Career Opportunities

Helping to build the career you deserve!

A weekly ComputorEdge Column and twice-weekly podcast by Douglas E. Welch
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Thursday, March 31, 2005

How much respect do you get?

I came across this interesting discussion on SlashDot today. How are you being treated in your work? I find that sometimes, not frequently, thank goodness, I am seen more as a necessary evil than a tech guru, but this usually happens in office environments and not with my private clients.

As with most SlashDot discussion, you need to scroll down in the conversation to get to the more thoughtful responses, but there are some good insights here.

Feel free to posts your comments here, by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

How Much Respect Do You Get? droidlev asks: "In our continually fluctuating economy I have seen a drastic change in the level of respect that I receive. As a technician I've grown accustomed to a heightened level of respect when I walk into a client's office. Not to say that I have a God complex, however, it feels good to walk into a room and be appreciated. I'm passionate for the computer work that I do; I'm 'GEEK' for it. People know that I'm there to help and solve their problems. There is good amount of value in this extra level of appreciation and respect. This is especially true when you are developing business relationships (and of course it never hurts to be liked). In recent times, however, I've been cast in a different light; actually more like a darkened shadow. I am now seen as a necessary evil instead of the 'all powerful technician.' So I ask what your experiences have been, either as a computer technician or another professional? Have you seen a change in the level of respect that you receive?"

(Via Slashdot.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Design your own anti-procrastintation plan

We all procrastinate from time to time and the folks a UT Austin seem to know this as well. In an effort to help students stay on track they present this list of procrastination busters.

This list is certainly worth reviewing if you find yourself avoiding a project or task. Give yourself a jumpstart and create some forward momentum.

Now, let's see....wasn't I supposed to be working on something?


Below are several lists of specific, concrete things you can do to confront and change your own tendencies to procrastinate. Choose several suggestions from among the four lists and put them into practice. If these activities work, keep on with them; if not, try different ones. Persist. Keep a record of your activities on the other side of this sheet.

(Via University of Texas at Austin.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Career-Op: Fire the Client - from the archives

Career-Op: Fire the Client - from the archives

Those of you who have already made the jump into freelance or project-based work have discovered the pros and cons of working for yourself. While there can be a certain lack of security involved with managing your own business there can also be a large feeling of freedom. Freedom to choose your projects. Freedom to organize your day the way you want. Freedom to pick your clients. Unfortunately, we can sometimes still put ourselves in the position of working for someone who is less than ideal. Sometimes we do it because of the money. Sometimes we do it because we think we need the work. Sometimes we might not realize why we are doing it. Regardless of the cause, though, it is important to learn how to identify these clients and how to extricate yourself from a bad relationship without making it worse.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Get some experience

I have written in the past about the need for gaining real-world experience to improve your high-tech career. While this article is about MBA students, there is nothing that says you can't use the same methods to do some hands-on learning.

Just like the MBA's, consulting for small companies with technology needs can be a win-win situation for everyone involved. You get the experience and companies get an injection of (all important) new thinking.

Is there someone who could benefit from your skills, even if you are still a student. Seek them out and gain some all important experience.

How to Tap into Campus Talent Some B-School students offer consulting services free of charge to small outfits. Here are several ways to get the most from their advice

(Via BusinessWeek Online -- Small Business.)

Friday, March 25, 2005

Career-Op: Get out of town

Usually when we have the thought, “I’ve got to get out of town”, we are thinking about recreation – getting away from it all. While there is always some benefit to leaving your day-to-day world behind, I think there is another side to “getting out of town.” Instead of running away from the stress of your life and your job, maybe you should think about running to something new, something interesting, something fresh.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Ten Commandments of Freelancing

These 10 Commandments certainly jibe with my thoughts and writing over the years. If you are just getting started, or need a re-evaluation of what you are doing and why, this would be a great place to start.

Do you have any of your own "Commandments" for a high-tech career? Post them here!

An Artsy Fartsy Weblog: The Ten Commandments of Freelancing

Michael Fleishman's book "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Illustrator or Graphic Designer" writes about ten things that will help you keep your focus about freelance artist.  These things are very important and should never be disregarded.

Thou shalt learn when to say "no." If you don't like the suggestions, work it out amicably.  Learn the art of compromise.  Compromise is not capitulation; it leaves the parties feeling that they work well as a team.  However, accept the fact that there are actually some art directors who just won't meet you halfway.  These folks are not worth the headaches or the heartaches.  At this point, you just need to safely get out of Doge with some style and


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What makes a micromanger? - Fast Company

Fast Company has a short posting and is starting a discussion on micromangers. No comments yet, but I expect that their will be a lot in the next few days. Feel free to post your comments here, as well.

What Makes a Micromanager? The March 16 edition of Human Resource Executive features a brief, brief excerpt of Harry Chambers' 2004 book My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide. Here are five ways to gauge whether your boss is a micromanager:...

(Via Fast Company Now.)

