Make A Diference In A Life

After watching people slog through the Great Recession and the not-quite recovery, and being a bit concerned about 2017, I’d like to share some important advice about helping people survive and prosper. Or at least survive.

It’s something I can some up simply: Make A Difference In A Life

Right now you’ve got people you know that just need a bit of help. Right now you’ve got people who need a break just to make it. Some people you know just need one hand up to get their life not only in order, but to be a success. Others may just need help getting along in life until things settle down and stabilize.

Find these people and, when you can, be the one that Makes The Difference. One helping hand, one outreach, one loan is what they need – so go do it. Life is tough enough as it is, the world economy has problems, many governments don’t need the needs of the people, so make a difference.

Repeat – make a difference. Think about what you’re doing and how it will be making a serious difference in a life.

Not sure what to do? Well here’s a list to try:

GIVE A “LOAN”: A lot of your friends and family probably just need some money to make rent before a new job starts, get some training, etc. Send them the money – but make sure it’s money you can afford to loose. Removing that pressure is important – because money can ruin a friendship.

CRASH SPACE: If you’re in an area with great economic opportunities, let someone you know move in with you and look for work – and don’t charge them rent. A good job search can usually pay off in 1-3 months, and then they either move out, you get a bigger place, or they start paying rent. Everyone wins.

TOUR SPACE: Similar to Crash Space, if someone is thinking about moving to your area, let them stay with you for awhile to scope it out.

SEND A GIFT: There’s lots of ways to give people a boost in life with just the right book, piece of software, etc. So, send it to them – do it on Christmas or on a Birthday if you’re worried they’ll feel guilty.

USE THAT DISCOUNT: Related to sending a gift, chances are that your company, professional association, etc. gives you breaks on certain purchases. Use that to make a difference – some even encourage it.

MAKE INTRODUCTIONS: I harp on this constantly, and it’s not stopping – introduce people to each other to Make A Difference. That writer needs an editor – so introduce them to your friend the editor. Someone at your job needs a tech writer, so send them the resumes of a friend. Always look for this opportunity.

HANDOFF: You’ve probably got books, computers, training manuals, software that you don’t need – so give it to somehow who will get use out of it. Everyone wins.

SKILLS WITHOUT BILLS: You can probably help someone out by giving them some free time with whatever you’re good at. Maybe you do their accounting to help resolve a shortfall, help with their resume, etc. The right bit of help at the right time can make a huge difference.

GIVE THEM A BREAK: Everyone needs a little cheering up. A gift, dropping by, etc. could be what they need to snap out of a funk – THEN you can introduce one of the other ides above.

A suggestion – try and do at least one of these in the next year.  Find at least one life to change in whatever way you can.

Then try again.

I wish things were easier.  Yes, we should all be voting, calling our representatives, donating to the right causes, and more – we need more from our governments and our societies.  But while you do that – work on Making A Difference in one life as well.

  • Steve

Promoting Professional Geekery #38: Raise The Children Well

(For more Promoting Professional Geekery, see this Roundup of past columns.)

When did you first realize your hardcore geekdom was a possible career?  Me, I think I was about 7 or 8.

I was into science and medicine and such, and already figured that’d be my job.  I got some encouragement from my family, and even more later on in my life.  It probably helped that only a few people even knew what the hell I was talking about, but at least no one tried to derail me.

And, decades later, it worked out pretty good.

So if you want to promote the professional geek ideal start helping out young people.  They’ve got enough challenges to face right now with a failing economy, bad school systems, poor . . . er, wait, I’m depressing myself.

Let’s focus on the positive.  If you’ve got a way with the younger generation, from experience with your own children to recently having been the younger generation, start helping them out.  Bring them into the progeeky fold.

Here’s ways where you can start helping progeeky kids with an early step up:

  • If you do the con scene, do events for young creative, geeky, technical people.  Crafty things, fun events, what have you.
  • Teach, work with, or other wise help at youth events and clubs.
  • Encourage your local schools to start after-school classes or events on careers that you (and your friends) can speak and advise on.
  • If you have kids of your own, younger siblings, or friends with kids, always be supportive of them career-wise.  Even if you don’t have children, the kids and their parents may give you ideas of how you can do more.
  • If you write, then consider books for a younger set on career issues.

Think of what you can do to educate, help, and support.  For that matter, think how many parents may be thrilled that their children are getting some career ideas early that they also enjoy.  That helps a lot when they look at the cost of college.

Come to think of it the parents are someone you should keep in mind, and that’s for next column . . .

Steven Savage

I Have a Job, They Don’t: Be Ready For Networking

(Continuing my series on "I have a job they don't" I wanted to expand a bit on networking – started in my Pro-Active Networking post.  Sorry if some of this is repetitious.)

So you've got friends, family, and fellow fans out of work. One of the best, most obvious ways to help them is to introduce them to your network of contacts, recruiters, and coworkers.  I've talked about that.

It doesn't help if you're not ready.

As I've said in the past, there are a few basic things you can do:

  • *Give them your recruiter list. Hand over that spreadsheet, document, whatever you have that keeps track of the various recruiters you've talked to throughout your career.
  • *Hook up with him on Introduce them to people in your network, or encourage them to use your network to meet useful contacts.
  • *Introduce them to coworkers, and other people you know that may help them get a job. This doesn't even have to be “official.” This can be social as well as professional.

Yes, introducing your unemployed fellows to your recruiters, your network, and so on is a great way to help them get over that unemployment hump and find gainful and interesting work. It's simple, effective, and let's face it, we have networking hammered into our heads over and over again by every other job search book with over read. Networking works.

It doesn't work if you're not prepared–and that's something important to keep in mind.  If you want your contacts and networking to help others you have to work at them.

If you want to help people with your networking, you need to be ready.

Many of us don't even network enough to help support our own careers, let alone help other people. If you don't have a networking strategy for your career, then you are going to lose out, you are going to miss opportunities, and your job searches will be harder. If you're not networking now, you can't help yourself, let alone other people.

When–or if–you are networking effectively, you need to think about networking not just with other people, but for other people. A good networking strategy is always about more than you–it's about helping people in your network and even out of your network. Unfortunately too many of us get hung up on networking for ourselves–don't let that happen to you, think about how your help other people.

Here's what I recommend to make sure your networking is the kind of networking can help your unemployed friends, family, and fans:

Keep a recruiter list–something I've harped on since this blog was founded. Keep a list of good recruiters that you've met in your job searches, talk to them regularly to see how they're doing, and hand this list other people doing job searches. Everybody wins.

Always look for the opportunity to introduce people to each other.  I use a "triading" strategy from "Tribal Leadership" – I look for chances to introduce two people to each other in a group email.  It's a great way to build contacts – and build contacts among everyone you know.

Be selective.  I'm sorry to say, but not everyone should meet everyone or should be introduced to every recruiter.  Some people don't get along, won't get along, or aren't appropriate for whatever industry, temperament, or situation others find themselves in.

Introduce your unemployed friends and family to your network – and make sure you're networking is prepared ahead of time.

Steven Savage