Tag Archives: LinkedIn

What’s next is next

When I resigned from the Salvation Army, I didn’t really have a plan or a job to go to so I’ll let you read into that all you want.  It was a pretty sudden decision but it was time to move to something else.  After years of being on call 24.7, I wasn’t sleeping well and it had started to take a toll on my body.  Stress was a major contributor to my heart “event” and part of the tension I had in my shoulders which is what partially lead to my rotator cuff issues (it’s healed now).  I have lost 30 pounds since I was hospitalized but as my doctor said, the stress still needed to be dealt with.  As he said, “my body was demanding a change of pace”.

When I resigned, I immediately updated my LinkedIn profile and sent out some resumes that day as to be honest, the idea of being unemployed doesn’t appeal to me.  I heard from a couple of headhunting recruitment firms that had some clients they were working with but I didn’t know what to think about those job descriptions.  I have had a job that I cared passionately about for so long that the idea of collecting a pay check for the purpose of collecting a pay check kind of freaked me out.  Well that might be too strong, if I got the kind of compensation package Urban Meyer got to coach OSU, I might sell out as well.  Especially if Notre Dame offers me their head coaching job. 

We did get some offers overseas that kind of came out of the blue.  The idea of living and working in England and Europe excited me, it would have been taking the job for the experience, it wasn’t anything that evoked any great passion out of me.  With the looming recession in Europe, I envisioned being made redundant (laid off) in 6 months anyways.  It may have been different if I was single or Wendy and I didn’t have any kids but it’s a big deal to move there just because I want to experience a part of Europe.  While the romantic in me loves the ideas of weekends in Paris or Berlin, the practical part of me says that at my payscale, it wasn’t likely to happen.  Because I always prided myself in thinking globally, I have wanted to live globally.  At the same time I do love this city of ours and I like to call Saskatoon (and Arlington Beach on summer weekends) home.

I then had to figure out what I wanted to do.  I know what I need to do to live on and Wendy and I don’t have much debt (mortgage, small car payment).  While Wendy wants to do a bunch of work to the cabin, the bill for that will be in the hundreds of dollars this summer, not thousands.  On top of that, Wendy cut back on a lot of her job responsibilities at Safeway this year.  She wasn’t getting paid for them and it was taking away from she liked about her job.  On top of that Oliver is at an age where being at the sitter a bit isn’t that bad for him and he really enjoys being there which has meant that Wendy can get much earlier shifts.  Both of these factors contributed to Wendy enjoying work a lot more and as she says, she enjoys work more now than she has at any time over the last 15 years.  While her depression is always there, things are better and it gave me some flexibility on what i wanted to do with my life.

So what do I want to do?  Initially I was so tired that I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I still wasn’t sleeping right but over the last week I have just relaxed and felt more alive physically, emotionally, and spiritually than I have in a long time.  I did realize that I still want to do something that I care about and I want it to be local.  I also realized there are relatively few things that get me excited.  I get friends who are working in churches and want to talk about ancient/future worship or some great new idea in technology and communication and I can barely generate an opinion.  It’s not that for some that stuff isn’t important but for me, it’s not how I am wired.  On the other hand I am not driven by money.  I wish I was sometimes and I have been derided for my lack of greed but I am driven by helping people.  It left me in a place where I want to spend more time on stuff I care about and less time on stuff that is important to other people.

So what does it all mean.  It means that on Thursday I’ll post where I landed and some other projects that I am working on.

Unemployed

Today was my last day at The Salvation Army Community Services.  It was a good run but like all things come to an end.  I am still going to be involved in homeless issues here or where ever we end up and I am still writing about urban issues in The StarPhoenix.  I am not sure what I am going to do with my life now.  I spent 11 years as a pastor in Spiritwood (while working at Lakeview Church during some of the same years) and I have worked for The Salvation Army for the last six years so unemployment is a rare occurrence for me.  I think I have been unemployed for a week in my entire life. 

I am not sure what I am going to do now and am open to suggestions.  If you are wondering what I am good at, I updated my LinkedIn profile (I think I finally figured out what LinkedIn is for) but you can always email me at jordoncooper@gmail.com.  Walking out of a job without a plan is crazy course of action but I am really looking forward to what is ahead and where ever it takes me.

