A Weekly ComputorEdge Column by Douglas E. Welch





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October 20, 2000

Computer (Career) Nightmares

© 2000, Douglas E. Welch

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Over the past several years of Career Opportunities I have written about a variety of problems that can effect you as a high-tech worker.
This week's theme provides a perfect reason to revisit some of these issues and reiterate the most pressing problems you might face as you develop your computer career.

Job dissatisfaction is a warning sign

If you dread going to work each day it is a clear indication that you should either find another job or, in extreme cases, find another career. Dissatisfaction with your current job isn't simply a problem that needs facing. It is one of the first warning signs that you are unhappy with the current state of your life. Ignore dissatisfaction at your peril. It will not go away by itself and any attempt to "just deal with it" will only make it more painful down the road. Embrace your dissatisfaction and try to discover what is causing it. You might find that there is a simple solution available.

See, Hard Work, November 5, 2000, <>

Mistakes, February 11, 2000 <>


Right way to resign

One of the most nightmarish moments of any job is leaving it. Too often people don't leave their current job on the right note. They end up burning bridges and offending people that might be able to help them in the future. When the time comes for you to say "goodbye" to your current employer you need to put a cap on your emotions and present the most professional demeanor possible.

Don't use your resignation letter to rail against the company or its management. Give two weeks notice. Keep the lines of communication open to people who can help you in the future. Finally, the best advice for anyone who is resigning is "keep your mouth shut!" Don't act too elated about your new position or too angry about the job you are leaving. Nothing makes enemies more quickly than jealousy over your new job or resentment over how you have treated those around you.

See, The Right Way to Resign, November 1998, <>


Workplace Abuse

While most businesses have become more enlightened over the last decade, there are still those that engage in both subtle and overt abuse of their employees. Whether this involves financial exploitation, psychological or physical abuse, no employee should have to face it at all.

Abuse needs to be addressed at the first instant it is experienced. If you find that your manager berates employees in front of your peers, has shouting matches with his partners or tries to intimidate employees physically you must call him or her on this behavior. Sometimes this can lead to your dismissal, but in most cases you would probably leave of your own accord if this behavior was your manager's standard way of operating. Don't let a bad situation spiral out of control. Abuse, in any form, has no place in the office.

See, Is it really that bad, February 1998, <>

Legal problems

While it doesn't happen that frequently, getting involved in business situations that are on the fringes of the law can destroy not only your career, but your entire life. As business becomes more competitive (and even cutthroat) you might be faced with a conflict between your ethics and your career. No matter what level you have reached in a company engaging in, or even ignoring, legal lapses could leave you open to civil or criminal charges.

We know when we are going against our ethics. Our conscience is a very good advisor. If you are feeling uneasy about a particular issue, chances are it is because you are violating your own ethical guidelines.

See, Five Stupid Things, June 11, 1999, <>

Playing it safe, March 10, 2000 <>


More to your life than your job

Finally, while it might seem a quaint concept in these days of hyper-competitive Internet startups, your job is not, and should not be, your life. Too often people draw all their self-esteem and self-respect from their work. This often leads to people who cannot cope when their job is threatened or eliminated. Cultivate a life outside of your office. Pursue your other interests or simply start learning about something that interests you.

Your goal should be to develop a well-rounded life that consists of your work, your family, and your outside interests in something approaching an equal balance. In this way you will be able to make the best decisions about all of these areas of your life. Too often, people focus on their work to the exclusion of all else. While there is a slight chance that you will become both rich and famous, it is also very likely that your family and your own personal life will suffer more damage than you ever thought possible.

See, A job, not a life, November 26, 1999, <>


You will face many challenges in your career, but to be forewarned is to be forearmed. A little information and preparation today can save you a career-long heartache tomorrow. Pay close attention to your career decisions and what it happening around you. Do what you can now to avoid high-tech career nightmares and you will sleep better for the rest of your life.

about this column.

Previous Career-Op Columns

October 22, 1999 Wasted Time

October, 1998 Troubleshooting

October 24, 1997 On your own: Part 4

Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on Douglas' web page at:

He can reached via email at

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