My Fortress of Solitude

luxury-rain-shower_12I am not Superman, although sometimes I feel like I should be. The demands of normal everyday life put a lot of stress on a guy. Sometimes being the man of steel sounds pretty cool. I’m not even close, but I do have my own little fortress of solitude.

I am talking about shower time. This  is where I can really relax. Feeling the sensations from the warm water running down my body brings me  inner peace. I am truly alone here. This is my fortress of solitude. I am one with my own thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, and desires. This is where my mind tends to gain focus.

Often creativity inspires, I am a newbie blogger, so topics come to light. My business plans/ideas are born. My thoughts turn to the people and things that are important to me. Ideas spring to life, as I am washing away the previous day’s grime.

Often I will just stand there, momentarily letting the water wash away the stress of everyday life. Hanging my head under the spray letting the water run off me soothes the soul.

If this was the only place ideas hit me, I would be naked warm and wet all the time. Fortunately for me and the people that know me and would rather not see me naked, warm, and wet. I can think outside the shower too.

Somehow I don’t feel alone in this. There has to be more people that feel this way. I wonder who they are. Do you find solace in showering. Do you?

Why is social networking not working?

NetworkingI  read a blog post earlier today, that got me to thinking. In today’s climate a lot of people are out of work, and scrambling to social media sites to connect with peers in hopes of finding employment. However a lot of them are finding something a little different.

Networking is not something new, that is something humans have done for ages. What is new are sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, & the army of copycats that are rushing to cash in on the social media craze.

So what are you supposed to do? Well each person will take a different approach to social media. I don’t really think that there is a tried and true 100% successful method to putting social media to work for you. What I can tell you is that you will get out of it what you put into it.

Rushing in setting up profiles on every site you can will get you nowhere, you have to participate. You have to take part. You have to give something to receive. Networking is two-way communications. If you’re out of work and looking to connect with someone to gain employment here are some tips from Stephen Van Vreede at No Stone Unturned and his recent blog post.

1. Networking is a two-way street. Unfortunately too often we wait until we are in desperate need of something, like a job, to start building an effective network. And once that happens, then we scramble to tap into all of our resources. The problem, however, is that we forget the basic tenet of networking: Give and Take. People who understand that do well at networking in general and especially at social networking in particular. So don’t get on these social networking sites and be a taker only.

2. Don’t miss your chance to be generous to someone else. The main plea we hear at NoddlePlace.com from job seekers is that they don’t have a large network. However, when we encourage them to meet other job seekers and start networking with them, they don’t want to speak to them unless that person “has something for them.” Although it is certainly understandable, after all networking is a long, arduous process, it is also pretty short sighted. So along the same lines as #1, search out people on these sites that you might be able to offer some advice to or throw a job lead to. You don’t have to promise anyone a job, but maybe you could pass along their resume or recommend a headhunter you’ve worked with?

3. Don’t wait around to be noticed. Too often people sign up for social networking sites and then sit around and wait for someone to notice them. Or they simply fail to get involved. It’s kind of like attending a face-to-face event and then standing in the corner refusing to speak with anyone. It won’t be very effective for you. Look for forum areas or groups you can join and participate in. How does that lead to a job, you might ask? Most people on these sites are just like you, eager to meet other people, and they understand the “give and take” principle of networking. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to give you leads, recommend resources/recruiters, and help in any way they can.

4. Fill in your profile. Many people neglect their profiles on social media sites. If you aren’t willing to fill in the profile, then I am not sure you can expect these sites to work for you. Be sure to state clearly the position you are seeking, where, and in what industry.

Here is why I think you should take this to heart. I never claimed to be a social networking guru, but I do know people, and making one on one connections.  Would you want to be friends with the overbearing, Hey! listen to me I’m important jerk that just won’t shut-up? Or with someone that just helped you figure out a printer driver issue that has been bugging you for a week?

It makes much more sense to me. I would certainly want to help someone that has already helped me in some way. Could this just happen to you. YES! Will it? Well that is going to be up to you. Can Social media land you that next job? Sure it can help you connect, but you still have to sell yourself. What do you think, are you up to the task?

Lets get back on track!

cant_do_it_rightHave you ever had one of those days? When it seems that nothing is going right. In the last month I have had too many. Enough already! Maybe if I blog about it the demons will high tail it out of the house.

Have you ever had one of those days extend into months or even years? Given the sad state of affairs that the economy is in. I could do without these things at all.

In the course of a few days last month I lost my main PC, my personal bank account was levied, my auto’s battery died, and Social Security denied my claim for assistance.

All in all not a total loss as I still have my soul mate, my sanity, my clients, and some wonderful loving people around me.

My trusted and beloved PC aka \\speedy met an untimely demise right in the middle of a site design. Just up and shut down, only to beep at me when i turned the power back on. Grrrrreat I said as I moved to my laptop to continue work.

Keep in mind i am 42. I wear reading glasses to read anything closer than 3 feet from my nose. Yet I still have 20/20 vision with respect to anything just out of arms reach. So moving from my generous 19″ monitor to the little 14″ laptop screen lasted about a week. I broke down and sprang for a new main rig so I could resume a normal PC lifestyle that I missed so much.

Spending $600 for a custom build was not an easy thing to do. Biting the bullet, I opted for an AMD processor this time around. Really strange because all of my life I have been an Intel fan boy. The economy made me take the road le$$ traveled.

I opted for the Phenom 2 Quad Core running at 3.0G. Since I am not much of a PC gamer(xbox live is my deal) I grabbed an Asus Mobo with a built in Nvidia chipset. A 500G Sata2 HDD, 4G of Corsair Memory, a 550 watt corsair power supply, and a Cooler master CM290 case. Definitely top shelf and will hopefully live just as long as \\speedy did(4 years) under constant power.

I spend about an hour assembling \\speedy2 while the rest of the house was quiet. In the morning when I removed the HDD from old \\speedy I dropped the drive on the tile floor. from about 2 feet high, enough to dent the ABS plastic. AAAArrggghhhh

There went 3 years of my digital life in one ‘fell’ swoop. 80G of my personal music tastes. My own personal recording projects, thousands of pictures. All of them, gone. I put the drive into the new machine, and was greeted with this odd clunk, clunk, clunking noise of  epic proportions. Immediately followed by my lip curling, nose flaring, OMG all my emails are gone kind of remorse.

Wait a sec, I thought I have used gmail for almost all correspondence lately and had outlook set to leave a copy on the server. Sweet they will still all be there.  The music? all replaceable, it will take me time, This time it will be more organized. Now that when I want a song, I go get the artists entire discography from torrent files.

The pictures I will miss the most. There was some really good ones in there of my loved ones. Looking back I could have backed them up to CD or DVD, but for some reason, I did not listen to the advice I have given to thousands of PC customers of mine. BACK UP RELIGIOUSLY!. If your reading this and have any inkling of a thought that you should make copies, do it now! Don’t put it off you never know.

Here’s the real kicker and what also made me write this today. I can make more digital memories. I might have lost some 2 dimensional representations of what has happened in the past. I did NOT lose the real people that were in those memories. I still have them in my mind(for now) as I have not lost that yet.

So my goal is to get back to whats real… building memories, making friends, helping people in the ways that I am good at. Many great 1 on 1 connections have been made in the last 2 months with our business. It’s time to move to the next level. Time to get back on track.

Mike