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.