short answer Sunday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s short answer Sunday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. When to start job searching

I am planning on moving in about three months to a town about 3hrs from where I live now. Is it a good idea to apply for jobs now or should I wait until it gets closer to my move date?

Start now. Job searches can take a long time.

2. I don’t want to use my last name professionally

I loathe my legal last name. I go by my first name and middle name. Only people who know me very well know my formal last name. It’s always misspelled, always mispronounced, and I generally do not identity with it because the only thing connecting me and my father’s family is our last name. They are apples and I am a steamboat. Totally different. However, I am a single 20-something (and want to stay that way for a while) with no prospects of taking a husband’s name (also a women’s studies minor and probably wouldn’t unless it’s an awesome last name). Furthermore, legally changing my name would mean I no longer have a middle name, and due to our patriarchal society, monumentally hurt my wonderful dad’s feelings.

What should I do with job applications? Name on a resume? Cover letter? My online identity is my first and middle name so if they google me, the only stuff found is from like the 7th grade (not kidding). Then if I’m hired, my email address and company business cards would be firstname.lastname, a name I don’t even use. My personal business cards, email, etc. for freelance and personal use are firstname.middlename and people get confused SO much. Should I just woman-up, own my identity, and legally change my name, not have a middle name, and risk being somewhat disowned (then maybe changing it again when I get married. Ugh)? Or just leave my legal last name off job applications and resumes?

Honestly, I’d just change it legally if you’re sure this is how want to be known. Or accept that you’re going to need to use your last name professionally. Otherwise, you’re going to cause all kinds of confusion and probably come across as a little flaky to employers who will see not using your last name as a bit too Madonna-esque.

3. Attaching a letter of recommendation with a job application

I recently saw a job posting that requested that applicants submit a resume, cover letter, and two letters of recommendation. The listing provided a link to apply through an online application form. The form, however, only includes the option to upload and submit one resume and one cover letter. What’s the best way to proceed? Should I submit the application minus the letters of recommendation? Should I email the HR department, let them know I noticed the materials request, and attach the recommendations? I had a previous supervisor write a customized (and very enthusiastic) letter, so I’d been excited by the prospect of including it with my application.

Submit the application through their online system, and then follow up with the email to HR with the recommendations. For what it’s worth, though, employers shouldn’t be asking for letters of recommendation up-front — most candidates would need to go have them specially written, which is a really inconsiderate use of their and their recommenders’ time, since the vast majority of those candidates won’t get contacted for an interview. (Plus, I’m no fan of letters of recommendation at any stage, but that’s a different issue.)

4. Should I learn French or German?

Currently, I am living in India and working as a Linux System Administrator, providing support to North American and Europe/Middle East/Africa region clients. I have decided to learn one foreign language, either French or German, to increase my chances of being selected in top-notch overseas companies and helping me to grow professionally. Which one should I go with, or is there any better option that you can suggest?

This is outside my expertise, but maybe readers will have suggestions for you.

5. My phone interviewer called at the wrong time

I am so upset. I had an appointment for a phone interview with a companythat I have been trying to land a job at for a long time. They sent me an email with the appointment time, which was 1:00pm MST. They specifically stated that it will be MST. I got ready, took a shower to make myself feel like I was going to the company to interview, I had my resume in front of me, and I had my interview questions ready for them. But they called at 12:00 pm MST….1 hour before my interview time. I didn’t answer the call because it was an out of state area code and didn’t want to bother with a wrong number or sales call. After I waited for an hour for their call, I checked my voice mail and that out of state phone number had been my interview! I tried to call them, but got voicemail. I left a message and I emailed them to let them know I was available. No call back. It was not my fault, and I can’t reach anyone there. They called me at the wrong time.

Will I ever hear from them again? Now I have to wait painfully all weekend to see if my dream job just went out the door because they made a mistake. What should I do?

All you can do is follow up with them, explain what happened, and ask to reschedule. They certainly should reschedule since the mistake was on their side — although that doesn’t mean that they will, of course. This kind of thing, along with companies setting up phone interviews and then not calling at all, is unfortunately not unusual. (If it helps, they are not your dream job if they are rude enough to refuse to reschedule.)

6. Quitting a job after only one month

I have just started at a new job and the position turned out to not be close to what I had expected. I don’t think that the company intentionally misrepresented the position, but was more aspirational in terms of what they wanted in the future versus what the actual on-the-ground needs are. I have a strong marketing project management background and this position turns out to be much more of a technical role. They do not have a clear onboarding plan and I’ve been fairly neglected for my first few weeks (despite multiple attempts to find projects from my manager as well as other peers.) After my first week, I approached my manager and told him that I was concerned about the fit, which he brushed off by telling me that he still thought that it was a great hire.

How can I gracefully leave after only being at a company for one month? What can I do to minimize the amount of bridges that will inevitably be burnt with both this new company and my recruiter? Everyone has been great to me and this is most definitely not any type of personality issues. I met up with a former colleague who has recently moved into a leadership position at another company. She presented me with the potential for a role at her company that seems much more aligned with my skill set and interests.

All you can do is be straightforward. You’ve already alerted your manager that there’s an issue, and he brushed it off. If that hadn’t been the case, I’d be warning you to brace yourself for a pretty unhappy reaction, but you did exactly the right thing — you spoke up, and he decided to ignore you. It shouldn’t be a surprise that you’re now moving on to something more aligned.

As for burning bridges, some of that is up to them and how reasonable or unreasonable they choose to be, but on your side you can be very clear that this is solely about the work not being the right fit and that you like the people and the company, and offer to do anything you can to aid in the transition (which might not be much since you haven’t been there long).

7. Does resume format even matter for online application systems?

All the resume advice I’ve gotten seems to have one thing in common — it’s all geared towards the concept of a printed resume, or at least one that depends on things like fonts, spacing, formatting and layout to either highlight or mask the applicant’s experience and abilities. Here’s the problem I have with that, and one I encountered more and more in my job search over the past couple of years – online application forms make all that irrelevant. Very little correspondence happens in the “physical” world anymore — everything is an email, posting or database entry of some kind. When you apply for a job online through a company’s web site or through job sites like Monster or CareerBuilder, you fill out some kind of form with text fields, menus, radio buttons and check boxes. All your information gets filtered, sorted, processed, categorized, disseminated and dissected into angles and directions that only exist in quantum physics. This, in turn, allows employers to do searches for key terms and values (numerical values such as years of experience) without ever seeing an applicant’s formal resume. So how do you “format” your resume for the online world of the 21st century where formatting has become effectively useless?

I recommend keeping two versions of your resume: one formatted in Word or a PDF that you can use when employers ask for applications to be emailed to them (which is still very common), and one version that’s unformatted and in plain text, so that you can easily copy and paste different sections of the document into different parts of the employer’s web form.

But the content itself still matters — don’t get lulled into thinking that it’s just about keywords; it’s not. (Here’s a good post by Kerry Scott at ClueWagon that explains this.)

