Becoming Professionally Obsolete

I feel like 26 is too late to shift my career into an industry with rising stars, where those still in college & graduating from college are making a huge impact.

I currently sit in an intern room as the oldest one. I’ve worked since I was 16 and this is not my first office job.

I’m starting out from the bottom of the ladder again.

What if, by the time I take the next step, I’m already obsolete?

That is my biggest fear.

I’m not from a generation where social media is covered in the classroom, and I am not fluent in HTML.  Everything I’ve built so far in the last 2 years with my personal brand has been through trial & error.

Did I mention I’m still in school for my Bachelor’s? After that I might look into a masters in social work degree, but first things first.

I decided to take on another major, in accordance with my career shift, so let’s add that to the ‘disadvantage’ column.

I do love what I do. I’m a connector, and I love spreading the word via Social Media. I want to make a difference.

In 10 years, I want to take my experience, and start a non-profit. I do have a dream outlined in my mind. The execution methods may change by the time I make it a reality but the dream is there.

What if someone beats me to it?

Maybe someone already has.

Every morning, I wake up with hope, and fear. I’m afraid that I’ll always remain in the background. I may never make enough of an impact to become an expert in my field.

Then I remember that those in the background also make an impact. If I love what I do, and I am going after my own dream that will someday make a difference (even in one person’s life), doesn’t that count?

So that’s how I overcome my fears. With hope.

And a little dose of reality.

In a field that evolves every single day, all I can do is keep moving forward.

I educate myself.

I read.

I form opinions.

I listen.

I join in on conversations, and participate in groups such as u30pro.

I share my .02 since I am a little more experienced in some things.

Maybe I will become obsolete in the grand scheme of things. By moving forward, I just won’t be afraid of becoming obsolete.


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Put Your Best (Online) Face Forward

Announcement: Ad spots are still available for April. Don’t forget that you’ll also be giving to charity at the same time! Full details here.

When a company looks into the ‘online you’, is what they will find appropriate?

Whether you’re currently on the job hunt, or you may be in the future, your presence across social media platforms & blogs will come under scrutiny.

Are you putting your best face forward or is your online presence hurting your chances of being hired?

You have a stellar resume, letters of recommendation & your interview outfit is sharp. One look at your Facebook profile and all of that can become irrelevant.

You will be representing your company and they want to make sure you represent them well. Here are a few tips for putting your best ‘online’ face forward:

Be consistent. You are your own brand. Make sure that your image is consistent across social networks. Your LinkedIn is inherently professional but if your Facebook is a complete 180 from that image, employers will take that into consideration.

Be aware of your online footprint. Everything you put online will remain there and it will be found. Always keep in mind that even pictures you delete from your Facebook can still be found. Think twice about putting up that picture of you at the frat party. Would you want your future boss to see it?

Keep the profanity to a minimum. (Or don’t curse at all if you can). There is nothing impressive about cursing and just like you wouldn’t just drop the ‘F-bomb’ in front of your boss at work, you shouldn’t be dropping it all over your social network. Especially your Twitter feed. Your 140-characters shouldn’t be ridden with profanity. You certainly don’t want to accidentally drop the ‘F-bomb’ on your company’s Twitter feed.

Be aware of how your friends contribute to your presence. If your friends are consistently writing about how awesome it was ‘getting trashed’ on your wall, you might want to tweak your wall settings on your Facebook. When cleaning up your profile, be sure to also clean up what your friends put on there, including tagged pictures. Don’t be hesitant to untag and ask your friends to take down pictures of you from their profile as well.

Mashable has some great tips on how to clean up your Facebook.

Don’t trash-talk your previous employees. In addition to being completely unnecessary, this is very unprofessional. You shouldn’t be doing this off-line or online because it actually shines a bad light on you. The person you may be talking to could refrain from even giving you a referral because of the way you talk about your previous employees. You also never know when you might run into a previous coworker again. The rule here is simple: Don’t.

Google yourself. In order to put your best face forward, you have to be completely aware of how others see you.

What will your boss or potential employer find out about you when they hit ‘Search’? So, are you putting your best ‘online’ face forward? What other tips do you have for those active across social media?

[Reverb10] Community

The groupphoto © 2009 Grzegorz Łobiński | more info (via: Wylio)

This year, as I found myself, I also found people around me fading away.

As I grew out of friendships, it seemed that because of one friendship expiring, I kept losing entire communities of people.

At 25 years old, it’s hard to make new friends, let alone find new communities so you focus on making the ones you have stronger.

June of 2010 was an incredible month for me as I found myself smack in the middle of a sisterhood that had already embraced me unconditionally. I just didn’t fully see or understand it until we were all in the same room together. They had watched me grow over the last few years, some intimately & some from a distance.  When a friend I had met online who had watched me from a distance invited me to her wedding around the same time someone I thought was a friend told me I wasn’t welcome in her life (In addition to her wedding), I understood what true friendship & community meant.

I also found the Social Media community of Washington, DC. I was intimated at first because I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer. I was timid & unsure, like the new kid in a high school where everyone had known each other since nap time. I still put myself out there, through my fear & insecurities. Boy am I glad I did.  I have met some amazing people who have made a name for themselves and are still offering insight to the newcomers. The sharing of knowledge, insight & the friendships that form in this community are priceless. (This is obviously nowhere near a comprehensive list of all the amazing people I have met & you should join the FB group if you want to join the great discussions)

You have to make it through the fluff.

The reality is no matter what community you discover, there will always be fluff.  It’s when you get down to the nitty gritty that you find the true value in the community, the people and most important of all, yourself.

In 2011, I’ll keep being the new kid where it counts.


Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)