Business

Lynne Curry: Tell truth about job situation

Q: My company passed me over for a promotion for a second time.

I'm an employee who has done my all for my boss. I have cleaned up his messes, let him know when one of his employees was stealing from him and helped him survive a staffing shortage. I thought surely when a position opened up at the management level he wouldn't even advertise it outside the company.

I didn't even get an interview.

I'm not the only one upset. My friends on staff had been telling me I was a shoo-in for this promotion. One said he didn't even apply because he figured the position was mine.

But instead of me, the person everybody comes to for help with math or spreadsheets or computers, it's some guy with a flashy rsum who wowed my boss with self-inflated answers. Now I get the chance to orient this new hire so he can "get up to speed" when if I had gotten the promotion, we already would be there. What a slap in the face.

I'm not going to take it. I'm sending my rsum to every job that looks interesting. What do I say when the interviewer asks me why I'm leaving my current employer?

A: Your boss messed up. You deserved an interview or at least an explanation of what led him to consider the outside applicant more qualified. Potentially, your boss may have felt the position required a level of expertise you didn't have -- and if so he should have told you.

Since he didn't, he lost your loyalty. Don't make his loss yours by allowing your resentment over his actions to poison your chances of landing a terrific new job. When you interview, tell the truth. Explain you have gone as far as you can in your present position and want to grow.

Next, tell the truth about yourself. You're the kind of employee who supported your manager and helped your manager and company survive a staffing shortage. You're a man to whom others turn to for assistance. If you have performance reviews that document your strong contributions, bring them.

Whatever you do, don't bad-mouth your current employer. If you do so, you will torpedo your chances with many employers.

Finally, don't allow your disappointment to stop you from doing less than your professional best in your remaining time with your current employer. You won't want to leave a bad last impression with your boss or co-workers.

Q: I've been out of work for two months. I left my former job for very good reasons and at first, I found job hunting exciting. There were a lot of jobs that seemed great. I got an offer my second week of looking, though the salary was too low.

This month has been slow. I've sent rsums to at least 50 ads posted on Craigslist and monster.com and haven't landed another interview. I'm starting to get nervous. Should I have taken the one job I was offered?

A: Many applicants hesitate to take the first job offer -- particularly if the salary doesn't measure up to expectations. Generally this proves wise, as a temporary stop-gap job burns the employer who hired them.

Because the continuing economic turnover reduced many salaries, you may want to check the Department of Labor website for current salary information and make a decision -- should you hold out another couple of weeks or months for a higher-paying job or take the next reasonable offer? If the former, consider looking for and accepting a transitional job with an employer who realizes you're only there temporarily while you continue your search.

w Lynne Curry is a management trainer, consultant and president of Alaska's The Growth Company Inc. in Anchorage. Email her at lynne@thegrowthcompany.net.

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