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If no one cares about your work, why are you doing it?

February 28th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoIf no one cares about your work, why are you doing it?
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.


“Oh, no one will care” is a common refrain I often hear when someone isn’t doing their work, or only doing the bare minimum to get by. Some people have come to feel that the only reason they work at all is to take home a paycheck. It’s all busywork with no real purpose. I can tell you, though, that in most cases people do care how you do your work and you will eventually suffer the consequences of performing it badly. Secondly, if you truly believe that no one cares about your work, then you need to ask yourself an even more important question — why are you still doing it?

When we are in the depths of a bad job, it can feel like no one cares. Your boss doesn’t care about anything but the number of claims processed, the number of sales closed, the number of phone calls completed. There is no sense of quality at all. It is only quantity. A focus like this means that many people will do anything they can to keep their numbers up. They will even do things to others that they would be appalled to have done to themselves. When quality is no longer a concern, there is no level to which behavior can fall.

The fact is, though, there are often a lot of people who care about your work and its quality. Irate customers calling about a late or wrong order — members of the public who need your services — even fellow employees of your company who need the information you have. You need to remember these people, and how much they care, no matter what your management might think. You need to do this for your own self-preservation. If you truly think that no one cares, you are in the danger zone. When you stop caring, the end of your job, and maybe even your career, isn’t far off.

This situation takes us directly to the second question mentioned above. If you think no one cares about your work, then why are you still doing it? Some of you will claim that it is the only job you can get, the only way of supporting your family, the only thing you could find in this horrible job market. I understand that this might be true in some cases, but I also believe that it is true much less often than we think. Too often we use this as an excuse to stop trying — an excuse to stop doing the hard work required to build a truly great career.

Of course, the most dangerous part of doing work that no one cares about is that someone might eventually figure out that no cares. It is so much better for you to figure this out first, rather than waiting for others to figure it out for you. Remember, you want to direct your career, not be pushed from one job to another.

If you have the feeling that no one cares about your work — or even if you have hard proof — that should be more than enough of a sign that it is time to stop doing work that no one needs done. Find a career that makes a difference to you and the world.



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I Like This – February 25, 2010

February 25th, 2010 Comments off
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Share your secrets!

February 20th, 2010 1 comment


I came across this quote today and it is very similar to my own beliefs.

I share as much as I can as I feel that by sharing I get so much more in return. In some way, I can’t NOT share. I want to help everyone I come in contact with. What secrets can you share.

“All artists have ‘signatures.’ Most guard them closely. Again and again, I’ve found that really smart and talented people don’t hoard the ‘secrets’ of their success — they share them. It isn’t as if you could use their methods and duplicate their results. Excellence is about so so much more than craft. “

Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit

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More of the same

February 19th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoMore of the same
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.


Even in this world of constant new ideas, too many people fall back on the same old, same old. It’s no surprise, really. The same is always easier, more popular, more profitable, more salable to partners. Of course, that is all fine and dandy, but it can also be colossally boring. It can be the digital equivalent of churning out widgets or typing up memos, day after day. It can be stagnating to both you and and the people you work for. Even worse, while a company can cash out when “the same old same old” is no longer profitable, you will have been stagnating in one place and actually reducing your career options along the way.

With people like myself, and maybe you too, this dichotomy can cause big problems. While your new ideas might be what attract people to you, in most cases, it is “the same” that people really want. They want your reliability — your ability to produce on time, on budget and on target — but they don’t want you to do anything new. They just want “the same”. They don’t want new. New causes problems. New is insecure. New might lose them money. New is just too darned risky — and too much trouble. So we all fall back into “the same” again and again. Change is frightening.They don’t want new ideas that cost money to implement. They don’t want a new business model that is untried. Eventually, of course, after much back and forth, they won’t want you either. You simply become too much trouble.

