wee answer Wednesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Should I stop by in person to see why an employer called me?

I applied for a summer job in February, interviewed at the beginning of March, and have been anxiously waiting for early April when they said they would be done with interviews. I finally got a call from my interviewer, but due to some phone malfunctions on my end did not get her message until two days later. All the message said was to give her a call back, which I did immediately. I got her voicemail so I apologized for not getting back to her right away, briefly explained the issue with my phone, and left her my number again. That was Friday. On Monday, I tried her again and got her voicemail again. She hasn’t called me back.

I volunteer in the building where she works tomorrow, and my parents suggested if she hasn’t called me back yet that I should stop by her office. Is that appropriate? Also I’m assuming she was calling to offer me the job, otherwise she could have just emailed. But is there a chance I could be putting her on the spot to give some news in person she would rather give over the phone?

No, don’t do that. You’ve called her and left her messages, and she knows how to get in touch if she wants to. Stopping by in person without an appointment will put her on the spot and come across as overly pushy and inappropriate. At this point, I’d simply move on and trust that she’ll get in touch with you if she wants to. You could send one final email (as opposed to a call), but that’s it.

2. Finding out the hiring manager’s name

What’s the best way to find out exactly who is hiring for a position? I’ve been told to never address a cover letter to “whom it may concern” or “HR dept,” and I agree, but sometimes it can be quite difficult to find out who a hiring manager is. You can simply call and ask for smaller companies, but large companies that use automated voice response can make it impossible to even talk to anybody at all!

I recently reached out to a company’s recruiter through LinkedIn, and I never got a response from them either. What is the best way to reach out to a recruiter to get my question answered? Or is a recruiter the best person to go through? And if, in the end, I’ve exhausted all of these attempts, should I still send the cover letter without a name on it?

Stop thinking about this at all. Seriously, no sane hiring manager cares whether you address the letter to her or to “dear hiring manager.” They care about your candidacy. Write “dear hiring manager” and be done with it.

This is not worth any expenditure of stress or energy, particularly when there are so many more important things to spend your time on, like writing a great cover letter. And if your cover letter and resume don’t need more attention, then read a book or watch a movie — there’s no reason to spend time on something like this. More here.

3. Fitting my resume on one page

I’ve followed the philosophy that resumes should be one page only. I am starting my third job in my career, and due to the amount of responsibilities, can only fit my last two jobs on one page. If I leave out my first entry-level job, will it look like I have a 2-year gap between my college graduation and my actual second job?

You can go to two pages if you’re more than a few years out of school. If you’re not, then you’re including too much detail and you need to edit. Resumes should include the most impressive highlights of what you’ve achieved; they don’t need to list every responsibility you had at each job.

4. My resume shows I left soon after a promotion

I was “promoted” to a different position within my last company in my last 6 months on the job. I would like to show both positions on my resume so companies can I see I have experience in both areas, but would it look bad to have a position last only 6 months before moving on to another company? I had already known I wanted to leave when I was promoted, but I accepted the position so that I could show better/more experience on my resume. I’m worried that companies may think I was let go or something equally negative.

No, that’s fine. It’s not the same as leaving a brand-new job (at a new company) after only six months; it’s different when it’s internal and you have a longer history with the company.

5. Negotiating salary when my company might have pulled someone’s offer over it

I’m planning to apply for an internal position, and I believe I’m likely to get it–I’ve been told so by the hiring manager, plus I helped develop the job description. I hope to negotiate the salary offer for the first time in my life. As I’m sure you can imagine, since previously I’ve always just taken what I was offered, my current pay is on the low end. I’m excited for the chance to boost it up to a professional level.

The problem is that I’ve heard nasty rumors about how management handled salary negotiations with a recent potential hire. What I know for sure is that the hiring process got to the point of making one candidate an offer, and then the job was suddenly reposted. What I heard from the hiring manager was that the candidate was “crazy” during the negotiation and that the offer was rescinded. What I heard through the rumor mill was that the candidate tried to negotiate salary and management was so taken aback and insulted that they rescinded the offer, even after the candidate tried to back down.

This is obviously concerning to me. If it matters, my organization is a nonprofit, and there’s definitely a culture of considering it an honor to work here and help advance the mission, so… maybe that’s part of what happened? Of course I don’t know what really happened, but the management of my organization has been just screwy enough in the past that it seems possible that the rumor mill is correct. If it is true, how can I handle a salary negotiation without running into a minefield? I don’t want to push too hard on the off chance that management will react really poorly, but I also don’t want to just take what I’m offered and sabotage my own payscale yet again.

Ask your coworkers what their experience has been in trying to negotiate raises. It’s possible that the story you heard wasn’t accurate, or that at least key details weren’t accurate. And even if it was, it’s possible that your company handles internal raise requests differently from salary negotiations with job candidates.

It would obviously be ridiculous for them to function this way, but ask the people who are going to be most likely to know: your coworkers who have been there for a while.

6. Coworker loudly slurps liquids

We have a well educated, middle-aged man in our office who slurps any liquid and loudly! Whether in his cube (his is next to mine), in office meetings or in the lunch room, he slurps! It is not a cultural thing, as I think his family came over on the Mayflower. We’ve tried to say things like, “Gee, that coffee must be really hot” to draw attention to the fact that his slurping is distracting (disgusting, really). He always responds in a hurt voice, like “I wasn’t aware that I was doing that” or “in my house, slurping and burping are signs of good food.” Sorry, it’s really an excuse.

