Career Opportunities

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A weekly ComputorEdge Column and twice-weekly podcast by Douglas E. Welch
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Friday, August 31, 2007

A Reputation for Clear Thinking - Call our Listener Line at 818-804-5049

Career Opportunities podcast logo
"If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; . . . If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same . . . Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it. - Ruyard Kipling

In my experience, truer words were never spoken. They apply to so many aspects of life and work that they may be one of the few universal truths in the world. Kipling knew that managing yourself and your life in the extremes of both failure and success was the true sign of a great person. I know that I measure myself against these words, sometimes on a daily basis. I believe the ability to think clearly, even when others are confused, resentful and uncooperative is the rock on which you found your own reputation, career and life.

Next Friday: September 7, 2007: A Reputation for Trustworthiness

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Friday, August 24, 2007

A Reputation for Empathy - Call our Listener Line at 818-804-5049

Career Opportunities podcast logoEmpathy is the ability to understand the feelings or situation of another person. As you might imagine, empathy is a very important trait for those people who want to successfully collaborate with others, whether as co-workers, manager and staff or client and consultant. If you are unable to connect with others or truly understand what they might be feeling, you set yourself apart like a modern day Marie Antoinette, giving advice without any real understanding of the world around you. Other people are quick to catch on when you lack empathy or any real understanding of how they are feeling. This diminishes your effectiveness with others and can put your career at risk.

Next Friday: August 31, 2007: A Reputation for Clear Thinking

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iTunes Review | Career-Op Forums | | Podcast Alley | Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Join the Career Opportunities Facebook Group

In case you hadn't heard, Career Opportunities has a Facebook group. If you prefer the Facebook world to others, join me and others there.

Join the Career Opportunities Facebook Group here!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Things I Believe: I (or your consultant) could get hit by a bus tomorrow

Many of my clients have heard me discuss my methods of computer consulting over the years, but for those of you who have missed it, I wanted to write up some short articles on my consulting philosophy. Mainly, this is summed up with the simple phrase, "I could get hit by a bus tomorrow."

Despite this depressing idea (especially for me), I think it shows something very fundamental about the way I work with all my clients, whether I am setting up their computer or network or helping them to get started with a web site, blog or podcast. Everything I do is meant to insure that the client could continue to work, and be productive, even if this theoretical bus and I had our fateful meeting the day before.

I began describing my actions in this way after countless consulting calls where I was following up after another consultant or staff member. I am often called in to complete, modify or clean-up projects that have failed for one reason or another, More times than I like to contemplate, this has involved starting over from the beginning -- mainly because the previous consultant never provided basic, extremely necessary, information to the client. Thankfully, most of the previous workers weren't hit by a bus, but even worse, they simply disappeared. They had simply abandoned the client for some reason.

For me, typical consulting situations involve network routers with unknown password or odd settings where no one remembers the reason -- lost, missing or forgotten ftp passwords which prevent individual and companies from updating their web sites -- domain names registered in the consultants name, meaning that my client can't update or change their web hosting company or move their web site -- missing software critical to daily operations and more.

After facing so many of these issues myself, I do everything I can to insure that anyone who follows me into a client's office will have all the information they need. After all, as I said at the beginning, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. (Of course, here in Los Angeles, I am much more likely to be involved in a traffic collision than a bus accident, but that is another story) Furthermore, if you work in any sort of consulting or IT role, you should do the same thing for your clients, for the same reasons.

I know that some consultants who are reading this are rolling their eyes and saying to themselves, "...But this is how I tie my clients to me to insure a steady income. If I give them all this information, they will just do it themselves." First, you're wrong. You develop loyalty in your clients by doing great work, not by withholding information. Second, you're also wrong. Most clients much prefer paying you to do the tech work than doing it themselves. Frankly, they would rather being doing the work they love, making money for their company and themselves, than fiddling with router addresses and installing software. Third, if you get hit by a bus tomorrow, you're not really going to care about who is doing the work, anyway, so why make it more difficult for them (or me).

Finally, if you're the client, you should demand the same consideration from your consultants (and internal IT workers) that I try to give my clients. Do you have ALL the passwords you might need? Has someone documented the procedures for accessing and managing ALL your critical systems, including your telephone PBX, alarm systems, etc. Could your company continue functioning if you needed to hire someone new today?

