I’ve picked up a new job, as you may have heard. Friday, May 21 2010 

I am happily employed now two days per week (Saturdays and Mondays) at Saint Louis Cellars. I also work special events there in the evenings for them, when they need me; for example, this past week I poured wine at a wine tasting event for the Women Lawyer’s Association of Greater St. Louis—a very nice group of very powerful lawyers and judges and top-tier law school students.

The Saint Louis Cellars Web page says it all:

“Saint Louis Cellars is the newest, hippest wine store in town bringing a myriad of fab offerings with its friendly atmosphere, cool labels, and wine tastings. In addition to selling wines ‘by the taste’—Cool, Mellow, Rich, Sweet, etc.—Saint Louis Cellars has event space that is available for everything from intimate wine dinners to large charity parties.  Every bottle leaves the store “Packaged for a Party.” Saint Louis Cellars is located just north of Manchester Rd. on Big Bend in Maplewood.”

On Saturdays I work on the sales floor there, greeting customers, answering questions, rotating stock, and pouring wine at the free wine tasting we do each week. It’s a lot of fun—I keep chuckling and thinking, “Yeah: I am getting paid for this!”

On Mondays I write a post for a new blog they have called “The Crush Pad.” It’s a lay person’s guide to understanding and enjoying wine. Perfect for me to write, since I’m not an expert on the vino (yet—but I’m learning.) On Mondays, I get to sit at the Mac laptop in the store and write the blog. If the shop gets busy, I jump in and work with customers.

I have been learning a lot about wine, wineries, grape varietals, countries that grow grapes, how climatic conditions generally and weather conditions in a particular year effect a vintage, fermentation processes, storage, bottle closure methods, alternative packaging, and other good stuff.

I have the opportunity to research these things when I work on the blog, but I also read a lot on my own time. I have been joking that I read “the bible” every day now—The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeill, which, by the way, we sell at Saint Louis Cellars. I’ve also learned to get out of my rut and try a few things besides Chardonnay!

So, I have been posting less often to this site lately (at least not as often as I had been when I first started it), not because I was bored with doing it, but because I was doing some soul searching, researching and networking in my quest for something new to do for employment.

I’ve been at my job in public relations with a local “building design, development & planning firm” for 10.5+ years. There’s not much opportunity for me to move up, at this point, and I’m not a status-quo person. I wondered what else I might do for a living.

I had some time to reflect on all this, too, because that “building…firm” cut back my hours from full time to part time (24 hrs./week) on February 28, 2009, due to economic conditions. That was when I began this blog, and as I talked to so many other “creatives” through interaction here about their job searches, my cognitive wheels started turning about my own situation.

So, how did I find my new job at Saint Louis Cellars? Through Facebook!

Just goes to show that social media is a powerful networking tool, if you know how to use it. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that the whole hiring process right now totally sucks—that it’s impossible to speak to a human, nobody gets back about resumes received, about an applicant’s status after an interview, etc. Well, social media goes around those “official channel” roadblocks; learn to use it, if you’re encountering those kinds of problems.

Another complaint I hear regularly is people saying they’re “old,” which I take to mean they are “over 40,” since that’s when Equal Employment Opportunity Laws begin to cover us for age discrimination in the workplace; I hear that complaint coupled with this being the worst economy since the 1930s.

Well, automation in the hiring problem is a hurdle, no doubt about it. There is age discrimination in hiring, too. And, yes, this is a frighteningly bad and long-running “bear market,” as they say on Wall Street; however, I’m older than all of you reading this, I’m sure, and I found a job in this same bad economy doing something in which I have no true, primary expertise (i.e., depth of knowledge of wine.)

What I do have is up-to-date technical skills, enthusiasm out the yin-yang, and something in me that says, “Of course I can do that!”

So, I spent six hours over the New Year’s holiday mapping out transferable skills that I might use in “the wine trade.” My plan was to attend the premiere St. Louis food-and-wine trade show the last weekend of January at the Chase Park Plaza—I was going to paper that place with copies of my resume! Nobody was going to leave there without one!

I also had been following a few wine-related companies (and people in that trade) on Twitter and Facebook. One local business really stood out to me: Saint Louis Cellars. I took a chance and, early one Tuesday afternoon, the week before the shindig at the Chase, I sent my resume to one of the co-owners, whom I’d been following on Facebook. By lunch time the next day, I had a call from him saying he’d like to talk to me.

So, that’s how found a new job in a new field in the worst economy in seven decades—and yes, I am over 40; heck, I’m over 50. If I can do it, you can do it, too. Get creative, stay motivated, and if you want a copy of the successful resume I put together for this job search, leave a comment so I have your e-mail address.

