Thursday, November 28, 2013

School for Startups, book review

When I first started working in the career centre, and in business librarianship, all small business endeavours that wanted to succeed required a business plan. It was the mandatory task, the one requirement for entrepreneurship. Avoid it at your peril.

Currently, business plans are not required: they are "nice to haves"*--necessary if you are looking for money from a bank or have a class assignment, but no longer the ticket to admission. Now, what is necessary is your idea, a good budget, and a swift move to market. School for Startups: The Breakthrough Course for Guaranteeing Small Business Success in 90 Days or Less, covers these three steps.

School for Startups covers self-employment myths, explains what bootstrapping is and gives the reader encouragement to try some different businesses that might be really, really scary for some people, such as opening an online store or starting an import/export business. Though the book argues that startups can be started for $0, or at least the cost of domain name, some of the businesses mentioned, such as the car export business, cost several thousand dollars to initiate. Again, depending on the type of business the reader wants to found, they will have to supplement their initial reading of this book with more in depth industry research.

If you expect this book to have learning outcomes at the beginning of each chapter with summary questions at the end, School for Startups is not that kind of "course". If I was giving this book to a reader, I would not give it to the reader who has a very strict idea of the type of business they want to operate (I would probably give that person the appropriate volume from Entrepreneur Press' Startup series, or resources from the appropriate professional or industry association), but I would give this book to the person who just doesn't want to work from anyone else, but isn't sure what that involves, except maybe a business loan. This book would also work for the person who wants to try self-employment, perhaps as a summer job or to make their own paid internship, but who isn't sure what they would do, or thinks that they need a grant or business loan to get started.

This book is for:

  • The person thinking about entrepreneurship, but who may not have a specific business idea
  • This is the encouragement book for the reader who has a specific idea, but who thinks that only financing, loans and venture capital will secure their business
  • The reader who is thinking about short term, possibly serial entrepreneurship, creating a business that you can sell to someone else for a profit, which completely matches with the "startup" ethos.

Overall, an enjoyable, quick read, but it does not supplant in depth research.

*Yes, you can disagree with me about the need for business plans.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Inside Higher Ed 2013 Survey of Human Resource Officers Webinar

Inside Higher Ed is hosting a free webinar on the release of the 2013 Survey of Human Resource Officers on November 13, 2013. If you are interested in post-secondary positions, this should be of interest to you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wanted: Adoring Female Students from Inside Higher Ed

And more handmaiden complexes...

Inside Higher Ed looks at a Twitter thread started by a blogger asking respondents to
please share with me all your stories of the male professors you had in college who thrived upon and demanded female admiration to function

and the resulting tweets, including messages about how this was not part of their student experience and pointing out that the Other Sex professors also enjoy adulation.

Again, it is this idea that women do not show up to work/study, or that getting sexual attention from professors is just part of the experience. To be fair, this is also a part of exploiting youth, of either gender, to quench a midlife crisis.

I also liked this quote from Allison Kimmich, executive director of the National Women’s Studies Association, where she stated that,
“Men are overwhelmingly the majority of full professors by rank,” she said, noting recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. “So that means male faculty by definition have greater power and authority on campus by virtue of both rank and numbers.”
She continued: “Does that mean every male faculty member abuses that authority (as the Twitter [thread] suggests)? Obviously not, but clearly there are structural issues at work in higher education that lend themselves to potential abuses of authority.”
I also don't want any comments about how students dress that invite such flirtation. I went to school in Canada and staying swathed in a parka to fend off the chill of the classrooms does not dissuade the most determined perv, since they want verbal, but sexually charged, adulation, at a minimum, and for you to disrobe, at close to the maximum access. It's not about clothing, it's about attitude and self-control.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Handmaiden Problem

One of my co-workers passed around this article from the LA Times, Sexism a problem in Silicon Valley, critics say, and in addition to the overall breathless tone of Newsflash, gender issues an issue in the workplace, and some weird statistics, I also had a problem with this comment:
Speaking before a gathering of women in technology, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recalled an uncomfortable exchange with two men on a different stage discussing the scarcity of women in the industry.

One commented that he would like to hire more young women but not all are as competent as Sandberg. The other said he, too, would hire more young women but his wife fears he would sleep with them and, he confessed, he probably would.
I would like to call this The Handmaiden Problem; in other words, the urge this male executive has to visit one of his female colleagues and say, I'm so glad you brought your lady parts to work today! Let's take them on a test drive over lunch! and that the female person would, of course, screaming with eagerness, copulate with him until his nuts fell off. Or lunch was over. Whatever came first.

I'm not sure what Sandberg said when trapped with this nugget in an enclosed space. Hopefully, it was along the lines of, most of the men who worked in harems were eunuchs with some seriously potent stink eye. But her husband telling her, they told the truth and that now she has to deal with it, is ludicrous. I think I'm not here to have sex with you, no matter how nicely you ask, Mr Married Executive, should be a given.

This is not about anti-romance in the workplace, either. This is about how all females supposedly swish their tails aside when the alpha male arrives. The women he would have hired--once his wife gave him said permission, of course--were not obliged to sleep with him, even if he really, really wanted it. The assumptions are not only, "career girls" are available all the time, but also, women are just making time at work, but not really working. Handmaiden, come hither and service me.