Podcast Alley Voting

Podcast Alley is one of the few "rating sites" for podcasts and one way that people can find out about Career-Op. They have recently revised their voting methods to make them a bit more fair and reduce the possibility of "gaming" the system.

Your vote can help to raise the visibility of the Career-Op podcast so that it can reach (and help) more people. Helping people with their high-tech careers has always been my main goal and Podcast Alley can help me do even more.

You can vote for each of your favorite podcasts once each month. If you enjoy Career-Op and find it helpful, please register your vote by clicking on the link below. While you are there, search out your other favorite podcasts and give them a vote, too. Everyone can use a little validation for the work they are doing.

Thanks for your time! -- Douglas

Career-Op on the Daily Podcast Feed

Career-Op was picked to be part of the Daily Podcast Feed for Wednesday, March 23, 2005 and sits in some pretty good company. Other shows in the feed include Coverville, Engadget and Slash Dot Review. Thanks to Harold Gilchrist for including us today.

If you are looking to introduce less tech-savvy people to Podcasting, the Daily Podcast Feed might be one way to do it. More information at the link below.

The Daily Podcast Feed: "The Daily Podcast Feed" for Wednesday - March 23, 2005

"The Daily Podcast Feed" presents a new collection of podcasts every morning. Our main feed gives you a varied taste of some of the latest and hottest podcasts without any of the hassles associated with setting up, configuring and dealing with podcatching software. So sit back, listen and enjoy all of today's great podcast picks right in your web browser. You also have the option of downloading any of the podcast picks right onto your computer or MP3 player.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rise above it all - from the archives

Fraud is everywhere, from the city streets to the corporate boardroom. Lately we seem to be swimming in an ocean of fraud. Worse yet, some of us in the high-tech world are aiding and abetting it, if not committing fraud outright ourselves. Any career is built on developing a level of trust with your clients. Any connection to any business with even the appearance of being fraudulent will eventually bring your career to an end. Sure, it might have short term benefits; expensive houses, flashy cars, etc., but you will find it hard even remembering these items when the whole thing goes bust. Steer clear of participating in anything that smells of a scam, whether perpetrated by an individual or a large company. You owe it to yourself, your career and your family to stick to the straight and narrow.

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To shred or not to shred?

You can see in this news story why you should be exceedingly careful about following orders from your management when you believe they are illegal in some way. The litigant in this "whistle-blower" story did lose their job (for which they are seeking redress), but they could have just as easily been a scapegoat when the illegal shredding was discovered. You can always find another job, but conspiring with others to hide information could put you into jail. Do not do it!

Nothing raises my eyebrows more than an order to shred some specific piece of documentation outside of the normal document retention policies set by the company. Personally, I would have taken precautions to do exactly the opposite of this order when it occurred. I would have stored those documents in a secure location until the Feds came looking for them.

HP accused of labor violations cover-up | CNET  

Published: March 22, 2005, 3:06 PM PST

By Ed Frauenheim Staff Writer, CNET

Hewlett-Packard wrongly denied benefits to workers by misclassifying them as "contractors," deliberately destroyed evidence of the problem and retaliated against a whistle-blower trying to rectify the situation, according to two lawsuits.

New RSS Feed for Career-Op

Since the inception of Career Opportunities Podcast last September, I have been hand-building the RSS feed as each new show was added. This really slows down the process of posting the shows and also splits the blog entries and podcasts into 2 seperate feed.

So, as of today, I am jumping on the FeedReader bandwagon and using that service to generate an RSS feed that contains both the text entries and the Podcast enclsoures for Career Opportunitites. I have been avoiding this for a while, but I think it is the best way to position the blog/podcast for further growth.

The new feed is now linked off of the XML buttons in the upper-righthand corner. Please update your feed readers and Podcast clients to:

Thanks for your cooperation and sorry for the inconvenience.

Feed Change Information - MP3 Audio

Friday, March 18, 2005


What is an entrepreneur? How do you become one? Is it worth the time, energy and aggravation? Recently, Rob Spahitz, a reader of this column, posted to a discussion on the Career-Op mailing list. In his message he said, “How about an article on what's required to be a good entrepreneur?” An excellent idea, I thought, except that my own experience doesn’t follow what most would consider an entrepreneurial direction. I don’t have great designs on owning a large company with lots of employees and millions of dollars in gross earnings, but I do think there is a different side to the entrepreneur story than what we typically see in the papers. Rob’s question started me thinking more deeply about entrepreneurship, what it means to me and what it might mean to you.

Read this weeks column

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Taking Risks

I need to keep this quote in front of me every single day. I am always looking to minimize risk and avoid conflict, but, in today's world, this is exactly what you need to be facing, every minute of every day. If you aren't taking risks, and the conflict that often comes with it, you aren't getting anywhere.

I often joke with my wife about going to live in a cave somewhere, but you can't avoid life. You can only live it.

