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Archive: Beware the Pundit – April 1, 2005

April 30th, 2008 Comments off

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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I am sure you have seen this before. A new technology is announced and it takes only moments before writers across the globe start to predict its demise. There is a rush to discount the new technology in a hundred different ways, explaining, in great detail, exactly when and why it will never work. I wish I had such foresight. Imagine the riches that would follow if you were able to know these things with such certainty. Of course, as you already know, most pundits are wrong most of the time. This is one major reason I steer clear of such “pile-ons”. I would much rather help people find the technologies that work for then instead of worrying about those that may, or may not, fail.


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Elsewhere Online: Heads Will Roll: 17 Signs of Impending Layoffs – HR World

April 29th, 2008 Comments off

Yep, yep, yep. Some of these might seem obvious, but I have seen others miss even the most obvious signs of layoff.

You should always be watching out for yourself, so here are a few reminders of warning signs.

Heads Will Roll: 17 Signs of Impending Layoffs – HR World

Heads Will Roll: 17 Signs of Impending Layoffs
By Brian Satterfield on April 29, 2008
As Bob Dylan once sang, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” And while that adage can be applied to any number of situations, it can be especially true when it comes to job cuts, layoffs and corporate restructuring.

(Via psogle on Twitter.)

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Organizing can be a great boost to your career

April 25th, 2008 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoOrganizing can be a great boost to your career
By Douglas E. Welch

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Meetups are everywhere and the topics they support include technology, sewing, writing and a thousand other things. You might even attend some of these meetups or other user group meetings or conferences on a regular basis but have you ever thought of starting a meetup of your own? Surely there is some area where you would like to share your interests with other people. While meetups and user groups can be fun, they can also be a way to enhance your career while learning new things and having a great time.

First, let me be clear that organizing anything – whether a meetup, a project, a family reunion – can be a lot of work. There is no denying that. Still, if you are having fun with the project, all the work will seem worth it in the end. In fact, that will always be the defining factor of your work. Is it fun?

Even with this work, there are many benefits to organizing a group. The most important benefit you derive is the major expansion of your personal network. While most members of your group will know a few other members, everyone in the group will know you. Whether you are just talking to them at your meetup, or connecting to them through Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn, you will gain contact with a large group of people who you can help and who can also help you. Becoming an organizer greatly increases your Visibility (See Visibility and Your Career Video). You will be introducing yourself to new people at every single meetup and every time you talk about your group to others.

Through your new found visibility, you can become a “connector” someone who regularly connects talent with those who need it — someone who is asked to offer recommendations for products and services – someone people seek out when they need advice or a new job.

Organizing can also effect how you are perceived by others. I know that I have a profound bias towards those people who can “get things done.” Organizing a group is a management task, even if you are still working as a departmental staffer. It is a way to both gain experience, and demonstrate your abilities, to anyone who is watching. Being the founder or president of a group can look very good on your resume, especially early in your career, when you don’t have much work history. It shows drive. It shows initiative and it shows the ability to be organized and organize others towards a central goal.

Organizing can also effect how you are perceived by others. It is a way to both gain experience, and demonstrate your abilities, to anyone who is watching. Being the founder or president of a group can look very good on your resume, especially early in your career, when you don’t have much work history.

There is one important caveat to all this organizing, though. You must always remember that the group is not you and you are not the group. Too many organizers end up leaving the group they started because they find it difficult to let others have a voice in managing and directing the focus of the group. I always try to remember that the group will dictate its own direction after a while. I can provide the impetus, the place to meet, the original members, but eventually the members will take the group in whatever direction they see fit. This may not always mesh with your own personality or desires, but it is inevitable. In most cases, this is not a personal attack or a refutation of your goals, only a clear indicator of the shared goals of the group. You ignore that at your peril. You may find that it is a perfect excuse to go and start that next group that focuses on another of your goals.

Organizing any group, whether for a project, hobby or work, is a great way to develop work experience, improve your visibility and expand your network. Furthermore, it is both entertaining and enlightening. If you have a special interest in your life, why not share it with others and organize a group today. Your career is sure to benefit.


