I am 24 years old. My field is data analytics. I understand that building a network will eventually pay off, in one capacity or another. Can you tell me the most effective things I can do to grow my network now? I want to get the highest possible return on my time investment.

I recently started a new job. I love the work that I am tasked to do and for the most part I really like the organization and most other people that I work with.

My supervisor asked me in the interview if I would not mind training other colleagues to do my job to help with their capacity development. I said I was fine with this as I really wanted the job.

In the three weeks since I started I have found my colleagues apathetic about their jobs, and they do not equally share information with me regarding their roles and responsibilities. However, my biggest concern is training a colleague to take over and do my job. Additionally, my colleagues have been working with my supervisor longer than I have and they already have a good relationship with my supervisor.

I work in a small department, so I have no other choice but to train these colleagues. What perspective should I take on being asked to train other colleagues to do my work – is this a good thing or a bad thing? How should I proceed to train such colleagues, yet ensure my own job security in the future?

I am a Mechanical Drafter (CAD Operator I), for a Mechanical Contractor by day. By night, I am a courier driver that has a specific route. I live in Minnesota.

I’m married and have three grown children, two of which still are struggling to be grown. I have three grandchildren, of which me and my wife help raise one them almost full time. My wife is a stay at home wife, she has some health problems. I am very patient with my wife, since she has been very patient with me and my outbursts at times and I have gone to therapy for this.

I have always been the socially awkward person. I fit in sometimes and most of the time I don’t. I have ADHD, more the ADD than the Hyperactive. Medication for ADHD doesn’t help me. I’m left handed and feel like I’m somewhere on the Autism spectrum but it’s not pronounced enough to ever have made a diagnosis. I have social anxiety, depression at times, and sometimes anger issues. I take Cymbalta, lowest dose possible to help with depression and anxiety. I recently got a membership at a local Anytime Fitness and started working out three times a week.

I wrote to you because I’m having issues at my job. I work with other drafters, designers, and engineers to draw and update plans. I have been with this specific company for a year now and have mixed emotions on how I feel I am doing at this job.

The problem is my attention to detail. I have had two sit downs with my boss, the lead mechanical engineer. The first conversation was last October and the second was in January. The conversation goes, you are making to many mistakes, why is this happening, what are you doing to not make mistakes.

The first conversation I had with him was not a shock to me, I knew I was making mistakes but felt it was beginner mistakes, since I had just started working there a couple of months before. This is when I learned that I cannot say “I’m doing my best”. This kind of threw me off guard a little but it made me really look at myself and ask am I really doing my best. So, I did my research and found a good process I thought would work for me.

A couple of more months pass, I’m trying to learn and implement this new process of doing work. I’m still making mistakes, not major, but mistakes a newbie would make. My boss has another sit down with me in January. I tell him the process of what i’m doing and so on. He is really frustrated with me and is ready to let me go and lay me off. See, this is where the not fitting in part I think goes into play. I’m not the best conversationalist and in meetings i really clam up. Obviously, i’m not doing this on purpose, its just my physical and emotional makeup of who I am. I have poor short term memory and giving input at meetings is a real struggle for me. I really do try, like keeping a notepad for notes at all times, sometimes recording learning/training sessions, and so on.

So, it’s been a year working here and I still feel like an outsider. I feel like they consider me incompetent at times. I really have learned a lot in my year here. There still is so much more to learn. But I feel like i am on a short leash. I feel like my next mistake will be my last and I will get laid off or I will be the first on the chopping block if that ever happens. I’ve told my boss i’m never intentionally trying to make mistakes and mess up. He knows I have a process. Who knows, maybe I’m over analyzing everything. I came this far to try and get some career advice.

I am a 31-year-old female. I am married and I have a two-year-old. I think I am probably an INFP, but never shelled out for the proper test. My marriage is very strong and satisfying.

I have a job I love. I volunteered for 5 years and have worked there for 5 more. I am a youth worker for an innovative organization whose principles allow me to do very, very good youth work (which is rare – youth work, like education, is mostly terrible).  My mentor/supervisor is a genius and I am incredibly lucky to work with and learn from him every day. Before I had my child I believed I would work at this place for the rest of my life. My work is fantastic, ie I love to do my job. I am also very good at it. I think this is the most important thing to say: my job has become part of my identity. I am a wife, a mother, and a youth worker. Everything else is secondary

My job is not perfect: before maternity leave I made just under 30K a year (working about 50 hours a week plus being on call 24/7/365), usually office relations are good, but every few months something flares up and I spend hours listening to people complain and being recruited to take sides, and my boss has an inconsistent management style that is often frustrating to watch and is occasionally hurtful to me.

As you have probably already predicted, I had a kid and everything changed. I do not want to ever go back to work full-time. I want to have at least one more kid. I would like to homeschool my children. I want to move an hour outside of the city I live in to raise my kids in the country (my husband has already found his dream job there and splits his time between the city and the country). I love being home with my kid. For real.

