Change image to get out of pigeonhole


January 21, 1991|By Joyce Lain Kennedy | Joyce Lain Kennedy,1991, Sun Features Inc.

DEAR JOYCE: I am an engineer, 28, who would like to get into management, but I seem to be perceived only as a technical person. Would my chances to broaden my scope be better if I were to switch employment, or should I try to do it here? -- Y.B.

The economy is calling the shots: Lie low for a few months and see how the job market shakes out.

In the meantime, act to break out of your pigeonhole by washing jargon and technical-speak out of your mouth. Learn to use non-technical terms. Ask non-technical staff to look over your reports and memos; if they don't understand it, neither will management. Volunteer for non-technical assignments to create an image yourself as a well-rounded, versatile worker. Enroll in business administration courses and find openings in the office to discuss how your general management skills are developing.

Dear Joyce: I am on unemployment. I would like to take a course to learn computers, knowing that knowledge is important in today's market. Every job I see requires it. There is a course offered at a local college. I heard that if you take any courses you could lose your unemployment benefits because they consider it interference with availability for a job. This course is on Saturdays. When I called and inquired, I didn't get a direct answer. I need to better myself to get a secretarial job. Help! -- M.P.G.

It is true you must be available to look for work to retain your unemployment benefits, according to a supervisor of employment security in your state. The supervisor recommends you go in person to the unemployment office and see about signing a statement affirming that if you are offered a full-time position requiring work on the weekends you will quit the course.

Dear Joyce: I am a 29-year-old woman with junior status at a university. I would like to go full time but find that I can't pay my bills and do that. I have tried going part time and working full time, but with the demands of my child, I find this nearly impossible. Can you suggest scholarships or grants available to women?

Make like a detective and sleuth through library copies of such major references as "Directory of Financial Aids for Women 1991-92" by Gail Ann Schlachter (Reference Service Press) and "The Scholarship Book: The Complete Guide to Private Sector Scholarships, Grants and Loans for Undergraduates," 3rd Edition Daniel Cassidy (Prentice-Hall Press).

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