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The egalitarian nature of the blogosphere belies the cultural reality. All blogs are not created equal... and not all bloggers have the street cred to be "thought leaders."

Present company excepted, of course.

Vendors are always aware that the ultimate power lies with the boss. Even if you're making the decision, their training and their expectations are such that they will continue to think your boss will be making the decision.

Don't take their rudeness personally!

One boss I had used a neat trick to force the conversation to his employee (me, as often as not) - he sat on the same side of the table as the vendor. He made sure the employee wasn't "lonely", or facing an inquisition - which can happen (even inadvertently) when the "power" is all on one side of the table - but he just made sure the vendor talked to the person making the decision. (Ah, he was a good boss! Jim, wherefore art thou, now?)

One thing about career paths, I used to tell this to all the guys working for me, is that no one is in charge of your career except you. As a manager, I could help your career with training, opportunities and so on. But those were always geared to what the company needed, and were always considered with the idea that the average length of employment was about 18 months! I think it has stabilized a bit now; that was in the heady days of the dot-com "era".

Anyway, the idea that your boss is looking out for your career has to be shaken, rather quickly. (So if anyone does think that... Even, especially, if the boss has promised.)

I've always found that I have to merge two of those points: I'm responsible for me career, and I have to be very "self-employed" about it. Meaning, I may not be able to start a second business (I've had hiring contracts that specifically exclude such efforts), but I've not considered the company responsible for anything I do with my life, my career, etc. I went after the training courses (it was great if the company paid for them), I taught myself the new stuff we had to deal with: if I relied on my boss at the time, I'd still be waiting. (He really was a waste of space, and not just on the org chart.)

In short, while I would pay attention to an employees career, it was always with the firms' goals in mind. Not his; if they coincided: great. If they didn't: well, that's his problem, not mine.

Blogging as a professional development tool certainly has its pluses; I'm interested in the negatives, too. A good blog takes a lot of effort to write and maintain. And it requires a command of the written language that can't be assumed. I've got a feeling that the intersection of tools like "Facebook", "Technorati", "My Space", etc, etc, etc (seemingly ad infinitum...) will be where the technically-aware blogger of the future will end up. The language-intensive blogs of today will still be around, but the sound bite, the quick link, the cryptic comment will prevail. For no other reason than so many people don't have the time, and online multi-tasking is such a generic skill that the effort required to sit and produce a neat statement about an idea simply won't be needed.

I've got gaps in my resume. I'm not concerned about them: any hiring person doesn't need to know what I did. As long as the gap isn't due to incarceration, it's not any of their business! ("I took a little time off" is, I guess, better than "the Judge 'asked' that I take 2 to 5 years off...")

Whew! That covered a lot of ground! :-)

Carolyn Ann

Time for a new vendor!

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