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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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Career-Op Extra - Radical Careering Book Giveaway Contest and more!

Back in September 2005, I published a glowing review of Radical Careering: 100 Truths to Jumpstart Your Job, Your Career and Your Life by Sally Hogshead.

Thanks to the generosity of Gotham Books and the author, Sally Hogshead, I have 6 shiny, new copies of Radical Careering to give away to Career Opportunities reader and listeners. This book really got me thinking about career and life and I am very happy to be able to share its insights with a few of my readers and listeners.

How to enter:

I will be accepting entries from 12:01am PST, Monday, January 30, 2006 through 12:00 midnight PST, Monday, February 13, 2006. I will post the winners on the Career Opportunities blog on February 14th, 2006. It's my birthday, so I might as well give something away to balance out all the presents I will get. (SMILE)

To enter this contest, simply send an email to: One entry per person, please. Six people will be randomly chosen to receive a copy of Radical Careering.

Pleas tell your friends about Career Opportunities and this contest and thank you for reading/listening to Career Opportunities!

Listen to the podcast

Link: Radical Careering Web Site
Link: Book Review: Radical Careering
Link: Other books about your career

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Career Opportunities on the "In The Trenches" podcast

This week's episode of In The Trenches features, what I will call, a Career-Op Mini.

Kevin and George received a career question from one of theirs listeners and invited me to provide the response. If you are just starting out in high-tech, this might be a good listen for you. The segment takes place around 29:30.

I might also release this as a short Career-Op Extra this week. Subscribe to the Career-Op feed, using the link below, to receive it automatically.

Questionable Backup Policies or Non-Policies

This cast is driven nearly entirely by listener feedback. Several listeners responded on different issues, and one listener even posed a question to the rest of you on questionable backup practices. George and I provide our take on the issue and even summoned some others’ opinion on the matter as well. Feel free to chime in with your own opinion as well.

Also included in this show is an Admin-to-Admin segment on using Expect and Autoexpect to build interactive scripts on your Linux box. George corrects his WSUS client update issue, and we have several bits of feedback with various links included.

(Via In the Trenches.)

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January 27th Outage @

If you were wondering what happened to yesterday, we suffered an outage at our web host from around 6 pm PST to 2:30 am PST. I haven't heard an explanation from my hosting company, but while the web server was out, email, which is probably hosted on a different machine continued to function.

If you use iTunes to download your podcasts, it may have marked any WelchWrite feed as having trouble. You can tell this by a little grey button (it's actually a white exclamation point inside of a grey circle) next to the name of the feed. If you see this "splat", you should right-click (control-click on Macintosh) and select Update Podcast. This should get things flowing again.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Thinning the herd - January 27, 2006

No, I am not speaking of layoffs, plant closures and terminations, but rather thinning your "herd" of out-dated projects, failed initiatives, worthless bureaucracy and old hardware and software. The New Year is a great time for taking a hard look at your work and getting rid of everything that no longer fits with your current vision, workload or budget. [Continue Reading]

Link: Discuss this column and podcast in the Friends in Tech Forums!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Career-Op - Self-Respect - from the archives

Is there any room within our high-tech work for self-respect? Talk to anyone of the previous generation and you might find the answer to that question is a firm, no! You are either employed or not. If your employer takes advantage of you or provides a less than adequate work environment, too bad. No one ever said work was easy.

I would advise you to question this thinking. Even in this current economy we have many advantages over our predecessors. More and more of our basic needs are easily met and this allows us to stretch ourselves; ask ourselves, can't work be a better place? [Continue Reading]

Link: Discuss this column and podcast in the Friends in Tech Forums!
Link: Previous mentions of Respect
Link: Books on Self-respect

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Previously on Career-Op



As I write, I am finishing the last few days of a holiday vacation to my home state of Ohio and learning that returning from a vacation can be just as stressful as preparing to leave for one. Despite doing my best to complete any necessary tasks before I left, a host of new challenges await my return. The same will probably be true of your next vacation. If you want to ease your re-entry into the work-a-day world after the holiday break, here are a few guidelines to keep you on the right track.