And that’s why the most useful resume advice isn’t about formatting; it’s about the content of your resume and how to present your achievements, and that’s going to be relevant whether your resume is in a PDF or in fields of an online application system.

{ 161 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous

    For #2, is there any chance the OP can take her mother’s maiden name? I don’t know the family situation (parents divorced?), but I have heard of children legally changing their names to take the mother’s.

    1. Josh S

      Another alternative:
      Legally change your name to
      First Last Middle

      That way you keep all your family names (and avoid being disowned by dad), and still go by First Middle in all your communication, professional and otherwise.

    2. M-C

      #2, you’re at precisely the right time to make this name change legal easily. The beginning of your professional life is perfect to simplify matters for everyone. If you feel strongly enough about it to have already made the change in practice, you should probably just do it. Of course your father will mind, but do you really mind that he does? Presumably you’re over 18 now, right? You don’t have to stay associated with someone you don’t have a real relationship with just because his DNA happened to come along.

      In fact, my own name change was the first and only time that my father ever perceived something correctly about me :-). He said “what’s the problem, are you ashamed of me or something?”. I use my great-grandmother’s maiden name, because I didn’t like my grandfather either and there were some complications with illigitimacy, but your middle name would be just fine. Use your mother’s maiden name as a middle name perhaps if you really want one, but I know plenty of people who have no middle name and it’s never a problem.

      Check your state regulations, in California I only had to go down to the DMV and fill out a form checking “name change”, couldn’t have been any easier or cheaper.

      1. Anonymous

        Wow! Only one week after Father’s Day and already dad’s are taking a back seat. Where’s the afterglow?

    3. Anonymous

      First name/ Middle name won’t necessarily look odd. I have a Welsh colleague who uses precisely this combination – married surname was English and she wished to lose that part of her identity – she is very Welsh. Apparently it’s not that unusual in places like Wales where surnames are often associated with conquerors. Probably not much help if #2 is in the US though!

  2. JT

    Not related to #5’s predicament, but I don’t understand the phrase 12pm (and 12am). How can 12 be am or pm? It’s 12 noon or 12 midnight to me.

      1. Evan the College Student

        Taken literally, it makes no sense to me either. The way I think about it is that one minute after noon is literally 12:01 PM, and one minute after midnight is 12:01 AM. Then we can extrapolate to noon and midnight.

    1. Shane

      To be fair there is no such thing as 12:00am or 12:00pm simply because of the definition of am and pm. however 1 second after 12 noon would be considered pm and 1 second after 12 midnight would be considered am which is why we use 12:00am as midnight and 12:00pm as noon.

      It is a stupid system which is one reason that I wish we would switch over to the 24 hour clock.

      1. Cassie

        That’s why I always try to use deadlines like 11:59pm Wednesday, rather than 12:00am Thursday, since people might think that 12am Thursday is actually the midnight between Thursday & Friday.

    2. Anonymous

      I have read that 12pm and 12am are technically incorrect phrasing. So actually you are right.

  3. Spreadsheet Monkey

    Re #2: While legally changing your name, you can add a middle name, if having a middle name is important to you. You could even switch your middle and last names so your current last name is still part of your identity, without having to use it for business purposes.

    1. Kimberlee

      Agreed. I don’t know of any state that simply won’t allow you to have a middle name at all if you change your legal last name… maybe the OP can provide the state and someone who has, say, gotten married in that state can weigh in?

      1. mh_76

        To my knowledge (I’m not married), middle names aren’t required anywhere. I’ve met a handful of people over the years who don’t even have a middle name.

        1. Joe Schmoe

          Some systems require a middle name, or more specifically, a middle initial. At our company, those who have no middle name are given the middle initial “N” for “No middle name”.

          Also, my grandfather didn’t have a middle name and went into the military. They required one and assigned him a “J”.

          1. khilde

            I did personnel work in the Air Force and saw a lot of people without middle names. Often it was designated as “nmn” (no middle name). Interesting that at one time they just assigned a letter!

        2. K.

          My dad doesn’t have a middle name and it hasn’t affected his life at all. He’s not the only one I’ve met with no middle name; I’ve also met people with two and three middle names (and some of them go by one of the middle names instead of the first one).

          1. Nichole

            Oddly enough, all but one of the people I’ve met with no middle name have been male. This includes my dad and brother-my parents decided female children would have one and male children wouldn’t. Men seem more likely to be weird and secretive about their middle names, too.

            1. Emily, admin extraordinaire

              None of the girls in my immediate family have middle names, and neither did any of my aunts (on either side). The reasoning is that once you got married, your maiden name becomes your middle name. Also, my last name is rather long and unusual, so my folks didn’t really want to add any more syllables than they had to. :P

              1. Jess

                My father-in-law had no middle name, and my husband has the same name as him but with a middle name–so Dad was John Smith with no middle name, son is John Paul Smith. They have trouble with their credit reports being intermingled, as many parent/child pairs with the same name do…but the credit bureau had the nerve to say to my husband, “You could prevent this by always using your middle name!” They’d still lump his dad’s stuff with his stuff if they always used their full proper names.

                My father-in-law used to use a X as his middle initial when he was forced to use one. Guess everyone has a different way of dealing with that situation!

    2. mh_76

      I was going to suggest exatly that!! :)
      Example: Roger Thomas Rabbit would become Roger R. Thomas

    3. MentalEngineer

      For that matter, my girlfriend changed her name to something completely different, keeping only the first name. So from something like Jessica Thomas Rabbit to Jessica Clarkson Hare. If you do the paperwork correctly, the judge/clerk are unlikely to care about much else.

      1. perrik

        As long as you’re not changing your name for illegal purposes (like trying to dodge child support), the court won’t care. You can change all three names if you really want to – go from Raymond Luxury Yacht to Throat Wobbler Mangrove if that’s what you want. I kept my original middle name, but legally changed the first and last ones. No worries… except for having to change every flippin’ bank account and legal document and insurance plan and frequent buyer card and… (order several copies of the name change court order, you will need them)

        1. Anonymous

          I added a new first name, so I now have 2 middle names.

          I also did it before I was out of college: didn’t have a career, much of a credit history, etc., to worry about. I specifically left my original name in, however, so that it would still be part of my legal name for anything that comes up down the road.

    4. Victoria

      Changing your name is complicated and expensive, btw.

      In PA, here’s the system:

      1) Get fingerprinted. Have fingerprints run to ensure that you’re not a felon (most felons can’t change their names).
      2) Apply for a name change. This needs to be done at your county seat. Do you live in a rural area, hours from your county seat? Too bad. It has to be done in person.
      3) Put advertisements announcing your change of name: the local paper of record (generally the largest paper in your area, e.g. the Philadelphia Inquirer) and the local legal record. This may cost a lot, depending on the papers in question.
      4) Wait (months) for a court date.
      5) Have a hearing, at which the judge will determine whether you are allowed to change your name.

      Sigh. In the middle of this right now. I should have just taken my husband’s name (or kept mine).

