Career Opportunities

The High-Tech Career Handbook

A weekly ComputorEdge Column and Podcast by Douglas E. Welch

All in this together

February 4, 2000

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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.

Have you helped someone today?

One of the best ways to help your own career is to reach out and help others with theirs. You will often find that helping others opens door for you in the process. Have you helped someone prepare or re-design a resume lately? Have you passed on a job opportunity or invited a friend to interview for an open position in your company? Have you merely sat and listened to someone who recently lost their job and needs to vent? All these activities encourage others to do the same for you. People are much more willing to reciprocate good actions then start them on their own. Sometimes you have to make the first move.

There are others around you that are probably feeling as lonely as you are. Extend a hand in friendship, just as you wish someone would extend to you. You can sit back and deepen the loneliness you feel or reach out and realize that we are all in this together. We are all trying to make our mark on the world and suffer the same setbacks and failures.

I want everyone to take a few minutes this week to help out someone else with their career. Help them find a training class. Teach them something about computers or a new piece of software yourself. I can guarantee that you will find yourself re-energized and ready to face your own job search or career change. If you have questions about careers, post a message to the Career-Op mailing list. (See for info on subscribing) Myself and others will be more than willing to offer a few words of advice, encouragement or optimism.

Two-way street

For those of you who are already stable in a good career why not reach out from your place of stability and give others the benefit of your experience? Whether you volunteer through an established mentor program or just help out someone you know, take someone new under your wing. Invite them into your world. You will both benefit greatly.

Others can learn from your experience when they are confronting problems for the first time. From each of these people you will gain a new, fresh insight on issues you may not have considered. We can all use a “Whack on the side of the head” every so often and mentoring is one way to be assured of an ongoing supply. When you add the joys of making new friends and enjoying their company the benefits of mentoring expand even farther.

Writing this column, in fact, all of my writing, is an attempt to engage and assist others. I hope to pass on a little of what I have learned. I find that the letters and emails I receive in return are well worth the investment. These messages force me to deepen my thinking and consider issues more clearly than I have ever done before. You keep me on my toes and force me to grow, even when I might be perfectly happy where I am. I would be a poorer writer if I did not reach out to you each week.

If you haven’t assisted someone in their career this week, go out and do it now. Call a friend. Send an email. Write a letter. We all have a responsibility to help each other in all aspects of our lives. If your career or job search seems stalled perhaps it is because you have fallen victim to the loneliness we all feel in hard times. An external focus can help you from spiraling deeper and deeper into worry. Action begets action. Help others to help yourself.

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