Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


Archive for September, 2009

Longevity…and our 5th Anniversary!

September 28th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoLongevity…and our 5th Anniversary!
By Douglas E. Welch



This week marks the 5th anniversary of the Career Opportunities podcast. The print version of Career Opportunities is now entering its 12th year. I want to offer my thanks to everyone who has read or listened to the show over the years. While I have my own reasons and rewards for creating Career Opportunities, the main reason will always be you. I will continue as long as what I write has some value for you and anyone else hoping to “Build the Career You Deserve.”

This major milestone seems a perfect time to address the concept of longevity in your projects and in your career. While there is some honor in doing something important over a long period of time, longevity is never a goal in and of itself. There needs to be a reason and a series of goals behind the longevity. Otherwise, you may end up focusing on habits instead of something which is truly worthwhile.

Over the years, I have revisited the purpose and usefullness of Career Opportunities. I did some hard thinking about whether it was adding value to the conversation and whether it carried significant rewards for myself and my own career. The most important part of this review is forcing yourself to step back and consider your work as an outsider. Despite your intimate involvement with your work, you have to consider it with a critical eye. Why? It has to do with the concept of “sunk costs.”

According to Wikipedia, “sunk costs are retrospective (past) costs which have already been incurred and cannot be recovered.” Too often, we look at the sunk costs of our work and are loathe to bring the project to an end. Surely, after investing all this time and energy, there is a reward to continuing. Why would you stop now? Unfortuntely, the heavy physcological baggage of sunk costs can lead us to do some odd, and sometimes destructive, things.

Take for example a new television show that takes months, if not years, to produce. This same show then fails after its first episode. Why couldn’t those invovled see that the show was not working? Why would they continue production when it seems obvious to many that it was going to fail? Why couldn’t someone have put a stop to it before even more money was wasted? You already know the answer — sunk costs. So much money was poured into the effort that no one wanted to be the one to call the turkey a turkey. No one wants to be the one to abandon those sunk costs, even though that is exactly what needs to be done.

Do you recognize yourself in this discussion? I know I do. This is why you have to regularly review your work and your projects, even if you have been doing them for a very long time. In fact, the longer you have been doing something, the more carefully and deeply you must review why you do it. Don’t let sunk costs fool you into doing something long after the benefits are gone.

Despite the dangers, longevity in anything can do a lot for you and your career. It establishes you as someone who is focused, organized and reliable. If your project is self-defined, it also shows an ability to manage yourself and work independently — skills nearly every job interview asks you to describe. These are great examples to be able to quote when dealing with prospective employers or clients. Longevity in any project also gives us sense of accomplishment in our lives. It is accomplishments like this that help us to gain confidence, stretch and grow throughout our lives and our careers.

After this year’s review of my work with Career Opportunies and other projects, it looks like they will continue. I believe this column and podcast offers value to both you and I. You can help me to insure that fact by letting me know what you want and need from Career Opportunities. What questions do you want addressed? What information do you need to “Help Build the Career You Deserve?” How can I help you to make sure that your work and projects have a long, happy and producuctive life? I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me on the web site at, via email aat or on any of the social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and our own career community at Thanks again for making Career Opportunities such a success.

Support Career Opportunities:

iTunes Review | Career-Op Community Site | Podcast Alley

Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

Categories: Audio, Podcast, Show Tags:

What are you selling to your employer?

September 19th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoWhat are you selling to your employer?
By Douglas E. Welch



The nature of work has changed dramatically over the centuries. As a people, we moved from hunting and gathering, to subsistence farming, to larger agricultural communities, through industrialization to manufacturing and into the “information economy. Sweeping dramatic changes all, but each stage has demanded more physical work than thought. Even the information economy still encompasses much “grunt work” to keep it operating. In many cases in your career, companies are still only buying your “hands”. Sure, they might also be buying a certain amount of your “head” — your best thoughts and ideas — but the next wave in business, which many people do not understand, is asking people to sell their hearts, as well. This will not, and should not, come cheap.

It is probably obvious what I mean by selling your “hands” to your employer. In the past, this might have meant working in a farm field or on an assembly line, but today it could also apply to webmasters and server administrators whose job it is to keep information resources running. In my work as a computer consultant, most of my time is spent troubleshooting, repairing and recovering. Even though I find training and preventive maintenance to be much more involving and rewarding, in many ways I am the high-tech equivalent of a plumber. My job is to fix ‘what’s broke’ as quickly as possible.

As I am moving my consulting business into New Media work, I find that I am selling more of my “head” than my hands. Instead of doing the actual work of setting up blogs and social media accounts, I spend more time helping individuals and businesses discover what is possible and the best ways to make use of these new tools. I have moved from making the automobile on the assembly line to helping design the car that will be made by others. In some ways, writing this column and podcast has also been more “head” work than “hand.” Each week I try to develop ideas that help you “build the career you deserve.” This shows how different parts of your career can simultaneously be at different steps in this new migration of the concepts of career and work.

