My prezi on blogging for #icgbrighton

I ran a session on using blogging for careers work today at the ICG conference. It was my first attempt to use a Prezi. It sort of worked, but I think that I could probably make better use of it next time.

 

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Blogging about PhDs: An interview with Sarah-Louise Quinnell

I bumped into Sarah-Louise as part of the online preparations for #dr11. She runs a very good blog called PhD2Published for new PhD graduates. I thought that it was probably time to interview her. So here we go… 

AiCD: Who are you?
My name is Dr Sarah-Louise Quinnell, I gained my PhD from the Geography Department at King’s College London in 2010 and my research interests lie in two very distinct and diverse areas, specifically international environmental politics and development practice and planning and geographies of cyber-space, particularly using social media applications for research and researcher development. 

Meprofile
AiCD: Tell us a little bit about PhD2Published?
PhD2Published is an online resource designed to provide advice / guidance and information to newly qualified / early-career researchers looking to navigate their way through the sometimes confusing world of academic publishing. 

AiCD: You took over PhD2Published from someone else. How did that happen?
By chance really, I was asking for viva advice and approached phd2published on twitter and then got an email from Charlotte who gave me very useful advice and told me about the site and as she says chased me relentlessly to take part and i began working on the site in January 2011. I come from a different academic discipline to Charlotte and i am approaching the issue of publishing in a different way so i am using the site to provide advice, to learn things for myself and to provide a record of my journey through the world of academic publishing.

Phd2published

AiCD: What technology do you use for your blogs/website?
I have a personal blog www.sarahlouq.wordpress.com as well as managing Phd2Published i also contribute to www.thethesiswhisperer.wordpress.com – I like the wordpress environment, while i have programming skills i dont wan’t to spend ages coding before i can upload something so i find this environment works best for me. I will be moving my site to a self-hosted format soon and am currently developing a site to support my social media project that will be part of PhD2Published.

Dr_sarah-louise_quinnell_-_the_life__times_of_an_aspiring_academic

AiCD: Why did you start blogging?
I started as part of my PhD research. I couldnt go on conventional overseas fieldwork for a number of reasons so i had to look at alternative approaches for conducting my research i.e. collecting data and communicating with my research participants. So in tandom with a web-developer i created my own digital / virtual research environment. 

AiCD: How often do you update your blog?
My personal one has been a slow burner post PhD but am now trying to get material up there at least twice a week depending on what i am doing. For PhD2Published it vaires but normally between 2-3 different pieces of content a week and for the thesiswhisperer i post normally once a week. 

How_to_tell_your_supervisor_you_want_a_divorce__the_thesis_whisperer

 

AiCD: OK, that is a lot of writing. Wouldn’t you be better off just concentrating on writing academic articles?
A lot of the work i do in advance, especially for PhD2Published. Am currently working on a paper and a grant proposal as we speak as well as job hunting. I find they dont take a lot of time so i can have a blog day once a week. Because i blogged and wrote online during my PhD it has become a habit to post different things online regularly. I believe it acts like a mini peer-review in some cases and is extremely useful. For example i recently contributed a summary of my work to the twitter #phdchat community and that piece generated a lot of helpful commentary. I think the way academics present themselves and their research out-puts is changing and while the journal article and the authored book will always remain supreme the blog is gaining ground as an essential research communication platform and i think you can get just as much out of blogging as you can from other, more traditional outputs.

AiCD: What sort of things do you write about?

The personal one is about ‘life and times of an aspiring academic’ so it acts a bit like a journal where i can keep a record of things I am doing as well as writing my views on a range of subjects relating to my interests, particularly education, social media, ballroom dancing and sheep. PhD2Published is focused on academic publishing. I am currently working toward my first journal article so content is very much skewed toward that angle at the moment. For the thesiswhisperer i write about issues relating to supervision. 

AiCD: How do you decide which blog to post something on?

Well, if its about publishing it goe son PhD2Published, if its about supervisision its for the thesis whisperer if it falls into the any other business or none of the above categories it is mine 

AiCD: Who do you think reads it?

I always wonder about personal ones, the extent to which they are read by more than people you know so am not sure but PhD2Published and the thesis whisperer have very large audiences mainly of PhD students and early career academics. 

