For those who want to have a quality network or quality audience. LinkedIn is the perfect platform to get connected with professionals who are like you. How do you stand out from a noisy and large crowd? In fact, how do you attract the correct group of people’s attention?
The keyword is “sharing”.
In LinkedIn, I would share technology news, productivity ideas and lifehacks that I find interesting.
I would use a tool called Buffer to schedule my postings. This tool helps me to stay engaged with my audience, especially on days where I am busy and could not do any postings.
Lately, I have participated in LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown. The editors share a daily writeup that made up of three pieces of news and a quote from a business leader.
I would take part in the discussion and share comments that I believe I can contribute to the writeup. I have been contributing to the writeup for four days.
The result is obvious. The number of views of my profile increased by 25%. I have also gained two new connections.
Does the increase in views and connections bring me immediate rewards? Probably not. However, by keeping myself relevant and taking part in the discussion, it helps me to keep studying and stay relevant to the industry.
If I never needed help or contact. I know I can to rely on my LinkedIn connections.
Does sharing work outside of LinkedIn? Yes! The act of sharing is the greatest gift. You can share your time by helping out at the local community hall. You can share your expertise on Quora. You can share knowledge with colleagues or classmates.
Through sharing, you know your knowledge gaps and you can improve on it.
The world does not owe anyone anything. We have to fight for what we want. Before we can receive what we want. We got to share it. Through sharing, we get recognition. We become the go-to person. By being the go-to person, opportunities will come our way.
See the world in abundance, and you will receive far more than you gave.
Anyone who has held a job would go through an annual evaluation. It is a time where the manager would evaluate the employee’s annual performance.
What scares me the most is the feedback for being “not detail-oriented”. By being not detail-oriented means getting send for more training on processes. There will be quick hacks such as using check-list. The work would be under constant scrutiny in the name of compliance and audit. Maybe, the person can produce work that has sufficient details.
Not being detailed oriented is not a process problem. It is a problem in mindset. It is a problem where a person is not interested in the given work.
A person who claims that he is bad with numbers but can remember all the stats of his favourite sports. Is the person really bad at numbers? Or merely an excuse for not having the interest?
If the person shows passion and interest, the person would be detailed-oriented.
When you find yourself not having the depth that you supposed to have in your work or any task. It is time for you to evaluate whether the work is still important to you? If the answer is no, it is time for you to move on. Life is too short for anyone to work in anything that does not give us any inspiration.
How does a business make money? They maximise profit and minimize cost. To a business, an employee would be considered as a cost. Employees who are not aligned with the business strategy will be let go.
Cruel? That’s the reality of life.
As an employee, we are paid to be compliant and play to the tune of the organization. Nothing wrong with that choice. You got to ask yourself whether it is the life that you want? To be a cog of a huge organization. Exchange 5 days of prison for 2 days of freedom. You can be creative but not too creative because many of us are not paid to be creative.
If you still have a job or you are being hired. Chances are you are the cheapest of most the qualified employee.
You can live life on your own term. The door of your prison is not locked. If you enjoy writing. Write. If you enjoy going to the great outdoors. Go to the great outdoors. Document your work. Share your work and create value that truly belongs to you.
When you have enough reach. Enough people who notice your work. You will no more be the cheapest most qualified employee. You will be fully valued and appreciated.
Doing one job is already challenging. Doing two jobs are literally double the challenge and stress. No doubt modern life has created a lot of conveniences. Yet the demands in life has added more pressure to family commitments.
It is common to hold two jobs just to keep the family in order. If you are one of them. I applaud your conviction to provide to your family.
I have the experience to hold two jobs. I am constantly tired. I am constantly worried stressed over work and family.
Family and friends always comment that I am never around. If I did, my mind is in a distant land. I do my best to cope. Here are some things that I did.
Exercise. I always find time to exercise. A few sets of push-up or burpees will suffice. The intention is to keep the blood flowing, releasing the happy hormone and get some oxygen into the brain. I would feel better and sleep better.
The human body is designed to move. Find time to move and get some sweat rolling down from your forehead.
Practise gratitude. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed by work stress. Sometimes I bring the work stress home and let it on my family. It was only an un-employed friend remarked that I am lucky to have two jobs while he has been searching for nearly a year. He woke me up. Since then, I write down things that I am grateful for on a daily basis.
Today I grateful for my cup of tea, the eggs that my son cooked for me and the driver who let me into the lane. Just to name a few.
