Teach for America: Not Just for Twentysomethings

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Catch Marci on the Encore Career Handbook tour!

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Marci’s Preoccupations column in the NYT

Check out Marci’s essay in the New York Times about how her own career change led to her interest in encore careers.

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My Book Went Out of Print, Now What?

When I learned that my publisher decided to let One Person/Multiple Careers go out of print just a few months after its second printing, I didn’t know what to make of it. The book hadn’t sold millions of copies, but it had sold thousands, had a loyal following — and garnered continuous media attention around the world.

As someone who spends a lot of time talking about the book business with other writers, this just didn’t make sense. But rather than whine, I took action. I asked the publisher to revert the rights back to me — which happened with relative ease and no cash on my end. And I decided to release an electronic version and a new paperback edition on my own, as the first “Heymarci.com” production. In fact, the thing that pushed me to get moving and get the e-book finished was a wave of recent interest (nearly five years after the book’s publication) outside of the United States. It was killing me that there was no way to buy the book other than through Amazon, where the handful of used copies would surely run out at some point. I had some other reasons, too.

I wanted to start a conversation with other authors who are in the same position — wondering what to do with an older book that still has readers but has been orphaned by the original publisher.

I also wanted to model the kind of entrepreneurial thinking I encourage others to adopt. The timing was awful. I’m weeks away from delivering a new book manuscript to a new publisher. And my head is focused on encore careers — the subject of my new book. So the only way I could do this was by minimizing the labor involved. I tapped my network, found a great consultant to handle the technology parts, and gave her the updated introduction I had written months ago. I signed up for a PayPal account. My husband designed a new cover. And voila, we were ready to go in about two weeks.

So here it is. You can download the new introduction for free. And if you or anyone you know has been awaiting the digital version, you can order or share with this link. If you’re inclined to help spread the word – either about this new edition or about how authors can be more entrepreneurial, I’d so appreciate it. And here’s a few easy ways to do that:

1.  Tweet (#slashcareers) or share this post on Facebook.
2.  Write a review on Amazon.
3.  Share this post with other authors who may be wondering what to do about books that have gone out of print.

Oh, and don’t forget to join the conversation about “slash careers” and share your experiences with others. There’s a slash “/” careers group on Facebook that I plan to revive. I also regularly get calls from reporters doing “slash” stories and love having handy case studies ready to share. If you tweet, use the hashtag #slashcareers.

In a follow-up post, I’ll cover the steps you need to take to take a previously published book and reissue it as a digital and POD (print-on-demand) edition.

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How to Critique Someone’s Writing

As a person who makes my living with words, I’m regularly asked to read people’s writing and give feedback. A business plan. A resume. Website copy. A grad school application essay. A profile for an online dating site.

I usually say some variation of yes to the request. But giving feedback is complex. Sometimes the person really wants me re-write the piece, not just give feedback, which makes me feel uncomfortable. People are also vulnerable when they ask for feedback. So I have learned to tread the line between honesty and brutality.

Writers aren’t the only ones who are asked to give this kind of feedback. Everyone gets to play editor from time to time. As friends look for jobs, they need help with resumes and cover letters; children ask for help with essays and papers; bosses and colleagues need to know if a speech or report is up to snuff.

When I’m asked to give feedback, I try to follow the following few ground rules. These guidelines have helped me to be honest yet mindful of people’s feelings. They have also set up some useful boundaries and to create the best environment for helping people.

1. All feedback should include something constructive. When I started teaching seminars for The OpEd Project, the advice I got for reviewing student work was to start with two positive pieces of feedback because people hear constructive/critical feedback better after positive engagement is established. This is probably because of the negativity bias, a psychological phenomenon which causes people to place more emphasis on negative experiences rather than positive ones. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Brazen Careerist: Gen Y’s LinkedIn?

As a popular and controversial blogger on career management, Penelope Trunk (who formerly blogged for Yahoo! finance), knows how to get attention. She does it by giving contrarian advice (“why graduate school is outdated“), blogging about her marital problems and dating life, and by frequent references to sex (always with connection to a career issue),

This week, she’s hoping to shine the spotlight on Brazen Careerist, an online network she has co-founded, which she hopes will be GenY’s answer to LinkedIn.

