I forwarded a private email, tarot cards in a cover letter, and more

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

1. Do I have to tell a recruiter what company I ultimately took a job with?

After I accepted a job offer, I received an email from a recruiter from another company asking me to come in for an interview. I immediately responded back, thanked her for considering me as a candidate, and told her I would have to decline because I accepted a job else where. She responded back and asked me where I accepted the job. I have not responded back and don’t know if I am going to. Do I need to respond back? Is it rude if I don’t?

Is this a recruiter you’d been working with or someone who contacted you out of the blue? If it’s someone you’d been working with, it would be rude not to reply at all, but if you for some reason don’t want to share the company you’re going to, you could share the title/type of work instead — for instance, “I’ll be working as a communications analyst. Thanks for your help!” On the other hand, if this is someone who you hadn’t been in contact, you don’t even need to reply if you’d rather not, and they’re probably fishing for contacts.

2. My coworker complains people are rude to her, but she’s the rude one

A coworker constantly complains about how mean people are to her, how cutting, and how rude. Yet she constantly makes rude comments herself. During lunches with her, she has said the following to me: “Your nail polish looks like something my daughter would wear. What are you thinking?” “You probably got this job because you’re always wearing fancy high heels.” “Your hair always looks the same” (after I got 7 inches cut off).

Should I gently suggest she is bringing the negative talk to her with her own comments (I have no evidence of this, just a guess), or simply stay out of it? By the way, I have started to avoid her. We don’t work closely enough together for me to have to work with her at all.

You’re not under any obligation to point this out to her, particularly since your job doesn’t require you to work with her … but you could certainly say something if (a) you think it will do any good or (b) you’ll feel better for speaking up.

Also, who gets jobs by wearing fancy high heels?!

3. Phone interview went terribly because the position was different than what I’d expected

A friend of mine referred me to a company in an area I’ve been interested in moving to for while now. I read up on the company and got really excited about working there, though they didn’t have any current openings that fit with me. I sent my résumé to their general inquiries listing and immediately got a phone call — they thought I would be a perfect fit for a new role that was a combination of chocolate teapot troubleshooter and designer. I explained I mainly had experience in troubleshooting and was still very junior at designing. They said that was fine, the position was mostly troubleshooting, and could I do a phone interview? I of course said yes and had the phone interview today.

It went awfully; really, truly, awfully. They basically grilled me for 20 minutes straight on technical design questions, about 75% of which I could not answer. I was probably noticeably shaking by the end. When they asked if I had any questions, I explained that I was not expecting this position to focus so heavily on the design part and that it seemed they wanted someone with a lot more experience than me. They said there was a lot of focus on troubleshooting and kind of rambled for awhile; they then asked, would I still be interested? I said I was very interested in their company but I wanted to make sure I could actually contribute in the role they were filling. They said they would talk and I would find out next steps later.

At this point, should I reach out to the HR person I originally spoke with and explain that I know the interview did not go well and ask whether there was some kind of miscommunication about the position requirements? It was a truly embarrassing experience to say “I don’t know” over and over and over for 20 minutes. I want to write this off and move on, but part of me wonders if it’s possible the fact that I’m a junior teapot designer got lost in translation and they were expecting a lot more.

I wouldn’t say that you know the interview didn’t go well, since you don’t want to say that if their impression is different (and who knows, it might be). But you could certainly reach out and saw that you got the impression from the interview that the impression is primarily design work, whereas you thought it was more X, and ask if it makes sense to continue in light of that.

4. Mentioning tarot cards in a cover letter

I just saw a job posting for an organization that deals with entrepreneurs. I have participated with entrepreneurial groups and events during college and I had a small on-campus business. I like to reference all of that in my cover letter, but the problem is that my business was giving advice using tarot cards. I never promoted my business as fortune telling, but still the fact I used tarot cards is going to be considered very weird to some. I do want to mention it in some way because it taught me how to handle customers, which is relevant to the job.

How should I talk about my small business in my cover letter? So far in my draft, I only mentioned I had a small business without saying what it was. And for future reference, how could I talk about it in an interview if it was brought up?

I don’t think you have to mention tarot cards in your cover letter; I think you can talk about running a small business without getting into what the business was. But you’re right that you’re probably going to be asked about it in the interview, so you’ll want to be prepared to talk about it in a way that counteracts any preconceived notions your interviewer might have about what it signifies — so for instance, if you’re concerned that people will think it’s weird or overly new agey or too out there, counteract that by being very polished and professional in the way you talk about it. Focus on the business elements of what you were doing, and you’ll convey “it’s not what you’re picturing” to people who are picturing you in a headscarf over a crystal ball.

5. I accidentally forwarded a private email

A funding agency granted one of our students a fellowship, and subsequently the student’s advisor negotiated a slightly different arrangement via email, where the funding agency committed to paying for something additional. Now an administrator at the agency is contesting that, although I think she just wasn’t informed of the arrangement. To clarify, I forwarded the email correspondence — but I mistakenly sent a later email in the conversation, where there was further discussion between administrators on my end, i.e. past the end of the professional exchange with the agency. There was nothing salacious or rude or anything of the sort, but there was some discussion of strategy. I feel as though it is completely unprofessional for me to have sent it outside of our institution.

My email program doesn’t allow me to retract messages. Do I send a follow up message to apologize? Or leave it alone and not acknowledge it might be inappropriate? Aaack.

If you just feel you need to apologize for sending them private correspondence that they weren’t intended to see, I wouldn’t worry about it — you’ll just draw more attention to it by doing it, and it doesn’t really require an apology. But if there was anything in there that might have rubbed them the wrong way, I’d actually consult with your manager about the politics of the situation — since it might be less about apologizing and more about damage control.

6. Should my employer pay for time spent taking a shuttle from the parking lot to work?

I work in an hourly position at an outlet mall in Texas. The mall management sent a flyer around stating that no employee could park in the designated employee parking area during tax-free weekend or we would be towed at our expense. We are required to park several miles away and take a shuttle to the center. Neither the mall nor my employer will compensate us for the additional time we are spending driving offsite and waiting for the shuttle. Last Christmas, there were waits of 15 to 30 minutes due to full capacity of the shuttles.

I feel we should be able to consider our start time when we arrive at the shuttle stop. Normally, we park behind the stores and go in the back entrances of our respective stores. One minute max to our store. What’s your take on the situation?

I can’t speak to Texas specifically, but at least under federal law, that’s considered part of your commute time and thus your employer isn’t required to pay you for it. The expectation is that you’ll factor in the fact that your commute might be temporarily longer during that weekend, and adjust accordingly.

7. Sunburn at work

You’ve discussed visible cuts and bruises at work, but what about visible sunburns? Those hurt to cover, hurt to look at and hurt to have. What’s a sunburned person supposed to do? Does she call in sick or go to work?

My stance on cuts and bruises is that anything more than very minor ones will look unprofessional if they’re on an easily covered area like arms and legs. I think sunburn is different, in that it’s less likely to produce the same reaction of concern, and I think you can worry less about it. (For what it’s worth though, I wouldn’t say someone with cuts and bruises should call in sick either — just cover them to the best of your ability and solider on.)