I know it might sound all doom and gloom, but there is a bright side to all of this. There are a few people out there who really do want something new. They want to try crazy things. They want to say audacious things. They want to push the limits even it means a little less money and a little less of “the same.” If you are someone who craves the new, these are where your focus must turn. You must find these other like minded people instead of wasting your time moving from one job to another.

Where do you find these people? Well, if you are truly interested in the new, they are probably all around you. They are your fellow patrons at that funky new pub — the folks engaged in that new extreme sport — the people you follow on Twitter. Think about it. Who are you connecting with online and offline? Who engages your attention when you are reading blogs or Google Buzz. These are people you need to be working with. These are the projects where you need to be working. This is where your energy should be flowing, not into “the same”.

You already have everything you need to do great things. You have the intelligence, you have the connections, you have the drive and you have energy to constantly seek out “the new” and those who love it as much as you do. Don’t waste your time with “the same” or you risk spending the rest of your life there.



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I Like This – February 18, 2010

February 18th, 2010 Comments off
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Archive: The smallest things matter – Is it possible to care too much?

February 16th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoThe smallest things matter – Is it possible to care too much?
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.


Stop worrying. Relax. Don’t concern yourself with things you can’t change. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I bet you have heard many of these phrases as you work through your high-tech career. Someone is always telling you not to be so concerned with the issues that surround you. Sometimes they even say that you care too much. It is this caring, though, that raises you above the average employee. It is this caring that helps improve your career and your company. I would argue that it is this caring that makes your career worthwhile. Is it possible to care too much about your work? For me, I think it’s is a major pre-requisite for excelling in any career.

Sweating the small stuff

Several years ago I picked up the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and its all small stuff by Richard Carlson. It was, and remains, a best seller and promises to help you stop worrying, reduce stress and “bring out the best in yourself and others.” I read a lot of business books, so this seemed a logical choice to pick up at my local library. Little did I know that I would end up hurling the book across the room in frustration and disgust only part way through.

For me, Don’t sweat the small stuff , presented an opinion 180 degrees from my own beliefs on work and life. Its main message was to let go of the small problems, as they aren’t worth worrying about. Surely, I thought, the author must be joking. Is ignoring a problem really a solution? Is giving up really an answer to life’s pressing problems? Is self-preservation the only guideline? I couldn’t believe it, so I kept reading…until I could read no further.

In one regard, the book was useful as it got me thinking. This is one of my main criteria whenever I read any book. I started thinking about how many problems in our society today are caused by just such a laissez-faire attitude. Small issues fester and grow until they become large problems, which take greater efforts, and more money, to address. Had we not ignored the problems in the first place, we wouldn’t be in the position of struggling to solve them now. The same can be said for your career.

Don’t ignore the small problems

Ignoring the small problems in your work is a sure way to limit your career, if not destroy it altogether. While we all have big issues to deal with, these small, perhaps chronic problems will haunt you. Don’t have time for server maintenance? Expect a major, data-destroy crash. Don’t have time to test your UPS battery backups? Expect to lose your entire network during the next power failure. Don’t have time to upgrade software? Expect a major virus outbreak. Don’t want to fire a bad employee? Expect no end of trouble with everyone else in your department.

This isn’t “sweating the small stuff.” These tasks are the basic reason for your employment. Ignoring any of these issues in the guise of reducing your stress level is folly. You address issues by facing them head-on. It is by solving issues that you gain control of your work. It is by providing solutions that you gain a foothold in your career. It is by caring, perhaps too much, that you build the best career possible. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let anyone accuse you of “caring too much.” More likely, they simply don’t care enough about their work or their career. While they may have decided to glide through their career, I challenge all of you to accept the small problems as important stepping-stones and not traps to be avoided. You need to care about these small problems in order to prevent them from growing into large ones.

If you find that you have stopped caring about your work, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. Feelings of futility are never a good sign. You either need to find some foothold in your work that allows you to reconnect with it or find another job, or another career. Otherwise, eventually, someone is going to discover your lack of enthusiasm and more than likely, they will “sweat the small stuff” and make a major career decision for you.



