One Step Up

I guess it’s been awhile. Too long. Way way, way, too long. So many times over the past few months, well past year actually, I’ve had bits and pieces of a blog posts knocking around in my head that I wanted to get out there, but it never seemed to work out. I often felt like a tap being turned on, but nothing was coming out because the well had gone dry. After some hard times, big changes, mental exhaustion and some major question marks about the future, the well is finally filling up again.

One thing I’ve been thinking about today is how often in the last year my life has been impacted out of nowhere by random networking and my online presence. My last three jobs were not widely advertised, if at all. In fact all three fell into my path thanks to information or recommendations passed on by other people. My Meals on Wheels consulting job came through an unexpected email. My Saint Mary’s job came from a Facebook message and a recommendation from an acquaintance. My first real PR job at YWCA Halifax came about following a meeting to discuss my PR future and job prospects. I still had to interview for all three positions, but I wouldn’t have even got that far without some outside networking. I consider myself to be a mediocre networker, but so far it’s been a major help to my career. You never know where your next job offer or lead may come from if you put forth professionalism and make it so people think of you, when an opportunity comes along.

As randomly as networking has helped me break into the PR industry, it’s hasn’t been come close to the unexpected encounters my online presence has led me to. Some quick background for new readers. I wrote for a Toronto Blue Jays blogging site, during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After the 2013 season they owners decided to stop running the site and I stopped doing posts. You can still find them all here though and I also created a separate post archive on my own site.

To this day I still get emails about those posts and new comments are made all the time. I did one post on memorabilia and for some reason I keep getting emails from people asking me what I think their Blue Jays collectibles are worth. Apparently writing a blog on Blue Jays collectibles and memorabilia makes you an expert and an appraiser.
Thanks to the retired blog I’ve also received two unexpected interview requests. Right before the 2015 Blue Jays season a reporter from the Toronto Star emailed me to ask me for my thoughts on the Blue Jays getting rid of printed tickets for season ticket holders. I got to do a fun interview and submit a photo with my collection of ticket stubs that ran in the Star.

A similar request came earlier this week. Three English language students at a school in Toronto emailed me asking for an interview request for a story they were writing for their school’s newspaper. When I asked them what they wanted to talk about and how they even found me they said they saw my blog and wanted to talk to a “Blue Jays super fan and expert on the Blue Jays.” Who could say no to that? Not I anyway, and I’ll be talking to them next week sometime.

The moral of the story? Your online presence really does matter and even hobbies or things you do for fun can lead to interesting opportunities. Things as simple as your Twitter feed can help you develop contacts, friends and acquaintances. The only reason I got the Blue Jays blog gig was by talking to some other Jays fans on Twitter one evening. Since then I’ve had Twitter discussions with people about news event, Bruce Springsteen, Star Wars, Crohn’s disease, the Blue Jays and fantasy sports. Just a few weeks ago I had more than an hour long conversation about Star Trek The Next Generation with someone in Minnesota.

Now that I finally breathed live back into this blog I can get to writing something that has been constantly on my mind lately. I’m not going to share what that is yet. I may not share it at all if it doesn’t lead where I hope it might. Things have changed a lot in my life recently (some of you know what I’m talking about, so of you might not yet) which can change your priorities. Right now there are only two things I want. One, a job I love doing again, is something I’ve mentioned on here before. The other? Sorry, I’m saving that one just for me right now. Don’t feel left out, I’ve told no one else about this. Well, no one with two legs anyway. But unless mankind suddenly learns how to translate barks I think the secret is safe with him.

When I look at myself I don’t see
The man I wanted to be
Somewhere along the line I slipped off track
I’m caught movin’ one step up and two steps back

One Step up

High Hopes

Ever since the calendar turned over and 2013 became 2014 I’ve been thinking about writing some kind of New Year’s resolution blog post. After fiddling with the format in my head, trying to decide on three or four smart resolutions and perusing a few resolution blog on the blogosphere, I think I got it.

2013 wasn’t a bad year overall. I remained healthy (which for me is a big plus in itself), obtained my PR diploma, returned to the workforce after what seemed like forever, went on my first vacation in over three years and met some of the greatest people I’ve ever known. So, what’s 2014 going to hold? If I can stick to it these four things at least …

1. Write more – I’m really disappointed in how I’ve let this blog slip and how I’ve also fallen behind in my other blog that I use to try and keep my sports obsession in check. Being busy and finding it hard to come up with topics and ideas shouldn’t be an excuse. Everyone’s busy and has writer’s block occasionally, but they likely don’t routinely go months between blog post, or post once a week instead of every couple of days as originally planned. When I was in New York in early December I bought a book at the New York Public Library called 642 Things to Write About and I’ve barely cracked it open let alone completed one of the writing exercises from it. That’s going to change.

2. Read more – When I first started my job back in August I had this figured out. I had just over half hour in the mornings waiting in the parking lot during which I could read. I went through half a dozen books pretty quickly before my schedule changed and that time was lost. Now I need to get it back. I’ve got a steadily growing pile of books on my bedside table that needs to start shrinking. I think Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible should be the first to get dusted off. Any recommendations to add to the pile to get me even more motivated?

3. Find the right path – That may seem like a vague one and maybe it is but it works better that way I think. My current job is guaranteed to last until April 27. That’s when my current contract runs out and my chances of having extended are completely out of my hands. It depends on finances and budgets much more than my performance. Because of this I’ve been searching for work that will last beyond my April deadline for a few months now. That includes five jobs applications I’ve completed in the last three weeks alone. I’m applying for almost anything that might be a fit right now, but I’m still holding out hope that something really good will come along. What was it I heard last night… “find your way back to where you want to be.” A few of the jobs I’ve applied for might just fit that mould, or at least be a good stopping point on the way there.

4. Open up – If you know me, you likely know I’m in introvert. If you don’t know me I might be the quiet guy in the corner at that party or get together you were just at. That’s something I’ve mentioned before in this blog and something I need to continue to work on. At one point I could have likely counted the number of people that know me well on one hand, but that number has grown slightly over the last year or so. Those great people I mentioned earlier on, that would be them. Hopefully some of them are reading this and I think they’ll know who they are. I still need to work on it though, not only for my personal life, but for my professional life as well. Networking is much easier when you’re not always the quiet guy stuck in the background.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2014 be your best year yet.

Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep
Give me love, give me peace
Don’t you know these days you pay for everything
Got high hopes