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Archive for March, 2013

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – March 31, 2013

March 31st, 2013 Comments off

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – March 31, 2013

  • Part-time, Flexible work with CleanBeeBaby
  • Executive Assistant for Executive Producer
  • Executive Assistant in CBS Drama Development Department
  • Manager of Software Applications
  • Programming Associate (New York)
  • Legal Services Sales Specialist (Concord, CA)
  • Urgent Work-from-Home Q&A/Programmer
  • Applications Engineer (Santa Maria, CA)
  • Quality Engineer (San Diego)

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

Archive: Work Theater — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

March 29th, 2013 Comments off

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Looking busy at work is a fine art form that has been honed over decades and centuries of workers and companies. Regardless of how much your thinking actually impacts your productivity, if you don’t “look busy” management is sure to come calling. The result of all this effort is something I call “work theater.” It has all the outward appearance of work, but very few benefits to you or your company. Unfortunately, it seems that every job today requires some work theater, just to stay employed.


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As with other red flag events I have mentioned in past columns, when the amount of work theater in your life starts to outweigh your actual work, it is time to consider a change. Perhaps you simply need to change your attitude about work. Maybe you are under-employed in your current position and need something more challenging. If your management i values looking busy, more than giving you the tools to actually get something done, perhaps you need to change departments or find another company. Whatever the reason, don’t waste your time and energy on looking busy. Find a way to re-direct it towards something that will increase your knowledge, your prestige or your salary.

What’s in it for…everyone?

Moving beyond work theater holds benefits for everyone. Personally, it can lead to better self-esteem and better opportunities. No matter how much we might pretend, we know when we are not doing a good job. We know when we are looking busy and we often worry about getting caught. Isn’t it better to re-engage with your work, than spend all your time worrying about looking engaged enough in it?

First, what has become tedious or onerous about your job? Is it boring? How can you make it less so? Is it difficult? How can you make it easier? Is it useless? Then why are you doing it at all? That can be a difficult question to face, but the truth is, many of us are engaged in useless work. Whether it is pushing around pieces of paper or moving dirt from one pile to another, we often lack meaning in our work. If you can’t find meaning in your work then you should be looking for work that you can care about. I believe that meaningless work is one of the major curses of workers today. How many invoices can you file? How many times can you re-install Windows? How many times can you put together the same fast-food burger? How does this work effect those around you? How does it effect the world?

Next, removing work theater from the workplace dramatically increases a company’s productivity and profitability. When management focuses on external productivity measures instead of hard numbers, work theater explodes. Help desk workers create trouble tickets for every 30 second call, so that “the reports look good” at the end of the week, month or quarter. Hundred page reports are created to report a simple change in policy. Presentations are labored over and take all day to present even when circumstances have changed so radically that they no longer have meaning. If you force people to look busy, that is exactly what they will do. So much effort will go towards work theater that little will remain for actual work.

Finally, bringing down the curtain on work theater benefits mankind. We have all seen how dedicated and focused efforts can cure deadly disease, build great civilizations and even put men on the moon. Would those events ever have occurred if those involved were more interested in looking busy than being productive? Of course not! It is only by stripping work to its bones that we find the power to do great things. Whenever bureaucracy, micromanagement and pettiness have their way, we demonstrate the worst of human nature. You only have to look to the recent spate of failed technology projects at the FBI and other governmental organizations. Too many masters, with too many goals and too much time leads these projects down the road to disaster. We spend so much time talking about how the system should work that we never get around to producing a system that does work.

How much work theater do you engage in on a daily basis? Why do you do it? Are you afraid of losing your job? Maybe you would be better off if you spent your time looking for a new job instead of looking busy. Don’t waste your time, skills and intelligence any longer. Get off the stage and make something happen.

***

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What you need: Supportive Family and Friends — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

March 26th, 2013 Comments off

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Of all the features of a successful career, an abundance of supportive family and friends is high on the list. Life itself is enough of a struggle. Without the support of those around you, you will find it difficult to learn and grow in your life and your career. That said, supportive family and friends aren’t always to be found naturally. You may have to create, cultivate and convince them of how important their support can be in your life. In some desperate cases, you may find that those who should be the most supportive aren’t — or can’t be — for a variety of reasons. Understanding these reasons — and the people around you — can help you to overcome those situations and better recognize those who truly have your better interests at heart.


