Tag Archives: career

Do You Have a Backup Plan?

We’ve discussed having a good backup plan for your computer many times in the past. I’ve given you tips and tricks and offered coupons to software that can keep your information safe. One thing I don’t think we’ve ever touched on is having a personal backup plan. Unfortunately, there is no software in this world that can restore you to a previous state should something unforeseeable happen. Have you ever even thought about what you will do if the worst befalls you, preventing you from doing whatever it is that you do?

It’s difficult enough to figure out what the hell we want to be and do when we grow up, isn’t it? How the heck are we supposed to come up with an alternative plan? This is one area I’m learning that seems to be ignored all too often. We plan for computer failure. We may even plan for financial disaster via investments and savings. Those things will only hold you over for so long, though. What will you do when that runs out?

Most people will choose a career path that interests and excites them. Still others pick something that will potentially earn them a lot of money. Let’s say you’re doing something that requires a lot of physical strength. What will you do if – God forbid – you are in an accident or sustain an injury that ruins any chances of ever returning to your profession?

I’m definitely not telling you to go out and get a second degree today. I’m not going to preach to you about knowing exactly what you will do should you suddenly find yourself needing to change your life’s direction. However, I do feel strongly that you need to think about the possibilities. Instead of coasting through life feeling invincible, what would it hurt to have a bit of a backup plan in mind? Instead of finding yourself in a huge mess, take some time to wrap your mind around things you could do if the situation someday calls for it.

There have to be better options out there than the one I came up with!

How Do Microsoft Certifications Help You?

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RedChannel is a student who plans to pursue a career in the IT field. He isn’t able to obtain a four-year degree at this time, and wonders if gaining some certifications from Microsoft would be enough background to help him land a decent job.

I don’t know if they will help you find a job… but in terms of getting a job – they will absolutely help. If you were in charge of hiring for a company and you were torn between two people to hire for one position, you’d be likely to go with the one who had some certifications. More education is never a bad thing, and that includes the type of learning you receive when you take any type of certification exams.

Certifications are additional education that you didn’t have to get. It shows a lot of initiative to do something like this. It shows potential employers that you are willing to go that extra mile.

You have to remember, you’re going to go up against quite a large number of other people for any positions. Having an edge is something you have to do. It may cost you some money… but how much is that next job worth to you?

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How do You Overcome Burnout?

Being in the computer field is one of the fastest ways to get a ticket on the burnout express. Actually, I have a feeling that being a help-desk person is likely the career that will turn your hair grey the quickest. Burnout can happen to anyone at any time – no matter what career path they choose. IT personnel are highly susceptible to falling prey to this condition due to the long hours they usually tend to keep coupled with the demands placed on their brains. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to computers, especially when it comes to maintaining the computers everyone else is using.

Many IT professionals have also often pointed to a perceived lack of respect and appreciation as one of the things that lead them to question their choice in career paths. The recession has forced them to spend the last 18 months focused on the more tedious aspects of IT management—namely cost-cutting, politics and more cost-cutting, which makes their jobs that much more complicated.

What ways have you found to cope with the stress of computer-related work? How do you avoid burnout?

You won’t burn out on anything when you are looking for the best software and apps for your devices. We’ve made it easy!

Where Do You Look for Jobs?

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What do I do for a living? Go ahead and take a guess. I do a ton of different things: writer, content producer, consultant and occasionally a speaker at functions. I have managed to turn something I love into a career. You may not be so lucky, and might be looking for something new. Where do you go to find a new job?

Web 3 Jobs can give you a headline to your new career today. What’s interesting about the navigation of this site, is that there’s no page reloads. If I click on one of the tabs, the sidebar shuffles, and refreshes the main area automatically. That makes it much simpler when I’m searching for something in particular.

I can read more about a job now, or mark it to read later. You can even subscribe to RSS feeds for specific job categories or key words. This is a very effective way to look for something new or different. It’s even great for employers looking to hire someone!

I have 25 coupons to give away to 25 of you community members! If you’re looking for a job, or need to post a job – a coupon to do so for free will help! So, how can you win? Go to Twitter and send the following tweet:

@chrispirillo I need a job! http://www.web3jobs.com

Of course, if you’re wanting to hire someone and want to win, just change that to say:

@chrispirillo I am looking to hire someone! http://www.web3jobs.com

We’re at a point in history where many people are losing their jobs. However, there are people out there hiring. Web 3 Jobs is looking to bring the two parties closer together.