{ 213 comments… read them below }

  1. Kara

    #6

    I live in Texas, and have worked retail on tax free weekend where we were required to park outside of the regular parking area, which of course required more time to arrive at work, especially if your shift started during the day instead of first thing in the morning, because you sometimes had to drive around looking for a space. This was just considered part of getting to work – you got paid when you clocked in inside the store. I believe the employer is right in not compensating you for getting to work, even when it takes longer – that’s just part of being a retail professional.

    1. Sourire

      Agree. Op is actually pretty lucky in that he or she normally is able to park so close. A lot of malls have employee lots that are quite far and/or require a shuttle year round. That said, I can see why the question was asked, since this situated deviates from the normal circumstances.

      1. Manda

        I actually have a little beef with policies like that. Someone I knew used to work in a mall and was supposed to park near the perimeter of the parking lot. His store was open later than the rest of the mall and they had to work past closing. Well, one day his car was broken into and some stuff got stolen. Sure, it could have happened closer to the mall, but I think there’s a greater risk away from the building, where it isn’t well lit and there aren’t many cars or people around.

    2. Jazzy Red

      I once had to explain to a very young co-worker that her boyfriend’s boss didn’t care if he (the boyfriend) needed to sleep in the parking lot in order to get to work on time, Boyfriend just needed to do whatever it takes to clock in at the start of his shift.

      Most employers don’t care how you get to work. The fact that they provided a shuttle impresses me, though.

  2. Anonymous

    Is this sentence correct?

    But if there wasn’t anything in there that might have rubbed them the wrong way, I’d actually consult with your manager about the politics of the situation — since it might be less about apologizing and more about damage control.

    I don’t understand why you would need to do damage control if there WASN’T anything in the email that might have rubbed them the wrong way.

  3. jesicka309

    I think the worst part about sunburn is not the initial burn, but when it starts to peel. And it’s on your face! Ick. Bruises and cuts get better over time as they heal, while sunburn gets more noticable.

    I’d still go to work though, unless the sunburn was so bad I couldn’t wear clothing (bra hurts too much, can’t wear pants, blistering etc.)

    1. Another Emily

      Sunburned OP, if you don’t have any already, go to the drugstore and buy yourself some aloe vera gel. This will help soothe the agony of the sunburn, and it will help it heal with less peeling.

      I burned my neck, arms and the back of my legs and got through it with aloe vera and not letting anything touch my burn. In my industry no one bats an eye at a sunburn but regardless of industry… it’s summer. Plenty of people are going to get sunburns.

        1. Jessa

          OH yes, it’s wonderful when it’s cool. And you can use lots of it. It’s very important to keep hydrated both inside AND outside when you get sunburnt. Don’t let your skin get dried out.

            1. RG

              I’d be careful using lidocaine on a sunburn. Yes it will temporarily dull the pain, but it can irritate the skin further, prolonging healing time.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.

        My sister claims that witch hazel is much better for sunburns… that there’s an initial sting, but that she gets so much more healing from witch hazel than from Aloe Vera. I haven’t tried it, so YMMV, but thought I’d throw it out there. :)

      2. Canadian mom

        Aloe doesn’t work for everyone. Actually I have a reaction to it, and found out rather painfully when I used a bikini-area depilatory…

        But my skin is very sensitive no matter what and I always use a high SPF sunscreen. Obviously that’s too late for the OP, but I’d recommend some kind of light-hearted response along the lines of “yep, I need to use a higher SPF next time”.

    2. Julie

      I had this problem (not being able to wear a bra due to sunburn) in my very first job, at a law firm. I finally decided to wear a strapless sundress with a loose blouse over it. It was waaaay too revealing, and I’m embarrassed now just thinking about it.

    3. Bwmn

      I think the biggest difference between cuts/bruises and a sunburn is that there’s basically only one way to get a sunburn. You’ve spent a lot of time in the sun – whereas cuts/bruises can run the gamut of being in a phyiscal altercation, serious accident, as well as something more pedestrian.

      While the peeling and blistering is generically unpleasant to have in public, I think it’s far less of an issue particularly since it can usually be addressed with a simple “enjoying the pool too much this summer” or “weeds have just taken over my yard”. Also, with a sunburn no women will be second guessed for potentially being in a domestic violence situation or men suspected of starting fights.

      1. jesicka309

        But peeling skin does has that ‘ick’ factor – it’s your dead skin cells sloughing away from your body! You might not mind your own skin, but someone else might be really put off by it.

        This is from someone who suffers from severe dandruff (hereditary…I’m just lucky I didn’t get the family psoriasis to match!) and am constantly worrying that I’ll scratch my head unconciously and leave some snow on my desk! I would not be surprised if it grossed people out….it grosses me out grrrrr. :(

        1. Goosey Lucy

          Vinegar presses also do a lot to prevent peeling and sooth burns, but you should apply soon after the burn.

          Sure, you smell like vinegar for a while, but no peeling!

          1. Evan

            Are you suggesting vinegar for dandruff? If that’s the case, I just might try some… I’ve got dandruff too, and I’ve never been able to completely deal with it.

      2. Manda

        The other big difference is that a bad sunburn is physically painful, whereas cuts and bruises often are not (or are only mildly painful). The reasons for covering up wounds are that they look ugly and can make people think you’re being abused. The reason for wanting to cover a sunburn at work is to avoid wearing clothes that are too revealing. Having clothing rubbing against a bruise isn’t going to hurt, but having fabric rub against a sunburn can be awful. If you have a bad sunburn, you’ll likely feel like wearing nothing more than a loose t-shirt and shorts. If you got fried in a swimsuit, any office-appropriate clothing is going to bother you all day. I agree with the above suggestion of using aloe vera gel. It feels good and prevents peeling. If you are going to go to work, maybe take a tube with you and head to washroom to reapply it throughout the day. (Take it from me. I burn through SPF 60.)

        1. ChristineSW

          I agree with the above suggestion of using aloe vera gel. It feels good and prevents peeling.

          I must be using the wrong stuff. I got royally sunburned on my trip in July and used Solarcaine Cool Aloe (green gel, messy but feels awesome when applied), and I STILL peeled like crazy!!

          1. RG

            I don’t think you can completely prevent peeling – that’s just what happens with a sunburn. You’ve severely damaged the skin, so the body’s reaction is to slough it off. The gel might delay it a bit by rehydrating the skin to a point, but even a tan is going to slough off at some point. The difference is it happens a little less dramatically.

          2. Jazzy Red

            Once your skin is burned, it will peel off. There’s just no getting around that. What the lotions and gels do is hydrate the top of your skin to minimize the appearance of the peeling (and they feel good, too). Nothing will stop the peeling, but you can make your skin look better, temporarily.

      1. Anonymous

        You are going all old school. But NonProfiter is right, it does work better than anything else you can get. Sorry aloe plants!

        1. Jamie

          Old school for sure. And aloe is good, but nothing beats Noxema for me.

          I may be biased as it’s my favorite smell in the world, but it does work wonders.

