What’s Going On Right Now (2/28/12)

You’re probably aware that 2012 is a leap year. That means you have a whole extra day (tomorrow)! What are you going to do with that “found” time? Make it count for eternity, friends.

Leap by Bex.Walton
Image by Bex.Walton
  • The Front Porch Republic discusses the rising trend of people living alone. I have a roommate now, but I’ve lived alone several times previously and always loved it. Because I’m an introvert, it gave me more time and energy to devote to purposeful causes. I do understand the concerns he raises about making  yourself the center of your own universe, though. I definitely don’t like to think of myself as a dependent being.
  • Carolyn Weber, the author of the lovely memoir Surprised by Oxford {Amazon Affiliate link}, has a lovely blog where she’s doing a series called I Read Dead People. Her latest installment is about Frankenstein, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding her father’s hospitalization.
  • Speaking of hospitalization, here’s a good reminder from the Brazen Careerist blog about the ten health mistakes you’re making because you think you’re too busy. Guilty, guilty, guilty…
  • If you’ve been looking for good photography info, I hope you’re following the Digital Photography School blog in general. Today there was a good basic tutorial on how to choose the right shutter speed. I’ve been shooting in Program mode a lot but I need to experiment more with Aperture or Shutter priority before I make the leap to full Manual. I need to get in some more practice!
  • I could have written this post, but for all of you who’ve been asking since I made the move to full-time freelancing, here’s the Mint.com blog’s take on how to start freelancing. I’ve been doing the prep work for years (I incorporated in March of 2009) and while I still need to learn a bit more about accounting, I’m absolutely loving making the leap (see what I did there?).

Unemployed? Here’s what you should be doing.

Depressed by Venturist
Photo by Venturist

Yes, contacting your existing network. Yes, searching job  boards. Yes, searching on social networks. But you can’t (shouldn’t!) sit at the computer all day, and even in person you won’t be the first great candidate letting your connections know you’re looking for work.

I’ve heard far too many people tell job seekers that employers will understand if there’s a gap in your resume in 2009 or 2010– the economy is tough. Maybe, but what does a complete gap in your resume say? That you’ve sat on your butt collecting unemployment as it was extended and extended. Is that what you want this time to say about you?

What did you do before? Can you do that in some capacity, even if you might be working for free? Nonprofits can always use extra help, but they may not always be able to pay for it.

Does a local Relay for Life need your help to build a website where each team can take contributions via PayPal, or to teach teams about using Square to take on-the-fly donations via credit card?

Can you organize a huge city-wide event for Share Our Strength’s National Bake Sale? Put together a supply drive for Haiti, Chile, Nashville, or the local crisis pregnancy center? Find a candidate you believe in and host a fundraiser, make phone calls or walk precincts. Right now while you may not have money, you have what you probably haven’t in the past: time. Put it to good use.

On a smaller level, use WordPress to build your church a website. Set your friend the CEO up on Twitter. Teach your small business owning brother how to video blog. If you’re an accountant, become a campaign treasurer. Retile your elderly neighbor’s kitchen. Start making family dinners for your best friend the single mom.

You can volunteer consulting services, too. Whether your expertise is boards of directors, open-source technology, accounting, event planning, paperless office environments, building projects, energy savings, or graphic design, chances are there’s a local nonprofit who could really use you.

There is also no reason you have to work for free. You can probably walk down your nearest major street and offer to build a web presence for each of the local businesses. Ask around for companies who’ve recently had to reduce their workforce and are missing a crucial person just as a project needs to get done. Do some consulting for a friend’s small business. Create a profile on a freelance work site or a compete-to-win graphic design site. Babysit. Walk some dogs. Start your own company.

In addition to having something to put on your resume and helping a worthy cause, you’ll often meet local business owners who serve on the boards of nonprofits (and when you’re doing freelance projects for companies, you’ll temporarily fit into their regular workflow). This is network building– the thing most likely to get you a new job.

In short, do something. As companies begin hiring again, and even if “they’re not”, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to move forward. And who knows? You may even find that the freelancing you’re doing or the company you start is what you want to do for the rest of your life!