I do think most men understand their female co-workers are a) here to work, b) are competent, c) are not obliged to have sex with them, but the persistence of this belief annoys me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Crowdfunding has always existed?

Someone in another discussion posted the dismissive comment that "Crowdfunding has always existed" when discussing the use of crowdfunding to buy and sell shares in a company. I have used this "it has always existed" argument myself (we were mean before the Internet, the Internet did not shave off 2 I.Q. points from everyone, etc.) but in this case, I don't think that this current form of crowdfunding could exist without the Internet, nor without our belief that businesses and individuals will deliver the products that they promise.

Yes, you have probably crowdfunded in the past. You may have stopped at your bank and contributed to a local fund for a family that lost their house to a fire or you might have raised money for your trip to Uganda by holding a bake sale, but these were mainly localized efforts that relied business services and demonstrably prepared goods available in exchange for your cash.

Unlike online crowdfunding, you didn't solicit funds in advance from people on the promise of brownies. At least, I never went to a bake sale where I gave the money to buy all of the goods needed to put the products together with the hope that my half dozen oatmeal cookies would be waiting for me. Cookies were promised, they were there, I bought them. I did not have to trust that a stranger would use my cash advance to pay for ingredients. They took the chance that all of the product they created would be bought, so they could at least recover their costs, and counted on their cookies and brownies to make a yummy profit. In addition, as a consumer, I can also afford the luxury of cookies, not to mention cookies on spec.

The current online model of crowdfunding relies on trust in fulfillment and delivery and in globalization to get as many people buying in as possible, beyond geographic limits and time limitations, such as business hours.

For crowdfunding on the Kickstarter or Indiegogo model, you need the Internet:
  • To market your product outside of your location. You don't have to take international contributions, but you get a wider, national range.
  • To assemble your diverse contributors and collect their pledges. Since crowdfunding on these platforms is global, which is not possible with localized fundraising through bake sales or just passing a hat, gathering the funds on this scale is not possible without the Internet, as well as the Internet payment services that can translate and process a variety of currencies.
  • You need to have a reliable service that can process small payments from disparate contributors into a lump sum. In the past, you could go to the bank, one entity, and get your money. You could get a patron, perhaps two or three, whose entire contributions could pay for your effort. Unlike diverse pledges, patrons can interfere with or attempt to shape your art, or direct where your product is available. Through online crowdfunding, you can smother the patron and get more money than the bank may have been willing to give you. You also don't have to repay Kickstarter, while a bank gets pretty upset with you if you don't pay them back.
You also need access to consumers who can afford luxury goods or ephemera, as well as consumers who can buy on the promise of a return--they trust in manufacturing and in the creative process.
  • People who trust that if they give you money, they will get their goods. We need faith in manufacturing, a culture that believes that products can be made to order and delivered, for us to give our money. Many people do not believe a product or item will be made unless it is currently in a store or a theatre. 
  • We can afford to buy these goods, especially ephemera--or can use the Internet to get access to these people. You need consumers who can afford to buy experiences, such as attending a festival, or supporting a book, and these people are a particular type of first world consumer.
You could argue that a subscription system to a theatre is crowdfunding and those have been around for a while. Kickstarter has just allowed this model to penetrate more sectors of the arts and manufacturing. However, I still think you subscribed to a theatre because you lived in the region and you knew where the theatre was that you were going to attend. A local trust system was in place that you could participate in and you had money for this type of good.

Lotteries are also crowdfunding, but the reward system is different. There is also an element of chance in a lottery that you don't have in online crowdfunding--what reward I purchase is the reward I get. I will admit that the element of chance does come with the fulfillment process.

So, I think we have been primed for online crowdfunding but this iteration is fresh in the way that it relies on technology, consumer trust and globalization to fund products, services and experiences.

You can disagree with me on this, and I am happy to learn about more services that the Kickstarter/Indiegogo platforms have plagiarized, but I do think that online crowdfunding is a grandchild to bake sales, but unique in it's own way from its ancestors. An iterative innovation, but innovation nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Crowdfuding Success Stories

Have you thought about running a crowdfunding campaign, specifically on Kickstarter, and wanted to come up with a plan, or at least get an introduction to the platform? The Kickstarter Handbook should be one of the books that you pick up for your research, especially if you have not contributed to a campaign or have only a vague Veronica Mars or Double Fine Adventure vision of how the site works and how much money an entrepreneur can raise on the site.

This book provides a good overview by looking at the platform itself, the types of projects that are eligible for Kickstarter funding and by interviewing actual fundseekers. The author looks at what methods have succeeded and failed. Readers should keep in mind that there is no process or recipe for Kickstarter success and that a project can be snatched from the jaws of defeat with a concentrated final effort--or can fail despite the creator's best efforts and reputation. I also liked the simple worksheets that compared projects and their funding needs based on reward tiers and the actual cost of using Amazon payments and the platform to secure funds. I'm sure that quite a few people who plan to use crowdfunding have confused Kickstarter with an ATM, forgetting that they actually need to deliver--including writing all those emails and mailing labels, not to mention paying the shipping--on all of the rewards they have promised. Don't skip that chapter. I would have liked a chapter on what has happened to people who Kickstarted and didn't deliver, but this is a book about success stories, after all.

