I Know How But You Could Learn

I’m beating a dead horse. But, and I say again, stop asking millennial employees to be your office’s tech gurus. Outside of those of us who are in I.T., we do have things on our plates that do not involve helping everyone figure out how to set up an out of office e-mail response.

Google is a beautiful thing. Before going to your younger counterpart’s office/cubicle/desk, take advantage of your search bar. If you’ve done that, then feel free to ask I.T. or even one of your more tech savvy coworkers. But please don’t waste time asking for help if you haven’t made an effort.


(This post was inspired by yet another of many conversations with my peers.)

Make continuing education a priority.


Don’t You Have an I.T. Professional?

“The core of what Google is about is bringing information to people.” — Sundar Pichai

Every millennial I know who works in an office setting gets calls that should be fielded by someone in an information technology department.

“James, can you help me copy and paste this hyperlink?”
“Jane, I accidentally rearranged my Powerpoint presentation. How do I undo it?”
“Alex, my app store won’t open. What do I do?”

And, every millennial who gets questions like this wants to tell you to do two things, in this order:
1) Use Google
2) Call I.T.

The time that many millennials waste helping our less-than tech savvy coworkers isn’t only a waste of time and far outside our job descriptions – it’s irritating when asked over and over. Those of us who wanted to go into information technology did. The company/organization pays someone to do what you’re asking us to do. Have I.T. help you (or just Google it, like most of us technologically-omniscient young folks do before we answer the questions you asked).

And this isn’t me pointing a finger at anyone. Just my thoughts on ongoing conversations I have with many of my peers. No love (that was already there) lost.


Make using Google a priority.

Too Lazy to Even Be Lazy

Have you ever picked up your smartphone to text someone to ask them something like what the weather was?

Have you ever called someone from your smartphone to ask what the date of Memorial Day (or any other holiday) is?

Have you ever walked down the hall at work to ask if the “i before e” thing is a hard and fast rule?

Why didn’t you use your smartphone for that? I don’t think we forget that we have them. I think we’re often too lazy to use a tool that has many of the answers we want. So, instead of looking to the internet with ease, we want someone else to do it for us.

I’m guilty of it too.
Make professional development a priority.

I Know You Didn’t Just Text Me For That

Have you ever gotten a text message, e-mail, or GroupMe notification with someone asking for something they could have looked up themselves on Google?  You know what I mean.  The kind of person who will text you, “What’s up bro?  I’m trying to make my girlfriend dinner tonight. How many ounces are in a cup?”

I say that to say this: Please don’t be that person.  Usually, in the time it takes you to open the messaging application, type the question, hit send, and wait for a response, Google could have answered the question for you.  So, unless it is something you cannot look up, look it up.


Make professional development a priority ... along with common sense.  Common sense is important too.

Google is a Wonderful Tool

This post is going to be very short and to the point.

Google is a beautiful thing.  I lie to you not.  And, when you ask questions that you could search for on Google (or Bing or Yahoo or any other search engine) just as easily, there are those of us who will think you’re dumb.  Now, if you’re asking a question that requires a discussion and explanation, great.  I’m happy to discuss/debate.  But if you’re asking a question, such as “How many hours are in a year?”, I may just look at you

This post has less to do with professional development and more to do with common sense.  But the two go hand in hand.  So take it for what it’s worth and, next time, before you text your bestie “What is the number to Papa Johns?”, ask yourself “Am I really that lazy?”  In short, don’t waste my time

Getting the Most Out of Your Smartphone

“Smartphones, dumb (stuff).”

IMG_2210-0That’s the edited version of the last line of a chorus on R&B artist Trey Songz’s most recent album.  And, where it has nothing to do with professional development, I see plenty of people who use their smartphones for so so soooo many pointless things.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  I have a few games on here that won’t help me develop myself professionally but, dagnabit, they’re fun!  But there are many more applications on my phone that help with my productivity and knowledge of my craft.  I’m not saying you need all of the apps I have but there are definitely a few that can help everyone’s productivity and adding an overall air of a seamless technological experience.  So here are a few apps I use daily that you should check out and see if they fit into your lifestyle.

Holy Bible by LifeChurch.tv – This app starts my day off.  Before I even wake up most days, I get a reminder to read.  It starts me on the right path.  Also, there are some great reading plans if you’re looking to further your understanding of the Word.

Tempo by Tempo Al – This is my personal choice for calendar applications.  It allows me to speak an appointment as I please (Work tomorrow at Nordstrom from 11-7) and properly inputs the event.  Also, if I’m meeting w/ someone, it pulls their contact info from my address book and email account so I can look at what we’ve discussed recently.  These are just a couple of the features I love but I recommend you play around with it.

