Not Everything is Quite as Important as You're Making it Out to Be

If our lives only involved this world of technology, then life would be a much better place. If life was as simple as simply going to Google and clicking “I feel lucky”, then we might not have the heartache that is in the world and the social media space could just get along by whispering sweet nothings to each other in 140 characters or less.

Let me say I’m really proud of Robert Scoble lately. He is the only one in the group formerly known as the Techmeme crowd who is demonstrating how much he “gets it”. The other day he broke from his normally socially interactive groove to talk about politics and he made a strong case for the abandonment from Palin-focus and instead pleading people to write about issues that are important to them.

Ironic because only days before, my friend Erin and I were talking over IM and discussing how the momentum of the race flows unequivocally toward the McCain campaign as long as the focus, positive or negative, stays on Sarah Palin. I didn’t blog it because… you know… it’s not what I write about.

But there’s a greater story here, and one that everyone needs to get. You all need to hear this loud and clear. This is September 2008. It is the boiling point of the Presidential election. Debates are a week away and we will know who our next president is in 45 days or so.

What are the political discussions on the blogosphere today?

Let’s not forget the flap last week about lipstick.

Backdrop all this by Bloody Monday on Wall Street where stocks crashed 500 points, or 4.4% on YAFIF, or Yet Another Financial Institution Failure. Actually, two YAFIFs today. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch was absorbed into Bank of America as the parade of failed high level financial institutions continue behind Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Countrywide, Bear Stearns and others.

As a practical sidenote, the Great depression began as a series of double digit percentage drops on the market and the Black Monday crash of 1987 was a 22.5% decline by itself. The downturn of today may be large, but is a far cry from the entire volume of the market. Also, every system goes through a self-cleansing period where junk is cleaned out to make room for new and solid product. The market is just self-correcting at the moment and historically shows remarkable resiliance.

But my point is this: quit worrying about everyone else and worry about yourself. Take care of your families, jobs and responsibilities. Go and vote on issues, not personalities. Remember, we have to live with whoever we vote into office in November. There are much bigger things to be concerned with during this very difficult time than lipstick and moosehunting.

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Job Search: Define Your Goals

A friend of mine just landed a job. Congratulations to her as the job market is shriveling up. I won’t mention her name for fear it could cause complications at her new job but many of you know her.

She hasn’t worked for a company in 17 years, give or take, and has lived quite successfully as a consultant. However, she became enamored by the possibility of helping companies directly in her line of expertise.

She gave some thought to what she wanted to do and wrote this document, republished with her permission.


Overall function
I want to provide strategic direction that integrates new and social media opportunities for a dynamic organization. I see this function as working collaboratively with many departments and functions such as marketing, communications, PR, recruiting and retention, customer service, community management, investor relations and product development.

About new media and social media
I’m defining these terms not just as technology and communication tools, such as blogging, YouTube, Flicker, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, social bookmarking and social networking, but also as a new realm of communications with a distinctly different culture that includes activities such as ““

    User-generated content

  • Conversations and comments
  • Personal branding and online profiles
  • Personal and personable content
  • Community management
  • De-institutionalizing of information
  • Rating content
  • Tagging
  • Link, links, links “¦ and more links.

My ideal job looks like –

  • Working across a number of departments ““ marketing and communications, sales and business development, HR for recruiting and retention, IT, customer service and PR.
  • Providing strategic direction, internal consulting and project management.
  • Interacting with staff at many levels, including executives, managers, creative teams, technical staff and admin.
  • Designing, implementing and managing projects.
  • Keeping abreast of emerging new media technologies and trends.

I am less interested in work defined by digital media maintenance, e.g.

  • Keeping a website current.
  • Managing online advertising and email campaigns.
  • Handling technical functions of a company’s digital communications.

I am more interested in —

  • Being at the forefront of new media.
  • Identifying opportunities and developing strategies using new media.
  • Designing, implementing and managing projects.
  • Internal education, integrating new media and expanding an organization’s capacity.

Company / Environment
The environment in which I want to work is an organization that —

  • Already has a strong brand, marketing department and PR component.
  • Values creative business strategies supporting both short- and long-term goals.
  • Has leadership that is open and pushing to be an adaptive and dynamic company.
  • Has leaders who know they need to do something different ““ and fast, but may not have any strategy or plans yet.

The type of organization I want to work for is —

  • A large corporation, even a national brand.
  • Military organizations and federal government, or a government contractor tasked with bringing social media functions into the government.
  • A small municipality with robust funding for creative economic and community development.
  • I am less interested in nonprofit organizations.
  • The industry in which I work is of less importance to me than the job function.

Location

  • Company location is not important.
  • Willing to travel.
  • Looking to work in a creative and flexible environment, where technology and online
    communications are robustly supported; meeting space is beautiful, and productivity and
    results are valued over face time.

Notice how she defines exactly what she does and does not want. She knows specifics, down to the detail, on the principles of her employment. She knows that she may not be able to detail specifically which company or organization she wants to but she knows specifically the role she is looking for and what she wants to accomplish.

As unfortunate as this is, the economy is growing worse and more people are looking for work. You may be one of them. Instead of hitting the job boards with dervish-like ferocity, take a day or two alone and in a quiet place and write your own roadmap.

Knowing specifically what your goals are will greatly increase your chances of finding meaningful employment where you can do what you love and love what you do.

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I'm Not an Economist, But I Did Stay at a Holiday Inn Express

I’m not an economist. I’m just a pain in the ass blogger.

However, here in the United States, we are tormented by the weak dollar. In the early day of the weak dollar policy that has been one of many negative marks on the current administration, we were able to sort of laugh it off as our neighbors around the world fretted about the rising cost of doing business in US Dollars. In the US, we were able to just sit back and say, “Yeah, the dollar is weakening but it’s not all that bad, really.”

As the world around us displays, that is no longer the case. Gas prices are over $4.00/gallon everywhere, which is in turn increasing the cost of food and supplies. The credit crisis has turned a real estate boom into a real estate nightmare.

Then I read this post where Sören Zschoche pronounces, “Because whereas Europe and the rest of the world are slipping in a recession the weak dollar is helping the U.S. economy to get better through the crisis.”

While it’s true that there has been an increase in foreign investment in the U.S. Markets (it’s cheap to do!), that does not translate to a healthier economy – and certainly not a recovery.

I’m fortunate enough to be less pinched than others by the downturn. I don’t own my home. My car (sans Air Conditioning) is paid for. I am self-employed in an industry that seems to be resisting recession. Sure, I’m spending $4.07 at last check for gasoline, but outside of trips to DC, most of my driving is local. Realistically, I may be the least affected by the downturn.

However, not everyone is the same way. Everyone is feeling the pinch. People are being laid-off in droves, families are spending $1000/mo to keep gas in their cars just so people can go to work and bring home food. This is not, in the near-term, getting better.

First off, let’s be clear. The Fed has a lot of power, but they are not the ones who set the dollar policy. The Treasury department does, and that is an executive branch agency with a Cabinet-level department head. This is a Bush thing.

Therefore, nothing is changing before the election. After the election, we may see a new policy but it will take time for that kind of policy to cycle through and start effecting change.

Buckle up, folks. We have at least another 12-18 months of this before things get better.

Update: Paulette from Let Us Talk calls this a period when America is for Sale. She incriminates all Republican Presidents in the last 30 years. Not going to touch that. I disagree, but it’s certainly an interesting point.

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