Coffee Break Series 1

I did it finally.

As you can see the Coffee Break Series is in a functional mode, though I admit it could have been done better.

I hope this video (actually audio file) explains why you should have a mentor (yes, I have one!).



Direct link to YouTube here

To know more about why I decided to start the series, click here

If you are curious, I finally found this software for free that allows me to record the audio and I do the rest through Windows Movie Maker and upload in YouTube.

Recording the Coffee Break Series.

Who said it would be easy?

Really, I do weired things in the blog to push myself a little more. So, I announced the Coffee Break Series and its time to post one. Now, am struggling trying out various softwares where I can upload audio files only, so I don't have to get dressed at 11.47pm to record the video.

Didn't work, one problem after the other. So, I give myself sometime and will try it out on the weekend.

Meanwhile, while I try to work out my own promise- have a good weekend everyone!

New Graduates/newbies- news ways to find jobs

I somehow get in touch with new graduates all the time- all looking for jobs.

Yep and it is hard in this economy to get one. However, I have always thought there are also new ways to find one at the same time.

I've always tried to help my friends or sometimes even strangers and the fact that I run for blog for newbies I should probably know something about it.

Infact, I have a volunteer since last month- I read Tim Ferris'- 4 hour work week and read all about delegating work to free up some of your time and I thought why not? I can try it out but instead of hiring people or outsourcing the work- I told my friends that I was looking for some help. By next day I had a handful of resumes in my inbox.

I narrowed it down to a potential marketing PhD candidate for next year and we both learn something out of it by working together. She volunteers 10 hours/week with me (remotely done, she is from Oklahoma) and she learns what it took me 3 years to figure out. She is gaining some experience hopefully while I look forward to get some fresh ideas from her.

So, for all of you who are looking to find a job, watch the video and get going. You can still get the experience you want to include in your resumes and yes- plan for it ahead of time.

The best thing that can happen with technology and social media is connecting and approaching these people is not difficult- you have open access to them and you can stay in one continent and volunteer for something in another.


Google Voice- why you should use it? Pt 1

It saves you time.

It’s cool.

You can use it for strangers without having to give your real phone number.


It’s a winner and I like it more than I like Google Buzz. I personally don’t like dialing in to listen to my voicemails, I’d rather read texts or emails. If the phone call was really important I’d take it anyways. Since, it wasn’t or you called me at the wrong time I let it go to my voicemail.

Google Voice will transcribe the voicemail for you and send it as text to your phone and email (Gmail id you use to subscribe to it). I love it- since I can play back the message if I want to or just read the text.


It’s available only in US (at least for now).

The error in transcription obviously happens if the language used is not English.

There are 2 ways you can use Google Voice - one with your existing number (the one I use) and the other with a new number. It’s available by invite only and that’s why they are so many people who are unaware that it has launched. The first time I read about it, I requested an invite over twitter. I got it through a connection and friend of mine over LinkedIn because my twitter is connected to LinkedIn- so anything I tweets is my status update for LinkedIn. I almost forgot about it till I got the invite!

To know more about Google Voice, click
here

To request an invite
here , unless you already have the invite through a friend.

To read, how Google Voice helps you as a PM or a blogger, come back next week!

(Pic Courtesy)

Are you happy at work?

Do you love what you do- your job or do you maintain it to pay the bills? How to be happy at work is what Karl Staib specializes in.

So, I ask him- what needs to be done to be happy and here are some great tips from him. Enjoy the interview.

How can work make you happy or can it? Most people I meet keep their jobs, so they have the money to do they like to do.

I believe work can make us happy. We need external elements to understand what excites us. For example I may love filming videos in my mind, but when it actually comes down to the preparation and execution I need to actually do it. The imagination is fluid, but actually doing the work is a whole different game. Our actions create results. It's these results that help us measure our development.

We need to do work that excites us. It's this work that we can connect with and also helps us bring value to other people.

Money is really far down on the list of things that make people happy at work. Relationships bring us the most happiness. When we share an experience we create bonds that support our development.

So, even if someone is not happy right now- what can they do to be happy?

