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Book Review: How to "Work On Purpose"

Ever wanted to work in a job at the intersection of passion and purpose? If yes, you’re not alone. If you don’t know how to do it, you’re not alone, either – sometimes deciding how to make a change is just as Work_on_purpose
challenging as figuring out what you want to do.

Enter Work on Purpose, an Echoing Green publication that profiles five social change makers and their journeys to craft careers with meaningful impact. While the profiles may be interesting to students of social entrepreneurship at any age; they are designed for use by emerging professionals. 

The secret to success recommended by authors Lara Galinsky and Kelly Nuxoll is a simple formula: Look into your heart to clarify your passion and interests, chart a plan with your head and then hustle to make it happen. Or to keep it simple: heart, head, hustle.

In case you have trouble visualizing how the format works in action, the book includes case studies of five Echoing Green fellows – how they found their passion, how they found a way to incorporate their interests into their book, and the support and resources they were able to find to fulfill their goals. It’s a topic the authors know well: Echoing Green regularly invests in and supports emerging social entrepreneurs to launch new organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions. Since 1987, Echoing Green has invested nearly $30 million in seed funding to almost 500 social entrepreneurs and their innovative organizations, including Teach for America, City Year, and SKS Microfinance.

I interviewed one of the Echoing Green fellows profiled in Work on Purpose.
Socheata Poeuv is the founder and chief executive of Khmer Legacies, a nonprofit organization in New Haven that documents the Cambodian genocide through videotaped testimonies. Socheata is a visiting fellow at the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, and was born in Thailand after her family fled Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge.

I won’t give away Socheata’s own journey and her experience of heart, head and hustle – you really should read this book – but here’s a window into her experience:

Have you ever felt any pressure not to pursue your passion?

Absolutely. That’s like asking me “are you the daughter of Asian parents?” My mother’s dream for me was to be a dentist because she has a nice dentist. She loves him.

To some degree, my parents still don’t understand what I do. That I don’t work for a company. That I don’t make a product. The idea that I can find support for my work through individuals who generously donate their money to support to social missions. That whole idea is foreign to my parents.

How would you recommend getting started to someone who wants to pursue a passion?

Take a look at the problems in the world that matter to you—what emotionally connects with you? What do you think about a lot? What do you read about in books, magazines, articles?

Think about the skills and areas of expertise that you bring to bear. Even if you don’t know what skills you have to offer, that will become clear over time. For me, I was looking for the intersection of what mattered and where my skills were—that helped me identify the problems to solve.

Is there anything not in the book that you think people need to know?

There are a lot of struggles in each and every one of our stories. There’s a lot of uncertainty.  And a lot of doubt sometimes. We wonder “How can we measure the impact of what we are doing? How can we see the tangible result of what we are doing?” We can’t measure our performance on a balance sheet. I think when you work for or create an organization that takes on a social problem, you take on a huge sense of responsibility that often feels greater than you might experience in the corporate world.

The question of “am I doing enough?” is endemic in the world of social entrepreneurship. Is what I am doing actually making a difference, and how do I know that?

Any actionable piece of advice?

The book focuses on the founders of social entrepreneurs, you see the cowboys – the people who started organizations. But there is a community that exists underneath all of these organizations and that supports their efforts. The thing to ask yourself is not “How do I start an organization?” but “How can I help? How can I get active in something I care about?” It’s not about starting a new career path; it’s about aligning your values with how you spend your time.

How can I converge my values with how I spend my time? That is the bottom line of the book; it’s not about how to start something new. It is about how to contribute.

 Work on Purpose is available through Amazon beginning April 19, 2011


Are You Ready for New York?