What can I/we do to tell him it’s offensive? Should we take him aside and do it one by one or as a group or ….? What should we say?

Stop hinting and be direct — as is always the answer when you want someone to stop doing something but haven’t yet told them that! The next time it happens, say, “Bob, could you please not slurp your drink? I can hear it over here and it’s very distracting.” If it continues, say, “Bob, I understand that you have different conventions around this, but it bothers me when I’m working and I’d appreciate you reining it in.”

If it continues after that, well, you work with an annoying slurper and will have to live with it. You can’t fix every annoying behavior in the workplace — but you can certainly start by directly asking for what you want.

7. Do I need in-state residency to apply for jobs?

My husband and I are thinking about moving from Michigan to Florida for a couple of years in order for him to attend seminary. We’d both need jobs — part-time for him, full-time for me. My snowbird grandma is adamantly insistent that my husband and I would both need Florida residency — drivers’ licenses, plates for the car, etc. — before we could even interview for jobs. Is this true?

For reasons of convenience and expense, we’d like to maintain our Michigan residency while in Florida, which I’ve always assumed is standard for out-of-state students (and their spouses). Would doing so really impact our ability to find jobs, or (as my grandma insists) our legal employment status? My grandma’s known for her sometimes bizarre opinions, but she was so absolutely dogmatic about this it’s got me wondering.

Your grandmother is wrong. There are certainly some jobs that require in-state residency or an in-state driver’s license (some government jobs, for example), but they’re not the majority, and they’ll make it clear if they require that. In general, you can assume you don’t need it.

{ 103 comments… read them below }

  1. PEBCAK

    #7: You don’t need it, but be aware of what this could mean, tax-wise. You might end up paying more if you owe taxes to both states.

    1. Missy

      There’s no state income tax in Florida, fortunately.

      I lived in Seattle when I was offered a full-time job in Florida, so grandma is absolutely in the wrong.

    2. Sunday's Child

      For #7 – Maybe someone who has relocated to Florida more recently can comment, but I have friends who relocated there for jobs several years ago. One friend told me that they moved into an apartment while they were house-hunting and the apartments charged them higher rent till they could prove they had a job. She actually had to bring in her paystub to prove she was working for a local company. Maybe it’s due to the transient nature of so many people who move to Florida?

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        A lot of apartments make you prove employment before they’ll rent to you, because they want to ensure you’ll be able to pay the rent. They probably charged her more since she was a higher risk. I don’t think it’s a Florida-specific thing though.

    3. Laura L

      You only pay taxes to one state, normally the state where you live. I don’t know how this will play out in the OP’s situation (although I see that Florida has no state income tax), but you will never owe taxes on the same income to more than one state.

  2. Anonymous

    #1 – I disagree, she called, left a message and you returned the call. Now 99% of HR people NEVER EVER answer their phone cuz they are too busy ( too busy to do a fundemental part of their job) and oh too busy to call people back, cause they’re special and don’t confirm to any type of standards, I AM SICK OF THIS! OP you go into that workplace, since you’re passing by and sure, show up. SO WHAT! If’s she busy, doing whatever those people do, then leave a note and give it to the secretary to pass on. If you have the job, it’s not going to be the deal breaker. Only an idiot would blow off a good candidate for something like this. And if you don’t, you have peace of mind, this passive rude behavior by these hiring managers has to stop.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Sorry, but no, that’s not how this works. Her goal is presumably to get the job if she can, not to take a stand on principle. And showing up in person will come across as rude, pushy, intrusive, and showing a lack of understanding of business conventions. Not things that get you hired.

      1. Been There

        “showing up in person will come across as rude, pushy, intrusive, and showing a lack of understanding of business conventions”

        So will ordering “the secretary” around before you even get hired.

    2. fposte

      And if she drops by, leaves a note, and never hears back, I don’t see her getting any more peace of mind anyway.

    3. EnnVeeEl

      “Anonymous” – Do you think anyone stupid and rude enough to do what they did to OP will have any type of insight into their actions, attitude and behaviors by the the OP showing up?

      I agree they are an idiot and probably incapable of change. These kinds of people go their entire lives being this way. And it just gets worse with age.

      I think the OP might have dodged a bullet. Sometimes these things, as frustrating and angering as it is, happen for a reason.

      1. some1

        I really don’t think we have enough to go on to conclude the hiring manager is “stupid and rude”. Maybe she is out due to illness or a death in the family. Maybe she is swamped, and given that we know the start date is a couple months out, her biggest priority might be other things.

      2. Katie the Fed

        How are they stupid and rude? OP didn’t return a call for 2 days. Is that stupid/rude? It might come across a tad flaky…

      3. Penny

        Um, wow, am I missing something? The OP called Friday and Monday and didn’t hear back asap, so that’s rude? I’m in HR and I’m crazy busy all day. I’m in and out of my office, meeting with managers, calling the multitude of candidates I deal with on a daily basis (because you aren’t the only one), trying to get reports done, working with other departments on improving recruitment methods, posting jobs on various boards, screening the tons of resumes that come in and whatever other things get added to my plate that day. So yeah, I’d probably be a little irritated by a drop by when it’s likely I already have something scheduled. And for the last two days I’ve been in training that lasted all day with a few short breaks where I could only return a few messages or emails. And, sorry, but I do have a life and want to get home eventually.

