Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I hate using the telephone. Id rather see a person face-to-face. On the phone Im so uncomfortable that I cant think on my feet or Im tongue-tied. How can I job hunt with this problem?
A: Dear Call-free, Ask a person to practice being an employer on the telephone with you. Before you begin, stand up and take some deep breaths. Then exhale.
When youve practiced enough, determine when youre most disciplined. Remove the clutter from your desk; center yourself; and, if it helps, put a photo of a person you really like next to the phone. Make the one or two calls you set out for yourself.
If this method doesnt work, try job hunting in person. Youll stand out. Youll also discover that its a lot of work and takes a great deal of time. Is it the lesser of two evils?
If not, try the original exercise again. You absolutely can do this if you commit yourself to it, even if you score depressingly high on a telephone aversion test. Motivate yourself to understand that its only one part of the process and that its temporary. You can work through it for a limited period of time.
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Ive been job hunting for about a year. Several employers havent been nice to me. Ive listened to sarcasm and Ive been asked illegal questions.
My industry doesnt have a good reputation, but I like the work I do in it and I feel I contribute a little to improving it. Because Im likely to find more employers like this, what should I do?
A: Dear Battered, If youre convinced that this is the industry for you, save yourself time and trouble by ending an interview the minute it starts going downhill. Theres no point in wasting your time listening to personal attacks and internalizing negative experiences unnecessarily. No matter what you do, you arent likely to turn the employer around. Youre also not likely to work with one like that.
It sounds as if you didnt find the troublesome employers from referrals. Youre much more likely to find good employers if you work with your contacts rather than use impersonal techniques. You also might find people to contact in trade journals. While a person whos decent to a writer might not be decent to an applicant, youre likely to find the best the industry has to offer there.