Deconstructing Your Failure

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Photo credit: Steve Ford Elliott

Career Grief sucks. There, I said it. It sucks — horribly.

I sat in a pool of it this past week, despite an astronomical EQ, a mad set of business skills, and growing demand for my work.  That, my friends, is exactly why it torques my day.  It rolled through at the most unexpected (and least welcome) moment, leaving me cranky that I still feel the aftershock of losing a job I loved.

Some days grief is like a spider web. You walk face first into it and no matter how much you spin and try to pull away from it; the tiny strands cling to you all day long.

Rather than wallow in a pool of self-loathing, I pinned down the source of recurring frustration.  I confess that my departure felt like a failed mission — it’s one thing to admit defeat but altogether castrating when someone else calls the time of death for you.

A Sense of Failure at the Root of Grief

It turns out that I’ve been mourning a vital part of me that I left behind. That part of me is kick-ass brilliance and talent, and I’d be an idiot not to retrieve them. In order to do that, I deconstructed my (self-labeled) failure by asking four questions:

  1. Did I attempt too much?

  2. Where did I contribute to poor communication or incomplete information?

  3. How did I dilute my own authority or weaken my team’s responsibility?

  4. When and how did I permit “drop-in crises” to derail our primary mission? Continue reading

Fresh Articles that Make You Go “Hmmm”

Control Freaks Hate Community

Control freaks hate community. And most recruiters are control freaks. Ergo, recruiters hate community. Perhaps my deduction is a little harsh (and purposely attention-grabbing). Maybe a better way to describe how many recruiters feel about community is that they are suspicious, or at the very least skeptical

Freshly posted to ere.net, this article lays out several compelling reasons why community and relationships (formed there) are essential in the 21st century Web 2.0 model of recruiting.

I just discovered the author Marvin Smith, who is a Talent Community Evangelist at Microsoft. Smith’s use of social media for recruiting  and his understanding of how community and branding make him worthy of your RSS Feed.

How to Decide How Much to Reveal About Yourself

People ask me all the time how I can be so honest about my life in my blog. They want to know how I can write about marriage, sex, abortions, or running out of money over and over again. It’s an endless list really, of the stuff I write about that people can’t believe I’m writing about

This is fabulous first-person article written by Penelope Trunk.  She shares the powerful and personal reason behind her ability to lay it out there for everyone to read.

Trunk, is the founder of 3 startups — most recently, Brazen Careerist, a social network to help young people manage their careers.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking on a New Client

At the start of their careers, most freelancers take on every new client that comes along. But as we mature and gain more experience, we become more discerning when we’re choosing who we work with

This is a short, solid article that every freelancer or self-employed professional should read. Written by Celine Roque, it’s just one example of the great content on Web Worker Daily.

What is EQ and Why Should You Care?

75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.”  — The Center for Creative Leadership, 1994

EQ is the acronym for Emotional Intelligence, and it represents your ability to handle yourself and others.

I took  my first EQ test when I joined an executive team of fellas.  I wasn’t surprised that my ability to manage my emotions eclipsed the rest of the gang, but I learned that a high EQ won’t buy you job security.  In retrospect,  it does come in handy when your boss tells you you’re off the team.

Life coach and consultant Margaret Meloni authored this new article which is posted at PickTheBrain

Practical Resources for Self-Employed Professionals

At last, the self-employed worker goes mainstream. It’s too soon to look fondly at the recession and give it credit for accelerating the process, but give it time. Until then, let go of the resentment and put your skills to work.

The freelance life is exhilarating, thrilling, and stimulating.  It can also be frustrating, maddening, lonely, and shocking (at tax time). If self-employment is new to you, take a deep breath and shore up your resources (in this case, information and people).   Here are some practical websites for starters:

Getting Started and Staying Viable

  • Hourly Rate Calculator — this hourly rate calculator helps you arrive at a sensible hourly rate based on your costs, number of billable hours and desired profit. It is a simple and time-saving way to look at what you should charge. (NEW)
  • Business.gov — Specifically geared toward self-employed citizens, this U.S. government site provides critical information if you’re contemplating self-employed status or already headed down that path.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) — Free, online courses (each are 30 minutes or less) cover every stage of conceiving, launching and managing your(self and) business.
  • National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) –Admittedly, this one is new to me, but it’s been thriving since 1981. NASE wants to be the go-to source  for micro-businesses and the self-employed.
  • WebWorkerDaily — The knowledge worker’s happy place. Tips, trends and advise on how to be more efficient, productive and successful.  Everything from how to find freelance clients, build your brand, maintain  work/life balance to dealing with isolation.
  • Brazen Careerist — You’ve got to think young to stay young! This Gen Y-powered social site transcends the notion that a paycheck, or a corner office, or a fancy title, will ever lead to a passionate life.
  • Women Entrepreneur — From the folks at Entrepreneur Magazine, a female-centric ezine. More down-to-business content than Pink.
  • Guerrilla Freelancing — The website dedicated to helping every freelancer still in the trenches, working as hard as they can to build up a solid freelance business. (NEW)
  • Freelance Radio Podcasts — Tune in for tips, tricks and news about freelancing. Downloadable through iTunes, FreelanceRadio won the People’s Choice for Best Blog Podcast of 2007. (NEW)

Managing Yourself and The Business

Copyright and Trademarks

  • Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) — Thought of a snazzy new business or product name but wondering if it sounds just a little too familiar? Start here to see if someone already staked his claim and owns the legal rights.
  • Creative Commons — One of the most promising (and productive) ideas to come along. This is a must-see site to learn how to share and build upon the work of others while honoring the rules of copyright.

Writing, Design, and Communication

  • Graphic Leftovers — A marketplace for designers, illustrators and other creative souls to sell their “leftover” artwork on the web (so that folks like you and me can buy it on the cheap).
  • Language is a Virus — Widgets (and more) to cure writer’s block!
  • The Writing Lab — Over 200 free (online) writing resources, from Purdue University
  • Ragan.com — Never fancied yourself a communicator? I assume that since you’re self-employed, you’ve since realized you ARE the mouthpiece of your company.  This website will keep you just close enough to the cutting edge of communication strategy and tactics.

Promotion

  • Blog Talk Radio — Check this out, if only to tune in and learn! This is a social radio network that enables anyone to create free, call-in talk shows using an ordinary telephone and computer. Cooler yet: each show is automatically archived and made available as podcasts.

And now for some articles: