Career Opportunities

Helping to build the career you deserve!

A weekly ComputorEdge Column and twice-weekly podcast by Douglas E. Welch
Other WelchWrite Blogs: A Gardener's Notebook -- My Word with Douglas E. Welch -- TechnologyIQ -- Careers in Podcasting

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Friday, September 30, 2005

ChuckChat Technorama

A fellow Friend in Tech ( is approaching a podcast milestone. Please take a free moment to give them a listen.

ChuckChat Technorama podcast is rapidly approaching show #50.

We're running a prize giveaway on show #50. The prize pool has hundreds of dollars worth of prizes and is growing rapidly as we approach the big show. Find out how you can qualify to win by listening to Technorama with Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Steppe. Feed your inner geek twice a week with Technorama.

Career-Op - The Chaos of Choice

When you are starting a new project or pitching a new client, do you ever feel overwhelmed by the choices available? I know it cannot just be me, so at the risk of surrendering my computer consultant badge for all time, I am going to make some very personal confessions. Lately I have found it horribly confusing to decide which hardware, which software, which server, which printer to recommend to all my varying clients. At times, it seems to absorb much more time than I think it should. Still, projects seem to turn out for the best, even if my initial thoughts are a bit confused.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Setting your rates - Media Artist Secrets Podcast

Franklin McMahon, host of the Media Artist Secrets Podcast had some very good things to say on pricing your services.

While his comments are directed at "creative" professionals such as designers, I think his comments and advice apply equally well to high-tech professionals. While you will find the entire podcast useful, the section on setting your rates occurs at 6:10 into this episode.

Listen to Media Artist Secrets - Episode 41

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Inventory your skills or tell a story?

A Career-Op reader wrote today...

"I work for a software publishing company in San Diego. I'm at the point in my life where I'm seriously considering changing employers to take on a new exciting path. For the last 12 years, working for my current employer, I've been guilty of not inventorying skills, technologies, and software tools that I have learned along the way. For the past few weeks, I've been trying to document these skills, technologies, and software tools in an Excel spreadsheet. Is that overkill? A big part of me thinks not, an employer would want to know what I know.

What is your experience?"

I always recommend that you concentrate on telling stories about your work, rather than what software/hardware/network you might have used. Develop a list of projects that demonstrate the skills you have acquired and build stories around these. Then, as you tell the stories, you can drop in which software and hardware were part of the project.

I think this is a much more effective way of communicating what you know and why you know it than a simple list of products. I would also apply the same idea to resumes and cover letters you might create.

Career-Op - Playing it safe - from the archives

Regardless of your computer career you will all go through some traumatic situations. Sometimes you suffer through a lengthy interview process and still don't get the job. You might feel trapped in a job you hate. Even resigning from a job can be traumatic. Regardless of how upsetting these situations might be, I can imagine that having the police show up at your door might be the most traumatic of all. The story that follows shows that even in the world of computer careers ethical lapses can have an effect far beyond the perpetrators.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Career-Op Featured on iTunes Podcast page

Imagine my surprise, and happiness, this evening when, as I was browsing through the iTunes Podcast page, I find my own face staring back at me.

Career-Op was (and perhaps still is) featured in the Business section on the front page of the iTunes Podcast directory. You need to click See All or the purple arrow to scroll to the second set of entries, though.

It is quite amazing to think how many eyeballs will be reading my name over the next several hours. Hopefully, this will bring a new collection of listeners and subscribers into the the Career-Op fold.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Book Review: Radical Careering by Sally Hogshead

Some books offer a careful presentation of facts and figures leading up to the dramatic conclusions of the final chapters. Others are the literary equivalent of "A Whack on the Side of the Head," to quote author, Roger van Oech. Radical Careering: 100 truths to jumpstart your job, your career and your life falls firmly into the latter camp. It is a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stale atmosphere of career books.

People who have been "there and back again" are often the best source of frank and useful information, and author, Sally Hogshead has delivered the wealth of her experience in a straightforward and extremely useful fashion.

Radical Careering is divided into "100 truths", each 1-2 small pages in length. While some might take issue with the "truth" of each item, I found myself nodding in agreement on almost every page. Hogshead has distilled the essence of each topic down to small, useful nuggets that really jumpstart your thinking.

This is not a book of exercises, prescriptions and marching orders. This is a collection of career "koans" -- stories and questions that spur, if not require, further thought. Several times as I was reading, I would catch myself staring off into space, lost in thought, the book open in my lap.

I was very interested in absorbing this book as a whole, so I read it very traditionally, front to back. That said, the book works equally as well as a sort of career "magic 8-ball", spurring your thinking whenever you need a boost. Simply open a page at random and begin.

