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Don’t be a groundhog

January 30th, 2010 2 comments

Career Opportunities podcast logoDon’t be a groundhog
By Douglas E. Welch

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CareerCampLA: Helping to Build the Carer You Deserve

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Northridge, California

A hybrid conference/unconference dedicated to “helping you build the career you deserve”. The day will include scheduled speakers, ad hoc presentations and breakout sessions on all aspects of building your career. CareerCamp is for anyone who wants to build and/or improve their career.

Visit the CareerCamp web site for more information

For some odd reason, maybe because I grew up in an area that actually harbored groundhogs, I have always had an affinity for the large rodents and their namesake day of February 2. The groundhog is the harbinger of spring in my old area of the country and if he sees his shadow, he could be foretelling another 6 weeks of Winter, which was never a good thing when I was growing up in Ohio. The groundhog also had a slightly different meaning for me as I often saw human groundhogs all around me — people afraid of their own shadow, quick to duck back in their burrow and hide whenever adversity came along. As you might imagine, in your career you don’t want to be a groundhog. Let’s use this Groundhog Day as a reminder of that fact.

One of the largest problems of being a career groundhog is that you don’t just hide away from the difficult parts of life. Just as often you run away from the wonderful, exciting parts of life — the big challenges, the big opportunities that could take your career to the next level. It is quite normal to be scared of change, but you can’t let it stop you from engaging in those opportunities. Running away to your burrow is counter-productive in so many ways. It is always a retreat, a “hunkering down” for the six more weeks of winter that may never arrive.

The Better Groundhog Nature

So how do you defeat those times when your groundhog nature gets the better of you? Take a lesson from the animal itself. It noses out of its burrow a little, checking out the surrounding area for danger. Then it scurries back in. Then out a little more — then back. Then out still further and further in a cycle of constantly stretching how far he gets from his burrow, always looking for the greenest shoots and the best feed. He always has his burrow to retreat to for safety and that allows him to challenge himself a bit more each day. You have one great advantage over the groundhog, of course. He is risking life and limb to venture out, you are risking much, much less.

Why don’t you try a little of this good “groundhogging” each day. Find small ways to stretch yourself, both personally and professionally. Check out a new neighborhood or a new restaurant. Ask a co-worker what it is like to do this or that work. Look at the other jobs open within your own company, or at a company you admire. What can it hurt? You can always rest in the safety of your home base and charge up your risk muscle for the next day. Seek out those opportunities that might have scared you off in the past. Look for new opportunities you may have missed.

Let’s choose February 2nd as our “reset” day. Most New Year’s Resolutions have come and gone by then, so Groundhog Day gives us a milepost, and a reminder, to reengage in our careers and our lives and challenge ourselves in new and unique ways. Don’t hide away in your burrow until Winter is over. Come out and let the new Spring of your career begin!



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CareerCampLA Registration is now open!

January 23rd, 2010 Comments off

CareerCampLA 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Congregational Church of Northridge
Northridge, California

A hybrid conference/unconference dedicated to “helping you build the career you deserve”. The day will include scheduled speakers, ad hoc presentations and breakout sessions on all aspects of building your career. CareerCamp is for anyone who wants to build and/or improve their career.

Visit the CareerCampLA Web Site to register!

Please note, there are special fields for people who would like to volunteer and people who would like to speak at CareerCampLA. Make sure you fill those in if interested.

I look forward to seeing many of you at CareerCampLA.

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Everyone a teacher

January 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoEveryone a teacher
By Douglas E. Welch

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CareerCampLA: Helping to Build the Carer You Deserve

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Northridge, California

A hybrid conference/unconference dedicated to “helping you build the career you deserve”. The day will include scheduled speakers, ad hoc presentations and breakout sessions on all aspects of building your career. CareerCamp is for anyone who wants to build and/or improve their career.