So, how is everyone doing these days? Tuesday, Aug 11 2009 

Has anyone’s work circumstances changed for the better? I haven’t heard from anyone for a while, so I don’t know if things are worse, better, or status quo. I’m still on a reduced work-week, myself. Let us hear from you.

Now HiringAs a thank-you-in-advance, I’m posting this > link < to a Monster.com job fair that’s coming to St. Louis.

8-25-09 | 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sheraton St. Louis City Center — Hotel and Suites | 400 South 14th Street

So if you are still looking for work, spruce up your resume, upload it and pre-register for this event.

PS — Follow Monster.com on Twitter and Facebook. Uh, you do you have your accounts set on those by now, right?

“Design Matters” blog by Fast Company’s Robert Brunner Saturday, Jun 13 2009 

Current Issue | 2009

Current Issue | 2009

I love finding a site on the Web that I can mine for hours (or days.)  Someone I follow on Twitter has been forwarding links from stories on Fast Company. I must say the publication has expanded it’s worldview since I let my subscription laspse five or six years ago.

Robert Brunner

Robert Brunner

I am especially liking Robert Brunner’s blog called > “Design Matters.” <

I’ve linked it here, and I’ll blogroll it, so you can easily check in on it by checking in here.

Prize Winning Photo Saturday, Jun 6 2009 

Milli

Milli

New St.-Louis-region acquaintance on Twitter, MilliGFunk, sent the following good-news Tweet this morning about a photo she took,

“Here’s the photo schmap.com will be using: http://www.flickr.com/photos/milligfunk/3258587243/”

Milli just started following me on Twitter, and I returned the love. She relocated to the region from NYC, and I think it’s great to know that all the creatives are not concentrated in downtown St. Louis, or the city even, but are living throughout a large regional (dare I say STATE / Bi-STATE?) expanse around here.

Tweet by Tweet, blog post by blog post, award announcement by award announcement, we are changing the image of the Heartland. We know someone doesn’t have to live along a coast line to be creative, or part of a creative community. I lived in Southern California for several years, and I got tired of defending the part of the country where I was born and raised as something dismissable—or as people often said, “A good place to be FROM!  HAW-HAW-HAW!”

Yeah, right, moron … .

So let’s work together to make sure we spread the word! Share the links, especially to people outside our area.

Check out Milli’s prize-winning photo, and if you start to follow her on Twitter, tell her you found the lead here!


Careers column reporter for online Wall Street Journal asks, Should Over-50 Job Hunters Join Facebook? Friday, May 29 2009 

Read the whole story > here < and join in the conversation with your comment at the http://online.WSJ.com site, or leave a comment here for your colleagues.

online_mom-300x199I wonder how many people reading this of any age have a Facebook page that they use for professional networking (including job hunting.)  I have an account, but I have not completed any of the information yet.

man_mobile_phoneI plan on doing it soon, and to get the most out of it, I need to tie it in to the other accounts I have, i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, and these two blogs. So far the blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn keep me pretty busy.

Share your questions, successful practices, comments, etc., here!

Images from nielsen.com via the Web

StLouis_Jobs found me on Twitter: Will they find YOU? Sunday, May 24 2009 

StLouis_Jobs

StLouis_Jobs on Twitter

Most of those whom I “Follow” on Twitter include far-flung friends, whom I don’t get to see or talk to as often as I’d like. Twitter is the most quick and casual of social media, and for me this is a great way to use it. It’s fun to reconnect a few times a day reading their “Tweets” to all their followers. Sometimes I read & laugh & wish I had more time to spend with them in person; sometimes I respond (using @theirTwittername in my reply, which sends a message to all my followers, including that person); sometimes I even forward their Tweet to others (using RT, i.e., Re-Tweet in my reply.)

Twitter-press bird

Twitter-press bird

Generally just “being out there” on any social media doesn’t get you noticed. You have to work it, be active in some strategic way to be visible to the readers you want to attract (and of course different audiences respond to different bait.) Once you’re active, though, and have started attracting the attention of some of your hoped-for audience, you will also begin to get Followers you hadn’t known were out there. That was the case today when I got a Follow from StLouis_Jobs.

I got the notice in my Yahoo! e-mail, went to my Twitter account and clicked on StLouis_Jobs to check out that account’s Tweet Stream. In the first 10 or so jobs listed there, I found both entry level and high level listings. So I returned the Follow. I can always Unfollow at any time.

