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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DR JOB Q & A:Job Hopping--Good or Bad?

(Q.1) I'M YOUNG AND HAVE BEEN at the same job after college four years. I like the company, the people, and the work. I keep hearing from people I respect outside the company that I should be looking for another job even though I'm content, because people don't view you positively if you just stay in one job. Is that true?

(A): THERE ARE PROS AND CONS to job-hopping, and you should consider those eventually, but four years isn't enough time to feel you MUST start moving. Enjoy a good thing as long as it feels right, but it's true that staying in one job an entire career usually isn't realistic today, nor is it always viewed as "loyalty" as it once was. Executive Search Experts at Winter Wyman say that on the one hand, nobody wants to be a job hopper and people who cannot demonstrate the ability to stay put for more than a year or two are definitely going to have a harder time finding work than those who can.  But changing jobs is critical to building a career. Employers are just as suspicious of candidates who haven't changed jobs in 15-20 years, and may assume you won't be able to adjust to a new environment, perceive you as stuck, or just complacent.  This is especially true if they look at the work you have done and it does not show any real progression, or if the work you have been doing has now become obsolete (such as technology).

(Q.2) I AM FACING MY SENIOR year in college but still don't know exactly what I want to do later. I am an honor student, even winning a university scholarship my first year to business college. I finished two years, and then switched to media which I really enjoy. I especially enjoy my Media law course because I like arguing. (Especially with my parents who wanted me to become a CPA). I had one internship last summer but didn't apply again because I want to spend this summer on campus, delivering pizza, hanging out with pals, and deciding what to do after I graduate. And that's the problem. I spend most of my enjoyable time on the traveling Midwest Intramural Volley Ball team, picking up where I left off with letters and honors in High School. I'm confused because I really can and do enjoy many diverse interests. Is there any way to bring them together?

(A): SOMEONE MUST-AND SOON. Here's a quick effort: Your honors business and journalism background give you two sturdy legs of the "three legged career stool." There are a few possibilities for the third. 1. Media Law. Go on to law school, further understand and be ready to defend or prosecute the many new areas of media when it breaks or is accused of breaking the law. This field will only grow as media outlets do---and so will its need for legal protection. 2. Since volley ball remains a really important part of your life and sounds as if it always will be, think about sports marketing (your media background will help in this as well. You need to make sure you take some courses in spots marketing before you leave campus. Perhaps you can do that this summer instead of  "hanging out with friends full time."  You also may want to add some ongoing law courses and become a sports agent, responsible for negotiating deals, and managing sports individuals or teams. Your school counselor and help with these ideas and others, since you still have a year and some summers to add the necessary classes. .

(Q. 3).I'M SMART. I'M HARDWORKING, and I want to go to college. I deserve to have a college degree but my parents have little money. I have less. I don't qualify for scholarships and I'm about to start looking for a factory job-even though there are very few factories where I live. I don't want to work in fast foods. How does someone like me better himself?

(A): WE ALL KNOW ABE LINCOLN walked miles to a schoolhouse then studied by the light from the fireplace while he read his books on the floor. You don't have to do that. Sign up for online courses if you can't do anything else Many are available, such as www., a leading education resource focused on connecting thousands of visitors with the information they seek about online education and degree programs. It lets you research schools and connect with the providers of career training, which may help you succeed. Also check with your local community college and see about costs and financial aid for starting your education there. You are not destined to work in a factory or fast food restaurant just because your parents are poor. 

(Q.4) I STARTED MY OWN BUSINESS but I don't feel I'm as successful as quickly as a man would be doing the same thing. I'd like to know what I might be doing wrong or "not like a man" that would help my business grow faster. 

(A): IT'S TRUE THAT MEN AND WOMEN are different, but so is the view of each in the business world. It's unpleasant but true. Regardless, women are forging ahead and succeeding at an amazing rate. To help you, Canadian Michelle Ray, a Women's Leadership Motivational Speaker, offers these key principles: 1. Re-define your self-concept. Ray contends that self-sabotage is the number one enemy. It is essential to first understand yourself and your past in order to create their future.2. Re-interpret events and situations you can't control. Individuals who choose not to buy-in to negative news or doomsday thinking about the economy are successfully inventing their own reality.3. Live authentically rather than seeking approval from others. Ray says that by being others values-based; we lose sight of our own goals, dreams and career path.4. Detach from drama. Being consumed by the chaos of one's workplace and/or personal life will rob you of the ability to rise above the small stuff in order to realize your vision.5. Fearless persistence. Ray says there is no substitute for acquiring the willingness to risk and become unafraid of the unknown. We add: separate from toxic people in your personal and professional lives. They will contaminate your thinking.

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