The Kickstarter Handbook is a quick read to introduce an entrepreneur to the platform and how it might work for their project. It is not industry or product-type specific, so the reader will have to do additional research into how a designer or a musician can use Kickstarter effectively. The author is a journalist, so it has that Business Insider/Forbes-style of writing, which does make it a  breeze to read; however, it is only the beginning for determining if crowdfunding is the right way to proceed for your project. It may also have insights for the reader who has tried crowdfunding and failed, as well as for the reader who just wants to understand what Kickstarter is and the role it may play in small business finance.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile...and 18 Mistakes to Avoid by Brenda Berstein

At work, we are currently updating our resources on using LinkedIn and shaping our LinkedIn policy. This is one of the books on my reading list on that topic. I originally read about this book in this article from Forbes and decided to pick it up for research, even though we can't use it in our library (available as Kindle book only).

How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile describes eighteen steps, as well as some bonus tips, that you can use to build your LinkedIn profile and increase your likelihood of being found in LinkedIn searches--though the tips could also have an impact on your Google visibility, depending on your LinkedIn privacy settings. Overall, I thought the tips were useful and straightforward and contained enough screen captures that a LinkedIn newbie would be able to find where in the LinkedIn profile the author was directing them to update.

However, this is not a basic book so this is not LinkedIn from the Beginning--and it doesn't have to be. This is written for the LinkedIn user who has a profile but who hasn't made the most efficient use of their content or who hasn't thought about how best to profile their content on and select keywords for LinkedIn. And not everyone is going to agree with all of the tips, such as the recommendation to get more than 500 connections--I accept her reasoning, that the more connections you have, the more likely you are to appear in internal searches in LinkedIn--but I can see some of my hesitant colleagues or clients balk at that. And you don't have to use all of her suggestions to improve your profile overall--making better use of the Summary field and updating at least once a week so your contacts don't forget about you could make an improvement on what you get out of LinkedIn.

I would recommend this one to advisors who have been asked to comment on LinkedIn profiles, but who aren't sure how people make an impact on LinkedIn, coupled with Jason Alba's I'm on LinkedIn...Now What? if you have only cursory LinkedIn experience.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A zero hours work contract also means some very imaginative statistics

"No work" job contract cast shadow over U.K. labour market refers to so-called zero-hour work contracts which means that some days you have work and other days you have no work--but you still have a job and can be counted as employed in the labour market analysis.

Though the article does state that 1 in 5 jobs are affected by these contracts, I wonder how many librarians (and other library employees) in the U.K. have their work governed by these contracts?

Friday, May 31, 2013

But I don't want your Glasses on me

Recently in a locker room of a local public swimming pool, I was changing from my swim suit back into my street clothes, naked from the waist down, when I looked up to see a cell phone camera pointed at me. My heart actually stopped. When I followed the camera back to its user, two women were crowded around a cell phone presumably sharing pictures of an event that they had just attended. I asked them to put away their phone and that it was really inappropriate to do that in a change room.

The person holding the camera told me to f*** off. But she put the camera away and they both left offended.

I actually asked people, Am I crazy to not want a camera pointed at me in a change room? Everyone I asked said I wasn't. But according to this blog post from Bits, I'm going to have to get used to it, since the landscape has no feelings.

Now, I will have to contend with Google Glasses roving around in the change room and I'm not pleased. I also don't agree that a private change room in a public facility is public, and I don't feel that I have to get used to it. I do think that the majority of people are generally decent and that they can successfully monitor themselves. However, it only takes one indecent, cruel or ill person to make a lasting impact on a person's life and fortune, so we should take steps to protect everyone from harm. I'm also among a group of people who feels they are out in public to accomplish their goals--shopping, dining, changing clothes--which does not negate their personal rights and turn them into your landscape or background noise.

I think it might be time for facilities to have disruptors that they can turn on so people who can't control themselves with their devices in public spaces don't impinge on people who don't want a camera (or other recording device) pointed at them. I also want to automate the disruption of recording devices so as a person who works in a public space, I don't have to constantly navigate fights between clients as to what is appropriate or not. For example, I did not bother to tell any pool attendant about what occurred because there are no signs barring the use of cell phones in the change room--and a significant minority ignore those signs anyway and complaining in the past has only gotten me a dismissive shrug. I would like the option to turn the disruptor off in the case of an emergency, such as a tornado, so people can use their Google glasses to find shelter, but sharing cake recipes on Pinterest does not qualify as an emergency.

In the meantime, until a company comes along that makes a localized or personalized device that I can use to disrupt Glass, which I think should be an option for people just as purchasing Glass is an option for other consumers, I think masks may be coming back into style, or we may all engage in everyday cosplay to vanish into people's recordings--or to take them over completely as individual landscape disruptors.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Get Biking Directions in Google Maps

Since it is summer, time to make use of biking directions in Google Maps. It is very useful to chart safe routes, which include bike paths, for clients who use the library and access it on bikes. Could also be used by businesses who want to highlight their bike-friendliness. In the workplace, it could be used to promote active commuting--and, at least according to this study, if you co-workers actively commute, it could influence you to make your exercise for the day by walking or biking to work.

You might also want to see if you can submit bike path data with Google Map Maker and include it in your using Google media literacy program.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I spied JobProx on Springwise. They are currently seeking investors through an Indiegogo campaign. 

JobProx relies on jobseekers downloading the apps onto their devices and then connecting with their LinkedIn profile.

