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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Ask DR.JOB: Professionals Help Job Search


(Q.1)  MY GIRLFRIEND AND I WERE living happily in California for eight years, then her booming software company gave her a great promotion that includes moving to Boulder, CO. We went there to check it out and fell in love with the people, the ambiance, the college town vibrancy. We even found an excellent condo we can afford. ButI have a decent mid-level job in San Diego and I don't know how or where to find work to equal that in a new place. I don't want to go back to working in coffee shops at this age. What to do?

(Ans.) WHEN IN DOUBT CALL PROS. You can find all the tips you need on career Web sites, such as www.askdrjob.com about print and digital media ads, resumes, interviews, cold calls, networking, and everything else involved in finding a job. But don't overlook executive search firms that specialize in placing qualified, experienced people like you in their own or related fields. Most important, check local newspapers business sections and jobs sections. Also see if your partner can get you help from her company's human resources department. Many will make that available to transferees' partners and families.

Do I Really Need An Accountant?

(Q.2) I'm a creative and not very good with numbers, but I'm determined to start a new small business that I know will work very well in our small community. My wife is on board and will help. Do I have to know how to manage all the accounting and tax deductions or should I just hire an accountant and, as the guys in the mob say,  "fagetabatit?"

(ANS.) THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN 'FAGETABATIT'-- and stay out of jail. Of course hire an accountant, but bone up on some of the basic information yourself so you know everyone's playing the same game. Here sre some tax tips from the IRS that can help even a beginner: Decide if you must register as a partnership, corporation, lilmited liability company, or any other. The type you chose will determine the kind of income, self employment, employment and excise taxes. Check with the IRS to see if you'll need an Employer Identification Number for tax purposes. If so, apply online. Even with an accountant, you'll need to keep good records so you can file business tax forms at year's end. Choose any system that shows your income and expenses. You'll also need to use a consistent accounting method, a set of rules, to determine when to report income and expenses. Here's where that accountant comes in to help in a major way. These steps will provide a firm foundation for your creativity.

Playing games with Raises

(Q.3) I'VE BEEN SO UPSET by my company because I feel they don't appreciate the work and loyalty I've given them the last 10 years. My old boss, who hired me, always gave me a small raise each year. Since the new boss took over I haven't had one raise, and was told it was because of budget problems. But I found out people he likes continued to get them. This year I didn't hear anything about raises for a month after they would have been due. I assumed I was left out again and began looking for another job. I found one that doesn't pay quite as much but I know the people there will respect me and treat me better. I was about to tell this boss to "go fly a kite" and quit. But before I could do it, I got a letter at home telling me I just received this year's raise. I don't' know what to do.

(ANS) STAY PUT. YOU MAY have been imagining "they don't like me" and it's time to put the past where it belongs--behind you. Tell the people who made you the new offer that you've received a raise and will not make a change now, but hope they will keep the door open in future. They may surprise you and make a counter offer of an equal amount or more to get you. If they don't, go back to work, keep you head up and, as Dr. Phil says, "Teach people (there) how to treat you." You've proven you don't have to stay anywhere unless you are treated with dignity. Make that clear to your boss by your own behavior. 

Sometimes It's Best to Skip Fight

(Q.4) I WORKED NIGHTS AS A HOTEL MAID six years and never had complaints. Every morning I came in to find the rooms dirty, toilets backed up, and everything a mess. I cleaned it and told supervisors. Then a fellow cleaner who doesn't like me, said I left the mess, not the people who worked days. I'm from Russia and have trouble with language but tried to explain it wasn't my fault. No one would listen and they made me so upset I quit. When I tried to get unemployment, I was told I couldn't unless I was fired. I can't afford to hire a lawyer, is there something else I can do?

(A) SADLY THERE ISN'T. Unless you are fired you don't qualify for unemployment, as you were told. It also would cost a lot of time and money-- probably more than you have--to sue the hotel chain. Try and find someone with whom you worked who did find your work satisfactory and found you a responsible person. Ask him or her to write a recommendation to that effect you can show future employers. Then focus your efforts on finding one.

New 'Out of Office' Responder

Belonging to 'Office Tribe"