Q. My boss went off to some kind of a management development seminar. Since then, he has suddenly taken a special interest in my career prospects with my company.
He has been dropping by my desk a lot, asking me into his office to talk about plans for our department and suggesting various courses that I should take, books I should read and people in the company I should meet.
I know I make a valuable contribution to our department and I am pretty good at what I do. However, I am simply not interested in moving into management. Actually, I am not even sure that I want to make a permanent career out of what I am doing now. How should I say this to my boss?
A. Keep in mind that, management course or not, whatever your boss is doing, he is doing in your behalf. So, make sure that in expressing your lack of interest in moving into management, you don't come across as a self-centered and ungrateful person.
You might start by verifying that your boss is trying to prepare the way into management for you. Mention to him that you have noticed the activities you describe and ask him what motivates them.
If he confirms your suspicions, explain that you are not sure that you can sign up for such a career direction at this time. Tell him that you are enjoying what you do and ask for the opportunity to initiate these preparations at some other time.
Q. I recently applied for a position. I was interviewed by the program manager, who made me an offer by telephone. The offer was later confirmed by the human resource department in a letter.
Before I was to start work, I heard from the human resource department that the program manager died of a heart attack. His boss, a vice president, was filling in until another program manager was hired. I was told to hang tight, that I would hear soon.
In the following several weeks, I called the human resource department a number of times. Eventually, I was told that a new program manager was named and that he made many changes in the program plan and -- you guessed it -- I was no longer needed.
I am frustrated. I was made an offer and accepted it. Now, I have nothing. What should I do?
A. There is no question about it: You were treated poorly. The offer came not from the deceased individual but from the company itself. The company -- that's still there -- reneged on it. In effect, you were laid off before you even started.
You may appeal the decision by writing a letter to a person who is higher up in the chain of command -- perhaps to the vice president who temporarily took over the program. Realistically, however, the chances that anything good will come of this appeal are slim. Even if the vice president wants to overturn the decision, forcing you upon a reluctant program manager is unlikely to lead to a good outcome. You may have to write this one off and look elsewhere.
Andrew Grove is chief executive of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif. Send questions to him in care of the Mercury News, Business News Department, 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, Calif. 95190.