AiCD: What is it about you that makes you think that people should listen to what you have to say

With the thesis whisperer i write about PhD supervision, and well, my experience was interesting shall we say so i feel i can contribute to that. I am not afraid of controversial topics such as a post i wrote on how to divorce your supervisior which was very popular and helped a lot of people out. For PhD2Published rather than saying i am a publishing expert i say I am an early career researcher so lets do this together, i would think that if i dont know something to do with publishing other people wont either. I think blogging is either about being an expert and providing advice or being brave and saying i dont have a clue and asking questions.

AiCD: Does anyone come to PhD2Published expecting you to be an expert? Some people might feel that they would only listen to you if you were either a publisher or a world leading professor.

I doubt it, i present myself clearly as someone in the same position as those using the site to find information. We can show that the advice given on the site works because Charlotte has secured her first book contract. We also work with published academics and publishing houses who provide us with content, particularly their experiences and top tips so they get questions and musings from me as well as expert opinion as well. Many of the recent expert posts have come from my asking a question and then looking for someone to respond. I take time out to email academics and publishing houses to get their advice as well. 

AiCD: What have been the best things about blogging?

I’ve met some wonderful people through blogging and a number of opportunities have become available because people have read my work online which gives me good exposure at this point in my career

AiCD: What are the downsides?

Criticism, you open yourself up to being criticised by anybody and everybody if they so wish and sometimes its quite harsh and personal for no reason at all and that can be hard to take. 

AiCD: How do you make your living? Does blogging pay?
I am currently doing some teaching / training at my former university while looking for a full-time job post PhD along with preparing publications and grant applications and being glad i have supportive parents. Whilst i have gained a number of opportunities through blogging none of them have been paid. It would be wonderful if through blogging i could gain paid employment or consultancy however, i think the nature of blogging is more about the sharing of information within a like-minded community so i value the exposure i have recieved just as much as i would financial gain. Obviously if somebody was interested in paying me for my writing then i would be most agreeable!

AiCD: What blogs do you read?

lots, i tend to find new ones all the time but i probably dont read them all regularly it will depend on what i am doing. A lot of the time i am directed to new and interesting material through twitter

AiCD: OK then, suggest some people we should be following on Twitter.

Well, thats hard as i enjoy tweets from all that i follow / follow me but  well @phd2published obviously, @thesiswhisperer, @readywriting, @GdnHigherEd, @linkhigher, @floating_sheep, @lambwatch, @PostDocsForum, @Eurodoc, @prospects, @wonkhe, @haggismaths, @postgradtoolbox, @ProfBrianCox, @charlottefrost and my inspiration since the age of 11 @the_karenhardy.

Interview with Tracy Bussoli: Queen Mary Researchers Career Blog

Last year I interviewed Tracy Bussoli about the blog that she ran at Queen Mary University of London. This was a really good careers blog for researchers. Unfortunately I then lost the interview and haven’t posted it. But, I found it again and put it up. Unfortunately Tracy has now moved on and the blog isn’t being updated any more. But, it is presented here because Tracy’s interview provides some really interesting insights into blogging.

Queenmary

AiCD:  Introduce yourself

My name is Tracy Bussoli and I am the Careers Adviser for Researchers at Queen Mary University of London. I support PhD students and research staff (mainly from the Science and Engineering) in developing both academic careers and careers outside academia. I have a PhD in genetics and was a post-doctoral researcher for a short period. Prior to this post I worked in the NHS as a Genetic Counsellor for eight years as well as doing some free-lance career coaching work. I am also a consultant in a family, property developing business and have worked for Shell and Natwest Bank.

Tracy

AiCD: Tell us about your blog.

My blog was set up shortly after I took on the role as Careers Adviser for Researchers at Queen Mary. I decided to set it up following an inspiring talk from Manchester Careers Service at a Vitae conference. They talked about the success of their postgraduate careers blog and how it allowed them to disseminate information to postgraduates in a style that was separate from the more generic institutional website.

I find that I frequently come across snippets of information or have ideas that I want to disseminate to the researchers that I see. My blog enables me to do this. I use my blog to post career ideas, resources and tools that I feel would be helpful for researchers as Queen Mary. It is essentially an organised ‘brain dump!’

Blog

AiCD: What technology do you use?

My blog uses the WordPress platform. I started off using blogger but I found that I was unable to organise the information in an effective way e.g. there are no tabs at the top of the page on blogger.

