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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Don't be 'Goodfella'

Q. I like to be the Goodfella. I want everyone to like me and all my co-workers know it and keep piling more and more jobs on me. They're usually just "little stuff" and they ask,  "Hey, do me a favor, will you?" and I can't say no. As a result, I can't spend the time I should on my own projects, I know the boss doesn't think I'm as great as I know I could be. How do I say "no" and keep friends here?

Ans. You don't need friends there. You need colleagues who respect you, your expertise and talent, and your time. You should begin to offer suggestions for the way THEY can do those little things, and explain you're too busy with your own work to do it. You may find they are friendlier when they see you are assertive. Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, authors of "Change Anything" believe that you have to identify crucial moments. Scan your typical day and see if those requests and tasks are sidetracking you from giving your best performance. If they are, you have no choice other than to stop them.

Give boss 'space'

Hunt job or stay put?