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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Sunday, July 30, 2006

What I'm Reading...

An tiny, yet interesting book, originally written in 1960 and directed at advertising students. It lays out a straightforward, 5-step process for generating new ideas, regardless of the project or subject matter.

Can it help you to be more creative? It might. I see hints of my own creative process in the pages and, while a bit vague in descriptions of execution, the general theories on creativity seem sound.

Link: A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Web Young

Friday, July 28, 2006

Longevity - July 28, 2006

Career Opportunities passed another milestone last month, entering its 10th year of publication. It is a bit hard to believe that I have been writing this column for so long. Thanks to all the readers and to the listeners of its companion podcast for your support and kind words over the years. The anniversary of this Career-Opportunities column got me to thinking about the concept of longevity and how it can effect your career. [Continue Reading]

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Show your appreciation - Today is SysAdmin Day

From the web site...

Friday, July 28th, 2006, is the 7th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. On this special international day, give your System Administrator something that shows that you truly appreciate their hard work and dedication.

Let's face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It's the least you could do.

Consider all the daunting tasks and long hours (weekends too.) Let's be honest, sometimes we don't know our System Administrators as well as they know us. Remember this is one day to recognize your System Administrator for their workplace contributions and to promote professional excellence. Thank them for all the things they do for you and your business.

Link: SysAdmin Day web site

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Who are you talking to? - from the archives

After writing this column for six years, I have received my share of email from readers. This email has come from both local readers and those farther afield, sometimes even outside of the United States. This has shown me just how far my words can travel and it also drives home the importance of thinking about what you are saying before releasing it "into the wild." This is true whether you are writing for publication or just sending email to a colleague across town. The global nature of the Internet insures that your words might be available to readers far beyond their intended audience. [Continue Reading]

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If you find this podcast helpful, please consider a donation towards our purchase of an Edirol R-9 digital recorder.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Elsewhere Online: 10 Myths about Self-Employment

Steve Pavlina writes this excellent article on self-employment. He also has a wonderful podcast on other self-development topics.

10 Myths About Self-Employment

My article 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job has quickly become very popular, so I figured it would be nice to write something about the realities of self-employment as well.  Since there are so many myths about self-employment (especially among lifelong employees), a good place to start would be to dispel some of those myths./b>


(Via Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog.)

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Why do you podcast? - Douglas E. Welch

The ninth in a series of short videos from the LA Podcasters answering the question, "Why do you podcast?" with the host and writer of Career Opportunities and A Gardener's Notebook.

Play Video

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Elsewhere Online: Top 10 Ways to Motivate Geeks - The Retrospector

How do you feel about these motivators? Do they describe your wants and needs when it comes to work? I see a lot of myself in this list and a lot of wisdom. It could use a bit more information on how to implement the strategies, but it is a good start.

What do you think? Chime in using the comments link below or join the Career-Op Mailing List and send your thoughts there.

Top 10 Ways to Motivate Geeks · The Retrospector

Being a geek myself, I think this is a subject I think needs to penetrate all levels of management in every company that values their geeks. By no means is this a rant, but for the last 10 years I’ve seen what motivates us and what doesn’t. I’ve seen the managers that just don’t get it. I’ve seen those that understand completely and react accordingly. So, I thought I’d share my observations and see what everyone has to add as well.


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Friday, July 21, 2006

Looking back to move forward - July 21, 2006

One of the most damaging phrases during any business meeting is, "We've tried that before." Often, one failed attempt at a project, even years before, is enough to disqualify it forever. How silly is that? Projects fail for a variety of reasons -- lack of planning, bad timing, bad product -- so a project that might have failed in the past could still become an important part of your business today. [Continue Reading]

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If you find this podcast helpful, please consider a donation towards our purchase of an Edirol R-9 digital recorder.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Interview with web developer, Kreg Steppe

This is the forth in our on-going interview series, talking with high-tech workers of all types.

Today's guest is Kreg Steppe, an in-house web developer for a large law firm in Charlotte, North Carolina

Kreg is also co-host of Technorama, with Chuck Tomasi and hosts his own podcast on open source software, Valid Syntax.

Finally, Kreg is also a fellow member of Friends in Tech.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Elsewhere Online: Keeping a Journal -

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the usefulness of writing in a journal to clarify your ideas and keep track of your goals. Here is a great post from PigPog on Keeping a journal, regardless of your needs.

Keeping a Journal

Thinking of starting a journal? It's a popular activity now, particularly among women, to help make sense of life by keeping a written record of thoughts, hopes and dreams. Here are a few tips and links:

Benefits of Journalling

  • The main benefit of keeping a journal is the same as GTD's - it's getting stuff out of your head and onto paper.
  • When keeping a journal you are your own audience, so your writing can be as wild and free as you wish. You don't even have to write. You can draw, or call the shots.
  • It's a record of your life and your thoughts.
  • You decide who gets to see it.
  • You can swear as much as you like (see below).
[ Continues ]

(Via PigPog - News and Updates.)

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Monday, July 17, 2006

On my 'To Read" List

Here are some books that are currently on my "To Read" list.

