Career: Conversing with folk

I had a good chat with fellow Web of Change-r David Eaves over at the Blenz last Friday (which was serving free drinks out of nowhere. I forgot to take a piece of chocolate, but my blood sugar’s glad I think). It’s interesting to notice how the topics I’m talking about now have shifted, compared to when we first met on Cortes Island in September.

We had some interesting discussions about his thoughts on TransitCamp, my take on how it went in Vancouver and the difference between the one in Vancouver and the one in Toronto. He gave me his opinion on politics, which is always helpful as I’m deathly afraid of it (and he’s just become part of the executive for Vision Vancouver). There was a strange detour to the topic of local food which had me glibbering like a first year working a Clubs Day booth; but good times all around.

I did get some useful perspective from David in terms of what he feels the best path to worthwhile experiences would be in what I’m interested in. Or at least what I think I’m interested in, which remains the part I struggle with. He recommended consulting in the private sector, as this was the best way to ensure that I was actually doing something as opposed to waiting for approvals to make their way to me before my contract expires. It’s an interesting proposition to me, because I don’t know anyone else my age who’s done that right out of school (except maybe if they never sunk time into school in the first place), and I don’t know if I’ve articulated to myself what my value proposition would be to someone looking to hire me.

What do I want to do? I want to do a bit of what Sacha’s been doing: helping people make use of technology in ways that empower them, in ways that provide value in whatever it is they do, without having to become full-blown technologists. I want to ask the questions about accountability, transparency and who needs empowering in order to make processes better, and I want these to not be scary things to ask about or make better.

I also want to be fearless without being mean, which I haven’t figured out just yet, and which I know I will have to do. I’ve found people generally supportive, but I know that that will not always be the case. I will need to know when to hold my ground, and in true academic fashion, I will need to anticipate all the arguments against so that I know how to defend what I believe, in a way that doesn’t make me look defensive.

My next goal is definitely to find more cool people doing this sort of work and to have good, insightful conversations with them. Some of that includes knowing what questions I want to ask, which I don’t just yet, and which makes me feel a little foolish during these conversations.

There are some people that are going to be in town soonish! I think I’m going to try organizing some Government 2.0 drinks for whoever’s around.

2 Comments

  1. Or just do it. Is there an organization in need of of help with a budget?

    Sarah Pullman and Megan Cole come to mind as two folks who bootstrapped themselves into consulting gigs.

    Posted January 23, 2008 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
  2. About the whole being fearless without being mean thing, especially when you have to defend your beliefs–in my experience the most crucial part is to be able to be critical and assertive and allow others to do the same *without taking anything personally*. This can be really difficult, especially when other people take or make things personal(ly). But I think you’ve got a pretty good handle on diplomacy so far, so things can only get better!

    Posted January 26, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

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