Visit the CareerCamp web site for more information

Look anywhere in the news today, local, national and global and you will see lots of discussion of teachers and education. Here in Los Angeles there is a large discussion of good teachers, bad teachers, teachers with tenure, teachers out of work. While I am certainly not a “teacher” in the usual sense, most of the work I do involves teaching concepts and actions to others. Some might say I am working as an educator, while others would deny even that, preferring the name consultant or coach. All this talk, though, ignores one important fact. Regardless of our job title, career, or day-to-day functions, we are all teachers in some fashion.

Some of you might be wondering how you could possibly be described as a teacher when you don’t work in a traditional classroom with traditional students. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?. I would say, no. The fact is we teach countless people every day without realizing it. Everyone we contact throughout our day has the potential to learn from us. Even if we only teach them how to use the ATM or how to work the automated checkout at the grocery store, each interaction is a moment of learning, for better or worse.

Too often these days, the lessons we are teaching are negative, nasty and downright wrong. Through our actions, we teach people to be mean, arrogant, argumentative, and unlikable. How would our lessons change if we recognized them as teaching and not just simple actions in our lives? What if you actually thought about the messages your actions send to others? Would you change how you act and interact with those around you or would you continue to act the way you always have? Would you act in front of a classroom of children the way you act as you move though your daily life? Why? Why not?

I want you to conciously ask yourself each day, “What lessons am I teaching to those around me?” Are these lessons I would want my children, my nieces and nephews, my parents learning from me? Am I presenting the image I want to present, or through my inattention, am I instead providing a host of bad examples throughout the day? I want you to embrace your role as teacher, as deeply as someone who is comitted to the classroom for 8 hours each day. Think about how you move from lesson to lesson, subject to subject, student to student. How do you interact with a stranger your own age, a teenager on the bus, a child in your home? Should you teach them all in the same way? How do you reach them as individuals with different wants and needs?

Do you see yourself now in the role of the teacher that you already are? If so, let me ask you to take this concept one step farther. Now that you understand how your actions teach volumes, think about what ideas, concepts, dreams, and hopes you can actively choose to teach to those around you. Providing a good example is an excellent start, but once you are doing that, you have the ability, and I would say responsibility, to share your knowledge with others. We each have a unique subject, a unique topic to share, simply because we are all unique individuals. The class we teach will be unlike any other. It must be, as we are unlike any other.

I have a firm belief that if we taught what we know deeply and passionately to others, the world would be a much better place. Sharing the “better angels of our nature” with those around us, in actions and with words, has the power to fundementally change the dynamic between you and others. When we see ourselves as teachers, in the best sense of the words, we begin to see the repsonsibility we all carry with us. Life becomes more than an inward looking movie about us, our wants, our needs. We begin to see the complex interconnections between all of us and how, by effecting others, you can also effect yourself, often in very deep ways.

What will you teach today, tomorrow, next month, next year? Who will you teach it to? We are surrounded by students, if only we would listen to their questions and understand their desire to learn.



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Video: Career Prescriptions – A Talk to Tuesdays with Transitioners

January 16th, 2010 Comments off

I presented this talk to Tuesdays with Transitioners, a local group dedicated to helping workers recover from layoff and make the move to a new career.

A video podcast of this talk will be released in a few days.

Visit the Tuesdays with Transitioners site for more information on this great group.



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Career Prescriptions – A Talk to Tuesdays with Transitioners

January 15th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoCareer Prescriptions – A Talk to Tuesdays with Transitioners
with Douglas E. Welch

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I presented this talk to Tuesdays with Transitioners, a local group dedicated to helping workers recover from layoff and make the move to a new career.

A video podcast of this talk will be released in a few days.

Visit the Tuesdays with Transitioners site for more information on this great group.



