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Archive for April, 2011

What I tell every new careerbuilder – Podcast

April 29th, 2011 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logo

Many of the readers and listeners of Career Opportunities have been working for a long time. They have had several jobs and maybe even a few careers. It seems to take a few years before most people start to consider their work and how to build the career they deserve. That said, I am always excited when I meet someone at the beginning of their career that, for whatever reason, has the foresight to see that their career and their life are intimately intertwined. For these people, today’s column focuses on the things I would love to say to every person just starting out in their career. Take these lessons to heart and your career may become much easier.

Listen to this Podcast

Transcripts of Live Speaking Engagements Now Available

You can now purchase complete text transcripts of some of my longer, live speaking engagements directly from the Career Opportunities web site.

Click the Products link at the top of the page for a complete list.

A second item is now available. A 4,600 word transcript from my talk, Career Compass: Finding Your Career North from CareerCampSCV.


No one looks after you better than you

When we are young, we are used to being looked after by those around us. Our parents guide and protect us. School limits our options to keep us on track. Our first jobs are little more than rote repetitions of the same, limited task.

It is important to remember, though, that no one cares about us as much as we care about ourselves. No one could, or should, be making the big decisions in our lives. Our friends and family often unknowingly have their own interest in directing us one way or another.

We can listen to advice, sure, but we need to make the final decisions for ourselves. If we turn over our lives and careers to someone else, they will make those decisions that are best for them, not necessarily for you. If you abdicate control over your career, there are others that will gladly tell you what to do. It isn’t out of evilness or spite, but rather because each individual can only make the best decisions for themselves.

Long term, not short term

We live today in a world filled with short term thinking. What will happen, tomorrow, this afternoon, an hour from now? You must remember, though, that your career is a long haul not a short hop. The work you are doing today is almost assuredly NOT the work you will be doing next week or next month. Job stability, for all its benefits and faults, is a long, lost dream. The only stability in your career today is that which you impose yourself. You need to be constantly planning for the future. You will, after all, eventually arrive there. You want to be prepared.

As you navigate through your career, think about how each job fits into the progression that leads to your future. Are you taking a job simply to have a job? Is this slowing, or reversing, your progress towards your future goals?  Are you doing what is in your best interest or fighting against it? Don’t let short term setbacks, family issues or bad decisions get in the way of your future career. Like building blocks, each job builds on those that came before. If you are constantly inserting bad blocks into the tower, you can’t be surprised when it comes tumbling down.

Do everything in your power to be financially secure

Many of the social safety nets we have grown-up with are in danger of collapsing, or being dismantled. Not since the 1920’s have we had to be so focused on our own finances and building our financial security. From the beginning of your career you need to build your own safety nets so that you don’t end up in a career-ending, life threatening crisis.

The first concern is actually the easiest. Start saving today! I know. Saving 10% of a $100 paycheck might seem worthless, or even impossible, but every cent you save buys you a tiny bit of career freedom. When you have money saved, you are protected from making bad job or career decisions simply because you need money.  There will come a time, perhaps several times, when you need your, for lack of a better term — Screw You Money. We can all be led astray by bad jobs, or jobs that turn bad. Panic can cause us to make some of the worst decisions of our lives. Being able to comfortably detach yourself from a job when needed limits the damage and allows you to move on without panic.

Being financially secure also allows you to address what I consider the largest issue facing workers today — lack of affordable health care. For the foreseeable future, the burden of health care is going to fall more and more on the individual. Company provided health care is often difficult to find and increasingly expensive. Know you options to carry you over between company or group health care plans, prepare for those times when you may not be covered directly. Having these plans in place will dramatically ease the stress  involved with moving from one job to another.

If you put some thought into each piece of my advice, you will be well on the way to building the career you deserve from the very start. It is never too early to start, but you will find that there can be major issues if you don’t start soon enough. There is really no excuse to not starting today. Don’t be afraid to address these issues. Don’t think you can ignore them because you are just starting out. The beginning of any endeavour is always a critical time. Don’t miss the opportunity to start out on the right foot.


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Read it now! — “Do the work” by Steven Pressfield – Free

April 29th, 2011 Comments off

I have just finished reading Do the work by Steven Pressfield and would highly recommend you do the same. In fact, I am thinking that I will make it (and Pressfield’s earlier book, The War of Art) required reading before I will work with any client. Both books have helped me tremendously in my life and work. We all have to start somewhere on our creative adventures and Pressfield’s books are like an experienced guide that can help to lead us through the creative forest. Revisiting them on a regular basis reenergizes me to face the fight that all creatives feel.

Of course, creativity isn’t just the domain of some specialized class of people. We are all creative in unique ways and we all experience the haunting voice of resistance, as Pressfield names the monster that frightens all of us away from big, transformative changes in our lives. Pressfield reminds us of the nature of this beast and gives us the tools we need to defeat it — again and again.

