Vagabonding is the concept of long term world travel and after reading this book  the author gives great insight into why you should do this now and not later and how it is more affordable than one might originally think.  I have several friends who have been doing this and I am planning a trip coming up in at the beginning of 2011.  Details are just about ready.
  1. It will give you practice planning - you will have to plan the strategy, the scope of the trip, build out a budget and back up plans
  2. You will learn to adapt to new situations and surroundings - no matter how much you plan, there will be changes and adapting to the situation will force you to get creative and figure the best course of action
  3. No guarantee you will be able to do it when your older - save up some money, make out a plan and enjoy your time.  You may not make it till retirement and even if you there is no guarantee that you will be able to hit the road for a few months or so
  4. It can be cheaper than believed - back to reason one, plan it out, figure out how much money you need for travel, hostels, etc.  Keep an 80% rule, your total planned costs should be about 80% of the money you bring with you.  Leave a bit extra for the unexpected, additional costs, a few extra splurges on things you didn't plan on etc.

Key Points to remember

  • Work for it: get a job, earn the income necessary for the travel.  Think of the work as the incubation period to get everything setup.  It also helps with the mental state, if you earned you will enjoy it more.
  • Less is more: don't try to squeeze in a lot of places, get to place and enjoy it, take in all that can be seen.This is an education in itself:  Treat it like a class, spend a few months, travel to a great place and enjoy
  • Talk with other people who have done it or are in the places you want to go, it is a great way to practice networking and you never know who 
I have been applying to the U.S. Navy and was again reminded the value of having strong references available.  The Navy requires 5 references, plus 1 from work and 1 from school.  This can be an absolute nightmare if you do not have people that you can easily use.

I graduated undergrad 5 years ago, back when we had a strong economy and I never thought I would need education references anymore.  I kept in touch with a few professors for a couple years, but as the time went passed, so did my keeping up with the professors.

Fortunately, I have been keeping up with my grad school professors and directors.  Not sure what I would have done if I did not have been in contact with them.

Moral of the story: Keep in touch with professors and other people you meet.  You never know when you will need your network.

What are good ways to do this.
  • Get contact information early: try to make a connection while you are still in class or working with them.  Worst case, when people are leaving, it tends to get sentimental and is a good time to exchange email and other contact info.
  • Follow up promptly: once you have someone's contact info, shoot them a quick email, nothing difficult here.  Just one or two lines and mention something that you were connected over.  This could be a joke, a class, a book, almost anything, just something that you remembered or noticed while interacting with them.
  • Reconnect seasonally: for some reason, quarterly is a great time to connect with people.  It can be as simple as just saying hello and a quick update of what is going on.  Even better, with social media, maybe just a quick tweet @ the person or a simple Facebook message will suffice.  At least do this once a year, and if possible a birthday is a great time to connect.
  • Keep a master list: It is great to keep all your information organized, this will seem completely pointless until you need something.  Have a view of all people you have connected with, like a mini CRM for yourself.  Facebook, could do this for you, through lists.  Or even in Gmail with Labels, but I have found a quick little spreadsheet or database does wonders.  Spend some time on this, it will be well worth it.
  • Now it was worth it: the relief of having done this work pays off when you need a reference or looking for a job.  Over time, this list can grow into something very valuable to you.  It is a great way to network and you never know where your next opportunity will come from. 
This is the classic, most time tested book out there.  The information is as relevant today as it was in 1937 when it was first published.

This book will teach and remind people of the most important aspects of life, human interaction and how to make the most out of every interaction.  From the good to bad, you will know how to confidently handle and make the most out of life and business.  

Wikipedia has a good summary of the information in the sections in the book
But we should focus on a two 2 points that are particularly relevant to life after receiving a degree.
  • Don't Criticize - this is relevant for in a job situation where you may not agree with a co-worker or your manager, not too mention there may be a group of peers complaining about a job or whatever.  Take the high road politely, there is no faster career suicide than having something you say or write sent to the wrong person.  BE EXTRA CAREFUL when it is in writing, there are countless stories of careers being ruined and jobs being lost because of what was written and sent out.  Also, don't forget, even if you are never fired, you might be pass over for a promotion because something was forwarded that you authored.
  • Let the other person save face - no one likes to be "thrown under the bus," a term used to explain when a person will blame another for a bad situation or problem that occurred.  This may seem like a short term solution to avoid problems, but in the long run, you will only be losing connections that could play an important role later.  

There is a lot more information in this book that will be very beneficial to college graduates, but wanted to point out a couple pitfalls that are very common in the workforce and life.  This book is very difficult to follow and the two sections above are some of the hardest.  It is hard enough to be nice, but it is extremely difficult when emotions are high or things went wrong.