Cut back on alcohol. I used to drink a lot. I drink in the name of stress. I drink in the name of hanging out with friends. I wake up feeling terrible. I despise the world, my jobs because of my hangover. When I had a bad day. I drink even more. It was a vicious cycle.
I cut back on my drinks and focus on enjoying the company of my friends. I still can have a good time and wake up feeling fine.
Sleep. If you find yourself mindlessly surfing the net, maybe it is time to go to bed. You may think that it is your “me” time. If it is a real “me” time. You should be doing something that you find inspiring and challenging. When you are tired, go to bed and refresh your body.
Celebrate the small win. Why we keep two jobs? Because we want to provide for our family. But never forget about yourself. If you did a good job or receive praise from your work. Take some off to celebrate small wins. It can be a nice cup of coffee. Maybe a body massage. For myself, I would reward myself a cup of coffee at a cafe with a good book.
I know it is not easy to hold two jobs. Sometimes, it feels thankless and trapped. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I feel the same way. I wish I could cry and breakdown.
The purpose of this blog. This site is to tell you that you are not alone. Keep going. Keek providing. One day, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
Imagine someone offers you your dream job to you and you can start immediately. You must be excited. But are you ready for your dream job?
If you are ready for your dream job. Do this exercise. Get a piece of paper and start writing down, exactly how ready you are for the job. Be honest!
When you are done with the exercise, go through the list. Realistically are you ready?
If you are not ready. Do you know your gaps? Do what is necessary to breach the gap. Read books. Take courses. To test your understanding, imagine you need to teach the knowledge to a group of newbies. If you are stumped in any of the topics. It is probably wise to revisit the topic again.
If you are ready. What are you waiting for? The masses want you to stay where you are. They tell you stories about gatekeepers who will stop you from pursuing your dreams. They may be gatekeepers, but there are also other platforms for you to shine. Write on LinkedIn. Write on Medium. Start your own blog or YouTube channel. None of it requires the gatekeeper’s approval. The only thing is you need to create quality content.
The prison that you created is all in the mind. There no locks. You are free to leave, but you must be ready. Know yourself and take what life has to offer to you.
I have no idea when the e-mail function Blind Carbon Copy was invented. Personally, I find this feature brings more problem than it solves. Whether you are a recipient of BCC or a sender, it creates problems down the road.
Lost of trust. I received an e-mail from a colleague providing feedback on how I do my work better. I accepted wholeheartedly and thank for the feedback. Later I received the same e-mail from my manager demanding me to put the feedback on my performance checklist and create a timeline. My manager was not on the mailing list. Thus, the manager was on BCC when this colleague sent the e-mail to me. Since then, I kept this colleague at arm’s length. I do not trust this person.
You do not have the full picture. I received my share of BCC emails. I am careful not to reply or take part in the e-mail discussion. If there is a follow-up discussion in the mail, I will not have the visibility, as I was BCCed! If you choose to respond. Your team will wonder how did you found out. Good luck in gaining their trust again. Your action may not even be appropriate as the matter could have been closed but you were not informed.
The only time I use BCC is when I need to send the e-mail back to myself for records.
Be careful of people who frequently use BCC. You are probably being manipulated without knowing.
As a project manager, discussion plays a crucial role. Certain days, I may have up to seven meetings. When the meetings are all done, I have to prepare meeting minutes and take action on the agreed task. Having an effective meeting is important. All of us dread the meetings that go on forever and with no outcome.
To get the information that we need, we have learned to ask “what”, “why”, “when”, “how” and “where”. From my experience, I have stopped using “why”. I have replaced “why” with either “what” or “how”. Here is an example of a discussion where someone did “X”. Regardless of the outcome, we sometimes need to understand the justification behind the decision.
There are three ways to start a discussion.
“Why did you do X?” “What do you intend to achieve by doing X?” “How to get our intended results, by doing X, ?”
See the difference? By asking a “what” and “how”, the question points towards the action or the topic that is being discussed. If you are asking a “why” question, it is perceived as confronting the person. This put the person in a defensive mode. The discussion will quickly turn cold and goes nowhere.
It is not easy to have a mind switch by avoiding the use of “why”. I have personally struggled with it. It is better to go into a meeting prepared. Besides learning the facts, but also prepare some questions. The questions should not be confrontational but focus on the discussion point. All of us cannot avoid meetings. But we can make the best of it. Our working life is not a reality show where every week someone gets voted out. There is no need to work with the person anymore. Good or bad, we will be working with each other on a daily basis. Therefore it is important to keep the relationship professional and positive. The less confrontational we are, the more willing are people to work with us.