        Who knows why she’s MIA, some offices are closed on Fridays or maybe she took the day off, maybe she was sick or her kid is sick, maybe she’s out of town on business or in meetings or training.

        Trust me, I’ve been there recently and I get what candidates are feeling. But being irate at not hearing back right away or getting your way will only make it worse because it will reflect in your attitude.

    4. Anonymous

      Why do we expect that the OP should get the benefit of the doubt (OP didn’t call back for 2 days because the phone was malfunctioning) but you yell (CAPS=YELL) at the HR/Hiring Manager because the call wasn’t returned immediately? Why not give them the benefit of the doubt?

      And yes some people are rude. In the world some people are rude, but being rude back rarely changes their minds and sometimes the best thing you can do is move onto the next person and try to not add to the population of rude?

    5. nyxalinth

      Hey Anonymous, I know how you feel. Job hunting gets really stressful and frustrating, even moreso when hiring managers or recruiters disappear into oblivion, never to be heard from again. It’s happened to me so much that I’m genuinely surprised when I hear from someone again. It’s okay to rant and vent. But eventually, you just have to put it aside and move on. Sometimes job hunting is like dating: you meet someone whom you think is perfect for you, but they find someone else, or just vanish, or had some kind of behind the scenes crazy going on and you’ve dodged a bullet. But also like dating, eventually you’ll find the job that while it isn’t perfect, it’s great.

      Don’t carry this with you. Drop it, before others see it in your face and words and actions. It’s insidious, and it will creep in, believe me.

      1. Natalie

        And, like dating, it’s not a wise move to attempt to pressure that person you think is perfect for you into going on another date.

        1. tcookson

          Or to adopt an attitude of bitterness toward the opposite sex (or HR/hiring managers) because of it . . . that will scare people off, regardless of whether you think the bitterness is justified by experience.

    6. VictoriaHR

      To clarify – a “hiring manager” and “HR people” are two separate entities. In my place of business, for example, I am the recruiter and my team is completely separate from HR, although I have an HR certification. Once a candidate has gone through the recruitment process, which includes me schedule interviews with the hiring manager (i.e. the supervisor for which the candidate would be working), and once that person has been hired, THEN the information goes on to HR to process the paperwork. HR makes no hiring decisions whatsoever.

      Now, at some companies, the HR person is also the recruitment person, and in that case, the HR person would be the point of contact for all job candidates, but the person making the hiring decision is still 99.9% likely to be a separate person who is unrelated to HR (unless, of course, it’s an HR position you’re applying for).

      In this case, we don’t know if it’s the HR person or the actual hiring manager that the OP was dealing with. In the case of a hiring manager, well, they’re friggin’ busy. They have other duties, usually supervising people, that take up 90% of their time, and interviewing job candidates is not their top priority.

    7. Oxford Comma

      If applicants were to stop by here to talk to me in person about a search, it would seriously tank their chances. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is. Stopping by is stalkerish and it indicates the applicant is totally disrespectful of me.

  3. Anna

    #7: The Florida DMV specifically says that if you reside in Florida for more than six consecutive months or accept employment in the state of Florida, you are a Florida resident and have to register your car in Florida and get a Florida driver’s license. I’m sure there are some exceptions (for example, if you were your parents’ legal dependent, but attended school out of state and went home to your parents’ home over breaks, you might be in a different situation; but if you’re married and earn taxable income, you can’t be your parents’ dependent). However, I think you should consult an attorney before assuming that they would apply to you as a married adult with a full-time job, just because your husband is in graduate school.

    I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that you don’t get to decide where you want to be a resident of; doing certain things defines you as a resident of a certain place. If you’re getting a place to live and a job in Florida, you live in Florida, and you’ll have to change your driver’s license or risk all sorts of nasty consequences. That has nothing to do with whether or not you can apply for jobs in Florida; lots of people (including me, several times) interview for and are offered jobs in other states and then move and establish residency in the new state only after we’ve accepted the new jobs. Your grandmother is wrong, but I think that you’re also wrong to think that once you do get a new job and move to Florida, you can continue to consider yourself a legal resident of a place you no longer live.

    http://www.dmvflorida.org/moving-to-florida.shtml

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think that’s typical in most states, but that’s between the OP and the DMV and state tax agency. It’s not something that is going to impact her ability to apply for or be hired for jobs, or impact her employment status. The grandmother seems to be thinking of something more like immigration law, where you need a particular residency status to work legally, but it’s not the case here.

      (Most states also make exceptions to their residency requirements for students, but again, it’s not going to impact their employment status either way.)

      1. Anna

        I agree that having an out-of-state driver’s license will not impact her ability to interview for or obtain a job. The reason I pointed out the problem is that getting a hefty fine–and possibly even a criminal charge, depending on how strict the local laws are–for driving an improperly registered vehicle without a valid driver’s license would presumably affect the OP’s ability to keep that job and use the money from it to support her household. I figured that if I could save someone that hassle, I’d try to help.

