Q: I’m in my 30s and in recycling, going from business to business to shred and recycle outdated documents. I enjoy the work. I’m pretty much my own boss and I work ten-hour days, four days per week. People are glad to see me come and glad to see me go. I had two months of training to learn how to drive my huge truck and operate the computer. I’ll never have to worry about job security.
The job is straining my back. My doctor prescribed a brace and exercises to be doing to keep it as strong as possible. But the day is coming.
Where do I go next?
A: You’re in an excellent, growing industry, with jobs around you. Why don’t you see if you can be a coordinator in the company or move directly into management?
If you don’t see yourself in either of these roles but you’re not sure what you want to do, think about all of the different businesses you served. Did any look interesting?
Your ability to learn will make you a viable candidate wherever you go. Use it as a selling point.
Q: My company has allowed me to telecommute for three years, for which I feel grateful. However, I no longer have reasons for wanting to work at home.
More than this, I’ve been feeling very isolated, even with all of the technology the company has provided me. Emailing, texting and telephoning just aren’t the same as in-person contact.
Most of the employees in the company are younger workers who like being on their own with the latest technology. I’m 45, and I don’t want to appear to be an oldster by asking for a traditional arrangement. How can I present myself?
A: Because most of the company’s employees prefer virtual workplaces, headquarters may welcome you back. If you level with your employer, it won’t seem as if age is propelling you.
Mention that your situation has changed. Emphasize that you’re more social than you realized and that you’d like to be anchored in the central location. Your experience in telecommuting should make you a good candidate for interfacing with internal and external employees. Play that up.