I don’t think of myself as a career counselor and mentor, but other people seem to. Lately I’m getting these questions a lot: How did you get there? How can I get a promotion? Should I quit my job? How can I start a consulting business? How did you get started in social media?
What does it mean when people start wanting to know what it takes to get what you got that you have?
Almost two years ago, I wrote two posts that I still recommend today:
I was thinking about writing a here to there post later, maybe in August when it’s closer to my company’s 20th anniversary [and I will write a longer one then – so stay tuned]. Since I’ve gotten several requests for career counseling, all from well-meaning folks, I decided to answer the frequently asked questions I get about who I am and what I do.
Let’s start out with a very illuminating insight . . .
Sitting in the back seat on a late night car ride home, two young ladies told me who they are. One said: I am a raconteur. The other said: I am a healer. I asked: What am I? They both said: Only you know.
So, you go first. Who are you and who do you want to be?
Not when you grow up, because hopefully you’ll always be a bit childlike, but right now, tomorrow and the next day.
If you contacted me and you’ve found your way here because of this link, my personal apologies for not letting you buy me lunch so you can "pick my brain" right away. Before we meet in person, I'll save you time by answering questions. I'll also ask you to think about what you need to know. I hope you find this helpful and that you achieve all of the success you deserve, both in your personal and professional lives.
Did you catch that? “Achieve all of the success you deserve.”
What does success mean to you? More money, free time, prestige, power, connections, travel? Take a minute to write down what success means to you.
For me, success is not about money – it was once, but it’s not now. Now it’s about reaching and teaching.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long have you been in social media?
My fascination with technology and communications goes back to sixth grade when I was the audio-visual person for my school. The only reason I took the job was that I didn’t get picked to be a patrol girl and I wanted to have some responsibility. I found out I really liked A/V stuff. In high school, I led the radio club - early podcaster? Backing up a bit, at 10 I took my Brownie camera to Springfield and took pictures of a historic tree coming down at Abe Lincoln's house - a photojournalist?. At 17, I wrote my first computer program as an accounting student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Three years later, as a senior marketing major, my business and technical writing professor offered to recommend for a position as a writer at a company in Chicago. I said no thanks, I want to be a sales rep.
Wait – the question is “How long have you been in social media?”
To me, social media is about technology, communications and relationships that mix online and in real life encounters bonded by a glue we call relationships. If you’re talking about two-way communication on social networks, I’ve been on LinkedIn since May 23, 2005 and on twitter since March 16, 2007. Facebook? July 18, 2007 Blogging? Taught my first course in fall 2004 and started this blog in 2006.
How can I start a social media consultancy?
Yes, people do ask me to help them write their business plan over lunch. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Read The E-Myth first. And, take a look at the links mentioned earlier in this post.
I want to do what you do.
Oh- are you talking about being a mom, photographer, entrepreneur, wife, blogger, volunteer, leader – what? What about what I do is attractive? Who do you want to be in three to five years?
Do you make megabucks?
How many is mega?
Will you share your plan?
Yes, watch what I do – it’s all out there.
Can I pick your brain?
No, you may not. Have you ever been through the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit at The Field Museum? Yes? Then, you know why it’s offensive to suggest that you do that to someone else.
Can I buy you lunch or a drink?
Yes, if we don’t talk about social media or work, we’re friends and we have something to celebrate together.
Can you help me get social media and PR speaking and consulting gigs?
Believe or not, people really do ask me to recommend them for the same kinds of business opportunities I’m after. Much better: be a peer and find out how can we refer each other. Would you think of asking your competitor to recommend you without knowing how to refer them?
Do you know lots of people?
Should I start my own business or work for someone else?
Do you need more than one income besides yours to survive?
What should I do first?
Know three things: what kinds of work you love doing, what kinds of companies you want to work for and how you want to make your money.
Can you help me find a job?
That’s your job. But, if I do find a way to make a connection for you, I will.
How about you - how did you get hired or start your business? What other questions do you want me to answer?
Photo provided by Shutterstock.com in exchange for credit - thanks Shutterstock!