        (Most states’ residency exceptions for students apply to students who are also dependents on a parent’s tax return. (I should know; I’m a student who is not a dependent, and I had to figure out where to pay taxes on my meager part-time income. The answer is, if you’re an adult who is not the dependent of another adult, you’re a resident of the place where you actually reside, regardless of how you spend your time while residing there.))

        1. Tom

          FWIW, I am a Michigan resident and lived in Florida for a period. Alison is right that employers won’t worry during your interview about where your driver’s license is issued. But Florida does require people who live there for more than six months or those who take employment in the state to get a Florida driver’s license and register their cars.

          It’s really not a big deal at all. Other than the sometimes long wait at the DMV, it’s practically painless. And it’s just as easy to transfer back to Michigan when you move back. In fact, one of the few things I liked about moving back was how much more efficient the Michigan Secretary of State office is.

          1. Ash

            Michigan is the same way, w/r/t the six months’ residency thing. If you live here for more than six months, you need to change over your plates and license, the only exception being out-of-state college students.

          2. the gold digger

            In Miami, you can make an appointment to get your license. It was the only efficient government operation I saw when I was there. (As in, you’ll need to take an entire afternoon off work to get your license plates and to get your car inspected. Although maybe things have changed since I was there. I hope so.)

        2. Waiting Patiently

          Like everyone else has said, it’s not going to be a huge problem. Sometimes it takes a while to establish residency depending on the situation. Ive moved a couple of times and at times dragged my feet on getting my license switched over because of pita wait times at dmv’s.I was even pulled over twice for speeding well after. Both times the cops gave me a warning concerning hurrying up to get my reg and dl’s switched over. After the second stop I did go to the dmv the very next day.
          Now my neighbors across the street split their time between here and Mass. In my last neighborhood their was an older couple who had a house in Florida. My ex worked in 3 different States in this tri-state area.

          1. Waiting Patiently

            *In my situation I was clearly a resident. The cop did ask me some questions about residency. My neighbors have MA tags and are only here during the warmer months….so im sure if they got pulled over they would be fine in regards to residency. Same with my ex if he got pulled over in another state he worked but didn’t reside. Taxes on the other hand is a nightmare!

        3. Slave

          It’s not really that big of a deal though. Yes, the law states you must register your car and get your driver’s license within x number of days, but those rules are widely ignored, especially in Florida with so many people who reside here part time. Not saying that is right, but that’s how it is. If you get pulled over, you may get fined. I’m a rule follower too, it’s my job to enforce policies and procedures, but breaking this law doesn’t even raise an eyebrow.

      2. Hate My Company

        Not entirely true. Florida is weird. According to Florida DMV, you are a resident of Florida if you accept employment in Florida! From aforementioned website:

        You Have 30 Days

        Florida law requires that you get a Florida drivers license within 30 days of becoming a resident of Florida. You are a resident if you do one of the following:

        Enroll your children in a Florida public school
        Accept employment
        Register to Vote
        File for a homestead exemption
        Reside in Florida for more than six consecutive months

      3. Victoria Nonprofit

        My mother-in-law had the same concern when I moved to Pennsylvania. But her rationale was that somehow employers would think that I wasn’t committed to stating there if I used my old cell phone number or hadn’t yet changed my drivers license (how they would even know about that during the application phase, I don’t know). She was adamant that by not becoming a formal resident of Pennsylvania was getting in the way of getting interviews. This grandma sounds similar.

        (I did end up getting a Google Voice number, although I’m pretty sure nobody cares about your cell phone number when you have a local address.)

        1. Sunshine DC

          Re: Cell phone number, most people (at least in my professional and personal worlds) these days keep their personal cellphone numbers wherever they move. My colleagues who live in the same 20 mile radius have cell numbers with area codes representing at least 10 states. Of course, getting a Google Voice number can be great, but even there its often true that there are (for some states, regions or cities) there are NO numbers currently available.

    2. The IT Manager

      I was coming here to say the same thing as everyone else. It doesn’t affect your job search, but you cannot decide not to be a resident of the state you reside in because it’s more convenient for you even if you plan to live there for only two years.
      For husband as a student may be exempt, but as a spouse you will probably not be.

      FYI: Military members (but not always their spouses) can often do what you’re talking about as can students still claimed by their parents as dependents but usually not independent adults.

      Why do you even want to do this? You’ll have to figure out how to renew your driver’s license, car tags, register to vote absentee, get your Florida job to pay your Michigan state taxes on your income. Michigan may not legally allow this either.

    3. The IT Manager

      Can we all just have a laugh now? #7 didn’t ask the question, but the answer is “No, your plan to remain a resident of Michigan while living and working in Florida is NOT LEGAL.”

      1. Sunshine DC

        Unless OP maintains 2 residences and spends the greater number of days in Michigan during the course of a year (where they vote, maintain banking, etc.) then Florida will be their legal second residence!

    4. Ellie H.

      Plenty of states “require” that you establish residency and imply that you risk consequences, but so extremely few people do this and never suffer any consequences. I lived in Texas for over a year and never changed my MA license. My friend has lived in MA for 3 years and just switched from a DE license only because he had to renew it. Very few people switch licenses until they have to when it expires.

