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

Get a Life!

Dear Sue: I have been a health teacher and a coach for 20 years. The team I am a part of is very successful and we are all close, but I'm thinking of taking a job as a librarian at another school. I feel as though it's time to get out of coaching so that I can finally "get a life." However, I am torn because I know I will miss my athletes, students and teacher friends. Tell it to me straight - what do you think I should do? 

- Looking for a life

Sue Says: If the only way for you to "get a life" is to take another position and quit coaching, then take the other position. But first make sure that you have evaluated all other possible options, including making a few changes while staying where you are.

When your athletes and students finish school they will move on in their lives. The teachers who have become your friends will remain your friends if you make the effort to stay in touch.

Don't be afraid to make a change. Chances are there will be a new group of teachers and students you will be able to connect with at the new school.

If you stay where you are because you are afraid to leave, ultimately you might find yourself resenting the school, teachers and students where you are. If you're sure you're ready to give up coaching, then take a risk and "get a life"!

Dear Sue: I have a problem with two of my coworkers. One of them doesn't know much about computers, and because I do so she comes to me with all of her questions. I am beginning to think that this person is totally incompetent.

I don't mind answering a question here or there, but she is taking far too much time away from my work.

The other person, who happens to be my current supervisor, is totally incompetent. I am certain that the reason he got this job is because of his close personal relationship with the general manager. My other coworkers and I do most of the work, yet this person takes all the credit. How do I tell the general manager that the person he chose to run the place is useless? And what do I do about the other one? Please help. 

- Surrounded by incompetent people

Sue Says: Are you really surrounded by incompetent people, or are you simply intolerant of others? The fact that you describe not one, but two (or more) of your coworkers as incompetent makes me wonder if your irritation and tolerance level might be a bit low. In fact, I am wondering if you resent your supervisor for holding a position you feel you are more qualified for. This would also explain your irritation with the coworker who comes to you, not your supervisor, with questions.

Talk to her before she interrupts you again. Tell her that although you wish you had more time to devote to helping her that you are having a difficult time getting your own work done due to her constant interruptions.

Don't bother telling the general manager about the incompetent supervisor. Instead, focus more on doing your best and less on the shortcomings of everyone else. You'll probably end up happier, and ultimately get the recognition (and promotion) you deserve.

Dear Sue: I've worked as a receptionist for five years. Although all my jobs were positive experiences, I am looking for a bigger challenge. I've been doing some administrative work on a temporary basis and am learning new skills. The problem I am having is that when I go to employment agencies, they always want to send me on interviews for receptionist work. I realize that is my main background, but am I unreasonable for wanting to try something different? Please tell what to do? 

- Frustrated

Sue Says: Tell the people at the agencies that you will not go on any more interviews unless they are for the type of job you've requested. And don't.

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
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