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Career Prescription #3: Use Facebook

January 10th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoCareer Prescription #3: Use Facebook
By Douglas E. Welch

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I get the feeling that this might be the most controversial of all of these Career Prescriptions. What possible use could it be to immerse yourself in the world of Farmville, Mafia Wars and Super Pokes? The fact is, while these gaming and social aspects of Facebook garner the most press attention, there are quite a few benefits of connecting with your “friends” on Facebook. To make your experience the best possible, though, let me present a few guidelines, as I have with the previous prescriptions.

First, only add people as friends if you have some direct, if not physical, connection with them. This could mean your co-workers, acquaintances from conferences as well as those people you may only know in some virtual forum like a discussion group, mailing list or other web site. Limiting yourself to this group keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and gives you a solid base to interact with these people. Once you add yourself to Facebook, your friends, co-workers, ex-girlfriends and boyfriends and school chum will know you are there. Connect only to those people who are truly important to you.

Next, never feel bad about not reciprocating a friendship request. The person who sent the request will NOT receive a notice that you have clicked “Ignore” instead of “Add Friend” They will just not see your Facebook content.There should be no guilt associated with this. It is more self-preservation than anything else. Each and every person you add on Facebook or any other service, should bring some value to you. This value can be business-related and monetary, information-related or a valuable connection for personal reasons. There must be some value, though, otherwise their updates are just noise that prevent you from hearing the good information you need. Think about what value each person provides before clicking the Add Button.

If you feel a need to interact with those people you don’t know IRL (in real life), consider setting up a fan page for your work, your business or your product. This separates those you “know” from those that want to know you. Look for an upcoming column dedicated to that topic.

Even among our best friends, they can get involved in trivial pursuits that we don’t care to hear about. You will see invitations to join them in Farmville or whenever they have a new crop coming in. These types of notices are easily hidden, and you should do just that. You’ll see a Hide button next to each update in your news feed. Remember, you are after value in your conversations. To use a farm analogy, you are separating the wheat from the chaff. Do so ruthlessly.

Not that we have talked about managing your flow of friends and information FROM Facebook, let’s talk about what Facebook provides to you. First, you must keep value in your mind, too, when posting your information to Facebook. Are you providing value, or just babbling? Utilize the golden rule. Only put on Facebook that information you would like to see from others.

Next, provide that best information. Share photos from events you attend. Link to podcasts and videos that are important to you. Share your personal thoughts when you think they might be important for others to hear. Facebook allows you to give a glimpse of your life to those who may not be close enough geographically to see it up close and personal. In the interest of visibility, you are showing what you do, and how well you do it, to a collection of people who might otherwise not be able to see it.

As with all the previous prescriptions, I am asking you to give this one a try, even if you are not sure you are going to like Facebook, or find it useful. I think that once you engage in each of these prescriptions — using the guidelines I have given — you will find them useful and productive to some extent. Let me know about your experiences on the Career Opportunities Community Site (another free service you can join). Despite what you might have heard, social networking can help your career in a number of ways, if you engage on your terms.



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Douglas Speaks to Tuesdays with Transitioners – Jan 12, 2010

January 8th, 2010 Comments off

I will be speaking to the local group, Tuesdays with Transitioners, again this week. Organizer, Jennifer O’Connell, sent out this notice regarding the talk.

A few of you may remember Douglas E. Welch from when he spoke on Social Media.  Douglas is on the cutting edge of New Media and how to use it to maximize your career goals and employment seeking. His Career Opportunities–http://www.careeropportunities.ning.com and New Media Interchange–http://newmediainterchange.ning.com websites offer a potpourri of articles, information and resources that you should be accessing and using on a regular basis.

Douglas will be with us this Tuesday, January 12, and will talk about his sites, and show you how to take advantage of all these forums afford.

Tuesdays with Transitioners is a group for those who have been laid off, downsized, or are looking to make a career transition. In these tough economic times, it helps to have resources and support, and that’s what we’re here for!

We meet every Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for lunch, support and encouragement. We discuss ideas, share stories and resources, and offer guest speakers and tools that assist us in acquiring new work, and unlocking the potential for a hopeful future and career.

