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Archive for January, 2009

Recently on the Career Opportunities Community Site

January 31st, 2009 Comments off

CareerCamp Online 2009

A career unconference to help you build the career you deserve. Come participate by presenting and joining the conversation.

Links:
Join the planning discussion
RSVP for CareerCamp

Presenters:
You!
JoAnn Braheny – Goosing Your Muse – Topic: Creativity and Your Career
Fred Castaneda The Struggling Entrepreneur
Edwin Duterte – Pink Slip Mixers.com
Al Isago Parvez – Advance, Inc.
Douglas E. Welch – Career Opportunities – Topic: A Year of Leadership

Forums

Tech/Marketing Job at Gawker Media – New York

Started by Douglas E. Welch in Jobs and Internships 1 day ago.

Pre-planning: CareerCamp Online 2009 – Join us! 3 Replies

Started by Douglas E. Welch in General Discussion. Last reply by Fred Castaneda Jan 29.

How is the economy effecting your career? 18 Replies

Started by Douglas E. Welch in General Discussion. Last reply by Dave L (@socaldavel) Jan 28.

Queensryche

Started by Adam Larson in General Discussion Jan 15.

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Big ideas and small actions

January 30th, 2009 Comments off

Complete larger projects one small step at a time

Career Opportunities podcast logoBig ideas and small actions
By Douglas E. Welch

Listen: Big ideas and small actions

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Discuss this column and podcast

Join us for CareerCamp Online 2009


Planning is underway now on the Career Opportunities Community Site

It is often our big ideas, our big plans, our big goals that sustain the energy of our career. This is especially true if we are not currently enjoying our job. Having plans, and working towards our goals, gives us a focus beyond the day-to-day grind that can sometimes be our reality. The problem is, of course, that big projects take a long time to come to fruition. What must you do in the meantime to maintain your income and lifestyle while striving for these bigger goals? The best advice I can offer is to break down your bigger projects into much, much smaller parts — parts that can be monetized quickly — but also parts that work towards the larger project.

I had a great discussion the other night at the LA Geek Dinner, a regular event which brings together 40-50 tech and tech-related folks for food, drinks and open discussion. Among this group I am beginning to see more and more people who are at the end of consulting contracts, looking for a new job or who have recently been laid off. Many of these people are the smartest and most motivated people in town, yet they are now faced with financial troubles as the economy slows. One major issue is that they have some amazing ideas and projects, but are wondering how they will pay the rent at the end of the month. They don’t want to stop pursuing their projects, but they need to find some immediate source of income. You can guess how frustrating this can be.

In talking with these people I tried to come up with some concrete ideas and methods that they could put in place today that would meet both goals. First, they need to look at all their big projects and find the 1 or 2 pieces that are most likely to create immediate income. While they truly want to produce large-scale technology expos, immediate income might be found in producing small, hands-on, high value training seminars. Large conferences and expos are fraught with problems regarding venues, sponsors, speakers and more. Sure, there is the possibility for much bigger profits from a large conference, but many people don’t have the time for such a major project to come to fruition.

Now, I am not saying you should stop pursuing these larger goals. In fact, in the example above, I think the smaller projects not only yield immediate income, they are also building blocks that allow you to build relationships and an audience for the bigger show, whenever that might occur. You are simultaneously working towards both your short and long term goals. This is extremely important, as I believe that you need to be in a good position personally before you can extend yourself and help others. You need to have your financial house in order, at the most basic level, before you can assist others in doing the same

Done correctly — by using small projects to build larger ones — you may be able to achieve goals that might otherwise be set aside. If you have to choose between being homeless and working towards a larger project, the project will fail. If, on the other hand, you can work steadily towards that larger project, while still maintaining your daily stability, you increase the chances of larger success dramatically. Working on smaller projects might initially seem like a failure, but it is the engine that drives the larger machine — as long as you do you best to develop smaller projects that truly lead towards the larger.

Today I want you sit down and look at those awesome goals you have set for yourself. These goals should be big, difficult, even scary in their scope. That is one way of knowing they are worth achieving. Then, for each project, tease out the most basic goals within this larger one.

For example, the larger goal might be to bring the power of New Media to everyone (my over-arching goal for New Media Interchange). I want to get to a point where I am reaching out to hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of people with this project. That said, I also know that the support for this project, and the way to have the most effect, is to focus on individuals. It is also important to focus on hard skills that people need to make New Media.