Take the high road and it will pay off later.
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Anybody who has ever written a report can relate to the frustrations of having to handle citations in a project.  There are many different formats and many times a comma or period in the wrong place always leads to points being taken off.  However, there is a better way to manage all of your projects' citations

All you need to do is add the book's ISBN number to the website and it will automatically and correctly create the appropriate bibliography in the following formats.
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago/Turabian
  • BibTeX
  • Wikipedia
Only catch is that this is for books only, but can be a tremendous time saver for any student/professional putting together research projects.
I wish I could report that the job market was doing better, but according to a 2009NACE study
19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one."

Many economists are predicting that the recession is over.  However, I disagree and graduates have it harder now than in any recent memory.  The best thing you can do now is go the more traditional routes and grow your network.  I recently read, "Never Eat AloneBy Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz.  This is a great book on how to use networking to get ahead in life. 

One of the best investments a heavy computer user can make is to purchase a good quality mouse, I am not here to sell a mouse, but here to discuss how to make it work better for you efficient

Increase efficiency = Increase your value as an employee

If anyone has a programmable mouse, say logitech MX revolution, you are able to program the short cuts into the mouse.  My favorite example is to program Ctrl+TAB and Shift+Ctrl+Tab into the mouse and I am able to quickly navigate between Tabs in Firefox just by using the mouse.  You can do this for a lot of programs, with just a few minutes of set-up, you can save tons of time and navigate multiple pages faster than ever.

program Ctrl+page up and ctrl+page down to quickly move between pages in an open work book

Ctrl+E will take you directly to the Instant Search bar
Ctrl+Shift+V will make it easier than ever to file messages

Mice are often over looked as productivity enhancers, but any edge you can give yourself will save you time and allow you to do more with less.  Or at least allow more time to read more Feeds and jump on Facebook

No more tedious input forms

Have you ever noticed how annoying it is to plug in all your information into your calendar?  How about a program that allows you to type it the way you would explain it to someone.  For example, Just jot down "meeting tomorrow at 4pm" and information is inputted directly into your calendar.  Well finally that has happened thanks to

Create reminders that can be delivered via SMS, email or voice call

It is free to sign up and I have just started using it and couldn't be happier, I will probably switch over to the premium version soon, but the free version has definitely made life easier.  This is perfect for keeping your calendar organized so you don't miss any interviews, meetings, or just a reminder that you are going to hangout with someone and don't want to painstakingly plug the information into the same old calendar form. 

Latest and greatest new toy from Google. 

You have to request an invite and it will take a few days, but just got one and it is pretty sweet
Invite Link

3 Reasons Google Voice is Important to Graduates

1. One number to reach all devices (e.g. cell phones, skype, landlines, etc).
No more missing calls or having the wrong phone with you.  Let's say you have a cell and landline, just put one number on the resume and if an interviewer calls you are more likely to receive the call.

2. You can create different voicemail boxes for different numbers
There is nothing that will kill your chances quicker for a job than having a recruiter call and they get the latest rap song or some crazy message on your phone.  Set a fun message for your friends, set a more professional message for unknown numbers.  This could easily be the most important feature for job seekers.

3. Get your voicemails and conversations in writing

I am sure there might be some legal issues with this one at some point, but now you can have a written transcript of your conversations and voice mails in an email format.  Reduce the chance of misunderstanding an important details of a call.  Just a few examples below:
  • location of interview
  • meeting time
  • contact person - it is good to remember the names of who you talked to at a company.  One of the top reasons people get a job is for their first impressions and you cannot afford to let anything slip.

This product is still relatively new and I am not recommending jumping everything to Google Voice, but with some of its features, this may help reduce the chance of missing an important call or information.

"Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more." - Google


I attended the Boston College graduation last month for a family member and the graduation speech (can't remember professor's name, please comment if you know it)  talked about the next several years after graduation are the time to find yourself professionally and try different things.  It is okay to make mistakes.  Mistakes are what teach us the best lessons, help us figure out what we want to and don't want to do.  It can be scary trying new things, but like after a while, it becomes habit forming. 
If you want to start a business, do-it, it can cost less than you think.  With the all the options on the Internet for creative ways and access to income sources, there is plenty of options to move forward in your own way. 
Maybe you are struggling to find a job, you might lack the experience needed, this is the perfect time to either build the experience yourself and then put it on your resume or just to have fun and you might surprise yourself. 
Feel like writing for a blog, start one yourself or submit an article and I will post it on the site.

Never Stop Learning!!!