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?

I have bipolar disorder. If my meds are working and the stress level is reasonable (I can accept a tight solid well defined deadline) I deliver superior work. I am a systems engineer and damn good at what I do. I have received national recognition for a system i built. I developed a software architecture that goes to sea with every Navy aircraft carrier.

But when the meds are wavering, and somebody proposes something bat shit stupid, I lose it. The manic part of bipolar kicks in and I am furious, angry, rude, throwing things, and generally being a 100% walking tantrum time bomb.

I have never held a job longer than 3 years before completely alienating everyone in the company or having a meltdown severe enough to either get fired or decide to move myself along.

I have not only burned bridges, I have nuked them. I can’t go into consulting. No people skills for politics and networking. There are pretty much only three major corporations in my area of expertise that I haven’t worked at and they do a lot of defense work. I do not want to design something that kills people and I don’t want the hassle of a security clearance.

And I have just been laid off.

I need some advice.

I am a big fan of your blog. Thanks for all that you write. I was actually pointed to your blog by my former boss (a good boss) who took a lot of interest in helping me to develop at my previous company…until about my last year there, where her focus shifted elsewhere.

That’s why I started the job I am in now–plus it got me back to the industry I want to continue building my career in, which is pharma.

Now, I am dealing with a boss who doesn’t understand what it is that her team does all day and therefore, cannot provide constructive feedback or guidance. Please note that this is not the person who I originally reported to when I began working here, but there has been quite a bit of tumult and restructuring in the last year and I have landed in her purvue. In addition to not providing direction, she also passes most of her work down to me. And it is unclear, even to people around me that at her level who have made comments to me about the situation, what she is doing on a day-to-day basis. My frustration level is at almost a 10, and I need help in managing up.

Can you point me in the direction of a blog you may have posted on this subject? Or, if there isn’t one, can you consider writing on this topic?

As someone who lives on a farm in Wisconsin, I’m curious as to how you continue to build and maintain your social connections from such a remote location. Obviously there are social media outlets, but I find that they can only supplement the social connections made from more real, and meaningful correspondence.In your case, I’m guessing that your experience living outside the farm allowed acquired adequate social resources to allow you to move to a farm and still be connected.

Basically my question is:What is the most effective method to network when you are physically isolated from most of the people whom you would be looking to network and socialize with?

My husband graduated 5 years ago and got a job at his current company and loves it. I’m an avid reader, so I know you’d approve of the reasons why: He’s always learning. He’s thrilled to have opportunities to travel, and even live, abroad. We’ve both made good friends with a few of his colleagues. It’s close to our families, and he has a ten minute commute. There’s bullshit like anywhere, but we feel like it’s worth it. And he just got a promotion and a big raise.

The trouble is, he’s happy to stay there indefinitely as long as they pay is good but I worry that in the modern job market, he’ll seem odd for staying at the same company – his first job out of school! – for much longer. Can that be a bad thing? If so, can you mitigate it by diversifying a resume with other things like being active in industry organizations or volunteering?

Could it possibly make sense to give up so many good things for the benefit of having more diverse experience?