My Career, Sans Ladder

October 28, 2005

What have I done?

Man, it's a good thing I started this blog...without it (or more accurately, without the feedback) I might not have made a recent career move.

Why not? Mostly because when I quit my last job I kept telling myself I wouldn't ever go back to the same type of role, as I didn't think it was good long-term fit for me. But when I asked the question - Can the same path lead to a new destination I got some excellent advice from Jordan Rule:

Pick a location where you can appreciate the local culture and meet lots of people you trust. They will probably get you your next job.

And well, as of a week ago today I followed Jordan's advice. As an added bonus, my new location happens to come with a new job :) but instead of it being a final destination, I'm looking at it as more of a layover (can you tell I've been traveling a bunch lately?). I can't wait to get into this new environment, learn as much as I can, make a bunch of new friends, and see what it leads to next.

October 24, 2005

I thought I said no more quotes

As I mentioned earlier, I've been reading thru Evhead's archives tonight...and came across this great one-liner:

Sometimes I can't stop making things.*
- circa July '99

The quote makes me wonder - what things can't I stop from doing? Tonight it's been reading thru a bunch of different blogs (although I've been able to reduce the width of my wanderings somewhat). Most of the time I'll just collect a few links, pull a few quotes, make a random connection or two, etc...The most polite way I've heard this behavior summed up is "listens to the world - people, trends, etc..." but at the same time, it can be viewed as mostly sucumbing to distractions. So how can I best translate this tendency (passion?) into something "value-added"?

ps: Hey Ev, any chance I could score an invite to next year's Fleet Week party? Looks like it was a great time.

*For those that don't know, Ev played a part behind the creation of both Blogger and Odeo - and I think this quote came before either one was created (although Blogger might have been under development at the time).

Web sites are like disposable razors

"Very sharp for a while until they grow so dull they're painful and it's time to toss them out and get a new one."

via the Evhead archives, via Glassdog.

Speaking of dull, sick of the quotes yet?? Big news soon...

ps: much belated thanks to Hugh, Evelyn, Rajan, Worthwhile, and Millionaire Socialite for the links...appreciate all the traffic you guys have helped generate 'round here. Special thanks to MS as he helped this blog become the #1 Google result for "wayward twenty-something" parents (if they read blogs) would be so proud.

October 17, 2005

JP Morgan's secret to success

via Alarmless:

1. Every morning, write a list of the
things that need to be done that day.

2. Do them.

ps: for those of you who are still Alarmfull, here's an alarm clock hack that supposedly helps you wake up at the right time.

October 14, 2005

"If you know where it's going, it's not worth doing."

What I'm trying to say is...I think this blog is worth doing (ie: I have no idea where it's going).

Although it's only been up for a couple of months, I'm encouraged by the initial response. It seems to be connecting with people, I've already received a ton of valuable feedback, some interesting conversations have been started (and I've received a better than expected amount of traffic)...what more can you ask from a blog? (besides Haughey-esque Google Ads returns :)

ps: can anybody guess who provided the quote that was used in this post's title? here's a hint, it was in an NYT article discussing celebrities who are involved with design.

update: see the comments for the answer.

October 13, 2005

Drop the ladder, pick up a brand

Some interesting (and exciting) discussion going on over at Gaping Void today. Hugh was explaining the benefits of creating a Global Micro Brand (GMB) and in the comments section, Evelyn replied with a discovery she had made: almost all the people in my "Ladder-less Careers" list (right column, right above the Google Ad) are also known to have their own Global Micro Brand...interesting. So, if you don't know, now you know.

ps: thanks for the digital shout-out Evelyn, you made it sound like this blog was a lot more established than it currently is :)

pps: Who else out there has a Ladder-less (and Brand-full) career?

October 11, 2005

Asking the right questions (pt. 2)

Here's a few good questions from Part 1:

The relevant question in looking at a job is not What will I do, but who will I become? What belief system will you adopt, and what will take on heightened importance in your life?

1) Who am I?
2) What situations have brought out the best in me? / How did I act during those peak experiences?
3) What type of environment do I thrive in?
4) What are my values/beliefs?
5) What are you taking for granted? It's a natural tendency to believe what comes naturally to us is a simple skill that everyone else possesses in droves too. The less we struggled to acquire said skill the more we assume it's so ubiquitous that it's not marketable.

update: another one from Evelyn at Worthwhilemag..."I looked back on my life and tried to figure out what I had."

