STOCKS Local interest

Q. I haven't been involved in a job search for a very long time, so the rules may have changed. When I gave my manager notice that I would be leaving, he said I was unprofessional and should have notified management the moment I started my job search.
A. Your manager was being disingenuous -- he was only trying to make you feel guilty. Of course, you should never mention a job search until you have a written job offer in hand. Otherwise, you could be out of a job immediately.
Q. Thanks so much for writing about the importance of fun in the workplace. My colleagues and I believe that it's important to relax a bit and have a little fun now and then, as long as the work gets done. But we've been told not even to talk to one another, that we're here to work -- and that's it. It's true we're here to work, but who says you have to be miserable doing it? What do you suggest?
A. Clip out my column and leave it on your boss' desk. It sounds as if you work in a very repressive office, and as a result stress will rise and productivity will decrease.
Q. How do you handle insensitive interviewers?
I've been asked awful questions like: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" (I'm 53, and there are days I don't know where I see myself five minutes from now.) "If you were making $19 an hour, why are you applying for a job that pays only $8 an hour?" (It's a bad job market, and I like to eat on occasion.) And "I see you used to work at a research center with serious health problems. Are you sick yet?" (The interviewer started to laugh, but I didn't find it funny.)
A. The problem is you're much smarter -- and much more sensitive -- than the interviewers. Try to be compassionate in view of their disabilities.
XCarol Kleiman is the author of "Winning the Job Game: The New Rules for Finding and Keeping the Job You Want" (Wiley, $16.95). Send e-mail to