I could see this working really well in controlled job seeking events such as information sessions, career fairs, conferences and mixers, since you are in a public place, thinking about work, not out in your pajama pants thinking about buying a quart of rocky road and wondering if you will have time to wash your hair today. I'm also not clear about how to turn the job seeking broadcast off and on. It might also need to remind you to update your LinkedIn profile and maybe suggest some keywords or skills to add to your profile.

I wonder how much tailoring employers can make for finding proximate, desirable job seekers. For example, at our career fairs, one employer might be looking for first and second year biology students for summer (temporary) employment and they have received specific funding that requires a candidate to be a returning student. On the other hand, a museum might be looking for summer workers and will take "any arts, any science, any education (as in elementary and secondary education)" and this second group of employers is also interested in those biology majors. How could you tailor your LinkedIn profile to bring you to the attention of both employers? The candidate has to provide an updated profile that includes this specific information, while an employer needs to be able to search by education and possibly specific year. However, based on this video, I would conclude that an employer can only search for candidates by app on, LinkedIn profile and breathing in the vicinity. Which I might be able to accomplish just as effectively with a T-shirt.

Still, this might be neat to test at an ALA placement event.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Evolution of the Internship from InternMatch

This infographic is from InternMatch, though I can't find it on their website (had to go through Mashable).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

CERIC studies work from home opportunities

The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) is offering a train-the-trainer series on legitimate work from home opportunities. This will be of interest to people who have been asked about the legitimacy of work from home opportunities as well as to identify the providers that offer these opportunities.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dear Mother from the iProject Atlas

Spotted on Strombo's blog.

This young man saved up and paid off his mother's mortgage.

I love this video since I regularly spend time with young adults and I get tired of hearing people from my generation or older who comment on the selfishness and sense of entitlement of young adults. This is absolutely wrong: they are just people, younger, but no better or worse than their elders.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MYO wearable gesture control

Rather than talk about Google Glass, as a presenter I'd much rather talk about MYO. MYO is a wearable pointing/computer navigation device that removes the camera from the equation (Kinect = camera).


I see many practical uses for this device, especially if it can be used with the Internet of Things (examples from the McKinsey & Company Insights) or they should have some discussions/swap API with these guys that are using cloudy water to make a display.


I guess we will be seeing MYO in the shower videos.

The Shower and the Google Glasses, or is this about discretion?

So not only do I have to ask people to clean up their social media profiles, I now have to ask, do you have any Google glass photos that we need to worry about?

I'm not sure how worried to be about this (remember no, I didn't think so), but I think it will mean that I have to have more discussions with people about are they really your friends if they take these pictures and post them online at Embarrassing Nightclub, not making it up and NSFW) and then describing how to remove these photos from social media services. I find it interesting that when making presentations about the social media work search that I have to discuss qualities and virtues such as discretion and friendship and the dangers of meanness to personal reputation.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Two Monkeys were Paid Unequally: Excerpt from Frans de Waal's TED Talk

This video has been making the rounds on social media this past week, so if you have already seen it, you can skip it--though it made me laugh every time.


This also explains why some companies try to keep their salary data completely secret. I am sure the monkey's reaction would have been different if she/he had no idea she/he was being cheated out of a lovely grape.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Problem when Sexism Sounds So Darn Friendly on the SciAM Blogs

According to the blog post author, The Problem when Sexism Sounds So Darn Friendly points out that this is a repost in light of current events, so you may have read this before. Like the author, I think this might be a good time for a revisit.

Melanie Tannenbaum, the author of The Problem when Sexism Sounds so Darn Friendly, comments on recent events, such as the controversy over the obituary for Yvonne Brill and the outcome when the author of I F-ing Love Science revealed that she was female, while referring to research into hostile and benevolent sexism. The research she quotes is from 1996 (17 years ago) so if anyone knows of an update, I would be happy to read more on this topic (benevolent sexism, not sexism in general). I am especially interested in light of this result:
...those who endorsed benevolent sexism were likely to admit that they also held explicit, hostile attitudes towards women (although one does not necessarily have to endorse these hostile attitudes in order to engage in benevolent sexism).
Tannenbaum also posits an example where benevolent sexism is alive and well, and working to the detriment of both men and women.
However, to those people who still may be tempted to argue that benevolent sexism is nothing more than an overreaction to well-intentioned compliments, let me pose this question: What happens when there is a predominant stereotype saying that women are better stay-at-home parents than men because they are inherently more caring, maternal, and compassionate? It seems nice enough, but how does this ideology affect the woman who wants to continue to work full time after having her first child and faces judgment from her colleagues who accuse her of neglecting her child? How does it affect the man who wants to stay at home with his newborn baby, only to discover that his company doesn’t offer paternity leave because they assume that women are the better candidates to be staying at home?
The post is worth a read, though, as I mentioned, I would like to know about more recent, possibly international research into these attitudes.

I also wanted to share my favorite comment from researching this post (and quoted in the linked article from The Guardian about the fracas) came from a person responding to all of the commenters* talking about the science blogger's lovely femaleness: "My fellow dudebros: Chillax. In science, sex is just a single genome characteristic,"

*And yes, I looked up commenter, since Google hated the spelling: commentator is for sports, commentor might still win in common use, though one source I checked suggested that "-er" is preferred over "-or" as a suffix (that explains computer, but not tormentor), and commenter just hasn't been added to the New Words and Slang. For now, I am going to use it, but let the best neologism win.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This is How You Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay

This is How You Get Your Next Job is about "fit" and how to manage the employer's impressions, or "negative impressions", of your suitability for employment. It is not targeted at any one industry or type of worker, such as professionals or entry-level workers, and though many job seekers will take something of value away from the book, any potential reader who has been told that they didn't get the job offer because of "fit" or for the person about to go for their first skilled-occupation interview.

