A good friend of mine just left her job. She'd been with the company for more than 15 years and it was time. What will she do now? Actually she has a bunch of options, but that's not what this story is about. As we were talking, she said that she needed to "figure out her tech." And so that's what we started to do.
She will have to give back her BlackBerry and her company laptop when she leaves. In a few weeks, she will be "techless." Of course, her company email is only going to be active for a few more weeks. They will not forward her emails, but they did agree to put a "no longer with the firm" auto-responder on her account for 90 days. Sadly, they won't include an email address link in the auto-responder. It's just going to say she's no longer with the firm.
Sound familiar? Here are a few tips to make this transition much easier.
First, set up a professional email account. It should not be an @gmail or @hotmail or, heaven forbid an @aol account. It should be at yourdomain.com. You can still use Gmail or Hotmail as an email client, you just need firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address. How do you do it? Go to your favorite hosting service, 1and1.com, GoDaddy.com, etc. and register a domain and sign-up for hosting services. They are always running remarkable deals on 1and1.com. I just checked, and today, a complete package is $4.99 per month with three months free. Other hosting services and registrars offer competitive deals, take advantage of one.
Once your domain is registered, set up either an email mailbox or forwarding account @yourdomain.com. 1and1.com has a browser-based, email client. If you like it, use it. If not, set up a forwarding account to your "professional" Gmail or Hotmail account.
Here's the important part. Make sure to change your account settings so that the "send mail as" reflects your new, email@example.com address. Otherwise, you will confuse people by telling that your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org when they are getting emails from you from email@example.com.
Next stop, the phone store. If you're trained on a BBerry, and you really love the functionality of the keyboard and email client, there is no reason not to get another one. The learning curve will be zero and you can just continue to do business as usual.
However, if you would like to be fashion forward in the connected world, you must consider an Android device or iPhone. At this writing, the Android of choice is the HTC Thunderbolt with an extended battery. It's 4G and awesome. That said, it may be too much phone for transitioning BBerry users. Many people I know have returned their Android devices after a few weeks because they were overwhelmed with the features. I don't fully understand why anyone would choose not to accept the challenge and embrace the amazing amount of things you can do with a smartphone, but I'm just reporting what my friends and colleagues have shared with me.
If you want an iPhone, the "new" iPhone is only a few weeks away. Wait for it. As I love to say, if you want an iPhone (or any iDevice), nothing else will do. Don't let anyone talk you out of your Apple love, you will simply be unhappy. In truth, you will be unhappy with your iPhone too, but that's for a different column.
The last thing on your transition list is a laptop. As it turns out, you're in luck. It's really hard to buy a bad computer right now. Pick a price point that suits your needs and knock yourself out. Mac or PC? If you are trained on Microsoft Office, and you want to continue using it, you must buy a PC. Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac is a seriously crippled version of Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows. You will really be unhappy (and screwed) if you purchase a Mac and Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac and think you are going to have comparable features to the PC/Windows version you used at your old job.
If you don't need to use Outlook, get a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, they cost more than comparably featured PC's, but they're worth it! (Yes, I'm a Mac devotee and no, they don't pay me to be one.)
There is much more to this story - a lot more. I cover all of it in my new book, Overcoming the Digital Divide: How to use Social Media and Digital Tools to reinvent yourself and your career. It's a quick read that will help you transition from your old job to your new digital life.
Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal‘s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5 New York‘s On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television’s monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network‘s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and the President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV 2nd Edition (York House Press, 2008) the seminal book about the technological, economic, and sociological forces that are changing everything and the upcoming, Overcoming The Digital Divide: How to use Social Media and Digital Tools to Reinvent Yourself and Your Career (York House Press, 2011) For more information, visit shellypalmer.com
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