If not, why not? If not, do it today! Otherwise, a bus with my name on it, might have yours, as well.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

A Reputation for Decision-Making - Call our Listener Line at 818-804-5049

Career Opportunities podcast logoYou may not think about it on a daily basis, but your life is filled with decisions, both large and small. You decide when to get up, what to eat, where you work, who you befriend and who you marry. Unfortunately, when it comes to work, we often spend a lot of our time avoiding important decisions. There are many reasons for this, but your lack of decision-making abilities can directly effect your overall reputation and your chances for success.

Next Friday: August 24, 2007: A Reputation for Empathy

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Douglas on MySpace | Douglas on Facebook | Douglas on LinkedIn

Support Career Opportunities:

iTunes Review | Career-Op Forums | | Podcast Alley | Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

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Friday, August 10, 2007

A Reputation for Honesty - Call our Listener Line at 818-804-5049

Career Opportunities podcast logoAs I continue through this series, you will begin to see how each of the reputations relates to the others. This is exactly as it should be, as this is what happens in life. One reputation supports and effects the others. This week, I tackle honesty and how it relates to your life and career.

By some, honesty is seen as a fluid concept, shades of grey changing slightly depending on the needs of the moment, the people around and the risks involved. Little white lies sprinkle our days and yet we think nothing of them. We see them as merely a way to get along with others without putting us in danger of losing our job or of physical attack.

Next Friday: August 17, 2007: A Reputation for Decision-Making

Join me on these networks:

Douglas on MySpace | Douglas on Facebook | Douglas on LinkedIn

Support Career Opportunities:

iTunes Review | Career-Op Forums | | Podcast Alley | Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What I'm Reading...

I won this book from the (now closed) InBubbleWrap book giveaway site. Author Marshall Goldsmith has some excellent insights on how your previous behaviors might not be a good choice when you start to move up the success ladder.

My final gift from InBubbleWrap. I have been immersing myself in innovation and creativity books lately, so this seems like a good book to delve into.

I learned about this book from the July 7 episode of The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper You can listen to the show directly from their web site, or subscribe to their podcast, like I do. You can also subscribe using Apple's iTunes software.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

A Reputation for Fairness

Career Opportunities podcast logoThere are many reputations that collectively make up your overall reputation. First in line for discussion is a reputation for fairness. What is fairness and how does it impact our work, our careers and our lives?

Our usual introduction to fairness is as a child. You often hear younger children proclaiming, "That's not fair!" to parents and their friends when something doesn't go their way. As children, though, life is inherently unfair. We are under the control and guidance of adults and sometimes the only answer they can give for their actions is, "because I said so." As we grow older the concept of fairness grows. We know when someone is not playing fair. We can tell in the ways they act and talk. We learn that fairness is an important concept in interpersonal relationships, especially work, and those that transgress it are shunned, even though they might rise to high levels. While they might achieve great success in their work, they pay for their lack of fairness in other ways.

Next Friday: August 10, 2007: A Reputation for Honesty

Join me on these networks:

Douglas on MySpace | Douglas on Facebook | Douglas on LinkedIn

Support Career Opportunities:

iTunes Review | Career-Op Forums | | Podcast Alley | Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

As if life wasn't hard enough...

It has been my own experience that people with small bits of pwoer will weild them with the utmost vigor, but this post from Leah over at takes the cake. Where most normal people would simply ignore a resume that did not fit their needs, this person obviously has so much time on their hands as to write a scathing reply that borders on the abusive.

The fact is, someone who does something like this needs a severe reeducation in what it means to deal with the public, even those who are inquiring about employment. I can only imagine how many others they have abused in a similar fashion. I have encouraged Leah to write to the CEO/Preseident and HR head for this company as ask them if this is the type of employee they want representing their company to the public. While it might be true that this is "exactly" the type of person they want in this position, something tells me that they are totally unaware of this behavior and will be appalled to see their company represented in this fashion.

I would love to know which company this was so I could call and get an interview with the writer of the letter and their management to see exactly what would precipitate such an outburst. I think that would be an interesting interview indeed.

Read the post, and the letter Leah received, and let me know what you think in the comments.

I Ain't Got No College Degree

...Yes, quite possibly I’ve received no negative response because 9 out of 10 times, my resume went straight into the shredder. Or the recycling bin, as it were, since I was considered unqualified. And I’ve been OK with knowing that could be true. I’ve always held some sense of Universal Timing and felt in my bones that the right companies would still find me attractive and I would land the position I was meant to have when the time was right.

But never did I consider that I might be angering people on the other side. I didn’t feel that having to read through the first three lines of my cover letter would waste so much of the reader’s time as to do some type of permanent damage to their retina, as this last enraged reply implied.

(Continues -- read on if you dare!)

(Via leahpeah.)

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