      1. Vicki

        Wow. Things have changed since my sister changed her name. Maybe because she only changed the “spelling” of her first name? But she and my Mom went to the courthouse, filled out some paperwork, and that was that. (In PA, more than a few years ago).

      2. perrik

        Wow, you should have moved one state to the south first! I live in Maryland, where the procedure in my county is to fill out a form and take it to the county courthouse with the fee. For a second fee, they’ll place the newspaper ads on your behalf (you can do this yourself if you prefer) for three consecutive weeks. If no objections are raised, you’ll get the official court order in the mail a couple weeks later. Other than the one trip to the courthouse, it was just a matter of writing a couple checks and waiting. I didn’t have to be present for anything else.

      3. Anonymous

        It was very easy for me (California). I was thinking of changing it again to World Peace but I hear that is taken. :)

  4. Kimberlee

    Also for #5, it could well have been a mistake I’ve heard of at my work. Our calendar program is iCal, and I’ve occasionally had to schedule things for my boss in Mountain Time. Now, I grew up in that time zone, so I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this, but apparently calendars think there’s two Mountain zones. One is MST, and one is Mountain (I think), and iCal actually has one as being an hour later as the other. It took SO long for us to figure out why the heck iCal was doing the math wrong (and our IT person had no clue, we only figured it out when I mentioned the weirdness to my boss, who’d had the problem before). I think it has something to do with the fact that Phoenix is in the Mountain time zone, but sometimes isn’t, like it does it’s own thing part of the year.

    So, my point is that it could be a mistake like that that nobody even noticed because maybe the person putting it on the calendar didn’t know that the calendar had selected the wrong zone. And they might not respond well to the idea of “It was your fault! You called at the wrong time!”

    Not that that particularly helps you, but it seems like a probable explanation!

    1. Clobbered

      The issue is that Arizona does not have summer time. Therefore in the winter all Mountain Time states are in Mountain Standard Time (MST) but in the summer Arizona is still on MST but the other states (Utah, Colorado etc) are in Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). So unless the OP was in Arizona, s/he was not in MST this time of year and it was his/her fault. If s/he was in Arizona, it was the employer’s fault. Either way kids, answer your phone the day of your interview. You never know, they might call an hour before to confirm or something.

      1. Spreadsheet Monkey

        Arizona has nothing BUT summer time. They don’t have Daylight Savings Time. ;-p

        1. Anonymous

          Daylight Savings Time is Summer Time! So technically, they are always on “winter time!”

  5. Shi Girl

    Is it possible that #5 is due to the great state of Arizona not following daylight savings time?

    Also, technically, all of us who do daylight savings are in DaylightTime (PDT, CDT, etc), and not StandardTime (PST, CST). Strictly speaking, the employer did call at 1 MST. But I seriously doubt any company would purposefully use this technicality to trip up a candidate.

    1. JLH

      One of my pet peeves is people not understanding the difference between EST and EDT, etc. In the summertime, the vast majority of the country is on daylight savings time (DT), not standard time (ST.) So many people will use EST, PST, etc, in the summer time–I’ve even heard pilots doing it on planes when talking about arrival times.

      If someone says they’re calling at MST during the summer months (more accurately mid-March to early November this year), that means they’re three hours behind EDT, two hours behind CDT, one hour behind MDT, and the same time as PDT.

      Learn it. Know it. Live it.

      1. Shi Girl

        Yes! it is a pet peeve of mine as well, though you communicated the difference between DT and ST much better than I.

        Another word of caution for the OP and all who care; countries around the world initiate daylight savings time at different times. Usually Europe is behind us by at least several weeks. So, if you have a meeting set up with anyone on a different continent (especially in early summer or late autumn), google what time it is there! Make sure everyone is on the same page…I have family abroad and I cannot tell you how many times we’ve missed Skype appointments by an hour in either direction due to this. Luckily, it hasn’t yet affected me professionally.

      2. Cat

        Me three on the pet peeve. Even more, I hate when people respond with, “Oh, you know what I mean.” No, I don’t. That’s why I asked.

        And if it’s *really* that hard to grasp, just switch to 2-digit notation: ET, PT, MT, CT.

      3. Spreadsheet Monkey

        I grew up in AZ and most of my family still lives there. When the rest of the country is on Daylight Savings Time, we talk about calling at “8pm, Arizona time.”

        Not really a good option for a business, but it makes it much easier on family and friends.

        1. Kristinyc

          I went to college Central Indiana when they didn’t do daylight savings, and it was reallllly confusing. My family lived in Southern Indiana (ET), so I would only be on the same time zone as them for half the year. Cable “prime time” started at 7 half the year and 8 the other half. Ridiculous.

          Have you guys seen It’s good for scheduling meetings across multiple time zones.

        2. Nichole

          “Arizona time” is standard in my family, too, since I grew up there and my dad still lives there. I was so annoyed when my new home state of Indiana switched to DST, I thought I’d managed to avoid it! (My dad has gotten 2 nods in the comments tonight, maybe I should take advantage of the time difference and call him…)

      4. The Other Dawn

        And one of MY pet peeves is when people call it daylight savings time. It’s actually daylight saving time. :)

        Thanks for the tutorial. I actually didn’t know the difference between EST and EDT. Now I do.

  6. Another Emily

    OP#4, on languages. I don’t know which language (if either) would be preferred by overseas companies in your field, but generally in terms of learning a language I think it makes sense to choose the one you like more. French and German are both really cool languages that are very international. Is there any one you identify with more because of your heritage or interests?

    Another thought to consider is a network of people who already speak that language. If there was a group of people you could practice with that would help you a lot (there is a group in my city of French speakers who do fun social events together, in French, once a month). This would help you a huge amount. It is very difficult to learn a language in a “vacuum”.

    If there is something apart from business preference that would help you learn one of the languages I think that would be the way to go.

    1. mh_76

      I’m not an expert but I’ve read recently that the German economy strongest in Europe right now so German might (speculation here) be more helpful. But I’m partial to French because of ancestry and 8 years (HS/College) of forgotten classroom work.

      1. AD

        The counterpoint is that far more countries speak French, in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

        1. Clobbered

          Yeah. Germans typically have excellent English, whereas the Francophone countries are more likely to consider French-speaking a necessity.

          However if you are a system administrator, consider whether spending the time enhancing your technical skills will ultimately be of more use to you career-wise, unless you have specific ambitions to move to a particular non-English speaking country.

        2. Marie

          Yep. 1/4 of Africa speaks French. I can’t think of a country outside of Germany/Austria/Czech Republic that speaks German.

          1. JT

            Maybe a few people in France, in the Alsace?

            This conversation has me thinking back to high school. Studying Spanish would have been most useful and I was most interested in German, but I gave in to my mom’s suggestion to “learn” French. I guess for the OP, French would be useful for possible work in North and West Africa and the Middle East. But frankly I think Spanish, Chinese or perhaps even Arabic would be at least as useful for global business.

            1. Elizabeth West

              Don’t forget French speakers in Canada also. My exjob did a lot of business there, so much so I was considering going back to my old college French. I decided Spanish would be more useful since I’m not there anymore.