    4. Tony in HR

      I would say use an aloe gel to soothe and a lotion to prevent peeling from getting too bad. But I agree with going into work regardless, unless you can’t get dressed.

    5. Elizabeth West

      Eaaauuggh, there’s always some joker who sees your sunburn and smacks you on the back or shoulder. Don’t be surprised if you do that to me and I scream at the top of my lungs!

  4. Leslie

    I would agree–be very careful about peeling sunburns and appearing professional at work. I was horrified in a meeting one time to look down and notice peeling skin on my leg (shin). I was wearing a skirt. Definitely cover up as much as possible and moisturize if you are peeling! I tried to brush it off but that just made it worse and I was petrified that I was going to leave a little pile of dead skin behind. Ugh.

    1. Anonymous

      Try poison ivy all over your limbs. You want to cover it up so that no one has to see it, but then it oozes and sticks to your clothes…

      1. Anonymously Anonymous

        or ringworm (ilk!) One of my kids got this and I ended up with a nasty annoying itchy patch on the top of my hand that came and went over a month. I covered it at work, but it heals best uncovered…ewww eww ewww just thinking about it.

      2. Nodumbunny

        Back in the dark ages when women had to wear pantyhose to work, I got poison ivy. Texas. August. Poison ivy on my legs. Pantyhose.

            1. StellaMaris

              Okay, you have my undying admiration. Brown recluse spiders are the single thing I am most afraid of. I would have died from fear alone!

              1. class factotum

                I’ve had two BR bites. The second time, some guys at work – I worked for a paper company, which had a lot of paper mills where you have stacks of dry lumber, which is Club Med for BR spiders – noticed it on my ankle. The VP insisted I go to the company nurse immediately. I hadn’t been concerned before, but I was then!

                The moral of the story is not to clear out the dead brush in your back yard but to hire someone else to do it or to ignore it.

      3. Kelly L.

        I got random hives at work once. Never did figure out what caused them. On my leg. While wearing a skirt sans hose.

        (Thankfully, the little shop at work sold cortisone cream and nobody seemed to notice.)

  5. Kara

    About #7, I’m curious if that applies to scars. I recently had some skin removed just above my elbow and it has a red 2 inch scar. I probably should cover it up but its summer and I don’t want to wear long sleeve shirts for months until it goes away. Thoughts?

    1. Rayner

      Don’t worry about it. If you feel shy about it,have a funny story ready so you don’t feel put on the spot, but most people won’t particularly notice. Especially on the elbow.

      And if they do, a quick, “Oh, just a X scar. No worries!” Will sort them out.

    2. Jen in RO

      I have a pretty big (4 inches) patch of new skin/scar on my hand, just above my wrist, and it gets *hot* here in summer, so there’s no way I could cover that. Depending on the person, I either tell the true and funny (in retrospect) story of how I managed to pour hot wax on my arm and gave myself a 2nd degree burn, or the shortened version of “I scalded myself”, no details. Looking forward to my holiday in September – I hope that some tanning will make it less obvious!

      1. Jen in RO

        I also think I work in an office that’s much more relaxed than most, based on what I’ve read in others’ comments – my cat is a little beast, so I’m always covered in scratches, but I’ve never felt a need to hide them. (I’ve got a scratch across my burn scar now… this must be some kind of achievement.)

      2. class factotum

        I have several small burns on my wrists and hands – I am a careless cook sometimes – and they look worse when I am tan because they stay the same color. :(

        1. Jen in RO

          My burn is pretty big but most of it is just new skin, which I hope will tan regularly (I just haven’t had a chance to go to the beach since it happened). The actual scars are smaller and less noticeable… and I have another funny-in-retrospect story. Two days after the actual burn, with my hand still very tender and wrapped in gauze, I let down the garbage can lid on my hand. I don’t have any scars from the actual burn, but I have one from the lid!

      3. Kelly L.

        I’ve got a scar on my forehead. My go-to explanations are either “Voldemort” or “I literally headdesked.” The latter is true–I got the scar while standing up from having been crouching on the floor and hitting my head on the corner of a desk on the way up.

      4. Tony in HR

        Tanning does the opposite of what you’re thinking with scars. Tony Jr. has a little scar on his forehead, and the doctor that stitched it up told us the best way to make it go away was massage it and use LOTS of sunscreen on it because it’s so new that a sunburn will make it worse (and it will burn easier as well).

        1. Jen in RO

          Thanks for the advice. I’ll do some testing in a month :) Most of my pinkness is just new skin, so it should tan normally… and the scar is one year old, not really new. I’m lazy and I won’t put extra sunscreen, but I’ll keep an eye on it and see what happens. Experiment time!

    3. Jazzy Red

      I wouldn’t want a new scar getting sunburned, though. If a high spf lotion won’t irritate the scar, I’d use it to prevent further damage.

      In the past, I tried patting powder makeup over anything red. It really doesn’t work very well.

      1. JNYC

        Good point – about the sunscreen on the recent scar. When I was 14 or 15 I burned myself on my thigh while taking a chicken pot pie out of the oven, and the doctor told me to keep it covered for three months. This was in June, and I was a teenager in Southern California. No way was I going to stay away from the beach, but the doctor really scared me with his warnings, so I wore a bandanna tied around my leg all summer. It might have looked weird, but it worked.

        1. Nicole

          I rocked a bandana on my wrist this summer at the beach. Needed to cover up a 2nd degree burn that was about a month into the healing process. I looked like a reject from an 80’s metal hair band ;)

          1. Jessa

            Maxi skirts back when they were in style because you didn’t need stockings underneath them (and I NEVER wore pantyhose ICK.)

            The worst sunburn case I ever got was at Jones Beach at a work barbecue. My boss’s kid was getting burnt like crazy even with sunscreen and I had a full length gauze kaftan. I was NOT going to let a 10 year old get lobstered and ill (at that age you can really get sick if you get very burnt, moreso than someone 3 times your size,) so I gave it to her. My bosses completely understood, gave me two paid days off and did not complain about no bra in the office for a week. It was around 1982 and I worked for a Japanese import company. They were pretty understanding people. At least she didn’t get sick. But OMG my face and shoulders. They also never again had a picnic where she was allowed to only wear a bathing suit.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit

              Wait, maxi skirts aren’t in style any more? Crap. *looks down at the maxi dress I’m sporting for a travel day*

    4. CathVWXYNot?

      I have a large (6 inch by 2 inch) scar on my lower arm that I’ve had since I was 8. I don’t even think about it – it’s just part of me now. If someone’s bothered by it, it’s their problem, not mine.

      (I’ve had a few questions about it, but nothing too intrusive).

  6. EE

    #4:

    You’re in a bind with the tarot card business: some may write you off on intelligence grounds because they assume you believe in tarot cards and some may write you off on ethical grounds because they assume you don’t.

    1. Another Emily

      I think you should explain how you used the tarot cards, if it was central to the business. (For example, if you just glued promotional material to the back of tarot cards that you handed out then I wouldn’t bother mentioning it.)