I moved to New York City over three years ago. I'd lived in DC and Philadelphia before, but it took me many months to navigate the city. It took me two months to figure out that cabs with a light on in the middle were empty, a year to learn about alternate street parking for cars (for friends who drive into the city), and one midnight trip on the subway to learn that different stops on the same street can land you in very different neighborhoods. (If you're visiting or new in town, check out for great directions and time estimates for travel)

Living and working in Manhattan can be complicated. As I'm based here, I offer my NYC Job Seekers Meetup for newcomers and veterans of the Manhattan employment market. I also recommend Vicki Salemi's book Big Career in the Big City: Land a Job and Get a Life in New York for emerging professionals seeking their first gig in Gotham.

A former recruiter at KPMG, Vicki recently gave a fabulous talk to my MeetUp group. I asked if she'd share the following quiz with you--for those of you deciding whether to move to New York or not...

What’s Your NYC-ability?

That’s right. I’m talkin’ your Manhattan mojo and moxie. The fire in your belly that simply says it’s NYC or bust, baby! Are you truly ready to become a Gotham gal? Or are you a shrinking violet and more comfortable in the country than the big city? It’s pop quiz time, diva!

1. The thought of getting on a crowded subway during rush hour where it’s literally flesh on flesh with odors of pickle breath or random briefcases shoved into your back is

a. Part of the New York experience! What an invigorating way to start the day. For real.

b. Less than ideal, but hey: If it’s the fastest way to get to work, I’ll have to deal.

c. Gross. I’ll walk or take the bus instead, thank you very much.

2. Paying $1,500 in rent, $15 each day for lunch, $4.50 in subway fares, not to mention other expenses is

a. Worth it. You get what you pay for and NYC is worth every penny.

b. A travesty, but hey: Even though I’ll be broke, at least I’ll be happy.

c. Absurd.

3. The idea of paying a ton of money to live in a tiny apartment with two roommates, a makeshift wall, and the occasional mouse is

a. Your typical no-frills housing situation. Bring it!

b. Ick, but still worth it in order to have my shiny new life.

c. Gross and unacceptable.

4. This Thursday night you can either jet downtown to a cocktail party at a gallery opening, gallivant uptown to a private industry event at a museum, go to happy hour in the Meatpacking District, catch a celebrity book signing at Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue, or chill at home.

You want to

a. Do it all! But alas, that’s not possible. So you’ll pick two events that are closest to each other, like the book signing and museum soiree, courtesy of a quick trip on the 6 train.

b. Take a deep breath and then focus on one event, like the cool gallery cocktail party. Ooh la la!

c. Chillax. Home sweet home all the way.

5. As you’re crossing the street and a messenger on a bicycle speeds past a red light, almost literally knocking you down to the pave- ment, you...

a. Curse him out at the top of your lungs.

b. Shake your head in disbelief and chalk it up to another day as a pedestrian.

c. Curse the dude in the loudest voice possible in your head, curse the city, and make your exit as soon as possible.



Mostly As: Congratulations! A magnificent Manhattan life awaits and you’re clearly more than ready to bite into the Big Apple. The question though: Is it ready for you?

Mostly Bs: You’re almost there. It may take time to feel com- pletely ready to take on the land of the bright lights coupled with roaches, ridiculous rent prices, and a maxed-out social life. Be patient and realize that perhaps you should take baby steps by liv- ing in one of the boroughs.

Mostly Cs: New York City? Fughettabout it. Hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but since you didn’t exactly pass the test, there’s no need to push it. If you force it, you’ll be unhappy and home- sick. New Yawk isn’t going anywhere and will be here when you’re ready for its magic.

Find yourself in the A or B category? Let us know how we can help...

The Six Reasons You'll Get the Job (Learn 'Em in NYC 10/14)

My friend and former colleague Elisabeth Harney Sanders-Park has just co-written her second book, the 6 Reasons Why You'll Get the Job (Penguin). I am pleased to announce that the NYC Job Seekers 6 ReasonsGroup, the grassroots job search group that I host in Manhattan, will be offering a special four hour workshop with Elisabeth and her co-author, Debra Angel MacDougall, the morning of October 14, 2010.

There is no cost to sign up. For additional details--including hours and location of the event--please sign up for the MeetUp group and RSVP.

Hope to see you there!