  4. Tasha

    #6, Just as a thing, he might not be able to help the slurping. There are plenty of people who for some reason or another consume food and drink noisily. I’m one of those people to be honest and if I took as slowly as it takes to not make any noise while eating, it would take me several hours to finish even a tiny snack or drink. Coffee would be stone cold and hot would would be tepid. I do try to minimize but there is only so much one can do about it before it turns into your can’t eat and drink at work like everyone else. You totally can ask him to stop but bear in mind it might not be something he can control without having to not drink anything at work which would be just as annoying as you listening to his slurping (potentially).

      1. fposte

        Eh–as someone who’s inclined to slurp myself, I’d say it’s a learned habit that we can overcome with focus, and that our desire to have hot tea doesn’t override the impoliteness of noisy drinking.

        1. Lily

          If your lips don’t meet over your teeth, you have to eat with your mouth open, which is pretty noisy too. Not everyone has the opportunity to get treated by an orthodontist, especially people who grow up in a war zone. And it is not that obvious physically.

          1. Waiting Patiently

            My bf bites frozen yogurt/ ice cream and eats it like he’s eating something crunchy. At first I thought he was shivering because it’s cold.. nope. I can hear his teeth chattering. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was munching on chips… But then again im hypersensitive to sound…so people eating is a huge distraction for me.

          2. fposte

            Sure, if there’s a physical bar to your chewing with your mouth closed, etiquette exempts you. But the fact that you’ve never developed the habit or you can drink your beverages hotter if you slurp doesn’t meet the same standard. It also doesn’t mean they shouldn’t ask Bob to stop slurping on the off chance his lips can’t meet, because that’s actually pretty rare and slurping is pretty common.

      2. FiveNine

        I worked next to an otherwise lovely young woman who ate and drank at her desk All. Day. Long. She never stopped. I am being 100 percent serious. And for some reason, she slurped everything, she ate everything making a borderline obscene amount of noise. And to top it off, we have a huge, lovely, bright and comfortable lunch room that she flat-out refused to go to, ever. It was beyond rude. More than one person did have to say something to her. I believe it is entirely fair for coworkers to ask another to reign it in — really, the desk is for work, not for eating and drinking at all day long.

        1. Dana

          I really need to know what ended up happening. Did she stop after you all talked to her? How did she take it? Inquiring minds want to know.

          1. FiveNine

            Honestly, it was appalling that coworkers had to finally approach her — it’s actually much harder for coworkers to approach another about something like this than the person on the receiving end might think. (Frankly, it’s extreme when a coworker this disruptive, and you bet there was a lot of agonizing before, during, and after she was approached about how to handle it delicately).

            She did begin to reign in how much noise she made, as well as how many full meals and snacks she ate at the desk. (What’s really bizarre is that when she came to the job she’d told coworkers that at her former job there was “a crank who had complained about her eating at her desk.”)

            But she apparently was someone who just was clueless/innocently ignorant (?) about how much non-work-noise she made. (For some reason non-work-related noise is so distracting, as opposed to taking work-related calls or engaging in work-related conversations, for example). She was approached separately about this, too.

            At that point coworkers discussed this with the manager, who (1) wanted to know if we’d tried working this out with the coworker first and then (2) proceeded not to do anything about it that anyone knew of. (Coworkers took it to the manager at this stage because it was clear that it a third approach would be overkill on all sides, and that if it were necessary it really should be handled by a manager at that point instead).

            But somebody did hit a breaking point when one day she wore a giant mettalic bracelet of some sort that she clanged against the desk with every half-second type on the keypad. I know this sounds ridiculously trite, but try clanging anything against the desk every second and see how long you’d be able to concentrate. The coworker went to her and said simply, “Coworker — you’re bracelet …” And didn’t have to say anything more, the young woman immediately knew what the issue was, immediately took off the bracelet. But then went into full Silent Treatment mode, not looking at the coworker who had approached her this fateful third time, not speaking to the coworker, not responding to any of the work-related emails, etc.

            It was exactly what we had feared: The third time was too much. The issue should have been addressed by the manager before that point.

            As it happens, the young woman has since moved on to another employer. She’s extremely talented, but unless she has an office of her own where she can close the door, there’s no reason to think her track record of disruptive noise isn’t going to carry over to a third set of coworkers. I’ve honestly never encountered anything quite like it in 25 years and until having experienced it would never have guessed how disruptive it really can be.

            1. Slave

              Thanks for telling the rest of the story! I am super curious and puzzled by folks who make lots of noise. I just cannot understand it.

            2. Dana

              Thank you for sharing!
              I can only imagine how difficult a conversation that was to have with said co-worker, perhaps just one notch below we’d like you to start wearing deorderant.

    1. Anonicorn

      I’m genuinely confused about not being able to help it. When I slurp, I’m trying to draw in the beverage by sucking at the edge of my cup, versus simply allowing the beverage to enter my mouth when I don’t slurp. (Ugh, that description sounds gross. Sorry.)

      What makes someone unable to stop the former or unable to do the latter? Or maybe a non-slurper just can’t understand.