      If you used them as some kind of metaphor to explain the service you offered, then explain that. If you actually read the tarot cards for people who wanted to pay for that service, then explain that.

      What I find weird is not that you used tarot cards, but that you ran a business that you now feel awkward about. How did you feel about it when you were running it? Why is it weird now?

    2. Pussyfooter

      Hi #4,
      If you approached the Tarot as an entertainment, then just say something like “entertained customers with Tarot readings for fun.”

      If Tarot is a more serious issue for you, seek out good business people who also work with Tarot/astrology/etc. to ask them how they approach this situation. In Arizona, we have “new age book stores,” brick-and-mortar palm reading businesses, and various “fairs” on topics that are often grouped with Tarot. I’d go to a the nearest such bookstore on a weekend (when some readers/seers set up little tables) and ask if you can speak to them for advice when they’re not working.
      If you know people discussing Tarot and such online, you might ask them too.

      1. Not So NewReader

        This.

        OR, you could go the opposite way and say “As I explain the cards to people, I end up discussing all kinds of topics. I have to be a thoughtful listener because I meet a wide variety of personalities.” Then launch into the business side of the story. “I had x number of regular customers. My second year, I doubled my revenues. I was able to do that because I did X, Y and Z to grow my client base…” Etc.

        Which ever way you go, the interviewer will mostly be interested in did you see the overview of what you were doing? Did you set goals? Did you meet these goals? Talk about how you promoted your biz. If you took classes to grow yourself – mention that.

          1. JNYC

            And it focuses on the business of the business, not on what anyone might think about tarot card reading.

            1. Not So NewReader

              Yep. It focuses on things in common, rather than the actual work itself. If OP looks at what businesses have in common – promotion, growth, customer retention, bookkeeping, taxes, etc- she will find it much easier to talk about this.

        1. Emily

          Such insightful advice! This approach highlights the behavioral experience and the business experience- love it.

      2. Elizabeth West

        Yes. The customer service, financial, and other aspects of running the Tarot thing were the same as any other small business. If the OP were a dog walker, I’d think the same thing.

        PS–OP, how much do you charge for that? I kinda want one… :}

    3. Jennifer

      Yeah. I don’t mention any home/side businesses I have tried because they are on the weird side and I think I’d make “normal” people really uncomfortable if I was talking about tarot. You don’t know who’s going to be cool with that or not in a job interview and I would rather not claim the experience altogether unless I could think of some other way to claim I was doing something else–in this case, I don’t know, giving advice?

  7. WWWONKA

    #1 The shoe is on the other foot and the recruiter would not tell you who was placed into a position you were applying to, nor would they tell you why you did not get the position. But, in order to nt burn a bridge I would only respond if it was someone I had been working with and I would keep it very generic.

    1. Forrest

      I don’t think that’s a fair comparison since the name of the person who got the position is a third party’s business while the name of the company is the OP’s own business to share. Additionally, a lot of recruiters work for multiple companies and want to place their people. So I don’t see why a recruiter wouldn’t share why a person didn’t get a job unless they just didn’t know.

  8. Charlotte

    #4

    Is it necessary to disclose that you used tarot cards? Why can’t you say that you were a business consultant, analyst, or strategist? I don’t know if that would be considered dishonest but I’m assuming these entrepreneurs were seeking advice so I don’t think calling it consulting is a stretch.

    The only concern is interviewing. I’m not sure how you handle questions where you have to demonstrate your thought process as you helped your client with a problem. If the first or second step is to pull cards then I’m not sure what else you could say.

    1. WWWONKA

      I would emphasize it was done for entertainment purposes only. That way your interviewer will think it was more for fun rather than for some far out there belief.

      1. Sourire

        See, to me “for entertainnent purposes only” in this context does nothing but make me think of the disclaimers given out by less than reputable businesses such as “Miss Cleo” (I believe that was the name) as a shield for lawsuits.

    2. SJ

      I was thinking the same thing. If, as you say, you’re not promoting this as fortune telling, you could frame it as more of a life coach/lifestyle consultant sort of thing… after all, a lot of what people get out of tarot card readings (well, what I have gotten out of them anyway) is a new perspective on the current events of your life, and how you might act now to achieve what you want for your future

    3. Chinook

      Time for a reveal – I actually use a psychic counselor (she can read minds and see things like auras, spirits). At one point, I did a couples session with DH who I know well enough to know he would think this stuff is wacko. She described herself to him as a “life choices consultant” and he never blinked (though I did notice him get surprised when she picked up a remote to turn off her music and turned to him to say she wasn’t secretly recording this session because that was what he was thinking).

      1. Anon

        I’ll bet he was surprised about that! My partner has a pet psychic, and at first I thought the whole idea was completely ridiculous. But whether it’s “real” or not, talking with her after a pet has died has been extremely comforting to me.

        1. Chinook

          What was funny was that he had his “cop” face on, so all I saw was this straight face with little vibes of confusion coming from his eyebrows. But, he did encourage me to keep going to her after the meeting.

          The OP calling herself a life coach may be the best way to go if she is pressed on needing a description that doesn’t involve the word “tarot.” I get her not wanting to be seen as someone weird or flakey. But, if she does believe in it, she shouldn’t brush it off as only for entertainment purposes. True believers in this are very spiritual and it is like a religion and no one, in N. America, should have to hid their beliefs. I think she needs to be vague inthe same way I am about teaching Sunday School (I say that I volunteer with pre-teens once a week). If they want details, I will give them but I don’t offer them up because I know it can lead to a lot of preconceived ideas.

          1. Chinook

            For the record, I don’t mention this psychic class to my Sunday School students and I know the line between personal beliefs and institutional belief. But, when asked about things like tarot and ouija boards, I let them know that they have to be careful because it is not always possible to know what you are dealing with (i.e. it could be a scam or a bad spirit and the good isn’t always guaranteed.)

          2. Jazzy Red

            I live in the Bible Belt, so teaching Sunday School would give you an advantage around here.

      2. Manda

        Ok, I believe in psychics and mediums and that sort of thing, but if someone could read my mind and actually know what I’m thinking, I’d be freaked. That’s just too much for me.

    4. Cat

      “Business analyst, consultant, or strategist” is going to raise eyebrows from a college student/ recent graduate to begin with. If you can’t back it up with something really solid you’re going to look like you’re padding your reesume with empty claims; and it is really, really going to look like tht the second it comes out that you’re talking about tarot cards.

      1. Jamie

        ITA. I’m giving the side eye to someone who claims to be a real analyst/consultant with no business experience…but to then have it come out it meant tarot cards?

        I’d assume they were either trying to scam me, thought I was stupid, or that they didn’t know the difference between tarot readings and business consulting.

        If it’s something you believe in – I guess just be honest about it and present it in a business like way. If it’s not something you believe in I’d stress the entertainment portion because you don’t want to be thought of as someone who fleeced people by preying on their beliefs.

  9. Chocolate Teapot

    2. People who work for posh retailers perhaps?

    3. It sounds like the HR department and the Chocolate Teapot team want different things from this role and this hasn’t been communicated properly.