When my child was 3 months old I went back to work part-time (6 hours a week) and I am now up to about 15 hours a week. As part of my job, I am on call 24/7 to every youth I work with (about 60 kids) so the number of hours I work is a little hard to judge because in one sense I am always working.

I like the current arrangement, but I could stand to work even fewer hours. I only really care about the part of my job that involves the kids, running my twice-a-week three-hour program and being on call. That would take about 8-10 hours a week. Currently, I also run two school-based lunch-time programs a week and I mentor/manage four junior youth workers, plus I have to write reports and go to staff meetings and take calls from disgruntled staff.

Here’s the problem: the things that used to be just shitty parts of the job (low pay, inconsistent and erratic management, often discordant/antagonistic office relations) are now major problems. I resent all the of things I used to cheerfully tolerate (because they are just time/energy away from my family). On top of that, my status has changed: I have gone from being a valued member of a small team to a side note (due to my part-time status). My bonus is smaller, I don’t have a say over things that I used to have a say in, and my boss has allowed a new and junior youth worker to be chronically rude to and disrespectful of me (“he’s rude to everyone if that makes you feel better”). My job satisfaction has swiftly declined. However, my job is such a massive part of who I am. My mentor and the youth I serve mean so much to me. I cannot imagine not doing this job. I can also not justify it – it would feel like a betrayal to people I love.

I COULD imagine leaving to do one of two things: start an alternative school or start a program for young mothers. Two problems there: I lack confidence in my ability to achieve these things (not in my ability to run a excellent school or program, but the actual starting of them) and both of those things would take up more time than 15 hours a week and I DO NOT want to work full-time.

My job allows me to do work I love, it is my community. I can work and be home with my kid most days (ie live the dream). It is even feasible for me to move to the country and do the hour-long commute two or three days a week. I contribute financially to my family, however modestly. The price I pay is frustration at the crap parts of my job and the indignity of a low status despite my high competence and result (I am really good at my job!!).

WWPTD?

(What Would Penelope Trunk Do?)

I am in a treatment program called Harm Reduction, for people who need to get their drinking under control. It’s been wonderful for me, my health is better, my blood pressure, weight, skin, mood, marriage, everything. I drink two drinks maximum, ever. I want this to be my lifestyle – it’s very important to me.

So: what do I do about heavy-drinking business occasions, where it would be good for my career to get sloshed with the others, and where it will make them feel like I think I am better than them if I stay mostly sober?

I really don’t think I am better. I have no judgment for anyone else, and I think for a lot of people partying hard works fine and can be  awesome. But I have been at a professional seminar where I ended up being bullied by my group, who were all super hard partiers and saw me as a threat because I was sober.

Do I secretly go smoke some pot once everyone is drunk, so I am also intoxicated? Do I pretend to drink more than I am? Do I say I have a stomach virus? Do I say honestly that my drinking was getting out of control, so now I am on a program to help me manage it?

Whenever there’s no new post on your blog, I check on the Mailbag section. But today I went there and it’s gone. Did you take it down?

Whenever there’s no new post on your blog, I check on the Mailbag section. But today I went there and it’s gone. Did you take it down?

I am an avid follower of your blog and your very pragmatic approach to life and work. I wondered whether you had any thoughts or advice on how to strike the appropriate tone when inviting someone for a networking lunch.

I am a junior/mid-level (female) associate working for a law firm and have been told that it would be good to reach out to some of our client contacts and to develop a more personal relationship with them. In attempting to draft the email invite, it struck me that it would be very easy to use an inappropriate tone, especially in light of the fact that the intention isn’t to discuss business, per se. Given that I am a woman and the contacts are predominantly men, I would also want to guard against coming across that the invitation has a romantic element to it. Or do you think I am overthinking the issue?

Something that’s been nagging at me recently is how much younger I feel than my professional counterparts. I’m new on the job at full-service agency – I’ve previously only been in the digital space. I think most ad agencies skew young, but mine has been in traditional media for over 30 years and has a LOT of industry veterans.

I’m younger than virtually everyone I’ve interacted with so far, by quite a wide margin. I feel very self conscious of that fact when I’m in client meetings, speaking with vendors, and brainstorming with my creative team

Do you have any advice on how to feel confident in these situations? I’m terrified of somehow losing the respect of my cohorts by doing something inadvertently offensive or immature, as viewed by an older demographic.

So far my new job is going really well. I have days when I’m so engrossed in what I’m doing that I don’t even notice the hours ticking by. It’s a much better fit than my last position.

Anyway, I have a question for you. What’s the best way to handle an indecisive boss? I am very good at making decisions, and I don’t have any experience working with somebody who is so bad at it.  In addition, I have limited patience for people who constantly put off making decisions or change their minds 5 million times. Especially when it messes with my deadlines. At the same time, I’m new to this company and I don’t want to come across as bossy or bitchy. Do you have any ideas for ways I can speed up the process without stepping on any toes?