Personal Disaster Recovery and Continuity

It is just my wife and I, no kids. I am the one that handles many of the household details. Read: pay the bills, etcetera. I was thinking, “what if anything happened to me? Would my wife know that I have a life insurance policy here or there?” Probably not. I decided to put something together to help her should something bad happen to me. Some may think it is a bit on the morbid side to think about death, but it’s something that happens. I just don’t want it to be harder on my wife, family, friends, than it needs to be.

I bought a USB drive. A pretty beefy one, 64gb capacity. I’m going to use it for a few other things, not just this little project. I then looked into Truecrypt. I’ve used it before. It’s an open source encryption tool that’s also easy to use. The information I’m going to store absolutely needs to be encrypted. It’s going to have some pretty sensitive data on it. I won’t go into detail about how to use Truecrypt, you can go to their website for that information. I created an encrypted section of the drive.

Once  the encrypted area was in place I created a text file that lists all the accounts she could possibly need. As I get bills I set them aside in order to grab the pertinent information from them. The text file includes account, policy and phone numbers for insurance, 401k, checking/savings, credit cards, bills, and other online accounts. It also lists usernames and passwords to some of those online resources.  At some point I’ll put my will there and maybe a video or two. As things change, I’ll update the text file as needed.

I have instructions for using truecrypt printed off (covering mac or windows) which I will put into an envelope. I’ll store the password separately from the instructions and the usb drive. I’ll eventually need to give the instructions, password and usb drive to entrusted individuals with very clear instructions. I am still contemplating how to do this. My fear is, what happens if the person I entrust has something happen to them? Or, they lose the stuff. That would be a problem. Maybe a law firm is in order.

My hope is that my wife won’t need to dig through papers for required information. I also want to prevent the discovery some time down the road, “oh, look at this! I found a life insurance policy of Sean’s”. It’s all in one place. The important stuff. A lot of the username & password info will allow her to forego any hassle verifying my death or her having to prove her relationship to me. She’ll be able to simply log in as me and take care of business.

Now remember, when I go, I want an Irish wake. There better be whiskey and song!

Recent Advice to a IT Support Specialist

Sometimes I get pinged from IT pros seeking to land an full time employment position in their respected field. This is one person that has a support background.  Here was my email response to him.

Thanks for contacting me. Unfortunately, I have moved out of recruiting and into IT Security. I’d be more than happy to help, but many of our support openings, re: help desk, reside in Waverly, IA, and doesn’t often include relocation to the candidate. I’d start networking pretty heavily. If you’re not on LinkedIn, get a profile. Join a few groups there and start telling people about your skills and weighing in on some discussions. I know you had worked for staffing firms too. I’d ping many of them to get some temp assignments, do awesome at those assignments and ask your interim supervisor if it’s ok to connect to them on LinkedIn and that your ultimate goal is to get FTE work.
It might even be a good thing to start a tech blog on or blogger. It’s free and will start showing off your knowledge beyond the resume. Then put that blog url on your resume. It’s showing your passion for IT support and your diligence on the blog. Make sure you update it consistently, that’s the key! A blog with articles every few months is not all that impressive.
I hope this helps. Good luck!

People Just Want To Be Wanted

As recruiters, we need to remember that people want to be wanted. That’s why performance management seems contrary to that. That’s why recruiters need to understand the sensitivity behind breaking the news to someone that did not get a job, especially to internal staff. I don’t doubt that people leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated, they don’t feel wanted.

Think about it for a second.

When you get the news of not getting a job, how does it make you feel? Many times there is little to no feedback. What are you supposed to think? I mean, your qualifications fit the bill, right?

When handling internal staff it’s vitally important to let them know, that despite the circumstances, you need them in the organization. If you don’t want them in the org, well, that’s a different story. While some in the industry may say that performance plans are HR’s method to exit someone from the company, it should really be looked at from the ‘we value you as an employee and want to get you on the track for success’ perspective.  The same goes with getting turned down for promotion or another position. ‘You do some things very well, and you can get there. The areas to concentrate on developing are… is that a path you want to pursue?’ The person may be responsible for their own career development, but the manager should be there to help and guide.

I’m in the people business, it’s important to know how to handle people.

Web Analytics – What Do They Mean?

I worked for small firm here in the Madison area. Yeah imagine the reactions some clients had when I left a web account manager for a corporate IT recruiter position. I digress. I learned a lot about project management, selling e-marketing solutions, and understanding client needs. I also learned a bit more about web analytics.

I used to think I knew what web analytics was all about. I had it on a few websites of my own and took a look at them from time to time. Well I did not have a good understanding, and I still don’t. Not fully. Why? Because it’s a tricky space. Many rookies and professionals tend to think they know what the numbers mean, but they misinterpret them or think that more is better. That’s not always the case. I give you the following example…
Continue reading Web Analytics – What Do They Mean?

So You Lost Your Job

Holy crap! I just lost my job! What am I going to do?

Sometimes it comes with no surprise, but often times it hits us like a head-on automobile collision. We’re going along, just fine, when our world is suddenly turned upside down. Hundreds of questions start to flood the mind and anxiety runs through our nervous system. The shock leaves us stupefied. Deer in the headlights is certainly a good analogy. I could go on, but you may have been there or are currently going through this. Allow me to quote Douglas Adams:


When you lose your job, it’s important to gather your thoughts. Nothing is going to ‘un-do’ what has already been done. It’s what to do now and tomorrow. The building burned down. You can’t un-do the fire.  You have to clear your mind and re-build. Continue reading So You Lost Your Job