Up and Out

As your high-tech career matures, you will have less and less desire to climb under desks, pull cable through ceilings and experience the mind-numbing stupor of watching software install. As the years pass, you will want to find new ways of using your knowledge and experience, while still maintaining a quality of life and career. While it might not be easy, here are few thoughts that can guide your journey from technology installer to technology manager.going astray.



Of all the issues facing the high-tech careerist in the coming year, security, in all its forms, should be the top priority on everyone’s list. I am not just talking about Internet firewalls, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and encryption, though. While all these are important, security involves the entire company, not just a few pieces of computer equipment. As a high-tech careerist, it will be your responsibility to convey the importance of technology security to everyone. This is simple self-preservation. Regardless of who might be at fault, if security is breached at your company, you will quickly find that everyone will hold you responsible.

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Add yourself to the Career-Op Frappr Map!

Hint: Read a magazine back to front

I read my magazines in a very specific way. (Yes, I still read print magazines on occassion. Man cannot live on RSS feeds alone!). I find it takes at least 3 reads to glean everything I want from each month's issue. I usually do this over a week or more, returning to the magazine again and again as the mood strikes me.

First, I flip through the magazine looking at headlines, pictures and advertisements that catch my eye. Next, I do a more careful page-by-page read from front to back. Finally, and most importantly, I flip through the magazine from back to front. It never fails that I find something interesting I had missed on the previous "reads." It seems silly, but I find some very interesting information this way.

I wonder if it would work with web sites and blogs. Hmm...I'm going to have to try that. Scroll to the bottom and work my way up.

All this is really doing is forcing you to pay attention to those pages you normally skip due to fatigue. If you always start at the front, by the time you get to the back, you are not paying as close attention and miss good material.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

A tech in every meeting - January 20, 2006

I am sure you have all experienced it. Some department comes up with a great project and now, only when they are ready to implement it, they come to you to figure out how to make it work. They want to know what computers to use, what software and, by the way, this has to have some custom software written that has never before been created. Once again, you as an IT worker find yourself in the unenviable position of giving these people 100 different reasons why the project is infeasible, exorbitantly expensive and perhaps even counter productive to the goals of the company. In many cases, they will accuse of you of being an obstructionist, a technology dictator and sometimes, even worse. You must be lacking in vision to not see the elegance of their plan. In reality, though, much of this conflict and strife could have been avoided, if the department had included a high-tech worker at the very beginning. [Continue Reading]

Link: Previous mentions of high-tech integration
Link: Discuss this column and podcast in the Friends in Tech Forums!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

100 Best Companies to Work For from Fortune Magazine

100 Best Companies to Work For 2006

Is it time to start looking for a job somewhere else? This would be a great place to start. The article breaks out the specifics of each company in a number of different ways, including region, benefits offered, top salaries and more.

Link: 100 Best Companies to Work For 2006

Caeer Humor from Mr. Boffo

A bit of career humor from Mr. Boffo.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A sure way to project failure - from the Career-Op archives

A life in a high-tech career is a life of projects. Your work will be made of projects large and small. While there is no sure way of assuring a project's success, there are many specific ways of insuring its failure. In fact, sometimes it is possible to kill a project before it even gets off the ground. Below are some of the usual project pitfalls and what you can do to avoid them. [Continue Reading]

Link: Previous columns on projects
Link: Books on project management

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What is a career?

An interesting look at the many ways to define "Career", from

Google definitions: Career

I especially like this one,

"move headlong at high speed; "The cars careered down the road"; "The mob careered through the streets"".

Sometimes a career can feel exactly like that.

There are also some more inclusive definitions. Here is one I lean towards myself,

"The sum total of your life experiences including education, paid and unpaid work, and community, volunteer and family activities.""

As you can see, a career can be defined in any number of ways, but more importantly it is up to you to define it for yourself. Your career and your understanding of your career is a personal, subjective definition that only you can define.

What does career mean to you? Add a comment here to let other readers see your definition.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Interesting: Leaving IT |

An interesting post by Antonella Pavese, worthy of reading and discussion. I have worked with several women in IT over the years, and I have several friends who work as entrepreneurs, but I too find a disturbing lack of women in the IT fields.

Leaving IT |

After 5 years, a few weeks ago I decided I had enough of IT; it was time to quit. The same week I moved from IT to the Marketing department of my company, other two women who have managed me at various times did the same. It seems that we are not alone: Roy Mark wrote a commentary on Internet News (Where have all the women gone?; via Caterina Fake on about women slowly bleeding out of IT (a 20% decrease in the percentage of women in the last 10 years).


