Tag Archives: Project management

Will work for…

12 Jan

I know that it takes fortitude to ask for support.

I don’t know about you, but the new millennium is strange:  everything I grew up to expect in life is upside down; jobs are not guaranteed, home ownership is no longer an investment, the middle class is shrinking, and homelessness is no longer the domain of a few downtrodden souls.  Here in Florida, the number of unemployed continues to rise monthly (Florida leads the nation in both unemployment statistics and real estate devaluation) and I am thankful to have a roof over my head.

While there are buskers who pretend along with others who may not deserve a handout, the benefit of the doubt has graced people I’ve seen with signs or an open hand.  Maybe it’s my upbringing, but I find it difficult to pass by without giving them something.  I often think “There but for the grace of God, go I,” were it not for good luck and education.

Have you seen how creative some of the signs have become?  It seems that today even the homeless compete for dollars (did you see the story about the New York person whose sign “Need money to buy weed” brings in close to $500 per shift?)  This was not the society I was raised to inherit – yet I find that there is little security today.  Here at the crossroads of mid-life, neither friends nor I wasted away savings or quit jobs; we are challenged because of downsizing and business cuts.  Do you see the same things occurring where you live?

As a young engineer who graduated in the 1980’s,

I was fortunate to have job choices and options – there were more jobs than applicants!  For years, I could move freely between jobs progressively up the ladder.  It was also easy to start my business in 1994 and to make a profitable living.  I had no idea how lucky I was then or over the next six years when I was able to support a freelance team of 5 people.  I kept my team gainfully employed with generous salaries for several years and life was good.  During this time, I could have advised other young women on how to build a profitable business easily and quickly — even though my secret was that I was in a niche and high demand market.

Since then, life has changed – business changed and contracts slowed, and today my clients want short-term (less than a week at a time)  project management and software metrics training.  I deliver high energy knowledge transfer in my speaking and consulting engagements, but the work “pipeline” remains low.  It is frustrating to have good health, an excellent reputation and skills, yet have open blocks in my calendar.  When I look at who I was with a highly successful business and who I am today, I am the same person of high integrity, but with more experience, credentials, and compassion.

Finding contracts online or via job boards is no longer a reality as anyone with a computer and a mouse can click their way to applying for technical jobs.  The key to finding work today is through connections – successful job seeking is based on who you know not what you know.

So, it is with humility that I say “will work for…”

I definitely need more speaking engagements and contract work!  Will you help me by referring me to your superiors, colleagues, and friends when you hear that they need a speaker or an instructor for their upcoming event?   I speak on topics ranging from project management to making technology a success to software measurement. In addition, I can be a spokesperson for your company at conferences to bring traffic back to the trade show floor.  My fees are reasonable and I am willing to travel internationally.

Recently my keynote speeches included the International Project Management Association Global Congress (Nov 2010 in Istanbul Turkey) and the International Function Point Users Group annual conference (Sept 2010 in Sao Paulo Brazil).  I deliver workshops on software measurement and quality topics throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Over the past 10 years, I have spoken in  25 countries including Asia, Australia, and South Africa.

Thank you in advance for your leads and kind help. My passion is speaking and consulting — I work best with companies who want to improve their business with technology. Please me email (dekkers@qualityplustech.com) or visit my other blog at http://musingsaboutsoftwaredevelopment.wordpress.com for more information.

Thank you, I am grateful for readers like you.

websites: http://www.caroldekkers.com and http://www.qualityplustech.com


Sunk costs… can they sink us?

29 Sep

Sinking ShipIn his latest book on MOJO, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith ( Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It) talks about a concept called “Sunk Costs” – and how we are reluctant to let go of losing propositions in our lives.

In information technology and project management, projects are often continued because of the “sunk costs” (even when the return-on-investment is no longer positive and the project is over budget and behind schedule).  Fortunately there is a growing realization (and appreciation) that if the goals of a project won’t be reached, it is a positive step to cancel it.  Of course there will be a sense of loss (and the accompanying grief stages that go along with it) – the loss of a dream (project success), and the acceptance that the project is over.

A similar thing happens in our daily lives!  The adage “don’t throw good money after bad” is easier to say than to uphold.  I know because it’s something that I am learning to deal with.  And I’m not alone!  In face, after reading MOJO, I know that I’m among good company in the world.

Goldsmith says that it is common when we invest in a project or product or relationship (with time, energy, money, and emotion), it becomes painful to let go of the investment when things go awry. We’ve got “skin in the game” so to speak and it is painful to extricate ourselves from something we once thought would be a success!

Last year I bought a used Blackberry Storm unlocked phone from a security guard on Craig’s List for $200. and it worked for a single day (how can this happen? I must be an unlucky trusting soul.) Instead of tossing the phone in the trash, I invested a further $25 on a new battery and a new phone charger in the hopes that the phone would work as promised (yes, I did contact the seller who professed that Craig’s list is the world’s largest yard sale and you get what you get!) The phone still didn’t work and again I didn’t throw it away. I found a repair shop that promised to fix the phone by changing out the charging port and again it didn’t solve the problem.

Finally I’m at the point of throwing the phone away – but it was the sunk costs that prevented me from doing so earlier. I know that I’ll never get those heartbeats back and the loss of money, time, energy, and having a phone that works was a “LOSS”. Any loss causes a bit of grief – and admitting that we were taken or that we invested badly is a tough pill to swallow.

Slowly I’m learning that sunk costs are usually unrecoverable. I know that I avoid loss and that makes it harder to accept, grieve and move on. Perhaps it is the avoidance of grief that keeps some of us hanging on to loser projects.

How about you? Do you find it hard to let go of projects, relationships, and other investments because of the sunk costs? Can you walk away from long-term relationships that no longer bring joy? Can you let go of unprofitable projects in your life? Post a comment and share your experience!

Have a good week,



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