Q. I am a chemist and I work as a technician. Often I do a regular chemist's work. My supervisor, the chief chemist, left a few months ago. I applied for his position and was interviewed for it several times.

Yet instead of giving me the promotion, the company hired an external candidate.

Needless to say, I was furious and asked for an explanation of why I was rejected. I got nothing specific regarding work.

Instead, my supervisor criticized my attitude and personality. She said my working relationships and communication skills were poor.

None of that had anything to do with work.

I feel cheated and exploited. To add insult to injury, I have to teach the new chief chemist computer skills.

I went to see our human resources manager, but that person only protects the managerial staff.

The human resources manager told me my supervisor has described me as a nervous, stressed-out person to justify why he didn't choose me.

I had applied for two other positions in other departments and was promptly turned down for both, so now I have been rejected three times by this company.

What future do I have at such a place? What should I do?

A. I have to say that your letter supports the critical comments your company has aimed at you.

The notion that your working relationships and communication skills have nothing to do with your work is dead wrong.

You say that you were "furious" for not being promoted. To me, this suggests that you do, in fact, have a terribly self-centered attitude.

The fact that you were turned down three times by different departments gives all this even more weight.

How much future you have at this or any other place depends on how well you'll be able to take stock of your real strengths and weaknesses.

The world doesn't owe you a promotion. You'll have to earn it. Knowing yourself better would be a good step in the right direction.

Q. I work at a service company. The other day we were sent a bulletin stating that we could no longer perform certain extra services for other employees. This seemed fair enough. However, a few days later our store manager wanted us to do some extra services for a friend.

So, because of this request, we had to break the new policy on which the ink had barely dried. What's worse, this extra work put us quite a bit behind our regular work.

What should I do about this?

A. A one-time occurrence, while wrong, hardly warrants making a flap. If such incidents occur again, talk to the store manager with the new policy in hand and ask him or her to reconcile the request with the new policy.

Andrew Grove is chief executive of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., and an author and lecturer on management. Please send questions to him in care of the San Jose Mercury News, Business News Department, 750 Ridder Park Dr., San Jose, Calif. 95190.