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How to NOT be “Just a…”

Geek!This is Lamarr Wilson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I recently asked a friend of mine where she works. She told me the company that she worked for, and then said, “I’m just a secretary.” A few years ago, when posed with the same question, another friend answered, “I’m just a teacher’s assistant.” In another scenario, I overheard a co-worker while he spoke to a parent say, “I’m just a janitor.” What’s wrong with these statements? You guessed it; they all said I’m “just a…”

Many people do not realize the impact of simple statements. It’s a statement that’s said quickly, but a famous biblical proverb states that “Out of the heart’s abundance, the mouth speaks.” I learned a long time ago that if you keep thinking that you’re “just a…,” then you always will be just that; it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’ll never aspire to do your best in your job; you’ll settle, or even wallow, in your contentment. Why could this happen? Simply put, because you’re “just a…”

Some years ago, when I was a teacher assistant, I was very proud of that job. True, it wasn’t as high profile as being a certified classroom teacher, but I learned just how important that position was by looking at the big picture. Instead of putting myself down (which is what you’re doing when you say “I’m just a…”), I became the BEST teacher assistant I could be. I was no longer “just a…” I was THE teacher assistant. When I worked retail sales, I aspired to be the best stock person, the best cashier, and the best order taker. In my current business as a consultant for elementary schools, how many potential clients would take me seriously if I told them, “Well, I’m just a technology consultant”? No, I am THE technology consultant, the one who can provide the best possible service for your needs. That kind of self-confidence makes people more comfortable to be around you and do business with you.

Going back to the example of the secretary at the outset, after receiving that reply, I firmly told my friend, “I like you, but I dislike when people say that. You’re not “just a” secretary. You are THE secretary. Your job is one of the most important in the company. Without you at the helm, the office would not run smoothly. Start thinking positively of your work, and you’ll find that you enjoy it more.”

Whatever you choose to do in life, do your very best, whether you’re a secretary, a teacher assistant, or a janitor. Change your thinking, and you’ll change your life. Become a specialist at your job. Become so valuable that your employer will not be able to afford to lay you off in these tough times. All of this starts with you having a strong degree of self-confidence, and building up your self-esteem. I encourage you to test this out; when people ask you what you do, in a powerful, resolute tone, state it proudly! You’ll find that people will be more comfortable around you, and they may open up and do the same. Change starts with you!

What is Your Day Job?

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People ask me all the time what exactly my ‘day job’ is. What is it that I DO all day every day? I’m about to answer that question once and for all. I am now going to show you what it is I do for a living. Yes, it’s true. I play music in my armpit. But that’s honestly not all I do. So what DO I do?

You can catch the video content that we produce each weeknight over on our YouTube. Of course, you can join us in the chat room, and watch us live as we record those videos!

I run the Lockergnome blogging network, where you can make money simply by writing about your passions or hobbies. We also have our new site just for Geeks, where you can make friends, upload videos and music, write a blog, and participate in forum threads!

When I’m not busy with those things, I also write a monthly column for CPU Magazine, and produce a small segment for CNN Live online each week. I travel occasionally to different Tech events, where I am often asked to be a presenter. I also produce content each month for ExpoTV, reviewing the latest hot tech products on the market.

All in all, there are many different things that I do on a daily basis as my “day job”. I only touched on the main things that you can easily see here. I also put on a large conference each year, called Gnomedex, take care of product reviews for our sponsors, and the like. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. That’s why I’m forever indebted to people like my uber awesome (did I mention awesome?!) assistant Kat, the best System Admin (and all around IT genius!) on the planet Ryan, Editor Bob, and all of the other people who help make everything I do possible. You guys rock, and I couldn’t do it without you.


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What’s the Future of Job Hunting and Recruiting?

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Yes it’s true… I have managed to turn a personality disorder into a career. I don’t have a ‘job’ in the traditional sense. I just put myself out there, and they come to me. Are you looking for a job? Did you ever consider your next job may come to you? It’s a possibility, I’ve seen it happen many times. I received an interesting email recently, asking about the future of job hunting.

I’m working on an article about recruiting online – and there are a few companies that are actually posting job leads via YouTube. I’m wondering, as an expert on IT, if you think this is a viable way to job hunt. A lot of companies are slowly starting to embrace social networking tools like LinkedIn and Facebook – and now Youtube – to look for job candidates. Is the way people normally looked for jobs dead?

I would say yes, and no. I don’t think the resume and cover letter are dead. I don’t think making contact with people who are in a position to give you a job has been thrown out the window. I do believe that your next job could come to you, based on the things that you do.

One of the reasons I am so careful about what I do online is that I know people could be looking at me. I’ve landed several opportunities simply because I’ve uploaded videos to YouTube. I landed the gig with CNN because of the videos, and the live streaming.

The next time you go to upload the video, ask yourself if this video is something that a future potential employer will see and love… or hate. Could this video get you a job? Could it keep you from getting one? Don’t think that won’t happen. Trust me, it can and will. Many hundreds of employers (maybe thousands) search candidate’s names online, trying to see just what kind of person you may be.

Did you know the #2 search engine on the planet is YouTube? It’s food for thought.


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What did you Want to be When you Grew Up?

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What did you want to grow up to be when you were little? I wanted to be a few different things. I even had the opportunity once to ask Bill Gates this very question. Did you know that as a kid, Mr. Gates wanted to be a Mathematician?