 
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Supportive family and friends are so important in our careers because we risk much when we enter the adult, work world. We risk being judged. We risk failure. We risk embarrassment and we even risk the discovery that we have chosen the wrong work or the wrong career. As you all know, career building can be stressful, so we need those people in our lives who can comfort us when the going gets rough; those who can mentor us and help us rebuild our confidence when our own belief in ourselves is running low. These aren’t people who lie to you just to make you feel better, but rather those who express their support, no matter what we decide and give us a firm foundation to stand upon while we reach for greater things.

Without these people, we can often feel adrift, lost and afraid. Without this stable foundation, we may not have the courage necessary to reach for bigger achievements in our lives. Without them, we can find our careers stunted and our work days unhappy, just because we lack the support for taking the most important steps. We can languish in our lives simply because it feels safer to stay in the cave than to venture out. There might be a bear waiting outside, or so the primitive parts of our mind might have us believe. To that I will say, yes, there are bears out there, but there is also so much more. It is worth braving the forest because you will find wonderful things there, too. Our family and friends can give us the courage to peek outside the cave and take in all the world has to offer.

As I mentioned earlier, though, sometimes our family might not be the best place to find support in our lives and our careers. Sadly, they might have so many of their own issues, worries and fears that they simply have no space for yours. They may be addicted, ill or the victim of their own, unsupportive family. They may simply be unable to provide you the support you need for lack of their own experience. In some cases, your family will not want you to succeed because your success would point up their own failures. Maybe they never had the courage to step outside the cave and when you do, it only, painfully, reminds them of their own failures.

Bemoaning your fate won’t help, though. Once you recognize these issues, your only recourse is to seek out and build the support you need in your life. This is when we reach out to our friends. In some cases, our friends can become more of our family than our own blood relatives. Our friends have less baggage, fewer issues and see us as an individual, rather than just a small part of a larger family and the collective issues they might have. Friends can take or leave us — and we them — so we need not appeal to them or appease them if we don’t want. We associate with friends — and they with us — because we enjoy each other’s company. We genuinely “like” being around them. This can often make it easier for them to be supportive of us when we need it. There is simply less “history” to work through than their is with our family.

Of course, if we expect others to be supportive of us, then we must be supportive of them. Again, this doesn’t mean we don’t tell the truth to our friends. Rather it often means we tell the truth when others will not. This can mean everything from telling them that, “yes, those pants do make you look fat”, to the fact that their addiction to something is endangering their life and everything in-between. Still, the most basic underpinning of the relationship is support. To be supportive of each other means that you both, honestly, want to see each other succeed — in life and career — as much as possible. This can be difficult sometimes, such as when someone is gaining more success than you are, but it is so, so important to everyone involved. We should be able to celebrate everyone’s success, even when we are struggling ourselves, since we have played some small part in their success.

The biggest enemy of supportive relationships is this — insecurity. Insecure people find it impossible to be supportive of others. They see the gains of others as a direct loss for themselves. Instead of mutual success, they only see a zero sum game where they lose when others win. Insecurity seems to be the deep-seated cause of much of the anti-social behavior we see in society today. We can experience insecurity in our families, in your relationships, in our friendships — anywhere where people interact. It is important you recognize insecurity when you see it and avoid it at all costs. I often say, “it is impossible to reason with unreasonable people” and insecure people are often the most unreasonable people you will meet. They see the world through one filter. They see any success as a direct attack on their life and career. Because they see the world this way, they will lash out, attack and sabotage those around them when possible. They become the exact opposite of the supportive environment that we all need to thrive. Avoid them at all costs.

I hope that your family is helpful and supportive in your life and career. Many are. I have seen mothers and fathers grit their teeth and smile when their children make decisions different from what they might make. They welcome them back to offer a friendly and supportive shoulder when needed. They help their children to succeed in every way possible.

If you are blessed with such a family, appreciate it, celebrate it and thank them at every opportunity. If your family is not as supportive as you wish or need, though, it is up to you to find another, more supportive environment. You might find this through your friends, your organizations or even your work, but find it you must. Everything will depend on finding a supportive environment that will help you to thrive. That said, if you are seeking out a supportive environment, you must seek to be the same for others. You can’t have one without the other.

