By Joyce Lain Kennedy

DEAR JOYCE: Certain recent events are causing me to wonder if one of the women I supervise is playing the boss for my job. My husband tells me I'm paranoid. What do you think? -- S.S.

In an ultra-competitive job market, look up, down and around for trouble as others scramble to shore up their own job security.

No one wants to work in a pit of intrigue, but a direct report may hope to be the cheaper buy for your job; your friend in another department may decide that a lateral transfer to your job beats a transfer to unemployment status; a human resources specialist owes primary loyalty to the organization, not you.

Keep your technical skills (those needed to do your job) in peak condition and document your transactions. Smile a lot, Sunshine! Embrace change with a willingness that says you can handle the new realities.

DEAR JOYCE: I lost my job as an administrator two months ago, during which time I've had the following experience regarding my 9-month-old daughter. A female interviewer for a prospective job called, asking me to come in for an interview on Tuesday morning. I couldn't because my babysitter wasn't going to be around at that time. I tried to schedule the interview for Tuesday afternoon without mentioning my daughter, but the interviewer wouldn't budge on the time. Eventually, I had to tell her that my babysitter was not available that morning. She said she would call me back to let me know. Of course, I never heard from her. If the issue comes up again, what's a better way to handle it? -- P.S.U.

You were caught off-guard. Next time, do a little self-marketing with this script:

"Your company is first on my list of desirable employers and I'm so very happy that you called me. Unfortunately, I've already set up several interviews at other companies, including one on Tuesday morning. Would Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning work for you?"

I suggest answers to many radioactive questions in my book, "Job Interviews For Dummies" (DELETE COMMA) (Wiley, 2008).

DEAR JOYCE: When I started this job, my boss promised me a review and a raise after six months. He even put the promise in my offer letter. I have worked very hard to succeed, but 10 months have passed. Not a whisper about my review and raise. Is the company legally obligated to meet the terms in my offer letter? -- P.G.

I wouldn't raise the legal issue. Instead, tactfully remind your boss that your evaluation is overdue and ask for a specific time when you can meet to discuss your contribution to the company.

If your boss sidesteps your request, the company may be on thin rations. Begin a quiet job search.

If you get a favorable review but no raise, and your boss admits that the company is pulling in its belt, consider continuing to work if you like the job. But it's fair to ask for a letter stating that your promised pay raise will be made retroactive when the company's revenues rise. Re-evaluate in another six months.

DEAR JOYCE: A friend got me in to interview where she works. After three interviews, I was told that I was the likely choice. But it's been nearly three weeks since then. Is there anything I can do to get the job offer speeded up?--B.O.L.

Call your friend and say that you have other job prospects but the job in her workplace is your favorite because --. (Do not say you've received another offer, unless there really is one that you're prepared to accept.)

Ask if there's any word about when the hiring decision will be made. You may get good news. If the offer you're hoping for has fallen though, at least you'll be motivated to move on with your search.


Sometimes a Little Paranoia Is Good | Jobs & Careers

Article: Copyright ©. All rights reserved.