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    Photo of Don Sutaria
November 2010

My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

This issue has some advice for smart people who have failed in a job-related situation. Many competent people have been laid off because of the present economic situation and it is not their fault! The very fact that you will read this article is an encouraging sign. Failure is only delayed success!

Career Stimulus Compassion Package - Program Extended
In our desire to help as many people as we can, we launched a new innovative program on January 1, 2010, called the Career Stimulus Compassion Package, which ended on June 30, 2010. Due to popular demand, the new expiration date for this program has now been extended to December 31, 2010. In essence, Career Doctor Don offers totally free career advice if you had been unemployed for over 12 months, 50% off if you had been unemployed for 6-12 months, and 25% off if you had been looking for a job up to 6 months. Proof is required.

Services are available in person, over the telephone, or via the Internet. It includes resume, cover letter, pre-interview preparation, post-interview briefing, and salary negotiation.

The results have been very gratifying. We estimate that during 2010 to date, at least 250 people have been helped in individual or group settings. Some professionals had been job hunting from one to three years! On the encouraging side, many counselees had success stories to report.

Book Endorsements
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Eight reviews give the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
"Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

  Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
This book has been nicknamed as Chicken Soup for Your Career! Take a peek inside this book at before you decide to buy it. It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

Career Doctor Don's Column
Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions appears as a regular feature in the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit to read more.

Articles on
Several of our articles will continue to appear on The mission of this website is to "Help Garden State Business Grow."

Connecting With a Faith-Based Job Club
The AARP Bulletin for October 2010 has a wonderful article by Elizabeth Pope, Faith, Hope & Networking. I urge you to look at it. Faith-based job search groups can be hard to locate. Experts advise checking your local chamber of commerce, state-run development office, the U.S. Labor Department-sponsored site, or large churches and synagogues. Explore,, and

Keep your feedback coming. Please feel free to share these newsletters with your friends, remembering to give us the due credit.

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail, we want to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  You're Smart! You've Failed? Now Succeed Brilliantly! (Tips for Smart People)
by Don Sutaria


A career-related failure tantamounts to a divorce. It is the failure of one relationship. Most divorced people do get remarried, perhaps because they have not lost complete faith in the institution of marriage. It is also a triumph of hope over experience! Am I correct in my observations or am I all wet?


Well, the same principle can be applied when a working relationship has ended (..."You're Fired!"...). Most smart people can figure out, perhaps with a little help, why they suffered this career setback.

In my judgment there are two categories of reasoning:
  1. Situations Beyond Your Control
  2. Situations Under Your Control
I propose to give you a framework within which you can analyze your individual setbacks. Keep in mind that there are some gray areas also in both categories, meaning that in some situations beyond your complete control, partial control may be possible. Moreover, we would like to think that the outcomes of some situations may be under our control, but our control effectiveness is so feeble that it gyrates virtually out of control. It is with this reasoning that I have chosen to place the hotly debated issues like racism, ageism, and sexism under both categories.

[Editorial Comments: The writer's comments are based on personal international experiences. He has lived continuously in these United States for almost 47 years, and has been a naturalized U.S. citizen for over 25 years. He is a male, age 70, of Oriental background—medium dark skin—and English is not his mother tongue. Obviously, this article carries some bias.]
The distinguishing fact about smart people is this: Smart people learn.
Situations Beyond Your Control

Wrong fit due to changed job requirements. Job requirements and job descriptions are constantly evolving, and woe be to the person who does not recognize and respond to the changing conditions by acquiring additional technical and managerial skills.

Wrong fit for the company's culture. This type of wrong fit is because of wrong value system, wrong environment, and/or wrong co-workers. The corporate culture does not support your core values. This may not be considered a conventional failure. A competent career counselor can help articulate your innermost values and guide you to a company which has a corporate culture to nurture your needs and values.

Lack of commitment by the organization. Try to cultivate a more localized corporate culture. As a last resort jump ship before being pushed off the gangplank!

Bad luck. These wild cards are uncontrollable events which throw most of us in a loop. This can occur in the form of economic events or a person. What can you do? Stop blaming yourself and get on with your life. This may be the case for many of us.

Personal health problems. This happens with more regularity than you think, and at all levels! Just read the business sections of newspapers and magazines. Take a hiatus and get yourself fixed up before going any further.

Natural disasters; floods, famines, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes. Accept the situation and salvage what you can from these Acts of God.

