Who is the "Career Queen"?

Camille Primm is a professional career coach, a published author, a top notch speaker, an award winning consultant and an accomplished leader known for being one of the best career strategists...
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Tired of Change at Work

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Dear Camille,
I am so sick of having to move from company to company. Every time I get settled in, there is a new manager, a new owner or another layoff.  What can I do about this?
-Tired of being Resilient in Oceanside

Dear Tired,
Whoa, I too am becoming weary just thinking of all those changes you are going through.  Wouldn't it be great to have the proverbial magic want and just wave it wildly to create your perfect situation?

Well, it ain't gonna happen.  I am here to tell you that change is here to stay and companies just don't offer us the security they did back in the time of  that 50's/60's TV show Leave it to Beaver. 

Your answer?  Get rolling on a plan and no matter what happens, look for the WIIFM (what's in it for me?) every time you are faced with another change.  Take my word for it...it beats being passive plus you end up in a much better place in the long marathon called the world of work.



Oh Snap!...finally graduated from college and have no idea where/how to get a job.  Pretty lame, but the media says it is a dismal job market out there- the worst job market for new grads in the last 50 years or something like that.  I just don't know what companies want, so I don't know how to sell myself.  Any advice for a B.S., Engineering degree?

Eager Cal State Poly Grad



 Dear Eager,

Step one...look beyond the media.  Or remind yourself that 90% of people ARE employed. Your generation...Generation Y... is the first truly global generation.  You guys make up a third of the world's population.  Since  you are connected by advancing technology, new grads around the world have a similar sense of what the future holds.The trick is to take a look at what companies need and want.


Here are inside tips on what today's employers look for. This list comes directly from the mouths of hiring managers, so listen up! Communication skills are noted as the top recruiting consideration.  Next on the list is interpersonal skills - teamwork is the norm, so you have to be able to relate and interact with company representatives and clients.


Flexibility will make you much more attractive to any employer. Are you willing to work nontraditional hours, move from one role to another, relocate, travel? The less rigidity you show, the more you will shine. Next come character and integrity. An employer wants a sense that you are honest, have a strong value system and can be trusted. You know what needs to be done and you do it right, on time, and without reminders or supervision.


Be prepared to communicate examples of your skills and the ways you can contribute to an organization. Remember--you are selling your ability to help them reach their goals. This strategy will lead you to your perfect position. Once you land it, remember that the one thing that separates successful people from those who are not is their willingness to work very, very hard!


Finding a Fun Job...

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Dear Camille

I recently finished college and am so confused.  I keep getting offers to work these bogus sounding jobs on a commission basis, etc. but can't decide what I want to do.  That's not what I slaved away in school for.  Nothing seems fun...what would you do?

- Confused UCSD Grad


Dear Confused,

I can still remember wanting so badly to finally finish that second semester of my senior year in college.  I was ready to blow that place and get out in the the real world.  Yep...this is one of those situations where you have to be careful what you wish for.  I realized really quickly that the fun part was being in school...and while I loved the work I found after graduation, the responsibility part wasn't all it was cracked up to be. 


The best thing to do is start trying different types of work and make a list of your "likes" and "dislikes" in each position.   You will start seeing patterns and by eliminating what you DON'T want to do, what you DO want to do will finally emerge. Whew...are you with me? 


Did you know that Adecco and Manpower staffing agencies are some of the largest employers in the world?  Yep...there are other people...and not all grads...like you trying to figure out what kind of work they want to do.  Try temping and start eliminating!


Many temporary jobs turn in to full time positions...and not necessarily in that same role.  You get to see what the company is REALLY like from the inside.  Oh yeah, and while you are there, build a reputation for having a positive attitude and being willing to do any kind of job.  I promise you it will pay off.





1.      Getting laid off from a job you like due to no fault of your own.  Really - it's a 21st century rite of passage.


2.      Getting stopped for a (minor, very minor) traffic violation and attending traffic school - you'll be much more aware of bending the rules when you have "points" on your DMV record.


3.      Vote - it doesn't matter who you vote for as long as you know WHY you are voting for them.


4.      Take care of a pet - even if it is just a friend's pet - for at least a week.  You'll get to experience the unconditional love of a living thing and won't have to obligate yourself to the long term commitment if it turns out you hate it.


5.      Go on a trip to a country where you do not speak the language and don't hang out with the other Americans.


6.      Work in a customer service/wait staff /retail job - you'll never be rude to those service industry employees again.