Of all the "truths", some spoke to me more loudly than others. At the top of the list was this one, "Being in a crap job isn't your fault. Staying in a crap job is." You can't be any clearer, or more truthful than that and I wholeheartedly agree. Others include "Own your career or it will own you.," "Don't work for someone you don't respect," and "Power is the option to say no!"

Whatever your career, Radical Careering provides a welcome "kick in the seat of the pants" and might help you take your career to the next level. Read it in one sitting or return to it again and again. Either way you will enjoy it and your career will benefit.

For more information on Radical Careering, visit their web site at

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A double-shot of Douglas!

I just saw that another segment I produced, Remote Support without the hassle, appears today on "In the Trenches...with Kevin Devin". I didn't really expect these segments to hit on the same day, but I guess that happens sometimes.

In the segment, I discuss using Listener-based VNC connections to easily support users without requiring changes to their router or software.


Mobile Tech, Passwords, and Remote Admin. Oh my!

Sponsored by and

We cover dealing with some laptop issues from reloading to prepping for new users. Some tips and listener feedback on mobile phones, ICE and blackberries. Along with segments on Remote Administration via VNC by Douglas E. Welch of the Career Opportunities Podcast (the high-tech career handbook) and XP Password Recovery by George.

(Via In the Trenches.)

Hey guys, look at me!! I'm on a podcast!!

In today's edition of the Typical PC User Podcast with Victor Cajiao, I do a segment on troubleshooting your DSL or cable modem connection to the Internet.

Whenever my clients have trouble with their connections, it can lead to extra work for everyone involved. This is my method for keeping everything in perspective.

TPCU55-09-24-2005 DSL Troubleshootng, Geek Gadget Show and Tell, Wireless tips, and Favorite Firefox Extensions and Plugins

Play Podcast

Douglas E. Welch on DSL Trouble Shooting

Career Opportunities The High-Tech Career Handbook

Listener Cate gives us her favorite Fire Fox Extensions and Plugins

World Wide Words

Common plugins, including common search plugins

Many more Fire Fox plugins

Wikipedia definition of Plugins

Geek Gadget Show and Tell (with Victor and George).

Three of the four featured on this show were provied by listener Sal. Why don't you send me your favorite gadget links at

Big Brother is watching

Talk about your USB Magma

One Smart Extension Cord

Doze No More

(Via Typical PC User Podcast.)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Career-Op - Change Everything

What did you do the last time you were looking for a new job? Did you try to find another job that was exactly like your previous one? Did you use the same resume and cover letters to apply for new positions? If so, then you probably did yourself and your career no favors. The next time you decide to go looking, you will want to use the opportunity to search out new types of jobs and perhaps even a new career. If you go looking for the "same old job" you are very likely to find it.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Changing work world

I ran into this group at the local Corner Bakery franchise today. The minute I walked through the door, I noticed them and it immediately struck me, again, that the nature of work has changed. I HAD to stop by their table and get some more information.

It turns out, they are all pharmaceutical reps. They don't really have an office at all and spend all their time "in the field." They were working with a custom database application that provides them a "map", that is the term they used, for their work day. From my quick discussion it sounds like a custom CRM application.

Even though they looked like the most high-tech group you could ever imagine, several admitted that they were struggling a bit with the technology. They hadn't really gotten their Wi-Fi setup, but they knew what it was and basically what it could provide.

For anyone who has doubts, this is the future. We are all independent contractors working for ourselves, even if we are officially employees. We are all granted a level of freedom that would have seemed outrageous only a few years ago. We all need to grasp this freedom and use it to make our careers into something that we love and not just something that we do.

Thanks to this group for providing me an extremely visual reminder that work has changed and we all need to change with it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Career-Op - A job, not a life

You might not think that poetry has a lot to do with high-tech careers, but my time in the world of coffee houses and poetry readings has taught me an important lesson that applies to every aspect of life. Too often we find ourselves with one defining aspect of our lives. This can be our poetry, our music or our job. In all cases, though, having only one defining aspect can lead us into destructive behavior without even realizing it.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Writing Better Emails

Communicating well, regardless of the circumstances or method, is an important part of life today. Since many of us are using email for more and more of our communications, it only makes sense to focus on how to communicate better within this media.

This article from, a "Getting Things Done"-oriented site, reminded me of a few important items and can help you make each email more productive.

Writing sensible email messages

As we've seen before, getting your inboundemailundercontrol will give you a huge productivity boost, but what about all the emails you send? If you want to be a good email citizen and ensure the kind of results you're looking for, you'll need to craft messages that are concise and easy to deal with.

(Via 43 Folders.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Lousy Employers? What are the warning signs?

In this BusinessWeek column, Liz Ryan, hits on on some warning signs that should make any potential employee run for the hills and I agree with here on nearly every point.

If you are looking for a job, and who isn't, I highly recommend a few moments with this article.