        3. Ivy

          +1 for French. Germany may have a strong economy (debatable and maybe not for long), but I believe you should be looking at scope. Not only is French spoken in many more countries than German, it is also a Latin based language. I think it’s important to consider that in terms of future learning and/or broken understanding. If you learn French it will be a lot easier for you to learn/understand Spanish (a highly spoken language) and Italian down the road. You don’t get that with German.

    2. hannah

      French will get you by in more places and with more international organizations (UN, NATO, etc) – I can’t speak to big companies, though. Obviously the OP already speaks English, but in general I’ve found that in most of the world, if someone is going to learn an international language of commerce, it’s usually English or French, not German.

      1. simple simon

        I would think the decision would be between Spanish and French – both very international languages.

    3. M-C

      #4 of course this is a matter for debate based on your precise field etc. And keep in mind that I’m Franco-rican and so not necessarily objective :-). But in terms of sheer numbers you would be much better off with French. Plenty of old colonies on 3 continents still using French as official language, plenty more older people still speaking it for the same reason. For Europe itself, you could argue that there are more jobs in Germany right now, but France is both larger and pretty high-tech so it’s pretty much a wash.

      I second Simon’s suggestion to compare with Spanish instead of German.. That’d be very useful in the US as well.

        1. Anonymous

          In IT the only language you should study is Java, C, and if you are really brave, Fortran.

          1. Jamie

            Ha! My dad was fluent in Fortran before I was born.

            I actually have to whip out my limited Cobol every now and again – don’t ask – but it shows the classic languages still come in handy. :)

            1. Anna

              I’ve been known to say I know “tourist HTML.” Not because I’d be ordering food or asking for the ladies’ room in HTML or anything, but because I can handle the stuff I most commonly need to do (mostly making stuff bold or italic, or adding a link) but wouldn’t be able to type up a whole website in code from scratch.

              1. Anonymous

                Ha-ha, I like to describe my skill levels as ninja, guru, tourist, and wannabe, in that order.

    4. IV

      Spanish is the answer. With fluent Spanish, you speak a European language but get the double whammy of making yourself understood (albeit with a weird accent and occasionally bizarre wording) in Portuguese as well. It also helps quite a lot for Italian, I hear. Further, it opens doors to other regions too, like Latin America.

      Also, practical consideration (as an Indian-Australian who speaks both German and French, though this might be just me)… French is really hard to pronounce and speak fluently for Indians. My vocabulary is fine, however I struggle a lot with pronouncing words in a way that makes me understandable.

      German is great (and personally probably one of my favourite languages in the world!) however, it is spoken in Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland- all three countries have insanely prescriptive labour laws, which serves to limit the chances of you getting employment in those countries if that is of interest to you.

      For me with German, the investment doesn’t pay back. However as I said… its a fun language to learn!

    5. Whyblue

      I agree with Another Emily, go for the one you like best. Studying a language to the point where you can actually use it in business is going to take quite a bit of work and ideally some time in a country where it is spoken. It is easier to find the motivation if you actually like the language, the culture, and the country.

      Being German myself, I can’t resist a little swipe at the French…I do believe a lot of Germans are used to speaking English in a business context – while the French still prefer everyone to speak French. It took me quite a while to be fairly fluent in French in most situations, but I am still glad German was my native tongue, because I believe it would be even harder to learn. All things considered, I also agree with the other commenters above that out of the two, French is the more widely spoken (and let’s face it, still associated with good breeding and education).

      One more comment (and I know this sounds terribly prejudiced, but cultural bias does exist, so do take it into account): As an American trying to become more attractive to international companies, the point might be to show you are open-minded and culturally flexible. Learning a foreign language and possibly spending some time abroad are good ways of doing that. It doesn’t matter so much, which language you learn or which country you lived in.

  7. Janet

    For #6, I was in that position and it’s going to be awkward and kind of terrible no matter what when you quit – but I really think that the first 90 days of a job are not only a trial period for them to see if they like you but for you to see if you like the job as well. I was in a similar position where a job was promised to be far more senior and autonomous than it turned out to be. After 60 days, it was clear that they didn’t have enough work for me to do. I received a better fitting job offer and left. They weren’t pleased and the last two weeks were awkward but I don’t regret leaving at all. You spend so much time at the office, there’s no point in being miserable.

    1. Suzanne

      I think leaving a job so quickly depends on what your prospects are for another position. I’ve mentioned here before being in a similar situation (wherein when I sat and talked to my manager about the lack of any coherent training or guidance on exactly what the heck I was supposed to be doing and any mechanism to acheive the elusive goals of my position, and his reaction was “I don’t know what you want me to do”). I quit before a year was up, and have yet to find another permanent full-time position after 3 years. I am over 50, which works against me, I know, but I would caution the OP of #6 to think about the next step before quitting a lousy job.
      I would still have quit mine, but would have perhaps planned it a little better. When your working in an asylum, you do have to leave or risk becoming comepletely demoralized or jaded.

    2. M-C

      I totally second the advice to leave, the company basically failing their tryout period. The sooner the better, probably. But do take into account Suzanne’s advice and try to leave for another specific job.
      The best part about leaving quickly is that you may have several other hot prospects still going? See if you can revive your applications at other promising places, and you can transition very quickly.

      1. Vicki

        The best part about leaving quickly is you don;t have to put this on your resume.
        Do not stay just because it’s a job if it’s not right for you. Lack of training is one thing. Wrong area is something else (OP said “have a strong marketing project management background and this position turns out to be much more of a technical role.”) Stress and lack of learning anything useful will not improve your chance for the next position.

  8. Anonymous

    For #5, are they in a different time zone? Sounds like they called at 1p MDT instead of 1p MST. Easy enough mistake.

    Many people use the abbreviation for standard time when they really mean daylight time. I had a call scheduled with a vendor for 1p PST. I asked him if he meant PST or PDT. He claimed PST. He was off by an hour when he called, and I was unable to take his call. He really meant PDT. If I were the party trying to sell something (either vendor or for an interview), I would make sure I knew what timezone the other party is in, and then I would do all correspondence based on that.

    Use google voice as your voice mail, and it will transcribe the call and send you a text message. Then, if you’re screening calls, you’ll know which ones are important.

    1. NicoleW

      This! I always “translate” the time of a meeting into whatever zone the person I’m calling is in.

      While I agree that everyone should know the difference between DT and ST, the fact of the matter is that so many people use them interchangeably or default to always using ST (EST, CST, etc.). So I can’t imagine the interviewer holding it against the OP.

      1. JohnQPublic

        There’s a really easy thing to do to make sure what they mean, and save for a couple times a year will work for you. This requires that you speak to them live:

        Ask them what time it is right now. Ask them what time it will be for them when they call. Use your superior reasoning skills to extrapolate what time you should be available to take their call.

        Time zones can be tricky, especially when you throw in geography, governmental differences and whether or not a place participates in Daylight Savings Time.

