The Employed Unemployed

food-man-person-eatingUnbeknownst to many, not having a paying job doesn’t mean you don’t have a job. We all have faced periods of unemployment, whether it was our own decision or not is irrelevant, but it is guaranteed to happen at least once in our lives.

Rather than consider ourselves “unemployed,” we should realize that we are simply transitioning between jobs or careers. Until we can identify the one that best suits our needs, our new job is to… find a new job.

This means we still need to wake up in the morning (yes, early), we still need to dress for success, we will still be making phone calls, drinking coffee (not alcohol), exercising, networking, using social media, taking breaks and “going home” at a reasonable time.

In the job hunt there are a number of tasks to accomplish and skills to utilize/develop. Possibly the most important is time management – Failure to plan is planning to fail. Taking some time to create a daily/weekly schedule, even a rough draft, can make a huge difference in how successful our search is. It allows us to think about the important things we need to do and will help us stick to an agenda. It should force us to do some things we normally wouldn’t have done without considering and scheduling it ahead of time.

Everyone’s career hunt will be different, but this will help to identify and prioritize the necessary tasks to meet our personal needs. For example, a construction worker and an accountant will have different job searching methods, but the allotted time is essentially the same.

Some of the common tasks include:

  • Resume creation
  • Professional networking
  • Social media cleanup
  • Searching job boards
  • Filling out applications
  • Researching companies
  • Job fairs
  • Personal affairs
  • Miscellaneous

Here’s what an example agenda might look like:

Agenda Snapshot

You may download a blank version of the agenda example here: Blank Agenda

Notice how we don’t forget to take breaks and we allow time to attend to personal affairs. The great part about transitioning is that you get to set your own schedule that works with your life. This example is, however, only an example. Your own agenda may (and should) begin with applying for unemployment benefits as opposed to immediately jumping into the search. You may need to change the times from 9am-5pm to 6pm-2am – this all depends on your unique transition situation.

Scheduling an agenda like this allows us to strategically place tasks. For example, we’ve decided to network from 9am-12pm on Tuesday. As I re-blogged in an earlier post, we learned that 8am-12pm on a Tuesday is the best time to send an email, because this is the time that people most often check their emails. Use knowledge like this to your advantage.

Whatever your situation is, whatever you decide to do with your time, do not remain stagnant. If there’s something I learned from my time in the military, it’s that we must always do something. Scheduling an agenda ahead of time and sticking to it is a sure-fire way to ensure we keep on track with our transitioning goals.

Written by: Travis Rice


How To Tell Your Subordinates You Were Wong

Everyone makes mistakes, everyone.

Being in a leadership position essentially guarantees that someone is going to notice your mistakes and, in order to be successful, you need to own up to them. You may initially believe that admitting these mistakes will make you seem incompetent, but really it shows your subordinates (and superiors) that you are human, like them, and willing to take responsibility for your actions. As leaders we must always strive to set the standard, but sometimes we will fall short of that standard. If we expect our subordinates to own up to their mistakes then we must do it first.

I found this short article about “how to tell an employee you were wrong…” It’s a great, humbling, reminder that we leaders make mistakes too and we must never forget to demonstrate our expectations for our team through our own actions.

Author: Sarah McCord

Original Article @

How to tell an employee you were wrong, no matter what the mistake

Image: Roy Scott/Ikon Images/Corbis
Managers put a lot of effort into providing constructive criticism for their employees. They work to individualize feedback and make it really valuable to a given person, even those who are infamous for not taking suggestions in stride.But conversations about room for improvement aren’t always centered on the employee. Sometimes you, the manager, are the person who screwed up.

Everyone makes mistakes, but being in a leadership role often seems to add a layer of confusion. Maybe your inclination is to downplay or even hide what you did, because you’re worried that admitting an error will make you look unqualified. To the contrary, covering it up could lead your employees to be in the one-third of respondents surveyed by the American Psychological Association who said, “My employer is not always honest and truthful.”

These sentiments are the enemy of open communication and can harm your workplace relationships. With that in mind, here’s how to communicate your error:

1. Own up to your mistake

“Do as I say, not as I do,” is rarely an effective leadership technique. If you brush off (or ignore) what you did wrong, what might your employee do the next time he’s in a tight spot?


model the behavior you expect.

model the behavior you expect. Go out of your way to communicate your mistake the same way you’d like an employee to if she made a similar error. Would you want her to speak to you one-on-one; to send an email; to have game-plan of what she’d do differently in the future?For example, let’s say you learn from exit interviews that you weren’t providing adequate feedback. Scheduling regular meetings moving forward is an important fix, but it might seem a bit out of left field (leaving your employees to wonder if it will actually last).

