Lunch and Learn
A couple months ago, I started letting people book some time on my calendar to chat. Working from home by myself, things can be somewhat isolating.
Years ago, a handful of folks in the Ottawa area would get together for lunch from time to time. We called it GeekLunch.
I wanted to recreate a bit of that connection but expand it beyond my locale. Tools like Skype and Google Hangouts makes it really easy to hang out with people around the world (bandwidth withstanding).
I’ve done a couple dozen of these phone calls now and this is what I’ve learned.
The first time I did this, I had two slots a day of 30 minutes each, Monday to Friday. Way too much!
The second time I did this, I had one 1 hour slot a day, Monday to Friday. Still way too much!
One of the problems with doing it every day is that I’m tied down. If I wanted to go out for lunch—by myself or with someone—then I needed to cancel one of my calls and reschedule. Recently, my kids have had a bunch of field trips and I had to reschedule calls. Finding time when every day is taken is difficult.
I’ve adjusted my schedule to only Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yes, I’m talking to less people but I still need “me” time, too.
Sometimes people forget. Sometimes emails don’t make it through. It’s always a bit unfortunate to sit on an empty call for 10–15 minutes before coming to the conclusion that the other person isn’t coming.
Thankfully, this hasn’t happened very often and I’ve tweaked my process to minimize the occurrence of these.
Probably the number one topic has been about careers. People are at various points of their career and, since I’ve seemingly done well with my career, people are curious what they can do to move their career along.
As I’ve struggled with my own career goals, I’ve also directed some of the conversations in that direction. It’s been interesting to learn about people’s careers, whether they’re just getting started or have been at it for years.
Some people are struggling mid-career, some are just getting started, and others have sold companies and doing quite well.
These chats have had me wanting to do a podcast on web careers. Think Hired but from the other side.
I’m trying to focus on writing right now, so I haven’t pulled the trigger on doing the podcast, but I’ll probably do it at some point.
Whenever I provide advice, I recognize that what worked for me may not work for other people. I’ve been able to build a career slowly over 15 years. I’ve seen people rush to the forefront of our industry in a year. Most of my advice can be boiled down to “build stuff then share stuff”.
I’ve been using YouCanBook.Me, which is free for a single calendar like mine. It took a bit to tweak the emails. I simplified the form to the bare minimum. I’d definitely recommend it to anybody else looking to do something similar.
If you’d like to chat, you can book some time with me!