The Sum of Many Parts

2014 was an interesting year for me. It was a year for charting a new path, one with many lanes and detours, perhaps an exit or two when friends came to town or when I just needed a break. But in looking back, I am pretty happy with my ability to stay on the road. I do believe that the journey is the destination, but it is also good to have milestones along the way. Figuring out how I was going to make a living was definitely an important one to look to.

I planted seeds along many different paths:

  • Applying for jobs with the traditional approach of submitting applications and interviewing for a wide variety of positions
  • Attending countless job search classes and seminars
  • Attending a wide variety of events with a goal of increasing my network as well as learning new things, such as using a platform business model and Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas. (This is one of my favourite things I learned this year. So as an aside, here is an excellent video series explaining this concept, and here it is in action using KIVA.org as an example.)
  • Ramping up my volunteer activities, including being a board member of 25One Community and helping to start a new organization — a music business learning/consultation/career development hub for artists and music entrepreneurs
  • Letting people know I was searching for a new career

These were all incredibly useful and I continue to apply things that I have learned along the way. And really, doing all of these things helped keep me sane and got me out of the house even when I really really really didn’t want to face the world.

But an interesting thing happened. As time went on, as more and more people starting seeing my work, I was being thought of and recommended for contract work — bookkeeping for the Friends of Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, strategic planning with the developing Ottawa chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and assisting a local consultant of the International Fundraising Consultancy with research and writing for a wide variety of clients to name a few.

These days, I’m still doing this kind of contract work, but I’ve taken on two steady part-time contracts that I am really head-over-heels excited about. First, I am working with Kelp Music and MEGAPHONO, both of which are focused on working with independent artists and the people involved also have a passion for strengthening the local music industry. And second, I will being working with Propeller Dance, an organization that specializes in integrated dance. Their company includes dancers with a diverse range of disabilities, and they teach classes for people with and without disability.

I will still also stay active with my board work with 25One Community, a social purpose real estate venture that provides a co-working and collaborative space for progressive and social justice organizations. And as I mentioned above, I’m also chairing a committee that is working on developing a new organization that will support career development for people looking to work in the music industry — from artists and managers to publicists and booking agents and everyone in between.

All of this has come together thanks to an extensive network of contacts and friends. I love how this has developed organically, in ways that I consider somewhat untraditional in terms of typical job search activities. And for me, it has made it more meaningful, and has given me a rewarding sense of accomplishment and ownership over my own path. All of these pieces have come together to create a solid foundation for moving forward. There is still more building to do, more seeds to plant and cultivate, but I am thankful for this journey and everything I have learned in the last year. Here’s to a fantastic forward-moving 2015!

Updating blog post links

image of broken linkI was just checking out some of my previous blog posts, and I noticed that some of the links to resources have changed. Notably, a lot of the links for Charity Village and Volunteer Canada articles and resources no longer work. I believe both sites have been redesigned to some degree in the last couple of years, so the broken links make sense. But it really bothers me. So I am going to undertake updating the links on each post on my blog. I have already updated the last 20 posts. I should be done by the end of November. In the meantime, my apologies for any inconvenience.

Image credit: From CountyWebsite.com and their article “You’re only as Strong as your Broken or Missing Links” by Reba Winstead, July 2013

Update: November 25: I have finished this little project. I was surprised at how much content doesn’t exist anymore, especially around net neutrality. But I managed to correct many broken links without losing a lot. It was actually an interesting journey — going back to blog posts from 2008. A nice trip through time, even if only a short one.

Job Search Resources

As some of you may know, I finished my time with the Community Radio Fund of Canada a while back. After taking some time off, I’ve been back at it, looking for a new path. I have come across some great links to articles that made me think about creating a new resume, preparing for interviews, and even figuring out how to find my own way. I have also added some job search links (approximately 30 links) to my resources page.

Job Search

  • Nine Questions to Guide Your Job Search (by Laura Gassner Otting, Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group): I found this article useful before I began creating my new resume. What are my skills? What is transferable? What motivates me?
  • 7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media (by Dan Schawbel, Mashable.com): I’m not sure that I can fully embrace Dan Schawbel’s notion that “90% should be concentrated on the following seven social media secrets,” but these are still good ideas to incorporate in your job search activities.
  • How to get a job past the age of 50 (by Thomas Hart, Undercover Recruiter)
  • Ottawa Integrated Local Labour Market Planning: An Ontario Government initiative, OILLMP is all about analyzing and synthesizing labour market information. Not in Ontario? Check out the Working In Canada site to get labour market information for your province, where their “Labour Market Bulletins provide an analysis of the local labour market and an assessment of local employment-related events.”

Starting Your Own Business

Creating Your Resume

The Interview

Tips on how to be more productive

Give up.
Procrastinate.
Work less.
Get rejected.
Do an impossible task.

Is your brain hurting? Is there a typo in the headline? These sound more like a ideas for how to get canned. But this article raises some great points.

I’ve been watching some interesting videos on YouTube around how thought processes and the brain works (I highly recommend checking out the BBC show “Horizons” for great programs on intelligence and how to make better decisions … and more, of course). At first I was thinking that this kind of list is more about “tricking the brain” or using reverse psychology. And in one way you can look at it like that. However, what I find more interesting is the concept that, according to some brain-mapping experiments, when one is faced with a choice, the amygdala seems active. This is the area of the brain that deals with emotions. So for me, it is about understanding how my emotions work rather than purposefully playing mind games on myself.

And that is what I like about this list below. It is not about trying to convince yourself that your to-do list is manageable, it is more about how to better manage yourself, your thoughts, and even your emotions.

Image10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work
by Leo Widrich, Buffer

We’ve all heard what makes us more productive. To be more productive, get: Better sleep, better food, better work environment, etc. And I think these tips are amazing and a great focus to have. Heck, we even wrote about most of these and the science behind it here on the Buffer blog.

And yet, today, I thought of changing it up dramatically. It goes nicely with Tim Ferriss’ moto: “To do the impossible, you need to ignore the popular.”

Read the full article

Ummmm, what was my password again?

Wow, it has been so long since I have blogged, I forgot what my password was. That makes me sad. But honestly, I find with all of the Facebook sharing, Google Plusing, and Twittering, I find less and less energy available for my wee little blog here. I barely have time for LinkedIn, either. And Pinterest? What is that? Total Internet overload. Add the email inboxes into the mix, sprinkling in some great TED videos that have come out lately, sometimes it is just easier to turn off all the screens and hang out on the couch with a good book. Although the Fireplace Channel is acceptable. (It exists. It really does.)