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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Solving the 'New Boss' Puzzle

Q. I'm 55 and have been in a job I love for 25 years. New managers and a new "culture" in my department made each day so awful my husband convinced me to go upstairs to HR and try to make some kind f deal to work part time and still be allowed to buy into the company insurance plan. I almost had the deal set when yet another new top banana was brought in to my department and he's putting a hold on the plan. I know I can't stay full time or I'll have a nervous breakdown.  But I have pre-existing conditions as most people do at this age, so I know I can't get a really good insurance policy elsewhere. I wonder if I should try and get a part-time deal anyway.

Ans. Sometimes when a door closes a window opens. This may be a window of opportunity for you. There are more insurance opportunities beginning to open as we watch the national campaigns unfold. Also, most states do offer policies after COBRA runs out although they are expensive, Another option is to take a part-time job that you wouldn't consider otherwise in a retail store that allows you to buy into a group policy there. The important thing is to retain your foothold in the company. This new manager may not last in these shifting economic times. If they won't keep you on an official part-time basis, ask for projects to be done from your home. Then do the same at other like companies and you may find yourself with new steady work. The key to success at any age is learning to make challenges into opportunities.

Consider New Career Options

Put Your Head Down and Work