Career Opportunities

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A weekly ComputorEdge Column and twice-weekly podcast by Douglas E. Welch
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Interview with Jo Ann Braheny - Creativity and Your Career

Career Opportunities podcast logoA LIVE interview with Jo Ann Braheny, creativity expert and writer of Goosing Your Muse, a creativity blog.

This Friday: March 3, 2007: Playing "the enforcer" could put your career at risk

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Next Career Opportunities LIVE - Feb 28, 2007

Join creativity and career consultant JoAnn Braheny for a LIVE interview and question and answer session.

Much like I believe that every career is a high-tech career, every career is also becoming a creative career. I'll discuss this topic and more with JoAnn.

Check out her blog, Goosing Your Muse and her Bio.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When it's time for a new line of work...

Sometimes, it can be a little difficult to tell when you should be investigating a new line of work, but in the case of this developer, the case seems very clear.

Boing Boing and Slashdot point out this story of a Macintosh software developer who is so fed up with the pirating of his software that he programmed in a "nuclear" defense. Instead of simply disabling the software when a pirated serial number is used, the developer included code that will delete a user's home directory (i.e. all your documents, pictures, music, preferences and settings) when it detects certain, pirated, serial numbers.

I do not support software piracy, but it seems clear that this developer has not only destroyed their own business, but may have opened themselves to legal action, up to and including felony charges, if this software bomb is ever activated.

Each business has its issues and software piracy is certainly a concern of any software developer, yet this action is clearly self-destructive. No one how is aware of this issue will ever install another piece of software from this developer, out of fear of what might happen.

You shouldn't wait for self-destructive behavior such as this to indicate when it is time to find a new job or career. Yet, we often find signs of such career suicide in our own lives. Workers who not only do worse and worse at their job over time, but also start actively sabotaging their companies and fellow employees. The truth is, you damage yourself far more than anyone else. In the end the damage to your own life could be so severe that you may have trouble finding any work at all.

If you are unsatisfied with your career, direct your energies to finding something new, not in destroying everything you have created.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Have you talked with your manager (or employees) today?

Career Opportunities podcast logoOne of the most important parts of any job, whether you are an employee, manager or executive is communication. Without regular communication among all the parts of your company, projects will fail, tasks will go incomplete and business will suffer. Furthermore, as an employee, if you are not communicating with your manager enough to know that you are doing the most critical work of the moment, you risk your job, as well. Have you talked with your manager today? Managers? Have you talked with your employees today? Does everyone know the critical path through this day, this week , the month? If not, why not?

Next Friday: March 3, 2007: Playing "the enforcer" could put your career at risk

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blogs are up, but I am down...

While the technology keeps running, I am down with a bad cold that is making me write nothing but gibberish and drink copious amounts of orange juice. (WEAK SMILE)

More posts and podcasts by the end of the week. Really! I promise.

(Shouting over shoulder)

"Honey, where's my warm sweater and slippers?"


Monday, February 19, 2007

Book Giveaway - Treat Your Customers by Bob Miglani

Treat Your Customers: Thirty Lessons on Service and Sales That I Leaned at My Family's Dairy Queen® Store by Bob Miglani.

I received this signed copy courtesy of the InBubbleWrap book giveaway blog. I have (gently) read it and am now offering it up to Career Opportunities readers and listeners.

For a chance to get the book, email me at with a Subject of Book Giveaway by 11:59pm PST, March 3, 2007. I will randomly draw a name from the entries and mail the book to you.


Customer service is the cornerstone of every successful business, and in Treat Your Customers, corporate businessman Bob Miglani reveals winning strategies for sales and service using anecdotes and analogies from his experiences working at his familys Dairy Queen store. Miglani cuts to the essence of what makes great customer service by sharing clear, concise techniques and guidelines for coping with angry customers, minimizing stress, and making customer service providers feel great about doing their jobs. Both charming and educational, Treat Your Customers will appeal to any business owner, manager, or corporate employee who wants to enhance sales, motivate employees, and keep customers coming back.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

What I'm reading...

I discovered this book through a presentation from Tech Nation with Dr. Moira Gunn, delivered via IT Conversations. She interviews one of the authors Curt Carlson, CEO of SRI International, one of the co-authors. It is well worth a listen and a read.

