5 ways to stay updated with the careers world online

I tweeted (@careers_chap) last week asking people in the careers world stay up date.

tweet, tweet, tweet!

Everyone who tweeted back (not a biased poll then!) said the same stuff – they used social media, especially twitter for news and general conversation.  I think this harks back to my last blog post on “Why is everyone so busy”.  Technology in a way has become our new master rather than  a time saving slave.

So as we’re all so busy social media and the portable tech that goes with it does afford us quick and simple ways to stay up to date with CPD activity.  So for those of you working in or with an interest in the  world of careers work (especially if you’re new) here are five ways to stay current.

1) Twitter.  The CEIAG world is quite a small one.  I find on twitter that careers people/organisations who have been on there a while all follow each other.  Which is good because it means newbies have ready made lists to follow too.  This means you only need to follow a few accounts to get started.  From there just look at who they are following as well as looking at the lists people have compiled which you can follow as well.  Good places to start?  Well you could follow me! @careers_chap.

Also look at @CEGNETUK, @UKCareersChat, @newmanswords, @theCDI, @CareersEngland, @SecondaryCEIAG, @Tomstaunton84, @iCeGS, @pigironjoe @CareersDefender to get you started from a UK perspective.  It’s great to look internationally too such as CDAA_inc and @ceric_ca.  I’ve missed out lots of great ones as the list would be too long but this list is a good starting point.

2) LinkedIn.  Lucy Hawkins blogged  a really nice piece on her LinkedIn connections policy which I think is an important thinking point before you dip in and develop your network. The real power for staying up to date on this platform – in my opinion anyway –  is not the news feed (tends to be filled up with spammy inspiration quotes or news articles I can find myself) but with signing up to common interest groups.  Ones I’ve find useful include: Career Coach Forum, Careers Debate, UK HE Careers Professionals and AGCAS Careers Education.  I am members of others but in truth they aren’t particularly active which is important I feel.

3) Blogs.  I’m relatively new at this but I’ve found tremendous value in writing down my thoughts for my own CPD.  In addition it has meant I’ve sought out other bloggers and read their work all of which contributes to a wide range of views on practice and theory.  In March this year CEGNET produced their top 10 careers blogs which is a good starting point.  Most blogs also have a blog roll which mentions who they are tracking as well.

4) Journals.  The Careers in Theory blog has a great page which lists the relevant journals to careers work here.  The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) is also  a proliferant producer of research in this area.  You can check out its list of publications here.

5) Ezines & articles.  These are normally published articles or news rounds up that act as news aggregators for your careers fix. You can usually sign up for alerts via email  or follow the associated twitter feed.  Here are a few I use at the moment.  Working Adviser Careers Round-Up, AGCAS Phoenix (this is subscription), Contactpoint Careerwise,  CDA New Zealand Ezine, AGR.

I know I will have missed some brilliant sources off my top 5.  Please add anything I’ve missed in the comments and I’ll keep this as a working document.  

Why is everyone so busy? Why our technological future hasn’t really delivered.

Chancing upon an article in the economist titled “Why is everyone so busy” was my muse for this post.  Quoting an early passage the piece centres around from the hugely influential British economist John Maynard Keynes who stated in 1939 when predicting future work/life balance:

“Our grandchildren would work around three hours a day—and probably only by choice”.

It resonates because it’s something I and many others can probably relate to.  With so many technological and socio-economic advances since the industrial revolution and indeed since the birth of the internet age, why does life feel so rushed and pressured? The article refers to the notion of perception and contrast rather than a reality that we actually all have less time.  This is succinctly summed up in the piece when it says:

To be pressed for time has become a sign of prosperity, an indicator of social status, and one that most people are inclined to claim.

This alludes to a paradigm of choice suggesting we have complete freedom and we are victims of our own self-determinism. But for me it really highlights the pernicious culture in the developed world of materialism and neoliberalism.  In these contexts the question of “what is success” could be measured by one’s wealth, professional status and social capital. So despite technology the gap between the have and the have nots is getting ever wider despite platitudes and policies by western governments to counter this.

The 2013 Oxfam report “Even it up” is well worth a read on this subject but it really adds validity to the attribution of policy as a driver for inequality. The Economist article also references this divide:

The struggle to earn a place on that narrow pedestal encourages people to slave away for incomparably long hours. So rising wages, rising costs, diminishing job security and more demanding, rewarding work are all squeezing leisure time

So there is the race to the top for the haves and the race to stay afloat for the have nots.  In the UK for example the huge rise in the number of workers on zero hour contacts and the paucity of investment in careers guidance (a proven and valuable component of any social mobility policy) really reinforces this systemic failure. Whilst still on this subject of the impact of careers guidance a recently commissioned “mobility manifesto” report for the Sutton Trust really hammers  home its value.  Governments take note!

Technological determinism has always been at the forefront of mainstream popular culture and prediction albeit following a divergent pattern.  For example we are often presented  with the  utopian (think Star Trek) and more box office, dystopian future (think Terminator). So where am I going with all this?  Well, I can’t help but think the combination of technological advancement and policy has not really worked out as the optimists may have intended.  Certainly not in the case of John Maynard Keynes predicted.

Many people have found the advancement of technology has eroded low skilled jobs and those in professional roles may not have seen the home working revolution we were promised (have you seen the traffic jams recently!). So it does make you wonder who the winners from us mere mortals really are doesn’t it?

Our life space has also suffered. Surely the most destructive device to work/life balance has to be the smart phone.  Again, I know many people who are “on call” well beyond their contracted hours and access and respond to work emails on their Blackberry because they feel compelled to.  Push notifications must seem to some to be the modern day Victorian servant bell.

Finally I am reminded of the story of the Mexican fisherman.  It’s well known but it’s stayed with me over the years.  For those of you unfamiliar please have a read because it’s a parable that  relates to a question I posed in a previous post, “What is Success?”

The moral of the story.  Sometimes we’re so busy trying to climb the mountain we forget the name of the mountain we’re trying to climb.  Food for thought.