Overall, the author has offers advice and exercises that will help with interview preparation, such as the list on What employers look for that includes desired qualities such as flexibility, stable behavior and intellectual curiosity, and the Would You Hire You test which includes several essay type questions that will include content you can use for answering interview questions. The encouragement for reflective thinking and self-examination, especially for a person that has had a few failed interview attempts and needs to examine their behavior in the interview, would be helpful for some readers. I would pair this one with Ron Fry's 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions, which I like for basic training in interviews.

The author does spend a lot of time focused on the "negative filtering" techniques that employers use to decide who is a suitable candidate. Negative filtering is a cognitive trick used to determine if something is mismatched or incorrect according to our perceptions. In a mild form, negative filtering could mean removing a candidate from the running because they fail to show up wearing a tie. In its most abhorrent manifestation, when a candidate is the wrong religion, race or gender for a job, negative filtering can remove those candidates from consideration, based on the filter of the interviewer. Most of the book focuses on the failure to demonstrate follow through or stable behavior and how those traits are demonstrable and when not achieved how an interviewer can filter candidates out based on the lack of those traits. On the whole, when considering the exercises, candidates can make sure that they demonstrate the traits that employers look for and apply it to their career management.

I did like this book, especially for a reader who is getting ready to enter the professional work force, though I felt demoralized by the litany of employer complaints that sometimes felt frivolous. For example, one interviewer states they would not hire a person who wore patterned hose. Maybe the person meant the airy crocheted kind or fishnets, but this seems to be pretty picky when compared to a person's ability to regularly show up on time and write cogent sentences--not to mention the fact that the patterned salesperson could sell snow to an Inuit. Some of the employer likes and dislikes seemed a little silly when the person's abilities were not considered, but the candidates were discarded for trifling fashion faux pas or some conservative bulwark against tattoos or piercings.

The advice on what to say and not say in an interview, your first presentation to an employer, was really well done, even if some of the picky faults were a bit exasperating at times. I would recommend readers who have the presentation down pat to review the chapter on Things you should never do once you get a job or in your career--ever as a worthwhile introduction to basic career management and etiquette when dealing with colleagues and supervisors. This is How You Get Your Next Job is useful, though it can get a little annoying at times, but it does remind you that interviewers are human too, with their own foibles that candidates need to acknowledge to find employment.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Career Counselling Appointments at ALA Annual

This message just popped up in my LinkedIn groups and I thought it might be useful for people planning to go to Annual

Group: American Library Association Subject: Now Accepting Career Counseling Appointments ALA JobLIST Placement Center Now Accepting Career Counseling Appointments

Career Counseling
Saturday and Sunday
June 29 & 30, 2013
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: ALA JobLIST Placement Center,
South Building of the McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago

During the upcoming ALA 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago there will be a number of activities and events scheduled to assist library workers, and specifically job seekers, in preparing for effective job searches. Included in these activities will be an opportunity to have a FREE one-on-one session with a professional career counselor.

Recharge your career by meeting with a professional career coach. She can guide you in strategizing for the next phase of your career, solving a problem in your current job situation, defining goals, and/or rejuvenating your career. Each one-on-one session is 20 minutes, and is completely confidential.

If you have never experienced career counseling, or just haven't used this type of service in a long time, this is the perfect opportunity to either introduce yourself to or reacquaint yourself with a service that can be useful throughout your career.

Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with a knowledgeable professional about your career concerns. This service is free and available whenever the Placement Center is open.

To see the full range of activities for job seekers, for more information, or to sign up for an appointment, visit the ALA JobLIST Placement Center website at: .

ALA is concerned about library workers, and we’re working to help you meet your career challenges. Hope to see you in the ALA JobLIST Placement Center.
Posted By Beatrice Calvin

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's not always about gender

In my stream last night, I saw that Gay Kawasaki had reposted a listicle from Cristina Cordova about how to attract more women to startups. I agree with most of the post in that you need to clean up bro culture in the workplace, for civility and for clarity in job titles and postings, but I'm not sure you need to do it on account of my fragile lady parts.

First of all, suggesting that Team Lady is the only group of people who would be upset by bro culture overlooks a significant group of people who dislike aspects of that culture and don't think it is good for business.
  1. We love your cultural symbols--especially when I don't have to think about what they mean. Oh, god, the ninja thing. This is a bit like talking about how your Jedi mind tricks worked and meaning it. This is about what we believe an icon is and not what it actually represents--and how little it has common with the job you have to do. These job titles don't make sense on your resume, so if your startup fails and you need to look for a paying job with another company everybody in their HR thinks you ran an anime club for three years.

    And while we are misappropriating cultural icons, why can't we use [code] slinger, gangster, naut or crusader? Because they sound silly and childish and only the Japan of our imagination is cool enough to rate a job title. Cordova does point out that some startups use rockstar and hacker, but again, we use them because we don't have to think about what the term really represents, and she doesn't mention how those titles undermine the credibility of your employees when they are engaged in the work of growing, marketing, representing or selling your startup.

