So Long (And Thanks For All The Fish)

Blogging Daily

At the end of 2015 I committed to blogging daily for 2016. As you can imagine, that’s a pretty heavy commitment. Especially considering my full time work that consumes on average 55 hours per week before travel.

Then family, a social life that includes spending hours on a motorcycle, and of course that large sucker of time, leading worship at church. Oh yeah there are the 17 podcasts I subscribe to, weekly books I read, and don’t mention Masterchef, Orphan Black or Game of Thrones.

If you then consider the average time a blog post actually takes. Invariably for me the shorter the post the longer the composing, but not always.

My Motivation

But I was committed for a number of reasons:

1. I want to write. Professionally.

Stephen King suggests if you want to write (well), you have to do two things a LOT. Write, and Read.

Committing to blogging every day was a way to develop the discipline of overcoming distractions and flexing that writing muscle. Sure you can blog once a week, but you’ll never get to the 10,000 hours required for mastery at that rate.

2. Documenting My Life.

The very word ‘blog,’ comes from ‘web log.’ Think of it as an online journal. The articles often show a snapshot in time, and space. A context of a life lived that is hard to recall any other way. Especially with the granularity that writing ‘every day’ brings.

3. Articulating Thoughts.

Over time as I develop hypotheses there are two benefits to sticking them on the blog. The first, is the act of writing forces me to structure my thoughts. The second, publishing them gathers valuable feedback that in turn strengthens the thinking.

Structuring my thoughts daily exercises that ability. It makes me much sharper at work and when interacting with others.

4. Developing Collateral.

The blog is a great place to publish articles that provide value and insight. Gear reviews, ‘How to’s’, and professional leadership techniques. A lot of this I can, and do repurpose.

Just the commitment to blog everyday generates a demand for content that drives me to develop it. Not to mention an online place I can find content I’ve created before.

5. Creativity

Sure anyone can brainstorm, although few rarely do. But can you generate a list of ideas good enough to write about every day? How about headlines, and keywords, images, and questions?

I can.

Because I have to. Well, I committed to.

But So What?

For some time I’ve been thinking about the effectiveness of the blog.

Not effectiveness in the ‘content marketing’ sense. Yes, I do look at the numbers. I also practice SEO (to get better at SEO rather than to drive traffic.)

Rather my effectiveness in the world.

Is this really the best thing I could be doing with my time, skills, and effort? I guess a heart attack will help prioritise things like that, but as I said, I have been pondering this for a while.

I love writing the blog. I love the creativity, the research, the writing, the editing, and the measuring. But frankly the daily commitment does consume a LOT of time that I could leverage to provide more value to more people. Time I could be learning, or directly earning. Even expressing: e.g. time I could be writing stories, shooting photos, or editing video.

Simply reducing the cadence isn’t a solution. That just lessens the value to everyone.

Bifurcate

There are very real pressures on the Internet that say “Focus! Your Blog should have a single customer, a single domain, and focus on building your traffic so you can monetise them” and clearly that’s not my thang. It’s never been me. I’m what Emilie Wapnick calls a ‘multipotentialite.’

And the blog isn’t exactly aimed at “monetising” anyway. (Most of you will probably be glad to know).

Although there are the seeds of opportunity. My most popular articles all have to do with Motorcycles and Motorbike Touring. I was even asked by an online company to review their products. I could absolutely see a blog as part of motorbike touring and gear sales business.

So, it seems, a way forward could be to split the blog into a number of sites, all dedicated to an individual topic. Some to earn, some to express.

Which is fine, but I’m not entirely sure creating more work for a (at least initially) zero net gain return, makes any sense at all.

No More.

So as we’re exactly half-way through the year, I’m declaring the commitment honoured. (Even though this post is just over a week late) 🙂 I have posted every day since 1 Jan 2016. That is except for Easter Sunday because I wanted that to be a follow up to my story “Fire, Earth and Blood”

I will continue update this blog occasionally, but not daily. Over time I expect to start another site that is more dedicated to “Roger 2.0.” To my career and life as it evolves. I may even document some of that process here.

It’s been a very fun ride, and I do very much enjoy all of the readers, comments, and engagement. Enough to want to grow that.

Rog42?

At this stage I’m not even sure I’ll keep (identifying with) Rog42.

On the one hand it has been my identifyer for some 20 years across 4 continents, 9 countries, 22 cities, and 9 companies. More constant than a home country, a telephone number, a passport or social security number, an employer email address. There’s a LOT of investment in the brand.

It’s short, easy to share, and ‘geeky to those in the know.’

On the other hand it’s hardly that famous or well-known, and I’m unsure it’s a brand I’d create if starting from scratch. It doesn’t really stand for anything clearly.

More on that later.

Holiday

But for now I’m taking a holiday. Literally a holiday on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. I intend to Reflect, Plan, and Create in equal portions.

If something catches my fancy, I may pop it on the blog. Or not.

I am disconnecting from work mail, Facebook and Twitter.

See you on the other side.