Dropbox by Dropbox – The first cloud application I was exposed to and, therefore the one that stuck.  Really, you can choose any cloud app as long as it’s accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Evernote by Evernote – This is actually the app I’m using to write this post.  I began typing it on a laptop and needed to finish via phone so here I am.  It’s a cloud that you can use as a word processer, photo album, or for voice recordings.  And it utilizes a cloud (obviously) so I can access my notes anywhere in the world.

Buffer by Buffer, Inc. – Usually, if you see me tweeting throughout the day and I’m at work, I’m not actually live tweeting.  Instead, I use an application called Buffer that allows me to post to my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles at specified intervals throughout the day.  Sometimes I’m posting a quote.  Other times I’m posting the link to a blog post or magazine article I’ve written.  But every single Buffer post is done with the goal of measurable returns.

Gorilla Workout by Heckr, LLC – Do you need a good workout but haven’t got a gym membership?  Check out this app.  It has daily workouts for anyone in any physical condition.  And most you can do at home, in your neighborhood fitness center, or on a playground.  The hardest thing is just to get started.

Acorns by Acorns – Our grandparents had a great savings plan way back in the day.  That plan was to, at the end of the day, dump their coins in a bucket/jar and save them for a rainy day.  But, with the growing popularity of debit cards, cash is not used as much, thus making the change jar a thing of the past.  That’s where this application comes in.  Acorns takes the lose change from every debit transaction and puts it into a savings account.  The money is then invested and, if you leave it there to grow, you will begin to see a return on your investment.

Flipboard by Flipboard, Inc. – It’s 2015.  We don’t have time to thumb through newspapers or even really keep up with all the news sources on television/the web.  So how can we filter out which stories are important?  Well Flipboard begins to help with that.  Flipboard allows you to choose the categories that matter most to you and read their updates.  Kind of like a more focused, more in-depth Twitter.

These are just a few of the many apps I use regularly.  Keep checking in for more suggestions from week to week.

Google Me! (And Yourself While You’re At It)

Every time I get an opportunity to speak somewhere, I know that the group of students and/or young professionals I’m speaking with will search for me after I leave (if they’re not Googling me as I speak). And when I interview for a job, I know that the person interviewing me will likely do the same. So, in order to be proactive and protect my brand, I search for myself periodically. I make sure to take a look at the web results as well as the images associated with my name. What I don’t ever want to do is to be speaking to a group of students about professional development and a student raise his hand to ask me why there is a photograph of me passed out drunk or wearing a shirt with obscenities. See, my brand leaves room for me to have a drink or two from time to time. It even allows me to question the status quo as far as political issues go. But what you do not see when you search for me on Google is me swearing (with the exception of me directly quoting others). So, how do you establish an online presence? I’m glad you asked.


1) Formulate a plan of action
The coolest thing about the internet is that you can choose who you want to be. Of course some people take that too far (hence shows like Catfish). But really, the World Wide Web allows you to develop a persona that otherwise would not be possible. For me, I decided that I wanted to be recognized as a professional development consultant. Take some time to write out your goals and then decide how you can use the internet to leverage that brand. Social media is a great tool. I recommend toying around with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to begin with. Pinterest is also an awesome way to get your content discovered.

2) Clean all negative content off the first page of results
Most employers will not look past the first page of search results. And, those who do probably won’t look past the second page. So you have to get your name out there. The more positive content you have out, the more quickly the negatives will fall down in search results. So write, write, and then write some more. Post your material to your blog, message boards, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other websites that are intended for sharing. Before you know it, people will have clicked on your positive content so much that any negatives you may have had will be on the fourth or fifth page of search results.


3) Write!
I said it before but I’ll say it again: Write. The better you get at writing about your subject matter, the more people will trust your judgment. The more they trust your judgment, the stronger your brand will get. Not to mention that the ability to write just might be what gets you noticed by the right people. My blogging has given me the opportunity to write for magazines, journals, and other blogs across the nation. The consistency of my posts has gotten me numerous speaking engagements. So, please write. You never know who will read it.

4) Make better decisions
I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. But, since it’s the first Monday of 2015, I will ask you to resolve to do one thing: Make better decisions. At a point in history where almost everything done outside one’s own home is recorded by one camera or another, your ability to make great decisions is what will keep your online presence intact. My father told me time and time again that it takes years to build a great reputation but one bad decision can ruin all that you’ve worked hard to build. So make a decision today to be intentional in everything you do. If you go out for drinks, do so with the knowledge that too many will land you on Instagram as a meme. If you tweet an offensive statement, just know that words are often misconstrued years later and, if you have any hopes at a corporate career in the future, that may be pulled out of the Twitter archives 15 years from now. For those of you who, like myself, are set on entrepreneurship and, therefore, believe they haven’t got anyone to answer to, how wrong you are. Poor word choices made by owners of major companies can cost them millions in revenue every year. So choose your words wisely. They will be what make or break your future.

Take my advice folks. I don’t know a lot but I know a few things and I know that how you are perceived is what is going to put you in a position to make your dreams come true. So protect your name. Enhance your brand. And Google me.