  2. Alcohol makes the money come round. Recently, I toured a startup facility with a friend of mine who abstains from drinking alcohol for religious reasons. As the guide spent five minutes expressing how much business got done in the tavern below the startup space, my friend just put her hand over her eyes and tried to block him out. His argument was that if you don't drink, there was no reason for the other people in the space to talk to you and give you advice and assistance. And the space was awesome. I wanted to bring my sleeping bag to work and fuel my enterprise with the coffee from the excellent coffee shop below that he failed to mention on his tour, except as another tenant in the building. The insistence that alcohol lubricates business persists in many industries, not just in coding, and that the cool and knowledgeable drink beer and lots of it, is a myth that we perpetuate, as in the Hipper Crowd of Shushers.

    Reliance on alcohol to facilitate business cuts out a whole group of people who don't want to mix alcohol with work and who might make stupid decisions if they did mix alcohol with work. It's like we're back in high school, all being pressured by the cool kids to drink. And if you did give in to their pressure, let's remember how that turned out. Now imagine it posted to YouTube while you are trying to get VC funding.

  3. Lets have a discussion about how jerks are replaceable. At one of my interviews, I had a grilling from the IT team leader who used a common programming term incorrectly. I corrected her, but SHE quickly established that her usage was correct. I let it go and got the job, but she continued to bring it into the conversation for two weeks after my hire until our supervisor told her to let it go. My point is, jerk is genderless and not limited to coders. Maybe we should talk about how these people strain the workplace, as well as misrepresent us to clients. Hire well is good advice for all hires, regardless of gender, and maybe your college roommate who joined the startup in its first week is not as good at their job as you think.

  4. She doesn't talk about the roles that women will be hired for. This is one issue where there appears to be a workplace gender divide. I have suggested that the post focuses on hiring women coders, but women do play other roles that a startup needs to thrive and they are not treated as if they understand the arcane mysteries of technology, as in this ad from Samsung.

    Ah, the ladies, bringing down the code bros with their insistence on not spending money on two kegerators. And not being smart enough to recognize the redundancy reducing technology the bros are using to mock them with. 

  5. Though they could have trotted out the silverback stereotype, the middle aged, suited dude who refers to all of the code bros in the diminutive, as in Danny or Jimmy, and who hasn't updated his technological know how since teletype. But there are no old people in startups anyway.
So yes, I admit that gender does play a role; however, there are some areas, such as alcohol and protecting crappy employees, that should be discussed without gender, since some arguments that use gender fairness as their rationale put women in the position of being the angel in the workplace.

Monday, March 11, 2013

What is Meetup?

This summary is from an in-house presentation that I delivered in early March 2013.

Meetup is an online social networking tool that is meant to connect people in the same geographic region who have the same interests to form a group online and then use calendaring and map software to meet In Real Life.

In fact, to form a meetup group, you must agree to meet in person.

Signing up for Meetup

You can sign in to Meetup using your email address and a password or you can connect with your Facebook account. Connecting with your Facebook account means you can immediately invite your Facebook friends to your Meetup groups. You can also see what groups your Facebook friends are a member of.

However, Meetup is useful for “out of network” matchmaking; for example, if you are the only person in your Facebook network who owns their own business, your Facebook friends are not the people who can help you write a business plan or get answers to your questions about VC funds. You can use Meetup to break into networks that are currently closed to you.

What does it cost?

Meetup is free for regular members, but there is a fee to form Meetup groups. Organizers can only run three Meetup groups at one time.

 In this case, if we formed a Career Knowledge Group for campus, but offered a variety of events, this is one Meetup. If we formed a Career Knowledge Group for Arts, Engineering and Education, and each with a separate group of members, we could not add a Science Meetup group without paying for an additional administrator account.

Since there are fees for Meetup groups, some organizers do ask members to pay a small fee when they attend their first meetup. Other Meetup groups are sponsored by groups or business organizations, which can offer some ad space for the sponsors on the Meetup group page.

What groups are on Meetup?

Groups are usually formed around hobbies, such as knitting and movie watching, while others are for educational, such as learn Spanish, and business purposes, such as the Startup Edmonton Meetup.

Some Meetups are even combinations of hobbies, businesses and education: for example, I belong to a vegetarian and gardening meetup which includes a potluck event to meet people and usually a presentation from a local entrepreneur, such as making straw bale homes.

Career services can make use of the educational and entrepreneurial meetups, but since we can also encourage people who are planning to relocate from or to Edmonton, to use Meetup to build a local community to alleviate homesickness.

Open and Closed Groups

Some groups are open meaning that you don’t have to be a member to see upcoming events, while others are closed and events are accessible to members only. Some closed groups only require a request to the organizers to join, while others will ask you to email the organizer with a sort of, why should you let me in to your Meetup group message. Some groups will allow you to remain a member even if you never attend a meetup, while others will kick out people who fail to show up to even one meeting, or who RSVP but fail to show up. All of these rules will depend on the organizer(s).

What does a group page look like? 

What does the user dashboard look like? 

