Sometimes, you don’t even know what you don’t know.
A few years ago around the Thanksgiving table, a family member was proudly telling us about the achievements of the young people he’s mentored through the years. Someone asked if he felt he always succeeded in helping. I can still see the sadness on his face as he told us about one person, technically competent and smart as can be, who never seemed to pick up on the social and teamwork skills that would help them truly go far.
It just goes to show, there are people who want to pass on everything they know—who care about your growth and want you to succeed. You’re part of the web family now: a far-flung clan with many aunties, uncles, and older cousins ready to share their insights and experience. There’s even a doctor in the family.
Jeffrey Zeldman started “Ask Dr. Web” 20 years ago to help “every web author and site designer be their best.” A lot of the early advice was technical stuff: if you were the one person who knew how to make a gif loop or how to shrink graphic assets to under 30k per page, you might be the office web hero. Today, the stuff that makes you shine is more subtle, and it’s not stuff you can get out of a step-by-step tutorial or a classroom.
At first, it’s easy to think that strong design or development skills and a willingness to work is all you really need. What Dr. Web shows you is that making business contacts, learning how to set realistic freelance rates (hint: higher than you think; higher than you’re comfortable with right now), and judging your job by its challenges and growth opportunities rather than the base pay aren’t extras—they’re the foundation of a great career.
Being columns editor has a little perk I love: getting an early peek at Jeffrey’s Ask Dr. Web columns. What blows me away is that in every column, he takes on one of those mysterious career/life skills that can take you from working a job to having a career and wraps it in his personal stories and warmth to explain how you can get over the invisible obstacles you may not even realize are in your path.
That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about our upcoming event, a live version of Ask Dr. Web on December 2. I hope you can join in, submit a question of your own, and learn how to create the career you absolutely deserve to have.
December 2 event: Ask Dr. Web—Live
Join Jeffrey Zeldman and his cohost, designer and entrepreneur Sarah Parmenter, for a live version of Jeffrey’s must-read column. Together, they’ll tackle topics like:
- Presenting your skills with current and potential employers
- Raising your profile and your rates as a freelancer
- Selling your work
- Creating side projects that are satisfying and career-enhancing
Register now, and then submit your career conundrums on Twitter with the hashtag #askdrweb, or directly in the Hangout (you’ll get the link when you register).
This event is free and everyone is welcome—just sign up to receive instructions. Here are the details:
Wednesday, December 2
1–2 p.m. EST
via Google Hangout and YouTube livestream
Register or get more details
Once you register, we’ll send you everything you need to join the event, participate in the Q&A, and then get updates on accessing the video and transcript afterward.
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- Jeffrey Zeldman: Founder, A List Apart and Happy Cog. Cofounder, A Book Apart and An Event Apart. Designer. Writer. The original Dr. Web.
- Sarah Parmenter: Designer, entrepreneur, and jet-setting speaker. Owner of You Know Who, Blushbar, and Lovely.
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