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: You're Not 'Brothers Emanuel'


(Write to sandra@askdrjob.com)

(Q.1) LIKE MANY SENIORS, I WROTE and self published a memoir about growing up in a somewhat famous neighborhood in my large city. I added a love story about meeting, marrying, and living 49 years with my lovely wife-and thought as a fiction book it would sell better and it did. Local bookstores, libraries, and Amazon all did brisk business and sold 500 soft cover plus several ebook editions. Now many people are asking me to try and have it made into a movie and I don't know how to find an agent. Are there some rules?

(A) IF YOU SOLD 500 COPIES it must be a good read, especially for those who know the neighborhood, and congratulations for accomplishing that. But it's a huge leap from bookshelf to movie or TV screens and the rules have changed in the last few years. In past years you could find an agent to take the property (book) to a big studio that would read, consider, agree to film it then hire screenwriters, directors, film crew, producers, marketers and distributors, and all else in the credits at the end of the film that make it a movie. But that's pretty much gone today, and most successful filmmakers are independents who find their own funding, hire their crews, then produce, market and distribute their films through film festivals, premiers and other forms of getting it to theaters, Netflix, CDs, cable and broadcast television. You may be able to find such an agent to do it for you, but beware of scams in this area. While your book obviously is well done, the properties that attract big studios are those dealing with celebrities and famous people, such as JFK, Liberace and, most recently, the memoir "The Brothers Emanuel," which already is under contract to Ariel, the brother who happens to be a Hollywood agent.

WOMEN'S PATH TO POWER

(Q.2) I THINK I'M DOING EVERYTHING right, I got the right degrees, and experience and am even postponing children until I feel I'm in a strong management position. But nothing is moving me forward as I hoped and expected it would. What can I be doing that I can change to get top management's attention and make them understand I'm top executive material? I feel there's strong gender discrimination working against me here but I can't say that out loud.

(A.) THEN MAKE IT HAPPEN WITH YOUR ACTIONS. Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath and Mary Davis Holt, authors of Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking That Block Women's Path to Power, suggest these steps: Take center stage, stop helping everyone else; don't ask permission, make waves, and don't follow all rules that block your path to advancement. If you make things happen and seem confident, capable and focused, you'll move on faster. Most important, get "politically savvy" and know what's going on inside that organization, and stop playing it "safe." Play to win. Keeping those attitudes in mind should help change your behavior and start the move forward.
BREAK OUT OF  'ONE CAREER' BOX

Q.3. THERE JUST AREN'T ANY JOBS IN my field. I've been looking almost two years and all I can get are part time, or temporary jobs to fill in for full timers. I'm so discouraged I think I'll have to stay at my parents' house forever and give up on finding a real career. I did go to a recent interview and finally got a new job for this fall that is a permanent wonderful position doing exactly what I'm trained to do. BUT IT'S ONLY ONE DAY A WEEK ON SUNDAY!!! So how can I have an upbeat attitude about anything anymore?

(A.) NO ONE SAID YOU MUST WORK ONLY in your field all your life. If you're lucky enough to have a one-day a week permanent job in your field, count yourself ahead of many others who can't even find that. You can look into another line of work for the rest of the week. Get to Kohl's, Target, Macy's or the other retailers always looking for help. Also grocery chains constantly post classifieds for workers. Most offer some benefits as well, such as vacations or healthcare. You'll keep currant with your Sunday job and it will probably make you feel happy. So bite the bullet and do whatever it takes the rest of the week to put money in your pocket. That way you eventually can move from parents' home, and that's an admirable goal.

SOMETIMES MOM KNOWS BEST

Q.4.MY MOTHER ALWAYS ACCUSED me of having a 'negative personality' because I can't see a "bright side" in everything the way she can. I need some kind of fact to prove that something is good before I can believe it. So I do get discouraged, but I don't think that makes me a 'negative' person. And even if I am, is that all bad or is it realistic? I'm having this issue with her again because I haven't been able to find a decent job of any kind since I graduated from college last year. I've tried everything and even have gone to temp agencies for occasional day work. But it's no good and doesn't last. How do I get her off my back?

(A.) YOU DON'T. SHE HAS a point. One blot of ink in a glass of fresh water turns the whole glass dark. So if you're seeing everything negatively, you ARE losing out on opportunities to move forward and make a happy, successful life. No one wants you to be a "Pollyana" (a blindly optimistic character in literature) but you must make some effort to change so everything in your life can. Dr.Alex Lickerman, author of The Undefeated Mind tells us  "the greater our belief that we can do something, the greater the likelihood we can actually do it...and the reason optimism yields results isn't that we necessary tend to try harder when we think a goal is achievable; rather, we tend to try more often. Optimism, in other words, yields persistence.... "  He also says, surprisingly, that "nothing keeps us believing success is possible, even in the face of failure, like overestimating our abilities." So try that.

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