October 07, 2005

7 Steps to Conscious Career Building

Found in the comments, here's a cliff notes version of 7 steps to Conscious Career Building:
1. Abundance: conscious careers begin with abundance; a visceral feeling of trust in life, self-esteem, and the value of being who you are in the world. What do you do easily, naturally, effortlessly?

2. Feeling: What do you care about? What makes you indignant enough to change yourself and/or the world? If passion is not consciously present, symptoms are. Symptoms (defined here as anything on any level that bothers you or moves you) are the harbingers of passion.

3. Focus: What is the one area, that if you focused on it in the next six-months, you would feel supremely good about yourself?

4. Sharing: to focus on making a contribution, of developing win/win situations in all transactions with others. A key question to ask in vocational development is, "Who, where, and what is my community," for another name for a community is a "market!"

5. Creativity: If the job you want does not presently exist, you can create it! In this realm, you learn to re-envision your work and the purpose of your work. What is the highest possibility you can imagine for your project, product, or service? Have the courage to dream, and to build from the deepest place within you. "In dreams begin our responsibilities."

6. Spirit: "There is a place that needs you and a place where you need to be. See these two coming together."

7. Mystery: No matter how many "steps" we follow, there is a mystery underneath and around our lives. More often than not, we draw the circumference of possibility too tight around our limited ideas.

Name your fear

As a response to the last post, I came across this quote from Patricia Soldati:

Name Your Fear

As long as your fear is shapeless, it will continue to hover and debilitate you. When you feel anxious, take a moment to pinpoint exactly what is causing you concern today.

October 05, 2005

Scared to sleep

A big issue with being unemployed is dealing with the large amounts of unstructured time. Without really noticing it, three hours just slipped by and all I did was have lunch, watch some TV, and take a nap.

My body has this reaction to make itself sleepy whenever I'm uncertain of what I'm working on. When I say scared to sleep, I don't mean like this, but in a "scared to death" kind of way. There are various levels - from yawning in a meeting when I don't understand what's being discussed, to taking a nap when there's no reason to. It's frustrating to feel tired when I know I should be doing something else.

Not sure if this happens to others, but if it does, any advice on how to overcome it?

October 04, 2005

As I'm thinking about the questions

It's helps me to remember this quote from a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace:

Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.

A big issue of mine when trying to tackle the "what are your passions/talents/interests" question is confusing my ideals vs. my real desires. Still need a lot of work separating the two, but I hope in time I'll be able to figure it out.

Something for my next job

Seems kind of obvious now, but I liked this suggestion from

Keep a journal of your daily reactions to your job situation, and look for recurring themes. Which aspects of your current job do you like? Dislike? Are these related to the work, your company culture or the people with whom you work?

I'm basically trying to do the same thing now, but being so far removed from the past situations I wonder how accurate I'm being in my assessments.

Asking the Right Questions (pt 1)

Welcome to the first of what I hope is a recurring discussion on this blog - figuring out what questions should be answered when changing careers.

There's a quote (of which I can't find a good link to) that says something along the lines of "ugly questions get ugly answers." And it uses the SUV as an example to the ugly question of how can we make the minivan more masculine.

What I'd like to do is first talk about what the right questions are, and then work on getting good answers. So, rather than the typical "would you rather be a carpenter ant or lawyer bird", what do you think should be asked of those in search of a new career?

Can the same path lead to a new destination?

In searching for a new career, I've come across a couple opportunities for jobs very similar to what I've had in the past, but in a completely different industry. Now, I didn't exactly enjoy my past work experiences, and I was hoping to change BOTH the job type and the industry, but is it ok to settle for a similar job if a lot of its other aspects (industry, location, environment) are vastly different?

Currently I'm leaning towards pursuing this opportunity because overall I think it would be a change for the better. I just have to remember that the experience is up to me, and that I need to take more control this time, and make sure I get what I want out of it vs. just taking what is given.

Your thoughts?

October 03, 2005

Finding talents through giving

From The Lazy Way to Success (which has got some other interesting views on how to be successful) :

What do I give, the giving of which fills me with great bliss? Focusing on this can help to identify your calling - and as an added bonus the process is often enjoyable/fulfilling and rareley ever feels like “work.”

Another way to ask this question is - what type of work have I received compliments on? What did I enjoy about it? How can I turn that into the focus of my job?