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Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast [Audio]

November 18th, 2019 Comments off

Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

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If you want to truly endear yourself to your family, your co-workers, your boss, you business partners, your investors, everyone — endeavor to never ask the same question twice. When you ask a question of anyone, no matter who, make sure you capture the answer to that question for future reference. Even if you think you might never need that answer again, write it down. The fact is, you never know when or if a question is going to pop up again, so always err on the safer side and take notes so you never have to ask that question again.

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Do you remember how unique you once were? from the Career Opportunities Podcast

October 16th, 2017 Comments off

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Take a moment to look around you while you read this column or listen to the podcast. Take in all your surroundings. Notice the clothes you wear, the furniture in your office, the books on your bookshelves. Look at the art on your walls, the DVDs near your player. Now, consider what all this says about you. Do all these things represent a unique individual or could this be the home or office of the mythical “Everyman”? Do these items present you as someone special or yet another cog in the world’s machinery?

The fact is, the nature of the modern advertising world and the nature of our corporate work within that world is to make us all like those around us. Where we once started out with all sorts of unique points and edges and curves, the world slowly grinds these off, often leaving us as round and smooth as everyone around us. There was a time, though, when we truly saw ourselves as unique individuals in the world. Long before kindergarten, peer pressure, high school, job interviews, and years of work, we once reveled in our individuality, our uniqueness. There was no other Doug, Rosanne, Jenny, Tracy or Jennifer quite like us.

Read this entire article – Do you remember how unique you once were?

 


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Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career [Audio] (0:52)

April 11th, 2016 Comments off

A Clip from Two Challenges in Building the Career You Deserve with Douglas E. Welch. 

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Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career

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Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com) presents to the class Career Development – Theories and Techniques at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education & Psychology taught by fellow CareerCamp Co-Chair, Danielle Gruen

The two biggest challenges are deciding what you want to do as a career and then building the career you deserve once you decide.

I discuss the Career Compass method of discovering your career wants, needs and desires and then using various social media tools to show people “What you do and how well you do it”

Transcript:

Last year, podcasting has exploded — with The Serial podcast and all these other — for whatever reason it has suddenly hit its moment. And so, I am recommending to people — if you have and interest in that — if you have have an interest either an audio podcast or a video podcast. Most of my gardening podcasts are video podcasts, which I also post to YouTube and elsewhere. If you have an interest in that, pursue it. It’s not as scary as it once was and it’s not as technically fraught as it once was. Literally, with your phone now, there’s the YouTube Capture app. I can send — record a video and post it to YouTube directly from my phone. Last week, as South by Southwest, and app came out called Meerkat which is basically, bring it up, click this, click that, I’m live streaming right now. Boom. And we’re live streaming on the Internet. It automatically got tweeted out and people can start to watch right now.

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Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career [Video] (0:52)

April 11th, 2016 Comments off

A Clip from Two Challenges in Building the Career You Deserve with Douglas E. Welch. 

Watch the entire presentation.

Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career

 

Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com) presents to the class Career Development – Theories and Techniques at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education & Psychology taught by fellow CareerCamp Co-Chair, Danielle Gruen

The two biggest challenges are deciding what you want to do as a career and then building the career you deserve once you decide.

I discuss the Career Compass method of discovering your career wants, needs and desires and then using various social media tools to show people “What you do and how well you do it”

Transcript:

Last year, podcasting has exploded — with The Serial podcast and all these other — for whatever reason it has suddenly hit its moment. And so, I am recommending to people — if you have and interest in that — if you have have an interest either an audio podcast or a video podcast. Most of my gardening podcasts are video podcasts, which I also post to YouTube and elsewhere. If you have an interest in that, pursue it. It’s not as scary as it once was and it’s not as technically fraught as it once was. Literally, with your phone now, there’s the YouTube Capture app. I can send — record a video and post it to YouTube directly from my phone. Last week, as South by Southwest, and app came out called Meerkat which is basically, bring it up, click this, click that, I’m live streaming right now. Boom. And we’re live streaming on the Internet. It automatically got tweeted out and people can start to watch right now.

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What are you thankful for? – Thanksgiving from the Career Opportunities Podcast [Audio]

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

What are you thankful for? – Thanksgiving

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From the Career Opportunities Archives…

It’s the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US and many families are tucking into huge holiday meals and suffering the ill effects of too much food, too much wine and, in some cases, too much family. Others are less fortunate, though, and Thanksgiving Day becomes a source of sorrow instead of joy. The world is made of such dichotomies and we should all be reminded that even the smallest of our successes are sometimes denied to others. In the end, appreciating those things we are thankful for requires thinking about how thankful others would be to have achieved the same successes. We fail to appreciate our successes exactly because they are ours. Having achieved these successes, they no longer mean anything.