      1. FiveNine

        With allowing for extremely rare exceptions, I would agree. It’s like saying someone is unable to control unwrapping snacks in crinkly paper or bags. Of course the bags are going to make noise. It doesn’t mean you continue to stick your hand in then munch munch munch and stick your hand in again. Maybe you pour out what you want on a plate, or whatever. But come on.

        1. Dana

          YES! This is such a pet peeve of mine.

          It’s like how there is always one guy at the movie theatre who eats his popcorn one kernal at a time that he’s ramdomly selected from the very bottom of the bucket. I’m pretty sure this is the same guy that shakes his soda around before drinking and rubs his straw agains the plastic lid playing it like a slide whistle.

          I’m going to start an awareness campaign through my new non-profit: People United Against Moisty Noises.

          1. Ellie H.

            I am a shaker before drinker! I don’t think I do it excessively but am definitely going to be aware of it from now on and try to avoid doing it in any confined quiet place. The purpose is to get the beverage equally distributed to be as cold as possible from the ice – usually iced coffee.

      2. fposte

        I think it’s more relevant to the chewing–there are people with very short upper lips and/or an overbite whose lips really don’t meet or only meet with considerable effort, so you can’t really do the classic “chew with your mouth closed.” The mouth seal can help a lot with something like soup, too, where it’s brought into the mouth via spoon; as you note, though, when you drink from a cup, you generally tip the stuff in, so slurping isn’t a lack of mouth seal but a habit of aerating (that’s why it cools stuff) as you intake.

      3. Tasha

        I have a very slight nasal cavity which makes it hard to breathe just through my nose. This means I have to stop breathing while eating or drinking, particularly to do it quietly. I also have some mouth arrangement issues which cause noises despite drinking as some suggest or trying to eat carefully. When it takes me two to three hours to drink a single cup of tea quietly and is insanely frustrating the entire time, it feels entirely not worth it. I can try to minimize it but I really don’t want to spend all day concentrating on a single drink or all day on my lunch. I understand physical issues can be a minority but treating a person like it can’t be anything except a habit that obviously can be changed immediately really isn’t helpful to anyone. Also I don’t get why someone’s preference for a more silent workplace should outweigh someone getting to use a workplace benefit like eating or drinking at their desk.

        1. fposte

          Because, as we discuss here periodically, work is for working and not for eating and drinking. Non-work things are only okay as long as they don’t interfere with work being done. This does.

          (When you’re sipping a beverage, you don’t breathe at all, through nose *or* mouth, while you’re taking the liquid in, so it doesn’t make any difference whether you normally breathe through nose or mouth. That’s another reason why I think it’s often a habit that people don’t realize can be different–they don’t realize that other people aren’t relying on different anatomy, they’re just not breathing in while they’re taking liquid in.)

          1. KellyK

            Honestly, unless you have either a very short workday (four hours, max) or a long enough break to eat somewhere else (and a “somewhere else” to do that, whether it’s a break room or whatever), eating and drinking are work functions, because they allow you to be able to keep working.

            Sure, people should make an effort to minimize noise while they’re eating and drinking. But I don’t think someone who’s tried and failed, repeatedly, at eating quietly should be expected to take a two-hour lunch break or never have a drink of water at their desk.

            1. Jamie

              I agree with fposte’s point though, in that no one breaths and drinks simultaneously. The epiglottis prevents food/drink from going down one’s trachea – so the argument that one can’t eat/drink while breathing isn’t logical…because no one can.

              Maybe I just am not understanding, but since no one can drink and breathe simultaneously I’m not sure what the problem is. And maybe a straw would help. Even the most noisy drinkers tend to be quieter through straws – ime – as long as they remember to stop before the dregs at the bottom.

              1. fposte

                Taking food and drink in is such a basic thing, with its balance of tongue and breathing and windpipe and esophagus, that it can be really hard to realize there are different ways to do it than the way you’re used to. It’s almost like the pronunciation thing we’ve discussed here sometimes. I didn’t learn the non-slurp as a kid, and it was quite a revelation to me to figure it out as an adult; it’s still a conscious effort for me. Things don’t seem to taste quite as good unslurped–there’s a reason even aside from pretension that they “aerate” in wine tastings–but that’s not really a reason to make my co-workers suffer.

                1. Jamie

                  Hmmm – I’ve never slurped so I can’t vouch for the taste difference, but I will swear that all food tastes better on from plastic flat ware.

                  I know it’s ridiculous – it doesn’t taste bad from stainless or silver ware – but it’s just so much yummier and more decadent from a plastic spoon.

                  This is why I am so seldom asked for entertaining advice.

            2. fposte

              I don’t think it has to be that cut and dried, but there are plenty of workplaces where you can’t drink or eat while you’re on the job–it’s not a physical hazard to go without, it’s just a popular custom. The underlying point isn’t that slurpers (as I note, I tend to be one) should be beaten with sticks, it’s that there is indeed a priority of non-slurping over work-disturbing slurping in the workplace, and right there is a good reason to try to see if you can change your habit a little (like–if it’s a problem only with hot liquids, then stick to cold at your desk).

    2. VictoriaHR

      My husband slurps his cereal every morning, it’s just an ingrained habit. If I tell him to knock it off, he eats it more quietly. I would think that it’s more likely that the slurper is just used to it and doesn’t want to change or make the effort to change.

