Madeline Albright once said that there was a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other out.
Sheryl Sandberg suggested that instead of seeking out a woman to mentor you, your performance excellence and professionalism would naturally attract a leader to take you under their wing. You become an apprentice or protégé’, by earning it.
True to most things in life, sucess in the workplace is not done on an island.
What needs to occur is the intentional encouragement and support of our fellow ladies as they reveal themselves to their own in the workplace.
You see, this year I had the opportunity to be a mentor and it brought about growth, professionalism and sisterhood that I did not expect.
Disclaimer: I write this not to reveal something that hasn’t been said before, but to document my experience of being a mentor and the enourmous benefits I got out of helping a woman see more in herself.
Engaging your audience can be challenging, especially today when the bar is set so very high. At 9 seconds on average, our attention spans are literally less than that of a goldfish, making it tough to get folks involved and invested in material we as developers, designers and trainers create.
Lately, I have been fighting fire with fire and using social media and current trends to get people to pay attention.
For instance, I am leading a large commericalization project in which my audience is going from a legacy software system to something very digital and “real-time”.
Each week, I design and place large signs/posters with system vocabulary around the offices so that terminology is integrated subliminally and intentionally. This, along with new “graffiti walls” that pose thought provoking, open ended questions aim to drive the audience to engage on-demand.
It also forces them to seek information in more than one place. Through regular communication via email, my audience knows that if they want to know more information about the words or questions posed, they must follow our Instagram feed, Snapchat account and Salesforce Chatter group.
This week, I presented a risky challenge. Risky because it involved the new PokémonGo phenom and the workplace.
Not one to mess with productivity, I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit and work or a major annoyance to leadership.
The challenge went that if my audience could “catch” a Pokémon character near one of my vocabulary signs or a graffiti wall, they would win a prize.
That was it. I figured, no one will be able to find these Poké-things and most will disregard.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
People posted images of these critters in the ladies’ room, near the graffiti walls, vocabulary posters, outside near our signs, inside near their desks, you name it, they sent it.
It was exciting to say the least and you know what? It got people engaged!
So, I only have Pikachu and his friends to thank and this little “Tentacool” creature who hung out with me most of the day.
Next time you’re struggilng with engagement, try socializing your project and be creative. If you can’t beat them, join them as they say and you might find yourself a part of a pretty cool new club.
And in case you were wondering, leadership LOVED it, no one was concerned about the distraction. Whew.
It takes time, effort and perseverance to get work in this fashion at a steady rate. You have to market yourself, your experience and content on various platforms and you have to keep it fresh. Stale storefronts on your portfolio are obvious. Lately, I have been working extra hard if you will, to get some freelance work and I found a great medium for not only placing a profile and portfolio, but also one that helps you manage transactions.
Click the logo to go to the site
It’s called UpWork. UpWork asks you to work initially by submitting a lengthy profile and instead of just submitting your portfolio URL, you must upload individual project files. It may seem daunting, but it’s what you gotta do.
Once you build a profile, you must get it approved. Once approved, you can filter their millions of bids for work. You narrow it down by your speciality and have a certain number of responses you can give to jobs a month. If you have the free version like me, you get about 60 responses or “connects” as they call them, a month and use anywhere from 1-5 when you submit to bid. It’s like currency, so you have to be intentional about the work you choose. They don’t rollover month-to-month unless you have an upgraded plan, but you do start fresh each month with 60.
When you find a job you want to do, you submit and place in your price. On your profile, you give your professional level and place your hourly rate accordingly. Those who place bids or have jobs to offer can verify payment before they post to the job board. That brought me a level of comfort when submitting my profile to a proposal, it was like a guarantee of sorts.
So I submitted a proposal to a bid last night for voice over work. I was notified today they’ll hire me and I accepted the offer! Once you get into an UpWork contract, you must fill out a W-9 and verify a way to receive payment. This establishes your accounts safely and ensures you will get paid when you are done with the work.
“The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
UpWork in a nutshell:
A little work upfront pays off in the end. I must tell you that they do take a percentage of your earnings off the top. So let’s say you agree to do a contract for 120 dollars payment, you will get 96 bucks after UpWork takes their fee. This might be a mega-drawback for some, but for me, I am grateful for the platform to get things rolling! If you keep the dashboard open while you complete your work, you can take advantage of the in-app timer for making sure you track your hours. You might be disciplined in doing this, but I am not so it makes me happy!
I have some work to do and money to earn so signing off for now. Take it easy friends.