This means that I must also focus on showing individuals the useful, entertaining and exciting new media already available, so that the audience for this media continues to grow. Then I must focus on training people how to create their own media — audio/video recording, web sites, RSS feeds, social media. There, then is the smaller project which supports the larger goal. As a computer consultant, I know how to teach people and allow them to integrate technology into their lives and work. Each person, each small group I touch through my personal consulting, training sessions and seminars is a potential member of New Media Interchange. In fact, once educated, these same people can assist me in my larger goal, by helping others, both on a free and professional basis.

What big goals do you want to achieve? How can you support yourself while achieving them? Look to the small, yet important parts that make up your larger goals and use them achieve both immediate and future success.


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Archive: Facing your demons – December 16, 2005

January 28th, 2009 Comments off

You have to face the changes you find in your career

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

Career Opportunities podcast logo

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Planning is underway now on the Career Opportunities Community Site

One of the hazards of writing a column on careers is that some people might begin to think that you have all the answers and that your career is perfectly on-track. Regular readers of Career Opportunities, or listeners to the podcast, have probably already realized, though, that I , like everyone else have my own career demons to face. Many of the columns I have written over the years have spawned directly from my own personal career struggles. I use my writing to gain a better understanding of my own career and, hopefully, get you thinking about your career, as well.

In past columns, I have written about some recurring demons that we all must face at various times in our careers. Some of these issues are relatively small, while others go directly to the heart of why you do the work you do, such as career choice, respect and making meaning with your career

Career Choice

I am confident that we can all agree that the concept of one career for life is long gone. Not only will you have multiple jobs, but very likely multiple careers during your lifetime. This fact can lead to a variety of career crises along the way. For example, there have been several times in my 20 year career that I have considered leaving technology work behind. Sometimes this was due to frustration with the high-tech industry as a whole or just dissatisfaction with a particular job. I spent many a night soul searching, although I eventually returned to technology work, usually in a slightly different form.

You are going to face similar crises. One day, you might find yourself longing to open a coffee bar, become a writer, or start an art gallery. Like myself, you might decide to remain in high-tech. You should allow yourself to think of alternatives, no matter how different they might seem from your current work. We all change over time and a career that suits you today might become boring or constricting in the future. Open your mind and explore the possibilities.

A Little respect

If you talk to nearly any high-tech careerist you will hear a common refrain, “I just want a little respect.” While it is true that respect is gained through quality work, it must also be given by those you serve. There are times when you need to demand the respect you deserve or find a place that provides it freely. Working in an environment where you are constantly demeaned or ignored is unhealthy for both you and your career.

Too often, concerns over money can prevent you from acting against feelings of disrespect and force you to remain in a job or career that is damaging you day after day. The truth is, respect is more important than money. It is respect that allows you to move forward, take risks and grow in your career. It is respect that allows you to make mistakes without fearing you might be fired. It is respect that allows you to do the best work possible, which in turn allows you to earn the money you need to prosper. Withholding of respect is a method of controlling people that is used in many companies. You need to understand this career demon, see it for what it is and avoid it as much as possible.

Making your career count

Finally, regardless of the work you do, you do it in an effort to make meaning in your life. We all want to make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, we can often forget this in the demanding and stressful environment where we work. Other “survival” issues, like making enough money, drive out thoughts of passion and meaning. We feel them only as deep longings, a hunger unfulfilled. No matter what your work, you need to explore your passions and constantly seek meaning in your life. Ignoring these basic needs, like ignoring food and water, will leave your life diminished.

There are many demons lurking along your career path. Take the time to engage these issues. Don’t let the shallower aspects of day-to-day life overshadow these important underpinnings of your career. The demons are out there waiting, but sometimes simply “turning on the light”, with a little care and thought can help dispel them.



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Announcing Career Camp Online 2009

January 28th, 2009 Comments off

Career Camp Online 2009

Sponsored by Career Opportunities column and podcast

What is CareerCamp Online?

CareerCamp Online is an unconference in the style of BarCamp, PodCamp and other “camp-like” unconferences. All attendees are highly encouraged to also give a presentation and, at the very least, participate in the conversation.

CareerCamp Online seeks to provide the best and most current career information possible , especially in light of the economic downturn and the large number of layoffs.

Since career problems effect everyone regardless of geographic boundaries, I decided to opt for an online version of CareerCamp so that as many people as possible could participate.

When is CareerCamp Online?

CareerCamp Online is tentatively scheduled for February 21-March1.

I decided on a week-long camp to give everyone a possibility to participate, although I hope the conversation will continue long after the official end of the camp.

Who is invited?

