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

Job Hopping

Dear Sue: I am a talented, committed sales professional. Earlier in my career I bounced around a bit, but then found some stability with two large companies. I worked at one company for two years and the other for almost five years. I am now working with a third company and may be headed out the door in the next few months.

I am concerned about making another change because this would be my fourth change in two years. Most of the changes have been due to the havoc that has occurred in technology, but I still feel it does not reflect positively on me. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Ė Bill

Sue Says: I can understand your concern, and realize the thought of making another change and looking for another job again is probably daunting. However, you donít need to worry too much; as youíve stated, most of the changes have had nothing to do with you or your performance Ė but rather a result of changes that have been out of your control.

As you begin to talk with potential employers, focus less on the number of companies you have worked for and more on what you have accomplished and what you bring to an organization. Use your sales skills to sell yourself as someone who has experienced a lot of change and is used to adapting to and overcoming obstacles. Your range of experience may be an asset; assume it is and use it to your advantage. Good luck.

Dear Sue: I work for a small company and am fortunate to work with a lovely group of people. I am friendly with most everyone. When I take my lunch break I prefer to use the time to run errands and get out of my work environment, especially when it is nice out. For some reason, this bothers my colleagues. They all gather in the lunchroom to eat together and visit. I feel I spend enough time with these people and to be honest, the smell of all the food people bring and eat makes me lose my appetite.

Every day my colleagues seem so disappointed when they see me leave and plead with me to sit down and eat. I am given the third degree about where I am going and what I will eat, etc. I always feel bad, but really donít want to stay. Is it wrong for me to leave? It is becoming uncomfortable for me and I donít know what to say or do. Ė Running on my lunch break

Sue Says: You are under no obligation to stay and eat with your colleagues. Consider yourself fortunate that you are so well liked and cared about, but donít worry about hurting anyoneís feelings. These people choose to stay inside for lunch and you prefer to use your time differently. You can thank them for their concern, but firmly let them know that you prefer to get things done and get outside when you can. No apologies or details about where you go and what you eat are necessary.

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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