DEAR HARRIETTE: I am struggling with where I am in my career. I am 53 years old and have been doing the same thing my entire life. I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do at a very young age. I worked hard and got my dream job as an engineer. Recently, my company has hired a new CEO. He and I do not get along, but at the end of the day, he is my superior. I find myself not enjoying what I do anymore. This has made me think about switching companies. I am torn because I have been with this company for more than 25 years. What do you think is the best way to go about this? Should I talk to my CEO first or other colleagues? -- Should I Stay or Should I Go?, Detroit
DEAR SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?: If you talk to your CEO, do not issue ultimatums. Instead, talk to him about his vision and ask how you can support him. Whether you want to leave or not, you should want the new boss to consider you an invaluable asset to the team because of your knowledge and loyalty to the company for so many years. Before attempting to leave, figure out if you can find common ground so that you can stay comfortably.
Even if you decide to look for work, remain positive with the new boss. And be discreet as you shop for a new gig. Being at a job for 25 years shows others your commitment. Your new task will be to prove why you would be of value somewhere else and why you want to leave -- without bad-mouthing your new boss.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 20-year-old male who is struggling with where I am in life at the moment. I grew up in a family where college was not a choice. It was expected that straight after high school graduation, I would attend a university. I spent the last two years of high school studying for the SAT and applying to dozens of universities. I was accepted to a college two hours from home. It was not my dream school, but my parents were happy with it.
I have now completed my freshman year at college, and I am miserable. I have no idea what I want to major in, I am not enjoying the people around me at school, and I feel unhappy. I feel like I was pushed to go to college too fast because that was the norm in my family and among my high school peers. I need some help in figuring out what the next step is. I want to talk to my parents and explain my situation to them in a way that they will understand. -- Lost Student, St. Louis
DEAR LOST STUDENT: Start with a guidance counselor at your university. Talk to that person about your interests and challenges at school. Share your dreams for the future with an open mind. It is true that college will help you to earn a better living. Before giving up on college, figure out if you can take classes that interest you. Then tell your parents about your struggle. Don’t give up yet.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)