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


Dear Sue: After losing my job several months ago I decided to pursue my dreams and start my own business. I never realized how challenging it would be. I cannot hang on much longer to my dream because of my responsibility to my family.

Now I am wondering if all the talk about doing what you love is realistic. I am trying to be successful by doing what I love, but I don't love it when I can't make ends meet.

How long should it take to see the fruits of my labor? And at what point do I give up on my dreams to face reality?

-- Dreamer

Sue Says: I wish I could provide you with a formula, but I don't know of one. The challenges you are facing are not uncommon. It takes time to build a business and make it profitable and there is a fine line between some dreams and reality.

Are you realistic about the amount of time it will take to make your business a success? Most companies do not achieve success overnight -- it can take years for some to see a profit.

Try not to think in terms of either having your dream or giving it up. There are ways you can achieve what you want without suffering during the process.

Consider all of your options. Rather than focusing solely on your new business, perhaps you need to work at an outside job for awhile until your business has time to develop and grow. In addition, think about seeking the advice of others who may have gone through what you are right now.

Do what it takes to support yourself and your family. Realize it may take some time, but don't give up on your dreams. If you are determined, I am sure you can find a way to build your business slowly without suffering in the process. Good luck.

Dear Sue: I served on a committee many years ago and we developed a unique program together. It was a successful venture, and once the program was implemented it was the first program of its kind.

I've always wondered how to state this accomplishment in a resume. If I say that I developed it, I feel that that it would be an overstatement. However, I did play an integral role in the development of the program, and eventually became the program supervisor. For years I was the only original member still working with the program. What do you suggest?

-- Susan

Sue Says: I see nothing wrong with stating the fact (in your resume) that you developed and supervised this program. It isn't really an exaggeration of the truth -- as you've said, you did develop and work on the project. Resumes are meant to be a brief summary of your work history and accomplishments. This is one of your accomplishments. The time to provide more detail would be if and when you are asked to give more information about the project. Many accomplishments are the result of more than one individual. Don't diminish your role in this project just because you didn't do it alone. The fact that you did accomplishment what you did with the help of others is indicative of your ability to function well on a team, which is an attribute as well. Play your role up, not down!

Dear Sue: I'm working as an accounting consultant. I've been with the same company for about a year, and my responsibilities have increased considerably. My supervisor has assessed my performance as being exceptional.

On several occasions they have promised to increase my compensation, but when the set date arrives they act as if we never discussed the matter. They "back peddle," and make references to another date in the future. They have done this to me twice now. What should I do?

-- Allen

Sue Says: Bring up the subject again, and express your concerns about the lack of follow through on what you interpreted as a commitment for an increase in pay.

Once you get another promise, ask them to put it in writing. This way both of you will have a clear understanding of your agreement and you will have documentation should they "forget" what was promised.

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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