It’s been a full summer and my blog has not been able to keep up! Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me how the Meet & Greet went and when I’ll host another. At the moment, I don’t have any Meet & Greet’s scheduled but stay tuned to my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook feeds for updates.
Well, I can’t say what happens at other informal Meet & Greets, but here’s a summary of how mine went on the morning of August 7th, 2014.
For starters, in keeping with the informal approach, I did not require a formal registration or even an RSVP so it wasn’t until the day of that I knew who would show up. It was an interesting mix of folks who are self-employed and work for others, but all recognized the value of an entrepreneurial spirit regardless of the work context. This is due to the fact that everyone agreed that it’s always wise to be mindful of playing an active role in managing one’s work-life and career progression.
Since it was a lovely summer morning in Ottawa’s ByWard Market where the offices of Rhapsody Strategies are located, we met on the deck where we could enjoy cool drinks or hot coffee, gorgeous weather, and a pretty view. We were warmly received by Trefor, Eric, and Lewis (thanks, guys!) and we chatted about past and current career situations including transitions:
- From university/college to full-time jobs
- From job to better job
- From employee to entrepreneur/business owner
- Returning to work after taking time off to have/raise kids
In the month that’s passed since my last Meet & Greet, I’ve been in touch with some of the attendees who have graciously shared their experiences and memories of that morning. Here are some of their observations:
- It was a good opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs
- I liked that it provided an atmosphere where we could bounce around ideas off each other for the potential growth and success of our endeavors
- I liked that it offered the opportunity to hear what others are doing that is helping their business grow and move in the right direction
- I like that it offered support and encouragement because sometimes that’s all you need
- I liked that it provided an atmosphere of problem-solving, that is, discussions that centre around being stuck in business and ideas offered to help get unstuck
The attendees came from a broad range of educational backgrounds, experiences, and work histories. This allowed for the sharing of various insights and perspectives:
- It was great to hear about what it was like to work in different fields which include the following contexts: the federal government, the private sector, running a small business, and even as a professor or researcher in academia.
- It was fascinating to learn what it feels like to take a chance on running a business. Based on the discussion, it seems that running a business is challenging but it can be really worthwhile.
- There seemed to be some agreement on the advantage of pursuing a career that truly reflects your strengths and values.
- The impact of support (or lack thereof) of parents and spouses/partners during a monumental career shift.
Meeting on the premises of Rhapsody Strategies, it was inevitable that the conversation would include the effective use of social media. This was interesting because the Meet & Greet attendees were all at different levels. There seemed to be some challenges regarding which tools to use, how frequently to use them, and what type of voice to use (i.e., personal vs. professional). One common thread was finding the time to post consistently. Tied to this was the question of how to represent yourself online and how to find the right “tone” to use online.
I’ll close this post by sharing an email received by an attendee a few weeks after the event:
“Dr. Helen’s career session was a wonderful opportunity to meet entrepreneurs who are taking care of business,” says a senior communications advisor who is returning to the workplace after maternity leave. “I left the session encouraged by the shared challenges we discussed and inspired by the wealth of insight on how to tackle my job search. Plus, I added a bunch of great people to my network.”
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