how to steal an employee, out-of-control yawning, and more

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

1. How do I poach someone from another employer?

I work for a real estate company and we would like to hire an amazing blogger to work full-time providing interesting content for our website, but it has been difficult finding a good fit. There is a guy who writes a real estate blog for a local newspaper and we think he seems great. We would like to reach out to him and see if he might be interested in coming to work for us.

Now, how do we do this in a nice, professional way? I don’t know how to phrase an email that’s basically saying that we would like to steal him away from his current employer. Should we make that clear right away or is it better to ask to meet with him and explain what we’re looking for face to face? We have never been in contact with him before, only read his articles.

Well, assuming that you’re not going to snatch him off the street and force him into a van, you’re not really proposing stealing him from his employer. He’s a free agent who is going to make his own employment decisions. So instead, what you’re doing is telling him that you think you might have work that would interest him — from there, it’s up to him to decide whether to take with you about it and, ultimately, whether to accept any offer you might make.

I’d be straightforward about what you’re looking for though; if you’re circumspect, it can seem misleading. Just email him, tell him that you love his work, and say that you’d love to talk with him about a position you’re hiring for if he might be interested. Describe the position a little bit, and ask if he’d be interested in meeting to talk further. (By the way, do a thorough interview — don’t just offer him the job if he seems interested. You really don’t know enough yet to know if he’s your guy, and even if you did, most good candidates will be put off if a company seems willing to hire them without any due diligence to check into fit, skills, etc.)

2. Asking an intern to curb his out-of-control yawning

I have a 21-year-old intern who yawns. A lot. In all types of meetings. 1:1s, groups, new hire orientations, etc. And it isn’t the kind of yawn most people do (covered mouth, unobtrusive, minimized, embarassed). It is a jaw-disconnecting, mouth WIDE open, cavity-baring, arms stretched wide, crack your back kind of yawn.

In other bad habit news, I have already told him to stop 1) arriving late, 2) biting his nails like there is a meal under the cuticle, and 3) speaking at the top of his lungs, so I have held back from being too direct about this remaining habit. I don’t want him to report back to people that I am really picky, intimidating or demanding about his personal habits. These things can backfire.

What I have done is:
-Stopped speaking while he is arching his back/grabbing oxygen, waited until he finished, then asked “Are you OK?”
-Commented “My, you really need to get to sleep early tonight I guess.”
-Given him the arched eyebrow / stank eye combo stare

I am considering throwing paperclips at his gaping mouth the next time and see if I hit his tonsils. Any advice?

Just tell him. He’s an intern. He’s there to learn how to behave professionally in the workplace. You can certainly acknowledge that this is yet another on the list of things you’re asking him to change: “I know I’ve already asked you to modify some other habits, but there’s one more I’m hoping you’ll work on, and hey, this is part of the deal with internships; you learn how to come across professionally in an office.”

3. HR said their job offer is utterly non-negotiable

I have been offered a job that I would love to take. An HR rep just called me to discuss the details of the offer. I asked her who I should reach out to if I were to negotiate the offer. She said it’s impossible, no part of the offer is negotiable. I asked for 2 to 3 days to review the offer, and even then she pushed me to accept it on the spot. I did not cave in and said I was looking forward to receiving a written offer in email today so I could review it and get back to her on Monday.

I haven’t seen all the details of the offer yet, but I am pretty happy with the salary. I am getting very generous vacation time with my current employer, so I was hoping my new employer could match that. Following your advice, I was going to negotiate both my salary and my vacation time. So far, the HR of the company has been handling the process, but the hiring manager called me yesterday to extend the offer. I am not sure if I can negotiate it, and if I can, which one of them do I talk to? As soon as I mentioned negotiation, the HR rep changed the tone of her voice and said the offer was not negotiable and they had candidates lined up for this job. What do you think? Do you think I could still talk to the hiring manager?

Talk to the hiring manager. The HR person sounds like an ass. Say, “Jane told me no parts of this offer are negotiable, and frankly I’m happy with the salary, but it would be difficult for me to walk away from the X weeks of vacation I’m getting with my current employer. Is there any flexibility there?”