You can access our website and check us out–http://tuesdayswithtransitioners.ning.com/

We also have a group page on Facebook! If you are a Facebook member, you can access it at: http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=61368088980&success#/group.php?gid=61368088980.

So come join us!

The meeting location is:

The Congregational Church of Northridge, Fellowship Hall
9659 Balboa Blvd., Northridge, CA
(818) 349-2400
www.northridgechurch.net

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell
(323) 841-0769
www.asthegirlturns.com
www.examiner.com/x-15670-LA-Faith–Community-Examiner
www.linkedin.com/in/joliveroconnell
http://tuesdayswithtransitioners.ning.com

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Archive: Every career is a high-tech career – February 17, 2006

January 6th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logo

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It has been coming for a long time, but I think it is finally here. Every job and every career in America is now a high-tech career. It is impossible to ignore technology no matter what your position. Whether you are a corporate CEO or a security guard, technology is now an intimate part of your work. More importantly, now that technology has found its way into every job, everyone needs to recognize and accept this fact. Avoiding technology and refusing to learn about it is no longer an option. Considering yourself incapable is no longer an option. If you want to move forward in your career, regardless of the work you do, you have to embrace technology and make it your own. If you continue to avoid it, ignore it or distain it, you will see you career whither.

Some already know this

The truth is, any good high-tech careerist already knows what is happening. They have been living with technology for years. That doesn’t mean they have always embraced it, though. Even those of us who decide to dive into the high-tech world can sometimes find ourselves rebelling against it. This is especially true whenever we feel that technology is pushing us rather than leading us. No one likes to be pushed around, but technology can do just that. Sometimes changes are so far reaching and so dramatic that we are swept along with the tide. The only answer to this, though, is to be constantly engaged in “riding” the bucking bronco that is technology. It is only by facing technology that we can hope to gain its many benefits.

Those workers who are just now finding themselves thrust into the high-tech world should take some basic guidance from those of us who have been there for a while. First, your ability to learn and knowledge you acquire are everything. In the coming years you will need to learn more than you have learned in your entire career. While some careers move slowly and steadily, technology can introduce changes that happen overnight. You may know everything there is to know about doing your job today, but new systems and new software can transform your job. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your knowledge is obsolete, only that there is so much more to learn.

An Example

Take the role of security guard. The basic tenets of security have been long established. You control physical access to buildings and rooms, monitor access points and check identification. Now, though, you need to understand magnetic card readers, biometric scanners, DVR technology, Internet-accessible video monitoring, PC and network management and much more. Technology has introduced an entirely new aspect into the well-established security realm. You have to adapt these new aspects or, despite your expertise, you will fail at this newly added facet of your career.

Is this frightening? Of course. No one likes to feel they have somehow fallen behind the times, but a career is a living thing. It grows and changes from day to day. No matter how much you might wish it, any career that does not change is stagnant and in danger of being lost.

Embrace, embed and enjoy

My biggest advice to all careerists is to find ways to embrace technology and its effects on your career; embed technology into your lives so it becomes an integral part of your work and finally, enjoy all the benefits that technology can bring to you and your work.

You can’t do this, though, by avoiding technology or pretending it does not effect you. You can’t rely on the IT personnel or computer consultants to handle your technology tasks anymore. You are now a high-tech worker, like all the rest. Technology isn’t just a hulking computer in an air-conditioned room anymore. Technology is here, in your hand, on your desk and in your home. You don’t just work with technology, you live with it every single day.

Regardless of the work you do, every job , every career is now a high-tech career. There is no escaping this reality or the consequences this brings. As the 21st Century progresses technology will continue to be part of our lives. Embrace it. Bend it to your will. Work against any negative effects that arise, but do not ignore it. Otherwise, you may find that you won’t have any career at all.