    3. Anonymous

      Sometimes I make noise when I eat or drink, but it’s because I have allergies and sometimes can’t breathe through my nose, so it’s hard to keep my mouth closed at those times, because I have to breathe. Of course sometimes I’m so congested you can hear me breathe!

      I however try very hard not to do this around people. I find it annoying when I can hear myself eat or drink (slurp or munch) in this way, so I understand why other people would find it annoying.

  5. EvilInTraining

    For #3 and #4, I would suggest doing a skills-based resume. They’re easier to read and highlight the important points.

    1. Amy

      I, on the other hand, would recommend against that. As a hiring manager, I always assume that people using anything other than a chronological format are covering up something. I absolutely do not find them easier to read, and they make me more likely to reject a candidate, because I assume that there’s something seriously wrong with their experience and background that they’re trying to hide.

  6. Melissa

    #7 If your grandmother was right, I would have NEVER been able to get a job. Ever! I’m an Army spouse who has moved 10 times in 20 years. I maintain state residency in TN, but I’ve been employed in every single state we’ve lived in … and oh by the way, my car is tagged in TN, my license is from GA and I live in PA.

  7. B

    #6 – Sometimes, as a pp stated, it cannot be helped. My father chews with his mouth open. I find it to be quite yucky but unless he does that he can’t breathe while eating.

    You have made him aware of it and he has already told you that is how he eats. Maybe there is an underlying cause he does not wish to discuss or maybe it just is how he eats. But I would not make a big case out of it.

    This is also coming from someone who sits next to a tongue clicker and slurper – grates on my nerves but that’s just how she is. Sometimes in an open environment you just have to deal.

    1. Anonymous

      Also, she said he sounds “hurt” when he responds. Give the poor guy a break! You can’t have everyone’s habits adjusted to your needs all the time.

      1. Cat

        +1. Some people are going to have habits that annoy you; such is life. (Personally, this is why I sometimes listen to music while I’m working, though I know that’s not feasible in all jobs.)

      2. LMW

        I agree. Sometimes people have annoying habits and you just have to deal with it. You’ve already hurt his feelings once by complaining about something that is a personal habit and has nothing to do with his work (unless he drinks in front of clients or something, which I don’t see in the letter). The only thing you’ll do is alienate a coworker.

        1. the gold digger

          Yes, but it is a personal habit that I think most of us would consider rude. I do think that when we are in a common workplace without walls, we have an obligation to minimize our bad/rude/noisy habits that might bother other people.

          1. Anonymous

            Yep. Nothing makes me happier than chewing ice which I do in my car, alone. In my office with the door closed, alone. At home alone. Just because it makes me happy and is my favorite personal habit doesn’t mean other people should be subjected to the truly awful accompanying sounds.

            Unless there is a physical deformity of the mouth by which the only way a person can take in liquids makes noise this is one of those things people really need to conform to societal standards of table (desk) manners.

            1. Just me...

              Yay you for keeping that personal and private! A few years back my husband was working in a cube farm where a co-worker chewed ice ALL. DAY. LONG. Every day. From the moment she arrived until the moment she left. He just went bat-sh*t crazy and I had to let him vent every night…I think I was more happy than he was when he found a new job.

              1. Nikki

                Funny, my coworker just *stopped* chewing ice. Apparently, severe iron deficiency makes you crave ice. She just started getting infusions….

          2. LMW

            Oh, I completely agree with that. (Heck, I’ve even written in about a noisy coworker!)
            I do think that there is a very fine line here though – often people are more rude in pointing out these habits than the habits are themselves. That’s why we see these questions so often – it’s so difficult to do well! Essentially, you are pointing out a flaw in someone else, and I think that you should always think really carefully about whether or not it’s worth it to do so.
            I think the OP has handled the situation appropriately so far. But if this man knows he does it (and the letter indicates that he understood the hints), and he seems hurt when it’s mentioned, to me that signals that they’ve taken as far as they can politely and to go further risks making the coworker feel embarrassed or belittled over something they might not be able to do anything about. If they hadn’t ever mentioned it at all, I’d definitely agree with the direct approach. But since they have…maybe it’s time to learn to deal.

            Of course, it’s entirely possible that I’ve worked with too many delicate flowers and it’s tinted my perspective.

            1. fposte

              This one is really basic table manners stuff, though; I think for things that are general breaches and not just personal annoyances (sorry, pen-clicking-haters) you get a little more request room. I agree that some people are really bad at making those requests and that it’s not worth it to keep hounding him, but this sounds like they weren’t so much mean as insufficiently direct.

      3. Ann O'Nemity

        “You can’t have everyone’s habits adjusted to your needs all the time.”

        Um, the issue is that the slurper is forcing everyone else to adjust to his habit.

      4. Jamie

        You can’t have everyone’s habits adjusted to your needs all the time.

        Of course not – that’s why standards of etiquette and manners exist. It’s what society as a whole has decided is appropriate for public behavior – because if everyone indulged their own personal habits and preferences in public people would be in conflict all the time. Standards of behavior work as a social lubricant.

