust, since money can at times be a very sensitive topic.
Be aware that three areas of discussion that often lead to conflict are politics, religion and sexual orientation. Unless your agenda encompasses one or more of these topics, you will be prudent to leave them out of your conversations.
Do you want to draw people to you? The right people?
Then why clutter your social networking pages with high bandwidth graphics and auto-playing videos?
These may be a form of self-expression, but they slow your page’s download and do little to showcase you as a person.
Consider cutting down on your high-bandwidth low-content stuff. Instead write a meaningful story or provide important information about yourself.
What would you like me to know about you? Use your profile page to tell me.
This is a quick news flash!
My social networking blog can now be accessed from your mobile phone in a mobile friendly format, thanks to help from my friend and colleague I.C. Jackson.
Most social networking sites provide several ways to communicate, and depending on circumstances, one way may be more suitable than another.
Let’s discuss and compare the most common communication forms:
- Comments, guestbook entries or testimonials
- Private messages
- Bulletins or notices
- Blogs or web logs
Comments tend to be overused by most networkers. They are popular because they aren’t intrusive, they’re public, and because they link back to the poster’s page.
Comments have several drawbacks to consider:
- They aren’t suitable for personal messages which might embarass the recipient.
- They aren’t suitable for commercial messages. Comment spam is a major annoyance on networking sites.
- They can easily go unnoticed or unread if the recipient doesn’t require comment pre-approval.
Comments are great for gaining exposure and for creating back links to your page. They are also good for giving kudos.
Private messages tend to be underused by most networkers. Perhaps they’re afraid to intrude. Perhaps they’re using comments for some good reason and go on to use them for all their correspondence. Or perhaps they’re just going along with the rest of the herd.
Private messages ought to be used every time you desire direct communication. Messages will get opened and read. Do not use private messages for spam. If you have a commercial message, get explicit or implicit approval to send it.
Bulletins are useful when you have a very large number of friends or contacts. Theoretically, they allow you to reach out to all of them with one post. Unfortunately bulletins easily scroll out of view before they can be viewed, and unlike private messages, recipients can easily ignore them.
A possible solution is to use your blog to supplement your bulletins and other communications.
Spam is tolerated more in bulletins than in comments or private messages, but you should neverthelsss avoid it. Put unsolicited commercial messages in your blog, if anywhere.
Your blog is a public forum for your ideas and a place for public dialog, and your blog brands you in the mind of your readers.