Ask Amy 2-27

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Feb 27, 2014
DEAR AMY: I am a 23-year-old college graduate in my second job in two years. I am very intelligent, ambitious, and I know I have a lot of potential. However, it's not as easy as I thought it would be to get people to see my ability and potential.

My first job was a bad experience, and my second job is not awful but just makes me listless. It's boring and the work is not interesting or challenging. A lot of these entry-level jobs are made out to be of greater worth in the interviews, and they turn out to be mainly administrative assistant positions, as my friends and I have found.

I don't discount the necessity or importance of administrative assistants, but I am not seeing any of these jobs being more in-depth than that, nor am I seeing the "experience" taking me beyond my current level.

I get a lot of "it's a paycheck" from older relatives I talk to, telling me to "tough it out," and I am starting to worry that people are trying to indicate to me that few people like what they do with their 9-to-5 lives. I've been considering applying to law school for two years now, as I know it would open many more career paths, especially in the fields in which I am interested.

Please pass on some advice for me and for everyone out there in my situation.-- Troubled Twenties (2003)

DEAR TROUBLED: At your age, I was working as a receptionist. My desk was next to the ladies room door. My job was to answer the phone. Mainly, I listened to the toilet flush and plotted my escape. After two years, I applied for a better job but was told I'd never be promoted because I'd been a receptionist for too long. Eventually I changed companies.

The reason we adults roll our eyes at problems such as yours is because we've been there. We know that first jobs don't last forever and the listlessness you feel is natural. It's called "work" for a reason. If jobs were more fun, they'd be called "Steve."

So my advice for you and others in your situation is to both be patient and agitate for something better. The something better might come from within your company, but most likely it's going to come from within you.

If you feel listless, have another latte and start swing dancing after work. If you want better work, then find it by networking and making the most of your potential.

And law school? As I've noted before, the unhappy lawyers I know could fill Wrigley Field, and frequently do. Start by researching your options for advancement without another degree.

DEAR AMY: I am a tall, 9-year-old girl.

I am somewhat tired of being asked if I play basketball. I was wondering if you or your readers have any suggestions for some comebacks (not smart-alecky but quirky) so that I don't have to sit there looking dumb while saying "no."

Thank you.-- Colorado (2005)

DEAR COLORADO: I shared your letter with two of my favorite friends, who happen to be married to each other and who happen to be very tall.

My friend Martha says that her tall father taught her to like being tall, which is a pretty good way to feel.

When people bugged her about her height, she would say, "I love being tall! I can't wait until I'm 6 feet!" (She succeeded in being 5 feet 11 inches).

Bill, who was 6 feet 5 inches by the time he was 14 (he's still 6-5) said, "I was always the tallest kid in my class -- always -- and I hated basketball. When asked why, which happened, oh, like every other day, I used to say,'When you're as tall as I am, basketball is incredibly boring. No challenge at all.' They'd get this blank look and walk away. It was very effective."

OK. You're armed with two perfectly quirky responses. Now shoot and score!

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#2 Feb 27, 2014
1- Welcome to life. You start at the bottom, work your way up, then end up on the bottom again

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#3 Feb 27, 2014
1 Oh, you poor thing, your talent is being wasted isn't it? Get over yourself kid. It's also called paying your dues, so get me my fries and quityerbitching.

2 fake,


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#4 Feb 27, 2014
L1: Believing that a degree and brains makes you ready for challenges is an error many people make. It doesn't. The administrative assistant next to you could have an advanced degree and could be from a better university. It's what you do with your education and you're obviously not bright enough to use what you have to your advantage in a real life situation. Law school is expensive and only 10% gets their money's worth out of that education. A first year lawyer does -- guess what -- basically administrative assistant work and the real admin that's been there for years can do it better. It's called training.(Sigh -- kids these days.)

L2: Just say, "Curling is my sport."

Hancock, NY

#5 Feb 27, 2014
1: I agree with edog and Race on this. If he isn't being advanced at work, maybe it's because he's so full of himself? Perhaps not. Some jobs are extremely boring but someone has to do them. My extremely smart, high school valedictorian daughter who graduated law school with honors had a job one summer during college that she said was the most boring job on earth. She was the main floor receptionist in a large office building. She was not allowed to do anything at the reception desk but greet people and answer phones switching the calls to the right people in the building. She said she mostly sat doing absolutely nothing. It made me think of those poor older folks waiting by the doors at Walmart. That has to be a really boring job too. I had that verified by one of them.

2: I'm not sure whether this letter is fake but it was definitely written by someone other than a 9 year old. A parent or other adult must have written it on her behalf. I do like Amy's response though and the fact she gave credit to the people she took it from.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#6 Feb 27, 2014
A whiner and a faker. Amy needs some better criteria for her "best of" series.
Blunt Advice

Oakland, NJ

#7 Feb 27, 2014
1. Flash forward to when you were 29 in 2009. You were lucky to have any job at all. How did that work out?
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#8 Feb 27, 2014
Blunt Advice wrote:
1. Flash forward to when you were 29 in 2009. You were lucky to have any job at all. How did that work out?
All right. Let's play "Glance at the Future":

That writier:
(a) ended up working for a female boss who had to work hard for everything she had, and LW
got on her nerves.
(b) pouted when a sweet but silly employee got the promotion the LW wanted
(c) ended up scrubbing restrooms to pay the rent and grumbling about it
(d) pretended to be in charge of the office and got stuck fixing other people's problems for
no extra pay
(e) other

“I looked, and behold,”

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#9 Feb 27, 2014
LW1: I am curious to know what kind of degree you have.

Law school is not a good investment right now for a lot of folks. There is a glut of recent graduates with no experience and no jobs. I went to a luncheon about it, maybe a year ago, and the present who worked in private practice but also taught at a local law school talked about it. Unless you have something lined up, I wouldn't recommend it.

Marina, CA

#10 Feb 27, 2014
LW1: What's that song? "Welcome to the Real World, Kid!" Amy is right. We have all been there, wasting our brains on entry level jobs. The best advice I can give is that you need a degree AND work experience to score a really good job where you will be challenged. You have your degree. You have only 2 years' work experience. Employers look for job skills. You need to acquire as many as possible. Here's what you need to do. Learn as much as you can in your current position. Update your resume with your skill set. As an administrative assistant, you may know MS Word, MS Excel, maybe MS Powerpoint. You can get self-paced training on these applications and take yourself up to power-user levels. Learn how to design a website. Make a presentation. With your updated resume, apply for both internal and external positions. Then, when you interview, you will have something to show to the interviewer. Here's a presentation that I created, here is a website that I designed. You will get where you want to go, but you have a bit more work to do.

Chicago, IL

#11 Feb 28, 2014
squishymama wrote:
...Amy needs some better criteria for her "best of" series.
That's true, but Lamy doesn't give a flying F. She's a worthless hack who's been *totally* checked out and doing nothing more than cashing her paycheck since 2 years after she took over the column.

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