It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My writing partner is a hot mess
I’ve entered into a tentative writing partnership with a person who shares my interest in a particular historical period. We have a blog and she’s got a terrific idea for a book. What’s the problem, right?
She’s in the very early stages of learning to write, and makes all the common mistakes in terms of point of view, keeping tenses consistent, injecting personal thoughts into narrative, and “telling” not “showing.” She repeatedly dithers over how her version of history is the correct one, whereas I am fact-based, and will die on that hill rather than bend facts to fit narrative. There is absolutely no motivation or seemingly understanding on her part to do the hard-core, no b.s. research that is going to be critical to writing the manuscript. She repeatedly has asked me to bring an event flyer to our meetings when I have already emailed her the details, as well as a link to the organization’s event page; I’ve caught her rifling through my notes and books, and worst of all, she’s begun imitating my writing style and voice in her blog entries and writing samples.
She’s a nice enough person but has issues to which I can’t relate, nor do I want to try. Do I simply plod along, meeting deadlines and submitting my chapters until she drowns under the actual workload that is the reality of writing a manuscript? Or do I just tell her flat out that her lack of writing experience and skills are clearly the work of a ham-handed novice writer (look, I was like that too, but fifteen years and a lot of courses on writing as well as writing several manuscripts and attending workshops etc. has moved me past it) and I’m unwilling to either edit beyond small mistakes or to actually teach her how to write?
Well, neither. But it sounds like you definitely should put the kibosh on any writing agreement with her — if for no reason other than that it’s coming through loud and clear that you don’t want to be in a partnership with her. And there’s no shame in that. Writing a book with someone else is an intense process. You need to trust the other person’s judgment, writing, and general competence. You don’t trust hers, so this is unlikely to be anything other than a miserable and frustrating experience (possibly for both of you, but definitely for you).
But that doesn’t mean that you should call her an amateur and insult her skills when you part ways (even if that assessment has merit). Instead, why not say that as you get deeper into the project, you’re realizing that it’s tough to collaborate when you have such different styles and that you’ve concluded that a joint book isn’t in the cards?
2. Coworker won’t stop badgering me about working from home
I recently relocated to an area in Oklahoma where there is not an office space for me to utilize, so I am working from home. My manager was completely aware prior to my move and is fully supportive. My coworker, who works at the corporate office, has constantly asked me about my work situation and I have told him repeatedly that is between me and my manager. We were discussing this recently and he told me that our situations are not different, and that he and the rest of the team should be allowed to work from home if I do, which I do not agree with. He also told me that I could commute, and that people that have lengthy commutes should just change jobs, implying that if I receive special privileges that he finds unacceptable, it would be better for team morale for me to leave the company.
This situation is beyond frustrating to me because frankly, it is none of his business. If I am performing and my manager and superiors are supportive of the situation, he should worry about his work situation and not concern himself with my unique needs.
Understanding that we will not come to a middle ground, how should I proceed when he continues to ask me questions? I consider this person a friend and do not understand why he constantly compares our situations.
“If you’d like to work from home, you should talk with (manager).” Followed by, if the badgering continues, “I’d rather not keep this open for discussion, thanks.”
I’d also give your boss a quick heads-up that this is happening: “Just FYI, Constantine seems really interested in why I’m working from home and why he and others aren’t able to. He’s questioned me about it so much that I suggested he talk to you if he wants to discuss it.”
3. Letting candidates know that they’re in our second tier
I am looking for language to use when I send an email thanking a candidate for applying for a job but letting them know that the pool was strong and we would consider them in round 2 if we don’t find someone in round 1. I want to say this as positively as possible.
Well, you could say, “We’re currently focusing in on a small number of especially well-matched candidates, but depending on how that process goes, we may reach back out to you next month.”
But I don’t think I’d be that explicit about it; there’s no reason to make someone feel less qualified than others if you can avoid it (and if they’re someone who you could plausibly end up hiring at the end of the process). I’d say something like this instead: “We’re in the early stages of our hiring process and have many strong candidates. I expect to be back in touch next month.” (And that at that next stage, you’d either reject them or ask them to interview.)
4. Can I ask to negotiate through email?
So, long story short, I’ve made a salary proposal after the recruiter asked about it (final decision is still pending, but it looks pretty good). I made it through email because I’ve never negotiated salary before, and I don’t like the on-the-spot nature of a phone conversation about such an important topic. The recruiter wants to schedule some time to talk about it tomorrow. Is it reasonable to ask that we negotiate through email, and how might I go about that?
I’ve seen your advice about it, but like I said I would feel more comfortable if I had some time to look at the text and formulate a response. A lot of the comments on that post seem to agree that it can be fine to negotiate through email.
I would not ask for it — if it unfolds that way, fine (although even then I think it potentially puts you at a disadvantage), but specifically asking to do it that way, especially after he specifically asked to speak, is likely to make you look like you lack confidence and aren’t comfortable with business norms.
5. Can I purposefully leave a skill off my resume?
My previous job, which I left for my current one about 4 years ago, required me to be able to speak in Spanish at a conversational level as well as doing some written translation and proofreading. The job was primarily customer service in English, and the Spanish-related duties took 10% to 20% of my time. I am not a native speaker, but at the time, I was proficient enough to be able to do the job. However, I haven’t needed to speak Spanish since I left that job, and I would not consider myself proficient now. I definitely don’t want a potential employer to think I am bilingual. Is it weird or unethical to leave the Spanish-related duties from that job off of my resume?
If I do that, a possible complication is that one of the jobs I’m applying for is with my current employer. I’m worried that the change on my resume might look weird to HR, but I could be worried about nothing – I’m sure they know that candidates tailor their resumes for specific jobs. I don’t think the actual hiring committee would care, as the job I’m applying for does not require proficiency in a second language.
It’s not unethical or even weird to leave something off your resume that you don’t want to highlight. Your resume is a marketing document; it’s not required or expected to be a comprehensive listing of everything you’ve ever done. If you don’t want your Spanish work on there, leave it off. (That said, if the only reason you’re leaving it off is because you feel rusty, I’d still include it — it showcases skills that you could likely pick up again if you needed/wanted to.)