My job – forgot to tell you.


Short version: I told my boss before christmas that I will be leaving. I am available for hire full time oh let’s say from June 2006. :)

Longer version:
I just updated my openbc page a bit when it struck me that I have posted on my German blog about it, said something in my last podcast about it, but did never actually tell you, the reader of this blog, about it. :)

As most people have a problem in understanding how somebody can have a day job and be a consultant, I did separate those two parts of my life in the past quite a lot. Which was no problem – my day job as being technical reporting backbone in controlling in a larger corporate environment does not at all mingle with my interest in helping people understand the digital world we are living in.

To help you understand this better: I do own a tshirt saying “caution – A-list blogger”. I got it from Toby when I guest moderated on the AMA marketing mailing list about the topic Podcasting last may and I like it a lot. I just could not wear it in “the real world” as I would be laughed at once. But I can wear it in the company, because most of them only know that blog is something funny Nicole does.

In the past it was also possible to have the job and the freelancing, but both sides got very time consuming and demanding in the last year – and a decision had to be made. So, why not keep the safe day job?

A look at the corporate life
Let me take a look at my corporate life: I do manage my (not so little) reporting empire with Excel, awk+grep and an OLAP database. I don’t have the talent for numbers which you need to have as a controller, but more for data and structures. Always painful having to check reports every time instead of just knowing or having a feel for it.

Also, we are heading more and more into the processes of SAP and our own world wide template. As I do have a good abstract thinking, I could do SAP – but this somehow feels like perl to me. I could learn it, but I don’t really want to. The spare moments which are really enjoyable are when I can help people, like for example understand Excel. And I love to streamline powerpoint presentations and give feedback on concepts.

My colleagues are nice and the job is not unpleasant, but somehow, something was missing. Which is why I started back in 98 to do trainings and later coaching with a friend of mine, who runs a consultancy here in Lübeck.

The second life
I spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs and developed some skills in confusing them. Also known as “giving them different ideas about how to make money”. Mainly oriented in getting them informed why they needed to be online, I also did coaching and consulting on topics like marketing, usability and how to sell. It all blends together if you are a creative, idea giving person with a special interest in some of those areas.

Being online.
First web sites but also Usenet, mailing lists, now blogs and podcasts. Not only consuming, but engaging and producing. This resonated so much more with me. Especially everything happening around podcasting.

I am blogging since 2003, but podcasting took me to the point where I started to go international. For some reasons, I did not like so much reading english for a long time and around me in my daily life, I have no chance in speaking or writing english. I started Useful Sounds to speak english. Writing in english and engaging with the international community also meant getting in contact with more like minded people than just through my german blog.

Going internationally also meant starting to visit conferences. Reboot does have a very special place in my heart for several things; one reason being that it was a test. I wanted to see if I would feel welcomed into this kind of community. It felt like home. Home, where you not have to explain what the things are you deal with every day and be ahead of the curve, but are challenged by the people around you.

At the end of Reboot, Thomas smiled and said to me when talking about next year “I bet you will be doing something very different next year”. Deep in my heart I already knew back then, that he was right.

Meeting the people I have met in the last months, be it online or offline, made me aware that I am part of this movement and I want to be an active one in this. I want to be challenging to people, I want to bring the topics further, especially in Europe, and see where we can get this whole thing. And it feels as if there is a change at the moment and the time is right to be available.

It is therefor not by accident that I am trying to end my job for the end of April (so it hopefully is done til end of May) so I can go to Reboot 8 and say “it is different now”. From what it looks like now I may be still doing for some months work in my old company for a day or two a week – I am kind of not replaceable in some parts – but the goal is to be ‘free’ for new stuff and be able to be rebooted in Copenhagen.

Of course my boss was not very thrilled, but given my past and what he also sees more as my talents, he somehow expected this to happen – well at least in 2008 or so. ;)

But, what will I be doing and what is my business idea? Glad you asked. I don’t have the short version, but Alex Bellinger made a very nice ~130 words summary for me.

Nicole in roughly 130 words:

Nicole is a European blogger and podcast pioneer with a passion for digital rights, social media and the way technology is revolutionising how we live and interact with each other. She has an eagle eye for detail and a talent for (beta) testing your products, ideas, business plans, and other things related to social media and the impact you can have.

Never shy of ‘expressing difficult truths’ or offering up stingingly constructive criticism, she is certainly cruel to be kind (, but leaves you feeling glad you asked for her help. As the queen of the pre-conference podcast, Nicole is a familiar face at major tech and social media events in Europe.

When she’s not extending her own personal blogging empire, Nicole enjoys consulting, teaching and speaking on how the online world can benefit business.

So when you ask me what I am going to do after leaving the company, my answer at the moment is “I think, vacation?”.

But to be honest, I have a rough idea what I can do to earn my living, but I really will need some time for myself to focus on what exactly it is I want to do. Be it to blog more, differently, for money, do more podcast, more training, coaching, evangelizing, a professional feedback person or in the end just end up with another day job, I don’t know what will come. But I am sure that my talents will make it possible for me to earn money. Yes, I do have savings, I am not that naive. ;)

Of course this is frightening, but it feels like the right step to do. I was bound by my job in the past, but I will be free soon. There are different venues where it can go from here and I want to be able to travel those roads. They will be rocky, there will be downsides, but I think that in the end, I will be much happier with it.

So, just to let you know what will be coming. And one advantage of having more time to write? It also means more time to edit and have shorter posts. ;o)

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2 Responses to “My job – forgot to tell you.”

  1. Sebastian says:

    Still catching up on feeds after ten days off. Best off luck to your adventure. As of yet I do not know for sure where I will end up after January, but it will be interesting I hope. And I also hope to meet you sometime this year.

  2. Nicole says:

    thx – and I am sure we will make this happen this year ;)