We all have electronic gadgets that require regular charging. Especially my mobile phone, I would charge it right before going to bed. Without a good charge, our gadgets may not have sufficient power to get through the task that we needed it for.
Do you give yourself sufficient charges to be functional? The answer is probably not. Whenever I caught myself doing mindless surfing or flipping aimlessly through TV channels, I would I am tired. Or sometimes I wake up feeling worse than before going to bed.
If this is symptoms of fatigue and burn-out. I am definitely guilty of burning both ends of the candle.
There have been days where I feel great. There have been days where I feel that I am being buried alive.
For the days that I feel great, here are a few things that I did. It works for me. I hope you will find it useful too.
Ever since I learned about Tara Brach through Tim Ferris’s podcast. I have been hooked with her guided meditation. No doubt I am not doing it frequently as I wanted. Whenever I do it, I always feel recharged and more aware of my thoughts. Through meditation, I am able to catch hold of my anger and frustrations whenever it arises. Even if I had a bad day, it quickly blows over.
What if, you fall asleep during meditation? That’s okay. In a way, it is your body telling you that you are tired and needed rest.
What if you do not like meditation? Or do not like the idea of sitting still? Here is another idea…
Exercise gets the blood flowing. Exercise helps to trigger the hormone that regulates your happiness. By keeping your body active, you will be paying attention to your body. By paying attention to your body, it distracts you from whatever stress or problem that you have at hand. This helps to put your problem into perspective. This is why writers such as Nassim Taleb and Charles Dickens would take long walks.
Last but not least.
Go to bed.
I know it is a no-brainer. But how many of us actually refuse to go to bed even though we are tired? I am guilty of this. One more video. One more article. One more post. By the time, I go to bed, it has passed my bedtime and waking up feeling ever tired. Sleep helps to reset the brain and prepare us for the following day’s challenges. Do not underestimate the danger of being sleep deprived.
Being sleep deprived, we face the risk of accidents, hallucinations, impaired judgements and mood disorders. For additional reading on the risk of sleep deprivation. Watch the video below.
The world is ever getting more competitive. We need to be constantly alert to stay in the game. Recharge yourself. Stay alert. Stay safe.
I received more news about friends getting layoff and connection asking for network opportunities. In 2017, India IT has laid off more than 56,000 employees. In 2016, US job cuts were at 7 years high.
We are not safe. No one is safe. None of us is indispensable. Apple survived as a company and it did not die with Steve Jobs. If you think the company needs you? Think again.
Every business has a Business Continuity Plan. A Business Continuity Plan is a plan that helps the business keep the operation running even if disaster strikes. Do you have a Life Continuity Plan? What happens do you get layoff?
I am not asking you to be paranoid and distrust your company. Far from it, companies do not simply lay off their employees. The decision of lay off has an impact on employee morale and legal consequences to watch out for. Without employees, an office is just a building with no productivity.
Nevertheless, we all have to prepare for the unexpected.
Stay sharp. We have to stay sharp and keep our skill set relevant. Abraham Lincon said it well, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. The world is evolving on a daily basis. If you are not growing, you are dying. Here are some tools that you can keep your skills sharp. YouTube. Coursera. CreativeLive. LinkedIn Learning.
Stay in touch. No person is an island. Since the beginning of time, the human race has to stay together in a tribe to stay alive. We may not need to worry about a lion chasing us. We still require a community to stay functional. During trying times of difficulty, we need all the support that we can. Dig your well, before you are thirsty. Stay in touch with your friends. Stay networked.
Stay frugal. Do you really need that brand new car when your current car is still functioning well? Do you need that luxurious watch when your digital watch has served you so well throughout the years? The less that you want to spend the money, the less stress you have.
“For one may celebrate a festival without extravagance.” – Seneca, Epistles XVIII.4
You do not need to be a scrooge. Instead, I am asking you to be mindful of your purchases. Our basic needs are simple. The need for food, water, clothing, shelter and the ability to travel.Try to produce more than you can consume. You will be happier. Earth will be happier as well.
Stay positive. Life is tough. To live is to suffer. We cheer for a heroes’ welcome. The hero who has to face great odds and suffering. Staying positive is to prepare for suffering. When received news that is not favourable, tell yourself, “Yes. I expected that. What can I do now?”. We have to face reality as it is and make the best of it. Something bad happened may not necessarily bad at all.