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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Career-Op Extra - Audioblogging NASA's Stardust Mission - Jan. 15, 2006

My wife and I were invited to JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to watch the return of NASA's Stardust probe, bringing comet particles back from deep space. Our friend, David, was on the navigation team.

During the early morning hours, I audioblogged 12 times, resulting in about 14 mins of audio. I am presenting these entries here, and through the Career-Op podcasting feed, as I think you might be interested to hear the event as it occurred.

I hope to interview David in the near future about high-tech career issues as part of the new Career-Op interview series. Watch for that in the coming weeks.

You can find the individual audioblog entries and my photos from the evening on my main blog, My Word

Listen: NASA's Stardust Mission Audioblogged

See also: Stardust Mission Home Page
See also: NASA TV

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Get Fired. Delete Colleague's Account. Go To Jail.

He should have thought twice...or perhaps even 3 times

Despite the fact that I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume they are intelligent human beings who will work in their own best interest, I am often presented with stories like this one. People seem determined to crush their own careers (and their lives, in this case) by doing something impulsive and frankly, stupid.

In today's world, you have to be very careful to not "act out" when bad things happen to you. Take a 10 mile hike, got to the gym and work on the heavy bag for 3 hours, heck, even go get drunk in the privacy and safety of your own home, but NEVER mess with your former company, EVER!

You might think of it has a harmless prank, but. more and more, companies are taking stupid actions like this and prosecuting them to the full extents of the law. Misdemeanors quickly turn into felonies under today's laws and you could find yourself doing hard time for a single, impulsive action. It seems obvious that no sense of satisfaction is worth that.

Of course, it shouldn't take news stories such as this, or the laws they discuss, to convince you that attacking the systems of a former employer are a bad idea. I would expect that every one of you already knows this. That said, be aware the there are those around you who don't seem to understand. You may run into them on occasion, but NEVER, EVER follow their lead. You just might find yourself out of career completely, if not something even worse.

Get Fired. Delete Colleague's Account. Go To Jail. SierraPete writes "CNet reports that Thomas Millot, a former systems analyst for a major pharmaceutical company, has lost his appeal on a computer intrusion charge. Mr. Millot was convicted of unlawfully entering the system that he used to work on and deleting a colleague's account after his job was outsourced. Mr. Millot's attorneys argued that his actions did amount to $5K in damage--the threshold for the crime he was convicted of. The court disagreed, saying that IBM had done over $20K in work to undo his handiwork."

(Via Slashdot.)

See also: Previous Posts on Ethics

See also: Books on Computer Ethics

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Career-Op - No Simple Answers - January 13, 2006

If you haven't figured it out already, or are still wishing it were true, let me be the first to tell you, there are no simple answers, especially when it comes to your high-tech career. Life would be a great deal easier if there were simple answers to all the issues we face, but good times come and go and we can only acknowledge the cycle and make the best decisions possible at the time. Recriminations over lost opportunities will do you no good. You must make your decisions and live with the consequences. [Continue Reading]

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

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Check out our Frappr!

Career-Op - Communication vs. Presentation - from the archives

In an age when everyone, even your grandmother, seems to be creating Microsoft PowerPoint slide shows, your ability to present your ideas has become more important than ever. Whether you are sitting in an interview for your next great job or trying to woo investors for your hot, new Internet startup, your ability to present yourself in the best light could mean the difference between a rising career or one hopelessly stalled. [Continue Reading]

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Previously on Career Opportuntities

January 2004

One by One

Over the years I am sure you have experienced the “never-ending project”—a project, program, or issue that never seems to get finished or resolved. These problems linger from year to year and no one ever seems to find a solution. Worse still, the longer they linger the worse they get. People get angrier, recriminations become nastier and the problem becomes even more intractable. If you want to keep your high-tech career on track, you need to face these never-ending issues head on. It won’t be easy, but it can prevent these issues from haunting you and your career from year to year.

January 2003

Get with the program

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.