7.      Baby-sit kids for a whole weekend - again...they don't have to be YOURS, just see what it "feels like" to have another human being depending on you...


8.      Volunteer for an entire day - pick any cause and go with the intent of paying it forward - when it's not all about you it feels great afterward - don't just take my word for it.


9.      Assemble furniture from Ikea or any other big box company - it can try the patience of even the most Zen-like person - and teaches you to at least read directions in life when they are available - following them is another subject.


10.  Get dumped by someone you are crazy about - ask for pain?  Yeah, pretty much.  It teaches you a lot about being a better friend, not taking others for granted and that the heart is a very resilient body part.




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Dear Camille,

My coworker is always stealing my ideas and then acts like they are his while at the same time being two-faced enough to pretend he is my friend.  Advice?


Robbed in San Diego



Dear Robbed,

Uh oh, somebody's Mom didn't teach them how to play nice in the sandbox.  What really gets on my last nerve is how often this type of co-worker seems to come out smelling like a rose while you are standing there wondering "hey, what happened?"


Lesson #1 - except in very rare cases, these people DO know exactly what they are doing.  They are basically spotlight stealers who don't have any original ideas of their own.  The first time this sort of behavior rears its ugly head, you have to go back to the person and let them know that you're on to them...and so is everyone else.  The next time, you have to keep your ideas to yourself. 


And Lesson #2 - branch out and find some other friends...this so-called "friendship" is going nowhere fast.


 My husband has been with his company for 4 years.  They are not doing so well in the current economy. He was up for promotion this year but is feeling lucky to have avoided downsizing (so far).  What are your recommendations for trying to get that promotion during these tight times? 


Hmmm...this is a tough one...what is that saying?  "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush."  Your husband can start by looking at the bigger picture...say three years from now.  What role and salary does he aspire to at that time?  Now, what does he need to be doing today to reach those three year goals?  Sometimes it takes sitting tight during down times to leap forward in robust times. 


While times are slower...your husband works on his daily personal work related goals. Daily. Here are a few ideas...

·        invite a coworker to meet for lunch;

·         make three phone calls to colleagues he has been out of touch with;

·        complete an online course in an area relevant to overall goals;

·         read an industry-related article;

·         research upcoming association meetings and business networking events;

In other words, work on "Me-Inc."-  his own brand and career goals.

Next, I recommend your husband create a 3, 6 or 9 point business case showing how he is adding value, saving money, working smarter, etc. Schedule a meeting and present this case to his boss. 

Just because things are slow, that doesn't mean that companies are cutting back to the bare bone.  They realize that when the economy picks up, there will be a shortage of qualified, experienced industry-savvy professionals.  It is far more cost effective to continue to build their current employees than gamble on new ones. He needs to arrange for a meeting and present his thoughts to the boss.

The thoughts need to be delivered in a "sandwich" form...

First...the bread".  Say something positive...I really enjoy being a key member of your team.  Looking at the big picture, we are staying afloat industry-wide and are going to be prepared when the current trend turns.  On a personal professional level, I have a few thoughts I would like to run by you...

Here is where he puts in the "meat"... those points:

                On the Shaffer project, we cut the man power by 40% and moved those team members over to other more research intensive projects.  We still finished ahead of time.

At the end of these points, your hand asks for the raise/promotion.

End with the other piece of "bread".  Thanks for making time to talk - Its important for me to keep you up to date with where I am.  Your leadership style makes me comfortable to keep it all out in the open.   I know you need time to think this over and I look forward to revisiting our conversation.   

You don't ask, you don't get.  Period. End of subject. Case closed. Be your own best avdvocate. Good luck!



Dear Camille,

I have a real dilemma at my part time job - a market research company.  I used to make about half my income there, but things have really slowed down.  I just happened to go into the office last week and there was a focus group going on - the job I usually handled.  I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. My two work friends there were very upset. They didn't know whether to tell me or not and didn't know if I had been asked to work the focus group. I have tried emailing the boss, but he doesn't respond to me. What do you think I should do? I'm such a wimp but I'm afraid bugging him and calling him at this point will just make things worse.

Wimp in Walnut Creek


Dear Wimp,

I feel your pain.  You know it is over, but you aren't ready to let go. First, I recommend you try to disconnect emotionally from this part time job.  From all the drama. 


If the "project" work you have been doing is in a lull or even gone forever due to changing business needs, (or hiring the boss's neighbor friend in your place) find something else and appreciate the work you had with them.  You can't make them give you work...they owe you nothing, so no need to take it personally. 