Networking: Why "Who You Know" Doesn't Count

This is my contribution to this month's Career Collective offering. Career Collective is a community of bloggers that gather together each month to share thoughts on a common topic. Up this month: Strategies and best practices for networking.Networking

Last week, I wrote about visiting my twin nieces at a summer camp which teaches leadership skills. They had a great experience. Now that they are home, they are setting goals of their own. And one of them--perhaps the most widely publicized one--is to see who can have the most friends on Facebook. At last count, they are in the 700's.

How many friends can you have? And how many is too many? Is it better to have the widest network possible? Or a small circle of trusted allies?

Several years ago, a friend shared with me an anecdote that has shaped my opinion on the dilemma ever since. My friend was the golf coach at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the friends he made during his time there was the late Walter Annenberg, former Ambassador, media mogul and founder of TV Guide.

During a round of golf, my friend was discussing his fundraising strategy with Mr. Annenberg. "It's not what you know, it's who you know, right?"

Mr. Annenberg shook his head; "No. It's who knows you back that counts."

Who knows you back? Who are the people that will return your calls, vouch for you, and help you out in a pinch? This, to me, is the essence of what a good network is--and the reason why I don't accept all friend and connection requests on LinkedIn or Facebook. I know the people I will know back. You?

Here are the other posts from Career Collective, read 'em and reap the benefits of their expertise.

  • 5 Little Secrets About Networking, @Careersherpa
  • Networking: Easy as 1, 2 , 3, @WorkWithIllness
  • How to Take the Intimidation Out of Networking, @heathermundell
  • Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal
  • A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni
  • Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which 'Vert' You Are, @erinkennedycprw
  • Networking for Job Candidates Who Hate Networking, @heatherhuhman
  • Networking? Ugh! @resumeservice
  • Network, Network, Network, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
  • 3 ways to make networking fun for introverts and extroverts, @Keppie_Careers
  • Grow Your Career Networking Seeds Organically, @ValueIntoWords
  • Networking: It's a Way of Life, @WalterAkana
  • Social Media Networking & Your Career, @GayleHoward
  • Networking for the Networking-Phobic, @JobHuntOrg
  • Turn Off The Computer, Tune Into What’s Happening, & Heat Up the Job Search

    As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I am a member of Career Collective, an online community of career professionals who share multiple takes on a common theme each month. June’s focus: How to heat up your job search this summer.

    I’m beginning this post with a confession: I have a seasonal summer disorder. If I could spend 12 weeks a year working from a porch, swimming in lakes, and swinging by farmer’s markets Watermelon_slice and eating vanilla ice cream with strawberry rhubarb sauce, I would. When Twitter and LinkedIn announced a partnership last fall, it was said that they go together like “peanut butter and chocolate.” For those of us who share a common love of flip flops, fresh tomatoes, and barbecues—sometimes the summer isn’t quite as compatible with job search.

    This post is for those of you who share my affinity towards summer. Here are three ways you can continue to move your job search forward without sacrificing your time outside:

    1. MeetUp and Network! Attend social and recreation gatherings and mix and mingle. If you don’t belong to yet, check out the site and evaluate potential interests groups to join. (I run the NYC Job Seekers MeetUp in Manhattan.) There are many job seekers groups across U.S. cities, but there are even more interest groups related to personal interests, sports, and professional fields. The NY Tech MeetUp has over 13,000 members, and a monthly meeting after party filled with entrepreneurs, start-up employees, and tech industry leaders. I also enjoy the #140 meetup run by Jeff Pulver.
    2. It’s no longer location, location, location. It’s Geolocation, and it’s getting big. Through start-ups such as FourSquare, Gypsii, and Gowalla—you can stay in touch with your friends and networking contacts and meetup spontaneously. Flight delayed at the airport? Check in and see if you have any friends nearby. My prediction: We’ll soon be able to find great seat buddies for Southwest airlines flights with a quick interest scan via cell phone and geo apps…
    3. You don't have to stay home and search. Get listings sent to you via SMS. Through, you can sign up to have jobs that match your location, industry, and job type, sent to you via text message. You can also upload your resume so that employers can see it. During the time I’ve been writing this post over 3,723 jobs have been sent out. What are you waiting for?

