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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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Career-Op: Playing well with others

With more and more companies reducing high-tech staff, the use of consultants continues to grow. This has led to an interesting, if somewhat disconcerting, reality where you must work closely with other high-tech consultants, almost as if you were all employees of the company. Unfortunately, this can lead to situations where you might find yourself stepping on each other's toes, with few methods of resolving conflicts when they arise. [Continue reading]

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Welcome to Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

Since we will probably be seeing some new subscribers via the iTunes podcasting feature, I am re-posting my Welcome to Career Opportunities audio file.

Current readers, please bear with me while I issue this announcement.

To those of you finding us for the first time, welcome. I hope you enjoy Career Opportunities! You can find a complete audio and text archive of every column and podcast on the web site at:

Listen: Welcome to Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

Apple releases iTunes 4.9 (Windows and Mac) with podcasting support

If you have been wondering what all this Podcast talk is about, life just got a whole lot simpler. The latest iTunes from Apple now includes an easy way find and subscribe to podcasts, all within iTunes itself!

You can download the new iTunes directly from Apple by visiting Once installed, you will notice a new "Podcasts" entry along the lefthand side. Click this, then click the Podcast Directory link at the bottom of the window and you will enter the world of podcasts from around the world.

You will also find a new Podcasts link in the iTunes Music Store.

Do a search for "Career" and you will find my Career Opportunities podcast. They also list the "Top 100" and many highlighted podcasts. You can then sample the podcast or subscribe to the podcast and have each new show automatically downlaoded to your computer...adn then to your iPod, if you have one.

Remember, you need to download the new version of iTunes before you access the podcasts.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Douglas chats with Chuck Tomasi on ChuckChat Technorama

I had a nice "chat" with fellow TechPodcast member, Chuck Tomasi on his show, ChuckChat Technorama today. Chuck is highlighting a TechPodcast member during each show and I was very pleased to get a chance to talk about Career Opportunities.

ChuckChat Technorama is a great source of high-tech info, ranging from basic computer info to high-level geekery.

Todays show can be found at: My segment comes around the 30 minute point in the show.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Career-Op: Can helping out, hurt?

Does there come a time when "helping out a friend" can actually hurt? It seems that often times, when I agree to offer technical advice or assistance, things can go so wrong. While it certainly wouldn't be any easier were this to happen with a paying client, when it happens among friends and family, the results can feel even worse. I am not talking about fierce recriminations among you and those you help, but more the wasted time and damage that can be done to your psyche if you don't address the issues in a proper way. Friendships are strong enough to survive bad software; it is your self-confidence that can be weakened.

[Continue reading]

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Career-Op: Help people help themselves

As computer users, we all have to start somewhere. Even those of you who now work in computer careers started out knowing nothing about computers or technology. For most of you, working with computers came easily. Unfortunately, this same ease can often lead us to forget our role as teachers and leaders to those people who have the needs, if not the knowledge, to make the best use of computers in their work and life. Too often technology workers react to basic computer questions with condescension and even outright hostility. If you hope to succeed in a computer career and see technology have its best effect on society, you need to guard against this at all costs. Beginners need technology and people who can help them use it.

[Continue reading]

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Career-Op: Blindsided

Most high-tech jobs follow a similar work, you complete projects, you work some more and at the end of the year you get your performance review. That's when you find out how you did and what your managers feel you need to do better. Repeat each year until you retire.

I realize, of course, that this is fantasy. Many of us suffer from micro-management on a daily, if not hourly, basis, while others may never get much feedback at all. Instead, we try to judge our performance based on the often confusing comments we receive as we pass our managers in the hallway.

As you might imagine, the passing comments we receive might have little to do with the true perception of our performance. In fact, it can often leave us feeling blindsided by bad news when a formal review does occur.

[Continue reading]

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Best and Worst Careers?

We are all looking for the best career possible, but Salwen takes exception to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. I agree with him in some ways. Anything that dissuades people from looking for a better job or better career is counter-productive. We all need to be constantly searching for improvements in our career or our lives will stagnate.

This post, and the referenced article, are worth a read.

Best and Worst Careers by Kevin Salwen in Passionate Work, the Wall Street Journal's online career site, recently posted a well-meaning piece: a listing of the best and worst jobs. Tapping into a Wisconsin researcher, the site rated jobs based on six categories: income, stress, physical demands, outlook, security and work environment.

