Career Opportunities

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A weekly ComputorEdge Column and twice-weekly podcast by Douglas E. Welch
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Friday, June 30, 2006

Career-Op Skypecast - Join the live Discussion - July 7, 2006

This coming Friday, July 7, 2006 at 6 pm PDT will be our next Skypecast, a regular discussion forum for Career Opportunities.

I have often had readers and listeners wish that they could chat with myself or others after reading/listening to each weeks column. Skype's new SkypeCast feature offers us an opportunity and online location to do just that. You will find full instructions, and links to the free Skype program, at

If you want to discuss this week's Career-Op column, past columns or ask questions about your own career, join us this Friday.

Please be aware that Skypecast is a public meeting place, like your local pub, and it is in beta, so technical issues and people issues may abound. When you join the Skypecast, please wear headphones ( to avoid audio feedback) and mute your microphone by default.

I will be using the "Ask for the Microphone" feature in Skypecast to call on each person who wants to speak. You will find this button at the top of the Skypecast web window that opens when you join.

Join the SkypeCast Friday, July 7, 2006 at 6 pm PDT

Don't let your clients fall behind - June 30, 2006

Visiting a new client this week, I was reminded of the pain clients can feel when their computers fall too far behind the state of the art. While no one wants to buy hardware and software they don't need, neither do they want to make huge leaps when they are finally forced to upgrade. A slow progression of software and hardware updates is far more preferable to the "forced march" of an emergency upgrade.. [Continue Reading]

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Contract Yourself - from the archives

As many of you know, working as a full-time employee can have many benefits, but just as many drawbacks. The bond of loyalty that once held employer and employee together continues to deteriorate and the situation only grows worse. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the concept of employment and what it means to be an employee. Instead of constantly reaching for the brass ring of “employment”, high-tech workers might find better career opportunities awaiting them on the freelance side of the equation. [Continue Reading]

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Busting Assumptions - June 23, 2006

Most everyone knows the aphorism about what can happen when you assume things. You can draw a direct line between assumptions and mistakes and this is exactly what happens in most companies on a daily basis. We assume that a certain task is done, but it isn't. We assume someone else will remember to do something if we forget. We assume that our manger or our company is looking out for our best interests. Assumptions are nothing more than wild guesses about what is really happening. In business, you need to be very careful about the assumptions you make and work diligently to insure that people don't have to make assumptions about your goals, work or character. [Continue Reading]

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

All in this together - from the archives

Often when you are starting or building a technology career you can feel alone. You can feel as if no one is helping you, no one is looking out for you and no one has any interest in helping you succeed. The truth, though, is much less gloomy a scenario. While you are certainly the driving force in your career there are those around you who are willing to help. Sometimes, though, we have to help these people help us. [Continue Reading]

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Reader Feedback

I received this wonderful letter from one of my ComputorEdge readers this week and wanted to share it with you. I am always amazed and humbled when I receive letters such as this. It gives me great support as I enter the 10th year of writing Career-Op. -- Douglas

Douglas Welch's June 16 column, "What to Do When Your Career Is Going Well,” is one of the best articles that I have ever read on this subject.

What Mr. Welch described is exactly what happened to me when I was in the military. I got too comfortable in my career, which led to my downfall. I wish I had read this article 20 years ago, when I first started my military career. If I did, I would certainly be a lot better off than I am today.

Excellent article by Mr. Welch. I really love reading his articles every week.

Curtis Hilyard

I would love to hear your career questions and feedback on the columns and podcast. You can send email directly to or post them as comments here on the web site.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What to do when your career is going well - June 16, 2006

Despite the fact that we all have challenges to face in our careers, there are times when things are going our way. There are times when we find the perfect job at the perfect moment with the perfect company. When this happens, you usually just want to sit back and enjoy. While you certainly should take pleasure in finding a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable, you should not forget to stay prepared for the time when desire or circumstance leads you out of this job and into the next. [Continue Reading]

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Elsewhere Online: Appointment bookends: Use ‘em

Off and on, I have instituted this idea of "bookending" appointments so you have some time to think about the work you are doing instead of being absorbed by the work itself.