Today, though, we are entering entirely new waters in the work world. To be deeply successful, to do the best work possible, we need to find a company, a business or a life where we can “sell” our “heart” — our passion. While it can sound odd to discuss selling our passion, that is truly what we are doing. In the best careers, we find a place where we are willing to provide our passionate skills and thoughts to another in return for monetary rewards. This isn’t selling out. This is finding what I consider to be the epitome, sine quo non, of careers — a career where you make money doing something you love. A career in which you can invest your heart and soul. A career that supports you not only monetarily, but spiritually.

I am sure some of you are shaking your heads, not believing that such a career exists, but you can look around you to see some current practitioners of this idea. Yo Yo Ma and other classical musicians of less reknown make a living doing what they love. Many other artists, too. Many of the great thinkers we read or see speak at conferences all over the world have reached this level, in some ways. It isn’t only famous people, though. The songwriter who sells a top 40 hit remains largely unknown, but supports themselves and their families in fine style. We have many friend who are “working” actors you see on television nearly every day, who love their work and are successful, even if they are not “star” names to you. For me, the very definition of success is having a comfortable life while doing something you love. There are opportunities to be successful no matter your industry or type of work. These opportunities arise from finding a place where you can exercise your passions as much as possible. In some ways, I don’t think you can do your best work unless you are truly passionate about what you are doing.

So what are you selling? Your hands, your head or your heart? If you want to build the career you deserve you need to do some hard thinking about your work and your life. You need to discover your passions so that you can go and find a place — a new company, your own business, a career in the arts, whatever — where you can engage your passions and reach the highest levels of financial and spiritual success possible.

Support Career Opportunities:

iTunes Review | Career-Op Community Site | Podcast Alley

Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Career Tip for September 18, 2009

September 18th, 2009 Comments off

[Tip] Leadership is of the utmost importance, even if you are only leading yourself. Lead yourself and others may follow, though.

Get regular scheduled Career Tips by following Career Opportunities on Twitter

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Archive: An Interview with Kevin Devin

September 16th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logo


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

Today’s guest is Kevin Devin, Information Systems Analyst with a large building controls manufacturer, host of In the Trenches: The Podcast for SysAdmins and founder of Friends in Tech.

Support Career Opportunities

iTunes Review | Career-Op Community Site | Podcast Alley

Call the Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

Categories: Audio, Podcast, Show Tags:

What I’m Reading…Tribes by Seth Godin

September 14th, 2009 Comments off

Seth Godin’s newest book, Tribes, touches a concept near and dear to me…organizing groups, or Tribes, and helping them get things done. This is not to say I have been terribly successful at this activity, but I love helping people achieve things and doing it any way I can.

I was interested in Tribes for exactly this reason. I wanted to see what Godin had to say about organizing people and creating “movement” to see if there was anything I could be doing better. Of course, there is always something more you can be doing, so I took away a few good ideas from the book. He does admit, though, that there aren’t any hard and fast rubrics for he can give you for working with Tribes. You need passion and a vision and an ability to understand and care about people, but you can’t break it down into 5 easy steps that anyone can do.

Tribes by Seth Godin Hardback (

Tribes by Seth Godin Audio CD (

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Who are you laboring for?

September 13th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoWho are you laboring for?
By Douglas E. Welch



This week began with the US celebration of the Labor Day holiday, celebrating the labor that keeps our economy and our nation moving forward. Labor Day “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country” according the US Department of Labor web site, but I think it is much more important to think of our own personal labor, and the benefits it brings us. The true meaning of our labor can get lost among the interlinked needs of company, employee, business and individual.

Everyone works for someone else, this is always true. Whether you are a traditional employee or a freelancer, we sell our time, our knowledge and our skills to someone in return for money. Too often, though, we only consider the effects of our labor on our employer or customer. Instead, no matter what your work arrangement, you must also consider the effect of your work on yourself. How does your work effect not only your monetary well-being but also your mental, spiritual and medical well-being?

The value equation of work doesn’t move in one direction. Yes, you must provide value to the person who provides your paycheck or pays your invoices, but you also need to be gaining something other than money. I am very fond of saying that money should never be the sole reason for doing — or not doing — anything. There are countless reasons and needs that surround any work decision. To reduce it to a simple matter of dollars and cents is a disservice to both you and your employer. If your job isn’t valuable to you, in a number of ways, then it is a clear sign that you need to find a way to increase its value or find a job that provides that additional value.