You missing what I'm missing from that list? Passion. Connection. Meaning. Fulfillment. Happiness. Joy. Not surprisingly, when those things are left out, you get a press release like this: "When people are working full time -- perhaps in a job that they don't particularly enjoy -- it's easy to imagine that the proverbial 'grass may be greener' for those in other careers. But unless they are peppered with questions, it's difficult to find out what their work is really like. How stressful is the work, what's the work environment like and is there room for growth?" It's not quite "shut up and be happy" but it's pretty close.

[Continue Reading]

(Via Worthwhile.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Career-Op: I told you so

One of the most frustrating positions at work or home is when you want to say " told you so", but can't. In business this usually occurs when you warn against a problem only to have the problem occur anyway. While you are probably wise enough to not say it out loud, the chorus of "I told you so" echoing in your head can sometimes become deafening. As you can imagine, though, expressing those thoughts could lead to your marginalization, if not to the outright loss of your job. While this can be an ugly situation, there are a few ways to help ease the pain, both to your psyche and your high-tech career.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

"What is the sound of a presentation with no slides", asked the Master?

Presentations are all important and sometimes the best presentation is one that steps away from the norm and really seeks to communicate with the audience. This post from the Creating Passionate Users blog sums it up nicely and then expands it once again.

I highly recommend you read this post and take its advice to heart. We have all see bad presentations and many of the problems with these presentation could have been avoided if the presenter had read this first.

Stop your presentation before it kills again!

Sometimes the best presentation is... no presentation. Ditch the slides completely. Put the projector in the closet, roll the screen back up, and turn the damn lights back on!

Especially if the slides are bullet points. Or worse... paragraphs....

[Continue reading]

(Via Creating Passionate Users.)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Career-Op: Leading, pushing or walking together

How do you work with your clients? Do you find that you are leading them into new worlds, pushing them, kicking and screaming into the 21st Century or simply walking beside them, trading thoughts and developing technology plans together? In most cases, you will find your work to be a combination of all these and more. Each client requires a unique approach, but identifying these basic levels can help you to provide the best service possible for your clients.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

10 Bad Project Warning Signs

I have seen many of these warning signs in my own projects and I have seen many people who have ignored them, at their peril. This is great way to reacquaint yourself with these warning signs and, hopefully, avoid the bad projects that may come your way.

Deni Mosser writes on the Web405 Mailing list...

Andy Budd, a web designer from the UK wrote: "10 Bad Project Warning Signs" and his readers add to the list.

Good warning signs ... applicable to all types of design work.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Career-Op: How to make mistakes

Listen: Career-Op: How to make mistakes

Everyone in every job and every life makes mistakes. There is no way to avoid them. However, the success of your career can ride on how you handle your mistakes and how you recover from them. Below are a few guidelines on how to handle your mistakes to insure that one small problem doesn't turn into a job or career-ending monster.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Career-Op: The Exasperated Sigh

Ask the typical computer user to describe a tech support or IT worker and you will hear the same response repeatedly. "Whenever you asked him or her a question, they would make an exasperated sigh and then reluctantly tell you what to do." Beyond any lack of fashion sense or social skills, the exasperated sigh is the hallmark of the tech geek. So much so that Saturday Night Live once had an on-going sketch in which tech staffers took the sigh to ludicrous heights. What some tech workers don't know, though, is that a simple sigh could be a major pothole in their career. No one likes to be treated like an idiot, but sometimes this is exactly what high-tech workers do.

Read this weeks column

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tech Podcasts Network Listener Survey

My compatriots over at (If it's tech, it's here!) have just started a listener survey to try and glean some demographics. As a listener of Career Opportunitites: The High-Tech Career Handbook, we would love to hear your response.

This is your chance to effect the entire network as we expand our membership and begin looking for advertisers that can help you without annoying you.

You can fill out the survey by visiting the Tech Podcast Network Listener Survey page.

Note: There is an issue with displaying the survey using Mac OS X and Safari. If you are a Mac user, please use Firefox. It works well with this particular page.

Thanks in advance for your participation! -- Douglas

Pirillo talks about bullying clients

Chris Pirillo, over at Lockergnome, has a great post on clients that try to play hardball on your rates. Frankly, I would have finished the call with the client long before Chris did, but his story is illuminating and directly confirms some of my own experiences.

Don't Be Bullied By Your Clients

Over the years, one thing that I have come to grips with is that there will be times when customers are going to work to get something for nothing. For instance, the other day I had a potential client asking me if I could cut them a break with my rates. When pressed as to why they needed a price break I was shocked to hear that what I was charging was simply more than...

Direct and Related Links for 'Don't Be Bullied By Your Clients'

(Via Lockergnome IT Professional.)


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