WORKPLACE

Don’t be shy in networking

Q: When you’re networking with people, what kind of help can you ask for? I’m uncomfortable about reaching out and worried that I’ll be overstepping.

A: Match your request to your need and reciprocate when you can. Think about your way of interacting when you’re making friends or in a new setting. You may be reserved or more gregarious. To be successful in networking, you need to be authentic. There isn’t a right or wrong way to approach it, but if you seem phony, you’ll have problems. These questions can guide your outreach: Do you want to stay in the same field? What companies would you like to work for? Do you know what strengths will be most valuable? What is your plan for any gaps in your background?

Don’t be so tentative in your wording that the other person doesn’t know what you want. And always end your conversation with an offer to help them in the future.

— By Liz Reyer

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Explore possible occupation

Q: As a supervisor in a large corporation, I have 40 people reporting to me. By the end of each day, I feel completely drained. I recently took a quiz that indicated I am a strong introvert, so I wonder if that could be the problem. I’m considering taking a course in medical coding and billing, which sounds like a better fit for my personality.

A: Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not necessarily shy or aloof. They simply find too much interaction to be tiring and overstimulating, so they carefully budget their “people time” in order to conserve energy. This physiological trait is no more changeable than height or eye color.

Supervising 40 people requires constant communication, so your self-assessment may indeed be correct. But while less interaction might better suit your temperament, that alone does not insure that medical billing is the job for you. So before signing up for training, be sure to explore all aspects of this unfamiliar occupation.

— By Marie G. McIntyre

Minneapolis Star Tribune

AUTO REPAIR

Air bag message is a puzzler

Q: Several months ago my ’05 Hyundai XG350 displayed an “air bag” message in my dashboard. I had my dealer perform a diagnostic test that informed me I had a “bad air bag” located in the driver’s seat. The cost to repair: $1,500 for the part, plus labor. I declined. My brother has a mechanic friend who suggested “turn on your cruise control.” Within five minutes the air bag light went out. To this day, several months later, the air bag light has not come on. I have called several dealers and shops asking if another diagnostic test can be performed without the light on and they all replied they cannot do another test. I truly believe the “sensor” was the cause of this air bag message and that I do not have a bad air bag.

A: Wow! Who ever said that automobiles cannot be “self-healing”? I have absolutely no idea how or why the operation of the cruise control would have any influence on a restraint system fault code. I can tell you that if the air bag warning light flashes during its initial self-test when you first turn on the ignition, then goes out for the duration of your drive, there is no current fault with the system. Most “B-series” body codes will stay in memory until cleared by a scan tool. So it would seem the original DTC code for the air bag light should still be in the computer memory. You should have the dealer scan the body control module for any stored restraint system fault codes.

— By Paul Brand

Minneapolis Star Tribune