The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Readers: Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis. If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (12/15/06):
- Weighing the options on attending holiday office party
- Explaining the value to employers of promoting from within
- Developing a plan to return to work for former employer
- Tackling the question of who can be called a professor
|Q:|| Mark writes: I’m part of a large corporation that is splurging on a hotel banquet and ballroom for their holiday party. The company is sufficiently large that not everyone is invited and not everyone will be going. I’ve been invited I’m single and would be going alone so I’m a little uncomfortable with that. I’ve also got 20+ years with the company and hope to retire in 4-5 years so climbing the corporate ladder is not a priority.
What is your advice should I go or not worry about and do what I want?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: While it’s a little late in the season I still want to take the time to answer this question. As studies continue to show that more companies are celebrating the season with their employees — and spending more when doing so — it’s important to address this issue.
Yours is an interesting case since you are near the end of your career but because 5 years is a long way away and you just never know what is going to happen between now and then I am not going to let you off the hook. Especially since not every employee was invited my advice would be to attend the event. Go track down some of your co-workers enjoy their company embrace the holiday cheer thank the boss and then duck out after a reasonable amount of time. You do not need to spend the entire evening there — just make enough of an appearance.
Holiday office parties are seen by management as a reward to their staff so not to go is an affront to them. But to all you bosses out there reading this column please please do not confuse the office party with a sales conference. We do not want any long speeches or shoptalk. Everyone should be there to have fun and celebrate the holidays.
Office parties can be a good time to network and be seen so take advantage of that but be careful of talking too much about yourself.
You also want to avoid other excesses. Avoid drinking too much. Avoid eating too much. And avoid making a fool of yourself. You do NOT want to be that person everyone is talking about for weeks after the party.
For more advice about celebrating the season correctly read my Holiday Office Party Do’s and Don’ts published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Mary writes: CareerDoctor: How do most employers feel about promotion from within with on-the-job-experience and/or/combination of experience with educational degrees? Thanks for any advice you can provide.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Many employers would much rather promote from within because the people they are considering for the new position are known to management. When companies recruit new employees from outside the company they always risk hiring someone who does well in the job interview but then performs horribly on the job.
Some career experts say that the day you start a new job you should begin planning for your next job/promotion.
So if you are looking to position yourself for a promotion take heart knowing that if y ou have done well in your current position — and have been in it long enough — that you should seriously be considered for the new position.
Some quick tips for you as you devise your plan for the promotion:
And remember: even if the company does not promote you for this position you will have made your case and shown your initiative creativity and value to the firm — and these things can only help you the next time you request or apply for a promotion.
Learn more in my article published on Quintessential Careers: Moving Up the Ladder: 10 Strategies for Getting Yourself Promoted.
And don’t forget to review all the workplace resources we have available on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| Nanci writes: What is the best way to go about re-applying for a job at a company I left four years ago? I left on very good terms and always got good reviews. Downside is the company put a lot of money into my relocation package and I am afraid that they will be worried I will leave again. I thought the grass was greener but I realize now what a great company they were and I want back in. Any suggestions?
Thanks! I wanna go back!
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: In the past I would have told you that you were out of luck. Employers didn’t like to hire back employees who chose to leave on their own — no matter how good they were. But times have changed as has the workforce and these days employers are much more willing to give top-notch former employees a second chance.
Assuming you have kept in contact with a few of your former co-workers or boss I would start there. Even better if you have a mentor who still works there. If you have not kept in touch with anyone then your job is going to be a little harder. Your situation is a good reminder to everyone reading that you always want to stay in touch with former co-workers because you never know when some situation such as this one will arise.
Ask about your reputation at the company. Is it as good as you think or are you seen as a traitor for abandoning the firm? If you do still have a good buzz around the office the next step would be to have someone float the idea of you coming back and see how management reacts. This tactic is best handled at a staff meeting or some regular kind of gathering. If the reaction is neutral or better then you have your answer to proceed; if there is a strong negative reaction it’s probably best to move on.
|Q:|| Robert writes: I know somebody who is posing as a professor at a university. At least I think he is. All he has is a B.S. degree in English but he is lecturing at a class and the local news covered it. He portrayed himself as a "professor" but I have serious doubts since he posts no education to indicate any doctorates or other teaching credentials to prove it.
What are the correct or minimal credentials needed for someone to call themselves a "professor"? I don’t want to take a class and either do any of my friends who think some of their "professors" aren’t actually qualified to teach. This problem seems to be larger than anyone thinks.
The rumor is that colleges are hiring people of limited skill for less money and allowing themselves to call themselves "professors". How can a student know for sure that the person teaching them is qualified as a professor?
Thank you so much for your answer. I just want to know what to look for to decide if my "teacher" is a "professor" or just a fake.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Yours is certainly an unusual question and a great one to end with as I wanted to let you know my dear readers that I am taking a break from writing this column. I have responded to hundreds and hundreds of you helping as many of you as I could with my practical and sage advice. But with a book project looming and a sabbatical from teaching upon me I am taking steps to simplify my life.
As for what it takes to be called a professor? It takes someone with the heart mind and passion to tackle the awesome responsibility of educating the future leaders of our society. I have always seen my career as a professor as a calling and I know many of my colleagues feel the same way.
At most four-year schools full-time faculty hold terminal degrees — doctoral degrees. However in certain situations — usually with part-time faculty — colleges and universities make exceptions and hire faculty who may not have a graduate degree but who have certifications and much experience in their field.
Who has the right to call themselves a professor? Anyone who teaches at the college level — whether they be a lecturer instructor part-time or full-time PhD. or otherwise.
Lead great lives — and remember to market yourself at your job and as you look for your next one.