Career Opportunities

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

Career-Op: I want an apprentice

Yes, that's right. I want an apprentice. Not some Dickensian, child in forced-labor kind of apprentice, of course, or even a Donald Trump-type apprentice, but someone who wants to know what I know about technology. Someone who wants to begin their career with all the advantages that weren't available when I was starting mine. Even more, I wonder why no one has sought out myself (or any of you readers) to help them start their high-tech career.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Just-in-time Meetings!?

While the concept of just-in-time delivery has been fairly well adopted in the manufacturing sector, just-in-time meetings might be a tougher sell. I totally agree with Jeremy Phillips that mmost meetings are a severe waste of time and this is made even worse by poor planning, lack of agenda and simple ego-driven politics that dictates everyone should find the meeting as important as its organizer.

Changing the way we meet, and the reasons for our meetings, is a slow, slow process, but perhaps the idea of just-in-time meetings might be one step on the road to progress.

Just in Time Meeting Attendance

...So, I've come up with the most insightful and productive new idea I've had in a while - the Just in time Meeting attendance plan. Here's the idea - Rather than show up for a meeting and sit through the entire thing, demand that the meeting have an agenda and that the facilitator or leader of the meeting stick as closely to the agenda as possible. When the parts of the meeting you need or want to attend are complete, get up and leave. I know this may sound a bit rude, but is it really worth your time and your sanity to simply continue to sit in meetings where stuff is being discussed that a) is not relevant for you b) you don't have anything to add to or c) you could care less about?...

(Click the link above for the entire article!)

(Via Thinking Faster.)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Cringe-Busting your TODO list

After reading this post, it is good to know that I am not the only one who sometimes gets To-Do items stuck on their list despite my best efforts. Maybe this will help me move a few things along.

I plan on taking this long weekend to do a full review of all my GTD (Getting Things Done) lists -- something I haven't done in far too long. These seems a great way to include a little productivity among all the relaxation that is supposed to accompany the Memorial Day Weekend.

Cringe-Busting your TODO list

As I've said before, items can sometimes linger on your TODO list a lot longer than you'd like, and it can be tricky to understand exactly why that is in each case. I'm convinced cringing is often a factor.

Being that it's Monday, and a lot of us are planning this week's activities, why not join me in a modest exercise.

  1. Print out your TODO list (alphabetically, if possible)

  2. Read it over-beginning to end

  3. Go back and circle each item that makes you cringe, or that causes you some kind of existential angst

  4. Per cringe item, think honestly about why you&'re freaked out about it. Seriously. What's the hang-up? (Fear of failure? Dreading bad news? Angry you';re already way overdue?)


(Via 43 Folders.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tom Peters on Making a Great Presentation

More and more these days, we are all called upon to make presentations, whether a 30 second "elevator speech" or a formal dog and pony show in front of the entire company. Tom Peter's put together this series of PowerPoint slides with his take on making any presentation the best you can.

Presentation Excellence

My brother-in-law, a senior ExxonMobil exec, and I got into a discussion about presentations the other night. We both heartily agreed that "presentation excellence" was a great boon to one's career/professional success. We also agreed that there is little or no formal training in preparing/giving presentations. He showed me a list of key ideas that he provided to his colleagues. (Proprietary.) The discussion motivated me to make my own list.

(Via Dispatches from the New World of Work.)

Career-Op: Reflection

Too often, we speed through our work, never noticing the small things we leave behind. Often, in the heat of a meeting or consulting call, we promise many things, but do we remember to deliver? Did you promise to research the procedure for importing data for mail merge? How about that request to update some router firmware? Does a client need a recommendation on a memory upgrade? How many small items have “slipped through the cracks” and disappeared. Even more importantly, how many opportunities to help your clients, and your career, have been lost? If you want to build your high-tech career, you need to become better at capturing these opportunities and using them to improve your relationship with your clients.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Career-Op: A High-Tech Manifesto - from the archives