In most cases I request books from my library to read before I commit to adding them to my library. I think it is a great way to hold my bibliomania in check a bit, lest I find myself surrounded by nothing but bookshelves.

The Box by Marc Levinson
The Pursuit of Victory by Roger Knight
Juicing the Orange by Pat Fallon

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Web Service: - Create and share diagrams online.

I came across this today, while reading my RSS feeds and it is too cool. I often have a need to hack up a quick chart describing a network or a process flow and this web service looks like it will be very useful in the future.

Create network diagrams, flow charts, user interface mockups, floor plans and more. You can print, save as JPG, PNG and SVG, collaborate with others on your diagram and publish the results to the Internet.

Note: Mac users will want to use the free Firefox browser (see the link at right), as Safari does not seem to work with the site. - Create and share diagrams online. Web-based replacement for Visio. I hope this means no more stealing a copy of the entire MS Office suite just to do one flowchart.


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Share Friends In Tech with Your Friends!

As you may already know, Career Opportunities is a member of Friends in Tech, a loose consortium of technology podcasters who work together for cross promotion, cross-pollination, and more most importantly, fun!

The picture to the right is a link to the Friends in Tech flyer (PDF) that you can use to introduce your friends to all the Friends in Tech shows. There is information on Friends in Tech, show topics and average length. You can email the FiT Flyer or print it out to share with your friends.

Thanks for helping to spread the word about Friends in Tech and my podcasts!


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Time for you - July 14, 2006

A crazy workday is familiar to all of us. We are busy from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave...and even after we leave, in some cases. Our lives are driven by one urgent project after another. While we may be busy in this environment, too often we are not very productive. Without some time for ourselves, to re-group, analyze and plan, all of our busyness can come to mean very little. To break free from the constant interruptions of your event driven work, you need to take time for yourself, morning, noon and night.

Now, of course, I am not suggesting you ignore work that needs to be done. Only that you carve out 5, 10, maybe 15 minutes a day to insure that you are working on something that is important and not just urgent.
[Continue Reading]

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If you find this podcast helpful, please consider a donation towards our purchase of an Edirol R-9 digital recorder.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Technology, not computers - from the archives

Embroiled in your high-tech career, faced with a litany of one computer problem after another, you might begin to think that computers are what it is all about. Unfortunately, computers are only a small part of your problem. The bigger problem is an overall lack of understanding about all technology, not just computers. Technology has seeped into nearly every aspect of life, from the electric/sonic/pulsating toothbrush in the morning to the microchip controlled electric blanket at night. If you want to build your high-tech career to greater and greater heights, you would do well to teach technology to your clients, not just computers. [Continue Reading]

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If you find this podcast helpful, please consider a donation towards the purchase of an Edirol R-09 Digital Recorder.

Letter from a Reader/Listener

Adam B. writes...


I have been at a job for about a year now and am getting very burnt out.
The job is great, my boss is nice, pay is decent and everything is OK except
the fact that I am not challenged at all. My boss never has anything for me
to do and I always have to find projects to work on. I have a lot of
projects that I have thought of and have completed a few of them, but I get
the impression that no one really appreciates these projects. This place is
the kind of place that is happy with everything as long as it's working. I
never get incentives to improve upon things and I have never really been
told how much my work is appreciated.

Since it is a small financial institution, I feel that I could be more
valuable other places. I love a challenge and I feel that a much larger
institution would be a better fit to me because I feel as if I have outgrown
this place. There are others here in the same dept that have been here for
10+ years and love it because they don't have to do anything. I HATE this
and want to be able to be a part of something bigger.

I've been listening to your podcast for some time now and really enjoy it.
I just wanted to see what your insight would be on this predicament.

Adam B.

My reply...

I think that every career should have some challenge in it, otherwise you stagnate. it sounds like you have reached the point with this job where you have done everything you can. It happens.

You are in a great position, though. You have a nice steady, decent-paying job and a stable environment from which to launch the search for your next job. Despite the fact that such an environment can trap some people due to its stability, you can use it to support you as you look for the next, more challenging job. It will provide you the money and time necessary.

I know, some people will call you crazy to give up a good job, even if you are looking for a great job, but you just have to ignore them and do what feels right for you. It might not feel like it, but you are in the perfect position.

Start checking out the classifieds, the online job sites and start, discretely, letting your network know that you are looking. I can almost guarantee you will be surprised at the opportunities that await you.

Go for it!

If you have questions or comments about Career Opportunities, send them to I would love to hear what's going on in your career!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On my wishlist: Edirol R-09 Portable Digital Recorder

After having an opportunity to use this unit and hear its sounds quality, I have decided to add it to my Amazon Wish List and start reserving listener/reader donations towards purchasing my own unit. Special thanks to all who have donated in the recent weeks

I used my friend's Edirol R-09 to record my interview with Keri Dearborn, which listener's of A Gardener's Notebook have heard over the last few weeks. This interview was recorded with no additional equipment...just the recorder sitting on a chair between us while we talked. In fact, you can see the unit, tiny as it is, in the photo posted along with that podcast entry.