 

There’s No Kill Switch on Awesome

Not my daughter :-)Project 2012: Day 147

My 16 year old, like many other teenagers, has a Saturday job. Unlike many though, she’s passionate about it.

For her this isn’t only about making pocket money for fashion. At the bakery, whether she’s sweeping the floor, packing the shelves, or serving a customer, she is the best sweeper, packer, or server she can be.

It’s unlikely she’s going to work at a bakery for her career though. And believe me, she doesn’t display quite the same passion sweeping the floor at home that she does at work.

But she enjoys her time at work more.

That’s interesting.

The intuitive response is that it’s because she get’s paid by the bakery that she invests more passion. Well, yes. But that’s not why she enjoys it more. Why she enjoys herself more is a function of the passion, not a motivator of the passion.

What that means is if she was focussed on excellence, it wouldn’t matter whether she got paid or not to enjoy herself. This is almost self-evident. It’s why people have sports and hobbies. But what if you could change a chore into a passion?

Changing a nappy, mowing the lawn, dropping the kids at school, heck, commuting, doing your expenses (ok, maybe not doing your expenses); or the day-to-day functions of your job.

Your personal happiness is driven, not extrinsically, by outcomes; but intrinsically by motivation. You’ll be happier by doing your best, than just getting a job done. Any job!

Apart from excellence, my point is also that feelings follow actions. So the next time you have a tedious job to do – just get it done, and you’ll still be bored, frustrated, or apathetic – throw yourself into it and be the best you can be, and you’ll change your mood. And the moods of those around you. And the world!

There’s No Kill Switch on Awesome

Interview Skills: The Secret to Being Remembered

IKEA-Job-InterviewProject 2012: Day 65

So here you are, and you’ve come to the end of your interview. Enter one of the most critical phases you’ll experience throughout the job hunt. Many jobs are lost here.

This is to do with a concept called “Primacy and Recency.”

People remember most the first thing they encounter, then the last. Pretty much everything in between becomes somewhat hazy.

This is also why if you ever have an opportunity to choose, you want to be either the first candidate, or the last. This also goes for presentations you deliver.

Leave a Lasting Impression

So, no matter how you answer the interview questions, you want to make a great first impression, and you want to leave a lasting one.

Often the end portion of the interview is left to “do you have any questions?” (Note: You always do, and we’ll cover those in another post)

Once you’ve asked your questions, it’s time to wrap up. No matter where you are in the interview loop, this may be the one and only interview, or the first in a raft of discussions, this is rarely the end of the process.

There are always next steps

Even if the last, there’s still a verbal offer, verbal acceptance, written offer, potential negotiation, and written acceptance to go. So don’t ever, ever, end with “So,” cheesy smile, “when do I start?”

Also, you don’t want to ask a question like, “How’d I do?” Immediately you’ll have undermined your confidence, and perception of value.

You do want to do three things at this stage:

  1. Leave a good impression as we mentioned
  2. Thank your host for their consideration
  3. Establish next steps, and gain commitment from the interviewer to follow-up

No easy task. Although relatively simple.

End strong

  • So, begin by standing and shaking hands.
  • Then thank your interviewer(s) for their time, and mention that you enjoyed exploring the role further. (unless of course you didn’t enjoy it, don’t lie)
  • Ask what the next steps are. Or re-confirm them if you already know.
  • Finally, ask who is responsible for the next activity, and when they’ll complete it
  • Write this down in your notebook.
  • Goodbye, and leave.

The whole process should take no longer than about 1-2 mins. Being succinct, thankful, and disciplined enough to write down the next steps shows you’re confident and in control. That’s the good impression.

(Re)confirming the next step, and gaining commitment from the interviewer (or their proxy) to follow up puts you in control. Writing it down sends the message that you take the commitment seriously, and gives you the opportunity to hold them accountable. In other words, call them a short time after the commitment to follow through.

Focus on them

Thanks also makes the interviewer feel better. Remember, they’re likely to be in a hole, as they need to fill the position, busy, and perhaps even feel uncomfortable about interviewing. So taking the time to thank them (conditionally) is the right thing to do.

What if it’s not the one?

Don’t be afraid to end the process if you don’t want the role. Remember the interview is as much you determining whether you want to work for this organisation, as it is them determining whether you’re a fit for the role. If there are show stoppers (too much travel, skills mismatch etc.) then have the decency to thank the interviewer for their time, and end the process.

There is a company cost to interviewing candidates. You also have an opportunity cost to interviewing. Every interview you attend for a job you don’t want is time you could’ve spent interviewing for a job you do want.

And that’s not mentioning other potential candidates that may be ruled out if you continue. So if you know you don’t want the job, don’t waste your or the hiring organisation’s time.

Wrap up

Remember: Short, sharp, thankful, and make a note of what’s happening next.

Please share

If you like this post, or it’s helped you in any way, please do Tweet it, and share on Facebook or LinkedIn.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic further, feel free to leave a comment below, via social media, or contact me directly