WorkWise Q&A: How do I improve on a bleak employment situation?

culp@workwise.netMarch 24, 2013 


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, The job I finally found more than a year ago isn’t worth having. I grabbed the first thing that came up and have regretted it since almost the first day.

The job is different from what they told me to expect. They seem to have hired me for my lesser skills, which means I’m worn out by the end of the day. Although I was told I’d get an employee, instead I’ve heard a year’s excuses about upheaval in the HR staff.

My salary was to increase if I remained productive. Of course, because I’m doing two jobs, I can’t do my own job as well as I’d like. I didn’t get a raise or bonus. I’m tired of dragging and complaining. Please tell me what to do.


A: Dear Disappointed, Could you buy some time for yourself by persuading your boss to get a temporary employee until a full-time one appears? Mention that you don’t mind hard work but can’t keep handling the job of two people.

Meanwhile, since you were snookered, find a way out the door. Do only the most important tasks. Don’t stay late. Save your energy for your job hunt.



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I read that an excellent cover letter may take the place of a resume and cover letter. I read somewhere else that employers don’t always read cover letters. I don’t know what to do.


A: Dear Vacillating, Right you are! The cover letter quandary confuses almost everyone.

Even if you’re a cracker-jack writer, a cover letter or cover letter-resume combo won’t do as much for you as contacting people in person. Yes, you can be turned down by telephone, but at least you know when to move on. That beats waiting forever.

There’s no easy way to find a job. You have to try everything. Call first. If that doesn’t work, send a cover letter and resume. Follow up by telephone persistently, if you’re really interested in a company. No luck? Wait a little and send a marketing letter.

Write less than a page. Mention your most impressive results in descending order. (Importance is accorded by your reader, not you.) Describe or name companies you’ve worked for if that would strengthen your case. Include an opening paragraph mentioning a benefit you bring. Close dynamically. Then market. Don’t wait for the phone to ring.


Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service