Q.1 I HATE THIS JOB. IT'S a crazy-making place but it's the only job I could find with my new college degree. I have no money and I owe a ton on college loans. My parents are letting me live at home for a while. But I want to quit and do anything for minimum wage because I might feel happier. I'm just sitting here taking up time and space. I'm not learning or contributing anything. Am I wrong to take a step down that I think has to be a step up if I'll be out of this place?
(A.) DON'T SET YOUR GOALS TOO LOW. You're justified in making a move if this job is unfulfilling, but don't automatically buy the idea that you'll never find work that's worthy of you. Your situation is more prevalent than you think. Your age group, the "Gen Y generation expects more from first jobs than their parents did and puts up with less dissatisfaction. Studies show if a member of Gen Y isn't fulfilled, he moves on. So plan to do so. Take another stab at finding a good job, but be patient. According to a recent study by Gen Y research and consulting firm Millennial Branding and the professional networking company Beyond.com, 45% of companies are currently experiencing high turnover with millennial employees (ages 18-32) by a 2 to 1 margin versus older generations. Gen Y wants meaningful work, and will jump around until they find the right match. And that's okay.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF 'BIG BAD IRS'
(Q.2) WHEN I SAW THE LETTER FROM THE IRS in my mailbox I panicked. I pay an accountant to do my taxes and the last thing I need or want is to have those guys mucking around in my files and disrupting my office. How do I stop them? I feel the first letter is just a start. I don't' even know what they want and I'm going nuts.
(A.) YOU ARE NUTS IF YOU'RE SO UPSET when you don't even now what they want or what that letter means. The first thing to do is follow the instructions in the letter. The IRS sends a lot of notices to taxpayers for a lot of reasons. Usually it's about a specific issue about your account or tax return. It may need some payment, or just notify you of a change in your account and ask for additional information. It also may ask for a correction on the return that you can review, check back with your accountant. Usually you don't have to reply if no payment is due. If you don't agree, write back and tell them why. Keep copies of everything. In any case, it doesn't mean you're going to have a team of investigators "mucking around" your office. Keep calm and remember this is why you paid an accountant.
TO MOVE OR NOT TO MOVE--TAKES SOME DEBATE
Q.3 I'M AN ENGINEER AND WORKED at the same company 28 years until our department closed and I was laid off. It took me a year to find a new job with a big software company. It's in the next state, about three hours away by car, and I've been commuting. It's hard but we don't know if we should pick up everything and everyone and make the big move there. We're in our late 50s and have kids in college and hoped to retire here near friends and family. Can you help with this decision?
(A.) RELOCATING FOR A JOB ALWAYS IS A TOUGH CHOICE. The percentage of unemployed managers and executives relocating for new jobs in the first half of 2013 climbed to its highest level since the beginning of the recession, according to recent data from the global outplacement and coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. It shows that people are more willing to sell a home as the housing market rises. But relocation is rarely the most desirable option for workers. There are a lot of both financial and emotional costs. But those who are willing to at least consider moving for a new job see many more opportunities. Since you've already found one and consider it a good job, you may want to keep commuting a while (take turns weekends with your family members). But keep listening and looking for opportunities near your home by continuing to mine your professional network.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO LOSE 'UP-AND-COMER'
(Q.4) I have a young employee at my restaurant in a college town. He has been delivering my "upscale" Mexican food for two years at $11 an hour plus tips. We really get along well, and he's very bright and someone I trust with responsibility. Unfortunately, others think so too. He just told me he has to quit because the University here hired him as a paid intern after school to work in its marketing department on programs to recruit new students. I hate to lose him, but how can I ask him to be a delivery driver when he's doing professional work that will help him get a job when he graduates? Is there a way I can keep him connected to us?
(A) WHY NOT HIRE HIM TO WORK FOR YOU on Saturdays, to do marketing to recruit new customers for your restaurant? Have him come in to design marketing tools, like newspaper ads, and flyers and find media spots for placement. It would be good experience for him, and you'd get the benefit of what he's learning at the university job.