Read this entire column – What are you thankful for? – Thanksgiving

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Archive: Our passions — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Our Passions

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From the Career Opportunities Archives…

Two weekends ago I attended the latest incarnation of BarCampLA. This unconference has become one of the highlights of my year as I get to “confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my fellow wizards!” For a more detailed overview of what BarCamp is, you can visit the web site at http://barcampla.org. While that will give you a somewhat technical definition of BarCamp, for me is it a weekend devoted to passions. Passions about life, work and the world at large. 

Read this entire column – Our Passions

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Creating Opportunity — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 7th, 2014 Comments off

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In this Year of Opportunity, one of your biggest goals should be create opportunity around you. It may sound odd, but yes, you have the ability to create your own opportunities through your own, direct actions. Creating opportunity requires some work your part, but the results should be more than worth it. Take some of that energy you have spent searching for a job and start searching for — and creating — your own opportunities this year.


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Know and become known

The most important part of creating opportunity is to know others and to make yourself known to others. Opportunities come from the people you know, both individually and as part of various groups. It only makes sense that the more people you know the more opportunities you will be exposed to. Too many of us cocoon ourselves away from the world, refusing to interact with others because we feel inadequate, unaccomplished or just plain scared. You must break out of this. You are a unique, capable, interesting individual and you deserve to know and interact with others and they you. Insecurity can trap you in a hole of your own making and actively prevent you from climbing out.

This week, I want you to take some direct action to re-connect and know others. Meet with a friend or family member. Find a new interesting meetup in your area, no matter what the topic, Give yourself permission to explore and re-engage with the world. After my own year of transition, I am having to do the same myself. Sometimes I have to nearly force myself out the door, but I always feel better for having made the effort. Even more, I always benefit from the effort in some way. Each new person I meet, each old friend I reconnect with, is another step towards creating new opportunities.

As well as knowing others, you must also seek to be known. You must share your expertise, your thoughts, your ideas, your feelings with those around you. Sharing develops deep connections with others as it often helps to solve a problem they might have. If you want to truly become a friend with someone, solve a problem for them. Nothing creates a deeper bond immediately and over time. Start blogging. Start sharing great tips and links on Facebook or wherever you prefer to spend your social media time. If you are a musician, find a place to play your music in public — for pay or not. If you are an architect, share your dream designs so that others can be inspired. If you are a caregiver, share your experiences so others can benefit and feel that they are not alone in their challenges. We all have something to share that can help those around us, if we only share it. Be known by your good deeds, your great information, your caring and your conversation.

Stop and consider your opportunities

Many times we let opportunities slip through our fingers without ever considering them opportunities at all. In this world of rush, rush, rush, it becomes even more important to stop and consider opportunities when they occur. If you don’t stop, other thoughts, other actions, other concerns will quickly push them aside and you will lose them.

The next time you think, “Hey, that’s a great idea!”, stop and write it down, note it on your smartphone, scribble it on a napkin, write it on your palm. Do whatever it takes to capture that idea for later consideration. Not every idea will turn into an opportunity, but a certain percentage will — a certain percentage that would have been lost had you not stopped to consider and capture it.

When you start doing this — capturing your ideas and thoughts, you will be amazed by two things. One, you will be amazed at how much information (and opportunity) you have been ignoring in your life and two, you will be amazed by how interesting your life can be, if you only take a moment to notice it. When you are struggling with challenges in your life and career, it can feel like nothing is important anymore. Capturing your ideas and thoughts can help to snap you out of the stupor you might find yourself in and get you back on the track to productivity.

It is a New Year and a new year requires new attitudes, new actions, new approaches to building the career you deserve. This is truly a Year of Opportunity (as every year really is) but we need to recognize that fact and put in some effort to make it the best year possible. Don’t let the past stop you from pursuing the future. Now get out there and start creating opportunity for yourself!

***

Archive: Bad reputations follow you everywhere — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 3rd, 2014 Comments off

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All it takes is one indiscretion, one moment of anger, to brand you with a bad reputation. Even worse, once people develop an opinion of you as a troublemaker, they may see issues where none really exist. Sometimes, we can damage our own reputation so badly that other’s expect us to be a problem. This was brought home to me again, as I watched my son’s latest Little League game.

The story goes back about 2 weeks. During another baseball game, the coaches and managers of one team had words with the coaches and parents of our team over the style of play they encouraged. The umpire (I can never imagine trying to do that job) had to sort things out, but the damage was already done. Complaints were filed with the league about one particular coach. As usual, word of this incident got around among the other teams and, most importantly, the other umpires.

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Fast forward to this week, when my son’s team faced this same coach. Sitting in the stands, I overheard the umpire’s instructions to the coaches and thought they seemed adversarial right from the start. Hmm. Had this umpire heard about the previous incident? Around the second inning of the game, I notice that the opposing coach had been removed from the game and was loudly complaining to league officials in the parking lot. I wondered what had happened, as I hadn’t seen anything overt.