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Archive: Get out of town – March 25, 2005

April 23rd, 2008 Comments off

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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Usually when we have the thought, “I’ve got to get out of town”, we are thinking about recreation – getting away from it all. While there is always some benefit to leaving your day-to-day world behind, I think there is another side to “getting out of town.” Instead of running away from the stress of your life and your job, maybe you should think about running to something new, something interesting, something fresh.


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An interview with landscape designer, Susie Duboise

April 18th, 2008 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoAn interview with landscape designer, Susie Duboise

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Special Note: I want to highlight the listeners of Career Opportunities here on the web site. Send me a 100 word description of you and your web site and I will start to include them here. Email to career@welchwite.com.


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Archive: Entrepreneurs – March 18, 2005

April 16th, 2008 Comments off

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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What is an entrepreneur? How do you become one? Is it worth the time, energy and aggravation? Recently, Rob Spahitz, a reader of this column, posted to a discussion on the Career-Op mailing list. In his message he said, “How about an article on what’s required to be a good entrepreneur?” An excellent idea, I thought, except that my own experience doesn’t follow what most would consider an entrepreneurial direction. I don’t have great designs on owning a large company with lots of employees and millions of dollars in gross earnings, but I do think there is a different side to the entrepreneur story than what we typically see in the papers. Rob’s question started me thinking more deeply about entrepreneurship, what it means to me and what it might mean to you.


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Elsewhere Online: Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need

April 14th, 2008 Comments off

Ok, this trailer got me. Now I want to see the book. I hope it lives up to the video. It sounds like its sensibilities are very much in line with my own.

Johnny Bunko book trailer



Last week, my friend Dan Pink sent me a copy of his latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, a cool manga style graphic novel that offers wise career advice for young people. He’s created a fun “trailer” for the book, too. Here it is.


(Via Boing Boing.)

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Your job depends on those around you

April 11th, 2008 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoYour job depends on those around you
By Douglas E. Welch

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As many of you already know, in the corporate world, relations between departments can often be adversarial. Finance fights with creative, sales fights with manufacturing and almost everyone fights with IT. The problems that arise from this go much deeper than stalled company initiatives and delayed products. If you continue to develop adversarial relationships you might be putting yourself on the fast path to layoff.

There are many good reasons to cooperate with those around you, even if they are in a different department. It makes your life easier and you more productive. People are more inclined to help you when you offer help in return. Most importantly, you may find that you have impressed them enough that they are willing and able to help you when the downsizing begins. This is exactly what happened to me during some rough times in my last corporate career.

I had been working for this company for 3 years and layoffs were a yearly occurrence as projects ended, slowed down or stalled. I had survived 3 or 4 layoffs already but the next one was very deep and effected many operational departments such as IT, where I worked. The day came and I was told that I was indeed being laid off, but…another department or more specifically a manager from that department had asked to take me on as their own departmental IT staffer. Whew!

After I moved to the new position, I asked my manager what had made him think to pick me up? Simply, it was because he was impressed with the work I had done for his department over the years. Without even thinking about it, I had impressed someone with the quality of my work and saved myself a major headache. Of course, it can be even better when you are actively thinking about your work and the impression it has on others. After all, wouldn’t you like to hear the same thing when presented with a layoff?

If you constantly view your work with other departments as an “us vs them” issue, you are limiting your career choices.

So, how can you help to cultivate relationships that can help you in the future? First, and easiest, simply do the best work you can. I know it sounds obvious, but it is so easy to get tied up in interdepartmental squabbles and start treating those folks like second class citizens. Step outside any adversarial relationships that already exist. Don’t let your managers bad relationships become yours. In fact, do whatever you can to reach beyond these bad relationships and foster your own individual detente with other effected workers. Your bosses may hate each other, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work together. In fact, you might find that you will have your jobs long after this particular manager is gone. I find that those managers who constantly fight others don’t tend to stick around.