If you’re not on Twitter, you may not know this, but you can return the Follow (so now you both see each other’s Tweets), you can Block that Follow (sometimes you will get adult sites with live cams, etc., sent out by Spam bots, and I just block those), or you can do nothing, which lets the other follow you and keeps you free from their Tweets. The follows you accept, block or ignore will depend on what you want to get from your Twitter account, and you can define that (and refine that) on a daily basis.

not-a-geekSo, I hope this helps get some of you on Twitter if you’re not yet on it, if only to be knowledgeable when it comes up in conversation. Nothing makes someone look more like a workforce dinosaur or a workforce newbie who’s missing the train than saying, “Duh, I don’t know a thing ’bout Twitter … .”  Techno-savvy is a job requirement today. Being able to talk knowledgeably about these things is also good for your self-esteem, which is critical when you’re in job search mode. Every contact, every conversation is a potential link to the next job lead. Don’t waste a single one of them telling anyone, even a good friend, how dumb and out of it you are when it comes to technology!

See you on Twitter!

twitter logo

PS  In addition to following far-flung friends, I also follow a few local people I have never met, but whose lifestyles inspire or intrigue me. They have become pen-pals of a new age technology over the past several months.

Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Claire McCaskill

I also follow my Senator, Claire McCaskill, and a few others who are important to my world. It is definitely Senator McCaskill, personally, sending the Tweets from her account. No doubt about it. Some public figures don’t send their own, but she does, including pix from the Senate floor, etc. I sent her a picture taken of her speaking at UMSL last week (shown here), and it went out from me about an hour after she finished over Twitter using TwitPic, a mini-application for sending photos over Twitter. My tweet said, “Senator Claire McCaskill at UMSL today; taken w/ Blackberry by the Marketing Manager at Lawrence Group.” Talk about news traveling fast, plus I got our company name in front of the Senator, whose vote on certain issues affects our company, directly!

Brent Spiner, 2008

Brent Spiner, 2008

I also follow Brent Spiner, aka Commander Data from Star Trek: TNG. He tweets infrequently, but you can tweet him directly with an @BrentSpiner message.

Most recently he was tweeting about American Idol. Apparently he is a fan.

His “update” is usually turned off, meaning he won’t be sending you a message back, but regardless: HOW COOL IS THAT????

10 Social Media Tasks for Summer Interns Wednesday, May 6 2009 

aaron-uhrmacher

A a r o n

I follow Webster University (my alma mater) on Twitter. They forwarded a nice link to a blog called Disruptology  > Aaron Uhrmacher on Social Media & Communications <. Today’s post was titled > “10 Social Media Tasks for Summer Interns.” <

Two thoughts:

numeral-1If you are fortunate enough to have a summer intern, this is a great to-do list for her/him, and you will have a great foundation set for building your social media for the rest of the year. 

 
numeral-22
  If you don’t have an intern, see how many of these tasks you can accomplish
  yourself.  Try one/week to start.

 

Bottom line for me is get a strategy set and execution started for your employer &/or yourself, one way or another, to stay relevant!  These are important skills, and if you don’t have them yet, all the software you need to add them to your skill set is either on the Web or between your ears.

I’ll blogroll Aaron’s site so you can check in on him from time to time from my sidebar.

Spotlight on Nick Barron Thursday, Apr 30 2009 

N I C K

N I C K

Bye, DC!

Bye, DC!

Nick is a Missouri native, who is on a road trip from Washington, D.C., heading home to Kansas City, Missouri. He is using Twitter to chart the progress of his trip. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow him, and he has designated “Meet Zones” along the way, where you can go say hello, cheer him on, welcome him home.

Here is a link to the whole plan on his blog, > Sociotrends, <
a near-daily blog focusing on developments in industries and pop culture that reflect, or are reflections of, greater changes occurring in society.

I think this is a fun idea, and it’s a good way to get your feet wet with Twitter, if you’re not on board with it yet.

You may not have any idea of how you would use it, but you really have to set up the account and see what other people do, first. Then the ideas will start to come. If you’re in communications of any sort, it’s a must-have, IMHO.

Hello, KC!

Hello, KC!

Here is a copy/paste from Nick’s blog that explains why he’s on the road,

Because of this, I’ll be leaving Washington, D.C., for my home state of Missouri.

On Thursday, April 30, 2009, I’ll be hitting the road in
my Hyundai Sonata,
headed toward the
> Show-Me State <.

I want to make the most of this trip, so I’ve decided to show how social media can be applied to real life by helping people connect, both on the Web and in face-to-face communication. In order for this to work, though, I need your help.

Below is a Google Map called “Nick Does the Midwest.” I’ll be using it for this trip. Right now you’ll see a start point (Falls Church, Va.), an end point (Kansas City, Mo.), my projected route and the Meet Zone. I will be updating my actual progress as I go.

