Ask Dick

Richard Keeling stumbles across an agony of a column.

Carney from Aston writes:

Dear Uncle Dick,
I am eighteen years old and have been an apprentice for a long time at the same firm. It is most frustrating when you are not trusted with an acceptable level of seniority and responsibility even though you do a good job. I have had enough of being patronised and kept down and I am tempted to seek my fortune elsewhere. Do you think now is the right time for me to make a move?

Your ambition to succeed is most commendable, Carney. If you haven’t already done so, have a word with the boss, make him aware of your frustrations and see what he says. My own view is that at your age, unless the boss thinks otherwise, you should consider waiting for another year during which time you are likely to gain a lot more experience.

Lee from Small Heath asks:

Dear Uncle Dick,
I started a new job early last year with the brief to turn round a struggling business here in Birmingham. I have since found that the reason it is struggling is because the Board members are clueless. They are from the Far East and have made shedloads of money elsewhere but have no idea how to run a successful business in Small Heath. I have done my best under difficult circumstances but I suspect that I am going to be made the scapegoat for the recent hard times. Should I move on now, do you think?

Oh dear, Lee. What a sorry tale. A CV is all too often a catalogue of the wrong moves made during a person’s working life, and you certainly have a good example here for yours. However, I think you need to wait and see what transpires as it could be that you will be offered a large payoff. Looking on the bright side, there will be plenty of jobs around for a while, so my advice is to be patient, even though your recent experience is an unfortunate blot on your employment record. The best of luck, Lee.

Emi in Aston asks:

Dear Uncle Dick,
A good friend of mine, also called Emi, suggested a while ago that I should join him where he works in Birmingham. He said it was a good business and that I would fit in well. I was working in Norwich at the time and the company was in difficulties, so I was pleased when Emi’s firm offered me a job this time last year, on a very good salary.

At first the new job seemed to be working out well but the boss who recruited me got the sack and was replaced by a sour-faced Scouser. This chap hadn’t been in the job long when – would you believe it? – he invited an old mate of his to come and do my job. Life has been difficult for me at work ever since and I don’t like job sharing. Should I stay and try to make the job share work or is it time for me to move on?

Try to get clarification from the boss as to where you stand, Emi, as he has treated you pretty shoddily. Sadly, though, I suspect that your boss is fixated on his old mate and prefers his work to yours, in which case there probably isn’t much future for you with your present employer. Unless you can get firm assurance from the boss that he needs you, I would advise moving on. All the best for the future, Emi.

Steve writes in from West Bromwich:

Dear Uncle Dick,
I have a stressful job trying to rescue a failing business, so, to help me relax after a hard day, I love to tuck into a pie. On my first morning in the job, I asked some local people what Black Country pies are like and was told: “Yow’ll find some bostin’ pies here, Steve.” They were quite right and the trouble is I can’t stop eating them, which isn’t good for my waistline. How can I kick this habit?

Oh dear, Steve, it is never easy to overcome an addiction, which this seems to be. Your wife could help you with this; see if she will agree to do all the household shopping online. She needs to keep the password to herself so that you can’t amend the order. Tell her not to order more than three pies per week to begin with.

After a while she can reduce the number to two then, when you are comfortable with a lower pie diet, she can reduce the number even further. You will of course need to allow Mrs Steve to take charge of your cash and credit cards so that you can’t pop out to a pie shop for an impulse purchase. In a few months you should be able to walk past any Black Country pie shop without going in. Good luck, Steve.

Morgan from Aston writes:

Dear Uncle Dick,
Early last year I was headhunted for a senior position by a business in Birmingham and they offered me a good pay rise. I joined them and relocated from Marseille, which was a big change, only to find that the boss who had recruited me was dismissed soon after I arrived. He was replaced by a dour Scouser who doesn’t like my work and consistently overlooks me. I would prefer to move on but I worry that it doesn’t look good to change jobs again so soon. What would you advise?

What unfortunate timing, Morgan. In view of what you have told me, it sounds as though you would be well advised not to hang around too much longer. Perhaps your former employer will be keen to have you back. I think you should swallow your pride and contact your old firm in Marseille. Let me know how you get on.