In this instance, schedule one-on-one discussions. Lead with: “I realize I haven’t been sharing feedback with you outside of your annual review. I know that makes it harder for you to do your job — and it’s my job to help you, not keep what I see as areas for growth or praise to myself until January. It’s a mistake I’d like to rectify by scheduling times for us to discuss progress more regularly.” Then ask what is (and isn’t) working from their perspective.

2. Include an apology if necessary

Many mistakes don’t require an ongoing change to schedules, but they do require an apology. Say you didn’t sleep a wink last night, and when your employee came to you with an idea this morning you shut it down without really listening. Or you never got back to her on something, so she took initiative and made a decision and you scolded her for it.

Step beyond the admission that you wish you’d handled things differently and include the words, “I’m sorry.” It doesn’t indicate a lack of strength: It demonstrates willingness to apologize for bad behavior.

Bonus: Encouraging people to apologize when they’re wrong will not only benefit your relationship with employees, but also their relationships with the customer base. According to a study quoted in this American Express Open Forum post, “more than twice the number of unhappy customers are willing to forgive a company that issues an apology over one who offers them a monetary compensation.”

3. Find the balance

There are all levels of mistakes at work — from accidentally sending an email before you were finished to unintentionally sending one to the wrong person. This is an important point, because in the spirit of being authentic, you don’t want to go too far and apologize to your employees for every minor error you make. At best, you’ll be seen as annoying and overdoing it, and at worst, you could be seen as incompetent.

So if you forgot to cc an employee on an email about a project he’s been working on, a simple “Whoops, I forgot to cc you, looping you in now,” will do the trick. Forget (or fail) to give credit to someone for his great work in a team meeting? That merits an apology.

Manager’s Resource Handbook explains it well:

This is not to say that managers should apologize for every slightly incorrect detail to keep the record straight…The point is simply that managers need not behave like robots who lack a conscience, but rather as people who can make occasional mistakes and whom are willing to admit it.

A good rule of thumb is to think how you’d feel if the roles were reversed. If you made an error with no consequences — add it to your internal inventory for what you could do better next time and leave it at that. But if you do something that undermines, discourages, discredits or otherwise thwarts the efforts of your employees or organization, own up to it. That makes it clear that would never be your intention.

No one enjoys admitting he or she screwed up, so stay focused on the bigger picture. You’re setting an example and contributing to a culture where people are honest when they make a mistake, then work to fix it. So, say you were wrong, and apologize if need be. Then move forward, as the strong, transparent leader you are.

Six Cybersecurity Risks You Should Be Aware Of

“Assume hackers will always penetrate your infrastructure.”

This could be the single most important rule to live by (regarding infosec).

Hackers will always find a way in if they try enough. The odds are against you. This is why you always try to break into your own networks and exchange thoughts, ideas and experience with colleagues. You can block a thousand attacks, but the single hacker that gets in – that’s the one that will break you. You can apply as much proactive defense as you want, but someone will penetrate and you had better be ready.

The following article addresses cyber security from a few different angles such as deception and inappropriate use of social media – “loose lips sink ships.”

– Travis

6 Emerging Cybersecurity Risks You Should Be Aware Of

Author: Joseph Steinberg

Original Article:

Last Friday I had the privilege of moderating a panel of experts discussing emerging security risks.

Besides me, the panel at the New York Cyber Security Summit included Logan Brown (president of Exodus Intelligence), Joseph Fiorella (senior infosec engineer at Intel Security), Roy Katmor (CEO of Ensilo), Tom Kellerman (chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro), Hanan Levin (VP of products at Illusive Networks), and Dr. Bernard Parsons (CEO of Becrypt).

Here are six takeaways from the panel; they should provide valuable input for both individuals and businesses seeking to stay ahead of cyber threats.

1. Assume that hackers will ultimately penetrate your infrastructure.

While preventative information-security measures are obviously a necessity, businesses and people must still assume that hackers will ultimately penetrate their infrastructure despite all of the security technologies in place. Remember, the odds are dramatically in an attacker’s favor-he or she needs to get just one attack through, a defender needs to stop all attacks. As such, segmenting data–i.e., not putting all of your eggs in one basket–is critically important. It is also wise to understand who might be interested in attacking your organization, what their motives may be, and what resources they are likely to have. Without such knowledge you may misallocate your valuable resources.

2. Deception can be a useful component of a security strategy.

If you include fake servers and fake, traceable data within your network, hackers may not be able to identify what data is valuable and what is not, and you may improve your chances of catching anyone who targets you (e.g., if a criminal attempts to use stolen, traceable, phony data). Deceptive practices can also help by forcing attackers to expend time analyzing data, which may encourage them to turn their attention elsewhere.

