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Career Q&A | By Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday

Learn from, rather than leave, this opportunity

Q I'm 24 years old and have been working at my first full-time job since earning my master's degree last year. I was a full-time graduate student with part-time jobs. But I was lucky enough to find a full-time job, and even luckier to find something in my field. But after nine months with the company, I'm simply not happy. The work is boring and some of the managers are micromanaging bullies. My salary is laughable, and I'm often asked to do secretarial work that takes away from my productivity in the job I was hired for.

I've decided that I'd like to start applying for other positions, but I'm worried that staying in my current job less than a year will look bad to future employers. I'm also afraid that finding another job without "putting in my time" at my current one will make my bosses regret having hired me. So, I have two questions: Would leaving my current job right now constitute job-hopping? And should I stay put for now or is my personal happiness more important?

A: "Sometimes personal happiness is dramatically overrated," said Kate Wendleton, chief executive of the Five O'Clock Club, a Manhattan career-management firm. "Follow-your-bliss thinking can lead us to make bad choices," she said. "Sometimes it's better to balance personal happiness with pragmatism."

Here are some things she said you should consider:

"This is your first full-time job. If some of the managers are micromanaging bullies, maybe you can learn something about how to deal with bullies. Do Internet research about bully bosses and practice on the ones you have now. What do you have to lose?

"You don't have a lot of stability on your resume, and you say that you were lucky to find a job in your field. If you stay a little longer, you will then have significant experience in your field and be more marketable. On the other hand, if you land another job in your field right now, you should stay there two years — whether you like it or not — to balance out this short-tenure job.

"If your salary is laughable, how does it compare with market rates? Will you be able to make more elsewhere?

"If you are sometimes asked to do secretarial work, remember that we all have grunt work to do — especially those who are starting out.

"If your work is boring, what projects can you volunteer for to get more interesting assignments — even if it means putting in more hours? Again, this is a chance to practice those kinds of skills."

Learn from, rather than leave, this opportunity 06/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 4:30am]
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