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Have Knee Surgery or Continue Job Search?

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‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.

Dear J.T. & Dale: Late last year, my boss, executive director of a large country club, was terminated. I had begun occasionally looking for a job before she left because I was tiring of what I was doing. With her departure, my job search has accelerated. However, my doctor told me I need to have knee replacement surgery, with a recovery time of six to eight weeks. I can get along with my knee as it is; however, it is obvious I have trouble with my leg. Should I stop the job search, fix the knee and then look for a job? — Sandy

Dale: What about becoming executive director where you are now? OK, I understand that they haven’t offered you the job, but it’s been empty awhile, and that creates a vacuum. If you’d like to fill it, boldly state your case to the owners. Make it a great pitch — talk to your former boss, then seek ideas from other executive directors, and put together an aggressive plan. The owners will see you in a new light — perhaps executive director light. Get the promotion, then the new knee.

J.T.: But, no matter what, schedule the surgery, and get it done while you’re employed and have insurance. Then, while you’re recovering, spend the time researching places you’d like to work so you can apply there when you are ready to interview.

Dale: Good point. You never know when there will be a management shakeup and you and your knee could be unemployed. Meanwhile, the search likely will take months, and you might as well start. What’s the worst that can happen? You get an interview, limp in and along the way mention your upcoming surgery. No big deal. There are plenty of ailments and illnesses that are scary to potential employers, but not yours. Everybody knows somebody who’s gotten a new knee. I could even see you thumping in with a cane and making light of it, at which point the interviewer would think, “What a trooper!” It’s a way to make a human connection, and that’s what the interview is all about.


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Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com.

Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

© 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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