Man-made disasters; wars. It is not your fault. Try to be a survivor.

International terrorism strikes. The aftermath of 9/11/01 has disrupted countless lives, even besides the death tolls. If you have been affected directly or indirectly, my heartfelt sympathies, and a loving word of encouragement for picking up the pieces of your life, after personal grief reaches a manageable level.

Outsourcing jobs to other countries. Exercise eternal vigilance to keep your professional skills up-to-date, seek international jobs, or be trained in professions where close human contact is required, like nursing.

Call to active duty in the Armed Forces and being stationed abroad for an extended period. A disruptive period in the life of an individual or family. Try to hone additional professional skills if you have any spare time, or later on expand your education through veteran's benefits.

Extensive time off to care for a sick relative. This is truly a compassionate calling, but the partial loss of career and income may be compensated for by psychological payoffs.

Lack of focus by company management. Pretty much out of your control, unless you are in the very high echelons of management and capable of influencing strategic plans and policies.

Racism. You may or may not be aware that this is universal problem, a condition of the human heart. Laws may offer you some protection, but you may want to try and rise above it all with your coping skills and interpersonal relationships.

Ageism. Very predominant in the Western world, but a little less so in the Oriental world where the elderly are respected much more. Shine through your performance and empathic relationships. Legal recourse may offer some protection.

Sexism. Usual targets are females but males can be affected too. The social setting is transposed with ageism, meaning that sexism, especially in the world of work, is more prevalent in the Eastern world than the Western culture. Again, legal avenues are open for redress of grievances.

Incompetent management. Stop blaming yourself because it is not your fault if you have done the best job you could under the circumstances and maintained reasonable personal relationships.

Company bankruptcy for various reasons. Just look at the carcasses of companies strewn around you for the past eight years. It has taken a severe toll on several innocent people. Need I say anything further?!

Economic collapse in world monetary markets. This is a biggie! ...ask those who lived through the Great Depression and other medium-sized depressions. You may have to swim with the sharks without being eaten!

Situations Under Your Control


Retiring on the job...stuck! If we don't learn, contribute and grow every day, stuck and waiting to retire, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Obsolete knowledge and experience. In most fields, knowledge becomes obsolete in less than five years. If we do not sharpen our skills continually, our work effectiveness is seriously impaired. This concept is linked to the point above regarding retiring on the job.

Interpersonal skills. Many studies have shown that in 80% of the cases where working relationships have ended are because of personal conflicts...that elusive thing called personal chemistry. Only 20% of the time people are fired because of technical incompetence. Interpersonal skills can be developed and honed. Sensitivity to others, empathic listening, emotional maturity, building teamwork skills, and handling of criticism are some key areas. However, I feel that under the present economic conditions, this axiom may not be 100% true!

Verbal and written communication skills. No one is perfect, but effective verbal and written communication skills are vital for survival in the workplace. Public speaking skills, presentation skills and writing skills can be acquired and improved.

Self-destructive behavior. This behavior is usually associated with fear of success. The key to breaking this cycle is to recognize this behavior, have the desire to change, and make a successful change through therapy. Most of us fail to see the patterns in what we do repeatedly.

Lack of personal and professional focus. We make half-hearted efforts with lack of commitment. If you can't see the forest through the trees, seek professional help and guidance from psychotherapists and career counselors.

Racism. Read the segment on racism in the earlier section and figure out what you can do to alleviate the situation under the circumstances.

Ageism. Go back to the comments in the previous section on ageism, and think of creative ways in which you can lessen the bite.

Sexism. Analyze the comments on sexism stated in the earlier segment. How would you develop your coping tactics?

Attitude and behavior. A positive attitude and enthusiastic behavior will cover a multitude of sins.

Lifelong learning. Make a commitment to yourself to learn something little every day, from every person you meet. Also, read the comments above, under 'Obsolete knowledge and experience'.


"Success is never certain. Failure is never final."
Robert Schuller

"Why do smart people fail? They fail for a whole host of reasons. To fail is really not special—the best people do it. To learn from failure is what is special. The distinguishing fact about smart people is this: Smart people learn."
Carol Hyatt & Linda Gottleib

"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don't know why things happen as they do, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, apostle Paul

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
CareerQuest     2165 Morris Avenue; Suite 15     Union, NJ 07083     Satellite Office in New York, NY