“Innovation—mystery or mastery? For Carlson and Wilmot, the answer is definitely the latter. Following the example of Deming’s approach to quality—another of those magically powerful substances—they lay out a thoughtful, practical methodology for managing innovation projects through to successful outcomes. Sure, in that one percent inspiration there may be the occasional moment of mystery, but for those of us operating in the ninety-nine percent perspiration part of the field, it’s terrific to finally get a great user’s manual.” —Goeffrey Moore, author of Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution"

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Is your company evil or stupid?

Career Opportunities podcast logoAlmost everyone is familiar with Google, Inc.'s famous motto, "Don't be evil". That said, how do you feel about the company where you work? Are they being evil or just stupid? Sometimes it can be very difficult to know exactly, but the answer can mean very different results for your career.

Next Friday: February 23, 2007: Have you talked with your manager (or employees) today?

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Traveling Technology - from the archives

by Douglas E. Welch,
206-338-5832 Reader/Listener Line

Despite the fact that traveling, especially by airplane, is getting more and more troublesome, there are still a lot of people traveling around the US and the world. Whether they are traveling for business or pleasure, those people are probably bringing some type of personal technology with them. Digital cameras, GPS receivers, laptop computers, PDAs and more are finding their way into suitcases these days. This provides an interesting opportunity for high-tech careerists. If people are traveling with this technology, they are going to need help with it. High-tech workers might find that they can still practice their trade while living and working in a tourist town or resort.

Next Friday: February 16, 2007: Is your company evil or stupid?

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day 2007

Valentine's Day 2007
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Valentine's Day is an interesting day for me. These are two gifts from my son, Joseph, that he made in his weekly after school art class. As you can see from the writing on one of them, Valentine's Day is also my birthday. Today marks my 43rd year on this planet. Since my birthday falls on a holiday, I am expected to give gifts, as well as receive them and it makes it very difficult to go out for dinner or hold any sort of party, as all the other couples are busy with their own celebrations.

That said, tonight some friends are coming over to produce a LIVE reading of Love Letters from History (more info below), so, while it won't be a huge party (I'm not that fond of birthday parties anyway) it will be a nice evening among friends doing something we all enjoy. Join us, online tonight, starting at 6 PM PST/9 PM EST. Again, full information in how to listen or join in is in a post below.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What I'm Reading....

Readymade is from the folks over at Readymade magazine, a great monthly available via subscription or on the newstand.

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Elsewhere Online: Sheepwalking by Seth Godin

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes!

Seth Godin nails this one on the head. "Sheepwalking"...What a great descriptive term for those trapped in job and career that is going nowhere. I've been preaching against this for a while, but it is great to have a word to use so we can all focus on the problem.

Read the entire article by clicking the link below


I define "sheepwalking" as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.

You've probably encountered someone who is sheepwalking.

(Continues on original site)

(Via Seth's Blog.)

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Friday, February 09, 2007

How is your career story changing over time?

by Douglas E. Welch,

206-338-5832 Reader/Listener Line

Would you read a story or novel where, at the end, nothing has changed? Would you feel anything for a character who has learned nothing over the course of the book? Would you read the next book in the series? I think not. That fact is, change is what makes a great story. We want characters who learn new things and change over time. We want to know more about them. We want to understand their decisions based on past behavior. The same goes for your career. If you aren't changing, both personally and professionally, why should anyone care about your career?

Next Friday: February 16, 2007: Is your company evil or stupid?

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Making a list - from the archives

by Douglas E. Welch,

206-338-5832 Reader/Listener Line

No matter the focus of your high-tech career, there is always too much to be done. This computer is broken, the network is down, several pieces of software are already out of date. When there is so much pressing business, though, you can easily lose sight of exactly what needs to be done. You spend your time racing from crisis to crisis and never get a sense of the big wave that is about to crash over you.

This Friday: February 9, 2007: How is your career story changing over time?

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Monday, February 05, 2007

InBubbleWrap - Free Daily Book Giveaway

I received another package from InBubbleWrap today and it reminded me that I wanted to tell you about this great web site.

