Security, Resilience, and the Road to your Future

A few months ago I read: “The Start-Up of You” by Reid Hoffman (Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn). The context of the book is that your life is always in start-up mode, and to put the same amount of focus in your life, job, and future as you would in a start-up company. He talks often about how start-ups have to constantly refocus and realign their efforts to make sure they are going in the right direction. He explains that individuals, just the same as start-ups, have to refocus and realign our efforts to make sure the choices we are making in life are going in the right direction. One idea that resonated with me was about resilience:

“…compare a staff editor at a prestigious magazine to a freelance writer. The staff editor at a magazine enjoys a dependable income stream, regular work, and built-in network. The freelance writer has to hustle every day for gigs, and some months are better than others. The staff editor is always well fed; the freelance writer is hungry on some days. Then the day comes when print finally dies, the magazine industry collapses, and the staff editor gets laid off. Having built up no resilience, he will starve. He’s less equipped to bounce to the next thing, whereas the freelance writer has been bouncing around her whole life–she’ll be fine. So which type of career is riskier in the long run, in the age of the unthinkable?” page. 189

Are you the staff editor or the freelance writer? Have you developed the strength you may need if you are the staff editor? It made me think about the different jobs I have had, the choices I have made in my life, and whether or not I would be resilient or not. So often I think we stay in jobs for too long because of the security they bring us, but sometimes that might be a false sense of security. If we could have a window into our future, and know that if we take that risk, and put ourselves out there that everything will work out and be okay. If we had that option, the world might have more risk takers. Yet, we can do that without seeing into the future. We can have a Plan B, we can prepare ourselves to be agile, and in turn develop the resilience of the freelancer. We would bounce back with any changes that get thrown our way, think quickly, and move on to our backup plan.

Which direction will you go? Are you stuck in the security of life? Or, do you treat your life and future like a start-up, constantly changing directions as needed?

Brand “YOU”

A recent article from Fast Company inspired me to think through my brand: Brand Tami. Not just for 2013, but beyond. The following excerpt from the article is what specifically stood out to me and will give you a bit of context to what I am referring to:

“Be yourself and be courageous. You don’t have to follow the crowd. Take courageous steps to define the brand of you in 2013, reminding yourself of who you are, what makes you tick, and why you get out of bed every day. Don’t feel compelled to follow the crowd. Be courageous and proud of being yourself.”

Have you ever thought about that? Brand You? Reid Huffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, has a great book out called: “The Start-Up of You.” He discusses at length how to plan out your future as though YOU, your life, job, and future were a start-up company. It is definitely a book I would recommend reading if you are thinking about your future and next steps.

Over the holidays I was thinking about Brand Tami and decided the first place to start was to update my: “About” page for random olio. That was my first step. If you have read it before, you will see a bit of my past version, with more specifics this time. Since I have this blog, I can cultivate my Brand on my About page, but also through my writing, photos, and content. I also continue to share my Brand in how I interact and treat others, and what I stand for, and what I will not stand for. I want to continue to think about how I am going to cultivate Brand Tami as the months fly by in 2013 and beyond.

You might find that you create a bit of Brand YOU by what you post on Facebook, or what you share on Twitter. What does your Brand YOU look like? Does it have a smell? Texture? Does it glow? Is there a word that defines you that you can speak to that sheds light to others of what you are about? An image? The fun part about Brand YOU is that it is a constantly evolving Brand and you get to update it, edit it, and brush it off any time you wish.

Are You Relevant?

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago. The idea of: “Are you relevant?” came up. I am not that old, but I have started to feel like being relevant is now very crucial to staying fresh and current in the workplace. Things change every single day. Most of these changes have to do with technology. Do you have the latest smartphone? Does it have the newest apps? Do you know how to use your smartphone? Have you had it for a few years and are still learning how to use it?

If you are like me there are constantly new things to learn about your smartphone. There are new things to learn about the apps. New technology and functionality. What about all the different social networking options? Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. They each are constantly evolving so that your experience is never the same. They constantly update, redesign, reconfigure your viewing experience. Are you able to keep up with all the changes that happen? Do the social media platforms alert you to the changes, or do you just learn to adapt, or you ask your networking community how they have maintained their composure while they navigate the changes?

I often feel I cannot keep up. I want to be in the know. I want to understand how to pace myself and decide which social media platforms meet my needs, but I find that they are all so varied and that I sometimes cannot keep up with technology and all its evolving, fast-paced, time sucking powers. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, or another platform, do they really do for us what we think they do? Would we be better served by just having face-to-face conversations?

Would that make us all more relevant?

This is a f-ing crazy job application…

When I came across this Fast Company article titled: “Are you a social strategist? Can you make your mom a star on Twitter? Wieden + Kennedy wants you.” Wow. Wieden + Kennedy is savvy. If you have not heard of them they are a local and famous ad agency. As I read over the job description I was dumbfounded. While it would be such a forward movement for a career to work for Wieden + Kennedy, I think reading this job description made me feel old.

You might not be able to read the article entirely unless you subscribe, so I will do a short recap so you understand a bit of the context. Wieden + Kennedy is looking for a social strategist for their Old Spice campaign. They are looking for someone to “shake things up in the social sphere.” Below are the options someone could try when they apply, with my additional notes after each:

Challenge 1 – Create the best original Pinterest board dedicated to the sport of inline speed skating (NOT roller-hockey). Um. Inline speed skating. Not my thing, so no interest there to create the best Pinterest board. Sorry folks.

Challenge 2 – Create and post an original piece of content to Reddit that then receives the most upvotes in a single week. Wow. I think I might be starting to break a sweat.

Challenge 3 – Create and upload to SlideShare an original, in-depth competitive analysis of the Ed Hardy social media ecosystem. I would have no idea where to even start on this one.

Challenge 4 – Get the most people to friend your mother or your father (or a parent-like figure in your life) on Facebook in a single week. My mother and father are no longer living. Not even remotely interested in this one.

Challenge 5 – Create an original (new) Twitter account and then use it to get the most followers in a week using any verbs you like, but only the following nouns: “BLUEFUDGE,” “HAMMERPANTS” and “GREEK YOGURT.” Um. Seriously. I would love to see results from this challenge.

Challenge 6 – Create an original YouTube video that then receives the most plays in a single week using this script verbatim:
#1: “Wait. What are you doing?”
#2: “Trust me. This will be fine.”
#1: “Ok. Go ahead.” No comment.

Challenge 7 – Get recommendations on LinkedIn from at least three other people trying to get this job. I think this one could top the charts if successful. 

Challenge 8 – Create the most reviewed recipe on allrecipes.com in a single week using cottage cheese as an ingredient. The reviews don’t have to be good. I’m in! Food bloggers unite! 

Challenge 9 – Upload the most pictures of your armpit(s) to Instagram during the course of this challenge. The pictures must have your face in them to verify your identity and include the hashtag #mypits. Um. Gross. Especially since I started sweating reading Challenge 2.

Challenge 10 – Using Quora, give thought-out, meaningful answers to as many dream catcher-related questions as possible in a single week. How many could there really be?

Whew. I am exhausted. Are you? So if you wanted to be the social strategist for Wieden + Kennedy which challenge would you pick? Cottage cheese? That one seemed like the easiest and I do not even cook. Job searches, resumes, and online applications have been taken to a whole new level. What will be next?