Before, I just had a job. A rather unsatisfying job. And while I still have that same (soul-sucking) job, I'm much more satisfied in my professional life. Why? Because I actually have a career now.
Just looking for the presentation details? Feel free to skip right to them.
It's All About Perspective & Action
To me, a career is different than a job. The job pays the bills. The job lets me live where I do. And that's about it … at least with my job. There is little to no professional satisfaction. I'm rarely "heard" or respected (except by my immediate boss, who is amazing). I'm almost never allowed to be creative or grow.
But with this blog, I'm able to be creative. I'm able to share my knowledge and ideas, and have them heard … even respected. And that has made a huge difference in how I think about myself as a professional. I'm not just some cog in a huge corporate system with no opportunity.
Thanks to this blog, and promoting it on Twitter, I have nothing but opportunities. And now I realize I have a career. A career that I can take in any direction I want, as long as I work hard towards my goals.
What Are My Goals?
Well, one of my goals (admittedly one that I expected to take longer than it did) was writing a book. And it is happening! And as amazed as I am with the opportunity, I'm learning to realize that it isn't just a fluke. It is a direct result of me working hard, writing good content and sharing that information.
So, I'm trying to take that same attitude and apply it to another one of my professional goals: being a speaker. A speaker? Yeah, you know, giving presentations about various web topics to a group of people (hopefully) interested in learning something.
There's a Void
Why is this a goal? To be frank, it's because I sense a void in our industry when it comes to speakers. I've attended a bunch of professional conferences and workshops, and every time I walk away thinking, "I didn't learn anything new. I could do that and maybe even better."
This is not at all to say that the highly-qualified, extremely-knowledgeable speakers I've seen aren't doing their jobs. They are. I've just been working in this industry for so long, that I'm equally qualified and knowledgeable. And I can't help but feel that there need to be more "fresh" faces out there, with different voices and perspectives.
Not Enough Women
I will never say there are too many men in this industry (the more men, the merrier I am). But there aren't enough women, especially high-profile women, who are representing at the various conferences and workshops. I don't really believe talented, knowledgeable female web professionals aren't out there. I just suspect they aren't putting themselves out there.
And as much as it scares me, I've come to realize that I'm willing (and want) to put myself out there. Primarily for myself and my professional growth, but also to be one of those women who puts a female face and perspective on this industry.
Connecting & Sharing
Another motivation for my desire to be a speaker is that I've discovered I like educating, sharing and connecting. I used to consider myself rather introverted. And I still think I am. But put me in a group of fellow web professionals or people who want to learn more about what I do, and I become an extrovert. I want to talk to people. I want to exchange ideas. I want to connect. And I can't get enough of it.
I owe this personal discovery to my involvement with Webuquerque. It has been an amazing experience thus far. Interacting with such a diverse and engaging group of people every month inspires me to do more.
Of course, I have virtually no public speaking experience. And I totally hate being the center of attention. But I realize those are lame excuses not to pursue a goal.
So, last year, I presented for the first time at BarCamp Albuquerque 3 on web standards. I was a wreck. And I still can't bring myself to listen to the audio recording. But it was one step closer.
Then, in March, I presented on CSS with my Webuquerque co-manager. This time, the presentation was video recorded. And, yet again, I can't bring myself to watch. But, still, another step in the right direction.
Which brings me to today. And I'm about to begin a "whirlwind" of presentations over the next few weeks. While I'm not entirely sure how all of these opportunities came my way, I am certain that, on some level, it is because I had a goal. A goal that kept me focused on my blog, kept me engaged on Twitter, kept me motivated as I write my book … just kept me working hard.
Hear Me, See Me
So, if you are going to be in the Albuquerque area over the coming weeks, you should come see/hear me speak. Here's where I'll be and what I'll be talking about.
April 29, 2009: Microformats
On Wednesday, April 29, from 10:00–11:30am I will be giving a presentation on microformats to the University of New Mexico's Information Architects.
Introduction to Microformats will be exactly that: an introduction and overview of microformats, with a focus on some basic examples of common microformats, as well as demonstrations of some of the available tools that leverage microformats for machine data.
The presentation will be held in the Trailblazer and Spirit rooms in UNM's Student Union Building. There is seating for up to 40 attendees and the event is free.
More information is available on Duke City Fix.
May 4, 2009: My Journey as a Web Professional
On Monday, May 4, at 4:30pm, I will be speaking to a group of UNM's inservice and preservice teachers, who are currently taking a course on the construction and deconstruction of media: Multimedia Literacy for Educators.
tentatively titled My Journey as a Web Professional , will be entirely personal. I'll be talking about how I got into the web field, my career path thus far, and recent changes I've made to position myself differently as a web professional.
I will also talk about my perspective on the apparent gender disparity in the field. And, finally, I will talk about my own use of social media to help direct my career, specifically about Twitter and how my book deal came about.
May 6, 2009: Web Standards & Accessibility With Dreamweaver
We will discuss the principles of web standards and accessibility, and demonstrate how to use Dreamweaver to achieve both. Key demonstrations include:
- Dreamweaver's CSS-based templates, which have been tested across all major browsers
- Creating accessible forms
- Semantic markup and how to overwrite generated markup that isn't semantic
- Dreamweaver preferences you can set to support accessibility
- And more!
Want to join us? Sign up for a reminder from your preferred social network:
May 14, 2009: ExpressionEngine Demonstration
This presentation will be a short one. For about 15 minutes, I'll be demonstrating ExpressionEngine: how I use it as a CMS for work and freelance projects, the benefits of EE, and why it is my preferred tool for site development.
The other presenters will be giving 15-minute demos of their preferred CMSes, including Joomla, Plone 2 and WordPress.
The event is $10 for NMTC members, $20 for non-members. Please register for this event if you'd like to join us.
Focusing on the Goal
I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm close to petrified about each of these speaking opportunities. I suffer from self-doubt, stage fright and far too much else going on in my life to let me feel completely prepared.
But while these fears are real and, at times, paralyzing, they are nothing in comparison to how much I want to continue taking my career in a more satisfying direction. And, at least now, that means more speaking engagements. I need the practice … not to be perfect, but to learn how to be effective and engaging.