The first thing I can remember as a young child that I was determined to become was a farmer. I loved animals, and had family members who were in Agriculture. My Dad wanted me to grow up to be a Neurosurgeon, because they make a lot of money. So of course, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. Then, since I grew up Catholic, I thought I had a calling to be a Priest. That turned out to be a wrong number, as well.

Of course, you all know I went to college to become an English teacher, and we all see how that worked out. I ended up doing something completely different, because I gained a passion for Technology.

What did you want to be when you were little? Did you grow up to do it? Are you still in that field? Or… did you end up doing something completely different? I’d love to hear from you all. Keep in mind, this question is really mostly for the adults in my Community. I’m curious to see how many of you ended up living out your childhood career dreams.


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Technology Business in Guatemala

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Kinglacho is a regular community member of ours, who happens to live in Guatemala. He is currently studying Systems Engineering, but knows that jobs in his field are rare where he lives. Kingalacho is curious as to what it takes to start a successful online business, such as mine.

Since I’m from Guatemala, a Third-World country, I’m aware that there are pretty much no interesting opportunities down here in the industry. It’s tormenting me, and I wanted to know if you could give me some ideas for a Web-based way of making some money. I’d like to combine this with my studies, and possibly make some money while still studying. Perhaps building a website or a web community, or maybe blogging very often like you do… I seriously don’t know. I’ve had some ideas, but I really do not know what to do in order to find a way to fulfill my need to work freely, doing what I like, which is working on computers and being online. I was hoping that you could perhaps put me on the right path. I appreciate your advice, since I’ve been able to see how much recognition you have on the Web, and I know that you do have many contacts. I feel that if there is someone to turn to for advice, it’s you. So, I’ll be waiting for your reply, and I want to thank you in advance, because I really, really would love to hear what you’ve got to say… Thank you.

Even being in a Third-World country, you have an amazing opportunity ahead of you. I wouldn’t be suprised to find that there are grants available either from your local government or on the International level that could help you realize your dreams. If you know what it is you want to do, there are so many ways out there to help you get started. What is the Internet doing to enable Commerce across the borders? If you put up a website, I should be able to visit. Maybe you have a marketable service that you are extremely good at… such as Web Design, or System Administration.

One thing I remember about being in Guatemala on my honeymoon is all the crafts and artwork for sale. To help enable those who don’t know anything about Technology… I think there is a gigantic opportunity for you. You could help them (and yourself) by getting them onto eBay or another auction site. You could start your own site, having a podcast where you feature a local artisan. You could have a site where you sell artwork and crafts on a commission basis. Just in that one area alone, there are many opportunities and ideas.

You obviously have the skills, access and ideas to make yourself a success. You just need to go for it. If it doesn’t work at first… you can always tweak it, scrap it and start over… anything! The possibilities are absolutely endless. Good luck to you!


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Software and Life Choices

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runjorel from our live community sent me a very thought-provoking email. He is currently attending Grad school, studying Business Information Technology. Unfortunately, however, he’s finding himself not as satisfied as he thought he would, and asked my opinion on a very good question. Here is his email:

Here’s the situation. I am a 27 year old student in grad school studying Business Information Technology. I was really excited about going to grad school because I thought I would be surrounded by intelligent people trying to solve problems through innovation. Unfortunately, what I am realizing is that the classes just teach you how to be a better corporate employee and all of my classmates are concerned about retiring rich at the age of 35 through easy money. That’s just not my cup of tea. I want to DO SOMETHING!!!

Despite my passion for technology and writing code, I have always felt that I don’t have anything that I can contribute back to society. I mean some people have the skills to build houses for victims of natural disasters all the way to people who have the science know-how to engineer innovative products that help people in Africa prevent starvation, etc. And then, here I am…a software developer for a 10 person company that’s going to school at night. The last thing I want to do when I graduate is get some ‘cush’ job at a big corporation.

I was starting to feel hopeless with that same old nagging question, “What the heck am I going to do with my life?!” until I saw Hans Rosling’s presentation at TED. I know this sounds weird, but the software he used in that presentation kind of uplifted me/inspired me.
So having said all that, (whew), a friend of mine and I were shooting ideas back and forth about how software can help people. And I dont just mean some iPhone app that helps someone find which Peet’s Coffee shop is closest to them ;), but something that really benefits society. I wont get into any of ideas here because that’s a completely different email, but I was wondering if you had any ideas. OR I was wondering if you knew of any organizations that need help?

I know its a pretty ‘far-out-there’ question, but if you have any perspective in that matter I would love to know what you think.

First of all, yes it was a long email. But, you caught my attention. My degree is in English Education. The only reason I’m doing what I do today is because the Internet and the way it works fits me, and my personality. I’m able to help people and teach, so to speak, without a blackboard and reaching a much larger “classroom”. That’s where you want to be. If you create something that you’re proud of. If you create something that other people appreciate… that’s where you want to be.

You have to connect within yourself. I think it’s absolutely admirable, what you’re trying to do. I think you’re going down the right path. I’m not saying that people who choose the corporate path are wrong, but I think that largely… they won’t be happy in the long run.


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