My blog also has a twitter feed where I post any interesting jobs that I come across during my research. The more people follow me on twitter, the more encouraged I am to add interesting jobs to my twitter site. The idea is to illustrate the diversity of roles that are available to people with research backgrounds rather than be a dedicated jobs board.

AiCD: How often do you update?

In fits and starts really. As my post at QM is part-time I am often busy interacting with researchers face to face. I do not always get enough time to post all my thoughts, resources and ideas. I often have a list of articles that I want to add but sometimes do not get the time!

AiCD: Who do you think reads it?

Early Careers Researchers from Queen Mary, other Early Career Researchers and Careers Advisers working with Early Career Researchers….probably. From some of the comments left on the blog, other random people also read it from time to time.

AiCD: What are the particular challenges about writing for a high skill audience like researchers

The audience that I write for are highly skilled but I do not feel that this is the main challenge. They come from a variety of countries, are researching across many disciplines and range from 1st year PhD students to more senior post-docs. This presents a number of challenges in terms of what I write about. I try to ensure that the posts have broad appeal, covering career issues that are relevant, irrespective of where people are in their research career. Catering for such a diverse group of highly skilled people is generally a challenge in my work with researchers, in both the workshops that I deliver and career consultations.

AiCD: What is it about you that makes you think people should pay attention to what you blog about

I am not sure if it is me specifically that makes them pay attention to my blog. Having said this, I think that many people start using my blog once they have met me at workshops or at the career consultations that I deliver.

Although I attempt to cover areas related to science and engineering, I think there is probably more of a life-science focus as that is my background and I think that I am naturally more inclined to focus on this. In addition, although I do not feel that you need to have a PhD to offer effective careers advice, I do think that researchers are more likely to engage with someone that has a similar background to them. I probably see more life scientists than other early career researchers and this may be because people know that I was a life scientist.

AiCD: What have been the best things about blogging so far

Having a thought, coming across a resource, attending a talk and then getting this information to researchers quickly before I forget! I also enjoy writing online and it has given me the opportunity to do this.

AiCD: What are the downsides?

The constant pressure to keep the blog up to date!

AiCD: Do you think blogging will ever replace conventional careers advice/education?

I do not think that any online resource (social networking, blogs etc.) can ever substitute for the type of support/help/guidance that you can gain from seeing a skilled careers adviser. If clients see an individual for careers advice/education the service can be adapted and tailored depending on the client’s needs. A careers adviser can offer many things that an on-line service can not e.g. alternative perspectives on a situation, clarity about a situation/dilemma, feedback on skills/ strengths, emotional support ……the list goes on.

I think online resources such as blogs can enhance a careers service. Labour market information, psychometric and careers tools and many other resources are a very useful supplement to a careers service.

AiCD: What blogs do you read?

The other postgraduate careers blogs that are listed on my blog and the blogs on my blogroll. I use these as a source of inspiration and to keep me up-to-date with career resources for researchers.

A beginner???s guide to writing a careers blog: what, how and most important why?

I’m giving a presentation at the National Career Guidance Show tomorrow. I’m going to talk about careers blogging because I’d like to encourage career guidance practitioners to get more into blogging. I wonder if I can inspire any new blogs to start tomorrow. I’m going to use these slides, is it looking inspirational so far?

Blogs galore: An interview with serial blogger Helen Curry

The series of interviews that I’ve been running on careers blogging seems to have been well received. In this interview we speak to Helen Curry who may just be running more blogs than is good for her.

 

AiCD:  Introduce yourself

Hi, I’m Helen Curry, the “Information Officer with Responsibility for Online Resources” at The Careers Group, University of London. It’s a great job that allows me to do all kinds of things including updating Facebook all day, planning websites, making videos, researching careers news, training staff and helping students. Officially, I am a librarian by training. And in my spare time I like a bit of freestyle crochet. Quite geeky overall, and proud.

 

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AiCD: Tell us about the blogs you write/contribute to.

Careers 2.0 http://helencurry.wordpress.com is my blog about using web 2.0 – Facebook, bloggng, podcasting etc – for careers advice and information. Using social media is a constant learning curve, and I find it useful to reflect on and discuss approaches I have tried.

 

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Off the Shelves – The Careers Group library blog http://thecareersgrouplibrary.wordpress.com is my main blog at work. As the majority of my audience will not be users of our library, I like to write posts of general interest, highlighting online resources as well as recommended books.

