Tired of working alone? Try coworking

I’ve worked on my own for nearly ten years. But thanks to a band of fellow free agents, freelancers and entrepreneurs, I’ve often worked alongside other solo workers. I like the company. And I like having someone to bounce ideas around with.  For ages, I worked this way without having a name for it. Then the phrase coworking sprung up to define a movement in which people who choose to share a workspace, usually with a common sensibility and set of values.

Coworking has many flavors. There are free public spaces and fee-based communities, and often they are organized around a common mission like environmental consciousness or supporting women entrepreneurs. There are also ad hoc arrangements (Friend #1 via text: Wanna co-work today? Friend #2: your place or mine?).  And who says you have to be working to coworking? Looking for a job with others around you could be a good way to keep motivation up and ensure that you’ll have structure and camaraderie in your life.

As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of working on my own, with others, here’s my take on things to ponder if you want a successful coworking situation: {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 stay in touch without stalking

Have you ever been in this situation? You meet someone new, have an instant rapport and a feeling that the two of you would be able to help each other. You know you want to stay in touch or at least stay on the other person’s radar. But you have no idea when you’ll run into the person again and don’t want to rely on chance.

This issue comes up all the time. It happens when you want to keep up with people who might be helpful in a job search or when you want to let prior clients that you’re around and available for work.

So how do you stay in touch without looking like a stalker or someone who is just lurking around waiting for something to happen?

Here are a few ideas:

Write a newsletter. This idea works for anyone who wants to reach out to their contacts on a regular or irregular basis without picking up the phone. I send an email newsletter to my mailing list roughly four times a year. And each time I do, I get several inquiries and bookings within a few days of sending it out. I also get a lot of hellos from people I’m happy to hear from. The key to writing a good newsletter is to give your readers something useful rather than using it solely as a self-promotion vehicle. The “Casnocha Beat,” a periodic newsletter sent by Ben Casnocha, a blogger/author/speaker, always leaves me with something juicy to think about. He includes an “estimated read time” at the top, a clever way to convince you it’s only a small investment to read it. Colleen Wainwright, a communications consultant who goes by the name “Communicatrix,” sends a newsletter that does a good job of reminding people of her services while giving volumes of helpful stuff. (It’s no surprise that she wrote an excellent post on how to write a bulletproof newsletter.) {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Why you should be collecting mentors

Whenever someone refers to “my mentor,” rather than “one of my mentors,” I’m a little baffled. These people talk with reverence about the one person they turn to for counsel, that sage veteran in their field who gives advice and imparts wisdom. I don’t get it because it’s different from my experience with mentors.  My career has been filled with mentors, and yes, in the early parts of it those mentors were older and wiser. But lately, I’m collecting a new kind of mentor who looks more like a peer, where there is mutual support and coaching going on. Often, my mentors are younger than I, since it’s the veterans who are looking to younger folks to demystify the new ways of work.

And rather than the idea of one exalted mentor, I have oodles of them. I have mentors in my writing life, mentors I turn to when I’m negotiating a new work situation, mentors who keep me up to speed on technology, and mentors I confer with when making big life decisions. There are also mentors for a time — like the bloggers who guided me when I was just starting out — who ultimately evolve into colleagues.

I’ve started to see mentors as an ecosystem, filled people I respect and trust in different areas of work and life. It’s not unlike that team of advisors I wrote about a little while ago, where we serve as a mutual support group. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}


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Do you need a job search buddy?

On Monday morning I met Deborah DiRago because we were both guests on the public radio show, “The Takeaway.”  We were there to talk about DiRago’s efforts to find a “job search buddy” — someone who would help her stay motivated and accountable in her job search.  DiRago has been unemployed since May, when her job in international event planning suddenly disappeared and her company announced it was shutting its doors.

After a while of navigating the job market on her own, DiRago decided that it would help if she found someone to meet with regularly to move along her job search. She says she is looking for the kind of person who’d hold her to task if she said she was going to make 5 career-related contacts in a given week.

So far, the job buddy search has been almost as challenging as the job search. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}


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Why I love this video resume

A few years ago, video resumes got a bad name when aspiring investment banker Aleksey Vayner made the now infamous video showing off his many talents (including images of himself bench-pressing 495 pounds, karate-chopping a pile of bricks, and serving a tennis ball at 140mph). Vayner’s video went viral, but not in the way he wanted. Rather than causing a stir around his creative efforts to find a job, Vayner’s name became shorthand for “video resume disaster.”

But when video resumes are good, they can be very good. As is the case with “Hire Me,” a new video created by recent Bentley University graduate Alec Biedrzycki, which was released on Tuesday.

{Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Can unemployment become “funemployment”?

With the national unemployment rate at a whopping 9.5%, it has now reached the point where even if you’re working, you know plenty of folks who are out of work. And while it’s safe to say that the majority of the unemployed need and want to be working, a new attitude has arisen around a subset of the unemployed. It’s called “funemployment” and it’s taken hold among those who are working to squeeze some enjoyment out of their time off. The term is showing up on blogs and Facebook groups and has been chronicled in a few buzz-generating newspaper articles, like this one. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Life: One big interview

We all know that most jobs come through unofficial channels — introductions from friends or colleagues, poaching from other employers, old boys’ and new girls’ networks. I’m proof that many interviews take place when you don’t even know you’re being interviewed. {Read the rest on Yahoo!}

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How to help someone who’s been laid off

Last week, I had yet another coffee date with an acquaintance who was recently laid off. Before we met, I thought a lot about how I could be helpful to him without offering tired cliches like “It will all work out for the best.” Less than a year ago, I lost what I had thought was a dream gig — writing a regular column and blog for The New York Times. As I prepped for my meeting, I tried to remember how I was feeling during that time and which people made me feel good and which made me want to clock them. Here’s what I came up with.

When you reach out to someone who’s recently been laid off, keep in mind that layoffs hit people differently. The good news is that there’s little shame in being out of work today. Still, for almost anyone who has been laid off, it is a sensitive time; emotions can be unpredictable. So try to be gentle. Especially if you’re a member of the family. What might be considered a polite observation by a friend could easily be interpreted as offensive meddling by a mother, sister, or in-law. And now, a few specific tips: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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5 common interview questions and how to answer them

When I posted about how to ace a telephone interview, several people wrote to me saying that whether the interview is in phone or in person, there were several questions that they anticipate with dread. I’ve been collecting those questions and talking to some pros about how best to answer them. Here are the top five, with suggested answers. Of course, there are no right or wrong answers, only ways of thinking about answers that will get you to the next stage of the process. Have a look at these and when you’re done, chime in if you have better ideas about how to approach any of these questions: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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