I'm glad you asked this question. Happiness is really a state of mind. It's amazing how some people can connect to their work and others can't. I really believe it depends on the person's ability to reflect on the positive, make adjustments, and try new angles (finding a way to be creative at work) that help us build our happiness. It comes down to believing in what we do.

My favorite tool is a gratitude journal. Whenever I feel sad I write three things that I've enjoyed about my day. By refocusing my mind back on the positive I'm creating new synapses that build my emotional strength. Now it's become such a habit that I do it automatically, helping boost my mood, so I can do great work.

When you start your job and you are the newbie in the office and you don't have the best projects- how should you train your mind to be happy?

This is where happiness is overrated. We want a job to be perfect. We start our new job and we get the crap work. This is normal. We can't run the company in just 6 months. We need to find ways to develop ourselves at work while at the same time being so helpful that managers and co-workers notice you.

My suggestion would be to think of every task as a way to work on your emotions. If you are getting frustrated with the work use the "5 Whys" method. By asking yourself why 5 times you'll get to the root of the problem. 99% of the time the root cause will be your lack of emotional development.

What does happiness mean for you?

Happiness is helping business create an environment that loves its employees so much that they are dedicated to make their employees happy. Also hugging my son, going for a walk with my wife, and throwing the tennis ball for my obsessed dog. You should see how happy my dog is when chasing her ball; it just makes me laugh out loud.

Happy employees are productive employees- what should employers do to keep their employees happy?

Where do I start? Employers need to give their people the freedom to create great work. They also need to show appreciation for the hard work their people do and celebrate it as much as they can. They should also be given career and personal counseling. When you understand an employee's motivation it's easy to encourage great work out of them.

Relationships are the glue to work happiness. Most people leave a company because their manager is a terrible leader and/or they don't have any friends at work. Companies need to help their employees create better relationships that focus on employee's needs too.

Thank you Karl and hearing from you was certainly helpful.

If you want to know more, look up his site here or follow him on twitter


The 4 Hours Work Week by Tim Ferris- why you should read it?

Ever thought you need that push to get over the conflicting emotions? The strength even when you sleep, the dream to free up some of your time to go travelling or sit in your backyard and sip bubbly, create something of your own that is bigger than yourself- this is the read for you.

The book is focused and will not waste your time- will get your attention to the point where you cannot put it down unless you have read the whole thing. As much as the title suggests like its some magic scam like pill where you delegate all your work, not work and have long vacations- not true.

The 396 page book, talks about a concept, tells you how to implement it, gives you links to resources like websites, companies etc and then quotes people who have used the concept. Overall- I think it will make you think like never before.

The books is for everyone, if you are busy professional, starting your own business , stay at home mom- everyone will find something special here.

And if you are project manager- you will wow’d by all the statistics and charts, the logic behind his thinking; if you are not- don’t be mortified – this book is all text and has sparse use of flow charts. I think after you finish reading you will take in what you have read and create something of your own out of the whole experience of simply reading the book.

A must read and I have to say- I’m using some of the ideas from the book and it works! Adding this book to my library and among my favorite reads.

So, happy reading!

Do more even when you don’t have enough time

If you are spending too much time in office or commute has doubled up, you can always find time to do what you have to do.

Whether it’s about keeping your PDU or keeping up with the new developments happening every day, here are some time savers:

•Use outlook for your personal email as well. Saves you time by easy search and the ability to filter, create sub folders and use the calendar
•Carry pen and paper always in your bag, don’t waste time trying to think of that idea you had when you were in the bus.
•Delegate if possible- if you think you have too much on your hand take an intern/ volunteer anyone who is getting ready to land into the job market. They get the experience working with you and you save some time. Now you can watch your favorite show on TV or go to the gym. Best part, it’s good for your conscience because you are helping someone else at the same time.
•Try to get more done at the same time- instead of running for errands, try to organize things so you can do as much as you can while you are outside. Like you can club your gym, grocery and meeting a friend for coffee all the same time after work.
•Keep back ups, so you are sweating over lost data. Export data from outlook, your contact management, phone- everything.
•Say No to commitments you can’t keep. A simple no will save you more time.
•Focus on the combination of short time deadlines with priority. Tackle them in order.
•Instead of trying to do 5 things at the same time, try 2. Like running on the treadmill and thinking of your next blog post. This slows nothing most likely.
•Ask- instead of trying to find everything by yourself, save time by asking someone who might know or read a book which talks about it. Why waste your own time, when someone else has already taken the time to find the solution. Build on that.
•Use technology for you and not against you. Learn using CDs, podcast while you drive, commute. Don’t wait to come back home and then read.
•Do it in bursts, if you don’t have an hour long.
•Stay calm- sounds funny but stress is a time killer. Try whatever works-meditation, running, reading etc.