  9. Blinx

    #4, regarding languages, study French. It’s used in so many different parts of the world — Canada, Africa, Aisia, Europe. German’s a great language (I studied it for years), and would be useful if you’re dealing mainly with northern Europe – Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, but outside of that? Can’t really think of any.

    To be sure, though, why not google official languages of countries. I’m sure there’s a chart somewhere with primary/secondary languages by country. Good luck, and enjoy your lessons!

    1. Henning Makholm

      I’m not aware of any large community of German speakers in Sweden, and in the Netherlands they speak Dutch. On the other hand, Austria and Switzerland would count.

      1. Blinx

        Right, but a large part of Dutch and Swedish is based on German. It would be easier to learn those languages, once German was mastered.

        1. Andrew

          Swedish and Dutch are not based on modern German; along with English, they are considered “Germanic” languages, in that the basic grammar/ syntax and many root words have their origin in the language spoken by Germanic tribes thousands of years ago.

          Dutch is actually closer to English in many ways.

        2. jmkenrick

          As a Swedish-speaker, I have to disagree with you that German is going to be that helpful. English is what you want to speak.

    2. Anonymous

      Yes I agree 100%. I have a BA in international affairs and speak French. French is the language of most international agencies, non profits, and corporations. Unless you want to work somewhere specific like Germany then French will def open a lot more doors for you! I can literally work anywhere because of my French skills.

    3. Anonymous

      I would vote for learning French. Today, I was shopping after church with my husband in a store and saw a item with a French name. I do not speak French and of course pronounced it wrong. My husband corrected me and told me the correct way to pronounce this. I felt a little embarrassed. It is funny you asked this question. I believe French would be more useful. It amazes me, he knew how to pronounce this. I think it would be a valuable language to know.

    4. Emily

      Nthing French. In addition to being a commonly used language, its similarity to Spanish, could give you an advantage if you decide to pursue a third language later. I learned French and although I never formally studied Spanish and therefore can’t really translate speech and can only speak in broken Spanglish, I can read almost everything I come across in Spanish well enough to understand the gist of it because about 85% of it *looks* like French on paper.

    5. Another Emily

      Both French and German can help you learn other languages (Romance and Germanic). German would help you learn Dutch, Swedish and other Germanic languages. French would help you wtih Spanish, Italian and other Romance languages.

      Maybe you should just learn both…

      1. jmkenrick

        I would say that German is not that more helpful than English in learning Swedish. Additionally, you really don’t want to waste your time learning Swedish, they all speak English over there anyways.

        1. Laura L

          Agreed. There’s pretty much no reason to learn any northern European language (e.g. Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, German, etc.) because they all speak English.

  10. mh_76

    #7 – If you upload a .txt (or other) format of your resume into a Black Hole system (online application), double-check to make sure that the information shows up in the correct fields. The Black Hole systems are not very well designed and I have found that they often screw up, forcing me to essentially re-do each entry.

    1. mh_76

      (“Black Hole” is a term that I picked up from another career/search advice site…great term!)

    2. Ann

      Ugh, these systems. I had somehow assumed that as a skilled white collar worker I would never have to deal with such a system (and I didn’t for my last several jobs which all just involved emailing a resume and cover to someone).

      Until last week, when I saw ~dream job~ and found that this company uses one of those systems. Yes, it tried to turn my PDF into text in a field, and although I was told “Your document will be attached in its original format” I’m skeptical, because I uploaded a writing sample an additional attachment and now when I check the status of my application, there’s a section that shows what I submitted and under “Resume and Attachments” I see the text-version of my resume, and a link to the PDF writing sample I submitted.

      Not only that, I was forced to disclose my entire salary history and give names and full contact information for three references or the system would not accept my application. Inappropriate and rude. I nearly skipped applying all together, but a few days later I reasoned that just because their hiring system sucks doesn’t necessarily mean my boss would if I were hired there. Hate that I’ve given up so much negotiating power and had to prematurely alert my references that they might be getting a call about me even though it’s highly unlikely.

      1. Suzanne

        Black Hole systems. I love it.
        I tried to apply for a position a year or so ago and the system would not, absolutely would not, upload my resume no matter what I did. Text, pdf, Word, I tried them all. Error! message every time. I gave up!

        1. Elizabeth West

          I had that issue with an employer’s email recently. No matter what I did–attached the resume per their instructions, pasted it in the email itself–it kept bouncing back to me. I ended up calling and leaving them a voice mail so they could check with IT and faxed my resume from the state Career Center. :P

  11. Jesse

    For #3: it’s common for some academic positions to require references up front. just attach them to the online app w/the rest of your materials!

  12. Anonymous

    #4 – if those are your only two choices, French will be more useful for most countries and is one of the official UN languages. But, German is great too if that is what you prefer.

    Do you have a country or region in which you want to work? That will make a difference on the best language to learn.

    Even within a country it matters. For example in the US: Southern – Spanish; North East – French; South East – Creole; Midwest – Hmong; San Francisco – Mandarin; North Dakota – German, etc.

    1. mh_76

      To nitpick a bit: Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and both types of Creole (Hatian and Cape Verdean) are also very prevalent in the Northeast. French is far less common than either of those, unless you want to work just south of Canada. Also relatively common: Russian, Portuguese, Hmong, Vietnamese…and a whole bunch of other languages…at least in the large cities

      1. Anonymous

        True enough. The NE has a very diverse population, so you meet people from a lot of different backgrounds – especially in the bigger cities. I was just trying to say how it varied by region which would be the best alternate language to learn. Even within many big cities, it varies by area and what you are doing with that language.

        Basically: Determine your target demographic and go from there.

    2. Laura L

      Hmong in the Midwest? I think that’s only useful in Minnesota/Northern Wisconsin.

      In Chicago, I’d go with Spanish, definitely. Although people speak plenty of other languages.

        1. Natalie

          Arabic is pretty helpful in the Twin Cities, too – we have an enormous Somalian community (largest in N America). Of course, speaking the Somali language would probably be more helpful, but less transferable than Arabic.

  13. What the?

    #5- how frustrating, and what a bunch of idiots , who scheduled the call. Seriously, I am so sick and tired of this BS , and they may very well have done it un intentionally. Maybe they forgot, cuz they are morons. And then not even to reply back to your email, incompetents. I’m sorry to say this, but I loathe HR people, (not Alison, cuz she’s smokin awesome and gets that there are HR people out there who suck at their jobs, leave candidates hanging, can’t manage the simple time on their calender and forget how to be human and descent. Idiots

  14. Anonymous

    #4 – As a Linguist and a Foreign Language Specialist fluent in French and Spanish, learning a language is not something that you just go and “do.” It takes YEARS of practice, practice, and more practice. You have to keep up with it if you hope to get the biggest return of investment of your skill.

    Now. Where you already speak English I suggest French. it will be easier than German. French is a romance language and is based off Latin, just like English. German is a Germanic language and does not mimic Latin the way French and English do.

