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.and A.: Same Genes, Different 'Genes'


(Q.1) MY SON IS DRIVING ME NUTS! He's a brilliant college student, and he got an internship to work at a fine company for six week this summer. We're all proud of him, of course, but I told him I want to take him shopping for decent clothes so he won't embarrass himself (and us). He balked because the company said he could wear jeans to this entry-level office job. I'm trying to convince him that the jeans he wears to school, that are faded with holes in the knees, are not what the bosses have in mind. How do I convince him?

(ANS.) YOU'RE RIGHT THAT THERE ARE JEANS, and then there are jeans. And although you may have the same "genes" there's no question that different generations view "jeans" differently. If you have any control over his finances (like paying full or part of any college costs) use that as leverage to insist he at least go with you to buy two pair of new jeans and a few new tee shirts. Say you will withhold that money unless he at least meets you part way. Suggest going to a "cool" store young people patronize, instead of to a "family retail chain" he may consider "nerdy. " (Also mention donating some of the old clothes to a charity that may please him too.)

(Q.2) I retired after 45 years and must cut costs to live on my decreased income. One of my biggest expenses is the phone. I cancelled the landline and use only my cell phone but even the cheapest contract is an effort. I wonder if it's right for me to ask my children to include me on their "friends and family" contract. Such additions seem to be inexpensive and I could afford that. Is there a way to ask without sounding like I want them to start taking care of me financially?

(ANS) YOU, AND CHILDREN, ARE THE REASONS PHONE COMPANIES added family plans and it makes good sense for you to join your family's. But make it clear that you will pay for each year in a lump sum in advance, so they won't have to keep asking you every month to chip in your share. Also consider giving them a separate check to cover your plan cancellation penalty if something "unexpected" should happen to make that necessary. 

(Q. 3.) I'M GOING INTO MY JUNIOR year of college next fall and completed all the Liberal Arts Core requirements and am ready to declare a split major in Spanish and Education. I figure I can always teach Spanish though I'd rather go into business. I spent one summer on an internship in Chili so I speak Spanish well. Can you help me determine how to find some kind of job?

(Ans.) YOU HAVE A GREAT START since the Hispanic population is growing by leaps and bounds and most companies want to hire them, sell to them, and work with them to the best of everyone's ability. Start by going over to your business college in the university and sign up for courses in: Media, Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising, and Sales. That should give you a second and most important minor which will convince most companies aiming toward that audience that you will help them in some way increase profits, improve services, and, best of all, recruit and hire the best Hispanic candidates to do the same. In addition to applying to those "marketing and recruitment departments' in companies, think about setting up a side business for weekends and evenings when you can tutor those companies' new executives hired from Spanish speaking countries. This is a new market that is expanding along with that grand new population.

(Q.4) I was all set for a great summer, my last before college graduation. I'm renting a year-around apartment with friends, I got an internship in the recruitment department of my university that I'm really looking forward to. I also have a great part-time evening job delivering pizza, which pays $8 an hour, tips and limited free pizzas. The problem is that I got an A on the analysis of a local company I did for a business class, and my professor sent it to the company and they called and asked if I'd like to work part-time for them over the summer as a consultant. I'm really flattered, but I think I have a really full plate, and I did want to have some free time to hang out with my friends. How do I decide?

(ANS) LET'S TAKE THE LONG VIEW. Which jobs do you think will serve you best in your future career? Take a piece of paper and divide it into three columns, head them: internship, company consultant, and pizza delivery. Under each write the "pros" for your future. Then list the "cons". It should not be difficult to see you would be best served to work full time for the university, consult with the company part time, and, if there's time in the evening after that, deliver pizza. But it may be worth passing up free pizza altogether if necessary, to get the career advantages presented by the other two gigs. .


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