you aren’t where you work

I recently changed jobs. Doing so required a lot of reflection on exactly where I am in my career and where I want to go. I learned a lot through the process but it wasn’t until yesterday that I came to the realization that I, like many other people, place a lot of emphasis on WHERE I’ve worked and not what I have been able to accomplish.

Think about it. When someone asks you, “What do you do?”, most people respond with their job title and what company they work for. This infers that your skills, capabilities and accomplishments are somehow only relevant when couched with the reputation of a company.

Don’t get me wrong, working for a highly successful company may be worth bragging about, but does that define who you are and what you are capable of? My experience indicates that employers seldom know or understand how to capitalize on the expertise of their people.

I’ve had 5 job titles throughout my career: Educational Technologist, Manager of Emerging Technologies, Associate Director of Emerging Technologies, Director of Business Development, and Business Analyst. You can infer a lot from those job titles. But what are you missing by making assumptions about me?

How are you representing yourself? Are you more than just a job title with a company branded to your forehead? What sets you apart from others? How are answering the question, “What do you do”?

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why are we using dvr like it is a vhs tape

The entire concept behind current DVR technology confuses me. Take for example DirecTV. I have their DVR service. For the most part, the signal I get from them is perfect. Occasionally, when the weather is horrendous, we lose signal. So I think to myself, “Hey! What a perfect opportunity to watch some of the stuff I have on DVR”. The only problem is, when I click play on that program I recorded and completely forgot about, it can’t play. For some reason, a file stored locally has to be able to talk back to central command before it can play back. Perfect.

So based off of that logic, when a really nasty storm comes through when I am recording something I really want to watch (Dr. Who for example) and knocks out my reception for an hour, the recording should be synced with central command and be fine. Right? Wrong! I have an hour long recording of the commercial the recording froze on when the weather front came through.

Why not simply set limitations to what I am able to “record”. Then, if I am within those parameters, just download the show to my DVR. That guarantees the entire program was captured. And if the system has to talk to central command during playback and for some reason can’t, store whatever crucial information is needed in a log file that uploads once connection is restored.

Apparently this is rocket science. Of course there are probably ancient FCC rules that limit new technologies ability to improve media consumption but this shouldn’t be so complicated.

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I moved to Minnesota in February of this year and have to tell you that I have spent the last 9 months recovering from my transplant. With two new kids, a new job and few connections in the Twin Cities, I have been challenged in ways that I never faced before. I think this feeling is compounded by the fact that I work out of the home and do not have the opportunity to interact with like minded people as regularly as I became accustomed to. This isn’t to say that I don’t get out of the house and meet great people. I do. But my role in business development tends to keep people I meet at arms length. I don’t hard sell and I am not looking to close a deal every time I talk with someone, but the simple fact that I work in business development applies a stigma to most interactions.

It has taken a while to for me to become aware of these new challenges. But now that I am, I am becoming more adept at overcoming them. I can be productive in my home office but realize that I need a change of¬†scenery¬†and pace regularly. Going to the same coffee shop or in my case Panera isn’t an appropriate outlet. I need to get out to new places, meet new people, try new things. I need to accept this new beginning and become accustomed to the norms that accompany it.

So, it is time to change. Time to work toward a different schedule, a different mindset for being successful. The only person standing in my way is me. Such a simple phrase for such a difficult hurdle to overcome. Forcing one’s self to face the cold hard facts is not easy. No one wants to admit that they are struggling with something. No one wants to admit that they have been resisting what outwardly appear to be simple changes. The reality, most people ignore the tough choices. I have worked with organizations shifting the entire culture of a company, which is not an easy feet, but to date, I haven’t forced myself to make changes to my standard operating procedures.

I am accepting my reality. I am no longer fighting to maintain what I had considered “normal”. I am moving on. I am now a Minnesotan (though I will not swear allegiance to the Vikings). Change is good and now is the time to actually do it.

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you don’t have to be profound

I have always struggled to write because I felt I needed something truly profound to say. The reality is, I have thoughts and opinions, all of which are formed by experiences and lack of information. With that, I am going to take positions on matters and people will disagree with me. I will make assumptions that are frankly misinformed. I am ok with that and you should be too. Game on!

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