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

Taking the Leap

Dear Sue: My job experience over the last twenty-five years has compelled me to think about opening my own business. I have a great business idea, a tremendous amount of knowledge and the resources to get started. Yet for some reason I haven't been able to put it all together. I need to get over this hump so that I can get started on what I'm sure will be a very successful business. Why do you think I am holding back? 

- Holding back

Sue Says: My guess is that it is due to fear. Don't get me wrong - I don't mean it in a negative sense, because fear can often work for rather than against a person and prove to be a positive motivator. It may be the fear of change, fear of failure or even fear of success.

You've got twenty-five years of job security and predictability. Sure you have what you need to launch your new business idea, but once you do you enter into new, uncharted territory.

No matter how great your idea may be, as with all new business ideas, there is a risk of failure. Some people are motivated by that fear and others are paralyzed by it.

There are so many things to do to begin the process of opening a new business that it may be difficult for you to know where to begin. And you probably realize that once you make the move that there is a chance this new business will consume your life. That can be overwhelming.

Breaking away from friends and coworkers to do something on your own can make you feel isolated from everyone else. As excited as you are about your new business idea, if you don't have anyone to collaborate with, it can be very lonely.

So what do you do next? Really think about what is holding you back. If you haven't already, write a business plan. The details of the plan will help you see what steps you need to take and in what order. Consider meeting with a few trusted and respected friends or business leaders to get feedback on your idea and plan. Or look into meeting with a representative of S.C.O.R.E. - Service Core of Retired Executives, which as the name says is made up of retired executives who volunteer their time to help people like yourself in business.

Good luck!

Dear Sue: I've been at the same job for 18 years. I like my job, but recently there have been some changes made that seem to benefit everyone but the people like me, who have longevity with the company.

When people are needed to work extra hours during our busy season, the employees who have been here the longest are the ones who are scheduled to work overtime. I don't think this is done intentionally, rather it's just become a habit.

Some of us, myself included, feel taken advantage of and would like to see some of the newer employees added to the overtime schedule. However, I am not sure how to request this to management without making them feel as though they are being attacked. Do you have any suggestions? 

- L.D.

Sue Says: Yes, when you talk with management, ask lots of questions rather than making accusations. Don't be hesitant to express the same concern about their reaction as you have expressed to me.

Rather than using the meeting as a vehicle to complain about your hours or what you consider to be an unfair policy, tell them that your purpose is to discover how it is determined who is scheduled to work overtime. Let them know that you are not trying to be difficult, but that you weren't sure if they were even aware of the fact that the newer employees are not being asked to work overtime.

Be open to what they have to say, and hopefully you will walk away satisfied with what you hear.

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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