Tag Archives: career growth

The elephant in the room – job hunting


Well, it’s been a while. A long while. But oh what fantastic adventures I have been on.

Why did I disappear? Well, I hit the realization that my job had become the biggest source of my unhappiness in the short term.

I didn’t hate my job, but I had stopped growing there, and that was holding me back. Any experiments I ran were just me distracting myself from the elephant in the room – the place that I spent 8 hours per day had stopped being a place I was excited about.

I decided that I needed to find my next challenge. Staying at a job that wasn’t challenging me wasn’t a good long-term strategy, so I devoted my time and energy to making a change.

Finding the right job wasn’t quick. I took the time to make sure I was making the right decision. I didn’t want to jump to just any job, I wanted to find something that challenged me and had potential for growth. I always try to trade up as part of a job change, I want to continue my career trajectory moving in an upward direction.

I started by making a list of what I liked about my job. Then I made a list of what I didn’t like. This helped me establish must have items and nice-to-have items. Then I started hunting.

It took a while, but now I’m someplace new. About a month in, and I’m pretty pleased. We’ll see where this goes.

Life examined every 7 years

I recently had the chance to watch 56up, a fantastic documentary about an experiment that has been ongoing for quite sometime where, starting from age 7, people have been interviewed every 7 years to see how they are progressing in their lives, their beliefs, their fears and their hopes for the future. Now, they are 56 years old.

Wikipedia describes the Up Series as:

The Up Series is a series of documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. So far the documentary has had eight episodes spanning 49 years (one episode every seven years) and the documentary has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC. In a 2005 Channel 4 programme, the series topped the list of The 50 Greatest Documentaries.[2] The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child’s social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films material from those of the fourteen who choose to participate. The aim of the series is stated at the beginning of 7 Up as: “Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The shop steward and the executive of the year 2000 are now seven years old.”

In addition, Wikipedia says:

The premise of the film was taken from the Jesuit motto “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”, which is based on a quotation by Francis Xavier.

Watching 56Up led to some fantastic discussions about growth, life, and what you would do if you knew you would be interviewed about your life every 7 years. Does knowing your life will be monitored change how you will live it?

I definitely recommend watching this film. It’s not all happiness and good things, it’s a fairly realistic perspective on how people change through their life when they are faced with challenges. It makes you think, and I like that about a documentary.

Check out the trailer and tell me what you think. Would you participate in something like this?

Resumes: Not just for Rainy Days

As part of reviewing my career plan, I looked into my resume, and I realized that I have a glaring weak spot in any career – my resume.

In my life, I’ve only met a handful of people who enjoy working on their resume. For most of us, it’s a necessary evil. Now, there are alternative schools of thought that say resumes are out of date. Seth Godin had a wonderful post on the topic, and other people echo his thoughts. I agree and disagree all at the same time. Personally, I think having your work speak for you is the best situation, and some of my favourite jobs have been won on work alone. However, resumes are still required for most job application procedures, and likely will be for the foreseeable future. So, it’s good to have one available.

Having been employed at the same place for 5 years, my resume is horribly out of date. I still enjoy the challenges of my job, so I’m not currently using my resume to search for work. However, the lack of an updated resume limits my ability to respond if something does come up.

I suppose, on some level, this is very similar to the idea of an emergency fund. An emergency fund is your savings that are set aside for emergencies (or sometimes to take advantage of opportunities). In a perfect world, you don’t need it. However, if you don’t have it prepared, you will certainly feel the pain of not having planned ahead.

A resume is similar. Even if you’re not looking for work, it still pays to update it regularly, as life is full of uncertainties. You might lose your job, or you might have the opportunity to apply for your dream job. In either instance, you immediately need an up-to-date resume, and you don’t want to spend the time making it.

This meant that, in order to really have an accurate career plan, I spent a chunk of this weekend updating my resume.

Is your resume up to date? Do you update it regularly or do you only update it when you need it?

Thought of the Day for Work: Getting out and Learning


As part of my ongoing exploration of career growth and learning more about myself, I’ve decided to try and get out and learn more after work.

Frankly, it amazes me all of the talks and learning opportunities that are offered after 5pm in Toronto. Yesterday, I had the chance to attend DevTO, an organization for Toronto developers and people working with (or interested in) technology.

It was a free event, and they gave out food, so I didn’t even need to buy dinner. The net cost was only a few hours of my time, but the benefits were incredible. I got to listen to two talks from interesting people in the field of technology trends and open information, and I had the opportunity to meet a number of other fascinating people and enjoy some great conversations.

DevTO puts presentations up online as well, so you can learn even if you can’t make it to an event.

So, my first time time to DevTO was a success. I’ll definitely be going again. Do you attend any events after work where you live?

The Magic of Enjoying Your Work

I had to fly to Washington DC for a conference this week. Aside from the fantastic weather and the amazing cherry blossoms, there was something else that made my trip.

I met a gate unit manager named Quinn, who worked for US Airways at DC International airport.

There was a crazy storm front going from the US to Canada, delaying flights all over and leading to a lot of tired and frustrated passengers. So, with our flight facing a potential delay from a need for a crew shift, we could have easily joined the delay situation if not for the quick work of Quinn.

He took the initiative to check luggage that wouldn’t easily fit on the plane, and did it while cracking jokes and keeping everyone entertained. His jokes led to everyone giving up their luggage without a fight, and saved us time in loading and kept everyone moving on time.

Quinn obviously enjoyed his work. Either as a result of this enjoyment, or as a byproduct of it, he was VERY good at it. And, as a result of him enjoying his work, the rest of us really enjoyed our flight experience. He was able to make an entire plane load of people happy, and I’m certain that those people went and did nicer things with the rest of their days as a result of it. His actions created a ripple effect.

So, the magic of enjoying your work let him have an amazing impact for just doing his job. He could have done his job without being pro-active or entertaining. It would have cost him nothing to not overperform, but by doing so he made magic happen.

What could you do if you really loved the work you did?

Networking is as simple as getting out there

I know a number of people who have an issue with the concept of networking.

I won’t lie, I’m sometimes one of them.

Connecting with people over social media can take a lot of the sting out of networking, but I don’t think it ever really substitutes for interacting with people. To be honest, since I’ve started getting out and about for more in-person interaction in my field, I’ve had more happening in the last 6 months than I’ve had in the year previously with just social media.

Not to sell social media short. I know a number of people who have accomplished amazing things with social media. I just think that adding the element of personal interaction helps anchor the relationship you build and gives them a foundation to grow further. Let’s face it, we’ve interacted in person for thousands of years, we’re not going to move to a completely online species overnight.

So, I think I’ll continue with this strategy of getting out and about. Don’t get me wrong, it can also be a pain. It means more late nights and longer days, but the end result seems to be a richer and more exciting life!

Career Planning: Getting More Certifications

As part of developing my career plan, I’ve been monitoring job ads for different skills and certifications that are in demand, and seeing what I can do to learn these skills if I don’t have them.

One challenge I face as a person working in digital marketing is the Google AdWords Certification. The Individual Google Adwords Certification Exam costs you $50 US, and all the studying information you could want is available online.

If $50 is a bit pricey for you right now, you can get Bing Ads Certification for free.

Given the cheap costs attached to getting these certifications, I think I might just get both of them!

If you don’t work in the marketing field, but you’re considering it, these are cheap and easy ways to add a few more lines on your resume that might catch the interest of the hiring person at your next job.