On a more personal note, befriend co-workers in other departments. Typically we only hang out with those in our own department. You might go out to lunch together or do something after work. This is only natural, but you can improve your career dramatically by not limiting your friendships to just your department. You will find it easier to work with people you know more deeply, develop an understanding of the work they do and also be privy to changes in their department that might effect your own. If an adversarial relationship starts to develop, you can help to defuse the situation since you already have a relationship with your colleagues. Finally, developing relationships with other departments can be a great way to discover potential exit strategies, should your current job be in danger. You might be able to find a position in this other department or even make a lateral move into a new career.

If you constantly view your work with other departments as an “us vs them” issue, you are limiting your career choices. Every department has a role to play and each worker must do everything in their power to rise above politics and personality conflicts. You will not only be doing this for the good of your department or company. You will be doing it to protect your own career.


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Archive: Joining an IT Conversation – March 11, 2005

April 9th, 2008 Comments off

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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One of the most important ways of expanding your high-tech career is finding resources that can help you expand your knowledge beyond your immediate hands on experience. Sure, you can learn a lot by “doing”, but if you don’t have an opportunity to work the latest hardware and software, you need to learn about it in some other fashion. Some of you may be able to visit industry conferences on a regular basis, but, if your work life is similar to mine, finding the time to attend can be a problem. Thankfully there are some options to help you expand your knowledge no matter your time or money constraints.


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Don’t air your troubles in public

April 5th, 2008 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoDon’t air your troubles in public
By Douglas E. Welch

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I could feel the chill as soon as I walked into the small bakery near my son’s school. I had come in to pick up a coffee, but ended up with this column. The chill had nothing to do with the weather or the air conditioning. The atmosphere was being created by two women seated towards the back of the room. I could immediately tell they were having a heated discussion about something. Humans seem to have an innate ability to recognize when others are unhappy and my “fight or flight” mechanisms went to full alert, even though I couldn’t hear exactly what was being said. That would soon change, though.

As I waited for my coffee to be made, I started to pick up part of the conversation, I wasn’t actively trying to eavesdrop (and would have preferred to have missed their conversation entirely), but their voices and tone carried well even over the low din of the room.

“Who is he to demand things?!? I don’t demand things from him. I ask nicely. What is his problem?” This is how the conversation went the 30 minutes or so I was there. Even after I sat across the room from the women, I could clearly hear their discussion. Suddenly it struck me. What if they had been talking about my company, my business or even me in such a public place? How would I feel to have my conflicts aired for everyone to hear? What if a competitor was happening to have lunch in the restaurant? What damage might be done from such an overheard conversation?

Yes, I know this seems a commonsense thing to avoid, but like most commonsense things, they are not always that common. In the heat of an issue or an argument, we can forget that there are those around us who: 1.) Don’t necessarily want to hear our conversations and 2.) Could use them to your disadvantage. Still, nearly everyday, I am privy to conversations that could have devastating results in the hands of others.

If you haven’t talked to your co-workers, partners and employees about this commonsensical problem, you should do it today. We can all use a small reminder that discretion is important in life and business. Think of how many times you have overheard a conversation in a restaurant or, more typically, a bar. Think how people regularly share private information as they shout into their cell phone to be heard. The truth is, we can get so engrossed in our own conversations that those around us simply disappear into the background. The only thing we see is the focus of our conversation.

We can all use a small reminder that discretion is important in life and business.

So, what are you to do if you really “need” to have a chance to rant about problems away from your office? There are a number of better places than a crowded restaurant near your work. How about a local park, where you can put some distance between you and others? I have found that a good brisk walk can also help to relieve the stress and/or anger you might be feeling. Grab a friend and take a walk, but, even then, pay attention to who might be walking or sitting nearby.

You might think that a closed conference room or office might be a good place to talk, but as I am sure you have found, office walls are not always that soundproof and sometimes the entire office can end up hearing every word of your loud conversation. In this case, it is almost better for strangers to hear your discussion instead of those it most effects. Finally, if you can find no other place, go out to your car, close the doors, turn up the music and shout to your heart’s content. In your car, no one can hear you scream…although you might look a bit odd to passerby.

When your having a difficult discussion, you don’t want others eavesdropping, accidentally or on-purpose. It can damage you, your reputation and your business. Look around you the next time you start to talk in public and notice who’s in earshot. Chances are they don’t want to hear about your troubles and you don’t want them to either.


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