 

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Reach – Supporting graduates facing barriers to employment http://thecareersgroupreach.wordpress.com is another work blog, a group blog, that I have contributed to. This blog is directed very much at London students, offering a broad coverage of diversity-related current awareness and opportunities.

 

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Crochet Creature http://www.crochetcreature.co.uk is my off-duty blog. I wanted to write about my latest crochet creations, share some patterns, get into the lovely community of knit-bloggers, and maximise the geekery by installing and customising my own WordPress site. Of course I have to find the time to crochet first, then find the time to photograph and write… Which I think leads onto the next question nicely.

 

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AiCD: Didn’t’ Oscar Wilde say something like to write one blog is misfortune, to write two looks like carelessness? What made you set up all your b
logs?

 

I wouldn’t recommend writing for more than one blog. You are setting yourself up for guilt and dissatisfaction. A great blog takes work and commitment. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

 

Of course sometimes it makes sense, you want to write about a very different topic, to a different audience, you want to learn something new, you want a separate after-work blog… The most important thing is not to set up a new blog for each and every one of these reasons. Like I did.

 

AiCD:  What technology do you use on the blogs?

WordPress.com and WordPress 3.0 

  

AiCD: Is your authorial personae different on all of the different blogs?

Yes, although possibly getting closer.

 

Where I feel I am representing my organisation and I am much more careful about the opinions I state and make clear which are my personal opinions. Sometimes I stick to a purely informational viewpoint. I take less risks on work blogs.

 

Over time I have felt that being too dry and corporate is not what blogging is about, it does not engage people, so I occasionally experiment with putting a bit more of me in it, a bit of life, although I have to make sure I am covering all interests there not just my own.

 

AiCD:  How often do you update?

What I’d like to do, and what I actually do is very different… It does tend to vary according to bursts of enthusiasm – I think this is typical of a lot of bloggers.

 

Careers 2.0 – I’d like to write fortnightly, as ideas come up, but it has now been a couple of months since my last post… I write less on here when I have Open University coursework. Or a social life.

 

Off the Shelves – I think the minimum I can get away with is once a week, otherwise audience figures tumble. For growth, I’ll do 2-3 posts per week.

 

Reach – I only contribute occassionally, the rest of the team have now made a schedule.

 

Crochet Creature – umm, sporadically, at best. But I really mean to do more.

 

AiCD: Who do you think reads them?

The work blogs are partly read by students and users of The Careers Group websites and pages on Facebook, where the feeds are displayed. But I also think a lot of traffic comes from Google and non-university audiences, so I try to write so that anyone can get something from it.

 

Careers 2.0 is read more by careers service staff. And people searching for lego people apparently.

 

And no one reads the crochet blog…

 

AiCD: What is it about you that makes you think people should pay attention to what you blog about?

When it comes to the careers service blogs, I put a lot of effort into finding
and bringing together resources, researching what people want to know, and finding approaches that will engage.

 

For my personal blogs, I see things differently, I’m not claiming special authority. I’m usually blogging about some puzzle I have in mind which I want to think through, or something that has really inspired me which I want to share. I blog to connect with people and develop new ideas. It is a community thing. Librarians do this very well, they are tremendously supportive. 

 

AiCD: What have been the best things about blogging so far?

Comments, real comments, from real people.

Learning what to post and how often to see the audience and usage grow.

Feeling useful.

The rush of inspiration and jotting down great ideas to share.

Generating and growing more ideas as I write and read.

 

AiCD: What are the downsides?

The Guilt. When you haven’t posted for a while. Deciding if and when it might be time to let a blog go (I have killed 3 blogs too).

 

AiCD: Do you think blogging will ever replace conventional careers advice/education?  

No, conventional careers advice will always have a place. You only have to look at peoples’ varied learning styles to know that some people will always want face-to-face guidance tailored to them, immediacy, personal coaching and motivation, rather than the slow investment and laborious process of searching, scanning and piecing together information from blogs. Self-assessment of ability is also notoriously difficult, so that third-party, professional viewpoint adds a lot of value – if people realise that they need it of course…

 

But I do believe blogging is a valuable tool for careers education. Writing a blog is a great exercise in reflection, comparable to a career discussion, and perfect for a job-hunter. It can raise your profile, perfect for networking. And you can learn a lot by putting yourself out there and sharing ideas. Reading blogs can give you a better insight into what it is like to do a job, to get an insider view with real character, I’d rather have a well-written, in-depth blog than a superficial case study from a careers website or book. I probably lean more towards blogs and talking to friends for my own career development, but I would never propose that as right for everyone!

