Adam Cole (B. Math, I.S.P., ITCP, PMP)
My previous employer and I recently parted ways. After six plus years with the same company, my personal identify had become grossly comingled with my work identify. My friends, family, and professional colleagues only knew how to contact me at my work number or my work email address. Even my mobile number was owned by the company. My first day apart was quite an awakening - I had lost my personal identity. Like an executive without their Blackberry, I was exposed and helpless. (Wait - I am an executive without a Blackberry!) With no way to send random emails while waiting in line at the coffee shop, how could I possibly look important? Even the high school students impatiently queueing for some hot beverage I couldn't pronounce when I was their age have fancy phones to message the person in front of them.
Ahhh, but the Crackberry withdrawal is nothing compared to the loss of identity. I had no business phone number and no email address. Even without the Blackberry I still have an antiquated computer which can be useful for reading and sending emails when the BES server goes down. But with no email address I was completely out of touch. Let my folly be a warning to you -- Establish your own permanent professional identity.
The experts say the average person will hold 5 to 15 jobs in their career. (Other experts say 10-14 careers, not jobs. [Presumably a career consists of many jobs.]) Anyway you do the math two thirds of you will not remember your current employer in 5 years. With this in mind it is critical to establish a professional identity outside of your current place of employment.
I have learned my lesson. I now have a vanity domain (adamcole.ca) and after a little begging and cajoling of my local mobile provider, a very commercial sounding phone number. Wherever my career takes me next these contact vectors will follow and will remain mine.