People in different age groups network differently, says Trunk, and they need different tools to get jobs and manage their careers. As she sees it, Baby Boomers responded to ads in newspapers, Generation Jones (the tail end of the Baby Boom) used sites like Monster and Careerbuilder, and Generation X dominates LinkedIn. “We’re due for a new recruiting tool,” she explained. “And it has to deliver what Gen Y wants, which is conversations in a professional environment. They have been networking online since they used IM in the fifth grade to talk to the popular kids after school.” {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Are you ready for Google Voice

Does it drive you nuts to have to check voicemail on more than one phone?

Have you ever started a call on a land line and then wanted to transfer the call to your cell phone so that you can finish from outside?

Ever call someone, leave a message with your office number, then leave your office and realize that forgot to give your cell number?

Would you like to be able to send text messages from your computer rather than from your cell phone?

Ever wish you could listen in on while someone was leaving a voicemail and then decide to pick up (like those old answering machines allowed) — or that you could read your voicemail as an email or text message rather than having to call into a system (like iPhone’s visual voicemail)?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll probably want to try Google Voice, a new service that has “future of telephone” written all over it. It’s not a phone service provider, so you’ll still need your contract with whatever company provides your service. Rather it’s a new phone number that can coordinate your different phones and allow you to do a slew of things easily and efficiently. I’ve been playing around with it for a few days to see whether it’s something that will help or complicate life at work. (I’m not the only one on Shine playing around. Daily Grommet just did a post explaining how it works and how to get on the waiting list for a number.)

So what does Google Voice mean for your career? {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Are your work habits making you look old?

A new book, “How Not to Act Old,” by Pamela Redmond Satran is climbing the ranks of the Amazon humor section. I’ve read it and like most humor, there’s a lot of truth behind its snarky advice and tips for middled aged folks who are starting to feel like they “just don’t get those young people.” Satran dissects and contrasts the habits of the old (basically, anyone over 40) with those of their children (or those young enough to be their children) decoding everything from the way different groups use technology (old people leave voicemails; young people assume people will see a missed call and return it), to the way they use language (old people smoke pot; young people call it weed); and even attitudes towards bikini waxing (fodder for a whole mini chapter).

As someone who has been working long enough to remember wearing pantyhose to my first two jobs as a lawyer (yes, I’m that old) and who now wonders whether I can get away with wearing leggings to a professional event, I appreciated Satran’s take on how not to act old at work.

I asked her for some customized tips for readers who want to appear a little younger in their use of technology in their careers. Here’s what she had to say: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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How much should you reveal online?

We’ve all heard the stories of those whose imprudent online postings (usually involving some choice words about an employer or a poor choice of photos of themselves) cost them a job. In the past few weeks it happened to a New York City government staffer, who resigned after posting her views about the President (whom she dubbed “O-dumb-a”) and his handling of the brouhaha over the arrest of  Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

These are gaffes, and the people who made them should know better.

But lately I’ve been pondering the opposite situation. In this era of online engagement and revelation, can it ever be a problem to reveal too little or to have no online persona at all? {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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How to write a killer bio

For a growing swath of the workforce the resume has been replaced, or at least supplemented, by the bio. If you’ve ever had to be introduced by someone at a conference, you know it’s wise to give the person introducing you a written bio rather than sit back and hear how she decides to describe you. Written bios are posted on websites; abbreviated bios show up on sites like LinkedIn; even shorter ones appear next to our profiles on Twitter; and snappy taglines trail the bottoms of our emails.

With the bio in full bloom right now, it pays to take some time to write yours in a way that that reflects how you want to be perceived. Perhaps you want to show a sense of humor or wit. Maybe you want to show your technical prowess by delivering your bio in a video format. And while you’re at it, why not let your bio accomplish some personal branding for you. As you write yours, consider a few things.

If you’re a writer, show off your writing

While writers should have an advantage in crafting well-written bios, it’s remarkable how few unleash their facility with language when profiling themselves. Which is why I love the bio and “about Laura” sections of novelist Laura Zigman’s website. They are composed entirely in the third person and the opening few lines of the bio give you an idea of her tone: “Laura Zigman grew up in Newton, Massachusetts (where she felt she never quite fit in), and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (where she didn’t fit in either) and the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course (where she finally started to feel like she fit in).” {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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