Thursday's Thought: Risk and Instinct by Anita Sharpe in Business

'Too many corporate executives are like bankers, accountants and Puritans: they're always looking for a reason to say no. To avoid risk. To play it safe. This is the wrong approach. Business is risk -- constant, unavoidable risk. As a leader, you can't shy away from risk; you have to embrace it. You also have to learn to trust your instincts. Time and again, people have come to me with new ideas and what sound like crazy ventures. I listen; I try to stay open; I try to trust my instincts. Then I evaluate and decide whether or not to move forward. Sometimes I do this right on the spot, in a matter of seconds.' -- Robert Mondavi (from Harvests of Joy)

(Via Worthwhile.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Not the average office -- to say the least!

Xeni Jardin over at Boing Boing gives us a look at the way Pixar breaks the mould in their offices. No cubicles here, (THANK GOODNESS) It seems their "Think Different" attitude certainly leads to great movies AND a better work environment. Could you (or would you) do something like this in your office? Why? Why not? How would it change you, your work and your company?

Pixar's groovy non-cubicles

Xeni Jardin: AICN's Moriarty took a tour of Pixar, and marvels at the nesting habits of wild animators at home in their native environment:

(Via Boing Boing.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

New Listener Comment Line!

Career-Op now has a listener comment line! If you have questions or comments about a particular column or podcast, you can call 206-888-6387 and leave a message.

You might even have your message included in an upcoming Podcast of The High-Tech Career Handbook.

Career-Op Listener Comment Line


A Secret Weapon - from the archives

There is a secret to any high-tech career, and it isn't in having an expensive computer, fancy software or a great cell phone. In fact, it is something you can't buy, no matter how rich you are. This secret weapon can only be gained through time and attention. Furthermore, I believe that those high-tech careerists who cannot or will not develop this tool are risking a career of ineffectiveness and unhappiness. What is this secret? Simply this – good colleagues and friends who can back you up in your work and trust you to do the same for them.

Read this weeks column

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Podcast Pick from Chris Pirillo

I just noticed from my Technorati WatchList that Chris Pirillo has Career Opportunities listed as "Podcast Pick" on his site, The Chris Pirillo Show.

Many thanks for the link, Chris!

If you haven't listened to the Chris Pirillo Show, click the link above and give him a try.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

What I'm Reading...

Weirdos in the Workplace

I just started this book, but it has already addressed one of my major issues when dealing with tolerated and cultivating "Stars" in the workplace.

"There are also weirdos who not only bring nothing of value to the game, but are actually a drain, and whose weirdness should not be fostered or even accommodated."

Of course, figuring out which weirdos are beneficial and which are detrimental is a major exercise in itself.

This has been an issue in past jobs, where even the most dysfunctional and unproductive people were given a "pass" simply because they were odd. This greatly frustrates other members of the staff who are usually picking up the slack this person leaves behind.

More to come as I work my way through the book, but it looks promising.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Joining an "IT Conversation"

I listen to IT Conversations

One of the most important ways of expanding your high-tech career is finding resources that can help you expand your knowledge beyond your immediate hands on experience. Sure, you can learn a lot by “doing”, but if you don’t have an opportunity to work the latest hardware and software, you need to learn about it in some other fashion. Some of you may be able to visit industry conferences on a regular basis, but, if your work life is similar to mine, finding the time to attend can be a problem. Thankfully there are some options to help you expand your knowledge no matter your time or money constraints.

Read this weeks column

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Tips for Mastering Email Overload

More on taming the email beast!

Stever Robbins on email overload: "

HBS Working Knowledge: The Leadership Workshop: Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

(Via 43 Folders.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What to do? - from the archives

Children are very advanced in their computer knowledge today. Through their exposure to computers at home and at school they are much more advanced than most of us were at the same age. That said, though, many children seem to lack an understanding of the variety of high-tech jobs that await them when they graduate from college. This makes it very difficult for a student to focus their high-tech education. Careers today have expanded beyond the fireman/policeman/nurse/secretary choices of the past. As high-tech careerists we can help to clarify these choices for the next generation.

Read this weeks column

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Wasted Time - March 4, 2005

Eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, 2400 minutes to get something done. While I know that many of you are working many more hours each week, we all have the same problem. Unlike hard packaged goods, our product…the thing we sell…has an expiration date. Even the baker can sell “day-old” bread and cupcakes, but as consultants once our billable hours pass, they are gone forever. An unbilled hour passed is an hour (and many dollars) lost. One can’t help but be concerned with these hours and how more of them can be turned into productive “sales” instead of “wasted time.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

IT Conversations: Robert Herbold - Tech Nation

Moira Gunn's interview with Robert Herbold was so interesting as to drive me to request his most recent book from the LA Public Library, my favorite source of new books. I see today that it has arrived, so I will post my further comments as soon as I finish.

In the meantime, this Podcast will give you an introduction into the book's concepts and introduce you to the author, as well.


IT Conversations: Robert Herbold - Tech Nation:

"Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with the former Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft Corporation, Robert Herbold. He's a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. They discuss some surprising facts about technology education in the United States."


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