Q.: I feel like I've wasted my life. I work in a job I hate, and I've worked there for more than 20 years. I know this is a terrible time to change jobs, but I feel so stuck. I want more for my life, but I'm not sure how to get it. I never got married. I have a few friends, but not many. I am bored and disappointed in myself. – Fed Up, Washington, D.C.
A.: Work is not everything. You don't have to change your job to find happiness or excitement. Instead, consider upping your extracurricular activities.
What do you like to do? Are there things you have never done that appeal to you? Take some vacation time to do something you have always wanted to do but never dared or had time to consider. Invite someone whom you like but don't know well to lunch, drinks or dinner.
As for work, go there with a new attitude. Be grateful that you have a job. Look around to see if there's anything you can offer that would ensure more job security for everyone. By serving your company, it's likely you will become more appealing to your employer and, in turn, become more interested in your job. It's called an "attitude adjustment." Try it.
Q.: I had a freelance gig that was good for twice a month for several years. I did a good job and got great feedback from my bosses. But then new management came in, and I don't get calls anymore. My freelance gig is done. I have called a few times to see if there's a role for me, but I haven't even gotten a response.
Is there anything more I can do? – It's Over, New Orleans
A.: How about another approach? Ask your former boss if you can get a recommendation for the work you did together. This may open up a dialogue. If the person realizes you have been pushed out but cannot do anything about it, chances are the recommendation letter will be filled with flourishes.