    French and German are the top 2 languages in international business. French is more important than German because it is one of the working languages of the UN. German is not. There are more countries with French as the official language as well as French speakers worldwide compared to German.

    Ultimately, you need to identify what market your career will be focused on. What countries to you work with the most?

    1. Erin

      Foreign language teacher here, and one who has studied Spanish and French as well.

      I agree on the French recommendation, but English is not a Latin-based language. In fact, French is so easy for us English-speakers because we get a huge chunk of our language from French thanks to the Norman invasions! I have never studied German seriously, but my German-speaking colleagues tell me that German is also not terribly hard, because English is a Germanic language.

    2. Jeff

      English is a Germanic language, and there are many, many cognates between English and German. I learned German, and both in syntax and vocabulary, German was very easy to pick up and learn because it is a very structured language and shares many similarities with English.

    3. JT

      “French and German are the top 2 languages in international business. ”

      Really? German more than English? I find that hard to believe.

      “French is a romance language and is based off Latin, just like English. ”

      English has many words with Latin and Romance language roots, but it’s a Germanic language. Are you really a linguist and “Foreign Language Specialist”?

      1. Anonymous

        I believe the phrase is “English is what you get when French knights chat up anglo-saxon barmaids.”

        1. Katie L

          Love that. :) English is technically a Germanic language. When the Normans invaded, French was used in England as the official language and English survived only as the lower-class language. Eventually English re-emerged as number one, but by then it had been seriously altered. There were many dialects of English in England around that time. When the printing press arrived, those who printed had (perhaps unknowingly at the time) the power to chose which words to use as the standard, and it became a mix of the French and prior Germanic influence. Thus, we have the weird English language.

          Off topic, but hopefully helpful. :)

      2. Andrew

        English words for everyday things are more often cognate with German; more technical and intellectual words echo Latin va French.

        English: bread
        German: brod
        French: pain

        English: general hospital
        French: hopital general
        German: allegemeine krankenhaus

        1. Emily, admin extraordinaire

          My favorite example of this is that in English, our words for animals are (generally) derived from Germanic/Anglo-Saxon (cow, sheep) but the words for that same animal in meat form are (generally) derived from French (beef, mutton) because the lower-class people were the ones who raised the animals, but the higher-class ones actually got to eat it.

          And, of course, our swear words are all Anglo-Saxon based.

          1. Anonymous

            These days, it’s even more complicated than that, to quote James Nicoll:

            [English] not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary.

            1. JohnQPublic

              Maybe that’s why W thought the French didn’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’. :)

    4. M-C

      Oh really, do people need to be told languages are so difficult? Sure it takes time and energy to learn a language, but let’s not exaggerate, precious few people won’t get it if they work a bit at it. I think it’s really uncalled for to make such a mountain of it. And besides we’re not talking about writing world-class poetry here, but simply being able to communicate in a business setting, the standards are much lower.

      What, are you French or something :-)?? Kind of telling attitude.

      Besides it’s totally wrong to say English is based on Latin, in fact English is very much closer to German than to French (yes, I speak enough of all 3 languages..).

  15. Steve G

    Qutting After One Month:

    1) If they were aspirational in the interview there might be some truth in their aspirations, but they are waiting for you to put those aspirations into place.
    2) You are too new to be trained in the technical aspect of their company to get beyond the technical

    It sounds like you are working for a lax manager, which is a pain in the beginning, but you might respect down the road. I think you are waiting for them to fulfull the aspirations expressed in the interview, but they very may be waiting for you to take the “technical,” aspects of the job and add in the “project management” side.

    Example: When my company was bought, they told people in my analyst job they wanted us to be more customer focused. Until then, if there was a problem, many of my contemporaries would just discuss in the office to death, and conjecture as to why the problem occurred, when all they needed to do was ask the customer. But we were not the most customer-interactive company. In my branch office we were, however.

    So my equals in other offices would email/call me over the course of a few months basically communicating that they expected something to happen (new SOPs, some new protocols, new training) to explain how to be “more customer interactive.” They apparently hadn’t changed their behavior after the take-over meeting because they were waiting for someone to push them…

    “Punchline:” All they needed to do was deal with customers more. There was no magic to it, and there certainly wasn’t action needed from above.

    I mention this because your boss may have hired you as the person to make changes happen, and shape-shift the role from the “technical” one to a “project mgt” one. I believe they are waiting for you to learn the technical side.

    I would stay at the job and make the position into what I want in a job.

  16. Jeff

    On #4:

    I’m going to cut against the grain and suggest German over French. I haven’t studied French, but German is a required language for all European students. It will be a language that everyone can speak, and depending on what line of work you’re looking for and if you plan on living in Europe, that would be beneficial. Like I said, I haven’t taken French, so I can’t to speak to how easy it is to learn, but German’s similarities to English and the very set structure of the language makes it a language that is quick to learn and master. There isn’t a lot of irregularity or change in conjugations or syntax that happens in Spanish and other languages. Anyway, that would be my recommendation.

    1. Jen

      From what I’ve seen on job sites, German is more sought after than French in European companies. I don’t know why, and of course this is just anecdotal, but I don’t remember seeing one job that required French and I’ve seen quite a few that ask for German. (I’m guessing it’s because French is easier to learn for Romance language speakers and German isn’t, so there’s fewer people who speak it.)
      (I’m in Europe, btw.)

    2. Anonymous

      “German is a required language for all European students”

      Having lived in Britain, Spain and France, I do not find this to be the case. In Britain, students usually have the choice of French, German or Spanish at school; in Spain and France, students must learn English (and sometimes their regional language) and will have free choice over studying another language.

      1. M-C

        Second that. Almost always there is a choice, and if anything is “required”, it’s usually English.

      2. Laura L

        Yep. In Sweden, English is required and the choices are Spanish, German, and French (if I remember correctly… both my host-sisters were studying Spanish).

      3. jmkenrick

        Mmm, when I lived in Spain (near Granada, if that makes a difference), all the students only spoke Spanish. I definitely didn’t notice any German.

      4. Jeff

        Got it, that must have been misinformation from my German teacher. She lived in Europe for 30 years, but she was pretty old, so maybe it was just the region she was living in or an older requirement that’s changed. I have been told that German is still a widely used language in Europe though.

    3. Sandrine

      Nope! We *can* study German in France, but we don’t *have* to. We can even study other languages as a third language around a certain age :D !

  17. Verde

    For #2 – just change it. Change it to whatever you want, just change it to something you like and will use. My parents divorced when I was 24, and I didn’t feel comfortable taking either of their names. So, I went through the family tree, found one I liked (my great-grandmother’s maiden name, which actually occurred on both sides of the family), and $65 and couple of hours at family court later, I had a name that I could live with, actually liked, and I haven’t looked back. You can choose whatever name you want as long as you’re not changing it for fraudulent reasons, so go nuts!

    1. Anji

      Verde– $65? Wow, that’s a bargain! I changed my name (switched my last and middle) in Chicago in 1997. I seem to remember it cost me almost $500.