If you are considering starting a high-tech career, or are already involved in one, you are on the front lines of today' economy. Whether you are developing new hardware and software or supporting the use of technology in your company, there are some basic responsibilities that fall upon your shoulders. The future will bring more reliance on technology and your work will become more important than ever before. If you plan on riding the technology wave into the future, I would call on you to pay close attention to the areas detailed below. Your career and the welfare of those around you could depend on it.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Career-Op: By Example

Ask any married couple and you will quickly learn that you can’t make anyone change. You can wish them to change, ask them to change, demand they change, even threaten them to change, but, in the end, change can’t be imposed from the outside, it can only grow from within. This is also true of your work relationships. As much as you would like to change your co-workers, your manager or your employees, you can’t. There is hope though. When people are given a good example to follow, they can, eventually, discover for themselves that there are benefits to change. So, instead of sighing, shouting or screaming, your main task is to simply provide a good example.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Career-Op: Technical Intuition - from the archives

While training plays a part in all high tech careers, your high-tech intuition plays an important role, as well. Your ability to work a technical problem from start to finish, evaluate new technologies and apply them in new and different ways is something that can only be gained through "hands-on" experience.

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Friday, May 13, 2005

New book on Podcasting!

Todd Cochrane, host of the Geek News Central podcast and fellow member of the Tech Podcast Network is releasing one of the first books on podcasting today.

Podcasting: Do It Yourself Guide

If you have an interest in creating your own podcast, or just listening to them, I highly recommend you pick this up at your local bookseller.

Here is the press release from Todd's publisher, Wiley Books:

Podcasting: Do It Yourself Guide

It’s like TiVo for audio programming. Podcasting, one of the newest crazes to hit the online world, enables subscribers to listen to audio content anytime, anywhere on their personal MP3 player, computer, or even cell phone. All they need to do is download some free software and sign up to receive automatic downloads of their favorite internet broadcasts – be it music, news, or talk. Podcasting pushes content out to subscribers, providing them with continuous access to updated audio content of all kinds. Where does this content come from? It just so happens anyone can create his or her own podcast. PODCASTING: Do It Yourself Guide (Wiley; June 2005; $19.99), part of the ExtremeTech® series, shows readers not only how to find, download, and listen to podcasts, but also how to create a podcast of their own.
Armed with a basic knowledge of PCs, weblogs, the Internet, and a copy of PODCASTING: Do It Yourself Guide, readers can become the hosts of their own radio-style show.

Step-by-step instructions explain:

  • Creating a podcast with just a PC or Mac
  • Building a more professional recording studio
  • Integrating on-air phone calls, interviews, music and more
  • Dealing with copyright, music ownership, creative commons, and RIAA issues
  • Integrating advertising into broadcasts
  • Hosting and distributing podcasts
  • Understanding the geeky stuff – RSS, XML and Enclosures

Podcasting has taken the online world by storm, and even some traditional radio stations have begun to experiment with delivering their content using this technology. But is doesn’t take a professional to create a podcast. PODCASTING: Do It Yourself Guide puts the power of broadcasting into the hands of anyone who feels they have something to say.


Todd Cochrane (Honolulu, HI) is the owner and host of Geek News Central, a popular technology news hub and weblog that serves more than 250,000 weekly visitors. Always on the cutting edge, Todd’s podcasts, which began in Oct 2004, were among the first, and after only 6 months had nearly 10,000 listeners with the audience growing at about 15% per month. The popularity of his podcasts has drawn the attention of Fortune 500 companies and he was one of the first to actually have advertisers on his podcast.

Career-Op: Never Enough

Would you rather work for someone who praised you for your good work, or someone who constantly denigrated your efforts? It seems an easy choice to make, but every day I see people, managers and high-tech staffers alike trapped in relationships where praise is in short supply. Even more, these same businesses often fail or never even approach their optimal levels of success. Yet, these people often see no connection between the lack of praise and the fortunes of a store, department or company. The “Never Enough” syndrome can drive many a high-tech worker into other jobs, if not other careers.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

What I'm Reading...

