Recap: Forward Tilt Ep 9

This is part of a series of posts called Recap. In it I will share my notes on the content I consumed followed by my response. The content could vary from a podcast, to an article, to a Youtube video, to a book I read. When applicable, I will link to the content.

Yesterday I shared my notes on Episode 36.

In Praxis’ Forward Tilt Podcast Episode 9, Your Personal Brand, Isaac Morehouse discusses what your personal brand is and why you should cultivate it.

Notes

You have a brand whether you want to or not. Your personal brand is the same as reputation. It’s what others believe and feel about you.

Building your personal brand is not about putting up some image or making yourself look cool. The first thing is to understand you have a brand, then to take control of it.

Be sure what others perceive about you is accurate. Lots of people are bad at this. In Praxis, they’ve done a personal brand workshop. Think about yourself, write few sentences about how you want to be perceived. What do you want people to think? Find someone else that doesn’t know you well or at all, have them Google you for 20 minutes and see what they can find. Write down what you associate with them and see what they associate with you. Compare how you want to be seen with what they perceived.

If your brand is too benign or blank there’s no information for people to know about you.

Be aware of how you’re being perceived if you don’t know. Own who you are and be consistent with it.

Your personal brand is not a liability to manage, its an asset to use. It gives you access to opportunities and helps you build your network.

Response

I’ve branded myself a writer. I write about writing and my writing projects on my blog (which a blog is just… more writing). My LinkedIn heading is “creative writer and thinker.” A lot of my goals pertain to writing, though I have some other creative interests as well. The main thing is that I write therefore I am a writer. I don’t just call myself a writer, I actually write. You can see that on this blog and on Over the Invisible Wall.

The funniest time I was misinterpreted happened while I was at work. I was trying to find different pens in the office supply aisle so I could put the returns in their proper place. A customer saw me with six or eight different items in my hands, handed me an empty box from the shelf and said, “Here, work smarter, not harder.” It took him a minute to realize I was working and putting things on the shelf, not taking them off. He thought I was a mom doing back to school shopping!

Recap: Forward Tilt Ep 36

This is part of a series of posts called Recap. In it I will share my notes on the content I consumed followed by my response. The content could vary from a podcast, to an article, to a Youtube video, to a book I read. When applicable, I will link to the content.

Today I listened to Praxis’ Forward Tilt Podcast Episode 36, Finding Gold in the Grunt Work. In this episode, Isaac Morehouse discusses the value of being eager and willing to do grunt work.

Notes

Isaac tells the story of conversation with a CEO who has an employee who wanted a raise but hates grunt work. The CEO doesn’t ask that employee to do grunt work because it’s clear he really doesn’t want to. Another employee higher up will do it. The CEO even has to do it sometimes!

You should want your opportunity cost to get higher so you’re most valuable activity isn’t usually getting coffee. Someone has to do things like coffee runs, let that be you. You’re never too good for grunt work.

If all you’re doing is grunt work, take ownership and prove you can do otherwise. You shouldn’t have to ask to do less grunt work, if you prove you are valuable you will be given more important work to do. And if you’re always fine with doing grunt work, that’s an added bonus.

You could be valuable but not everyone knows or sees what you do. With grunt work, it impacts more people and is highly visible.

Create value in other ways if you’re only doing grunt work. Be eager, volunteer to get things, clean up, etc. “Sometimes the work isn’t glamorous.” If someone is afraid to ask you do to the crappy things you’ve made yourself dispensable.

Response

I work at Walmart in a retail position. My two primary responsibilities are customer service and improving the cleanliness and appearance of the aisles in my department. The second, referred to as “zoning,” is necessary to improve customers’ experience in the store. It’s easier to shop when the aisles are clean, organized, and you can see every item on the shelf. Zoning is tedious and can be categorized as grunt work.

During my shift, I am assigned a department, either Crafts/Stationery or Toys. I’m almost always the only person in my department, excluding short periods of overlapping shifts. That leaves me solely responsible for the zone. Customer service trumps zoning, but the zone still has to get done. Additionally, we’re almost constantly short staffed in some area and I will get asked to help out either with the zone or customer service.

For example, yesterday no one responded to calls to the paint counter or sporting goods counter, so I did. I asked the customers at the sporting goods counter what they needed. I was unsure of what to do, so I had it announced again that customers were still waiting. At the paint counter, I mixed paint for two customers who’d been waiting.

When I’m in Crafts, it’s common for a manager to walk by and ask me to zone two aisles in Housewares, the rugs and curtains. I always say yes, pause what I’m doing, and fix those aisles before returning to my department.

Lately we’ve been short staffed in Crafts, which I consider “my department” because it’s where I hired in. There are four Crafts associates: one lady who is on leave, one lady who’s been calling off, the department manager, and me. As such, I’ve taken it upon myself to pick up the slack so we don’t fall further behind and so we can catch up to where we should be as soon as possible. The lady on leave was the only one who knew how to make fabric remnants, pieces less than a yard long, so she taught me before she left. I’ve taken most of the pieces under the fabric table and made remnants so customers can buy them. We have to pull top stock, the boxes that are on the very top shelf, down and put it out on the shelf for customers to buy. The top stock shelf is where we first put overstock, when possible, but it needs to go out once it’s no longer overstock. When I have time, I make it a point to work the top stock to make it easier for the department manager.

Recap: Legends and Losers Ep 181

This is a new series of posts called Recap. In it I will share my notes on the content I consumed followed by my response. The content could vary from a podcast, to an article, to a Youtube video, to a book I read. When applicable, I will link to the content.

I recently listened to episode 181 of Christopher Lochhead’s podcast Legends and Losers, “Digital Body of Work.” Lochhead shares his thoughts on episode 170, where he interviewed Isaac Morehouse, the founder of Praxis. I plan on listening to that episode soon, and will share my thoughts on it when I do.

Notes:

Morehouse really pushes this idea that you should be your own credential; college is buying it, today we should be our own.

What happens when someone googles you? See what happens.

What happens after we get googled is critical. People look online to find out about you.

Being a podcast guest is a good way for authors and thought leaders to get their name out.

Do you blog, post on social networks, podcast, have you written a book? Even if it’s not a best seller, you put in the work to put something valuable out there.

Are you on Quora? What are you doing on other social networks? What are you sharing? Are you contributing content? Do you have a TED or TEDx talk? Are your speeches available online?

Also, what are people saying about you? Are you featured somewhere?

Response:

As someone who is going to go through Praxis, I definitely think that Isaac Morehouse is right about a lot of things concerning the new job market. I also think the Praxis approach is valuable, especially as an aspiring author.

Presence is important. The community and the response to my work is important. It’s easy to think about all the various online communities I could be part of and think, “If only I had more time, I’d work on my presence there.” And in some cases, time can be an issue. If I’m spending too much time on Facebook or Discord or Quora, in excess of doing other things that are more important at the time, then it’s my fault I don’t have enough time. On the flip side, if I don’t have enough time because I’m really actually working, that’s a bit different.

Between my cowriter Justine and I for Over the Invisible Wall, we are not ready to add Twitter to our social media. We already manage the Facebook page on our own and we both have a lot of other responsibilities other that our shared blog. But for just a few extra minutes, I could make a personal Twitter and share my personal blog posts and maybe reach some people who aren’t on Facebook.

A lot of my friends aren’t necessarily taking the same steps I am now to improve their online presence and such. At least in part because of that, I don’t have a lot of social proof. I want to have people respond to my blog, or to guest write on a different blog, etc. to do that better. For now, though, I have a lot I’m working on and I’m adjusting to the workload I set on myself and balancing it with what I do for money.