    For more suggestions on heating up your job search, see take-aways and suggestions from my Career Collective Colleagues. (You can follow them on Twitter using their "handles" listed below; mine is @chandlee)

  • The Twitter for Job Search Guide is Here (Celebrate with Us!)

    I'm delighted to announce that theTwitter Job Search Guide rolled off the presses on March 1, and is now available through Amazon, book stores, and other news outlets.



    On Monday, March 15, at 6:00 pm, my co-author Deb Dib and I will host a formal launch for the book at El Rio Grande (38th and 3rd) in Manhattan. New York's original "Gossip Girl" Liz Smith recommends that you stop by, and we'd love to see you. Come as you are!

    Deb, Susan Whitcomb, and I wrote this book for job seekers, and our launch party is no exception: the event is designed to facilitate networking for job seekers and provide "tweet tips" for attendees.

    If you're not on Twitter yet--or have no intention of using Twitter to find a job--that's okay. But consider these stats: 

    • Over 500,000 jobs are posted through TweetMyJobs a month. Through TweetMyJobs, you can specify your job interests and location preferences and have results sent directly to your cell phone.
    • As posting jobs on Twitter is very low cost for employers in comparison with other job boards and posting services, an increasing number of employers are "tweeting" jobs. In addition, many recruiters and hiring managers maintain an active presence on Twitter to build relationships and scout for new talent.
    •, one of my favorite aggregators and job boards, named Twitter the #1 fastest-growing opportunity for employment in 2009.

    Check out the book and thanks for your support!

    To your success,

    Networking for Introverts

    Today's blog post is authored by Catherine Ho, a recent Stanford grad and fundraising researcher at a large arts nonprofit. She spends much of her time networking, solidifying her long-term career goals, and advancing her interest in brand marketing. I asked Catherine to write a guest post after noticing her ability to ask thought-provoking questions on Twitter.Catherine_Ho (She also has a great knack for summarizing news and sharing interesting trends on Twitter.)
    As you'll see, Catherine chose to wrote about a topic of interest to many of the job seekers that I work with--networking strategies for "introverts." (Thanks, Catherine!)

    Transitioning into a new industry with little to no experience can be daunting. Over the last 2 years since graduation, I've taught myself the basics of successful networking.
    As an introvert, networking never comes naturally. It requires quite a bit of planning and mental preparation. I see too many of my peers dismissing the power of networking as they sit comfortably in their jobs.

    Regardless of whether you are job searching or not, networking can open many doors. With a lot of hard work, I've been able to secure a few volunteer and part-time opportunities that will boost my work experience in my chosen industry. If you excel at what you CAN control, you can trust in yourself that key contacts will come out of the woodwork and see you as a dependable, eager, curious learner. Confidence is absolutely key for introverts.

    Tools needed: Linkedin, Twitter, resume, professional organizations, and of course informational interviews. The informational interview has been the most valuable for me because it is widely accepted as a way to meet people and receive real insight about a company or industry. Your mileage may vary. Utilize what works best. Here are my five recommendations:
    1. Take Chances

    When in doubt, take every little opportunity given to you. If you are nervous of the meeting's outcome, just remember that the worst thing that can happen is that he/she says no to your request, in which case you'll move on to the next possible contact. Last month I was given the option of meeting a CEO of a food startup for an informational interview either over the phone or at their office. I chose to go to his office despite the fact that it was all the way across town and quite early before my workday. This decision made a world of difference for me. I was able to get to know the company culture, study their product packaging, and meet one of the CEO's colleagues. I was also less nervous than I would be over the phone. I'm now working with his colleague on a very exciting volunteer project that will give me valuable experience to show to potential employers.

