Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’m a CPA with over 15 years as an accounting manager, controller and accounting director in manufacturing, not-for-profit and software. I’ve consulted since losing my job in 2009 because of company relocation.
I have no mortgage, want a better quality of life and am looking for a local opportunity as an accounting manager or senior accountant. Recruiters have said I’m “too hard a sell.” How do I convince an employer that I’ll be happy to sacrifice title and accept a lower salary for quality of life? More from Less
A: Dear More, This objection means that your work history doesn’t match job orders.
Seek a culture that mirrors your values. Identify five manifestations of that culture, such as expecting fewer than 40 hours per week, assigning less responsibility or offering a more casual environment. Prioritize them.
Identify companies which, from the highest levels, share that motivation. Get ideas from local media. You might have to factor in industry or age of employees. Go after software first, then nonprofit. Keep manufacturing in your pocket. Analyze each company on a grid after you interview. Tell people that consulting requires a more than full-time commitment. mlc
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’m reconfiguring my personal life. I have a full-time job that I enjoy, a happy family with children and an extracurricular that some people have come to rely on me for.
As the children get older, family is taking up more and more of my time. Meanwhile, I’ve added new nonprofit activities that aren’t related to my key skill. I’m enjoying them very much, but I just don’t have enough time. What would you suggest? Reliable
A: Dear Reliable, The little bit of time you must have after work to squeeze in family and time to breathe is your time. If you don’t already have household help, get it. If you prefer to keep cleaning, doing laundry and errands, the only honest thing to do is let the people who depend upon you know that you can’t work with them any more.
Don’t be as giving of your time as you always have while mentioning your new activities. The gradual method will give them a chance to understand and they’ll eventually take the hint. The more direct, time-saving method on both sides is to speak with them about it. The latter will also keep you from leaving a bad taste in their mouth. mlc
LeslieAnn Drye tells you how to be real when job-hunting (washndrye.com).
First, she advises you to select a good email address for your search. If it’s “mshottotrot.com,” you may draw replies from outside of your target market.
Next, create an effective voicemail greeting. “Get rid of all music tunes,” Drye recommends. “If you force (people) to listen to ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston, you won’t get a message or the job.”
Watch that fake local address to make you seem local, she cautions. With no forwarding service, you’ll have to hop a plane every day to check your non-existent mailbox, unless you rent one and pay a person to do it for you.
Do you want to seem like an insider in your cover letter? “Don't lie about being related to someone who already works in the company ... especially if you've married the person!” she emails. Tell the truth if the person isn’t a relative or find another way to indicate you’re not from another planet.
Finally, go after what’s appropriate. Drye favors “old school, formal language. Save the IDK, LOL, SMH codes for your friends on social media. Employers don't care how cool you are.”
Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at email@example.com.