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The first day of the rest of your year

January 3rd, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoThe first day of the rest of your year
By Douglas E. Welch

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I am putting my series of Career Prescriptions on hold this week, in order to bring you this message about the New Year. This is your year. This is your time. This is your career, but it is up to you to make it happen.

I know. I know. Yet one more thing you need to worry about and worry over, but that really isn’t the case. Building your career this year doesn’t require worry — only attention. It is not something to frightened you, it is something to be cultivated. Your career is not something that could come crashing down around your ears, it is something you are building upon, if you pay some small amount of attention to its care and feeding.

Too many of us let our careers, and our lives for that matter, happen to us. We move from job to job not because of any planning or desire, but rather because our current job disappeared, forcing us to find another. This is no way to live or work. We won’t always be able to direct our careers, but when presented with opportunities, we must take the wheel and steer the ship in our preferred direction. This means constantly being on the lookout for new opportunities as well as watching for the rocks that might scuttle us. You are the captain of your career and the responsibility for your career lies with you and no other. We can have others who help us in our career goals, but in the end, it comes down to our own individual decisions.

So, on this first year of a new Decade (or last year of another) what will you do to move your career ahead, sideways or into an entirely new realm? My first recommendation is to think. The New Year presents infinite possibilities and today is a great day to explore them. In some ways, New Year’s Day is like one huge push of the RESET button. Last year is gone and along with it all the trials and tribulations that we faced. There is nothing we can do about the past, so we might as well look to the future.

Sometime today, sit down with pencil, paper, iPhone, computer — whatever you find the most useful — and think. Think about what you NEED. What is the base level of stability and finances you need to keep you and your family safe and happy? Then, think about what you WANT. What would you like to see happen on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? What would improve your work and your life in substantial ways? Then, think about what you need to do to achieve them. Finally, and this is the toughest, yet also the most rewarding, what do you DESIRE? What dreams would you like to make come true for both yourself and your family? These are goals that are difficult to achieve and yet could bring the most fundamental changes to your life. Your desires should be audacious, life changing, even world changing and give you something important to strive to achieve. These are the goals that will drive you through the New Year and almost guarantee great things happen.

Now that you have an idea of what you NEED, WANT and DESIRE, sketch out some plans on how to make them happen. If you NEED to save more money, figure out how to put away a small percentage each pay period. 1%, 5%, 10% — it all adds up over time. Something is always better than nothing. If you WANT to find a better job or simply the next stepping stone in your career, approach it as you would any project. Lay out the process and develop action items to move you forward and gauge your progress. If you DESIRE fame and fortune, then make sure your thoughts, words and actions are being shown to the world through the work you do. Scientists often say, “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen!” Document your successes and your failures. Give people a view into your life and your work. Don’t dwell in anonymity. Share your knowledge and skills with the world.

I’d love to hear some of your NEEDS, WANTS and DESIRES. Share them on the Career Opportunities Community Site. Let’s keep this discussion going 24/7 there so we can all energize our New Year together. Even though we may be scattered around the world, the realities of our careers are remarkably similar. Share your hopes, your dreams, your desires so that we all might see just how much the same we all are.

I wish you the happiest, the most rewarding, the most productive New Year possible. Let’s make it the best year ever!



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Top 10 Posts from Career Opportunities for 2009

January 1st, 2010 Comments off

Here is a list of the top Career Opportunities posts for 2009

  1. The Right Way to Resign
  2. Elsewhere Online: 100+ Ways to Write a Great Resume Cover Letter
  3. Recently on the Career Opportunities Forums
  4. Doug’s Neat Friends: Kim Sudhalter of Urban Legend PR
  5. Archive: Traits of a Good Leader – October 14, 2005
  6. Jobs Offered (recently from BarCampLA Mailing List)
  7. Great Quote on Pessimism
  8. Do something crazy!
  9. We must divorce health care from employment status
  10. Video: Visibility and Your Career from LaidOffCamp LA

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