New and Transitioning Professionals | Business Teachers | Career Counselors/Human Resource Professionals


Water Cooler

Information and insight about your career and the workplace at large
March 2004

News and Views

The job machine will get cranking again soon.Of interest: increasing demand for employees in the information sector. Better job growth than average is predicted in metropolitan areas that have strong local universities, populations that readily embrace immigrants, and sophisticated cultural amenities like opera houses and five-star restaurants. Read more:,17863,591952,00.html

The following three interests usually emerge as motivators at work-and as sources for job satisfaction: understanding the inner workings of a product or process (look for jobs where you can use applied technology); gravitating towards numbers and using them creatively (look for opportunities to apply quantitative analysis, such as analyzing customer research data); and pursuing ever-higher levels of understanding (look for opportunities to apply conceptual thinking, such as in designing systems, programs, or new products). Read more:

Helping a loved one look for a job?. The trick is finding ways to help without creating a dependence that's unhealthy for you and the person you're trying to aid. Read more (free registration required):

Weird but true: More and more bosses are asking employees to do things that would not have been the norm a decade ago, says Susan D. Strayer, who directs career services at Johns Hopkins School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. Strayer tells her clients to make sure they are comfortable taking on the requests-because if the employee says yes once, that employee will no doubt be asked again. Read more (free registration required): h


Thinking of changing jobs? Do your homework first by scrutinizing the market; editing your resume for the job you want, not the job you have; and educating yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of using online job banks. For 7 more tips on navigating transitions at work, email me and put “Navigating Transitions” in the header. (These tips, and the four most common career transition landmines, are discussed in depth in Chapter 10 of Mentor Me: A Guide to Being Your Own Best Advocate in the Workplace).

Do you have a day job and a big dream? Your goals and dreams are too important to suffer from "maybe-someday" thinking. Get focused, get coached, and get going on YOUR future-join a coaching group and bring your dream to life! Day Job, Big Dream coaching group kicks off March 25th. To learn more about how you can build momentum in a supportive, can-do environment, visit
or call Julie Thompson, ChangeWorks LLC, at (703) 449-0893.

Making It Work for You

Readers, this is your space—for tips on how you've solved a problem on the job, "gotten over" not tooting your own horn, or anything else related to being your own best advocate in the workplace. Send your "a-ha's" to and watch for your byline in a future issue.

This month’s contribution comes from Julie Zielaskiewicz, who, dissatisfied with her position as a legal assistant, investigated a "surprising" job option and found a challenging-and fulfilling-opportunity.

I Found a New Job-At My "Old" Company

After being a legal assistant at a busy law firm for two-and-a-half years, I began to burn out from the long hours and the monotonous work. I dreaded the idea of having to look for a new job, but I knew that it was inevitable. My one concern was that I wouldn't be able to find a job that had the same caliber of people, an amazing group that I enjoyed working with.

Sensing that I was unhappy and about to engage in a job hunt, some of my co-workers suggested that I take a new position in the company: legal secretary. At first I didn't know what to think of the idea. I had never taken a typing or computer class. I didn't feel qualified, but at the same time I snobbishly thought to myself, "I didn't go to college to become a secretary." It almost seemed a step backward instead of a step forward in my career.

To help me decide, I talked to the legal secretaries about how they became secretaries, what their duties were, and if they enjoyed their work. I was surprised at the number of people who started out on other career paths and then pursued a secretarial career. I decided to give it a try.

Six years later, I'm still a legal secretary and I still enjoy my job. Due to new innovations in technology, I am always learning and applying new skills. Even more important, accepting the secretarial position made me better able to discover what I wanted in a job (more stable hours, being part of a team, and being able to go home every night without mentally taking the job home with me). I also learned what I was best able to bring to a job (I've been commended yearly on my organization skills, my interest in finding ways to improve the busy work lives of my attorneys, and my positive attitude).
-Julie Zielaskiewicz, Legal Secretary, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Washington, DC

Coming Soon

Workshops on Self-Mentoring

Federal Student Aid Focus Group, Department of Education, Washington, DC. March 5, 2004: 11:30 am - 1 pm. Contact: Joanne Lozar Glenn, 703.721.7088;

National Credit Union, Alexandria, VA. March 9, 2004, and March 16, 2004: 11 am – 1pm. Contact: Joanne Lozar Glenn, 703.721.7088;

The Women’s Center, Vienna, VA. March 23, 2004: 7 – 9 pm. Contact: Jane Beddoe, 703.281.4928;

National Business Education Association 2004 Annual Convention. April 8, 2004: Time TBD. Contact: 703.860.8300;

Book Signings

Meet the Authors, International Women’s Writing Guild, New York, NY. October 17, 2004. Contact: Hannelore Hahn, 212.737.7536;