A Weekly ComputorEdge Column by Douglas E. Welch





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December 21, 2001

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© 2001, Douglas E. Welch

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To say that this has been an interesting, confusing, and frightening year would probably qualify as the biggest understatement of the year. The coming New Year is always a time for reflection and contemplation and this year promises to be one of the most reflective in recent memory. That said, we have seen over the last few months that life doesn’t stop for those of us not directly involved in tragedies. We continue to go to work, make dinner, pay our bills and perform all the assorted minutia of life. Some have even had to deal with losing their job on top of everything else. Regardless of what happens in our lives, we all must keep on moving. In an effort to help you look forward to the New Year, here are a few pointers.

Looking out for #1

As selfish as it might sound, in times like these, you must look to your own care, even before you think of others. It is only by getting your own life in order that you can even attempt to help others. Your own position needs to be solid in order to allow you the time, energy and attention to think about those around you. With each personal step forward that you take, you will be able to reach out to those around you and help them to recognize their own talents.

Getting your own life in order can take several forms. I will address the items that can effect your career. If you currently like your job, think about how you can solidify your position and how you can make it even better. Do you see oncoming issues that could cause your company problems? Is the economic downturn effecting your company? If so, take action. Develop plans, do research and help your company figure out a way to react to these issues. Not only will you be protecting your job, but the jobs of those around you.

If you don’t like your current job, or feel no special affection for it, you need to start making plans today. First, you need to figure out what you really want in a career. Do you want to find a better company, a better job or maybe even a different career? This is the work you need to do today. Take all the energy you use complaining about your current job and apply it towards finding your perfect one. I am not saying you have no reason to complain, just that your energy is better directed elsewhere.

Next, go out and get the training or experience you need to get your perfect job. Stretch the type of work you do. Expand your reading list of magazines and books. Sign up for training classes or volunteer for an organization that can use your talents. You will be amazed at the effect this has on your mood and your work. We all benefit from taking action, especially when that action is moving towards something you really want.

Getting started

If you are just starting out in a high-tech career you might be a little worried. Times are tight right now and finding a perfect job right out of college is not going to happen. Your biggest job will be finding a place where you can display your current talents and gain new ones. High-tech careers offer great chances for quick advancement, more than almost any other career. If you can demonstrate a talent for high-tech you can often move from that entrylevel position to a more important one very quickly. Your job is to take every opportunity to demonstrate your talents and skills, even if it means taking on projects slightly bigger than you find comfortable. Stretch yourself and you will find that others are willing to recognize your talents.

Despite the doom and gloom you might hear, a NewYear brings new opportunities and a new chance to make something of yourself and your career. Don’t let yourself fall into the pit of cynicism and despair. Dilbert is a funny comic strip, but you do not have to live in that world. You have the power to make your own career and your own life into whatever you want. You may never find perfection in your career, but constantly striving for that perfection will keep you far ahead of others who don’t understand that they have the power to change.


about this column.

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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