Here’s where you come in. I’d like to meet you. If you’re close to the Meet Zone, let me know by following me on > Twitter < or sending me a message on > Facebook <, and I’ll try to swing by and say hello.

If you’re not in the Meet Zone, use the Share/Save button at the bottom of this post to tell everyone you can about this. The more people who hear about my Midwest Mashup, the more people I’m likely to meet during my journey.

# # #

Image of Washington Monument from magazineusa.com
Image of Kansas City, Missouri — Brush Creek on the Country Club Plaza at Night from greatrealtyusa.com

ExecTweets Saturday, Apr 18 2009 

Okay, cowboys and cowgirls: You’ve had a day off. You should be rested and ready. Let’s get back on our horses.

exectweets-birdicon-5I want to tell you about a little social networking, interactive program in “beta,” that is “test version,” called > ExecTweets <.

It’s purpose is to “find and follow top business execs on Twitter.”

This seems a little stalker-ish, at first glance, but if you’re trying to connect with a particular individual, like a prospective client or a person who has a position open on their team, this little app can help you get past the gatekeepers, plus avoid all the mundane tweets on Twitter from people who not only can’t further your cause, but who are micro-blogging about what they had for lunch today. I mean, who cares?!?

It could be that ExecTweets is to Twitter as LinkedIn is to FaceBook, that is, more targeted, getting to the nitty-gritty.

I’ll play around with ExecTweets to see how it integrates with the other programs I’m already using to advantage. That’s the key to me, to figure out how to stack these programs, plug them into each other, make them work together. For example, to me some information is a quick-hit kind of thing (like an event reminder or cancellation), and that says “Twitter” to me. Something else, with more detail and anticipated longevity, is better as a post on a blog. Figure out how these things work, how you can use them to advance your plan, and how they work together as a means to that end.

I think it’s totally worthwhile to set up accounts on these kinds of programs and figure out how they work, who’s using them and for what. Even being generally familiar with and knowledgeable about them only makes you more credible in terms of the most basic technology that is having a huge impact on the business world.

Challenge yourself to spend two hours on it a week. Pick out one program and focus on that until you can make one insightful comment about it at a networking event, like RCGA Business After Hours, or can ask a cogent question that shows you have some understanding and want to take that further.

Kensington 2G Thumb Drive

Kensington 2G Thumb Drive

Get yourself a thumb drive, download > RoboForm2Go < (it’s free), and use that combo to track your usernames and passwords. That makes things so much easier. (Big Lots had the Kensington 2G drive shown here for $10 last week.)

If you’re interested to dive in but don’t know where to start, post a question here.

Best regards.

Do YOU use Twitter? Thursday, Apr 16 2009 

twitter-logo1

If so, how do you use it?  To keep up with your spouse, your kid, George Clooney, the stock market?

Commander Data

Commander Data

I set up my account a year ago and never used it till last week, actually. I could have “followed” any number of business writers or entertainers also on Twitter (e.g., I could have been following Brent Spiner all this time—you know, the actor who is best known for playing Commander Data on StarTrek: The Next Generation); also, a feature on Twitter is that if you don’t want to get the tweets (updates), you can turn the “follow” on/off at any time. It’s totally in your control.

Right now I’m following Lewis Howes (Bio: Author of LinkedWorking : LinkedIn Consultant and World Record Holder: Most Receiving Yds in a single football game. Founder of the Sports Industry Network), Biz Stone (Bio: Follow the wacky adventures of a Twitter co-founder!), and Kevin Rose (Bio: Founder of social media site digg.com. Random ideas, entrepreneur, climber of rocks, video blogger, & tea drinker.)

I don’t get the updates on my cell phone as many people do (that would drive me NUTS.) I get them on-line and check them once a day while I decompress after work.

There are all KINDS of people and publications for EVERY interest that you can “follow,” and then change when you’ve had enough of the type of tweets from a particular account. There are some pretty mundane tweets sent out, but everyone has to start somewhere. I think the value is to figure out how to use the various media to “build” your brand or your message on multiple communications platforms.

not-a-geekIf you are having some “down time” right now with your employment situation, it’s a great time to expand on your technical skills. The home page for an account on Twitter is really, really, REALLY simple.

If you don’t want to use Twitter, or don’t have any idea how you would use it, it’s still FREE to set up an account.

The experience of doing that works your brain and gives you techno-cred, too, which is helpful in any career.

After you get the hang of it, put your Twitter username in your e-mail signature.

Image of Brent Spiner/Commander Data from zdnet.com
Image of T-shirt from lushshirts.co.uk

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