 

AiCD: What careers blogs do you read?

Currently:

 

AiCD: Thanks for listing this blog twice! Do you read any non-careers blogs.

Yes,

And more actually, but I think that will do…

 

 

AiCD: Any final words?

Thanks for doing these interviews – you’ve introduced me to a number of interesting blogs!

 

 

The Factory: An interview with Jim Bright

We are very lucky to have Jim Bright as the next victim (sorry volunteer) in our series of interviews with careers bloggers. Jim blogs and podcasts at The Factory, but readers of this blog will undoubtedly also know him from his many publications.

 

So on with the interview…

 

AiCD:  Introduce yourself

I am an Englishman abroad, with broad being the operative word given my penchant for the food and wine of Australia.  I live in Sydney on the Northern Beaches and might be seen getting into shot on “Home and Away” that is filmed around where I live.  Folks in the UK might know me as the author of Brilliant CV, the book published by Pearson and soon to be in its 4th edition.  I am a psychologist who trained and completed my BA and PhD at Nottingham University.  Then I lived in London and worked at Herts Uni for a couple of years before moving and settling in Sydney.  Throughout my adult life I have combined academic research with consulting and I am a passionate believer in evidence-based practice.  My careers research started out researching Resumes, and Occupational Stress, but for the last decade has been firmly focussed on developing the Chaos Theory of Careers, and researching Complexity, Creativity and Chance events in careers (which are all part and parcel of the same thing).

 

 

Jim

 

AiCD: How do you earn your living and how does the blog fit into that?

I am a Career Development person enjoying a portfolio career.  I am Professor of Career Education and Development at Australian Catholic University in Sydney Australia (Australia’s first specifically named Professorial appointment in Careers), a role I combine with running a career development practice, Bright and Associates. I also work as a journalist and write a weekly column in two of the major newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age.  With my academic hat on, I research career development, most notably developing the Chaos Theory of Careers with my collaborator Dr Robert Pryor, but also supervising PhD and Masters students doing careers research as well teaching the Postgraduate Certificate in Career Development in Sydney and Melbourne.  Through my business, I do a lot of public/ corporate  / keynote speaking, as well as training career practitioners, seeing private clients and working with organisations developing career development programs.  Over the years I have written 10 books on career development including Resumes that get shortlisted (Allen & Unwin with Jo Earl), Brilliant CV (Pearson with Jo Earl), Amazing Resumes (JIST with Jo Earl), Job Hunting for Dummies: Australia & New Zealand, Should I stay or should I go? (Pearson), Stress: myth theory and research (Pearson with Fiona Jones), Getting a brilliant job: the student’s guide (Allen & Unwin with Karen Bright), Land that get in Australia: the skilled migrant’s guide (Tribus Lingua with Karen Bright); Stresssmart (Bright & Assocs); and the Chaos Theory of Careers (Routledge, with Robert Pryor). They’ve been translated into 10 languages. Several have become firmly established best-sellers.

 

The Blog and Podcast is called the Factory – it is named after the fact that my office on the Northern Beaches is in a Factory in an Industrial Estate. However this is no ordinary office, it is in the middle of a large acoustic recording studio owned by jazz virtuoso James Morrison.  Clients come into a magical space filled with music, original art, and musicians. I think it sets the tone for conversations about personal reinvention and personal creativity that I believe are useful in helping people appreciate their transferable skills and hence their potential. Sometimes clients literally express their creativity by having a quick go on the piano or drums! 

Factory

 

AiCD:  Tell us about your blog.