    2. Know Your Objectives

    Know your objectives before each and every point of contact. Have an agenda prepared before your meeting and do your best to stick to it. Make sure it includes thoughtful questions prepared in advance in addition to your research of a company. During the meeting you can gauge what direction the meeting is going and shift around your agenda as you see fit. To research the company, study the latest press releases, Google News and Finance, note any major changes in investor news and stock prices. A great resource is your local business times, well as Fast Company, BusinessWeek, and other business-related periodicals. If needed, prepare rough phone scripts and key points in notes form. I sometimes get flustered over the phone, so this helps me with my confidence level because I don't have to think on the spot about which questions I will ask. Obviously, this structure requires a bit of effort and preparation beforehand, but it will allow you to guide the meeting with ease and confidence.

    3. Practice, Practice, Practice

    As an introvert, I find that the only way to improve my networking skills is to have more face-to-face time with potential contacts. It has become a skill that I can turn "on" when I'm in the right mindset and about to enter a networking event. Strike a healthy balance of online and in person networking. Joining a professional organization is also a great idea. I'm an active member of a great professional organization called Future Women Leaders in San Francisco. It has helped me learn how to effectively network while learning key business skills in the company of similar young professionals. Develop a busy schedule of networking events, which you can often find advertised online. Practicing face-to-face made me more confident as a person and has positively affected my social life as well, which is a huge bonus for me!

    4. Be Professional, No Matter What

    Always be as professional, courteous and polite as you would want them to be with you, even if you think the meeting was a flop. Think positively and don't let your own perspective cloud your judgment because you have no idea what the second party is thinking. Apply all the skills you learned about personalized emails, prompt thank you notes, and common courtesy in full force. Always ask if there's anything you can do for your contact. You are not networking just for a job; you are networking to build a great group of trusted professionals you can turn to in future times of need. Demonstrate your maturity level and your awareness in the importance of networking, which is often unexpected in young professionals.

    5. Trust Your Instincts
    Be prepared for a lot of "no"s and non-answers. Realize that you will not always be able to connect or "click" with a person. Choose to cold-contact strategic people that you feel would be great to have and trust your instincts. Raid your alumni database. If you hear of a name mentioned by someone, research how to contact them. If you read an article by an author you find fascinating, find that person. Be persistent and proactive! It's easier these days to find people with LinkedIn, web search, and email. For the contacts that stick, update them regularly (quarterly is a good rule of thumb) with each major stepping stone or ask them out for coffee and a chance to get out of the office to catch up. This will keep you on their radar. Many people are impressed and flattered to be asked to share their knowledge and advice.


    I have met some true gems through my networking, and I will never forget their kindness, taking a chance on me as I navigate into an industry in which I have little to no experience. Most importantly, be sure to pay it forward when you have reached your success! Best of luck.

    You can find and connect with Catherine on Twitter: @catherinewithac

    The Great Friend Debate

    How many friends can you have? How many friends should you have?1093768_crowded_street

    Users of Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and other social networks often find themselves engaged in debate over a question that reminds me of my middle school days:

    • How many friends can you really know?
    • Should you connect with everyone who asks or should you only connect with those you know well?
    • What is the ideal number of connections?

    From the perspective of the engineers who write the code for LinkedIn and Facebook, there is such a thing as too many friends. Too much traffic limits your bandwidth (capacity). Facebook limits you to 5,000 friends; LinkedIn recently capped limits for open networkers at 30,000.

    Deciding how many friends or contacts you should have is a personal decision. I take LinkedIn's suggested guidelines to heart: I only connect with those people I know, and who I trust.

    I know that statistics routinely show that networking is one of the most effective ways to find a position--and if you limit the number of connections you have, it theoretically limits the number of opportunities you have. But I don't think so. My philosophy of networking was inspired by the late Walter Annenberg, former U.S. Ambassador and TV Guide founder, who said, "It's not who you know, it's who knows you back."

    How many of your friends and connections would "know you back" if presented with an opportunity that suits you perfectly? Are they aware of what you are looking for?

    How do you define online friendship? And how many is enough? I look forward to hearing your take on this.