Why is there a lack of female PM's?

It has always been discussed why there is a shortage of women in certain industries, more so in project management .

Of course most interviews I have read about have more than often say- its true but I have been very lucky and haven’t encountered it personally. Sure- because those few chosen women are lucky, so you interviewed them in the first place.

This is always not perhaps true with 60 million working women (in America alone), it’s strange why women are not seen in lead roles. The Glass ceiling report found 95-97% senior managers of the Fortune 1000 Industrial and Fortune 500 were male.

Factors that you cant avoid and women in the work force encounter everyday:

Pay Gap

•Glass ceiling effect- During 1991 to 1996 the Glass Ceiling Commission studied how the barriers applied to women and minorities for real.

•The discrimination against women at the workplace result in a lack of career progress, inappropriate job assignment and training opportunities available for women. The discrimination is not only against women but race comes in most cases. Though most women face the glass ceiling, how it effects women depends on the race as well.

•It’s well known that trying to balance work and home is always a women’s job and the difficulties of combining work and family are obvious in most women’s life.

Low level of motivation, self-confidence, and career aspiration are also considered as reasons why women don’t get to the top of the ladder.

So, to get over the hindrances, there is a Genderless possibility of new leaders who should possess the following traits:

• Speaking and Paradoxical ways–these leaders are consistently tough and empathic, flexible and orderly, patient and timely, diplomatic and candid, competitive and collaborative.

• Community builders-promote interactive leadership; create a strategy to bring people together, believing that an organization without weaving unravels into dysfunction. These leaders believe power is to be shared. It is power within-not power over.

• Holistic thinkers-are adept at building trust, and understand it to be a key element for creating a productive and creative culture. They see beyond the obvious and connect the dots between important issues.

• Relational intelligence-they hold themselves and others to high ethical standards, and believe the integrity of relationship is paramount. Third possibility leaders demonstrate relational intelligence by being sensitive to context, expert at clarifying issues, but willing to be confrontational and compassionate as necessary.

I know it all sounds so serious, I am just glad I live today, in this age- were at Least I have a fair share of chance to come extent. The glass ceiling still exists but when someone at least tries to break it, you know, I know- we women know there’s new hope and a chance for all of us there.

So, thank you to all women and men you there, who have made our job easy and paved the way for us and shared the responsibilities at work and home to create a happier space, so that we can do our job and ask for a raise.


The Style Quotient

This year I promised you that we will have the best of professional advice, so instead of pretending I know it all; I’d rather bring you to the experts.

So, what should you wear to work and how to get the right look- how about hearing from Mary Jo Matsumoto who is a designer of luxury goods that includes clothing, accessories, and perfume. She also works as an image consultant with a wide range of clients ranging from ladies who lunch to Fortune 500 mover and shakers. Her nationally syndicated lifestyle blog, TrustYourStyle.com has a feed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Lexis Nexis, Kindle and other major venues. The beauty editor at Affluent Magazine talks to us here today.

We all want to be stylish- how do you think it impacts our presence in our professional space?
Style tells a story without words. It's the first thing people take in before you open your mouth. It may sound basic, but dressing well and appropriately makes you feel better about yourself. I've seen this first-hand as clients who came to me feeling unsure of their dressing choices literally transformed in their career (and personal life) when they showed up at work looking pulled together and professional and began receiving compliments from higher-ups and important colleagues on their attire. When you show up looking like you can do the job, it sets off a nice chain reaction. People will have more confidence in you and treat you more respectfully. When you're treated with more respect, you rise to the occasion and perform better. Good performance is usually rewarded.

