Friday, February 14, 2014

UPDATE One Connection Away (Feb 14th 2014)

So much going on. OCA has been on hiatus since the end of December. And you might be wondering why.

Around the middle of December I came to the conclusion that I needed to shift my schedule toward actually looking for income producing work. Long-story-short, I applied the exercises I've been teaching others over the last couple years and went and got me a job. (Separate announcement)

OCA in transition.

We're at a crossroads. Many of you are working but remain underemployed. You tell me that to move forward you still need to develop your experience and skill profiles. That you need practice creating and telling the story of who you are and what you're becoming. And that personal and professional development is easier with a supportive network around you to be accountable toward.

You also tell me that weekday meetings don't fit your schedule and you're not able to get together much more often than once or twice a month. I understand.

One of my lessons learned from my last couple years of facilitating OCA meetings, developing career management and job search exercises, discussion topics, producing a weekly newsletter, and semi-regular blog postings is that one person can't do all this and effectively look for work at the same time.

A call for volunteers to help bring OCA back in a new form.

Want to grow your skills or tell the story of how you're keeping them fresh and helping people at the same time?

Meeting Organization: Organize and facilitate meetings, Research and create exercises, Coaching your fellow group members, Updating the event calendar, etc.

Content Creation & Promotion: Finding and sharing useful articles, Writing blog posts, Creating email newsletters, Creating social media content, Running surveys and studying analysitical data, etc.

Helping people in transition is very important to me but I can't do it alone. Help me out.

Shoot me an email -

Duane (The email address is up in the right hand corner of the blog)

Personal News: Duane

Job Announcement:

In March I'll be joining Seattle consulting firm PointB to develop their internal business development capabilities as well as the service offering of developing business development capabilities. (a meta role for me)

As a marketing guy focused on brand and value proposition development and having a background creating marketing campaigns, designing promotional materials, providing consulting services, and creating training materials this seems right up my ally.

However, this means I'll have less time to devote to my volunteer activities. Which means OCA needs to change (Separate announcement)


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dec 20th: Last OCA Meeting for 2013

Our final meeting for 2013 is this Friday. (No meeting December 27th)

This weeks meeting will be at the same place and time as 2 weeks ago. At the Starbucks in the middle of the South Lake Union Amazon Campus. (Starbucks - 442 Terry Avenue North Free parking is available at the School of Visual Concepts (

This particular Starbucks serves beer and wine and light food in the evening which could come in handy after a week of being underutilized and overworked (regardless of whether you're earning anything). And with all the excellent bars and restaurants in the area my recommendation is to come downtown early to relax a little and avoid the traffic nonsense. (Traffic after 8 doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem) Again, I’ll buy wine or a coffee drink for the first 3 people to RSVP me they are coming. Email address in the column to your right.

December 20th Topic: What do I need to stop doing in 2014?
Almost everyone does new years resolutions. Today’s meeting is a discussion about the ONE thing you need to begin NOT doing in 2014 that will most help you grow professionally (or personally but that has a professional payoff)

What I need to stop doing: Going to bed later.
Why I need to stop doing it: So I am more rested, healthier, clearer-headed, more even-tempered, etc.
How I intend to stop doing it: Set an evening alarm. Reward lights out before midnight.

Please revisit the revised survey Link: When Do You Want To Meet?. It only asks 5 questions and I’ve reduced the answer options to those most in contention.

Here’s a preview of the questions it asks:
What time of day would you prefer to meet?
What day of week would you prefer to meet?
How often would you prefer to meet?
Where would you like to meet?

The meeting schedule through the end of the year:
December 20th - Meeting 6:30 - 8pm (Starbucks - 442 Terry Avenue North)
December 27th - NO meeting

Something Interesting

More Interesting & Motivational stuff @ Duane's Pinterest

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Something interesting: Tools you can use

 (Even if you already have work)

The first tool I’m checking out is Insightly. A contact management system that’s free for up to 3 users and a limited about of contacts and storage demands. (About right for a job search I believe)

Ironically the secret I learned (the hard way) of creating a good contact database in Insightly is to do it the hard way. That bulk batch importing of data from a poorly maintained contact list is NOT the way to build a useful CRM. Were I to do it over (and I’m seriously considering doing just that)

