Career advice: The case of the complaining colleague

The University of Pittsburgh's Jinx Walton Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader

The University of Pittsburgh's Jinx Walton Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader

Jinx Walton

Title: Director of computing services

Company: University of Pittsburgh

Walton is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about colleague conflicts, the job market and leveraging an MBA. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to askaleader@computerworld.com .

I'm often thrown into projects with a co-worker who is down on everything that our boss and our company does. I've tried to help her channel her anger into positive things that could result in improvements, but she seems to just want to complain. It's wearying working with her. What can I do? Your attempts to adjust your co-worker's attitude are admirable but obviously futile. It is unfortunate, but some individuals are happiest when they are complaining. Since you now know that she is not going to change, your time is best spent focusing on your tasks and limiting your interactions with her to those necessary to successfully complete projects. To keep her attitude from negatively impacting you, it is important that you distance yourself from her beyond those interactions required for the assigned projects.

I've been out of work for 19 months after eight years as a sysadmin. I'm ready to throw in the towel and find another line of work, except that I love working with technology so much. Any words of encouragement? I really need some. Your experience and love of technology should be key factors in your decision-making process. My recommendation would be that you not limit your search to IT positions that specifically match your background. Eight years as a systems administrator brings with it a wealth of knowledge that is applicable to a variety of technology-based positions. You might want to widen your search and look at all available IT positions and then modify your rsum to show how your experience and expertise apply. By taking the time to modify your rsum for each position, you are focusing attention on your strengths and assisting the employer by demonstrating how your experience fits and brings value to the position.

When the economy tanked, I left my job as director of a project management office and went back to school for an MBA. I recently finished the program. Any advice on how best to use my experience and new degree for a role with more leadership potential? An MBA is an invaluable credential to support your aspirations for increasingly responsible leadership positions. As a former director of a project management office you already have credentials in an important leadership role. Leading an organization's project management activities provides high-level insight into the priorities and direction of the organization. I would capitalize on this experience, along with your academic credentials, during your job search.

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