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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Move Slowly into Direct Sales

Q. Like so many women over 65 I've been fired from the job I held many years. I don't believe anyone will hire me now at this age, so I'm considering a move into direct sales. Some people I know have done that, selling home products, jewelry, makeup, and so forth. I think I have the right personality, but wonder if they are really profitable or just another rip-off. Do you know?

Ans. Some direct sales organizations are excellent sources of income, others are rip-offs. You must do the homework to make sure you sign up with the right one. The Direct Marketing Association ( provides some help. It suggests you choose a product or service that you like and use and most have Web sites you can visit. Also check with the local Better Business Bureau and state consumer protection agency to see if there are complaints filed against it. Try and find someone that works for the company and check with him or her. You must consider start up costs, which should be modest, less than $100 if the company is legitimate. If you're supposed to earn money by buying more and more inventory or training aids-run! Make sure the company has a buyback policy for inventory, and be clear that your compensation comes from sale of products or services. Beware of anyone says you'll get rich using their products or recruiting new people into the business.

Getting Past the 'Gate Keeper'

Women Can Play Office Politics Too