DEAR HARRIETTE: I work freelance and do not make a dollar when I am off work. I just got called in for jury duty, and it's at my busiest time of work. I have to go, because they threatened to fine or arrest me because I have been unable to make it in the past. I am worried that I am going to lose work if I get picked for a jury. What can I do? -- NO JURY DUTY
DEAR NO JURY DUTY: You must go to court on the day that you have been asked to show up. Go with your paperwork in hand. Apologize for not having shown up before and then plead your case. Make it clear how you earn a living and that you need the work that is coming in right now.
Ask if you can reschedule jury duty for a specific time in the future. You will need to recommend a time and then see if they will agree. There is a chance that they will say no, since you have been negligent, but be kind and conciliatory and patient. Perhaps they will work with you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I do not like my job and want to quit. I feel like every day there is something else that my boss is picking at me about. I never seem to measure up, no matter how hard I try. I do go in and ask for guidance when she says I have done something wrong. Honestly, I feel like she has it out for me. I can't imagine that I am so bad that nothing I do is satisfactory. I have noticed that she can be mean to my co-workers too, but they don't seem to be affected by it. This is my first job out of college, and it is not a good fit.
People tell me I should stay at a job for a year, but I can't imagine that I will be able to do that. Should I just quit right now? I'm not a quitter, though. I worked hard in school and got good grades. I don't want to be a loser. What should I do? -- BAD BOSS
DEAR BAD BOSS: Request a meeting with your boss and ask her to give you guidance on how you can do a better job. Be proactive with her. Let her know that you pride yourself on doing good work, and that you need her support to ensure that you are able to work to the specifications she has for you. Ask her to help you. This will let her know that you are serious about being successful there.
Do not quit your job. Instead, you can quietly look for another job. There are many online sources that post jobs. Look for something in your area of interest and apply broadly. Think about your best attributes so that you can talk about what is positive about you in your interviews. Do not talk about what isn't working at your current job. Instead, talk about what you are learning but pivot immediately to what you want to do with the company interviewing you.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)