3. Cyberterrorism has begun.

Almost half of the energy-sector organizations polled for a recent cybersecurity study reported that attackers had attempted to delete or destroy information on their systems. From a practical standpoint, if a utility goes offline it does not matter much to those without power, gas, or water whether the attackers were nation states, terrorist groups, hacktivists, or others. Of course, from a national security standpoint, the nature of the enemy is important, and the common belief is that cyberterrorism, and attempts at cyberterrorism, is likely to grow dramatically worse with time. As I mentioned in a prior article, both Eugene Kaspersky (CEO of Kaspersky Labs) and a senior member of the AT&T security team have told me that they believe that a major cyberterrorism-type incident is likely to happen in the not so distant future.

4. Nearly every person and business today relies on the information-security of third parties for many mission critical tasks.

Several major recent breaches have been achieved, at least in part, by hackers attacking vendors or suppliers of the firms ultimately being targeted. Make sure businesses with which you are dealing don’t become your Achilles’ heel. Businesses should proactively collaborative with their suppliers–sharing expertise and, if appropriate, technology. It can sometimes be more cost effective to provide such resources to third parties than to conduct complex audits of their systems, make demands, and possibly be forced to find alternative providers with better security.

5. Humans are often the weakest point in the security chain.

Many high-profile breaches have begun with criminals gathering information inappropriately posted on social media, crafting targeted phishing emails based on that data, and penetrating organizations by exploiting human mistakes. Security technology can be rendered entirely ineffective by people’s errors; make sure to address human risks as part of your security strategy.

6. Emerging technologies are obviously great targets.

The attacks that we have seen on mobile and internet-of-things technologies, as well as against cars, are the tip of the iceberg of what is to come. Likewise, the success of zero-day attacks–that is, attacks that exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities, which therefore lack solid defenses against them–almost guarantees that sophisticated hackers will seek to identify and exploit such weaknesses in the future. Technologies that identify and report anomalous activity within your infrastructure may help secure against some of these risks.

Please feel free to discuss this article with me. I’m on Twitter at @JosephSteinberg.

Excellent Promotion Strategy

I recently came across this article regarding marketing for small business and individuals. It contains a lot of great information using research and proven successful techniques. I took quite a bit from it and will be using it myself. It would be a great disservice if I didn’t share it with others.

A Content Promotion Strategy in Less Than an Hour a Day

Written By: Mridu Khullar Relph

Original Article:

Back in the old days of the Internet – that is, the late 90’s and early 2000’s – “build it and they will come” was a fantastic strategy. There were fewer people either building or visiting websites, and therefore, if you did create a website, newsletter, or e-course, it was almost a given that people interested in you would find you.

It’s how I built my first business.

I built it. They came.

Today, that is no longer the case. You’re competing not only with people who offer similar content, but over several different platforms. And if that wasn’t challenging enough, you’re competing not just with other solopreneurs and other one-person businesses, but organizations with huge human and capital resources.

How do you stand out?

One path is to promote, to market, and to figure out unique ways in which to reach your core audience.

Here is a simple gameplan to get the most traction for each piece of content you create.

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Why Promoting Content is Important

In his post “The 80/20 Rule for Building a Blog Audience” marketer and entrepreneur Derek Halpern notes:

If you spend time writing a piece of content, and that content only gets 1,000 readers, chances are there are one million other people in the world who can benefit from what you wrote.

Why then, would you spend more time creating content when you already have something that your ideal customers can benefit from?

Halpern has an 80/20 content strategy, that is, he spends 20 percent of his time creating it and 80 percent of his time marketing it.

While this is a fantastic strategy if you’re new and need to grow your audience quickly, content marketing experts do warn that sticking to this strategy can mean that you’re underserving your existing audience.

In a fantastic post, Mark W. Schaefer at the {grow} blog writes,

The only people who will create long-term business value for you is your core audience—your return readers. In fact, I think “returning readers” is the most relevant metric for business-oriented content including blogs, podcasts, videos, and even Pinterest pages.

Of course there has to be an element of promotion to help attract new readers and to help your chance of being discovered by people who want and need your content. But spending four times as much time in self-promotion verses value-creation may build traffic spikes but probably not reader loyalty.

So how can you grow your audience while still focusing on creating massive value for your existing readers and followers?

Here’s a plan: Give yourself quick wins with an automated strategy and a checklist.

We’ve whipped up one for you in this post. Read on to see how to use it.


Promoting Your Content: 5 Quick Wins

1. Send it to your email list (Time taken: 2-5 minutes)

One of the best ways to get immediate traction with your content is to send it to your email list. Your email subscription list is typically comprised of people who have signed up to receive updates from you because they like and trust you or your brand and want to hear from you.

These are the people who are most likely to add high numbers to your social shares, to read your content the moment it’s published, or to forward it to others who may benefit from it.

Your email subscribers are most likely the most engaged of your audience, so it’s always a fantastic idea to share content with them on a regular basis.

The way you do this sharing will come down to how you run your business, what your relationship with your readers looks like, and what kind of updates your subscribers have come to expect.