The R-09 also allows you to connect any sort of external microphone to the unit including lavaliere microphones for doing interviews and shotgun mics for long distance recording. My friend, Michael, has also simply fitted the windscreen for his shotgun mic (usually called a "muff") directly over the top of the unit to shield it from wind noise when using it outside.

This unit would make it so much easier to do interviews for the podcasts as well as un-tether me from my computer to do sightseeing tours and ad-hoc, man-on-the-street conversations. It would also make it very easy to record conference sessions and speeches that I attend.

So, if you have been waiting for a direct, tangible reason to donate to Career Opportunities or A Gardener's Notebook, here is where some of you money would be used.

Make a donation for the Edirol R-09

Link: My Amazon Wishlist
Link: Edirol R-09 at

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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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cross-post: Review: Slim Devices Squeezebox

I just posted a review of Slim Devices Squeezebox wireless network music player on my personal blog, My Word and thought some readers here might be interested in the device.

Read the review of Slim Devices Squeezebox

Please Complete Our Listener Survey

If you enjoy Career Opportuntities and would like to help it grow, please consider filling out our Listener Survey over at from the log files and interactions with you I see some evidence that you are scattered all over the world and you range in age from 15-65 (or less....or more), but knowing a bit more about you would be a great help in developing new topics for the podcast.

If you have a moment, please consider completing my Listener Survey over at It is a great way to help make Career Opportunities even better.

If you have further comments or questions, please email them to I would love to hear what is happening in your career.

Thank you for your time!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The iconoclast - July 7, 2006

High-tech workers tend to be on the cutting edge of both work and society, so it isn't surprising that you will find an iconoclast or two among our ranks. These are the people who purposely seek out the sacred cows, the ironclad beliefs of our business and unassailable facts and delight in mocking, attacking and disproving them. Often, though, these iconoclasts can forget that not everyone needs such a fervent attack. Not everyone is part of the great unwashed, and uneducated, masses. There are plenty of folks out there that are already on their side. When this is forgotten, these free-thinkers can actually harm their goals by "preaching to the choir" with a bit too much fervor. [Continue Reading]

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Skypecast Today - Friday, July 7, 2006

Today, Friday, July 7, 2006 at 6 pm PDT is 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

Elsewhere Online: The Art of the Layoff

Guy Kawasaki has a great post on how companies should do layoffs and the issues involved. As someone who might end up on the layoff list, you owe it to yourself to see things from the other side of the executive door, so you have a better idea of where you stand and what you can do.

The Art of the Layoff

We're in a bubble again. It';s not as frothy as last time, but hallelujah, this time we know what to do, right? One good thing about the dotcom implosion in 2000 is that we got lots of practice laying people off, and I'm afraid that this valuable knowledge may get lost.

If you are scoffing ("Guy's clueless: We'll never downsize because we're growing so fast."), then you're my intended reader. [Continues]

(Via “Let the Good Times Roll” by Guy Kawasaki.)

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Inertia - from the archives

Repeat after me...I will stop waiting for other people to help me out of my career problems and address them myself, every day, in every way possible. That was easy, wasn't it. I am sure you are wondering just what I am talking about, though. What I am describing is the way many high-tech careerists, myself included, allow the world, the computer industry and the marketplace to push them around from job to job, instead of "taking the bull by the horns" and directing their own career. It is a simple fact of life that it is much easier to let fate dictate your job choices, but it is no way to develop the career and the life you want. [Continue Reading]

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What I'm Reading...

Elsewhere Online: 10 Ways to Tweak Your Tech Resume

This offers up one take on resume creation.

10 Ways to Tweak Your Tech Resume


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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Today's young workers should expect more

(This was written in response to a Los Angeles Times editorial in June 2006 -- Douglas)

It has become fashionable to bemoan the naiveté, if not outright stupidity of young workers in expecting more from their first jobs than those who came before them, but today's youth are right to expect -- and even demand -- more of their potential employers. My generation, and many before it, was sold a bill of goods that work was something tedious and depressing that you escaped through hobbies, alcohol and finally, retirement. But our complaints are sour grapes. We are simply angry that it took so long for society to figure out that work can, and should be, energizing, exciting and fulfilling. Today's young workers aren't naive. They are simply refusing to walk down the well-worn path that served their mothers and fathers so poorly.

The reality of work has changed. Young workers won't be satisfied with poor paying, low fulfillment jobs anymore, nor should they be. They will seek out companies that are having an impact on the world, rather than simply churning out the next "New Improved Product X". Companies that fail to understand this will find themselves with the least qualified and least motivated section of the work force, while other companies will reap the rewards of the most highly educated, highly motivated and, more importantly, highly fulfilled workforces ever imagined.

Young workers want to work for a company that is changing the world, and the truth is, working in the mail room of an excellent company offers greater rewards, both monetary and spiritual, than being a manager at yet another company that hasn't changed since the Nixon Administration. These workers will drive our country and the world to great new heights, because they are doing something they believe in, not simply taking home a paycheck.

Is it easy? Of course not. Competition will be fierce, companies will be resistant and old codgers, like myself, will call them stupid and naive. Still, the secret has been revealed and cannot be denied any longer. Work doesn't have to be drudgery. It can be the means to a successful and fulfilling life. We should have expected better. Our children are right to demand better.

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