During my last days at IBM, I was very busy writing.  I was fortunate to work on some exciting publications that have recently become available.

The first of these is an article entitled What it takes to drive IBM Lotus Connections Adoption in the Enterprise.  It was published on the IBM developerWorks site on June 30.  For this article, I interviewed 4 different IBM customers who are currently using Lotus Connections at their companies. I wanted to go beyond the generally recommended adoption guidelines and find out what had really worked in motivating the general population of a company to use social software.  I took the most valuable nuggets of information and looked for the common threads to produce a list of recommendations that can be used by anyone planning a rollout of social software in an internal environment. 

The social factor

The Social Factor, by Maria Azua

The next project I worked on was as a contributing author and reviewer of The Social Factor.  I was very excited and honored to be asked by the author, Maria Azua, to work on this project.  I was given a list of twelve points to discuss about the business implications and transformational opportunities that social networking can bring to companies and their employees. 

To tackle this challenge, I wanted to share not just my experiences and knowledge, but that of individuals I felt were using social networking tools for maximum business results.  I interviewed different people both inside and outside of IBM who I found either through their blog, tweets, or LinkedIn profiles.  I also used Twitter for real time research in answering some of the questions.

I handed over my 8,000 word draft to the editor in mid-January.  He did an excellent job of performing an “extreme makeover” on my work, so much so that I couldn’t believe I had actually written those words!  A few months later, I was asked to review two of the chapters before final publication.  I did find a funny error, where a photo of one person was labled with the wrong name.  Fortunately, I  knew both of the individuals in question and I was able to catch the error. 

The editor had told me the book would be ready in October, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it on Amazon last week.  So go ahead and order or download a copy!  I would love to hear your thoughts.

A few months ago,  I blogged about the positive side of a layoff. After being laid off from IBM in November 08, I managed to find another position in the company right before my 30 day window was up.  I was excited about the new position as a Lotus Telesales Rep and looking forward to starting after the New Year.

empty-phonesUnfortunately, lightning struck again on January 21st.  After being on the job in my new position for about 2 weeks, the entire department was eliminated.  I was given until February 23rd to find a new position.  Wow!  That was a shock.  Even though I had heard all the rumors about more impending layoffs, I thought that since I had just been effected, I would have some kind of “immunity”.  I mean, how could they do this to me again so soon? It took everything I had in me to find that position, and now it was being eliminated.

I gathered up my things (I didn’t have much, since I’d only been in the office for 2 weeks) and went home to think.  I knew that I didn’t want to go through another frantic search in a company that had most of their open positions frozen.  The time and energy I put into the last search left me mentally exhausted.  Not to mention the tremendous amount of competition there would be for any open seat, given that thousands of other employees received the same news that I did that day.

It didn’t take me long to conclude that my IBM career was over.  Over the past 13 years, I had some great times, worked with some amazing people, and got the chance to grow my horizons in ways that I didn’t know were possible when I joined as a college graduate.  I was given a fair severance package that would allow me some time to reflect on what my next move should be.  I started my external job search and kept an open mind and positive attitude.  Even thought the media was reporting on the terrible odds for job seekers, I knew I would find something perfect for me.

When I walked out of IBM on February 23rd, I had a job offer with an IBM Business Partner.  They wanted me to start immediately, but I needed to take some time off to spend with my family and recover from the stressful period we had survived.  That’s part of the reason why I hadn’t blogged in a while.  I needed to step back and focus on things that had nothing to do with work.

I am very greatful for the way things turned out.  To everyone else out there who is coping with a job loss, I know how difficult it can be.  Keep a positive attitude, ask everyone you know for help, and don’t be afraid to take a risk and try something completely different.

Coming up next:  What I did on my unemployement vacation 🙂

I’ve been blogging internally at IBM since early 2007.  Its given me the opportunity to get familiar and comfortable with blogging – sharing my ideas and opinions instantaneously with an audience of thousands all around the world.

So why go external now?

  • I’ve seen other IBMers extend their reach outside the firewall and go on to fame and fortune 🙂
  • I’m about to go to the Web 2.0 conference in Berlin and I want a place I can point new acquaintances to, in much the same way I do with my IBM colleague
  • I really want to share my ideas and experiences with our customers and partners.

I plan to blog on my favorite topics of Lotus Connections, enterprise social software, how to drive adoption in the enterprise, and general adventures as an IBM Tech Sales Specialist and working mother of 2 trying to meet all the constant demands on my time.