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

What Went Wrong?

Dear Sue: I just resigned from a new position, and am very confused about what happened during my five-month career with this company.

I was sent to seminars to increase my knowledge and learn more about this field, and did everything that was asked of me, yet I was never given the opportunity to complete any of the tasks I was hired to do. I was not included in any meetings or invited to participate in any projects.

I never received an answer when I asked why I was being treated this way. When I asked for a lateral move to another position in the company, human resources told me that nothing was available.

I am shattered by this experience, and my confidence is completely gone. I want to know why this happened and what I can do to help myself. 

- Shattered

Sue Says: You may have to accept the fact that you may never know exactly what happened or why.

Maybe someone made a mistake by hiring you. Perhaps there was a personality conflict, a power struggle or simply a change of heart. Whatever the reason, it sounds as though you really never had a chance, and you have every right to be upset.

I said upset -- not shattered. Don't allow yourself to lose all your confidence. Strange and inexplicable things happen all the time. You did everything you could to find out why your talents weren't being utilized, but couldn't get a response.

You can help yourself by determining what direction you will take now that this has happened. Give yourself a certain amount of time to gripe, grieve and evaluate what went wrong. Explore what, if anything, you could have done differently. Once your time is up, force yourself to stop dwelling on this negative experience and move on.

Assume that this was out of your control, chalk it up to a bad experience and hope that you will fare better in your next job. Once you do that, take what you've learned from this experience and put your time, energy and focus into finding a new position with a new company. But before you accept any offer, do your research and ask a number of questions ahead of time to ensure that something like this won't happen again. Good luck.

Dear Sue: I am a teacher and a media specialist, and have been at my current job for six years. Many of the people I work with have no idea how stressful my job is. I work a full week of teaching while trying to accommodate a staff of teachers with materials. The demands are high, and although most of the people I work with are patient and understanding, two people are not.

I am contemplating looking for a new location to work out where I will be better appreciated.

I truly enjoy teaching, and hate to think of leaving the friends I have here and the children I teach. What's a media specialist to do? 

- Media specialist

Sue Says: I find it hard to believe that you are considering leaving people you enjoy and a job you like because of two people who are rude. Is that the real reason you are contemplating leaving or are there other issues that are bothering you? Maybe the burden of fulfilling the roles of two important positions is just too much.

Why don't you ask for some help and support in the media center - or talk with the two people who are the source of your stress?

If you leave and end up working someplace else, you have no guarantee that the same thing won't happen again. You may even end up finding that it is worse someplace else.

I recommend that you try to fix the situation where you are now. Make that you take care of your needs before you work at fulfilling the needs of everyone else.

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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