  • There is a stream of events, including a list of Facebook friends that are on Meetup, as well as information about who has RSVPd to Meetups the user currently belongs to. 
  • There is a calendar, which can include suggestions for Meetups that the user may not have registered for or if they are not yet a member of, though they all relate to the user’s interests 
  • An editable list of user interests so the user can search for new Meetups.

Why Meetup? 

Meetup combines several familiar tools in one place, so people familiar with all of these tools do not have to learn new skills to use Meetup:

  • Mapping Event planning, including RSVPs and group management 
  • Calendars, which includes notifications of new meetups, importing calendars to existing services, such as Google calendar 
  • Group formation and forums, as well as commenting on events and attendance monitoring 
  • Tagging and categorization 
  • Review services because attendees can add a review to an event after they have attended 

Facebook uses some of these services, but Meetup encourages out of network connections and socializing outside of Meetup. Meetup offers some solution for event management, though they have not currently worked out the ticketing and event payment process, should a fee by required by the event organizer.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Privacy Law in 60 Seconds Promo Video from the Authors

As a promo for his new book, with co-author Paul Schwartz, Daniel Soslove has put together a 60 second debrief on the main issues around privacy law--and to encourage you to read the book to get the full story.

I really learned a lot from The Future of Reputation, so I am looking forward to this book--in a sort of, wow, homework kind of way.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yahoo! says no more working from home: Is this really about telecommuting?

Yahoo! has said no more working from home, "all hands on deck" and suggests that if you can't interact with other people, you can't innovate.

I find this interesting since, I would argue, that inspiration was private, but now our new keyword is innovation, which requires a team. Can you really only come up with new ideas in a group--or are we really arguing that the execution of ideas requires a team effort that has to happen over coffee (and not over Skype)? What do you think?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Can I take a nap during the day?

Office Team completed a survey of HR managers to find the most unusual and unacceptable questions asked by prospective employees during interviews. Asking about nap time, if you can get your birthday off, and what the job is for, are interview no-nos.

I'm not shocked by any of them, but I think some people with interview anxiety may want to know that at least one of their competitors will ask these gems--and not be informed in advance about how grown ups take care of these issues.

As an aside, I don't think the "help me find an apartment" one is a bad one: they may have misunderstood what "relocation assistance" meant in the job posting.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Maybe you should make yourself less anonymous on LinkedIn

This video from Business Insider, How to see who's viewed your profile on LinkedIn, explains how to make your profile anonymous to people whose profiles you have checked on LinkedIn. Personally, unless you are engaged in some sort of corporate intelligence investigation, I think you should be as open as possible (within the confines of LinkedIn).

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Generation Jobless tonight on CBC Doc Zone

Generation Jobless talks about youth unemployment in Canada and it will be airing on Doc Zone this evening. I'm looking forward to viewing the documentary, but I'm also going to bear in mind some of the concerns expressed by the Globe and Mail's TV critic, John Doyle.

Currently, this video is only available for viewing in Canada.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Putting Tumblr in your Reader

Yesterday, I delivered a presentation to my colleagues on Twitter, Tumblr and Prezi. The presentation introduced the service and what they did and how we can use them.

However, I didn't really talk about how to keep track of them or how to keep them organized after you subscribe. For now, I'm going to focus on Tumblr blogs and managing them with Google Reader, since you can use a similar method for Prezi and Twitter (which is still doable in an RSS Reader, but a teeny bit of a pain to configure). This is not the only method, but our office uses Gmail, so we have Reader enabled. This is a simple method to use to keep track of Tumblr feeds without signing up for Tumblr.

Sign in to your Goggle account and activate Reader from the More menu if you have not yet turned on Reader. This RSS reader will be associated with your Gmail account, and you can use it to monitor news, Tumblr feeds, Twitter feeds, and searches that you monitor as RSS feeds.

To put a Tumblr feed in your Reader, you need to get the RSS feed for the Tumblr. For this demonstration, I got the RSS feed from the Tumblr Dead Man Talking (thanks to Science On! for putting together the listing of science Tumblrs).

Click on the RSS feed button and the RSS feed page will appear. Don't worry about the streams of code: you just need to copy the feed address from the address bar in your browser, as shown below.

Copy this feed (select it and CTRL + C), and return to Reader. Once you are in the Reader dashboard, click on the Subscribe button. The add feed field will appear. Paste your feed into this field and click the Add button.

Once you have clicked the Add button, your feed will appear in the Subscriptions block of Reader. You are now subscribed to the Tumblr feed, so you can access it from Reader, with all of your other feeds, without signing up for a Tumblr account.

You can also create a folder so you can organize all of your feeds by topic. Click on the subscription that you would like to organize--in this case Dead Men Talking, since there is no folder that it belongs to. A menu will appear when you activate the arrow next to the feed. From this menu, select New Folder.

A window will appear with a message that says, What would you like to call this new folder. In this case, I want to keep all of my "science" feeds together--not necessarily my Tumblrs, since I will probably also subscribe to the relevant feeds from Nature, Science Magazine, PopSci Science feed and CBC Technology and Science feed, but I can add those and other feeds later to this folder.

You can see that the feed is now in the appropriate folder. When I add new feeds, I can click on the arrow next to the feed and move it into the appropriate folder.

The numbers next to the bolded folders tell you how many new or unread items are available in the folder.

You can also reassign a feed to a different folder by activating the menu through the arrow next to the feed, or you can perform a mass reorganization by activating the arrow menu next to Subscription and selecting Manage Subscriptions.