    1. OP #3

      Yes that definitely occurred to me – having worked both as HR and on a team staffed by HR I know that these types of miscommunications are not uncommon… But wow it was tough to be on the receiving end of the consequences of that particular miscommunication!

      1. Felicia

        I had a similar situation where I was told the job mostly involved trouble shooting and they were mostly asking me about design. I ended up taking the job because they kept reassuring me that it was mostly trouble shooting, and figured i told them enough about my junior level design skills so they must not think it’s a problem. Ended up being let go after 3 months because I wasn’t as good at design as they needed. And the job ended up being 90% design, 10% troubleshooting. So if you somehow get it, id be hesitant to take it because they dont seem to have a clear idea of what they’re looking for thats consistent.

          1. Not So NewReader

            I had a setting kind of like this once. I asked the employer how much of my day is spent doing X (undesirable work) and how much is spent doing Y (desired work). I asked her to use percentages.
            When she said 75% of my day would be doing X, I said “I.can’t.do. this.”
            She basically begged me to stay and finish the interview. I was afraid I would get sold on something I did not want. I apologized profusely, thanked her and left. The mistake I made was I should have asked her why she wanted so badly for me to complete the interview.
            It later became a point of curiosity for me.

          2. Felicia

            I do hope it doesn’t turn out that way for you but it is possible. Which is why I learned to ask very specific questions about what the job will actually entail. It was worse for me because I didn’t actually want to do design as teh main component of my job, but even if I did it sucks to have a job way beyond your level. I think they had unrealistic expectations on how quickly I could learn to be at the level they needed (you don’t become an expert after trying something once!) but I felt like had they told me it was that much design at that level as opposed to “your skills are fine! it’s mostly troubleshooting anyways” I never would have taken the job. So if you do get the job it’s something you need to be careful about.

  10. Darren

    #5 no email program allows you to “retract” messages, all it will do is send out a further email telling them that you would like them not to read that message.

    Mail clients that support this “retract” annoy the hell out of me as it leads to sloppy habits (I’ve gotten as many as half a dozen sent and retracted emails due to continual typos or errors) as if the people using this clients think it actually does something.

    1. Anonymously Anonymous

      Yeah, I was wondering about the retract email feature. I’ve never used it before. I received a retraction a few months ago, and I thought something ‘magical’ had happen– but the original message was still there able to be viewed. The retraction just told me to disregard the original message. I was disappointed.

      1. ChristineSW

        That reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. I sent out an email to my entire organization (read: a couple hundred people!) announcing a drive my events committee was conducting. I forget why, but I immediately retracted it…..but everyone had seen it already. My coworkers were all like “WTF?!” (not in those words, but still…). I was so embarrassed!

    2. SJ

      Microsoft Exchange actually used to allow you to actually retract the email as if it was never sent (within an organization) but that feature has been removed.

      1. ChristineSW

        I can see why it was removed…you practically had to retract it within a nanosecond. That’s what happened to me in my story above ^^.

      2. Anonymous

        AOL used to have that option, too, for emails sent to another AOL address. Only if the email hadn’t been opened yet.

      3. Anlyn

        Outlook has a recall feature that will “delete or replace copies of this message in the recipient’s inboxes if the message has not been read”. I’ve used it a couple of times, though as ChristineSW said, you have to do it pretty quickly.

    3. Cat

      Seriously. Also, call me a bad perso but all that does is make me rush to see what I’m not supposed to see (almost invariably it turns out to be some minor typo that is better ignored or a missing attachment that just warrants a follow-up).

      1. Anonymously Anonymous

        Ha! This is why I was disappointed. I rushed to see what was retracted and it was just an original email that had a wrong date or something..

    4. some1

      Years ago at my first office job we had Groupwise and you could retract an email as long as the recipient had not opened it.

    5. ExceptionToTheRule

      Gmail will actually let you recall an email within a certain (short, very short) time frame if you have that option engaged.

      1. Elizabeth

        Gmail’s unsend feature actually works by holding your email for 5 seconds or so before sending it out, meanwhile displaying the “unsend” button. If the designated time passes and you don’t click that button, then it sends it off to the recipient. Once it’s off Google’s server, though, there’s nothing they could do to get it back.

    6. Elizabeth

      There are some internal email systems that allow this. My organization uses a program called FirstClass for both email and message boards, and I can un-send emails that are within the system. So if I realize I made a mistake in an email to a coworker and she hasn’t read it yet (also possible for me to see in-system) I can retract it without her even knowing. It doesn’t work for emails outside the system, though, e.g. to someone’s gmail address.

    7. OP #5

      Outlook exchange does let you do this if the recipient hasn’t opened the message yet, but only in some versions.

      In any case, I didn’t send an apology, and talked with a colleague about how badly I messed up and we agreed I should play it by ear. I talked to the program officer about the specifics of the grant– no one mentioned the attached email. She even responded later with additional information and attached her earlier version of the correspondence (what I had originally meant to send). So she either didn’t notice at all, or did notice, but didn’t say anything and effectively covered my butt. It all turned out ok!

      And to others who have horror stories about sending emails to the wrong person– boy I have had my share of those! Luckily they are mostly old history since these days I agonize over most every email.

    1. Chris80

      Don’t forget about Barbie. She’s had experience with just about every lucrative career option out there. Don’t tell me her fancy high heels didn’t help with that.

      1. Jamie

        Excellent point – she’s the most accomplished surgeon, paratrooper, president, fire fighter, computer engineer, pilot, sea world trainer, chef, cashier, and aerobics instructor (to name a fraction) ever.

        And she did all of with fabulous hair and kicky shoes.

        As old as I am I still want to grow up to be Barbie.

          1. Pussyfooter

            I looked at the picture.
            Her space suit has no gloves and the legs don’t connect to the boots.
            I think one of Barbie’s co-workers is trying to “off” her.

            1. Collarbone High

              Jamie, you would squee over the microwave in my neighborhood donut shop. Hot pink with Hello Kitty on the door.

  11. Sophie

    #3, just wanted to say Kudos to you for contacting them and admitting that you felt the interview didn’t go well, it shows you have guts and initiative rather than just run away and hide and never speak to them again… Cause i’ve had this happen to me before and I know people are embarassed about it, but I commend you!
    It takes some balls to admit that you thought you did badly, but that you also wanted to re-clarify the position..
    Well done you!

    1. OP #3

      Thanks Sophie (though to be clear I didn’t follow up or say it didn’t go well yet, I just closed with my question about whether I was truly a fit for what they were looking for). It was tough to keep my thoughts in order by the end, though honestly their follow up question of, “Are you still interested?” really just confused me more!

  12. Anonymous

    #7- Polysporin works really well and pretty quick in healing a sunburn, spread it over the affected area at night and you’ll notice a considerable difference in the morning. Make up with a green tint also can help minimize redness

    1. Jazzy Red

      I sloshed boiling water over my hand once, and my doctor’s PA treated it with Polysporin. He used to work in the burn ward at the children’s hospital and that’s what they used, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. It’s the only thing I use for burns, cuts, scrapes, etc. Great stuff!

