Much conversation surrounds the topic of personal branding in an economy where way more people are looking for jobs and companies seem to be hiring less often. Sticking out in a sea of applicants is becoming harder and harder if you’re not willing to give up the lazy practice of just sending out cover letters and resumes to nameless job openings. Dan Schawbel has really helped bring personal branding discussion to another level and given people ideas on where their job searching and career development strategies could be bolstered. However, I’m finding that my personal situation is becoming slightly too complex for the bread and butter personal branding advice that I’m seeing flood the interwebs every day.
I want to do too much. Anyone who knows me well might critique me with having a million irons in the fire at any given moment. I look at that as my key to current and future success. Through osmosis and relative early adoption, I’ve been blogging and thinking self-critically for several years now. It wasn’t like I was suddenly on the scene giving advice to people about their lives and being featured on blog networks; I started blogging while I had a full time job and learned as I went along.
Since I started blogging and thinking myself as a brand, as well as a rather funky homosapean, I’ve switched jobs a couple times, completed a ton of freelance contracts and currently find myself working a full time job as well as being a community editor for the best Generation Y job seekers social network on the web. I work and I work and when I’m finished working at the end of the day, I work some more. I’m passionate and probably a bit nuts, but I know that at some point a few years ago when I decided to pursue my career in marketing and social media, I committed to myself that I wasn’t going to go at it half-assed and that I was going to ride this strange ride until the wheels fell off.
Do you ever get so busy with something you love doing that you forget why you started and need to take stock of what you’re all about again? Ryan Paugh’s blog post about launching the new Brazen Careerist social network struck me when he wrote about a gut check he had with Penelope Trunk regarding the scalability of his job.
I pulled Penelope aside a couple weeks ago to talk to her about this.
“How exactly does a Community Manager scale?” I asked.
“Where does his/her career path lead?”
“Ryan, you’re doing a great job,” she reminded me.
And I realized that I know exactly how to scale my job. Well, not exactly. The Community Manager role in business is still a little young to know the exact path, but I know that it involves growing along with the Community and continuing to be a voice to as many as possible even when that number rockets through the thousands, to the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions.
You know… personal branding still rocks in my mind. I personally know many people who stand to benefit from it if they simply take a little time and make some effort in branding themselves. There is tons of good information out there for newbies who are looking to get into this new, big world of social networking and career development. As for me, I’ve done it, I am doing it and now I’m sort of scratching my head as I work my butt off trying to figure out what’s next.
I’m probably not going to read “it” in a blog or get “it” from a coach. The “it” factor for me won’t be purchased in book for either. No, I’ll probably attribute the long days and nights of work and a rigorous daily mental regimen of self-critique to my Ah Hah!” moment when it comes in the middle of the night or early in the morning.
I liken this moment of growth to something I’m quite fond of; pushups. You do them every day, no questions. Perfect technique, burning muscles, boredom, repetitiveness.. you simply do the damn pushups every day. Your numbers rise, 20, 30, 40, 50… 50… you can’t get past 50! Weeks pass and 50 is pretty much the last number of pushups you can do before your muscles quiver and you fall on your face. Why keep doing them if you know that no more are coming? Finally you decided to take a day off, you’re disgusted with yourself, you relax, you don’t worry about how your arms and chest look for just one day and then the next day, you’re back on the band wagon and what do you know… you just did 65 pushups and you know you could probably do even more. THOSE are the types of moments I live for.