Here is list of items currently sitting on my "Reading" Shelf or in my backpack as I travel around town. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Certified or worthless?

Are you certified in IT technologies? Do you think they are worthwhile or simply a way for manufacturers to pad their bottom line? This Lockergnome reader has strong feelings about certifications and those who don't have them. Funny, I don't feel like a hack.

What are your feelings? Leave your comments below.

Certifiable Certification A Lockergnomie by the name of Vannon asked Leo: I disagree with your evaluation of certifications. They matter. If you are not certified, then you’re a hack. You may be intelligent, talented, and experienced, but you’re still a hack. Find that offensive? Then put it to the test - when your car breaks down, take it to an uncertified, intelligent, talented, and experienced person you know and have them fix it. Don’t forget to pay…

Direct and Related Links for 'Certifiable Certification'

(Via Lockergnome Windows Fanatics.)

Career-Op: Education-Future - from the archives

So now that you are on your way to developing an excellent high-tech career -- you’ve either accrued a group of steady clients or snagged a solid corporate position -- how do you ensure your continued success? Last week, I talked about the benefits and problems of specialization. Today I want to discuss the best method of keeping your career fresh in an ever-changing world.

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ASAPM links to Career-Op

Scanning my referer logs today, I see that the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (ASAPM) has linked to one of my past Career-Op articles and offered some kind words.

Member Favorites

Very active asapm member Rose Johnston recommends two sites for Project Managers who have interest in career improvement. See her two links below, with her descriptions of how to maximize their benefit. (May, 2005)

A. The following link would be a good one for asapm members and friends. Here's the brief:

Article: Start and Stop by Douglas E. Welch, 7 January 2005.

Part of: Career Opportunites series from Computor Edge magazine.

Back at the home page of Doug Welch's website, you can follow his blog, which contains links to additional interesting articles.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Keep your career moving...

Here is a great article from Fast Company on how to keep your career moving by avoiding the, all too common, career pigronhole.

Escape Your Pigeonhole If you're good at what you do, you may get pigeonholed. Here's how to avoid that fowl fate.

(Via Fast Company.)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Career-Op: The Technological World

The integration of technology into our everyday lives continues apace. More and more we are coming to depend on technology that would have seemed fantastical only a decade ago: Cell phones, wireless networking, “always-on” devices, GPS and more. As this integration continues, governments and large corporations are being forced to take action. Technology issues that might previously have gone unnoticed are now front page news. This means that all high-tech workers must direct more of their attention to the political ins and outs of technology or risk unforeseen consequences to their careers and lives.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"Getting Things Done" in IT

I just got around to listening to this Tech Chat from "In the Trenches with Kevin Devin". He talks with Chuck Tomasi about applying David Allen's "Getting Things Done" process specifically to IT work.

As you probably know, I am a big fan of Getting Things Done and was using it long before it became a popular cause on the Internet. I highly recommend you check out the book, It has done wonders for my productivity over the years.

In the Trenches - Tech Chat - 04-23-2005

Ah… A Tech Chat — FINALLY! :-)

Chuck Tomasi and I did our follow up to the Time Management Tech Chat from back in February. It went pretty well despite our efforts to rediscover how to record these things. We’ve got it down now, and it’s easier than ever!

(Via In the Trenches.)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Career-Op: Education-Focus -- from the archives

As you continue in your high-tech career, you will naturally find that there are some tasks, some systems, some software that you prefer. This is natural and an important guide in choosing the future direction of your career. Continually having to perform undesirable tasks or working with systems you don’t like, is a sure road to job, and perhaps, career, burnout. That said, it is also important to continue developing your generalized knowledge so that you are not left at the mercy of any one, obsolete technology.

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Tech Podcasts This Week

One of the things I like about the Tech Podcast Network is I think many of you will find the other shows very interesting. I subscribe to several of them, including "In the Trenches" which I mentioned a little bit ago. Each week we will be releasing a "Week in Review" podcast with information about each of the member shows for that week.

Here is a bit of a taste of some of the other members of the network.

Tech Podcasts This Week - MP3 file


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