    2. RubyJackson

      There used to be a great product made from tea leaves called something like “amertan” that relieved the sting of sunburns. You can make a bath of tea and let it cool to wash over sunburned skin and it will offer the same relief.

  13. Riki

    2 – Ignore! This woman is dumping her garbage onto you and other people. Let her complain herself into misery and don’t engage. Do you really think that any constructive criticism would actually help? She’ll probably just think that you with your fancy high heels and teenager nail polish are being rude to her AGAIN, just like everyone else. Waaaa.

    1. Not So NewReader

      FWIW, I find that many times people are doing the VERY thing they complain about in others.
      It kind of makes me more aware of how I sound to other people!

      After years of listening to one co-worker complain, I finally said “You need to get out of the house more. Because then you would see that rude people are EVERYWHERE. It’s just a part of life and we have to develop some way of coping and eventually just learn to ignore the rudeness of others.”

      In the end, I wonder why the preoccupation with rudeness. I felt badly for my coworker (CW) because CW never developed tools or work arounds. The rest of my coworkers seemed to be handling things and going forward but CW was stuck in one place of constantly identifying the rudeness of others.

      OP, you could just say “oh is this the hill to die on?” And roll your eyes.

      1. LPBB

        I used to work with a woman who was insanely annoying. Everybody on our staff was constantly irritated by her at some level, except for her best friend who recommended her for the position and the coworker she ended up marrying.

        For me, and I think for a couple of my other coworkers, that experience led to us re-examine our own behavior and correct those things in ourselves that she reflected to us.

        Unfortunately, not everybody is that self-aware and it seems like the loudest complainers of others are often the least self-aware and the least likely to change.

  14. Brett

    #3 You are making a mistake assuming the interview did not go well. The format you want through, being able to answer 25% of the questions may very well be a very good interview. I will just link here to a previous comment about my interview experience with Google.
    http://www.askamanager.org/2013/06/bad-interviewers-and-weird-candidates-unburden-yourself-here.html#comment-231574
    My Google phone interview was just like your interview, an enormous range of technical questions way above what I thought was the technical scope of the position. I had to answer “No” or “I don’t know” to easily 75% as well, but for over an hour!

    The difference is that, at the end of my interview, the interviewer immediately informed me that I did well and he was recommending me for the next round of interviewing. I think your interviewer asking if you were still interested was a -good- sign. They just wanted to make sure to explore the entire range of your technical experience.

    Would you like to eventually be a chocolate teapot designer instead of a chocolate teapot troubleshooter? Because I think this interview is a sign that they are perfectly willing to take your existing skill set and expand it to a full blown chocolate teapot designer.

    1. OP #3

      Thanks for your insight – I have heard of that style of interview so I was somewhat mentally prepared for that, but the person asking me questions sounded pretty irritated that I didn’t know the answers. The question about my interest was from the other (non-designer) interviewer, so I didn’t want to read too much into it. I wish I could say more specifics about their answer to my question at the end (about whether I was a fit) but I was so rattled I only caught a third of it.
      Re: your question, yes I would like to go into designing but I am VERY junior – I have learned enough to do what my current job requires, but I am missing a lot of the fundamentals (which was made painfully clear by this interview). I’ve decided to take this interview as a motivational experience – I want to learn the answers to all the questions I didn’t know so I will be better at my current job and so my next interview is not so traumatizing!

      1. Brett

        Just my opinion, but if I was doing the technical side of your interview (and I have been the question asking guy on a few interviews now) and you came back in the next round having read up on and learned some of the areas where you have gaps, I would be impressed.
        Maybe you will not make the next phase, but I think it is still possible. Definitely follow Alison’s advice though, because it is also possible that this position is -not- going to lead to more design work even if they asked you lots of questions about it.

  15. The IT Manager

    #3 – I too wonder if it was as bad as you thought. At the end they asked if you were still interested; they could have just been asking to be polite but maybe not. Another possibility is that they were just bad interviewers or only had a list of questions from design and the person who was supposed to provide the troubelshooting questions flaked out.

    Alison’s advice is good for this situation, though. Find out more to ensure that the job is a good fit in the event that you do get an offer.

    1. anon o

      I don’t know if this is happening in the OP’s case but I sometimes interview for a position that requires a lot of different skills and I never expect to find someone with all of them. However, I often ask a lot of questions about the areas they don’t know much about so I can get a handle on exactly how much/little they do know. Of course, I usually explain that as I’m asking.

      In other words, not knowing the answers to my questions might not keep you from getting the job – it will partly depend on the other candidates (and the million other intangibles you use when hiring.)

    1. LPBB

      Those *are* awesome shoes! I would totally have complimented you on them if I had been in that restaurant too!

    2. Elizabeth West

      Oh, I wish I could still wear heels. My back is so messed up that it’s impossible now. I would get some like that.

      I also have a pair of Italian-made spike heels with rhinestone straps across the instep that I bought for $45 in the early ’80s. They are GORGEOUS and still in style. Movie-star shoes. I can’t wear them, but I can’t get rid of them either. :P

      1. the gold digger

        Elizabeth, when I went to the nursing home to visit my godmother, who was in her 90s and had to use a wheelchair, her one complaint was that when her daughter cleaned out her house, she got rid of GM’s silver dancing shoes. My godmother wanted those shoes if for no other reason than to look at them.

  16. Nikki J.

    #4 – “A lot of times we think people aren’t good people, but really they’ve just been responding to how we’ve been acting”

  17. Mike C.

    Wait a second, with regards to number 6, why isn’t a remote parking lot considered part of the work site? It’s under control of the employer, and you’re riding in a company controlled vehicle as part of a necessary part of your job, right? If you had to take that shuttle in the middle of the day you wouldn’t clock out, so why would you at the beginning?

    I get that the employer shouldn’t pay for the time it takes to get to the work site, since they can’t control where you live, but once you’re at the work site doing what it takes

    I know to many office workers this is going to sound silly, but there are a lot of large workplaces where either geographic necessity or security require the use of remote parking lots – think air/seaports, mining facilities, large manufacturing areas, military bases and so on. This can take significant amounts of time, and it’s time that is under the control of the employer. Think about a miner who has daily elevator rides up and down a two mile shaft – shouldn’t that time be paid for? That doesn’t sound like a commute to me.

    I know you aren’t a lawyer, but to the best of your ability could you provide any additional clarification?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      My understanding is that it’s because you’re not required to get to work that way — you could take public transportation, you could have someone drop you off right in front of the mall you’re working in, etc. If you choose to drive, the parking is at a distance, but you’re not required to drive.

      1. Mike C.

        Well I know you don’t write the rules, it just feels somewhat vindictive for an employer to put roadblocks in the way of employees making a good faith effort to getting to work on time, and then making them pay for it.

        1. Jazzy Red

          Would *you* pay someone for their commute time, as well as their actual working time?

          How much?

          1. Mike C.

            I don’t believe it’s commute time if you’re traveling between different parts of a given work site.