As far as I can tell, the umpire for this game had heard about the previous incident and was determined to avoid any sort of repeat occurrence. In that light, he was looking for even the slightest infraction and then took advantage of that to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Was this fair? I don’t really know, as I don’t know what precipitated the coach’s removal, but it points up the problem with how quickly developing any sort of bad reputation can effect your work.

The same thing can happen to you in your work and career. Once people have developed an opinion about you, it can color every other interaction. If you complain once, you might be branded as the complainer in the company. Slack off once and you are the slacker. It is horribly unfair, but it occurs every day. In order to deal with the speed at which life comes at us, we often fall back on making assumptions, snap judgments and stereotypes. This coping mechanism serves no one well, though. We can be labeled unfairly and we can also label others unfairly. This then leads to further complications, which can derail personal relationships and leave us wondering where it all went wrong.

Develop a reputation for one trait and it will dog you for a long time, just as it did this coach. Those around you will expect you to act in a certain way and each time you do, it will only confirm their judgment further. Over time you can dig yourself a very deep hole.

So, how do you combat this “pigeonhole” effect? You must start with the very first occurrence. If you feel that you are starting to develop a bad reputation in a particular area, you must address it immediately. Had this coach talked with previous umpires and coaches and tried to find an amicable understanding the first time, he might not have had to face this second confrontation. Instead, those around him simply assumed that he would continue to act as he had in the past.

Next, this coach also had to turn around these expectations by going out of his way to act in exactly the opposite fashion. For example, if you are seen as “the complainer”, “the hothead” or “the slacker,” you have to do everything in your power to counteract these opinions. In some cases you may simply have to “bite your tongue” in public and address issues in private with individuals. If you get angry during a meeting, you will have to spend weeks NOT getting angry. Changing perceptions is extremely difficult so you have to work at least twice as hard to change them as you did to develop these perceptions.

Think of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. He didn’t get just a little bit better, he changed completely. To quote, “He was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more.” The best career advice is to always work to build the best reputation possible and, if you stumble, immediately correct your actions so you aren’t saddled with a bad reputation that can limit your effectiveness in your job and your career.

***

Beyond the Briefcase: New visual icons and symbols for career — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

August 12th, 2013 Comments off

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I recently did a Google Image search on the word “career” just to see what it would turn up. There I found lots of pictures of signposts and arrows, lots of uses of the word Career in various typographic styles and, of course, eager, young  (almost exclusively) workers attired in suits, ties and/or skirts, often carrying briefcases. While I wasn’t that surprised by the search results, I find myself continually surprised by the icons from the past that we still use to represent work and career. Almost like the stereotypical usage of an old, rotary phone being used to represent a telephone or any type of call, the use of the briefcase or the suit and tie is just as outdated..


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Yes, of course, many people still report to a standard office wearing the standard corporate uniform, but many others now work in companies, locations and even in attire quite different. In fact, I would say that the standard icons we use for career represent less and less of the modern workforce every day. They also highlight our outdated views of career at a time when we need new and more powerful ways of developing the career you deserve. The anachronism of these icons might fool someone into thinking that today’s work world is just like our parents, or grandparents time, when I think it is clear that today’s work world is very much different, much more complex and filled with so many new opportunities.

So, I am asking all of you. What do you think the new icon for career should be? What visual metaphors spring to mind when you think of your work and your career? What single image springs to mind when someone says the word career? I’d love to hear what you think and what might envision. Share your ideas in the comments on this column, on the Career-Op pages on Facebook and Google+ or reply to me via Twitter at @careertips. I’d love to see your ideas!

For myself, my own thinking about new career icons follows a number of tracks. Here are a few of my ideas:

Lmproulx Iphone

Computer//Tablet/Smartphone

Since its invention, the telephone has always represented communication and, in many ways, business itself. “Let your fingers do the walking” through the Yellow Pages used to be one, major way of finding business and services and even customers that you needed. Today, with the ubiquitous nature of computers in business, along with the more recent counterparts, the tablet and smartphone, I think a good case could be made for making these devices the “briefcase” of our era. Instead of folders of documents, the daily newspaper, magazines and perhaps a lunch crammed into a briefcase, we carry our data and our knowledge around in these smaller and smaller digital “briefcases.” I think it is safe to say that the smartphone alone could become an icon for overall human productivity, not just career. So much, both good and bad, useful and not, occurs on these devices that it seems likely they will become the new icon of work and career.