Danger! Lousy Employer Ahead

If a potential employer wants proof of your previous salary and gives vague answers to specific questions, bolt for the exit.

(Via BusinessWeek Online -- Careers.)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Career-Op - Straight lines and circles

As a high-tech worker, I am sure you try to compartmentalize your work. You make budgets, timelines and project plans, but you fail to notice one important aspect of your work...nothing is ever finished. Sure, you might get the PC or network installed or the new program operating. You might even think the project is "complete", but tomorrow will bring changes, requests and problems that put the lie to your false sense of closure. Just like the painters of the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, you might reach the end of the job one day, but you soon find that it is simply time to start all over again.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Career-Op - Beyond Troubleshooting

I would guess that 95% of your work, day in and day out, is spent on problems. This printer won’t print. That program is crashing. IT DOESN’T WORK! While these problems can insure a regular workload for consultants like me, they can also lead us down the road to ruin. At the end of the road lie disgruntled clients, stagnant careers and simple, garden-variety burnout. If you want to keep your high-tech career cruising along, you need to move beyond troubleshooting and start helping your clients do “neat things” with their computers.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Why you must lead or follow by Scott Berkun

An excellent article on leadership courtesy of Merlin Mann and delicious...

Why you must lead or follow By Scott Berkun, May 18 2005

Something curious happens when we confront things we don’t like. Instead of the useful choices of taking action to improve things or accepting things as they are, we often just sit on our asses, point fingers and complain. We’ve developed the passive habits of spectators, rather than the active roles of creators and supporters (Pop quiz: what's your daily criticism to complement ratio? What's your daily ratio of things used, to things made?). And when it comes to making things with other people, it’s the active roles that make the difference between making things we’re proud of and those we’re not. The dictum “lead or follow” means you have to decide for yourself where you stand. If you are committed to the work, you need to focus either on leading others in doing the right things or in supporting someone else that is.



Saturday, September 10, 2005

Making a dash

I came across this good idea over at 43 Folder, a "Getting Things Done" information site. Funny enough, I have been doing almost exactly this type of thing without having a name to apply to it. Focus on a particular task for a given number of minutes or items. I know that I find myself working well beyond the self-imposed time limit once I get started.

43 Folders - Kick procrastination's ass: Run...

Procrastination can drive most of us into a spiral of shame that's as mundane as it is painfully personal. We know what we should be doing, but some invisible hang-up keeps us on the line. Unfortunately, the guaranteed consequence of procrastination is growth in the scale of the task you've been putting off -- as well as the anxiety that it creates. All the time you're putting something off, your problem's getting bigger -- both in reality and in your head, where your colorful imagination is liable to turn even the most trivial item into an unsolvable juggernaut that threatens to overwhelm you. And that means extra stress, more procrastination, and the music goes round.



Friday, September 09, 2005

Career-Op - Project Planning and Execution

There are many facets to planning and executing high-tech projects, whether you are upgrading 5 PCs or 500, releasing new software or inventing a new product. Not only do you need to worry about quantities, say how many copies of software you will need, but also qualities, like which machines to upgrade first or what features to include in the first release. Too often, people concentrate on the quantity issues, assuming the quality issues will take care of themselves. Unfortunately, this leads many projects down the path to confusion and possible failure.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Career-Op: Yes, No, Maybe

When you work in a high-tech career you get used to dealing in absolutes; the bit is either on or off, the data is either there or not, the program runs or crashes. Having a successful high-tech career, though, involves cultivating a sense of ambiguity and being able to develop the best solution for your clients in a world filled with shades of gray. The right answer one day may be the wrong answer the next. It is up to you to keep an open mind.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Career-Op: 100th Podcast - Don't Wait

A few words of thanks before we get to this weeks column. First, to my wife Rosanne, my in-house editor who touches everything before it goes out, many heartfelt thanks for catching all the missing words and punctuation. Also, thanks to my son, Joseph, who now understands why he has to be quiet when Daddy is recording his show. Finally, thanks to all of you who read and listen to Career Opportunities. There would be no reason at all to write my columns or produce my podcasts without you. Your questions and comments are eagerly awaited at or as comments on the web site at Please keep them coming. I want to insure that each show is as helpful as possible and your comments are always welcome.

As if I needed it, this week I had an object lesson in the important principle of "Don't Wait!" I try always to take this to heart and usually manage to operate under its precepts, but a combination of events led to a series of yet other events that needn't have happened. Thank goodness, the damage to data, and self-esteem, was minimal, but it teaches an important lesson that bears repeating.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Typical PC User podcast reaches 50th show

A fellow member of, Victor Cajiao, is celebrating his 50th episode of the Typical PC User podcast on September 7th. It is amazing to see so many of us achieving fairly significant milestones in our podcasts.

Check out his show, I think you will enjoy it!


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