      I had a long, easily-misspelled last name and a short middle name that is often a last name. Switching them was one of the best decisions I ever made. Another vote for #2 to do this.

  18. Anonymous

    For #2, keep in mind that you might be able to use your First Middle names in all of those situations. You can put your preferred name on your resume and cover letter, you only need to use your legal name on your official application and HR paperwork. And they should be able to print business cards with any name too.

    Email address is the only potential hangup — some large companies seem to be set up to create your account one way based on your legal name in the HR database. But I still think MOST companies will be able to either create your account as first.middle, OR add a second alias for you. Aliases are pretty common for people who use nicknames or shortened versions of their name. This pops up with names like Ted…do I need to email Theodore or Edward? For example, even the huge government agency I was contracting for this past summer was able to add aliases for people.

    I guess my point is that with any luck you won’t need your legal name at all. Although I do like the idea others gave to swap your middle and last names. If you go by that anyway then your family probably wouldn’t be offended by the legal change.

    1. Tamara

      “For #2, keep in mind that you might be able to use your First Middle names in all of those situations. You can put your preferred name on your resume and cover letter, you only need to use your legal name on your official application and HR paperwork. And they should be able to print business cards with any name too.

      Yes! I would treat this just like any other person who doesn’t use their full, legal name. Granted, not using your last name is less common, but it’s not too far off from the person who uses a nickname or their middle name in lieu of their first. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to “own” whatever you’re going by. Otherwise, you end up coming off flaky, like Alison said in her response. I once had an employee come to me a week after starting and request that her email address be changed to reflect what she preferred to go by. It was the first I’d heard of the preference, and the email address (and a number of other resources) were already set up. On the other hand, we have an employee who goes by a name that doesn’t even appear in her legal name. She was up front on the first interview, and I thought absolutely nothing of it.

    1. Another Emily

      Mandarin or Cantonese?

      See, it’s just so hard to decide which awesome language to learn. :D

      1. Anonymous

        Mandarin. Cantonese is not as widely spoken, and those who speak Catonese (ie in Hong Kong) usually know Mandarin.

        As for French v German, I think it really depends on where you want to work as well as what you think you will enjoy most. Good luck!

  19. Anonymous

    Re: #4

    I would choose the language you anticipate being able to master most efficiently (whether because of prior experience, general motivation, etc.). Your foreign language skills are not useful to an employer unless you are actually able to conduct business in that language. If you are starting from scratch, it will take years to get to business level.

    1. KayDay

      yes! I was about to write the same comment…you need to be able to reach “professional proficiency” in order for your language to help you.

  20. Riki

    1 – Yes, start your job hunt now. Leave your current address off of your resume and you may want to state that you are in the process of relocating to the new area. Three hours isn’t too long of a commute that you couldn’t make it to an interview, but it may cause a hiring manager to think twice about contacting you because they think that will be your normal commute if you got the job.

    4 – Another yes vote for French. Globally, it is far more widely used than German.

    Becoming fluent requires a certain amount of dedication so choose based upon your career goals and which language you WANT to learn more. A friend of mine (we’re from the US) took French in high school, but switched to Mandarin in college. He wanted to work in Asian markets and now lives/works in Hong Kong. Mandarin was definitely the best choice for him, even though he doesn’t use it much outside of China.

  21. The Other Dawn

    5. My phone interviewer called at the wrong time

    OP should have verified what time zone the employer is in to ensure she knew what time to be ready. Also, I know it’s common to screen the caller ID and ignore any calls where the number isn’t recognized, but OP was waiting on a phone interview and should have picked up the phone, just in case. I would have, anyway. You never know if the employer will get the time wrong or call to reschedule or whatever.

    1. Jennifer O

      I was thinking the same thing (about not picking up the phone). I understand that the OP didn’t want to get involved in a long conversation when she was expecting a call, but she could have answered and said she’d call them back.

      Even if she did decide not to pick up the call, it would have made sense to check the message right away. If she had, she could have called the company back right away.

      Lesson learned for next time, I guess (hope).

    2. anth

      Uhm, or check the voicemail immediately and call them back? That’s what I didn’t understand about this question.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Exactly. I was wondering the same thing. Why not just check the voice mail after the call to make sure it wasn’t the employer?? Isn’t there usually some indicator on the phone to tell you there’s a message?

  22. Kelly O

    Re: #2 – Just change your name to what you want to be called. Make your last name your middle name, or middle initial, but I would imagine if you’ve gone this long using it this way, it would make a lot of sense to just bite the bullet and change your name. Seems it would be a lot less hassle than trying to find a decent work-around. (Anecdotally, I know someone whose legal name was “Honey Darling Ungodlylonglastname” – she basically changed it to “Elizabeth Ann Shortenedversionoflastname” and got no push back from either parent. It wasn’t a huge hassle, but do remember to get plenty of copies of the form.)

    Re: #5 – I hate to sound negative, but here are a couple of things – first, it’s your responsibility to confirm the time of the call. You can easily say “Okay, 1:00 MT, so 3:00 ET, correct?” I don’t think anyone would fault you for that. The other thing is, if you’re expecting a call from a number you may not recognize, it seems logical to think that answering would be the better option. If it winds up being a telemarketer, you can always hang up. But I would really rather catch the call that says “Hey Kelly, this is Joan Smith from ABC Company. I’ve had an unexpected change in schedule and need to move our call to 2:00 (or, move our call up. Do you have time to talk now?)”

    I realize that may sound nitpicky, but I’d rather push off an automated call than possibly miss speaking with a potential employer.

    1. JT

      I deal with international calls/Skype sometimes and am even more specific than that about time, if I’m in a rapid email exchange: saying something like “OK, 6pm your time – it’s 3:30pm your time right now, right?” just to get the time difference down accurately.

  23. K.

    #5: a recruiter I worked with told the company the wrong time for a face to face interview – she told them an hour earlier than she told me, so they thought I blew them off. I sat in the lobby waiting after checking in, finally called my interviewers, and they were like “We thought you were going to be here at noon!” They were nice to me since they recognized it was the recruiter’s fault (and to her credit, she called them on the spot and told them it was her fault), but I was SO annoyed – the interview was rushed since they had stuff going on, I was nervous and annoyed and just off my game. I ended up not getting the job.

    In the case of a phone interview, I’d have answered the phone, personally; an hour is about 59.5 minutes longer than you’d need to brush off a sales call or wrong number.

  24. Danni

    How about 6 months before you are moving?

    I am moving countries in 6 months and want to have something lined up before I go. However, 6 months feels like a LONG time. I have already applied for and been rejected for two positions. These are fairly entry level and I am more than qualified. Maybe I wasn’t the right fit, but part of me is concerned it was because I am not available for 6 months. I am not experienced/high enough to warrant a company waiting for me, I don’t think.

    Any advice?

    1. KellyK

      It definitely can’t hurt. Companies that are looking for someone immediately may not be interested in interviewing you, but depending on how long their hiring process takes, it might eat up most of that time. There might also be places who won’t wait six months, but will be impressed by your resume and will call you four months from now when something else opens up.

