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

Career Transitions

Dear Sue: A person I work with is leaving tomorrow, and we all want to congratulate her for the contributions she has made while she has worked here.

How can we let her know that we think she was a hard worker and that we really appreciate all she has done? We've already made a poster and a cake. Do you have any other last minute advice? 

- Curious

Sue Says: Yes I do! Everyone craves and appreciates recognition for what they do. Have everyone write a personal tribute to this person -- it can be a great memory, something special about her, why you enjoyed working with her or why you will miss her. It doesn't have to be lengthy or fancy. Then put them all together and present it to her.

Expressing your sentiments and appreciation is something that is sure to touch her heart and will leave her with lasting memories that she can reflect on long after she is gone.

It's the greatest gift you can give, and one that money can't buy. I can guarantee you that she will treasure it and save it forever!

Dear Sue: The name of the game in business now is to change companies every few years to show that you can handle change. I've been with the same company for 10 years and have learned a variety of skills.

I am thinking that is time for me to make a change, and am wondering how to handle job interviews when I've been at the same place for 10 years. What do you suggest? 

- Looking for change

Sue Says: If you are under the impression that because you have worked at the same company for the last ten years that it will reflect negatively on you, think twice.
It's true that many people will make a number of job changes over the course of their career, but there still are many people who remain loyal to one organization and work for the same company until retirement.

If you are restless and want to explore new opportunities, go ahead. Many people looking for work are concerned about having too many jobs listed on a resume or gaps in between employment. You have nothing to worry about. The strong track record you have should be an asset.

Don't make a change because you feel you should. If you are happy where you are you should stay. If you are ready to make a change, do it with the confidence that you have a lot to offer an organization, including longevity and stability! What terrific qualities to possess!

Dear Sue: I've just been offered a fabulous job, but I'm afraid to accept it for a couple of reasons.

First, I'm not sure my computer skills are fit for this position, and I expressed this concern, but my future employer insisted this would not pose a problem. He said that there would be sufficient information left behind for me to follow. The person who had the position is leaving tomorrow, but I was assured that she would be just a phone call away.

Second, my previous supervisor left her position a year ago and has been a mentor to me. She asked me to work for her on a part-time basis, which I have been doing since February. She said there is the possibility of working full-time at a later date. She doesn't know that I've been looking for full-time work and now that this opportunity has been presented to me, I am not sure what to do.

I believe I can handle the job, but I don't want to disrupt a good relationship with my previous boss. Can you help me? 

- Devoted friend

Sue Says: Tell your friend/mentor what you have told me. Let her know how much you value her and your friendship, but that you have had to look for full time work and can't let a good opportunity pass you by.

Reassure her that you would love to work with her, and hope you can again when the time is right.

Honesty always pays off -- don't be afraid to tell her the truth and don't give up an opportunity out of fear. You may come to resent her if you do.

Don't ask her what to do - tell her what you plan to do and why. She will most likely respect you for doing what you need to do, and although she may be hurt, she will realize you need to take care of yourself first. I bet she will respect you for doing what you need to do. Good luck!

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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