Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Separate From 'Lazies'

Q. I work with the laziest bunch of people on the planet. They play games on the Internet when no one is watching, they take lunch hours and breaks longer than allowed-then dash out the door at exactly 5 p.m. Whenever there's an opportunity to participate in special projects they laugh behind their hands and I hesitate to step forward even though my own work ethic is very different from theirs. I WANT to get ahead and wonder if I can do the things I believe are right to get ahead without alienating my co-workers.

Ans. With co-workers like that, you should do everything you CAN to separate yourself from them. It sounds like a great place to get ahead, and when you are in a higher position you will be able to make changes to benefit the company. That's what you're there for. Begin volunteering for any opportunity that lets you stand out from that worthless crowd. Also send memos to your boss and your boss' boss anytime you do take on a special job to keep them aware of your efforts. You sound as though you're in the right place to really develop a career.

Teach Friend 'Office Separation'

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