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Get real about expectations

July 01, 2007|By MARIE G. McINTYRE

Q: I work for a large company and am attending night school to get a nursing degree. Going to school would be easier if I had a part-time position, but my company refuses to help me.

Management offered a part-time schedule to some employees, but now they claim that no more of these jobs are available. This is a really good place to work, so I don't want to quit.

I believe they don't want to help me better myself because once I get my nursing degree, I'll leave the company. I'm so confused that I'm thinking about quitting school. What should I do?

- Working Student

A: For starters, you need a slightly more realistic attitude about what to expect from your employer. Your first priority might be school, but their first priority is the work they are paying you to do.

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Management doesn't owe you a part-time job just because it would make your life easier. And they have no obligation to help you better yourself so that you can move on to a different career.

Instead of requesting a job change, try asking for more schedule flexibility to meet your school requirements. If you have a good track record with this company and have consistently been a pleasant, cooperative employee, they might be willing to accommodate you.

But if not, don't give up. Although juggling work and school demands can be challenging, doing work that you truly love is worth the short-term sacrifice. Once you have that degree in hand, you'll be glad you made the extra effort.

Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D., is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics."

Send questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com.

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