In my work, I meet so many people who don’t realize their own potential. They drastically underestimate their power to change their lives and change the world. They face the resistance dragon and allow it to eat them nearly every time instead of emerging, triumphant, like St. George. It is often my goal to give them the tools — the horse, the lance, the sword — to help them slay the dragon of resistance just as I have to fight against it everyday. Sometimes I can bring them along with me — at other times, not, but I will never stop trying.

So, to repeat my unasked for advice — get these books, read them and then start on your own creative adventure. You can overcome resistance and create something new, something unique and something great!

Do the work is now available in a free Amazon Kindle edition. You don’t need a Kindle to read it, though. Download the free Kindle app for your Windows or Macintosh PC, Apple iPhone or Android phone and then download the book, for free, from the Amazon store.

The War of Art is also available from Amazon and your local public library. Add it to your creative toolbox today!

If you read either book, I would love to hear your thoughts. How did it help? How did it not? What project are you now going to create? What problems are you facing? Leave a comment here and share your adventures with other readers.

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Douglas hosts next Tech Tuesday at Tuesdays with Transitioners – May 3, 2011

April 29th, 2011 Comments off
Journeying to a better career

A message to all members of Tuesdays with Transitioners

May 3 is Tech Tuesday!

Douglas Welch will be our guest host for this Tech Tuesday, so come armed with your laptops (or borrow one) and questions about the Tuesdays with Transitioner site, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other Social Media.

See you then!

Visit Tuesdays with Transitioners at:

Categories: Career Tips, Community, Events, Seminar, Speaking Tags:

I Like This – April 19, 2011

April 19th, 2011 Comments off
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[Tip] If your thoughts or ideas are stagnating…

April 10th, 2011 1 comment


[Tip] If your thoughts or ideas are stagnating, it probably means you need to get out and interact with more/new people.

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Take responsibility for your own education – Podcast

April 8th, 2011 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logo

I have been advising you to take control of your career for over 12 years here on Career Opportunities. I continue to believe that it is of the utmost importance that you manage your career instead of letting it manage you. Today, I am extending that advice beyond your work and your career. Starting today you must also take direct responsibility for your own education.

Listen to this Podcast

Transcripts of Live Speaking Engagements Now Available

You can now purchase complete text transcripts of some of my longer, live speaking engagements directly from the Career Opportunities web site.

Click the Products link at the top of the page for a complete list.

A second item is now available. A 4,600 word transcript from my talk, Career Compass: Finding Your Career North from CareerCampSCV.

Through budget cuts and legislation, our American system of higher education is being priced beyond reach or destroyed entirely. While I will rue the day it occurs, there may come a time when many of you, or more likely, your children,  will find it difficult, if not impossible, to gain a college degree. In such a world, you may need to look to other, perhaps older, methods to gain the education you need to succeed.

Your self-directed education

Regardless of whether you are able to follow the traditional college route, or find yourself unable to attend school, you must take a self-directed approach to your education. While I was able to attend a state college in Ohio due to both federal and state grants, the official part of college only took me so far. I often tell others that I learned as much, if not more, during my time outside the classroom. I spent most nights managing or performing in theater productions during my time in college. During the day, I deeply explored my new found interest and skills with computers and technology. My class time gave me a good grounding in the educational basics that everyone needs, but it was my own self-directed behaviors that deeply effected my later life and work choices.

This self-directed education has continued ever since. While I have never returned to school for a graduate degree, I find that I have constructed my own, personal, degrees in business, technology and writing through my own initiative. Each of my days is filled with self-directed education, such as reading the current literature, following the wealth of Internet-based information, organizing projects and running my own business and household. Whenever I find myself interested in a topic, I dive in wholeheartedly, learning everything I can about the topic. You should do the same.

What interests you most, right now? Art? Politics? Literature? Management? Business? Pick a topic and dive deep. The knowledge and skills you gain will be very important for your current work and your overall career. Even if you don’t have a diploma stamped with your name and degree, if you are able to demonstrate knowledge and skill in a particular area, you will find opportunities available to you. Don’t dismiss the power of a self-directed education?

Mentors, Internships, Apprenticeships and more

As a college education becomes more difficult to achieve, the importance of personal mentors, apprenticeships and guilds increases. Are we returning to days of old, where an apprentice learned at the knee of their master for several years before striking out on their own? It is hard to say, but it is still worth your time to explore these ancient arrangements to direct your own education.

Who do you know, or who can you contact, that has the knowledge you desire? Are there professional groups dedicated to your area of interest? It is your job to find out. It is your job to pursue the information you desire and need. You may have to get very creative in developing your own apprenticeship. You will have to educate people about how these arrangements once worked and how they can be updated for the 21st century. Still, you must do it in order to take responsibility for your own education.

The fact is, you should probably be doing this even if you are enrolled in a traditional college environment. I firmly believe the combination of both methods will better prepare you for any career you might decide to pursue. Just as I learned much outside the classroom, you should, as well. Never ignore an opportunity to expand your education.