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Looking for Facebook game developer from BarCampLA Mailing List

February 16th, 2010 Comments off

Startup located in Santa monica seeks facebook php / flash game developer for some very cool projects. Ideally, you have participated in the development of a mafia wars / farmville type application.

Our team is very experienced, well funded, and we have by far the coolest office in all of LA.

send info to frkrueger@mac.com if you are interested, or ping me at facebook.com/frkrueger linkedin: frkrueger


BarCampLA Wiki: http://barcamp.org/BarCampLosAngeles
BarCampLA Blog: http://www.barcampla.org/
BarCampLA Group: http://groups.google.com/group/BarcampLA?hl=en

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Not everyone is out to take advantage of you

February 12th, 2010 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoNot everyone is out to take advantage of you
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.

There is an insidious disease in the world today, but it isn’t one that effects the body — it effects the mind. Even worse, our current economic situation has driven it to infect more people every day. What is this disease? The assumption that everyone you speak with, everyone you meet, everyone you do business with is out to take advantage of you in one way or another. Using this as a starting point for every interaction with the world leads us to treat others in some extremely damaging ways. When we start from a place of fear, then fear, anger and resentment are often the harvest we reap.

Let me say, I can understand why people might fall victim to this disease. The fact is, there are large numbers of people and companies who ARE seeking to take advantage of us. We see it everyday in extraneous charges on our bills, identity theft and scams on the Internet. That said, when we begin treating everyone as a criminal, a potential shoplifter, a scam artist, we all lose. We assault the social glue that binds us all together and replace it with suspicion, anger and fear. As you might imagine this can cause a host of problems far beyond the persistent lack of trust.

I am not saying you ought to be a Pollyanna and ignore that fact that there are evil people in the world. I am merely asking you not to begin all your interactions with others from that viewpoint. I always try to remember an important rule, “Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” Sometimes, we humans are stupid and clumsy beasts. We do not understand how our actions effect others. This doesn’t make us evil, just human. We are fallible. What is important is how we respond when confronted with this fallibility.

If, when confronted, a person responds with a heartfelt apology and a desire to make amends, you can lean towards the “stupidity” explanation for their actions. Conversely, when the person responds with equivocation, doublespeak and obfuscation, it should raise a red flag. By failing to acknowledge the miscommunication, this person shows their true colors. They still might not be evil, but they aren’t someone you might want to interact with in the future. Starting with the positive, then moving to the negative only when further information is presented is far better than simply assuming the worst of everyone at the beginning.

In my own life, I find that I can no longer deal with people who come from such a negative place. Distrust, worry and fear discourages engagement and interaction with others. It also can leave you feeling victimized at every turn, always looking for the bogeyman under the bed. I decided long ago that I could not live this way. I try to assume the best in others until being proven otherwise. Some people show it quickly, others less so, but by slowly developing a relationship with others, assuming the best at the beginning, you can reach out to people without risking everything.

Every one is not out take advantage of you. Everyone is not a criminal. Everyone is not a scam artist. Treating everyone as such diminishes us all.



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What I’m Reading… – February 11, 2010

February 11th, 2010 Comments off

Five books arrived from the LA Public Library today — my next collection of books to read. Here is what is in the stack on reading table next to my chair.

Twyla Tharp: The Collaborative Habit

I enjoyed Tharp’s earlier book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life so this one caught my eye when browsing through my Amazon.com Recommendations.


Trust the Process
by Shaun McNiff

I am starting on a reading, and re-reading, of several books related to the artistic process. New Media has a lot of similarities to more traditional arts, so I am reading to see what commonalities I can find.


Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Another book on the arts, but this time more directed at my personal arts process and how I can re-invigorate it.



Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life by Robert Fritz

One final book on creativity and making the best use possible of it.


For more book highlights, check out the WelchWrite Bookstore.

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I Like This – February 11, 2010

February 11th, 2010 Comments off
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