You can then change folders, rename feeds and mass reassign feeds to folders from the Subscription management dashboard. Once you are finished, select Back to Google Reader to return to your subscribed feeds.

This method will work with any properly formatted RSS feeds, including Tumblrs, and is a way to follow feeds and keep them organized without subscribing to Tumblr.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Untouchables from PBS' Frontline

If you missed it, you can watch it on the PBS website. It does make the DoJ look like the big loser though.

Watch Alarm Bells In The Housing Market on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Number of working poor families increases

According to a report from the Working Poor Families Project, the number of working poor families has increased by 200,000 between 2010 and 2011. The report cites such issues as low wage, temporary work, and workers that hold a series of such jobs, and a lack of education--the gap between people who didn't complete high school and those who completed a bachelor's degree is staggering--to prepare people for higher paying jobs.
In 2011, the mean annual earnings for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were $69,387, compared with $20,936 among those who dropped out of high school (p.4).
Other effects noted by the report includes the very high cost of housing for a working poor family, as well as the cost of transportation to work and the cost of child care.
In 2011, 61 percent of low-income working families had a high housing cost burden—defined as spending more than 33 percent of household income on housing costs such as mortgage or rent payments, utilities, and other expenses. For working families below the official poverty threshold, 81 percent had high housing cost burdens.
The report also includes a breakdown by state for working poor families in the thousands.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do you share the name of an [in]famous criminal?

Here's another reason why it is a good idea to verify by actually meeting with someone--or adding more descriptors to the search than their name--before Googling them: do they share the same name as a criminal?

Just this past week, police in BC alerted the public about a young woman who had been released from prison but who may still pose a threat to people and animals. Now, another young woman, from the same community, has come forward to say, we share the same name, but its not me. I would like to say that it was foresight on the part of this young woman, but more likely she got scared into making the announcement when she was almost arrested on the SkyTrain.

I'm wondering if you did an ego search on yourself and found that you had an evil twin by name, if you should add this info to your application, just so people don't jump to conclusions. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mistaken Internet Identity

Andy Elwood, a contributor at Forbes, has apparently been mistaken for the drunken, duct-taped passenger on the IcelandAir Flight, and he has decided to write about it to clear up the confusion.

This is actually something I have warned people about--not that the IcelandAir flight crew apparently has plastic ties on hand to deal with drunks, but that when you do a Google search on someone, that you are correctly matching the face to the name. This is actually one of the reasons why I don't like it when people tell me they searched someone on Google before an interview: they don't know that this is the person that they are deciding to interview, because they have never met them.

Luckily for Andy Elwood, he has a reputable platform where he can dispel the confusion and can refer to the story if there is every a question about his ability to hold his liquor. There are probably many cases of mistaken Internet identity where the person whose name is sullied can't remove the confusion--especially if employers make assumptions before a meeting. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Anatomy of an Online [Dating] Scam

Writing for Information Today's LinkUp Digital, Reid Goldsborough details on online dating scam through Plenty of Fish (PoF). He also describes how he was able to find information about the scammer and the where "she" found the content to attempt to seduce him, based on research on the website Pigbusters.

Other resources that you could use if you were planning a fraud awareness program include:
According to this article from Fast Company, which quotes IC3, the total (reported) losses from romance scams was fifty million dollars in 2011, and women apparently made up the majority of the victims. With Valentine's Day approaching, this may be a timely subject to address.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Scams and Swindles: Phishing, Spoofing, ID Theft, Nigerian Advance Schemes, Investment Frauds. How to Recognize and Avoid Internet Era Rip-Offs

Scams and Swindles looks at a wide array of Internet fraud, from phishing and spamming to sweetheart scams. Since many of these frauds rely on the victims not realizing that the information is false, it is  important for librarians to learn about different types of frauds so they can recognize them. Librarians may help their patrons to recognize frauds, but may be responsible for recognizing when a fraudster has targeted the library. Scams and Swindles is a good introduction to Internet fraud.

In each section, the author lays out the basics of the fraud, the identifiable symptoms, and then describes a criminal that engaged in the fraud. Each chapter closes with the steps an individual consumer can take to protect themselves and/or to report the crime to the appropriate authorities.

Libraries could be targeted as repositories of personal information which could be exploited by identity thieves. The author breaks down the five institutions that could be targeted for identity theft: incautious businesses that don't have good auditing procedures in place; careless organizations that let their customer data go missing; data thefts from educational institutions; data brokers who store personal records; third-party credit and debit processors; and insiders who perpetrate a fraud (p.6). The steps the author suggest to combat losing personal data include "The Four A's: authentication, authorization, administration and audit"(p.23), which is a simple outline to build a data security strategy on.

Though this book is almost ten years old, most of the frauds are ageless, or can be easily reincarnated. However, some of the websites mentioned in the book, as well as some of the legislation, has changed. In this case, Scams and Swindles is a good book for recognizing fraud, but not for combating it, though identification may keep many people from being scammed in the first place, which is the most important part of the battle.

I would recommend this for basic research into Internet fraud, especially if your library was planning an awareness program, but not as the comprehensive resource on the subject. The book also does not touch on job scams, though many of them are perpetrated as cash advance and spoofing scams. The book's accessible and plain language style will also appeal to readers who have limited financial or computer experience.