Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Im one of the long-term unemployed, or I was until I took this job. My gut told me not to take it, but my need to get out of the house every day to earn a paycheck won out. Ive been hanging on for two and one-half months, hoping. Its not getting better. I cant stand the grind, but I dont know what to do to make it better. Stuck
A: Dear Stuck, Feeling stuck is a state of mind youve brought on yourself. Because of that, you can make some changes over the short-term to help you ameliorate your frustration and prepare you for your next move.
Every morning bring hope into your situation by doing at least one thing different that will reflect where youre going rather than where you are. Of course, that means you have to know your direction. If your job requires you to copy materials all day long, develop a new way to put them in categories. If youre constantly answering phones, adjust your tone and record the results of the conversation.
Taking initiative will get you unstuck eventually. Dont complain about being stuck. Take steps so that you arent. mlc
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Ive been job hunting in a field with a lot of people who came up through technical work. They dont communicate as well as many people with other backgrounds. Theyre not bad people, but theyre not as nice or gracious. Am I being a stickler for details when Im truly interested in the work they do? I wonder if being different might get in the way over the long term. Uncomfortable
A: Dear Uncomfortable, Although youve encountered a pattern among the people in the new industry, you dont report that theyre not welcoming you. Have you seen any signs that youd need to adjust your style for their sake? If not, consider adjusting your own attitude.
You can obsess over their rough edges every day or allow them to appreciate who you are and notice how they do it. Then, model your appreciation of them over theirs of you. Calm down! Sometimes being different is exceedingly helpful in establishing your value to an organization. People are drawn to you for the gift you bring. Become comfortable in your own skin as a good first step toward becoming comfortable around different people who are comfortable in theirs. mlc
BLOG TIP: CONVERSATION
Job hunting is all about getting your foot in the door and hopefully not getting it stuck there, reports Michele Mavi (atriumstaff.com). Shes not afraid to buck conventional advice.
You see, Mavi networks, with a twist. Its about who you dont know, she maintains. Walking in New York City, she told a friend about a band shed lined up for an event. A stranger who heard the town announced that thats where he lived. Could this be a call to opportunity? She started chatting and learned that he and his colleagues make peoples dreams come true.
Well, then I want to work for you, Mavi told him. Exchanging cards, she saw he was the CEO of a promising marketing company. A single email led to an interview and a job she wanted.
Of course, the heretofore unknown person could be the brother of your boss, ready to spill the beans about your opportunity-hunting, or of otherwise dubious nature. You dont have time to ask Your Citys Finest for a character-check! Just dont be reckless, and follow Mavis advice to play it safe and send a traditional resume and cover letter as a backup. Once on the job, continue with openness.
Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.