          2. Mike C.

            I mean come on, I was really clear about this in my first post, why are you coming in here and asking me how much I think an employer should pay for commute time when I say in my very first post:

            I get that the employer shouldn’t pay for the time it takes to get to the work site, since they can’t control where you live

            See that? I’m not expecting employers to pay for commute time, I just think they should pay for the time you’re at work. It’s no different than any other prep time an employer might perform, such as donning uniforms/safety equipment and so on.

            1. Al Lo

              But in most food service/retail jobs, you don’t actually get paid for that time. At Starbucks, for instance, you’re not supposed to clock in until your apron is on and you’re walking onto the floor. You don’t get paid for the extra 30 seconds it takes to put on your apron and make sure your hair is tied back.

              1. Kelly L.

                I don’t really think that’s right, though. It happens, but I don’t think it’s right.

                1. Anonymous

                  Most jobs have SOME kind of dress code and no job I know of pays you for the time it takes you to get dressed, regardless of where you are doing it.

                2. Jessa

                  The issue is the same as if you have to sign into a system to start work they have to pay you for that. If you cannot start work without dressing AT work, they have to pay you for that. IE if you have to put on special safety suits or something, or get equipment AT your place of work that you are not permitted to take home and put on at your leisure. Preparing to work is PART of work if it’s something you cannot do before you get there.

              2. KellyK

                As I understand the DOL rules, if it’s something you can’t do at home, you have to be paid for that time. If I can show up in my Starbucks shirt or apron with my hair tied back, then it’s not work time. If I have to show up and get an apron and a hairnet out of the cabinet, it’s supposed to be paid time. Though that usually applies to safety equipment that you couldn’t feasibly drive to work in, the test is whether you could do it beforehand (part of getting ready for work) or not (part of work).

            2. Anonymous

              I work in the center of a large campus. No matter how I get to the campus (drive and park, take public transit, etc.), there will still be at least a 10-minute walk across campus to my office. I’m officially on site – should I get paid for those 10 minutes? What if I’m a slow walker and it takes me 30 minutes, then should I get paid for 30 minutes?

              1. Jamie

                Yes, I’m not getting the argument at all. It’s not a split workspace – there is no work being done at the parking lot.

                In fact I think it’s really nice of the store to have made these arrangements rather than letting them walk from distant parking or fend for themselves.

                I just don’t understand how what is clearly part of one’s commute would be on the clock.

    2. fposte

      I think you would clock out if you had to leave via that shuttle in the middle of the day, actually. I don’t think the ownership of the parking space determines whether getting there makes it worktime or not–it’s the “engaged to wait” vs. “waiting to engage” thing, and you’re not “engaged” if you’re still in travel time.

      1. Mike C.

        I wasn’t clear, I intended the use of a shuttle from one part of the work site to another. After all, if you use a company vehicle to travel from a home base to a nearby site, that time is paid.

        1. fposte

          I think then you’re traveling on business, though, which makes a difference; you’d be paid whether you were on the company shuttle or on the public bus.

          I suspect there may be, as discussed down thread, some really egregious instances where the court might find in favor of the employee, but just having to take an additional shuttle doesn’t seem that burdensome. I think it nettles drivers because it means that you lose one of the main conveniences of driving, but it’s not much different, as Alison says, from just taking public transportation to work.

          1. Mike C.

            There’s a huge assumption that public transport is even available here. This is Texas we’re talking about here – a geographically large state with a ton of rural areas. This is the sort of place that makes it difficult for municipalities to set up public transit in the first place, as they work best in densely populated areas.

            It also nettle’s drivers because the employer is adding an artificial extension to the time it takes to get into work, and then making the employee pay for it. Most likely it’s not that long of a ride, but the last time I went to Texas, I learned that *everything* is far away from everything else. And how often do the shuttles come by? Is there one every few minutes or am I going to have to wait a half hour to get one? What happens if I’m late for work because of the shuttle, am I in trouble?

            It’s a really messy question to do on an emergent basis and the situation really makes me uncomfortable.

            1. Cat

              But the employer isn’t ever obligated to provide parking for its employees. So they’re taking away an optional perk they provide once a year and replacing it with a less convenient optional perk. I mean, I hate the U.S.’s car culture as much as the next girl, but I think it’d be hard to police requiring payment in this type of situation.

    3. Except in California

      Where I work, the situation is exactly like that. We park on company property, are under company control, and ride a shuttle to the work site. There is no way to get to the worksite except on the shuttle. Most people don’t know it, but a few years ago one division of our company sued the employer for unpaid overtime for that commute time and won. This is a big hush-hush on our campus because the employer allows the workers to believe that’s part of their commute time and doesn’t compensate for it. But because there is no other way to get to the worksite, it absolutely is work time.

      1. Cathy

        Interesting. There are a few places like that — Prudhoe Bay in Alaska; Area 51 in Nevada — I wonder if their workers get paid from the time they board the plane to get to their worksite.

            1. Mike C.

              The ability to leave a job doesn’t entitle an employer to do anything they choose.

              Otherwise your reasoning could excuse all sorts of things from payment in company scrip to sexual harassment.

            2. KellyK

              That’s not relevant, though. That’s like saying it’s okay to pay below minimum wage (or not pay at all for some work) because “they didn’t *have* to take the job.”

        1. Chinook

          I think that, because there is no alternative way to get to a secured site, that it woudl be considered work time. But, as AAM says, you could take transit or have someone drop you off at the door instead of driving and having to use a parking shuttle.

          1. Except in California

            In the instance of the OP, yes, this would be true. In my case, public transportation drops you at the shuttle, which you then take to the work site. There is no other way to get there, and it’s at the top of a steep hill, at the end of a long road. Walking, for the most part, is not a reasonable option.

  18. Colette

    #2 – Since you don’t like this person, I don’t see any reason to have a specific conversation about her negativity with her, but you can address things as she says them:
    “Why would you say that?”
    “That hasn’t been my experience.”
    “Wow.”
    “That’s a really offensive thing to say.”

    In other words, call her on her negativity – you don’t want to be seen as someone who thinks it’s OK.

    1. some1

      I like this idea, and practice it beforehand in your head. Because if you are anything like me, you are so stunned that a grown-up would make such rude comments to your face, that it’s hard to think of what to say in the moment.

    2. TL

      Or you can say “I like it.” That’s what I do when people start insulting my appearance and it works fairly well as a conversation ender.

      1. Lora

        THIS.

        For the record, Comme Il Faut shoes are fantastically comfortable as 4″ stiletto heels go.

        My other usual retorts:
        “Maybe YOU got your job by wearing high heels!”
        “Actually it was the push-up bra. (Director) is a boob guy. But (Her Boss) is more of an ass man.” (I’m nasty about that stuff. I get it too often to be nice about it.)
        “So you’re saying your daughter has fantastic taste in nail polish?”
        “Yeah, it’s really a classy hairstyle, never goes out of season.”
        These are usually accompanied by a raised eyebrow and a smirk at her own style choices.
        If/when she continues in her remarks, it devolves into:
        “Yeah, I borrowed them from your mom. Tell her I said hi.”
        “Your boy- or girlfriend/spouse/boss/best friend likes it.”
        “That’s cause my hair is awesome. You should try using ( brand) conditioner, it works miracles.”

