"J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the U.S. and can be found at jtanddale.com.Ask an Expert - Visit my Virtual Office at LivePersonDear J.T. & Dale: The company I work for hired an outside firm to handle employment verification. Now if I leave and get offered a new job, the verification company will demand that the prospective employer pay a $13 fee. I feel like my work history is being held for ransom. Why would an employer consider hiring me if they can get other people without the hassle? — Mike J.T.: I have never heard of a company requiring payment for employment verification, although, believe it or not, I can see the business rationale. They probably have grown tired of performing functions that have no direct benefit to the company, and so decided to institute a fee, knowing that employers either would skip verification, or else pay the fee and thus the company would be compensated for the time involved. Dale: Perhaps the solution is for you to pay the "ransom," Mike. If you warn a future employer about the fee, and offer to pay it, I can't imagine them holding your former employer's actions against you. In fact, it might help them appreciate why you left the old company; it could even create that bond that springs up when two people are both annoyed by the same stupid policy. jt-dale-logoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). 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. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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Weird Advice For Young Designers

I recently worked on a pro bono project for a friend, and it reminded me of a time early in my career and how lucky I was then to get such great advice from the more seasoned pros around me. Advice that ultimately saved me from some major pitfalls. I made mistakes here and there over the course of nearly 20 years of projects, but with each hiccup came a lesson. Here are some takeaways from my lessons learned and all that sage advice.

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