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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.

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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. 

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Combine all aspects of your life into your career — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

July 1st, 2014 Comments off

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Each and every one of us is a unique combination of knowledge, temperament and experience. We all have different wants, needs and desires.  It is this very uniqueness that can bring us great success in our careers, if we use it to its full potential. If you can find ways to bring all your experiences, all your desires and all your knowledge to bear on your career, you will find many opportunities to find work and do great work.


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The trick to bringing everything that is “you” to bear on your career is finding the edges, the boundaries, those areas where different aspects of your life and work interact. At these boundaries you will find interaction, friction, conflict and overlap that can lead to deeper thoughts and understanding, unique viewpoints and new ideas that have never been seen before. It is at these edges — away from the safe, predictable middle, that you will find the best sources of a good job and a great career.

What makes these edges so special? It is said that most, if not all, great innovations come from combining two or more elements that no one had thought of combining before. Gutenberg combined the features of a coin punch with those of a wine press to create his printing press. The inventor of Velcro combined the natural stickiness of burrs with clothing to produce something extremely useful and unique, Velcro. Just as you can combine ideas to create new innovations, you can combine aspects of yourself to create new careers.

Find the edges of your life. Perhaps you are a musician in one area of your life, but you also love technology or video games. Could you combine these two areas and develop musical video games, programs to teach music or music for videogames and other online projects? Maybe you could look at it in the other direction. Could you use your technological skills to create algorithmic music, interactive environments or meditation programs? What two aspects of your life can you rub against each other and create some sparks?

You don’t have to combine just those things you like, though. Maybe you have a pet peeve or annoyance that your would like to solve. What other tools in your skill set could you use to solve that problem? Again, look for those edges where the problem and your skills rub against each other. Is there another interest in your life that can be brought to bear on the problem?

Look beyond what you might consider traditional work skills, too. Do you sail? Do you surf? Do you rock climb? Do you write poetry? Each of these is a valid part of your life and experience. You might not think of including them as part of your career, but you should. It is unique and interesting aspects like this that can cause some of the biggest leaps in your career innovation. What have you learned in these hobbies that would be useful in your career? I can imagine that seeing 1,2 or 3 handholds or footholds ahead in your climb could prove very useful for planning any project or job, just as the ability to read the wind and currents could help you predict the future of a new product. Don’t discount your skills just because they aren’t traditionally used in the office. Everything you know, everything you do, should be fodder for producing better work and a better career.

Think of your world as a series of circles the touch or overlap one another. In fact, draw some Venn diagrams yourself. You probably learned about these in high school math class. Where do your interests create an intersecting set or a union? Below is a diagram of interests from my own life. Some circles are skills. Some are interests. Some are types of people. Some are goals I want accomplish in my life. All your circles will be and should be unique to you. It is your life, interests and skills,after all.

Diagram of Douglas' Skills and Interests

The next time you are considering where to go in your career, look to the edges of all these circles and see what new, exciting possibilities arise. You don’t have to stick with the same old jobs, the same old careers, the same old life. Look to the edges and see what amazing adventures can be found there.

***

Archive: Career Complaints can lead to bigger problems — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 31st, 2014 Comments off

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Over the course of any career, you are sure to have complaints both large and small. It is a simple fact of life that our work is not always perfect. That said, some people can fall into the role of the constant complainer – someone who always has a complaint at hand, ready to toss it into any conversation, whether appropriate or not. Worse still, these people can lead others down the wrong path and enable them to become a constant complainer, as well.

Now, this is not to say that you will never have anything to complain about, but complaining without thinking or attempting to resolve your problems first is absolutely worthless. Complainers that rebut any attempt to help them out of their situation, or those that constantly find one problem after another, will soon find themselves outcast by both their co-workers and possible even their company. You need to make sure that if you have a complaint, you are the first one to offer up possible solutions to the problem. Your initial solutions might not work, but they pave the way for others to get involved and work on the problem with you. Constant complainers can sometimes get their problems resolved, but it is usually out of the frustration of others than any sincere attempt to solve the problem itself.

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Complaining can be dangerous to everyone in a company, as well. It has a way of spreading throughout a company if left unchecked. Even the smallest complaints can take on a life of their own, especially if there are some accomplished complainers to keep the issue alive. Complaining can also be dangerous to you individually, too. There have been times in my career when I have had to actively avoid some co-workers in order to remove myself from a bad situation. You have to be aware of what is happening and short circuit the complaint cycle if is becoming unproductive. Otherwise, you run the danger of being lumped together with the complainers when management decides to address the issue. The fact is, management could decide to remove the constant complainers rather than address the source of the complaints.

Due to all these issues, it can be very helpful to have outside resources to discuss your career and work complaints. In this way, you can work towards resolving your issues without effecting your day-to-day reputation. I consider this the best of both worlds. In some cases, this might be your friends who work for other companies, your mentor or anyone with a kindly ear. I know I often call upon my friend, Sam, when I am facing a difficulty with a client. He knows me well enough to offer good advice and knows that I will accept that advice without reservation even if I can’t act on it, at the moment. Sometimes, the most important thing we need is simply someone to listen.

To offer up another resource for discussing your career issues, I recently started a regular Career Complaints topic on the Career Opportunities forums at forums.friendsintech.com. Here you can discus your career issues, work issues, fears and wishes with a dedicated group completely disconnected from your workplace. I only have one stipulation for this forum, beyond the usual requests to be professional and polite. If you have a career complaint, you have to have one thought, one idea, one plan on how you can address the issue before you bring it up in the forum.

I know, sometimes it can be difficult to see your way out of a problem when you are buried inside it, but by looking for one possible change, no matter how small, it forces you to think about your problem as unemotionally as possible. It is in this conscious thought that you find the beginning of a solution. This is as true for life as it is for your career. Don’t worry, though, I will respond to any posts to this forum area and your fellow Career Opportunities readers and listeners are sure to chime in, as well. You won’t be alone. I only ask that you take the first step in building your own personal solution to your problem.The next time you are tempted to gather around the water cooler and complain about your job or your career, I hope you will turn to your friends and family, or the Career Opportunities forums, so you can develop the solutions you need without damaging your reputation or your career.

***

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.

***

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