***

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – March 24, 2013

March 24th, 2013 Comments off

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – March 24, 2013

  • Project Manager (Menlo Park, CA)
  • Sr. Accountant
  • IT Clerk
  • ADP is hiring in Southern and Nothern California
  • Inside Sales Position (Buena Park)
  • American Eagle Outfitters is hiring
  • Sales Reps for Universal City Hollywood and Florida
  • Automation Engineer (Carpinteria)

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

Archive: Saying nothing in a crisis hurts much more than it helps — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

March 22nd, 2013 Comments off

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Silence

If you want to anger, frighten or infuriate someone, often the only thing you need to do is remain silent. Failure to respond to questions, support requests or complaints allows the client/customer to think the worst about you, your skills and your services. Yet, this is exactly how some companies, and their workers, function from day-to-day. For the sake of your own career, you need to avoid the silence or you may just find yourself out of a job.


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If you visit my web site (http://welchwrite.com) to read my blogs, you may have seen mention of the web hosting problems I was having recently. In fact, just yesterday, I moved to a new company in the hope of finally solving my problems. Having been on both ends of the telephone during my career, both providing tech support and utilizing it, I am always quick to notice when things are not quite right. Of all the issues I have had with this company, though, silence is probably the worst.

When you are in the depths of a technical problem, silence is the last thing you want to hear. Even bad news is better than no news at all. Think of the extreme example of waiting for a doctor’s diagnosis when you are ill. In the most recent case, my web site was down for over 36 hours. During that time, email requests for information were ignored and calls to the support phone lines only provided the information that “They are working on it.” There was no further information — no estimate for how long until service could be restored nor even an explanation of what had happened. Left to my own devices, I did what most people would do in this situation — I thought the worst. This is quite natural in the absence of any information. We start to worry that we will lose all our data or that service might never return. We start spinning scenarios of all the work we will have to do to get us set up and running once more.

As a worker or business owner, you need to be aware of this behavior and how it can damage your relationship with your customer or your management, sometimes irreversibly. I know, we think to ourselves sometimes, “Do they want me wasting time on keeping them informed or do they want me to fix the problem?” The truth is, though, you must do both. You must fix the problem AND do as much as possible to preserve your relationship. It is a simple fact that the customer won’t care if you solve the problem or not, if they are no longer your customer.

As I sat waiting to hear about my web hosting issue, I began to develop the idea for this column. What was my biggest problem, as a customer? What would have been their best response to me as a company? For myself, the best action the company could have taken was to open the lines of communication.

No one says that the network admin themselves has to communicate with the customer, only that they communicate with someone who can share the information with the customer. If it were my job, I would have taken one operator from the telephone support group and given them direct access to the admin. I would have instructed them to get regular updates from the admin and report that information to all customers whose sites were on the effected servers. They would have provided, at the minimum, hourly reports as to the cause of the problem and the steps being taken to restore those services. I know for me as a customer, this would have gone a long way towards limiting my concern and my dissatisfaction. I wouldn’t have been happy the site was down, but the regular communications would have allowed me to monitor the situation and gain some idea as to the severity of the problem. It is the “not knowing” that causes stress and anger.

The only communication I ever received from the company regarding this issue was this:

” I apologize for any inconvenience this issue may cause on you. The administrators are updating the machines and servers that is why your website are not working. But everything is back to normal now and your website is now working fine.”

In this case, solving the problem was not nearly enough, nor will it ever be if you don’t communicate quickly, clearly and regularly with your manager or customers. You may have solved the problem, but, through your silence, you will have left a wake of damaged expectations and relationships that may never recover.

***

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5 Years Ago: Archive: An Interview with barista, Kate Schroeder

March 21st, 2013 Comments off

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An Interview with barista, Kate Schroeder

Links mentioned during this interview:

Listen: An Interview with barista, Kate Schroeder

 

Videos: Latte Art – via YouTube

Photos: Latte Art via Flickr

 

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Read Career Opportunities on your Kindle (or compatible device)

March 20th, 2013 Comments off

Today, you’ll notice the addition of a “Send to Kindle” button above each post here on Career Opportunities. Amazon recently released this plugin for WordPress and I wanted to add it the minute I saw it.

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The truth is, despite my computer geek leanings, sometimes I like to kick back with a nice book (or ebook) and read unencumbered by my laptop. I have been using a similar browser plugin in for Google Chrome that allows me to send longer content to my Kindle for a while and I have really enjoyed it. It is a more comfortable experience for reading and, as a result, I seem to retain a bit more of what I have read, instead of just skimming the content.

Clicking the Send to Kindle button (or using the browser add-ons) will format the blog post for easier reading on the Kindle and then send it to any of your registered devices. In my case, I can send it to my iPhone, my Kindle Touch, my Kindle Fire or the Kindle app on my Android phone.