This article from outlines the entire process and exactly why it is so important. Just one more way to help make your life a little bit better.

Appointment bookends: Use ‘em.

I have some very simple advice for you this week which can revolutionize your workweek productivity.

It describes a habit I had fallen into out of sheer necessity when I was a corporate VP in operations, finding that appointments could easily and completely dominate my entire day if I allowed them to. My calendar was a parade of interviews, employee counseling, staff meetings, vendor appointments, and customer meet-and-greets, all those same scheduling challenges you probably have too, with people wanting or needing their piece of you. You can’t say no to them, and you may not want to, but you can get much smarter about how you schedule them. [Continued]


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Question and Answer - from the archives

Every high-tech worker can and should work on improving their “people” skills. These are the skills that allow you to communicate clearly and effectively with your customers. This means more work, more revenue and a better high-tech career. While there are many ways to work on your people skills, I have found one that combines this with the excitement of thinking on your feet, all while helping computer users get the most out of their systems. [Continue Reading]

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Elsewhere Online: Techies Asked To Train Foreign Replacements

This article makes it very clear why every worker needs to be prepared for any eventuality in their career. Don't let companies use severance pay as a form of "golden handcuffs" to keep you in line for the last few weeks of your job.

Instead of wasting your time training others to do you job, you should be off finding your own position, hopefully with a company that has more respect for its work force than the current one. Take your knowledge to new company that appreciates your work. If your skills are important enough to pass on to new employees, then it is important enough to keep you employed. Companies cannot have it both ways. They can either pay for the knowledge or do without it.

As far as it being an employees "responsibility" to train their replacements, I don't see what responsibility an employee has to a company that has already decided to fire them. It is a transparent attempt to manipulate your actions, one last time. Your responsibility to yourself to better your career far outweighs any supposed responsibility to the employer.

Build your own cash reserves so that the next time a company decides to try and manipulate you with a severance package you can simply walk away and onto the next phase of your career.

Techies Asked To Train Foreign Replacements

Makarand writes "David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Bank of America (BofA) is moving thousands of tech jobs to India and has asked its techies to train their Indian replacements or risk losing severance pay. Although there is nothing in writing that says precisely this, the employees have been made clear about this responsibility in their meetings. BofA is outsourcing tech work to Indian companies whose employees do the work at half the cost of what a U.S. worker gets paid. According to an estimate, outsourcing has allowed the bank to save about $100 million over the past five years."

(Via Slashdot.)

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Career, not complaints - June 9, 2006

Typically, discussions about jobs and careers consist of people complaining about their jobs and careers. We seem to have no problem griping about our managers, customers and CEO. When it comes to discussions about how to improve our careers, though, we fall silent. We seem to revel in the horrors of our jobs, but feel embarrassed to admit that we are unprepared to do anything to about it or to even discuss what can be done. Complaining takes the place of useful action but we end up just where we started. [Continue Reading]

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On the inside - From the archives

Working as an independent consultant for small companies has many benefits. The work is varied and you get to deal with a large variety of people. One downside, though, is that the company may not have anyone on their staff that can monitor and manage systems between your visits. This can often lead to confusion and crises when systems don’t work as planned. If you want to keep your client relationships on a good footing you need to have someone on the inside who can be your eyes and ears, even when you are far away. [Continue Reading]

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Magic Words - June 2, 2006

There is a long forgotten secret of the business world, but it also applies to volunteer work and life in general. While we might encounter it on occasion, for the most part, this secret has been abandoned like the concept of wearing spats or holding doors for women. In an effort to improve your lives and your careers, I am going to re-introduce you to the secret. Even in today's world, there are some magic words that can smooth all waters, inspire those around you to great heights and even convince people that they have a purpose in the world. What words could possibly hold such power? Thank you. [Continue Reading]

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