Q: People tell me that I send too many emails, that I don’t answer all of their questions. My boss has said he thinks I need help with reading. I’m starting to job hunt and I don’t know how to handle this problem.
A: Dear Frazzled, It sounds as if you have a problem concentrating, possibly because of years of multi-tasking. This could make people think they have to send you a boatload of emails to get the responses they need. If that’s the case, disciplined focus on each email should turn this around.
Try that first without telling your boss. Follow up later, asking him if he’s noticed a difference. He might have to think twice, because getting answers to all questions is the norm for him.
However, if you find you’re unable to focus, that you’re still responding to more emails than most people around you, check in with your doctor, who might be able to spot a medical condition.
Work through this problem before you job hunt so your boss sees a difference. You’ll get a better reference and be able to answer emails from employers more effectively.
Q: I’m beginning to think that I’ll always be underemployed. The last two jobs I took just because it was time to make a decision. I always get along with the people, but I can’t seem to break this pattern. Can you help? Looking Ahead
A: You’ll be ahead the minute you decide you can break this pattern. If you’re job hunting well but not getting offers, you might not be looking in suitable companies. If you’re among the top three interviewed repeatedly or employers indicate some urgency in making a decision but nothing happens, you might do much better as an entrepreneur. Go to a meeting where everyone is an entrepreneur and see how comfortable you are. Fitting right in could tell you something.
Not fitting in might tell you that you’re doing something wrong in your search. Are you looking for a type of job for which you’re really suited or one you think would make you the most money or have another advantage, such as a short commute? Be suited to your target or you’ll never reach it.
Don’t be afraid to invest in career consulting, especially through a person found by referral.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2013 Passage Media. The opinions are solely those of the writer.)