A network of interconnecting lines and arrows

Network connection

One clear truth about careers in this age, and even in the past to some extent, is that your career is made up of a host of connections between people, companies, data and more. A network diagram with lines and arrows going in every direction certainly seems to reflect the nature of career. Rarely do you walk your career path alone. You are constantly connecting with new people, new technology, and new information. I think a good visual icon for career should clearly represent this integrated series of connections where we live and work every day. Not only would it better represent the reality of our lives and work, but also reinforce the importance of these connections both for us and for those around us.

You

Douglas Portrait with Toonpaint

People often appear as career icons — the dapper professional, the uniformed plumber, the rugged construction worker, but too often they are both stereotypical and generic. As I often preach here in Career Opportunities, your career is personal — one of the most personal aspects of your life. Your career is, and should be, unique from any other career in order to match your wants needs and desires. Stereotypes are less and less useful today, as more people are developing what could be considered very non-traditional careers. They combine a unique blend of skills, knowledge and desire to create their own, personal career. Perhaps this means that the best visual icon for a career should simply be a picture of yourself, doing what you do. Maybe you are simply the best visual icon for your career. Someone as unique and individual as the career they develop.

What images come to mind when you think of career? Do they help you in the building of the career you deserve or do they hold you back with archaic ideas about work and career? Share your best visual career icons with myself and all the readers and listeners of Career Opportunities. Perhaps, together, we can find a new metaphor that represents career in a deeper and more meaningful way and move “Beyond the Briefcase!”

***

Archive: When you Can’t Help — From the Career Opportunities Podcast

February 14th, 2013 Comments off

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As the world of technology becomes more complex, you as a high-tech worker or consultant will start to feel the effects of this complexity. In the past we may have prided ourselves on our ability to provide a solution to every client, but today the world is simply too complicated to allow that. Too frequently these days we find ourselves standing between two, finger-pointing corporations who insist to the end that the problem is not their fault. Despite your best effort, you will have to admit, sometimes, that you can’t help the client any further.


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This week I visited a new client to set up their DSL. Yes, even today there are still many people using a dialup modem to connect to the Internet. Normally, these broadband installations are simple and straightforward, as long as the telephone or cable company has activated the line. There are times I have to contact tech support to solve a small problem, but even these questions are usually handled quickly. In this case, though, while the connection was somewhat active, it was not stable. I had it working at one moment, only to lose it the next. After contacting tech support, they ordered an on-site visit to check the line and insure there were no problems.

Of course, the telephone company checked the line, only to say that the line was ok, but the modem that had been delivered by the ISP was faulty. Subsequent calls to the ISP resulted in a stonewall and a refusal to deliver a new modem. There we were, stuck between two companies. As of the writing of this column, we have not come to an agreement yet. I am sure it will take several more phone calls and hours of wasted time. In the end, though, there is little I can do for the client except act as an advisor and technology translator and help them navigate through the problem.

When faced with a problem such as this, you have to insure that you don’t become the focus of the client’s anger and frustration. I am very careful to insure that the client knows I am doing all I can. I will assist them with phone calls to vendors, even to the point of having them create a conference call if I cannot be on-site. I explain very clearly to them the responsibility of all the players and what we, together, can do to resolve the issue. You must be on their side or the vendor’s problem will quickly become yours.

Do everything you can to provide alternatives. In cases where DSL is unavailable or unreliable, I will help the client to investigate cable modem or wireless broadband…whatever might provide a solution. This can sometimes lead to several hours of unpaid work, but I believe that the potential earnings from a client often make up for these initial problems. That said, there comes a time when you simply have to throw up your hands and give in.

It can be very frustrating and disheartening for you when you realize that no adequate solution exists to a client’s problem. I am always reluctant to suggest the purchase of a new computer or a return to older technology, such as dial-up, but sometimes you have no choice. Circumstances such as the environment, utility infrastructure, uncooperative vendors and more can eventually put enough roadblocks in your way that a project is no longer feasible.

It can be difficult, so you must clearly explain to the client the realities of the situation. Carefully go over each step of the process and detail each problem. Next, do everything in your power to return their system to the basic functionality they had before. Make sure their dial-up networking is functioning or their older software continues to work. I do my best to fulfill the ancient Hippocratic oath in my own way and “do no harm.” I think this is the best standard possible to guide your work. Finally, let them know if there might be a time to re-visit the issue in the future. Perhaps they will be buying a new computer or moving to a new location. Let them know that you are still available for any other problems or questions they might have in the future.

There comes a time when circumstances, corporations and technology will conspire against your best efforts. Do the best for your clients and yourself by understanding when you simply can’t help them any further. Do all you can and then move on — and hopefully they will, too, once they understand the road blocks. If you do this correctly, you will retain your client and develop a good working relationship, even if you can’t solve this particular problem. If you handle the situation poorly, you will be lumped in with the creator of the problem and seen as part of the problem, not someone who is working in the client’s best interest. When this occurs, the damage to your reputation and your career will be dramatic.

***

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