Zeno of Citium founder of Stoicism survived a shipwreck and landed himself in Athens. He visited a bookseller and learned about Socratic dialogues. He soon studied Cynicism under Creates of Thebes. Eventually, Zeno established himself as one of the greatest philosophers in history. Without the terrible event of a shipwreck, Zeno would not have found his calling.
Be opportunistic. Opportunities are everywhere. Keep your eyes open and trust your gut. You will find that your life is not linear but there are many opportunities hiding in plain sight. Trust yourself and believe in yourself that you deserve better.
Want to have a side hustle? It is not as difficult as you thought. Chris Guillebeau’s podcast called Side Hustle school has more than 300 side hustle stories to inspire you. Trust yourself. Beleive in yourself and watch out for opportunities.
Losing a job is an emotionally devastating event. I love my job and I love what I do. I would be distraught if I get laid off. Life will always deal us a bad hand. We have to play the cards that we have, no matter how bad are the cards. Play the cards to our best ability. Life will eventually deal us cards that are in our favour. Until then, we have to keep improving and staying positive.
A couple of friends has been out of the job for a few months. Whenever I chat with them, I always have a sense of dread. I always ask myself what if I am in their position. Or is there anything that I can help? Not having an income and with bills to pay is a horrible feeling.
Many of the reasons that I have heard are common. There is no reply from the recruiters. There were interviews but no follow up. Was told that the recruitment process takes a long time.
Here are some ideas that might make yourself stand out. I cannot guarantee results, but if I am the recruiter I would be impressed.
Show your work. Forget the boring two-page resume. Unless you have an impressive career. A two-page resume will never stand out.
Take the advice from Austin Kleon the author of Show Your Work!
“Everybody loves a good story, but good storytelling doesn’t come easy to everybody. It’s a skill that takes a lifetime to master. So study the great stories and then go find some of your own. Your stories will get better the more you tell them.”
Do something that you enjoy and share it. Or use your skills to share what you know. This advice is not only limited to arts. Even if you are an accountant, you can share what you know. A common knowledge to you may not be so common to others.
English is not my first language. I am not a trained writer. But I have written articles on life hacking and career management. I have shown my work and grew as a writer. You should show yours too.
Start with LinkedIn’s post article feature. It is a perfect starting point to show your work at no cost and targeting all potential recruiters.
Study the hiring manager. When you have finally secured an interview. Always ask for the hiring manager’s name. Do a Google search or search for the person’s profile on LinkedIn. Study the profile and the person’s achievements.
Find a common interest between you and the recruitment manager. Briefly talk about the common interest before the interview starts. Having common interest creates positive emotion. This positive emotion bonds between the recruitment manager and yourself. Even if you are not able to find a common interest. Be curious about the person’s interest or achievement. The mention of their interest and achievements brings positive emotions. And those emotions get associated with you.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Remember, you are not only applying for a job. You should be applying for a career. When you join a company, the company’s identity becomes part of your identity. If you are not proud of the company, you will not be proud of your work. It is better to stay away. Know yourself. Know the target company.
Have a plan. Go into the interview with a plan. A plan that you will be successful in impressing the hiring manager. The recruitment manager’s job is to recruit and not conducting interviews. Conducting an interview is part of the recruitment manager’s job. Understand their perspective and see what they are looking for. Help them to select the candidate, help them to select you. Go into the interview with a 90 days plans to explain how you will start to integrate and contribute to the company if you are being accepted into the company.
Better yet, watch the video by Ramit Sethi on Briefcase Technique. I cannot say it any better.
Address problems immediately. No candidates are perfect. Before wrapping up the interview, ask the recruiter whether he or she has any concerns about your eligibility for the role. If there are, you have to address it immediately. If they are honest with you. It is a wonderful experience to learn about yourself. Even if you may not get the job, but you know what are your gaps.
Follow up. One week after the interview, please have a follow up with the recruiter. Thank the recruiter for the opportunity and check with the recruiter whether there are concerns or legering issues over your chances of getting hired.
What if you are still not getting any opportunities? I got that covered as well. Here are some bonus tips when things are just not looking well.
Advertise your skill and work as a freelancer. You can get some ideas what kind of services that you can offer at Freelancer and Fiverr.
Do charity work. Offer your time and expertise to your local charity place. It can be religious or non-religious. By doing charity work, you ensure that you will not let your skills go rusty, you may even learn new skills and making new friends. Through your new found network, you may find further opportunities to expand your horizon.
I know it is difficult. I know it is frustrating. Do not despair. Take charge of your situation and do your best. Things might just turn around for you.