Separating Work Mitch from Home Mitch

Work probably means different things to different people. For me, I don’t wake up and dread heading into work (most days anyway), in fact most days the idea of hitting the offices excites me a little.

I love my job, my career path, my company and my colleagues. But when things get scary and stressful, leaving all that stuff in the office can be difficult, especially when things go wrong.

To quote my hero, Ari Gold:

Eric Murphy: Ari, I’m getting killed here. Vince isn’t happy.
Ari Gold: Of course he’s not happy. Nobody’s happy in this town except for the losers. Look at me, I’m miserable… that’s why I’m rich.

Now I’m not rich… not yet anyway… but I am successful. And I do know that a certain level of stress, or let’s call it urgency, is totally necessary to be good at what you do. Especially if you love your work and care about the job that you do.

So right now, after working 11.5 hours, I am going to leave Work Mitch at work and go have a beer with my best mate Matt. And I am going to enjoy it and relax.

Over and out.

Mitch’s MSN Censor Gag

After just having a chat on MSN with a friend I have developed an awesome MSN gag to get your friends. Feel free to use this, but do credit me. I hereby license this MSN gag under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. Done, my gag, I own it. Boom!

Step 1: The Setup
Start by some casual chat using the █ character to block out some bad language.

You: Hey dude, what’s up?
John Do: Not a lot, just at work.
You: Yeah same, what a █████ huh? I really just can’t be ████ed today.

Step 2: Act Dumb
By now you’ve got them curious and they’re asking questions about why all the language is being censored out.

John Do: Uh dude, why is it censoring all the bad language?
You: What do you mean?
John Do: I keep seeing black boxes where swear words should be?
You: What the ████ are you on about?
John Do: See what I mean?
You: No I don’t, what the ████ are you on about? ████ you’re being weird!
John Do: I swear to god, you’re being censored!
You: ████, really? That’s ████ing weird!

Step 3: Drop the V-Bomb
You’re presumably tech-savvy and smarter than your friend so introduce some virus chat to really get them a bit worked up.

You: Oh god, I’ve heard about this virus. Apparently it blocks all your swearing and forwards itself through MSN. I can see the swear words here, but you’re sure you can’t see them there? ████ ████ity ████ ████ ████ – can you see that?
John Do: No, I can’t, it’s censored.
You: I hope I haven’t given the virus to you, you try swearing.
John Do: Shit – can you see that?
You: No! All I see is black! Oh I’m so sorry for giving you virus!

Note: just copy and paste the black squares, it’s easier.

‘Nuff said. Go forth and wreak havoc.

Catching the eye of a recruiter

Interesting article on KRIS.TV today titled “Catching the Eye of an Executive Recruiter”. It makes some obvious points, some less-obvious points and misses one key area to finding the attention of a recruiter.

One of the points it raises is that recruiters are only interested in the roles they are working on. This absolutely should not be the case with a good recruiter and finding good talent should always be a priority for this kind of individual.

This raises the most important point missed in the article: find good or even great recruiters who are inside your network.

With so many recruitment agencies who barely know what they are doing, make sure you find a recruiter you can genuinely partner with. Find a recruiter who your colleagues and friends deal with a lot, who comes highly recommended and meet with them. Make your recruiter your friend.

In a mutually beneficial recruitment partnership the candidate owes as much to the recruiter as the recruiter owes to the candidate. Offering your consultant a degree of exclusivity, prompt feedback and regular updates are an excellent start to making yourself a priority to your recruitment consultant. Offering them referrals is an even better way to stay front of mind – good people should always know other good people.

This brings me to my last point: know where your CV is. Your CV is a personal document and a window to your professional career; not knowing who has it is a fatal mistake made by a vast majority of candidates. Nothing will ruin your name in the recruitment marketplace like dozens of consultants fighting over representation rights or clients seeing your CV from multiple agencies. Long story short: don’t be a CV whore.

Getting an apartment in Sydney

Finding your apartment in Sydney (and probably other places) in today’s rental market is a nightmare. People are literally lining up for property viewings, applying by the dozens, and in a lot of instances doing literally whatever it takes to get properties.

I viewed a property on Saturday with two friends, applied on Saturday and had the property secured by Tuesday. The reasons I was able to secure the property so quickly are two fold. And both of the attributes you have complete control over.