The Podcast / Blog was born out of me wanting to give something back to a field that has given me much pleasure over the years.  I have always loved technology, and so playing around the possibilities of social media was a logical extension of a hobby. I also realised that at the time I started in 2007, there was relatively little available in terms of horses-mouth accounts of the ideas of some of the most substantial figures in the field.  Since I was lucky enough to know some of these people or had enough cheek to insinuate myself into their consciousness, I am slowly building up a library of interviews with some of the people that I believe are thought leaders in our field.  All this of this is done by opportunity sampling at conferences or other chance meetings.  Most of the interviews from 15 minutes to about 40 minutes, and so there is time for some fairly extensive exploration of an idea or story.  My approach to these interviews is to be appreciative of the contribution of others, and so the interviews are not confronting or inquisitional in their nature.  That said I do strive to try to draw out my guests to unpack some of their ideas.  I am pleased that people seem to like the results and I know these interviews have been used as resources by students and some of the subjects of the interviews refers people to them for reference. For instance John Krumboltz tells me he does this.  We’ve had some great guests like John, Dick Bolles, Janet Lenz, Spencer Niles, Norm Amundson and Robert Pryor.  I will expand this list a lot next year I hope, and remember it is all completely free, commercial free and ad free.

 

The second strand of the Factory is the blog.  This is again an occasional thing that I try to fit into my schedule where possible.  I enjoy writing these entries but sometimes feel guilty that I am devoting time here that could be put into journal articles. Indeed I feel we are now transitioning to some extent from sharing our ideas primarily in peer-reviewed journals to social media.  The former model ensures quality through rigorous pre-publication peer review, while the latter when done well can achieve something similar through post publication peer review, commentary, revision and moderation.  In a way it can be seen as assisting journal editors in their labours by massively expanding the pool of reviewers to all interested players in a field.  Of course it means that the “blind” aspect of reviewing is lost, however I am not so sure this is such a great loss.  As a reviewer it is frequently easy to guess at the identities of  the authors of some “blind” manuscripts.  Some journals have gone to what I feel is an absurd extreme of requesting authors to “blind out” all names of references in their manuscript because the references may provide a clue to the author’s identity.  I say this is absurd because as a reviewer, one of the most important factors in determining the quality of a paper is to get a sense of the context into which the arguments presented are being placed.  It can be very important to know if a certain paper has been cited, misinterpreted, or omitted, as it goes to the central question of scholarship.  It strikes me that increasingly getting the ideas out there in blogs, and allowing open and free discussion will become an alternative and increasingly important method of dissemination of ideas.

 

My blog often contains longer versions of articles that I publish in newspapers, summaries of papers and projects I’m working on, and some “is it just me?” type getting it off my chest articles.  I have also started to connect with other bloggers that I admire, in particular David Winter with his Careers in Theory Blog.  Since stumbling on this I have tried to promote it where-ever I can.  I also comment on David’s blogs and recently we collaborated on developing responses to an article in the Harvard Business Review on Job Hopping that neither of us were particularly convinced by.   We coordinated our responses and posted them simultaneously on our respective blogs with links to each others.  The resulting commentary compliments each other well.

 

I have also become somewhat semi-active on Twitter.  I started this out of my early adopter curiosity, and once I realised just how much career related advice and information exists in the twittersphere, I got more involved to help me write a new chapter for Brilliant CV.  Indeed my colleagues at JIST have recently published a book exclusively focussed on using twitter in job hunting.

 

I use Twitter in 4 main ways.  One to announce events that I am involved in, this may be promoting a conference or training event for instance. Secondly, I use it share my thoughts about career development and to learn from others in the field. Thirdly I use it as a way to rapid prototype ideas and questions about career development – i.e. to put up somewhat provocative questions and to see what others have to say, or whether my idea has any legs or is misguided.

 

Finally I cannot resist stirring things up and have developed a mini-series called “Oppositional thoughts”.  These are sometimes serious, sometimes half serious, and sometimes simply jokes and puns, but all more or less related to career development.  One of my favourites is “I followed my passion, but my passion got a restraining order against me”.  Without trying to get too serious about it, I am trying to use humour as an envelope that contains a provocation.  Perhaps it is the twitter equivalent of an amuse bouche!  In the example other than the gag, I am raising the possibility that injunctions such as “follow your passion” are too simplistic.  Generally my oppositional thoughts are calls to arms in the name of Chaos and Complexity. I am always on the look out for an overly simplistic explanation that just cries out for a poke from the complexity stick. 

 

I called these Oppositional Thoughts for a specific reason.  I was once patronized by a consultant dripping with government funding who was obliged to get my less than mindlessly supportive views of some government initiative or other they were spruiking.  After hearing a series of my concern
s the response was “it is good to have oppositional people like you around”.  I loved the comment, and the implication that if you are not with us, you must automatically be against us – there’s no room for any meaningful discussion or negotiation!  It was another example of overly simplistic black and white thinking.  So in trying to highlight that tendency to be too simple (or to deny complexity) where I see it, I felt it was fitting to call them Oppositional Thoughts!