January 2002

A Moral Dilemma

This year is sure to bring some interesting moral dilemmas to high-tech workers. The call for increased security, both of the nation and computer systems, is sure to put you in the unenviable position of monitoring the actions of those around you in ways never imagined in America before. As the point person on computer security, many of you will find yourselves having to decide between your career and your own ethics.

January 2001


There is a myth in the high-tech industry about training. Everyone promises it but very few actually deliver. This points up the fact that while training is seen as an important aspect of any job, most companies simply do not have the time, energy or wherewithal to actually follow through. This is especially true of the small, startup companies where many high-tech workers begin their career. The bottom line for anyone looking for a job in today's market is, don't let yourself be swayed by big promises of extensive training and mentoring. In most cases, it simply doesn't materialize.

January 2000

W2K: Here we go again

Here we go again. Another Windows upgrade. I know I am not alone among the computer professionals who dread each coming update of Windows, both major and minor. Simply said, we all like new features better performance and bug fixes, but the onerous task of bringing an entire company or a diverse set of clients to the current version of Windows is a Herculean task, if not more of a job for Sisyphus. We are forever rolling the upgrade rock up the mountain only to have it roll to the bottom of the hill where we start all over again.

January 1999


It has often been said that first impressions are the most important and this is certainly true when it comes to applying for a job. We all need to put our best foot (or experience) forward when we make that first knock upon a company's door.
Over the years, certain conventions have arisen about resumes, how they are designed, how they are used and their overall usefulness as an interview tool. Unfortunately, these conventions haven't kept pace with the fast changing job market. I find that most resumes are ill prepared for the rough and tumble job market that faces us as we approach the new century.

Over the course of this month I will offer a new view of the resume and how you can make it work best for you.

January 1998

Looking Back, Looking Ahead (Parts 1-4)

Over the last 6 months, this column has discussed the various trials and tribulations of starting and maintaining a high-tech career. While it isn?t always the easiest career road to travel, it can be one of the most rewarding. We only need to look around us to see there are far more troublesome jobs out there.
The New Year is always a time of reflection and planning for the future. We reflect on what we have and have not accomplished and attempt to make new plans. You can call them resolutions, but I like to think of them as goals. They are not rules you are trying to follow but important milestones for which to strive. You may not fully reach them but the target they provide helps steer both our personal and professional lives.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Career-Op - Get a plan - January 6, 2006

The beginning of a New Year is always a time of retrospection, thinking back on all that has occurred -- the good, the bad, the indifferent. While reviewing the past can be helpful in some ways, it is by looking out into to the next year that you can develop some dramatic benefits for yourself, your career and your company. Take some time this week to really think about what is coming in the next 12 months. There will be some obvious events to place on this list, but you should dig deeper to discover the projects, and maybe even the crises, that you will be facing this year. [Continue Reading]

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Modest Change: Cancel something

Cancel something?

It was a relief to note that I have already taken many of the suggestions in this article to heart. Instead of letting things linger, I cancel them the minute I realize I am no longer reading/using them. In the last several months I have cancelled several mailing list subscriptions, countless magazine subscriptions and even toyed with canceling the daily newspaper, although I am still an old-school, read the paper over breakfast type of person. Next on the cancellation agenda are cable television, unused museum memberships and more.

What can you cancel today that will free you of a little guilt in 2006?

Modest Change: Cancel something

Our first modest change is to cancel something...

(Via 43 Folders.)

See also: Previous posts and columns on "Getting Things Done" and organization
See also: Books on organization

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Career-Op - I am not my tools - from the archives

Work in a high-tech career long enough and you will find yourself telling clients that something “cannot (easily) be done.” Each and every piece of software and hardware that you touch will have one quirk, fault, or missing feature that will make your life…interesting. Over the years, this can lead to some deeply probing questions about your own skills and abilities. Let me be the first to say that you are not your tools and their failures are not yours. Their failures can reflect on you, though, so it is important to manage them, and your client’s expectations carefully." [Continue Reading]

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Let the Good Times Roll by Guy Kawasaki

Let the Good Times Roll by Guy Kawasaki: Guy's Golden Touch

Author and business evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, now has his own blog. Guy's most recent book is The Art of the Start. He has a free online seminar coming up tomorrow, so get yourself over there and sign up!

See also: Other books by Guy Kawasaki
See also: Previous posts about Guy Kawasaki

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