So, what are the other valuable items you should be finding in your job? First, and most important, is knowledge. Your job should be challenging in a variety of ways. You should be learning new things about a wide variety of topics as often as you can. Sure, over the years some tasks will become almost automatic, but this stable environment should provide you opportunities to stretch your skills and knowledge. If you aren’t learning more each day, your value to your company can actually decrease over time. At its worst, you can become better and better at a task that is needed less and less. If you aren’t learning about new methods, new needs, new changes in your company — and your industry in general — you could find your job has disappeared out from under you.

Next, the new skills, experience and knowledge you gain each day must be transferable to another job, another company, another industry. Certain jobs can be so specific that the skills you have are only applicable to a very narrow band of industries. Sure, there will always be some specific skills, but if the majority of your work is taken up with these tasks, you might find it very hard to find your next job. You must take every opportunity to explore all aspects of your job and find those skills that serve not only your current position, but whatever future position you might desire.

These two valuable items, knowledge and transferable skills are the driving factors in a long and successful career. By pursuing them, you are preparing for the reality that a career is made of many jobs over many years, not one job with one company. You have to prepare yourself for the dissolution of any particular company, or even an entire industry. Your paycheck may cover your expenses and allow you to buy the items you want for your house and family now, but expanded knowledge and transferable skills are the added value of any job that allows you to build the career you deserve in the future.

Support Career Opportunities:

iTunes Review | Career-Op Community Site | Podcast Alley

Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

What I’m Reading…Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

September 7th, 2009 Comments off

Another in a series of leadership books I am reading. I have several areas, like leadership, where I pick up nearly book I find on the topic. I have read other books by John C. Maxwell over the years and typically find them very useful and engaging. I especially enjoyed Thinking for a Change from several years ago.

Developing the Leader Within You has some excellent sections on change, change management and why it can be so difficult to change. While I struggle with change in my own life, like many people, I also often face extreme resistance to change in others bordering on the self-destructive. I am always amazed when faced with such vehement reactions to change, so any guidance I can find of the issue is very welcome. You can find more books and products I have previously highlighted in my blogs and podcasts by visiting The WelchWrite Bookstore.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Categories: Books, Leadership, Special Tags:

A nice letter about Career Opportunities

September 5th, 2009 Comments off
I received this every nice email from  a Career Opportunities listener this week and wanted to share it with all of you. I am humbled by the great response I get to the show and the column. — Douglas
Dear Douglas,
I’m writing this e-mail just to compliment you on your Career Opportunities podcast. I’m currently employed in the same company for almost two years, but before that I worked only in temporary and seasonal jobs. Your podcast was very helpful to me during that time.
Congratulations for saying what you believe is right and fulfilling for employees’ careers in the long run, instead of reinforcing easy path market practices.
This may seem a little bit cheesy or over the top, but congratulations on making the world a better place.
Send you my best,
JM from Brazil
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Categories: Special Tags: ,

CareerCamp Fall 2009 Planning – Getting Started!

September 2nd, 2009 Comments off

Join this discussion on the Career Opportunities Community Site

After we completed CareerCamp Online 2009, I knew I wanted to do it again in about 6 months. While it has been a bit longer than that, I am feeling the itch once again. This time I am undecided whether this will be an online CareerCamp, a face-to-face conference here in Los Angeles or, more likely a combination of both.

This is where you come in. I am looking for your advice and comments on what CareerCamp Fall 2009 should be. What talk would you like to present? What would you most like to see? Who should we invite to speak or should it be entirely an unconference? Where should we hold the event? When?

Let’s use this discussion to get started. If we need/want to move to a wiki or some other planning tool, we can do that as we start to gain momentum.

Add your comments, questions, advice, recommendations as part of this discussion.

Let’s get started!


Join this discussion on the Career Opportunities Community Site

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Career Opportunities 5th Anniversary: Help Me Celebrate!

September 2nd, 2009 1 comment

September 24, 2009 will mark the 5th anniversary of the Career Opportunities podcast and I would like to ask you to help me celebrate this milestone.


I would love for you to share how Career Opportunities has helped you in your career, your work and your life.

Was there a particular column or podcast that opened doors or opened your mind in a unique way and helped you move forward?

Did the podcast help you deal with a difficult situation or a difficult person?

How did the podcast help you to “Build the Career You Deserve?”

What is your favorite tip, hint, idea, action item from the last 4 years of Career Opportunities podcasts? I would love to know and so would your fellow listeners.

Please share your stories here, as a comment on the web site, on the Career Opportunities Community Site or directly through email at If you haven’t had an opportunity or reason in the past, please consider writing a review of Career Opportunities for the iTunes Podcast Directory.

The Career Opportunities community continues to grow, year after year. Thank you for being part of it and thank you for sharing it with others! I am looking forward to another 5 years.

Categories: Audio, News/Opinion, Special Tags: