Lending A Hand, It’s What We’re Good At


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Job losses.

Everyone’s talking about them.

You can sit around all day and talk, but until you do action the talking, that’s all it will be – talk. The chains are closing down. Zavvi. Land of Leather. Woolworths. I heard M&S was in trouble recently. Retail is taking a hit.

Crafts and technology are taking a hit too. Dell are on the way out. 1,900 job losses announced to be phased up to January 2010 then it’s off to Poland with them. Waterford Wedgewood are going, going, gone.

For some people, it’s the end of a working life. Maybe redundancy is an option, early retirement. Some people simply have to work. Mortgages to pay off, pension funds to keep up, children to put through school, families to feed.

We’re great at coming up with ideas. We’re an entrepreneurial nation. We’re also great at lending a hand when times get tough. Through Open Coffee Club Limerick, Evert Bopp has followed a lead from Chris Byrne and is offering free startup advice to those impacted by the recent job losses at Dell. While a redundancy payment might help with the bills, when the money runs out, what does one do? More specifically, what does one do with the skills, knowledge and training they now have? One option, is to look towards going into business for yourself and indeed, turning a bad thing around.

BarCamps, CreativeCamps, PodCamps, Open Coffee Club mornings, meetups, tweetups and more. All of these free-to-attend events boast an incredible number of people who are giving up their time, their knowledge, their expertise for the benefit of others. We’ve recently set about getting Kilkenny Open Coffee off the ground as well, something that we hope will grow over time and again increase the knowledge sharing. The offer from Evert to those who have recently lost their jobs from Dell (or are about to) to attend Open Coffee Limerick and connected with those who can provide you with startup advice and support is one that should strongly be considered.

But, as I said, we’re good at lending a hand when it counts and so conversation on Wednesday morning turned to what each of us would or could do for people in that position.

Krishna announced recently that she’s going to give over six hours of her time between now and the end of February, three to the US and three to Irish people (one hour for each person). That time can be used for career coaching and job search support. You can look at your resumé, your online profile, your networking strategy – anything you want – on a one hour call via Skype or landline.

Bernie, in conjunction with Tipperary Institute will look at LinkedIn.com enhancements for your online profile and networking opportunities.

When quizzed on what I would consider doing myself I also looked to the web. For those considering starting their own business I’m happy to discuss options and provide assistance in getting you up and running online. Let’s get your logo in place, lets get you up and running with a website or blog (or both) and lets get you seen and heard. I’ve gone through the startup process myself for a number of different ventures over the past 3-4 years, all of which are currently active and currently generating income. All of which rely on the web and the visibility it can provide in order to succeed.

I’m sure too that these aren’t the only offers on the table to people. Everyone is feeling a pinch at the moment but that doesn’t mean you sit down and do nothing. You stand up, work your way through it and if you can, you lend a hand to those around you at the same time.

If you want to get connected, you can also join me at LinkedIn here. Come meet me and the network of people I’m connected to. Maybe they can help as well.

People Still Get Blue Screens, Unmountable Boot Volumes

Crashed train station display
Creative Commons License photo credit: sethschoen

One of my most popular blog posts of 2008, judging by comments and hits on the post overall, was this one – Unmountable Boot Volume (Dell, Fix) – where I outlined in October 2007 some steps that can be used to get around that boot volume blue screen error on Windows XP.

Since I published the post, I haven’t had a blue screen error. Primarily because I moved over to a Mac and started using OSX, but that’s another thing altogether.

I’m amazed at how many people still get the issue – but moreso by some of the comments. Specifically people being told by customer support and technical support agents that the hard drive must be fried, people will lose all their data and they really have no hope.

I’ve been there. I’ve worked in a call centre. I’ve read the instructions from the screen as you step through the case. But I’ve also used my initiative and given people a few “off the books” instructions that would see them right, because you’ve experienced something similar yourself.

To those of who who managed to repair your drive from the steps included in the blog post and went on to become a regular reader and commenter in other areas, I’m glad I was of some assistance to you. To those people who seek out advice from blog posts and the web and get their own second opinion online, more power to you.

Sure enough, in the long run your hard drive might kick the bucket, but at least you’ve taken the initiative to seek out a solution online. Hopefully, when you arrive on it, it works for you too.

If you’re having an unmountable boot volume issue, click here for some steps to help you through it.