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New Year, New You! #2 - Privacy and Security Tips

By Dave Pagenkopf

Turn off prescreened credit card offers

Do you get credit card offers in the mail that you don’t want?

You can turn these off by contacting the Consumer Credit Card Reporting Industry association and request an opt out of all credit card offers!

    • Opting out does not affect your credit report, your credit score, or your ability to get credit.

    • Opting out just stops the flow of credit card offers to your home.

You can turn these off by contacting the Consumer Credit Card Reporting Industry association and request an opt out of all credit card offers! It's easy.

The risk in these offers is someone returning one on your behalf and intercepting the credit card when it is mailed back to you (easy unless your mailbox is lockable) or even diverting the cards to another address on the credit form.

Go here: www.optoutprescreen.com

New Year, New You! #1 - Privacy and Security Tune-up

By Dave Pagenkopf

The New Year is a time to refresh our goals and tune up the areas in our life that aren’t where we want them to be. Over the next 10 weeks I am going to share some ideas to tune up your privacy and computer security.

The most important action to improve your online security is to use a strong password. The key to a strong password is a long password. The time it takes a cracking program to break your password is an exponential factor of the password length. For example, using the power of a typical laptop a 6 character password can be cracked in 8 days. However, it would take up to 83 years to crack an 8 character password and up to 5,000 years to crack a 10 character password. Long words may be hard to create, so think about using a passphrase instead of a password such as “MaryHadALittleLamb”.

Now if keeping track of all these passwords and phrases is a bit too much for you, then consider using a password safe. Theses programs store all your passwords for you, so you only have to remember one complex password. There are many out there to pick from.

PC Magazine just did a review of them, see the review here.

There are also some free ones out there. Some security geeks I know really like “KeePass.”

Does Company Culture Play a Part in Happiness?

There’s more to a great job than a paycheck. The company culture can be just as important to the equation as any other benefits they have to offer. But, while it is easy to assess whether a compensation package meets your needs, that isn’t always the case when it comes to identifying a cultural fit.

Some people mistakenly think that the culture of a business isn’t as important. However, when a company’s values don’t mesh with yours, or when the working environment doesn’t help you excel, the shortcomings are difficult to deal with even if you have a great salary. Your health and happiness is also at stake.

Read more: Does Company Culture Play a Part in Happiness?

Why Smart People Don't Multitask

As IT Professionals we are constantly bombarded by electronic information!  The next time you are in a meeting or working on an important project, avoid the temptation to multitask by by checking your phone or reading every email that comes along.  

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

If you’re prone to multitasking, this is not a habit you’ll want to indulge—it clearly slows you down and decreases the quality of your work. Allowing yourself to multitask will fuel any existing difficulties you have with concentration, organization, and attention to detail.

Excerpt from: Why Smart People Don't Multitask, Dr. Travis Bradberry

Read the full article at:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-smart-people-dont-multitask-dr-travis-bradberry  

Smart Remark - Professional in All Interactions

Pay attention to the cultural norms in your organization, and follow
them. If you watch how others in your office operate, you'll learn all sorts of
important things about "how we do things here." For instance, you
might observe that everyone shows up precisely on time for meetings, that they
modulate their voices when others are on the phone, and that people rely on
email for non-urgent questions. These are important signals for what will be
expected of your own behavior – and you'll come across as tone-deaf if you
ignore them.

Excerpt from: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/07/22/what-does-it-mean-to-be-professional-at-work

3 Big IT Lessons Learned from Climbing the Earth's Highest Mountain

By Dave Pagenkopf

Alison Levine is an adventurer... She was also a keynote speaker at the UW E-Business Consortium Annual Conference in September.

If you don't know, Alison served as the team captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition, scaled the highest peak on every continent, AND skied to both the North and South Poles — an accomplishment known as the Adventure Grand Slam -- which fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved.

Beyond her athletic pursuits she is also a very active member of numerous boards and other business ventures.

Read more: 3 Big IT Lessons Learned from Climbing the Earth's Highest Mountain

Pesky or Professional? Tips to Following Up After a Job Interview

By Jackie Falch

"When should I follow up after my interview?" 

When working in HR, this is a frequently heard question. I wish there were a “special formula” on when that magic date is… You don’t want follow up too soon or too much.

You had a great interview. You love the company. You are capable of doing great in the job. Each day that comes up and you haven’t heard can be painful. Every day seems to be more like a week. What is going on? Did you miss a call? Why haven’t you heard? Do they know how flexible you are? You really, REALLY want the job!!!.....

Read more: Pesky or Professional? Tips to Following Up After a Job Interview

What Shape Are You? Are you a T?

By Dave Pagenkopf

Over the last couple of years, the skills that employers value most have changed. The days of succeeding as a specialist with a narrow, but deep skill level, with no other associated skills are ending. Although the trend started during the last recession, the change is most pronounced now.

Employers today want employees who not only have a deep and strong competence in a specific discipline, but also possess broad skills that span multiple disciplines….

For example, a project manager may have extensive expertise in agile software development, but also has skills in group facilitation and quality process improvement.

People who have deep skills in a discipline while also possessing these boundary spanning skills are known as T-shaped professionals and are the employees of choice in today’s labor market. (read more...)

Read more: What Shape Are You? Are you a T?

Tips to Make Your Resume STAND OUT

By Jackie Falch

You are ready to make a job change, so the first thing you do is write, or update, your resume. Your resume will include your education, any certifications, and your work history; including the names of the company, the dates you worked, your job title, and then a list of your job duties. Once you have finished your resume you start the fun part - - searching for the perfect job.

You are amazing! Your resume is amazing! You are the best candidate for the job! So you excitedly send off your resume and wait for that employer to contact you. You’ve got this!!

But, take a minute to think. In all likelihood your resume is probably going to be fairly similar to other candidates. If they feel qualified to apply, like you do, they are going to have a very similar background of experience. So what is going to make this prospective new employer want to meet YOU? How can you make your resume stand out?

Read more: Tips to Make Your Resume STAND OUT

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now??

By Jackie Falch

They like me! They really, really like me!! That is exactly how we feel when we give notice to our employer and they come back with a counter offer to keep you with them! Feeling “liked” is a primal human need after all...

Your employer tells you how they would hate to lose you, what a good job you do, how you would be hard to replace, and simply that they don’t want you to leave. And that may be true. They will offer to increase your pay and/or may offer to make some other changes to make you happy.

So suddenly the job you were looking to leave doesn’t seem so bad after all. And staying is a lot easier than leaving. You don’t need to learn a new company and a new job, you know what is expected of you, and you get to stay with your wonderful co-workers. And more than likely, now you're making more money... Well that is a big WIN – WIN for you, right?

Read more: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now??

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