The two things that are absolutely vital to a good and quick rental application are a solid rental history and an excellent application. The rental history should already be taken care of if you’re a good tenant, but I will share some tips for an excellent application that were given to me by a 20-year veteran property manager.

  1. Be prepared – download applications from the real estate agents website or go to their premises and retrieve them, and have them filled out well before you even go to the property. Don’t be sitting outside trying to think of referees or rental histories, it’s not going to work.
  2. Be really prepared – have everything ready; your bond, your first month of rent and photo copies of relevant paperwork (drivers license, birth certificate, etc. etc.)
  3. Cover letter – they’re not just for job hunting; write the property manager a letter telling him about yourself and your situation. In our case there were 3 guys applying and we wrote a letter to make it very clear that we weren’t looking for a “party house” and that we are three professional guys.
  4. Introduce yourself – the property manager is potentially showing the house to dozens and dozens of potential tenants – in our case it was apparently over 200 people. Introduce yourself, hand in your application and cover letter while you’re there. This makes you front of mind right from the start.
  5. Follow up – don’t hand in an application and forget about it. Call the property manage and ask how the applications are going, ask if he needs any more information and remind him that you have all the relevant documents and the money ready to go. E-mails are a great follow up too as it prompts a response always
  6. Hedge your bets – you’ve maximised your chances of getting the property, now maximise your chances of getting any property that you’re interested in. You will like more than one property, so apply to more than one property. It’s like cheating; it’s okay if she’s doing it, right?
  7. Be polite – common sense, but I’ve heard of guys getting really upset over the property, this just won’t do anyone any favours.
  8. Have support – make sure all your references are prepared and your housemates (if any) are ready to go. Also, it helps if you’re a little younger your parents are on your side (thanks mum)!

I hope this helps anyone looking for a property and explains perhaps where you’ve been going wrong in your applications. It’s a tough market and you have to treat every application very seriously and maximise your chances of finding that dream apartment.

The Things You Own, Own You

This morning while perusing some news items I came across an interesting article on SMH about people who spend money on gadgets they can’t necessarily afford, don’t need the features and certainly don’t have the computer savvy mind to “drive” these devices.

As a gadget geek I scoffed at the implication that people are so silly that they buy devices they don’t use, but then suddenly found myself looking inwards to think about how I use my technology and just how much value it all adds to my life.

The first thing that comes to my phone. Every time I bring it out of my pocket geeks, and non-geeks alike, look in wonderment and start asking me about the features. When I tell them about the 5MP camera and GPS they are so impressed that they begin to talk about wanting one. But do I even use it?

To go through my rather extremely extensive geek collection and lay out how much I use, this might take a while but will paint a pretty accurate picture of what I need and don’t need.

Hold on to your hats.

Nokia N95
GPS – 3 times in 6 months
Camera – often more than once a day
Web – several times a day
SMS – several times a day
Calling – almost all day constantly – it’s my job

Work Blackberry (new, but this is assumptive)
E-mail – all day
Phone – all day, it will take over from my N95 for work calls
Web – several times a day
Calender / extra feature – all day

All features – for a few hours a day or every other day

iPod 60GB
Music – every morning and afternoon after work
Video – once a week or maybe less

iPod Nano 4GB
Music – several times a week jogging, ideally, but actually not as often as I should
Video – never

Canon 350D D-Rebel
Photos (d’uh) – once a week but maybe less

PSP (Playstation Portable)
Games – less than a few times a month
Internet – Not often, but I should use more such as RSS on the bus
Other features – Never

Haven’t touched it in years

Printer – not in years
Photo printer – even longer
Desktop PC – over a year
Television – in storage for over a year
iPod Shuffle – over a year
Palm T|X – over a year since I smashed the screen, but didn’t use enough at all

Plus god knows how much else that I can’t even think of…

How much of this stuff just belongs on eBay? Maybe just making some streamlining to my life to use fewer gadgets and use them more often? There is just too much junk here and considering most of it is portable, I have none of it with me (barring my phone of course) on a day-to-day basis.

What is your experience of buying technologies you don’t use? How many hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars worth of electo-crap do you have lying around your house?