Use the experience and move to a new pasture.  Give the boss a phone call tomorrow and if he is not here, leave a pleasant message and call again in 2-3 days.  Let it go...sounds like it's over.






Dear WorkMinded,

I just don't get it...I worked my butt off to get a degree and now there are no jobs for new college grads.  It's not fair that the economy is so bad right when I graduate.  What is the point of even trying to get a job? I think I may as well relax and wait for the economy to improve and more opportunities to open up.   For now, I am pretty comfortable at my parent's house and they are very sympathetic to my problem. What is your opinion on the best move for a new grad - wait for a better market?

Down and Out Grad in Phoenix




Hi Down and Out...

First of all...congratulations on graduating ...that is a huge milestone!  Savor your accomplishment.  This is the first part of your ticket to future career success and earning a good income.  


Your question reminded me of a program called STRIVE/Second Chance.  This amazing program provides training for former felons/drug offenders/homeless / chronically unemployed, etc. to help them reenter the job market. 


I have been a guest speaker for the participants in the program a number of times.  When you walk into their meeting room, painted across the wall in HUGE letters is this quote:


"Life Ain't Fair

It Ain't Never Gonna be Fair

Eat It

Swallow It

Accept It"


It is time for you to accept that there is no Santa Claus and living off your parents indefinitely is not an effective way to build your life.  There is no free ride...when you can't get the job you want, you get two or three or four part-time jobs and you suck it up until a better position opens up in your area of study. 


I know you're gonna hate this, but when I graduated, the economy was bad too.  Two friends and I rented a dumpy apartment, made furniture out of discarded construction materials and with sheer determination, we were able to survive in the Washington DC area for several years cobbling together part-time jobs.


I was looking for a teaching job and finally landed a half time position 58 miles from home.  I got up at 4:30 AM to be there before 7AM.  I finished up there at 11 AM and got back in the car to drive 64 miles back in the direction of home to my second job. That job was at a mall selling shoes (YUCK!) from 12:30 - 4:30 PM.  Next, I went on to my waitress job from 5-11PM five nites a week and pulled regular shifts on weekends. 


Does this show that I am oh so wonderful?  Nope, 'fraid not. Just normal.  And no, I am not gonna tell you I had to walk five miles to school through the snow with rags on my feet 'cuz I didn't have any shoes. 


My point is...once you graduate, you are grown up.  Swallow It, Accept It and get on with it.  Take your drama back to Mamma.  Get five part time jobs if you have to. Work in a restaurant washing dishes, work at a hotel cleaning rooms, work at a car wash, grocery store ...whatever. 


Not only did my roommates and I survive those tight years, we had a blast.  It is all about the will to succeed and make it on your own.  Not expecting Mommy and Daddy to keep supporting you the rest of your life is your first step toward making it as an adult.  And it is a huge gift to your parents too!


You will look back on these times and realize how much fun it was.  You will have the best stories ever for years to come.  Quit complaining, making excuses and moaning about how life isn't fair.  There is no future in that.  Start taking action and you will find that things fall together...employers can sense your desire to work hard and contribute.  Success is MUCH more fun than complaining. 


You are right, Down and Out...Life isn't fair...and it is still GREAT!!! 

Hello Readers...

I can't help but get excited about welcoming July! Why?  It means a new month, a chance for a fresh start - a time to alter something....any little thang... that isn't quite working. 

 I know you have probably heard the saying: "One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Than-Kew Albert Einstein or Ben Franklin or whoever you believe said it first.)

 I totally buy into this concept as I have seen myself fall into the same traps others may have fallen into.  For example, I am a serial "early adopter".  Meaning, if I see something shiny...something new...I gravitate toward it like a heat seeking missile to check it out.  Much of the time, it is a total waste of energy...but other times it turns into something great. This means in the big picture of things, I am guilty of spinning my wheels sometimes...and could be more efficient by doing a more thorough risk assessment before I jump into something.  

That said...with July we welcome have lots of positives from my humble perspective:

-End of second quarter - which also means end of fiscal year for many organizations.  This equals new budgets available for hiring and projects.

-A slight dip in the unemployment numbers announced today, July 2.

-More HR/Recruiting positions showing up on the screen means companies gearing up for hiring.

-Kids out of school which means less traffic on the roads -don't miss all those mini-vans and busses!

Add your own positives to the list...it's easy to be negative...challenge yourself to see some positives in July...and declare INDEPENDENCE from something holding you back!