Weekly Challenge – Your REAL business card

So it's your weekly challenge, that chance to get your progeek brain juices flowing.

This week, we're talking business cards.

Imagine you're making a business card – only it's not for your current job or even your ideal career.  It's for you.

If you had that small slip of cardboard, what would you put on it to help communicate who YOU are to people:

  • Would you give yourself a title ("Lady of Fangirls", "Datamage", etc.)
  • Would you put on a website, a Facebook page, what?
  • What would you say about yourself?
  • What design would you use to communicate who you are.
  • Would you have a photo of yourself?  A portrait?  A symbol?

Give yourself ten minutes to think over what kind of business card represents "you."

Now for that matter, why not get one made? It's a fun way to network . . .

– Steven Savage

And one brainstorm book is set aside . . .

I've written before about my Brainstorm Book technique.  To sum it up quickly – I keep a book with me to write down Great Ideas relevant to my life/career/ambitions and review it regularly.  I use a relatively small, 7×5 inch book that fits easily in my briefcase or sits on my nightstand.

This one I've been using since October 2008, reviewing it every few weeks to refresh myself on ideas I had, integrating certain ones into my future plans, preserving others for later.  Indeed, part of this blog and how it's evolved came from there, as have generators at Seventh Sanctum, and other ideas.

I looked through the recent entries, and then placed it on my "must reread" shelf of books for review in the near future.  I felt oddly sentimental, because I have a lot of great ideas in there, things that have changed, are changing, and will change and improve my life.

The brainstorm book idea, as I said, is a way to get, keep, and review good ideas – but it also provides the discipline to keep working on your personal vision for your life.  It makes thinking about the future, about developing Great Ideas, a habit, an instinct.  Great Ideas are really easy to have – we tend to make them hard, ignore them, or brush them off.  Giving them a chance at life takes some work.

I have over eight months of great ideas, in my awful handwriting, sitting on my shelf.  The ideas in that book – and it's brother, which now sits on my nightstand – will be with me for years or decades to come.

Yeah.  It's worth doing.  If you haven't, go read this essay, and go get one.

– Steven Savage

Fandom Achievement List

So you're looking at your fandom experience, at your hobbies, and asking yourself "OK, what did I learn and what can I do?" so you can think about your career or add to your resume.  It's not always easy – you've done a LOT, but you may keep thinking over the same two or three skills.

There's a trick I've found that works well: an Achievements list first.

Sit down and list all the things you've accomplished in fandom: running a convention department (and list every year you did it), creating a website, editing a fanfic series, doing a group cosplay, etc.  Put those down on paper or type them up in a word processor or spreadsheet – I recommend a spreadsheet (more below)

Now that you've done that – and gone as far back as you can – next to every achievement, list all the skills and abilities you used JUST for that achievement.  Don't worry if you repeat yourself, list them for every achievement, even if you put "sewing" next to every single costume you finished.  If you used a spreadsheet, you can create a separate cell for every skill, keeping them all in one big column.

Now sort through the lists of skills and see which stand out – which keep popping up and which stand out (this is why a spreadsheet helps).  You now have a huge list of what you've done, a rough idea of how often you use a skill, and ideas of skills you may never have thought of.

So if 90% of your fan/geek activities involve writing convention program booklets, you may have a sign of your skills and interests there.  When "photography" pops up more than you expect thanks to your cosplay work, you may have a career option – or some skills to try and use on the job.

Of course, this method also works fine on your career too, geeky or not, but I felt introducing it this way had a bit more impact!  Besides, we usually are more aware of our careers than we are of what we do in our fandom, since we're usually busy having fun in the latter.

– Steven Savage