Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I work in an engineering department in a good firm. Its small, but people here are decent. Ive been going to school for my engineering degree so I can get out of support and into engineering. This spring Ill have my degree.
My boss knows Im in school, but hes never said anything about promoting me. I see people in other departments get promoted. What can I do to find out what my chances are?
A: Dear Launching, Do people in the department ever discuss hiring or not hiring? Do they laugh when a person brings up the subject of raises? Do the engineers seem to be getting all of the projects done? As you might imagine, these arent positive signs.
At your next performance review or, if its passed, the next time you catch your boss at a good moment, tell him how much youve been enjoying your work and your classes. Ask if he foresees projects coming in that you could tackle after you have your degree.
If he doesnt, this is your moment to start job hunting. Move to an environment where youll be seen as an engineer.
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Ive never been good at job hunting. I cant procrastinate any more.
Ive been taking care of my elderly father, raising two children while trying to stay married and working full time. I wont have problems finding references, but I do need help in finding people to support me. My husband is in favor of my job hunting. He also works full time and is very helpful at home. Asking him to listen to the gory details of my search could tip the balance. Hes as stretched as I am. How can I draw good people around me?
A: Dear Stretched, Your time is so limited that you might look for a job-hunting partner. This person wouldnt have to be looking for a job in your field, although that would be helpful in trading contacts and industry experience.
Do you know anyone whos job hunting? If not, call your library to see if its bringing in speakers. You might recruit several people there and see how they work out. If youre a member of a church, synagogue or mosque or want to become one, you might find a group there.