For instance, here at Buffer, we’ll send out links to posts to people who have chosen to receive updates on the day the post is published.

Some people, such as James Clear, will send full posts to their subscribers, so that they don’t have to visit the blog at all if they choose not to.

Others choose to send a “newsletter” on a weekly or monthly basis with links to the blog posts published during that period.

Try and experiment with these methods to see what works best for your audience.


2. Schedule it on social media over a period of weeks (Time taken: 5-10 minutes)

A social media editorial calendar can be a fantastic thing and one most business owners swear by, especially if they run small operations with little help.

When you publish a post or a piece of content, one of the best things that you can do is to spread out the promotion over a period of time using tools like Buffer.

With Buffer, for instance, you can easily schedule your post to be promoted on Twitter and Facebook the moment it goes live, then again the next day, and perhaps again a week later. Do this for all your social media profiles.

In fact, we highly recommend that you create schedules and write them down, so that every time you hit “publish” on a post, it’s a no-brainer. You refer to your list and know exactly when to post links on social media. By automating this process as much as possible, you assure that you’re getting the maximum possible potential reach for your content while minimizing the time it takes to do so.

In this post, Kevan Lee explains how we do this here at Buffer.

By sharing the same content nine times in seven days, Coschedule quadrupled their traffic as shared in the graphic below:


3. Email everyone who is mentioned in your post or article (Time taken: 5-10 minutes)

A fantastic way to not only connect with your audience, but to connect with other people in the industry and their audience, is to mention them in your articles and blog posts and then let them know when you’ve done so, in order that they can share with their readers if they so choose.

When Kevan here at Buffer tried this strategy, he had a 66 percent success rate.

Here’s the email he used:


To find someone’s email address quickly:

  1. Look through their website for a “Contact Me” or “About” page to see if you can find it there.
  2. Try LinkedIn. Often, people who want to be contacted will put their email address up in order to be found.
  3. Google combinations of their name with “” (in quotes) to see what comes up. For instance, if you were looking for my email address, you’d be able to find it very quickly by using the search term [Mridu “”]

4. Syndicate your content (Time taken: 10-15 minutes)

A great goal to have for your content marketing strategy is to build partnerships with larger media organizations in the way of syndication and content-sharing opportunities. This however, will take time and effort, especially with bigger partnerships like the kind we have here at Buffer with Fast Company and

While you’re working on building those, don’t forget to utilize the free networks like Medium and LinkedIn that offer you similar syndication opportunities to reach newer audiences.

Medium has a very nifty guide to publishing on its platform and the things to keep in mind. Read it here.

And in this fantastic post about publishing to LinkedIn, Noah Kagan lays out the following tips:

  1. Make your titles between 40 and 49 characters long
  2. Make your posts on LinkedIn visual! Add 8 images
  3. Don’t add video or other multimedia assets to your posts
  4. Use “how-to” and list-style headlines
  5. Divide your post into 5 headings in order to attract the greatest number of post views
  6. People like to read long-form content on LinkedIn – 1,900 to 2,000 words long
  7. Don’t get your audience all fired up
  8. Make your content readable for an 11-year-old
  9. Promote your LinkedIn publisher post on other social networks!
  10. LinkedIn likes get you views, shares, and comments
  11. Publish your LinkedIn posts on Thursday

I don’t recommend that you syndicate every single post, but for select ones that may resonate for those unique audiences, it’s a great way to bring interested readers over to your neck of the Internet woods. I also, personally, don’t syndicate new content immediately. I’ll wait for something to go bit on my website and then send only that content to syndicate partners with the assurance that it’s something that will resonate with their readers, too.

I also try to keep my syndicated posts unique. If you’re in the fantastic position to be syndicating your content and having it republished on several websites, you want to be strategic and try and avoid sending them the same posts each time, so that they can have unique content to share with these audiences.


5. Create quick and easy graphics to share on social media (Time taken: 10-15 minutes)

You’re a Buffer blog reader, so I don’t need to tell you just how important images are in social media. We’ve talked about that here, here, and here. Research shows that photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than the average post.

If you’re using images in your posts anyway, a quick and easy win is to share the headline or quote from your post along with an image. If not, you can quickly and easily do so in Canva or many of the other image-creating resources mentioned in this post. We’ve found that it’s incredibly helpful to share images in your social media posts, since according to a 2013 Pew Research Study, nearly half of all Internet users have reposted a photo or video they found online.

This can help you gain traction on image-oriented social sharing networks even if you don’t have much of a presence on them.

For instance, this picture on my blog post really helped bring readers in through social media, especially—to my surprise—from Pinterest, since I have no real Pinterest presence. It was really interesting to see a high number of social shares and to see what resonated with that audience, an audience I otherwise would not have had access to.

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