Career Opportunities

The High-Tech Career Handbook

A weekly ComputorEdge Column and Podcast by Douglas E. Welch

Facing the Music

March 5, 2004

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I am sure you have heard the expression, “sometimes you need to take the bull by the horns,” and other such euphemisms about taking action. While these sayings are definitely clichés, like all clichés they hold a bit of truth within them. There are times in your high-tech career, when you need to (insert your favorite cliché here) in order to insure that your career keeps moving forward, no matter what issues you might be facing.

Healthy, wealthy and wise

All these thoughts about bulls, horns and other associated clichés came about recently when I faced some minor health problems. While I can ignore work, home and family issues with the best of them, ignoring health issues simply isn’t possible. No matter how unpleasant the procedure, you can’t fool around with your health. You simply have to do what needs to be done. The alternatives are not something you even want to contemplate.

While it might not seem like it, addressing problems in your career is just as important. Your career is a major part of your life on so many different levels. In some ways, your work defines who you are. You derive some sense of self-worth from the work you do. More importantly, the money you earn allows you to balance out your life with other important desires. Anything that impacts your career has the ability to impact your entire life.

Do it today

If you are facing some troubling issues in your career, and who isn’t, today is the day to start addressing them. You might think it is easy to ignore the co-worker who makes your work and life more difficult, or the domineering boss that seems to think the opposite of negative feedback is more negative feedback, or the job that forces you into mandatory, unpaid overtime, but the truth is, each of these effects you in deep and fundamental ways, whether you admit it or not. You can try to ignore it or pretend the problems don’t exist, but they will still be there, wearing on your mind, under the radar, until something makes them impossible to ignore any longer.

These are the reasons you go home every night totally drained and unable to do any of the other things that make you happy. These are the reasons your career feels like a dead end. Even worse, these are the reasons you suffer from health problems like ulcers, insomnia and maybe even depression. Not only are major career issues as important as health issues, they can even cause them.


If you are like me, conflict is not your favorite thing, or even remotely interesting. Unfortunately, bringing an issue to the fore is the only way to stop the conflict you are feeling inside. You have to go through the conflict in order to emerge, better, on the other side. I can guarantee you that simply setting a meeting, talking to your boss, talking to a co-worker, or even starting a search for a new job or career will make you feel better. You don’t even have to address the problem directly to start feeling the benefits. Moving forward is its own reward. Don’t believe me -- try it. I have been there on many occasions and I know. It can be one of the most frightening times of your life, but you will feel better once it is over.

Whenever you are faced with an unpleasant situation, take action, in whatever small way you can. In fact, I would recommend a bias towards action in all situations. Moving, doing, writing, researching, calling, talking are all ways to move you and your career forward. They all can bring about that small, necessary feeling of comfort when you have larger issues to address. Use these good feelings to spur you on to other, more difficult actions.

Don’t let unresolved conflicts take you down the road to a dead-end career, or worse. Do what you need to do -- today. It is through these small actions that you will start to address the major conflicts in your career and life. It will seem frightening and impossible, but imagine the alternatives. Take action today, no matter how small. It is the first step into building the career and life you deserve.

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