Anyone who is interested on building (or rebuilding) their career is invited to CareerCamp Online.

I will also personally be inviting career specialists from all over the world to participate and share their expertise.

Sponsorship is greatly appreciated in the form of merchandise and service giveaways that can be distributed to the attendees.

If you are interested in attending or presenting at CareerCamp Online 2009, please join the planning discussion on the Career Opportunities Community site at http://careercommunity.welchwrite.com . This site will also be the home for CareerCamp Online.

For more information, contact:

Douglas E. Welch
The WelchWrite Company, Inc.
818-804-5049
career@welchwrite.com
Twitter: careertips

Join the CareerCamp planning conversation

Categories: News/Opinion Tags:

News: Unemployed Techies Hope To Help Themselves At LaidOffCamp

January 28th, 2009 Comments off

Interesting idea applying the BarCamp concept to unemployment. I think this is definitely something that could and should be promoted in every major city. — Douglas

Unemployed Techies Hope To Help Themselves At LaidOffCamp

Chris Hutchins, a former management and business strategy consultant who was laid off in early December, is looking to make the best of his predicament and a generally weak economy.
Realizing that he’s just one of many being laid off (more than 224,000 employees have been ejected from the tech sector since August), Hutchins decided to launch LaidOffCamp San Francisco, a “bar camp” style event that he hopes will be a self-organized networking resource, start-up incubator, and group coping session for the recently unemployed in the Bay Area.

Read the entire article

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Elsewhere Online: Take the ball and go home

January 28th, 2009 Comments off

Seth Godin has it exactly right in today’s post on bullies…

Take the ball and go home

Bullies can’t be bullies when they are alone.

If you work with a bully, this is all you need to know. They need you.

A bully is someone who uses physical or psychological force to demean and demoralize someone else. A bully isn’t challenging your ideas, or working with you to find a better outcome. A bully is playing a game, one that he or she enjoys and needs. You’re welcome to play this game if it makes you happy, but for most people, it will make you miserable. So don’t.

Read the entire article

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We are men, not gods

January 23rd, 2009 Comments off

We are just human after all

Career Opportunities podcast logoWe are men, not gods
By Douglas E. Welch

Listen: We are men. not gods

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By the time you read this, or hear this podcast, Barack Obama will have started his tenure as the President of the United States. While I have great expectations for this presidency, as I do whenever anyone takes on the job, I also remind myself daily that presidents are men (and hopefully soon, women) not some god-like, mythological figures. As people, we can only do the best that we can do. We are flawed and apt to fail. Still, just like the President, our job is to do the best we can with what we are given and ignore those that expect us to be perfect, either in our lives or in our careers.

While we may never be tasked with being the leader of a large country, we each have our own leadership challenges. We also have people who will expect too much from us. They expect us to almost magically repair years of damage overnight, boost profits and make your company or department the world leader. While these people need leadership, their overblown expectations make it even harder for us to succeed. While it is great to dream, dreams take a long time to come to fruition. Often, these same people become quickly disenchanted. They don’t have the patience and understanding of how long and difficult change can be. These fervent supporters and cheerleaders for your work can suddenly become your most vociferous critics.

So how do you cope with overblown expectations? First, you educate. You make it very clear what actions you are going to attempt and also clearly illustrate what success and failure look like. You also explain that failure is not something to be avoided, but something that educates us and clarifies future direction. It is your job to ground great expectations in some sense of reality. You will have far-reaching goals, but you also need concrete steps on the path to these goals.

Great leaders also understand that a major part of their task is communication. People, when denied information, naturally start to assume the worst. To put it in almost universal terms, when a new boyfriend or girlfriend fails to call in a timely manner, we don’t think about how they might be busy or their phone has died or they are in a meeting. Lacking other information, we assume they hate us and never want to see us again. Great leaders will find ways of communicating the good and the bad news whenever necessary to prevent imaginations from running off to doom and gloom scenarios. Hiding failures and setbacks is often the quickest road to overall failure, as people will add personal distrust of you to their worries.

In any new endeavor, establish yourself as a human being, flaws and all, rather than trying to assume the position of a god. Even more important, don’t let others put you on too high a pedestal; otherwise these same people could be the first to pull you down. Regardless of your skills, intelligence and charisma, you are still just a human being like everyone else. Forgetting this humanity can be one of the biggest failures of any career.

As we watch this new president settle into the job, we would do well to look at our own jobs and careers and our own style of leadership. What can we learn from President Obama, both from his successes and failures? It is often said that the theater stage teaches great lessons by giving us a view of loftier heights – the workings of kings and gods. What can you learn from the presidential stage that helps you build the career you deserve?


