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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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Career-Op: 5 small risks to take today

Career growth comes from challenging your own limits - stretching yourself and reaching for new knowledge and new capabilities. Despite all the benefits, though, many of us avoid challenges or situations that make us unsure of our own abilities. Instead of letting fear slow down or stop the growth of your career, you need to take a few small risks each and every day.

There are an infinite variety of ways to take small risks, but here are 5 methods I have used over the years. Whenever I feel that my career is slowing down, I turn to these methods, and others, to get things moving again. Of course, the most interesting aspect of taking a risk is that it doesn't have to be work-related at all. Every risk we take helps us take the next one. All of the methods listed below have one thing in common, they are extremely easy to do. Risk taking begins with small steps. This makes it all the easier to get started.

[Continue reading]
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Career-Op: Conflict

In work, as in life, there is a certain amount of conflict that naturally occurs. Even when the results of conflict are good, engaging in it can be stressful and tiring. That said, trying to ignore or avoid conflict in your work can actually make it worse when it does occur. Often, the best way to address conflict is straight on, before it has a chance to develop into something more difficult or troubling.

[Continue reading]
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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Career-Op: New Avenues

As an independent, high-tech consultant, I have the usual avenues for making money. One day I might be cleaning up spyware or viruses, on another I might be training a client on managing their email. Yet other days might bring a small network installation or the rebuilding of a crashed machine. These are some of the traditional roles for a high-tech worker, but if you want to continue to build your career, you should always be looking for new technologies and new avenues for expanding your work and your earnings.

[Continue reading]
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Career-Op: Partnering for Profit

The expanding nature of high-tech industries often means that it is impossible for every worker to learn all the skills they might need to complete a project. This is especially true if you are working as an independent high-tech consultant. Whether you are in a large company or working for yourself, partnering with other employees or consultants can allow you to develop projects that would be impossible on your own.

[Continue reading]
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Friday, July 15, 2005

Career-Op: Guilt by association

Over the years of my high-tech career, a disturbing trend has appeared. More and more potential clients have started to treat me as an adversary with which to negotiate rather than a partner in their success. They question my motives; my estimates and my hourly rate from the first meeting and continue to treat me with skepticism in the early stages of our relationship until such a time as we all get to truly know each other. Despite my efforts to deal fairly and honestly with clients up front, I find that I often have to spend days and weeks breaking through this wall and convincing new clients that I am not trying to "take them for a ride." I am sure you have experienced the same. Even worse, though, I know exactly who to blame for this increasingly common problem...the incompetent, unscrupulous and unworthy high-tech workers of the world.

[Continue reading]

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Career-Op: Get with the program - from the archives

Programming has never been an easy high-tech career path. Whether you are working in a corporate cube farm or on your own, the technical issues of programming languages, data architecture and accessibility issues are trouble enough, but the people issues can be even more challenging. If you are planning on striking off into the programming field, you would do well to consider the following issues. [Continue reading]

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Is your boss a pyschopath?

This in-depth article gives some great food for thought. Can the corporate troubles of the last few years be traced back to psychopathic tendencies of CEOs? Lots of controversial discussion to he had here.

Is Your Boss a Psychopath?

(Via Fast Company.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Take that vacation..I mean, REALLY take it!

I have written about the need for taking a true vacation from your work, but it seems, according to this article, that fewer and fewer people are heeding the call.

Here are some past Career Opportunities columns that address the various issues surrounding vacations.

How to take a vacation


Vacation? What vacation? by Curt Rosengren in Life

John at The Carrot points to a Mother Jones article with some interesting statistics that suggest we're not altogether adept at slowing down.

Some of the factoids in the article...

- Last year, Americans forfeited an average of 3 paid vacation days -- 415 million days total -- a 50% increase over 2003

- the value of unredeemed frequent-flyer miles is $700 billion, exceeding the value of U.S. dollars in circulation

- middle-aged men who skip vacation for five years increase their risk of heart attack by 30%

- the RAND Corporation in California now gives its employees a 5% bonus if they use all of their vacation days

- 32% of paid vacation time is spent doing non-vacation activities

- 30% of employees do office-work during vacation

- 43% return feeling overwhelmed by the work they have to do

How about you? Do you take all the vacation that's coming to you? Does work creep into your vacation? Do you feel like you got hit by a Mack truck when you sit down at your desk again?

(Via Worthwhile.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Career-Op: Don't. Can't. Won't

One frustrating aspect of a high-tech career is clients who ask for your advice and guidance, but, for whatever reason, never seem to heed it. In these cases, I have found 3 distinct classifications. There are those that don't listen, some who can't listen and others who, simply won't listen. While dealing with each of these 3 types has its unique challenges, it is the last one that seems to cause all the problems. If you run into clients who won't listen, your career could be in for some very difficult times.

[Continue reading]

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Career-Op: Gearing Up

This year my business is undergoing a few changes. In the past, I have had alternate sources of income which allowed me to limit the amount of consulting work I do. Now, though, I have a need to think about this work more as a primary source of income. In that light, I am gearing up a series of initiatives to present a more business-like manner to my clients and, hopefully, increase my billable hours by a significant amount. Whether you are just starting out, or looking for ways to revitalize an existing business, these tips should serve you well. [Continue reading]

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

In The Trenches Tech Chat

Kevin Devin, host of the In The Trenches podcast invited myself and a couple of other folks over for a tech chat on Surviving a merger and improving your tech skills in the time of outsourcing.

We had a great time and the results are now up on Kevin's site and in his podcast feed.

Here is the description from In The Trenches...

In the Trenches - Tech Chat - 7-02-2005

Surviving a Merger and Improving one’s skillset in the face of outsourcing.
I’ve been wanting to cover these two topics for some time now, and this week, the opportunity finally arose. I had a nice chat with our own George Starcher, Christiaan Stoudt from, and Douglas E. Welch from Career Opportunities: The High Tech Career Handbook. Hope you enjoy it.

Web: In The Trenches with Kevin Devin

Friday, July 01, 2005

Career-Op: Nine Years!

As unbelievable as it might seem, this column marks the beginning of my ninth year writing Career Opportunities. At 51 columns per year, the grand total of individual articles comes in at 408 with a total word count somewhere around 286,000 words. These totals stagger me. They also humble me. Looking back on all the work, though, I still relish the hundreds of thousands of words to come. Many thanks to Computoredge for providing me a platform for my thoughts and my hopes for the future of the world of high tech work. [Continue reading]

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