Dear Leslie, My wife works in network security and recently changed jobs. She was working 12-hour days, on call all the time and she eventually developed an anxiety disorder. After taking short-term disability and getting help with the anxiety, she started a new job in the same profession with hopes for a less demanding workload. Three weeks into this job, and things are developing in the same direction. She knows a lot more than others around her, so she is assigned to every project that falls behind. She is the type of woman who does not stick up for herself to simply say, `I have plans,’ or `I can’t take on so much work.’ What else can she do? If your advice is to talk with her supervisor, how can someone who is nonconfrontational go about that discussion? Before the meeting, help your wife rehearse her part by playing her boss. Then reverse roles. Between the two of you, you should be able to imagine most of the boss’s possible objections and try to formulate responses. Remember that your wife’s suggestions should address the supervisor’s concerns, such as meeting customer needs in a timely fashion, as well as her needs, as much as possible. Timing is important. Your wife should try to schedule the meeting when both she and her supervisor are the least pressured. If things are not settled satisfactorily, she can always ask for time to develop other options. If there seems to be no way to ease the pressure, it might be time for your wife to start looking for other options. Contest winner Dear Readers, Our contest question was: What current hit movie shows a woman who overestimates her own worth and loses her job because of it? Our winner was Laura C. of Charlestown, Mass., who correctly guessed “Dreamgirls” for a copy of my book, “The Good Girl’s Guide to Negotiating” (Little, Brown, 2001), co-authored with Elizabeth Austin. Write to Leslie Whitaker, co-author of “The Good Girl’s Guide to Negotiating,” at [email protected] or write to P.O. Box 11156 Shorewood, WI 53211.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Help. I am starting to think that things are headed down the same road. She is the primary breadwinner in our family, so a career change must be gradual. Dear Reader, Does your wife feel headed down the same road that led to a crash at her previous job? If so, she should consult her medical advisers, pronto. And she should talk with her supervisor, but it does not have to be a confrontational discussion. Instead, she should come to her supervisor equipped with some proposals that would benefit her department and keep her workload manageable. Considering the high demand for her services, both in her previous and present position, I would bet there is a good chance that her company will want to address her concerns. Encourage your wife to think creatively about possible solutions. Since she is the resident brain trust, should she be promoted to a supervisory position? Train others in the department? Be allotted an assistant? At the very least, perhaps she could develop a system for measuring her workload so that limits can be imposed before it hits unreasonable levels.