The world is changing and we must all change with it. It is impossible to say what will become of the higher education system over the next 10-20 years. Regardless of what occurs, though, you can help to insure your own career success by taking as much responsibility for your education as you do for your career. Direct your own education or others will do it for you. To paraphrase my constant admonition here at Career Opportunities, you need to “Build the Education You Deserve!”

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Mitch Krayton speaks at Tuesdays with Transitioners – April 19, 2011

April 7th, 2011 Comments off

My friend, Mitch Krayton, will be speaking at Tuesdays with Transitioners in Northridge, California. Join us! Mitch’s topic is “What is a resume for?” I’l be recording the talk for later release, too. Click the image below for more information and to RSVP.

Twitht krayton

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Now available: Career Compass: Finding Your Career North Transcript

April 5th, 2011 Comments off

Now available for sale from Career Opportunities…


Welch compass 3

Career Compass: Finding Your Career North Transcript

Presented at CareerCampSCV on July 10th, 2010

$3.99 via PayPal

We all need some direction when sailing through our career and the Career Compass is one way of evaluating where you want to go, as well as keeping you on-course towards Career North.

In order to know which was is north, we have to lay out your work likes and dislikes. Your likes lie to the north and your dislikes to the south. Your goal, then is to track north as often as possible while avoiding turning to the south and into the teeth of those jobs you dislike most.

Any sailor or flier will tell you you will never be able to track perfectly north. Your course is followed only through constant correction as currents push you in one direction or another. You must change and adjust constantly to keep your course headed towards home.

This talk leads you through the Career Compass process, step-by-step, and shows you how to develop your own personalized compass based on your own unique wants, needs and desires.

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Hitting the Bulls-eye – Podcast

April 1st, 2011 Comments off

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Over the last several months my son and I have been increasingly active in archery at our local range with our local SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) group. We enjoy being outdoors and the camaraderie of archery, as well as challenging ourselves to improve our skills over time. During our hours at the range, comparisons between archery and your career have been coming to mind quite a bit. There is one analogy that I haven’t been able to shake so I felt it deserved presenting here.


Listen to this Podcast

Transcripts of Live Speaking Engagements Now Available

You can now purchase complete text transcripts of some of my longer, live speaking engagements directly from the Career Opportunities web site.

Click the Products link at the top of the page for a complete list.

The first item I am making available is a transcript from my talk, Production, Promotion and Being Proactive in Your Career

When you are on the archery range your goal is typically to become better and better at your aim. The archery target presents a clear goal and clear feedback after each shot. If only our career was so forthcoming with feedback. Archery is a challenge of constant correction and adaptation. If you want to improve, you carefully evaluate each shot, what you did, and the results it produced. After some time you will find that your muscle memory will begin to kick in and it becomes easier and easier to hit the bulls eye consistently.

This is exactly what you want to do with your career. You want to notice the work you are doing, and how you are doing it, and then actively try to repeat those successes again and again. If you aren’t paying attention, though, it is very difficult to improve. You continue to make the same mistakes over and over. On the archery range this only effects your score, but in your career it can severely limit your success.

No manager wants an employee that fails to learn either from their successes or their failures. They expect you to grow more adept at your job. They might even try to help you grow. Don’t ignore their advice and assistance any more than you might ignore the advice of the former Olympic archery coach that volunteers at our range. If people are offering to help it is only wise, and polite, to listen.

There is another flaw I see on the range that can also be seen our careers. Getting better and better at hitting the wrong spot on the target is just as useless as missing the target entirely. The bulls eye is your goal, not some other area of the target. You may group all your arrows perfectly around one area, but if that area isn’t closest to the center it is a wasted effort. Unfortunately, this is often what we do in our jobs. We get better and better at doing something that matters less and less.

Producing perfect paperwork might be admirable, but it often misses the target of actually completing productive work. Re-arranging the server room can be useful, but is a waste of time if the network is down. In these examples, you are hitting the target, yes, but you are often far away from the bulls-eye. Focus on that spot too long and you might just find yourself out of a job, despite years of dedicated work — dedicated, but off-target.

When you are working, you need to pay attention to a number of factors:

  • Are you learning with each shot, each task, each project? Can you correlate the results with the actions you took? What can you improve/change next time to get closer to the career bulls-eye?
  • Are you shooting for the target or shooting for the bulls-eye? Are you getting better and better at doing less and less important work? Are you consistently hitting the wrong part of the target?

In the heat of our day-to-day work we often lose sight of the target. We are so concerned with shooting as fast as possible that we start to ignore how we are shooting and where our shots are falling. When we are scrambling like this, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to improve no matter what we are trying to accomplish. Just as in archery, you have to slow down, control your breathing and think about each shot before you loose the arrow. Only then can you work your way closer to the career bulls-eye.


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