InBubbleWrap Logo

Each day, they hold a free contest to win a book (usually business-related) that they have found to be excellent. Once you set up a free account, you can return each day to read about the book being offered and enter the contest. They also have an RSS feed that allows you to monitor each day's offers. What could be simpler. The book that arrived today is "Treat Your Customers" by Bob Miglani

I have now won about 5 books from InBubbleWrap and even when I don't win I get introduced to a host of new books each month. Many of these find their way into my "Books to Read" list in my journal, to be found at the local library or bookstore.

Free is one of my favorite words (SMILE), with books being a close second, so this site is a daily stop on my Internet travels.

From the InBubbleWrap web site...

1. What is inBubbleWrap?

Well to make a long story short, we love business. We love talking about it and we love doing business. iBW is our way to share this love (wrapped in Bubble Wrap) with you.

iBW is a site dedicated to giving you the opportunity to win FREE business related prizes. Each day (Monday – Friday) brings a new contest with new prizes for you to win. All prizes are business related whether it’s the latest set of business books, nifty office supplies or advice from a business book author.

New offers are launched daily at 9 a.m. (Central Time) and run for 24 hours.

Did we mention that everything is sent in Bubble Wrap? What could be better than free prizes and an afternoon of bubble popping entertainment? Just a note, when in an office cube, try to save all bubble popping until after office hours. Or wait until your coworker falls asleep on his desk as it would make for a good wake-up call (please, for the sake of your career, do not try this with your boss in hearing range).
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Friday, February 02, 2007

"Just Kidding" often means exactly the opposite

by Douglas E. Welch,
206-338-5832 Reader/Listener Line

"Just kidding!" We hear this on the playground as children and in the office as an adult. Usually it is followed by "Geez, don't you have a sense of humor?" Over the years, though, I have learned that "just kidding" is one of those phrases that means exactly the opposite of what it says. The speaker wasn't kidding at all, but only using the phrase to deflect how incredibly insensitive and rude they are actually behaving.

Next Friday: February 9, 2007: How is your career story changing over time?

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Elsewhere Online: Can You Be Sued for Quitting?

I came across this discussion thread on SlashDot this morning and it brought up some thoughts I have been having for a while.

First, you will need to dig through the comments to find the legal advice the original poster was asking about. The early comments relate more to the issues of "giving notice", etc.

In my past work experience, and I would guess probably yours as well, I have run into a manager who takes every employee move as a personal affront and defection. The fact is, we move from job to job in an effort to build the best career possible. It often has little to do with management or the particular company. Still, manager such as this can make life very difficult.

In this particular case, I can't see any ground for a lawsuit, but I am not a lawyer. It seems that someone was offended by his decision to leave and did what many people do -- grasped at very tenuous legal straws to try and scare and/or retaliate against the employee.

Now, this doesn't mean the threat shouldn't be taken seriously. I would recommend this person seek legal consul immediately, if for no other reason than to allay their fears.

Leaving a job shouldn't be a study in frustration and fear, but some employers will make it so. Protect yourself and don't let anyone bully you.

Can You Be Sued for Quitting?

An anonymous reader asks: "I work at a large hosting company in Texas, and recently decided to go work for a smaller competitor. I had a great relationship with my employer and wanted to leave on good terms, and I hadn't signed any non-compete or employment agreements . I felt my old company had just gotten too large and I didn't like working there anymore, so I gave them two weeks notice in writing. They were really upset when I insisted on leaving and one week into my last two weeks the V.P. of Sales told me the company was suing me for leaving, and they were also suing my new employer for hiring me. I was shocked, and they then escorted me out of the building. Has anybody ever heard of this happening? Do they have any legal basis for suing me?" It shouldn't have to be said that seeking professional legal representation, in such a situation, is the first thing one should do.

(Via Slashdot.)
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Recommended: Manager Tools Podcast

Manager Tools Podcast Logo

On the recommendation of a fellow Friends in Tech member -- Chuck Tomasi -- I began to listen to the Manager Tools podcast with Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman. I have been very impressed with what I have heard and wanted to take a moment to recommend the podcast to all of you.

Now, don't let title put you off. Even if you are not a manager there is a lot of useful information to be had here. Listening to the podcast can help you to better understand your managers and develop ways to manage yourself not matter what your position in a company.

In each podcast, Michael and Mark, provide step-by-step instructions to approach and manage a host of management situations.

You can subscribe to Manager Tools by visiting the web site or subscribe directly using iTunes.

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