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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Challenging Circumstances

Dear Sue: I am the Director of a small community center and I work under challenging circumstances. I don't get any support from anyone, and I don't have the proper office equipment. The computer we use was donated and it has very little memory and no printer. I have to put every thing on a disk and then run up stairs if I want to print anything.

I finally had to purchase a computer for my home so I could do my job. It is difficult to accomplish much without the proper tools.

I've become so frustrated that I decided to look for another job. I found an ideal position with outstanding benefits and salary. I've had two interviews and felt that everything went well until I was asked why I was leaving my present job. I said it was because I didn't have any support to do my job well and I was not provided with the proper tools.

I know it's a rule of thumb to never criticize your present or past employer no matter what. I left the interview feeling like I should have just kept my mouth shut and focused on the great opportunity with the new center. Do you think I blew it by sharing my frustrations? 

- Worried

Sue Says: No, I don't think you blew it, You gave an honest and direct answer, which was probably refreshing to the interviewer. You didn't criticize anyone in particular, but rather spoke of the frustrations you've encountered due to circumstances out of your control.

Try not to second guess yourself -- you did your best and need to believe that if this really is the right job for you that you'll get an offer.

Dear Sue: I am a 35 year-old female and I've just about completed my Masters in Business Studies-Management. I am ready to make a career change. The problem is that I have been with the same company for 18 years and I have no idea how to get started. Can you give me any advice?

- Ready for change

Sue Says: Don't make a change just for the sake of change unless you know what you want to do.

The fact that you've been with the same company for 18 years isn't a problem. You say you are ready to make a career change, but are you really ready now?

You've worked hard to reach your goal of getting your Masters. Sometimes working toward a goal is actually more enjoyable than reaching it. You've been focusing on getting your degree so that you could move on, yet now that the time has come, it could be a difficult move to make.

Give yourself time. Don't force yourself to make a change too quickly. Relish in your accomplishment and begin looking for other opportunities. The best way to get started is by talking with others and letting them know what you are doing. Create a resume and start contacting companies.

Take your time and enjoy the process. The right move will comes along and when you are ready to make a move you will know it.

Dear Sue: I am a manufacturing supervisor. I have 12 years experience in manufacturing management, including 6 years in Human Resources. I have a Master's Degree in Management and a B.S. Degree in Environmental and Public Affairs. Despite all of my credentials and experience, I've had a lot of problems at work.

My position is highly stressful, but I do my job well. My manager has made things very difficult for me and is now hindering an opportunity for me to take on a new position. I know he resents me because I took a position he wanted someone else to have. Ever since then he has made things difficult for me.

I want to gracefully move out of his way and become upwardly mobile. What can I do to regain my credibility with him? 

- Supervisor

Sue Says: The person who can probably give you the best answer is your manager! Perhaps you can try talking with him. Ask him what you need to do to regain his trust.

You need to make an attempt to get along with him. If that doesn't help, find someone else to talk with. Meanwhile, don't this one person get the best of you. Hold your head high, do your job well and do what you need to do to move out of his way with or with out his blessing.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
For more Ask Sue articles, click here.

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