      1. Anonymous

        My current employer fits that description. It takes MONTHS to hire someone around here :-(

  25. M. Frances

    I originally asked #2. Thank you all very much for your feed back! I’m going to look into changing my name legally to First Last Middle. And since I live in the South having a weird last name as a middle name is totally normal! Which I never thought of until just this second. Haha. Hopefully, I can do it with out anyone in my family even knowing. I really appreciate all of your advice!

    Also, I was the one who responded to #5 saying I had a BA in International Affairs and spoke French. (Couldn’t figure out how to “sign in” on my iPhone). Furthermore, I have travelled extensively due to studying International Affairs, and when I lived in the Czech Republic if people didn’t speak English or didn’t have an English menu they usually spoke French and / or had a French menu! But in France, I wouldn’t expect them to have a German one.
    After English, most people pick up French as a second language. Currently, I work with a huge Latino population and though I have not studied Spanish, I can very easily communicate with them and if anything understand the topic of the conversation. Good luck!

  26. Andrew

    Mark Twain on German:

    A dog is “der Hund”; a woman is “die Frau”; a horse is “das Pferd”; now you put that dog in the genitive case, and is he the same dog he was before? No, sir; he is “des Hundes”; put him in the dative case and what is he? Why, he is “dem Hund.” Now you snatch him into the accusative case and how is it with him? Why, he is “den Hunden.” But suppose he happens to be twins and you have to pluralize him- what then? Why, they’ll swat that twin dog around through the 4 cases until he’ll think he’s an entire international dog-show all in is own person. I don’t like dogs, but I wouldn’t treat a dog like that–I wouldn’t even treat a borrowed dog that way. Well, it’s just the same with a cat. They start her in at the nominative singular in good health and fair to look upon, and they sweat her through all the 4 cases and the 16 the’s and when she limps out through the accusative plural you wouldn’t recognize her for the same being. Yes, sir, once the German language gets hold of a cat, it’s goodbye cat. That’s about the amount of it.

  27. Anonymous

    For the time zones, when in doubt, you can usually google the city and ask what time it is there at the moment!

  28. Anonymous

    #5, Alison’s answer is spot on – you have to explain and hope they decide to reschedule their interview.

    That said, you need to stop laying all the blame on them. You could possibly be the one who made the mistake with the time zones. You should have picked up the phone or at least checked your message when it came. When waiting on an important phone call from a number you will not recognize, I can’t understand ignoring a call from a number you do not recognize even if it is an hour early. I’d understand a lot better ignoring a call from a number you recognize. How many telemarketers or wrong numbers leave a message?

    The blame cannot all be laid at their feet. And if you are blaming them in your attempts to reschedule it may not reflect well on you.

  29. Anonymous

    I work for a North American subsidiary of a very large European Defense firm. (They are the parent company to Boeing’s chief competitor.) The firm has very strong French and German history (so much so that the corporate makeup at the highest levels is usually a rather even split between the two countries). The most amusing thing, however, is that the official corporate language is English.

    That said, I did learn German when I was in school, and found it relatively easy.

  30. Vicki

    I recently had an interview scheduled for 2:30 – 6:45 pm. This seemed unusual, so I sent back a confirmation email, noting also that I had other plans after 5pm and could not make that time. That’s when they said “Oh, oops, those are EDT hours. The real time, for you (in California) is 11:30 – 3:45.)

    Moral – Always confirm the time. And if the TZ in the note isn’t _your_ TZ, always confirm _your_ time. (In my case, there was no TZ in the original interview note).

  31. Elizabeth West

    #5 Phone Interview–at least you were ready for your phone call! I have an interview tomorrow with someone for a job I would really like to get. I was trying to get dressed and look for something when she called to schedule it, and I was like “Duuuuhhhh uhhhhh gggrrbbbllllwaealekjawle wehwoe.” *cringe* Hopefully tomorrow I will shine. I’m going over AAM’s tips right now!

    Did they leave a message? If so you could have checked it and called them right back and said “I’m sorry, I had to excuse myself for a moment. I’m ready for you now.” I would just assume you had to pee.

    #6 Leaving after a Month– That sucks. I’ve had this happen, only it was two months. Fortunately the employer and I both agreed it wasn’t a good fit, and we parted amicably. Maybe the job itself needs some definition from you. That is, making it your own in some way. If not, I hope it works out for you and you find something that is perfect.

  32. Anonymous

    Re #6….I as well was “sold” on a position and a company that failed to live up to it’s hype. I agreed to take a more junior role since they felt I didn’t currently have the skills needed for the senior position I applied for but felt I had potential. I have found myself in this current role a glorified admin assistant. Even worse I make less money now with 5 years of professional experience than I did fresh out of college with no job experience. For the first 4.5 weeks at the job there was no plan for me, as they are experiencing structural changes I was unaware of. I have repeatedly brought up my concerns and now doubt their claims that there is any growth opportunity. My question is as I’m searching for new jobs, should I leave this position on my resume? It is very relevant to the other positions I am applying for, however, I am concerned about the negative impact of having a job on your resume for only 2 months.

  33. CSS

    Re #5, I had a somewhat similar experience. I arrived a few minutes before my appointment for a job interview and was met by the person doing the interview at the door (I had to knock, as it was locked). I said my name and why I was there and he rudely stated, “you were supposed to be here yesterday.” When I responded that I believed the interview was scheduled for today, he asked me to come in and have a seat while he stomped off to talk to someone else in the office. He came back to get me for the interview a few minutes later, blaming the confusion on his assistant (she put you on my calendar for yesterday). The interview went so-so … I could tell the guy was flustered — and maybe embarassed because he acted like an a–hole when we first spoke at the door. I was extremely qualified for the position, but never heard back about it. Not sure how this could have been prevented, other than by me calling a day in advance to confirm the date/time of the interview.

    1. Anonymous

      The lessone here is: “Don’t act like an a-hole. You never know when you’ll have to eat crow”

  34. Himanshu

    Re #4: Thanks every one for your inputs.
    Definately, I am focusing more on my technical skills including few certifications.
    I guess majority of support is with French, so I am going with french. Though it is tough, I would like to give my best and lets see what colors I bring. :)

    I have started searching for good french learning institute and will start learning it in next month.
    Once again thank you all.

  35. Sheri G

    RE: #2 -My legal last name is similar to a different, more common, last name. People always say or spell the other name, which is forgivable, but annoying. To eliminate this predicament, and also make my professional name more memorable, I shortened it in most professional areas. It has not been a problem for me at all.

    Any time I need to fill out “legal” paperwork, applications, payroll, medical, etc, I put my real, legal name. But my resume, email address, business cards and even professional memberships use my preferred name. I noticed a lot of application forms offer a spot for prefferred name as well.

    As an HR manager, I have found that his is not uncommon. I have hired a Sal, who preferred to be called Michael, and someone with a very ethnic sounding name who preferred to use a more common name instead. In all these instances, the only people who knew the “real” name were in HR.

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