 

I also use LinkedIn which I think is a very powerful networking site for professionals. There are groups you can join where you can initiate or comment on debates, and my linkedin site is linked to my blog and to my twitter accounts.

 

AiCD:  What technology do you use?

I use WordPress for the blog and host it on my own company servers.  I did this originally as I wanted to keep control of the original files and recordings.  However I am increasingly thinking my decision reflected an old style approach to the internet.  It means I have to do all of the updates to plugins, personally edit themes etc, plus I will confront problems with storage as the podcasts in particular are large files.   WordPress itself though is a fantastic platform for blogging.  I also have the wordpress apps on the iPad and iPhone and so I can be blogging on the move.  I used to record my interviews using either an iPod classic with a Griffin Microphone plugin, or using GarageBand on my Macbook Pro.  Now I am using the Voice Recorder App on the Ipad.  The iPad works really well for this when on the run.

 

I use  a lot supplementary stuff to put the blogs and podcasts together.  For instance I usually edit the podcasts in Garage Band on my Macbook Pro.  I will also use Photoshop for graphics and Imovie and increasing Final Cut Pro movie editing software.  In addition I now use Adobe After Effects for some things. 

 

AiCD: You create a lot of podcasts. What made you decide to use that medium?

I decided to do podcasts because there is no substitute from hearing direct from the author of the ideas.  I personally designed the factory podcast logo which is now looking a little dated I guess, because it represents an iPod classic with earbuds.  I suppose this was my vision of how people would consume my content, but now I suspect more people listen through their laptops and increasingly through their iPads.   Be interested in feedback or ideas for changing the logo. Any suggestions?

 

I think the other reason is I love playing with sounds and  music. So much so, that when I was teenager I got an invitation to go and work at Marty WIlde’s (Kim’s dad) recording studio in Hertfordshire – I wanted to be an audio engineer.  I even went for a university interview to get into a Sound Engineering degree course. I turned up dressed like Elton John in his I’m Still standing garb, complete with an obligatory 1980s music note tie, to be confronted by a bunch of engineers in black leather trainers and marbled jeans talking with Birmingham accents about how to damp down the noise from a Ford Transit transmission.   Never have I experienced such an immediate, unequivocal and mutual sense of mis-match – a case of a modified Groucho – I didn’t want to be a member of a club that didn’t want me as a member! 

 

So now I get to work in a professional recording studio and get to play around with sound and music editing which is cool.

 

AiCD:  When did you set it up? 

April or May 2007

 

AiCD:  How often do you update?

Sporadically / not enough / more in the future I promise…I hope/think/intend.

 

AiCD:  What sort of things do you write about?

Not enough about J.M. Brearley and his profound influence on my carer development. Lots on chaos theory of careers, stuff on job hunting, resumes, interviews, material on occupational stress, more general stuff on working life, anything that takes my fancy.

 

AiCD: Who do you think reads it?

users, cheaters, six time losers, a man in a trench coat, practitioners, teachers, counsellors, academics, students, human resources professionals, government policy folks, interpol, inland revenue…

 

AiCD: What is it about you that makes you think people should pay attention to what you blog/podcast about?

Ever since I got up at my Grandmother’s Christmas party in 1974, borrowed my brother Richard’s music stand and proceeded to “entertain” my family by giving them my “Edward Heath” conducting an orchestra I have never questioned that people should want to pay me attention!! I suppose I try to be informative and well researched, indeed evidence-based.  I want to promote intelligent discussion that is not afraid to get deep or heavy or arcane on occasions, but also practical and immediately useful on other occasions. I want to engage in and encourage others to question, to think, to argue, to share ideas and to advance career development based on sound evidence and motivated by the promise of great and intriguing ideas and possibilities.

 

AiCD: What have been the best things about blogging/podcasting so far?

Without doubt getting feedback either on the site (I want more, please leave some folks) and having people tell me that they are using the podcasts or blog articles in their training/teaching/with clients or in their lives.  It is still a thrill when someone tells me they’ve found the information useful.  That is the purpose.

 

AiCD: What are the downsides?