Step 1: I’d batch output my Linkedin list to a spreadsheet. 
Step 2: Batch output Google Contacts also to an excel spreadsheet.
Step 3: Batch output whatever contacts I had elsewhere (I have lots) also to an excel spreadsheet.
Step 4: Adjust the field names so that they match.
Step 5: Put them all together to sort and eliminate duplicates.
Step 6: Get rid of any that have just emails (Google contacts seem to grab spam addresses and think they are contacts. Not a good thing.)
Step 7: Run through merge data, update things, since it’s all in one place and easy to see.
Step 8: Import it into the CRM.
Step 9: Muck with it some more (inevitably)
Step 10: Celebrate!

What does a CRM allow me/you to do? More effectively keep track of contact history, conversation notes, obligations to follow up, etc. organize communication time efficiently, create mass mailings (not that I’d recommend that), make sure potential opportunities don’t fall through the cracks because I/you got busy somewhere else.

If you use a spreadsheet, notebook, string around your finger, you’ll find it a major improvement in your sense of being in control of your time. You may find yourself doing less random contact with people who’ve forgotten who you are and more regular contact with people who know you care enough to stay in touch (and remember what was important to them.)

More help and hints on using this tool over time, maybe. Share your thoughts about CRM or what tools you use in the comments below.

- Duane

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 6th Meeting

A little background: When OCA started meeting in coffee shops was kinda a “thing.” All the cool unemployed kids were doing it. We elevated those one-on-one meetings to commiserate to a new level when we went from one-on-ones to “hey gang, let’s get together to share tips and give each other some support.” We eventually outgrew those Starbucks gatherings and spent a brief time at the School of Visual Concepts in an unused classroom. And as people found work we downsized to a meeting room at Uptown Espresso. It’s time for us to shift again.

You spoke and I listened.
This Friday December 6th is our first of a three month experiment with an every-other-week schedule. And it’s the first (regular) meeting we’ve done in the evening (6:30-8pm).

People have been telling me that while they have work, they are definitely still under-employed. The task of career development is n ever really done it just shifts to a back burner. The every-other week schedule and evening time will hopefully better allow people to continue to take baby steps towards defining and achieving their career goals. (And of course current job seekers are always going to be welcome.)

The School of Visual Concepts is still supporting us with free parking (when classes aren’t in session) and I’ve shifted our meeting location to the Starbucks in the middle of the South Lake Union Amazon Campus. (Starbucks - 442 Terry Avenue North

This particular Starbucks serves beer and wine and light food in the evening which could come in handy after a week of being underutilized and overworked (regardless of whether you're earning anything). And with all the excellent restaurants in the area people may want to make dinner plans before or after the meeting and avoid all of Friday’s traffic nonsense.

So in simple terms, the meeting schedule through the end of the year:
December 6th - Meeting 6:30 - 8pm (Starbucks - 442 Terry Avenue North)
December 13th - NO meeting
December 20th - Meeting 6:30 - 8pm (Starbucks - 442 Terry Avenue North)
December 27th - NO meeting

December 6th Topic: Now what?
Mostly going to be a “get to know you” for those that haven’t been coming the meetings or never could come to a meeting. Other discussion on what you’re doing now, what you’d prefer to be doing, etc. Don’t feel like you have to come prepared.

PLEASE RSVP: I’d like to know who all is coming so I can grab the right amount of space. (I’ll buy wine or coffee for the first 3 people to RSVP me)

- Duane

Something Interesting: Tool box

Tools you can use (even if you already have work)
Job searches (and career management) can get overwhelming. And unfortunately most of the tools to make it easier are designed to take money from you or turn you into a product to sell to someone else.

I’ve been on a mission to identify the useful tools for managing this process. And I’ve discovered some you should (and may already) know about. Over the next month I’ll write some reviews and share how I’m using them (or anticipating using them as the case may be) Feel free to investigate for yourself:

Insightly - A Contact Management System.
Evernote - Note-taking research tool
Google - (Google Calendar, Gmail, Tasks, Drive, Maps, etc.) Integrated resources for doing stuff.
Linkedin - Portal for professionals
Glassdoor - Research on the inside
Starbucks - Really, there’s a tool you need to know about.
(and a few more)