Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Promise Not to Say 'Agency' Again

My father used to say, "Use your own discretion." It never seemed to occur to him that I didn't have any at the ages when I knew him.

I think employers too offer frequent silent prayers that their subordinates will be conscious of, and activated by, the needs of their organisations. Many are utterly thrilled when employees actually anticipate need.

wikipedia says, "In the social sciences, agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices." [italics mine] I grimace now to remember times when I've used that term with groups of unemployed or under-employed clients when I'm trying to explain one of the characteristics of a desirable employee. Probably almost no-one outside academic circles uses the term to discuss anything. Why should I have expected my clients to recognise it?

I think a better term might be initiative. Employers want us to show a degree of initiative—without putting the organisation to undue risk. Would I be perverse in suggesting that one of the best exemplars of initiative is Jeeves? Here's one of many instances of his successes in getting Wooster out of trouble.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Giving Clients Audio Records of Your Advice

The circumstances of career developers vary, as do their relationships with clients. In many cases though we offer quite a few brief, general bits of advice about covering letters and résumés to one or more clients in quick succession, and time is constrained. Written notes can take more time than is available, and spoken comments can easily be forgotten by clients.

Why not record your spoken notes?

Not all clients that I work with have computer and network facilities capable of processing audio files. So I store them on one of the web sites that makes it possible to record and play back my voice right on the site, soundcloud. (I am not claiming that it's the best or anything like that!) I mark my recording 'private' and then send it as a URL to the client in an email in which I explain what it is. The benefit to the client is that she can listen to the recording as many times as might be necessary. The benefit to me is that I find that I can critique a résumé that is 'not too bad' in about three minutes.

There is one additional wrinkle in the solution that you might face too. If your microphone is like mine then you will have found that it is good enough for Skype but too feeble for soundcloud. To remedy this problem I do my recordings with Audacity—which also provides a benefit. After I have used Effect | Amplify to increase the volume of my recordings I can then use Effect | Noise removal ... to eliminate some of the background noise. The recording that I save and then upload to soundcloud for the client is much better and all this takes very little time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CDP Certification Ontario: Needs Assessment

The Stewardship Group have published their results: Needs Assessment Survey Results.

You can keep up-to-date with this activity by subscribing here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Searching Google: Bedrock Skill for Job Seekers

lifehacker has just made me aware of Power Searching with Google, google's own course that introduces the basic and advanced features of its search machine. I've been using google almost every day of the year for years and years, and I still learned a thing or two, and was reminded to be more deliberate. I highly recommend this.

Job seekers need it for finding advertisements (obviously!); for finding sites to monitor for opportunities; to obtain information about industries, trends, labour markets, companies, important people and so on; and for thinking about career alternatives.

Career developers might be able to develop some of the great teaching examples presented in this course too.

A pleasant way to learn google, complete with exercises. If you're impatient then take the advice of one of the people that comments in the lifehacker article and use the googleguide.

I hope that the graphic presented here can be considered so-called 'fair use'. It consists of crops from two screen captures from the first video in the course.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Recruiting Deaf People for Visual Monitoring

Vaughn Bell1 comments on reports that a Mexican city in Deaf police to monitor security cameras. As he points out, this implies that people employed in this way are not disabled but 'super-abled.'

1No relation to me.