None for me I love it.  I love technology and will play with “kit” and programs for leisure, so that side is a pleasure. I spend most days writing something or other, and i love talking, so what’s not to love. I get to talk to people I respect and admire and to share and promote their ideas.

 

AiCD: Do you think blogging will ever replace conventional careers advice/education?

Blogging wont, it will aid and abet.  However once we all get decent cable broadband, I think the possibilities for blended counselling with social media, information portals and group sessions will be fantastic.   In my view it is a mistake (and one that funding agencies are very prone) to see the “young people’s interweb” as some sort of labour and cost saving device.   Think cheap and nasty and get cheap and nasty.  Social media, the web generally can enhance, expand, connect, inform, and compliment, but not replace.

 

AiCD: What blogs do you read?

David Winter’s Careers in Theory.  He need’s a Shakespearian sub-title though, “A Winter’s tale”.

I like Daniel Pink’s work, also David Shapiro.  Bill Law does fine work, but you all know that. Adventures in Career Development obviously!

 

AiCD: Any final words?

I have been playing around with Youtube and have nascent Youtube channel called Brightcareers.  Check out my video “where will you be?” which is an introduction to the Chaos Theory of Careers Approach. I will be posting more videos over time and doing more film work, including some around my Beyond Personal Mastery model of innovation.  That’s the next area for me I think along with setting up careers courses as webinars.  Are there any takers for a weekly tutorial style course in Current Career Development Ideas, Theories and issues, and what would people be prepared to pay to attend a series of 10 1 hour sessions?  Let me know, and maybe we can make it happen.

Ms Career Girl: An interview with Nicole Crimaldi

For the next in the Adventures in Career Development series of interviews with careers bloggers we are talking to Nicole Crimaldi who writes the Ms Career Girl blog.

 

AiCD:  Introduce yourself

I’m Nicole Crimaldi. I live in Chicago.  I studied finance and entrepreneurship in school, I love dogs and marketing 2.0.

 

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AiCD:  Tell us about your blog.

Ms. Career Girl is written for the Gen Y woman.  Gen Y women typically “want it all”- a great career, a family and a strong sense of self.  Articles address topics like personal finance, life after college, self-improvement, job search tips and career etiquette.

 

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ACiD:  What technology do you use?

I blog using the WordPress platform.

 

AiCD:  Why did you set it up?

Ms. Career Girl started as a “passion project” that allowed me to use the creative side of my brain.  I heard my friends all talking about the same topics and decided to write about them.

 

AiCD:  How often do you update?

I used to write or have a guest post published almost every week day.  Now I publish posts only a few times a week.

 

AiCD: You identify yourself with Gen Y. Do you think that the recession has hit Gen Y harder, perhaps because they’ve grown up in a long period of boom? 

No, I do not think the recession has hit Gen Y harder.  Since Gen Y has been raised with a “you can do anything” attitude, I think many Gen Y’ers have decided to start their own businesses or freelance on the side (whether employed full-time or not).  Also, I feel Gen Y is used to change.  Typically, most of us don’t value spending our whole career at one or two companies.  Therefore, we are ok with finding a job until we find our careers.

 

AiCD: You write (and feature posts) about fashion. Do you think that thinking about how you look is something that careers advisers should talk about more?

If people want to admit it or not, the way you dress and carry yourself at work is very important.  It is your brand. It is the first thing people see about you before they hear you speak or see the qualit
y of your work.  To me, “dressing for success” is an aspect of career success that shouldn’t be ignored.

 

AiCD: Who do you think reads it?

Twenty and thirty-something professionals (both male and female).

 

AiCD:  How do you earn your living?

I work in Asset-Based Lending at JPMorgan Chase.

 

AiCD: What is it about you that makes you think people should pay attention to what you blog about?

The authenticity of it- I am real and the advice I give isn’t always traditional.

 

AiCD: Do you ever see people face-to-face to provide careers coaching?

No I do not, but I do some speaking.

 

AiCD: Have you had any training as a careers adviser?

No.

 

AiCD: What have been the best things about blogging so far?

The opportunities it has given me.  For example, book offers, media opportunities, free stuff and the invitation to meet and interview people I would’ve never met without the blog.

 

AiCD: What are the downsides?

Sometimes you get guilty when you don’t write!

 

AiCD: Do you think blogging will ever replace conventional careers advice/education?

I think most students get their career advice from blogs.  Where else do they get it anymore?  Most career centers at colleges are very outdated.