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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Find Life in 'Ad Graveyard'

(Q.4.) I'M IN THE ADVERTISING GRAVEYARD. After 30 years as artistic director for a fairly large and respected agency, I was laid off at the age of 55. Now all I can find is free-lance work here and there. I'm grateful these companies let me come into their offices to do it, because it makes me feel more like a person if I can clean up, put on a nice shirt and walk into work with a briefcase. Fortunately, my wife still has her job with our school district. I've also been asked to do some pro-bon advertising work for our local hospital, and I would like to help them. But shouldn't I spend my free time trying to find other paying jobs?

(A) PERHAPS YOU CAN DO BOTH. You can continue to troll the Internet and make cold call contacts with organizations you think may use your talents. But since that isn't making up a full time schedule, what's better than putting on that nice shirt and doing work for a good cause like your local hospital? It's possible you'll be able to network there and meet people who know someone who can give you work. That won't happen if you stay home and just make phone calls. It's a terrible time for so many creative people in your industry and others. Keep thinking and working "out of the box" and meeting possible contacts wherever you can. You never know where a chance meeting will lead.

Say 'NO' Gracefully

Influence. Don't Manipulate