Projects: About.Me

A lot of you know that I am a big fan of About.MeWendy, Mark, and even Oliver has a profile on it and every night I need to show Oliver his site after he asks for “Oli-er’s web page”.  Each page took under 5 minutes to create and I was suprised to find how useful mine has become, even after having jordoncooper.com online for over a decade now.

One of the things I have learned about homelessness is how disconnected our residents become from the rest of the world.  Some of the staff who are reading this have worked Christmases at the Centre and at Mumford House and know how few phone calls come in for the guys who call this place home during the holidays.  It puts a damper on a normally joyous day for a lot of them.

When I saw About.me, I realized this was a perfect for the clients to reconnect and be found.  To make it happen, I needed a couple of things. 

  1. Webcam shot of Jordon Cooper at work A computer: Nathan, our IT guru got me a couple of Pentium 4’s running Windows XP.  Not exactly cutting edge but cheap and they work well.  My boss Captain Rhonda and the other managers authorized me spending some money on new monitors.  We put the larger 19 inch monitors on some desktops and took their 17 inch monitors for the workstation.  Some keyboards, new mice and I was almost set.  Toss in a USB stick, a $10 webcam that takes photos and 640×480 video for Skype, a microphone, and some speakers and we are good to go.
  2. XS Cargo has $20 computer carts with wheels.  Since we don’t have the space for a permanent computer lab, portability is the key.  Now the cart took me 3 long hours to assemble so there was some labour costs but I finally got it set up.
  3. Software: Ninite.com provided everything I needed.  Firefox, Chrome, AVG, Open Office, Gimp, and Picassa.  I know there are some commercial programs that would be useful but for the most part, this works for us.
  4. A camera.  XS Cargo has some 10 megapixels point and shoots for sale we use for intake.  We will use it for a while but I want to find something cheaper and simpler like this Vivitar.  In addition to taking some photos for profile photos for About.me, I’ll use it to teach some digital photography.

So what does it accomplish?  Well for guys who are looking for work, the workstation will provide them a chance to create or redo a professional looking resume for submission online or in print.  It also also allows them to link to a space online, whether that be LinkedIn, About.me or another site so that employers can find and contact them.  It also gives them some control over their Google rankings.  For guys in the half-way house, a Google search for them may be damaging (and ignore the reality of rehabilitation), for others, they may never have been online at all and this lets them create and tell their story.

For others it allows people to find them.  The front desk at the Centre gets a lot of phone calls from RCMP and police departments across the country looking for guys.  A lot of them are here, they aren’t missing in the traditional sense but the family has lost contact.  A couple of weekends ago I was asking guys what they wanted to see here and a couple of them said, “Skype”.  Well Skype it is.

I need a couple of things.  I am going to see if I can find some headset/microphones for guys talking online and I probably should put some games on the computer.  I’ll check out the freeware game sites.  I also need to create a start page with links to Gmail, Hotmail, The StarPhoenix, Kijiji, and SaskJobs but I’ll do that this weekend.

I have never been a big believer of those that say that technology is the answer as often times it is a scapegoat for not taking personal action, in this case technology isn’t the answer but is a conduit for men and women who are ready to start connecting to their community and family again.  I’m excited by the workstations and tools like About.me.

About.Me

Jordon Cooper on About Me

I usually don’t get that excited about sites like this but about.me does a great job of creating personal website/contact pages that professionally pulls together weblogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Foursquare, YouTube, and other web services into one page with a user defined URL which makes it perfect for your Twitter bio, a business card, or an email signature.  It’s free (although the pro option has more design options).  For me, it combines both ease of use and the ability to easily personalize and express yourself online.

You can see mine, but check out Dick Costello, Chris Cunningham, Veronica BelmontLeo Laporte, Wendy Cooper, Tony Conrad, Mark Cooper, Catherine Valdes, Om Malik, or Jamal Mashburn.  I don’t think it is a game changer or anything like that but if you don’t have a personal website and don’t want to go through the fuss of setting one up or keeping a blog maintained, this is a great option.