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So, now you have the option of leaning back and putting your feet up when reading Career Opportunities. GIve it a try and let me know what you think.

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Jobs Available – Listings of all types at Jobs.WelchWrite.com – Search by keyword and location

March 20th, 2013 Comments off

Looking for a job? There are a host of job listings available on Jobs.WelchWrite.com every day.

Enter the keywords you are searching for and your location to get fresh and focused listings.

Career jobs

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Don’t be the employee that everyone wishes would just retire — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

March 18th, 2013 Comments off

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We have all seen them in nearly every place we work — employees that should have retired years ago. They do their work as if they are living in another era. They are left to plod along  in the same way they have for years while others have to work around them. What is odd is they are often old before their time. They might still be in the 40’s, but their ideas, preconceptions and actions are old, tired and ineffective. Worse still, what if you are the employee that everyone wishes would just retire? What does it say about you, your attitudes and your work? What can you do about it?


 
One-To-One Career Consulting with Douglas E. Welch

 

Now available exclusively to Career Opportunities readers and Listeners.

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It is human nature that we can all become set in our ways. Over the years we discover our likes and dislikes — what food we want to eat, what movies we like to see, what music we listen to. In many ways, that is not an issue. We are all allowed our likes and dislikes. In work, though, change is more intrusive. We are presented with new ideas, new methods, new systems and expected to embrace them, use them, understand them. This is simply part of working as part of a group. We have to find a balance between our own desires and the goals of the company. For many, though, change becomes a battle of wills. They cling to the old ways and refuse to adopt the new. In the worst cases, they actually sabotage efforts to adapt to change.

For many people, change threatens their place in the world. New technology may route around the hard manual labor they once did. New accounting systems may reduce the importance of their day-to-day work. New computers may require the learning of a new set of skills and software. This is where rebellion and rejection sets in.

So, how do you make sure you don’t become the person that everyone wishes would retire? First and most importantly, you must understand that change will be constant no matter what work you do or where you do it. Sometimes it will be dramatic change and at other times it will be slow and steady, but change is not something you can avoid. Embrace change in your life and your work and you will be happier and more effective. Stress rises when we try to ignore or sabotage change in a misguided effort to protect our position.

In the workplace, there are several important ways of addressing change. First, do everything you can to keep your skills and knowledge current and useful. No matter what you do, certain parts of your skills and knowledge will be made obsolete on a regular basis. This isn’t something to fear or hate, but rather accept. It is simply part of today’s work and life reality.

Take myself as an example. With each new version of Mac OS X or Windows, huge swaths of my knowledge are no longer as useful or necessary as they once were. Add in the slow decline of other software, Internet services and social media sites and I would say that perhaps 10% of my knowledge or more is rendered obsolete each month. While I have my preferences in what technology I use in my personal world, life (and technology) moves on — at an ever faster rate.

Next, when presented with change at work, see it as an opportunity to grow your knowledge and your career. If you are involved early in the process you can have a great effect on how it is implemented and spot any potential problems. You’ll be seen as someone who is ready to take on new challenges instead of being one of those known for resisting the change (and probably complaining about it loudly in the break room.) It is easy to see on which side of that equation lies advancement, pay raises and promotion.

Third, take on the role of advisor, not adversary when presented with new change. Show clearly and unemotionally where the change may cause additional problems, but do not become a roadblock. After my 30+ years in the work world, I can tell you that roadblocks always suffer 2 fates. They are either driven over or they are routed around. Either way, you will be left behind as change passes you by minimizing your productivity, your effectiveness, and very likely, your career. Roadblocks are the most common type of people that fellow employees and managers would like to be rid of.

Finally, if you find yourself resistant to change because it means too much work, too much energy, too much new learning or simply too much of anything — maybe it is time you did everyone a favor and retire. If you are too young to retire, then perhaps you simply need to move on to another job or career that is more adapted to your wants, needs and desires. Whatever you do, don’t be the person everyone else is talking about and wishing they would simply retire. Eventually you will “retire” in some way, whether you want to or not.

***

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Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – March 17, 2013

March 17th, 2013 Comments off

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – March 17, 2013

  • Sr. Accountant (Orange County)
  • Sr. Cost Accountant (South Bay)
  • Marketing Position at Bedrosian Tile (Orange County)
  • Financial Industry
  • Experienced AVID Editor
  • Account Manager–CLD Public Relations

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

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