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Elsewhere Online: Six Words You Should Drop from Your Resume

January 23rd, 2009 Comments off

This item came from my daily RSS feed reading and I think it is a must-read for folks looking to spruce up their resume. I don’t typically offer advice on such things, so I am always on the look out for great information. — Douglas

Six Words You Should Drop from Your Resume [Resume]

Whether you’re polishing your resume because you’ve been laid off or you just like to be prepared, weblog Squawkfox suggests six words you should banish from your curriculum vitae. Photo by SOCIALisBETTER.

The six words or phrases described in the post include:

  • Responsible for
  • Experienced
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Team player
  • Detail oriented
  • Successful
[…]
Read the entire article at: 6 Words That Make Your Resume Suck [Squawkfox]
Categories: Elsewhere, News/Opinion Tags:

Archive: Limiting factors – December 9, 2005

January 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Don’t limit yourself or your career

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

Career Opportunities podcast logo

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There are many factors that can limit the success of your high-tech career. You can lack basic skills or opportunities to use the skills you have. You can live in an economically depressed area. You might even have personal health issues. Even these issues, though, are nothing compared to the 3 most insidious limits we place upon our own careers. As with many parts of our lives, our biggest obstacles are often those we create for ourselves.

Lack of Faith

The single most important factor in career success is a natural faith in our own abilities. I am not talking about blatant arrogance or a refusal to recognize your own limitations, but something much more basic. If you do not have a basic belief that you can overcome the day-to-day challenges of your career, you put a tremendous limit on your chance for success.

You need to believe that you can learn new skills. You need to believe that you can support yourself. You must believe that you can continue to grow in both your career and your life regardless of what obstacles might be placed in your path.

How do you develop this confidence in yourself, now and in the future? First, you seek out opportunities to find those small, daily successes that sustain us as we build a life. You need to recognize these successes and celebrate them. Each new success gives us the confidence to stretch ourselves a little bit farther, to try new things, to take a bit more risk. This then leads to more successes, and a few failures, but still building your confidence step by step.
If you take a different tack, constantly berating yourself for small failures, limiting your risks and ignoring your small successes you are virtually guaranteeing that you will find success elusive, if not impossible..

Lack of thought

You can also limit your career through a lack of thought. If you find yourself only following orders, performing tasks by rote or doing only what needs to be done, you are limiting yourself to a minor role in your company and your career. If you aren’t thinking every single day about something, job-related or not, you need to start. If your job isn’t challenging, then you need to challenge yourself. Look for new ideas, new methods, new books to aid and expand your thinking. You will also want to find a new job. You will never do your best work or explore all your capabilities if you are not engaged by your work. You will remain stuck in the same rut from one day to the next.

Set aside some time each day to simply think. Think about your work, your goals, your life. Think about new careers, new ideas, new people, new businesses, new worlds. It matters very little what you think about. What matters more is the fact that you take the time to think at all.

Lack of Action

Finally, it is almost impossible to achieve great success in your career if you don’t assume a “bias for action” at every possible opportunity. Taking action forces us to take risks and encounter new hardware, new software, and new ideas. Within reason, your first response when presented with a new opportunity should always be “Yes!” You may decide, on further investigation that the opportunity is not suited to your desires or needs, but you should never simply dismiss them without some thought. You need to be as open as possible to every opportunity that presents itself.

What 3 projects have been brought to your attention in the last 3 months? Did you immediately dive in and investigate each opportunity as it arrived or did you simply tell yourself that you weren’t qualified/interested/able? Think about the missed opportunities you have recently experienced. How could you better take action in the future?

Don’t limit your career or your life by ignoring these 3 important, limiting factors. Have faith in yourself, take the time to think about every aspect of your life and career and take immediate, direct action whenever possible to make your goals reality. While this might not guarantee you a great career, it will certainly improve the odds of achieving a better high-tech career.



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Recently on the Career Opportunities Community Site

January 21st, 2009 Comments off

Started by Douglas E. Welch in General Discussion. Last reply by Nathan T 6 minutes ago.

Started by Adam Larson in Jobs and Internships Jan 15.

Started by Douglas E. Welch in Jobs and Internships Jan 10.

Started by Fred Castaneda in General Discussion. Last reply by Douglas E. Welch Jan 9.

Started by Douglas E. Welch in General Discussion. Last reply by Adam Larson Jan 6.

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