    2. Christine

      Ahh tongue-clicking is right at the top of my list of sounds that takes me to a whole different level of crazy. Ever since grammar school when the kids would do it to get a rise out of me.

      1. tcookson

        Gah! I have a co-worker who, when entering a room, will suck her front teeth noisily to announce her presence without having to say anything . . . that, or clear her throat loudly. The throat-clearing doesn’t bother me too much (it drives another co-worker crazy), but the teeth-sucking drives me slap out of my mind!

        One of my friend/coworkers who knows how much I hate the teeth-sucking came into my office once and did it as a joke, and to this day she still laughs at the dirty look I shot her.

  8. Amanda

    #5 – ugh, I’m sorry. I’ve come across that attitude at nonprofits before. “We don’t do this for the money! Be grateful you’re being paid at all!” I’ve been stonewalled in salary negotiations and once spent 6 months waiting for a promised (in writing) raise while the operations manager (who made six figures) complained about me having been granted it in the first place. Much as I love the work, even with graduate degrees, professional certifications, tons of professional development and committee service, and being darn good at my job, I will only ever just scrape by.

    1. AP

      I once had a boss tell me that our staff assistant should be paying HIM for the opportunity to learn from him and make connections and have our company name on his resume.

    1. AG

      Agreed. All legalities aside, no company is going to check your residency before you move. My first job out of school was what finally prompted me to change my drivers license to that state because the job required it (I occasionally had to drive company vehicles) but I don’t think my employer would have cared otherwise.

      Then again, having a local address and phone number *can* be useful when applying.

  9. some1

    #2: Please stop calling companies asking for a hiring manager’s name, for the reasons Allison stated. If a company wants you to address your resume to a specific individual, they will instruct you to do so in the job listing.

    1. Anonymous

      Our professors had drilled this into us that it was unacceptable to address a cover letter to “Dear ABC Inc” or “Dear HR”, etc. They told us to contact the company and get their name, proper salutation, etc.

      It was refreshing when a recruiter finally told me it was okay to address it to “ABC Inc” or “Hiring Manager”, etc. It was a relief because I’d spent a lot of wasted time tracking down names of hiring managers!

  10. Kay

    With regards to #2.

    I always wonder how much hiring managers are influenced by the trends in resume writing and application processes. In this case, it is pretty prevalent advice to “never” address your cover letter to hiring managers, and I wonder if that makes hiring managers care more.

    I guess for me, before I started hiring and redoing resumes and everything I wouldn’t have cared that much about having an “objective” at the top (I would have thought it was wasted space, but nothing more). Now it makes me wonder about how current the candidates skills are.

    I’m sorry if this comment isn’t that coherent, I had a hard time putting it into words. -_-

    1. fposte

      No, I know what you mean–that stuff they don’t inherently care about raises an eyebrow because they know that it’s not actually best current practice. I think that’s likely too.

  11. Receptionist

    This is random, but does anyone know what OP #7 meant by a “snowbird grandmother?” I thought it was a cute term, but I don’t know what it means.

    1. The IT Manager

      A snowbird is someone from the U.S. Northeast, U.S. Midwest, Pacific Northwest, or Canada who spends a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as Florida.

      Meaning her grandma is snowbird.

  12. Anonymous

    I relocated to Florida in 2006 and have worked in HR and staffing here. I would add that although it isn’t necessary for you to have a driver’s license and residency in Florida to interview for positions, it is a good idea to give the impression that you are already in the state. Employers here receive resumes from all of the the country of folks who are daydreaming about sunshine and palm trees who may not be actually willing to relocate on their own dime. Recruiters often refuse to consider candidates from the northern states in favor of local candidates. Maybe you could use your grandmother’s address on the resume, or simply omit your address and just include a telephone number and email address.

  13. OP #5

    Thanks–that’s actually pretty reassuring! I’ve talked to several coworkers who are afraid to ask for raises, but none (that I know of) who have been fired for asking for a raise. And a couple who have recently gotten good raises, although they’re all in development and I’m on the programmatic side… But since I have a pretty clear idea of how I’ll be bringing value to the organization in this new position, my guess is I’ll probably be fine.

  14. Joey

    #5. I’ve done this- retracted a job offer because of “crazy” demands. The key though is that they were truly so far out there, so unreasonable, and the candidate was so ugly about it that I felt it was a warning sign. As long as you remain professional and aren’t in the “crazy” category you should be fine.

  15. Joey

    #6. Stop being a wimp and tell him its annoying. And don’t do it as a group. He’ll feel like you’re ganging up on him. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Why is it so hard to just come out and say what you mean?

  16. Penny

    #2, Seriously, I don’t care how you’re cover letter is addressed as long as it’s not, “Hey you”. Honestly, I probably won’t even look at that part.

    #6, eww, did he really say slurping and burbing is a sign of good food?? It’s one thing if he doesn’t realize it, but if he does and just doesn’t care how you feel about it, then be upfront. Tell him in you’re house it was a sign of bad manners or that this isn’t his house and you consider it disrespectful and distracting.

    #7, that kinda made me laugh. As long as you’re US citizens, I see no problem. Not having a local address could make it HARDER to find a job because companies usually want to hire locally. And having state plates usually becomes a legal requirement after a certain amount of residency in state I believe.

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