        That said, sometimes I get weird comments from guys who don’t actually realize they are being less than tactful about commenting on a lady’s looks. Not in a nasty way, more like, “What the…? You look like Pocahontas with your hair in braids like that” and “Those plastic framed glasses make you look boring. What happened to the purple metallic ones?” Another common one, I have looooong hair which I normally put up in a bun at work. When I take it down I get a lot of “holy crap!” and when I put it up I get a lot of “oh my god, you didn’t cut all your hair, did you? Because that would be horrible.”

        1. Kelly L.

          When I take mine down, sometimes I don’t even get recognized by people who’ve known me for years. It spends most workdays in “hair jail” (GIANT claw clip) and most people who only know me professionally have no idea how much of it I have or that the color looks more dramatic when I release the hair kraken. And taking it down makes my face shape look totally different too.

          1. Jessa

            Kelly L. I love you for the “hair kraken” line (having just re-watched the new versions of Titans and the sequel.) May I say your post sounds delightful read in Liam’s voice?

          2. Lora

            Haha, that is awesome! I do mine in a kind of twisted bun secured with only a 2-prong metal hair fork. I do that beer commercial thing to take it down: pull the hair fork out and slowly shake my head to un-twist the hair.

            If I could make a cooler full of beer actually appear on my desk by doing this, it would be awesome.

          3. Elizabeth West

            LOL the hair kraken!

            I had mine really long once (down past my bra strap), and let it down at lunch to rewind it (the clip had loosened). The hottie coworker I had a crush on did a double-take. Made my day. :)

    3. Anonymous

      I recommend “I wonder why you would say that?” instead of “Why would you say that?”, as (1) it does not invite a response (2) it’s non-confrontational and (3)and it is ever so passive aggressive, calling their motives into question rather than their words.

      1. Colette

        I prefer to put people who are being rude on the spot. :) Of course, that assumes I can think of it in the moment, as I’m also prone to sitting there with a stunned look on my face. But it doesn’t matter what I’m comfortable with if I’m not the one saying it – the OP should come up with a few phrases she’d be OK with saying and practice them.

        1. Anonymous

          I prefer to not go all ninja on folks when I can get the same results using less energy. :)

  19. Katie the Fed

    #6 – if it makes you feel any better when I was in grad school I sent a long, angry tirade about my advisor TO my advisor. I had meant to send it to a friend. Whoops!

  20. JR

    I really wouldn’t sweat the forwarding e-mail situation. Everyone in an office has done this at one time or another.

  21. QualityControlFreak

    Okay, here’s my big reveal. One of my hobbies is sparring hand-to-hand. Bruises and the occasional split lip happen, and I do not wear long sleeves in the summer. I do however, have a small, closeknit workgroup who are aware of the reason for the bruises, and I work in an industry where bumps and bruises are par for the course, so no one thinks a thing of it.

      1. QualityControlFreak

        There are probably more, but here are a few that come to mind: pro sports, the construction industry, physical security.

        I work in an office, but our clients don’t, so they are used to seeing cuts and bruises – and worse. And as I said, my coworkers all know the deal. Some of them think I’m nuts, but they don’t think I’m a victim of abuse.

        1. KellyK

          Yeah, I was going to say pretty much *any* industry where you’re doing manual labor has at least some potential for little cuts and bruises.

          1. CathVWXYNot?

            Yeah, my husband’s a carpenter and he comes home covered in bruises, scratches, and sometimes some pretty big cuts at least a couple of times a week. I once spotted a 4-5 inch bloody cut on the back of his arm, asked him what happened, and he hadn’t even noticed… only the people with a high pain threshold survive!

          2. Jamie

            I haven’t been bruise free in hundreds of years.

            On a weekly basis I’ll walk into my desk, shut my hand in a drawer, drop a box on my foot, slam into the corner wall, and trip over something.

            I’m not allowed to use the box or paper cutter anymore. Nothing ever happened, I just make people nervous.

          3. Lora

            Farming too. I live on a quasi-farm (I don’t sell my produce, I barter it). Between the last owner’s random bits of rusty wire fencing, gardens with strata of historically curious items, chicken pecks, turkey boxing, cuts on my hands from processing animals because a knife ALWAYS slips eventually, huge livestock guardian dogs with Opinions about how far they should be allowed to chase foxes, getting the aforementioned foxes off the property after dogs have cornered it in the barbwire fence (to which it is now stuck), angry bees during the honey harvest, and most recently, falling off an 8 ft. fruit-picking ladder, I have never gone a day without at least one unsightly injury.

            Car mechanics too, now that I think of it. Last time I had to replace a radiator, my hands looked like hamburger covered in motor oil.

          4. QualityControlFreak

            Oh yeah, landscaping! The last nasty injury I had was a smashed finger from a (possibly two-man) rock I was moving in my garden. Yes, I should have been wearing gloves. Don’t lecture.

  22. OP #3

    Thanks to Alison and to all the commenters for your suggestions and feedback! I was planning to send an email to the HR Guy this evening but got a phone call from him a few minutes ago (hooray for fast turnaround?). He confirmed my suspicions and very kindly but very clearly said I wasn’t a technical fit for that particular position – I kind of laughed and said I agreed and he seemed relieved. He said they still were very interested in me as a candidate though and that they had another more junior position in a different department that may be a better fit with my experience, so they’ll be setting up another phone screen. This particular position has been posted on their site in the last few days so I actually got to look at the req – seems like it could be a much better fit for me!
    So, in spite of all the stress, I think this worked out for the best! Here’s hoping the next call is significantly less painful.

  23. Anonymous

    Regarding the recruiter, they probably want to know so they can send you employer-side emails. I had been interviewing for a job via a recruiter and they were taking forever, and I ended up accepting another job in the meantime. When the recruiter finally called to bring me in for another interview, it was very satisfying to tell her that I wouldn’t be moving forward with them! However since I told her where I was going to be working, they figured out my new email address and started basically spamming me with “look at all these great people you could hire through us” emails. I politely asked them to take me off their list and haven’t heard anything more.

    1. Elizabeth West

      Ick, spam.

      It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to say, “Sorry, I’ve already accepted another position.” I got two calls my first week of work at Newjob–one of them was from something I had applied to several months before!

  24. Vicki

    #5 (“My email program doesn’t allow me to retract messages.”) and anyone else who thinks retraction is possible: think again.

    The only time this is remotely is if the sender and the receiver are on the same company/domain (the part after @) and both use the same email software (usually Outlook).

    Even then, it may be too late because some people read the message before you can click the retract button.

    At my previous company, the engineers used to get a good laugh out of “Wakeen wants to retract that message” email messages. The retraction wasn’t possible and the followup notice made those of us who hadn’t yet read the original want to see it now.

  25. Vicki

    I’ve been reading this blog too long. When I saw today’s title, “…tarot cards in a cover letter…” I expected a letter from someone who had received physical (or JPEG) Tarot cards in a cover letter.

  26. OP #3... Again!

    Just had my second phone interview for the other position today – it went great, and I have an in-person interview set up for next week :)

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