WorkWise Q&A, Blog Tip: Direction, abandon, nightmares

12/20/2013 5:35 PM

12/20/2013 5:38 PM


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I have a lot of skills and don't know what to do with them. My current job is okay, but I'm not satisfied at work. How can I find a new direction? Multi-skilled

A: Dear Multi-skilled, Did you used to be satisfied? If so, if your job hasn’t changed, you probably have.

You might have developed new skills or new ways to apply those you have. Make a list of skills you enjoy. Work on the list for a week or two, because you might not be utilizing all of your favorite skills constantly. Once you have a thorough list, prioritize the components.

Are you relying on your favorite skill the most? You won’t feel satisfied until you are. What kinds of jobs require that skill and the next four or five? Which industry or work environment would be the most meaningful to you? When you interview, ask employers how much of your time will be spent using your favorite skill (although you need not mention that it is). Take them at their word.

Keep hunting until you get yourself planted where you can do what you want and gain satisfaction. mlc


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Yesterday I compared my job-hunting tactics with those in some of the best job-hunting books. I won out but can't find my way. I don't need to be told not to base my success on the inability to find meaningful work. I want to earn a living!

I have a degree, good work experience in decent companies and an excellent track record. Something's wrong. What is it? Out of the Loop

A: Dear Out, Get back in by focusing less on what you think you want to do and more on hunting for people who feel a sense of abundance in their work. They may not even be in your direct field, which means they may come up with ideas you hadn't considered. They may also be from a different generation. Give them a chance to show you what they know. You might surprise yourself if the person inspires you to do something new.

When they share ideas, ask how they'd recommend you implement them. New ideas and resources could open new doors and lead to something more interesting than what you were expecting. Open your eyes and throw yourself into the world. mlc


Cat LeDevic takes pity on the poor freelance writer looking for work ( She hires freelancers and bemoans these non-opportunities:

#1: “Can’t afford what I paid you last time,” she reports of a client. “Will you do 5,000 words more for half of what you got?”

#2: A posting seeking a skilled, highly creative technical writer advertises for “web development languages and case studies, perfect English grammar,” LeDevic recalls. It’s yours for $1.50 every 300 words.

#3: An author wants to share his story with the world. He’s written the first 5,000 words. Your job: Write another 75,000. He’ll gladly pay .000267 cents per word, or $200.

#4: An author needs a person to proof a 25,000-word novelette. You bid low, only to “discover the copy was written in pure Klingon,” LeDevic says.

#5: A fiction writer will carry over the voice from the first 30,000 words to the remaining 50,000. Sleuthing, “you find out four other freelancers have and failed,” LeDevic comments. You fall for the client’s sob story and fall again when he fires you after your first chapter. He’ll be getting his book for free.

Outrageous, but like LeDevic, herself a freelancer, ya gotta laugh.

Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at

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