What according to you are the three staples that every newbie (male and female) should have in their wardrobe?
I believe in coordinating pieces that can be mixed and matched to really extend the look of your wardrobe. Here are the three basics to start with:

1) A nice white shirt that fits well and is well-made. White paired with a black or navy suit is classic and it will always make a more casual look pulled together.

2) A great jacket. Even if you have a job that doesn't require you to wear a suit, a great jacket will pull your outfit together. If you are just investing in one jacket, find one that has a well-made lining (that will extend the life of your jacket) and that looks great with skirts (for the ladies), dress pants, and can also be worn with more casual looks. I had to seriously convince one of my clients to spring for a beautiful tweed Armani jacket that cost as much as a more formal Armani suit he was buying. "But it doesn't even come with pants!" he argued. I knew that while part of his job was spent in a corporate office, he also had important meetings that took place on job sites where he needed to wear jeans. I also knew that these were important meetings on which millions of dollars were at stake and this well-made beautiful jacket worn with jeans would give him just the perfect amount of clout. I can't tell you the number of times he has finished up a meeting and called to thank me for recommending that jacket!

3) Shoes! I could write a book about this but I'll keep it brief. Try and find something classic, slightly conservative or at least not too decorative, so that it will go with as many of your business looks as possible. If you consider the number of hours you'll be wearing these, you'll think twice about buying a pair that is less than comfortable.

What should we look for while shopping?
The two key elements that separate a great look from an okay one are fit and quality. If you want to look your best you need to pay attention to the fit. Does it hang right? Do your pants graze your shoe at the right place? Do your sleeves hit your wrist at the right place? Is it too tight? Does it ride up? A good fit will enhance your appearance and minimize your flaws. It will be comfortable but not baggy.

Quality is not the same thing as price, but often it will be more expensive. Cheap fabrics will not last and you'll end up needing to replace them after (or in the middle of a season). If you save and buy something well made it can and will last you many seasons. Designer names often (but not always) equate quality. Consider the fabric. Does it feel good on your skin or scratchy? Then consider how many hours a day you spend at the office, plus add in the time commuting and going out with colleagues after work. I believe it's worth it to invest in clothing that will make you look and feel good.

Why are colors so important in a wardrobe? What do they say about you?
Colors telegraph self image. Darker colors are more serious than lighter ones, it's that simple. I think it's important to consider big picture career goals when you're looking to build or revamp your business wardrobe. Do you want to be liked or respected? If you're conscious about the colors you wear to work, you can affect your paycheck--I've seen it happen!

One client came to me frustrated because he was getting passed by for promotions repeatedly despite the fact that he was more experienced and knowledgeable than his colleagues who were being promoted. We sat down and talked about his career objectives. He wanted to be promoted to Vice President and hopefully one day be considered to run the company. I asked him how the people who were Vice Presidents dressed and how the CEO of the company dressed. We decided that instead of dressing like the Vice President that he hoped to be, to dress as if he were running the company. (This is not always the right strategy for every situation, but in this case it worked!) We picked out more somber colors, power colors if you will. In the past he had worn a lot of brown and gray--they did not compliment his complexion and they definitely did not stand out. He decided on 3 beautiful suits that were in a much darker color range than he normally wore. In a midnight navy suit, it was if he came into sharp focus. Not only was he promoted to Vice President within 3 months, but he was being groomed to be the next President of the company by the CEO himself!

Thank you!

An Armani jacket might not be the right fit for the newbies pocket but you get the point, dress your part! Yes, it helps most of the time. When I got a raise and was meeting more clients, my CEO wanted me to come dressed more professionally so I was ready to meet clients at moments notice. Point taken. I gave up my relaxed look to get the I-am-ready- look.

By the way, if you haven’t noticed, Mary’s site usually has some amazing give away’s every week and I recently won a cute bag. If you are planning on adding quality products to your wardrobe, try her site and then go shopping!

(Pic Courtesy- Mary Jo Matsumoto)