Four Reasons to Use Personal Accounts for Your Career Information

On my earlier post on Three Ways to Turn Off the Hiring Manager, a commenter made a really good point about career results: Keep a running list of them so that you have your accomplishments close at hand. The only problem? Putting that list on your work laptop or computer.

Looking AroundOn Cube Rules, I have a mailing list of almost 4,000 people who receive my newsletter. Every time I send one out, my in-box fills with hundreds of “out of office” e-mails. I cringe at every one of them. Especially the ones that now include in the response, “We’re sorry, [name] is no longer with XYZ Corporation. If you need assistance, please contact [name 2].”

At the very point where great career advice is needed, our hero has no access to information because she used corporate, not personal, resources for career information.

It’s bad. Here’s why:

1. Your access to corporate resources is temporary. In a layoff, you can easily be walked out the door and have all access to corporate resources removed. Gone with it are all of your career resources. Even if you are not laid off, you can change jobs and change corporate e-mail accounts, resulting in even more transition maintenance as you switch all of your career resources to a different e-mail address.

2. You are not your corporate identity. By associating your identity with the corporation you work for, you inhibit your personal brand. When you change companies, you need to change your e-mail with your friends, associates and family.

Right now on corporate accounts you are You, The Data Janitor II from Enron, not You, The Solver of Problems. Until you get off of Enron’s corporate resources (like when they went bankrupt…or, in my case, when Washington Mutual went bankrupt), you are associated with the corporate brand, not yours. (I never had my stuff on Washington Mutual corporate resources and I did get walked out ten minutes after the layoff notice…).

3. You lose business networking. Your most important career resource is your business network. Yet, when you do all of your networking via corporate e-mail accounts, you have no personal connection to the person in the corporation. When that person leaves the company — especially if you are not aware they were leaving — they walk out the door and you have no quick and easy way to find out where they went or how to contact them. Having their personal e-mail account and cell phone number — and they having yours — means the relationship can easily continue.

4. Corporate assets have no privacy. None. This is not a whine; Corporations can do anything they want with your accounts in terms of privacy. You have no say and can easily, unknowingly, violate some business code of conduct rule in the company and get fired with no recourse — especially if the company wants to fire you and needs to find a reason to do so. Why would you want to have your career stuff on corporate accounts when there is no privacy for them?

To get your career resources back to your personal assets, get a personally branded (preferably, you@yourname; at a minimum you@gmail or something close) e-mail account. One that you’ll keep for as long as you are working — seriously consider the account and the company where you get the personal account. Make sure all of your career resources, mailing lists and coworkers you want to stay in touch with have this e-mail address. Get all of it off corporate assets.

Your career is personal. Don’t abdicate that by putting your career on corporate resources.

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