I’m not going to tell you there’s no risk of them pulling the offer, given the HR person’s crappy approach. There is. That wouldn’t be reasonable at all, but it does happen. So you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to take that risk or whether you’d just take the job without the extra vacation time.

4. Can I pass a resume along to a hiring manager who rejected me last year?

A former colleague reached out to me recently to ask if I might know anyone at an organization where she has recently applied for a job. She has already gone through the standard application submission there, but is hoping that a personal contact also putting her resume in front of someone there would be more likely to result in a favorable response.

I interviewed at this same organization last year. Although I did not get the job, I did have a nice rapport with the hiring manager who interviewed me. I have not been in touch with this hiring manager since finding out I did not get the job, but things were left cordially. This is not likely to be the same hiring manager for the job my former colleague is applying for.

Would it be strange for me to reach out to the hiring manager who interviewed me with a note that I was passing on the resume of my former colleague, that she had recently applied for X position there, and that I think she would be a strong candidate? (Assuming the last part is true — I have a favorable opinion of the candidate but haven’t seen the job description yet).

I would like to help my former colleague if I can, but I also don’t want to commit a professional faux pas with this hiring manager, as he could potentially be a useful contact for my own future job searches.

Nope, not strange. You’re treating the hiring manager like any other professional contact, so this is normal and fine to do.

5. Can my manager keep me off the schedule if HR told them to put me back to work?

Can a store manager legally keep you off the schedule once Human Resources specifically tells them to put you back to work? Even if they have someone taking extra shifts to work in your place? Is there a grace period? What can I do?

Yes, a manager can keep you off the schedule. There’s no law telling them that they have to obey HR’s directive (unless HR’s directives are themselves about following the law, like “don’t pay employees under the table”).

6. Can employer make us listen to a talk during our break?

I have had this issue with my employer for the past year. They tried to kill two birds with one stone by having a rep from a charitable organization talk to us during our 15-minute break. Can they do this? I’m in Texas.

Yep, as long as it’s a paid break. Texas doesn’t require that employees be given breaks at all, so if they give them to you, they can require you to use them however they want. However, if it’s an unpaid break, they can’t dictate what you do with that time.

7. My boss found me on LinkedIn

My issue is that my boss just found me on LinkedIn. And I’ve been job hunting for a while. I only joined LinkedIn earlier this year, so I’m not super familiar with profile editing, and I haven’t spent much time on it since setup. When I saw she had requested to connect, of course, I immediately went about trying to edit out any detailed resume information or any of the “contact me for” section. Honestly, I’m still paranoid that there may be something incriminating (job hunt wise) that I missed in my edits.

I’ve heard that one of the golden rules of LinkedIn and job hunting is: don’t friend anyone you currently work with–and I haven’t. However, I’m also afraid that if I don’t do anything (or hit the ignore button), things may quickly become awkward around my very small workplace.

I think you’re way over-thinking this. It’s very normal to be on LinkedIn, even when you’re not job searching, and it’s also normal to connect with people you work with. There’s no reason she’ll assume you’re actively searching just because you have a profile there.

{ 86 comments… read them below }

  1. short geologist*

    For #7, you may want to check out linkedin to see how common it is for other folks in your organization to also be on it. If you’re in a large company, maybe you don’t want to be the only person on it. But I think that would be EXTREMELY unlikely.

    If you have any sort of marketing/business development role, then linkedin is a no brainer.

    I have a technical role, with no business development/marketing expectations. I have 9 linkedin connections who are folks I’m currently working with. I just went on linkedin to check this number and found a new invitation from a coworker. The connections include the company president, people at my level, and my supervisor. I have no intention of leaving this job (which is awesome! yay!) in the near future.

    I think at this point, having a linkedin profile is more an indication that you’re active in the industry and have an awareness of how networking works.

    If you’re worried about how it looks, I’d suggest getting a basic profile up as soon as you can. Don’t wait until you’re interviewing and you start connecting with interviewers – at that point it may look odd.

    1. short geologist*

      I just re-read the OP. If you’re already on linkedin, the cat’s out of the bag. Might as well link to your coworkers – I think it would be more strange to have links to everyone but people from your company.

      1. V*

        Agreed. Whoever told the OP the golden rule of job hunting with LinkedIn is “…don’t friend anyone you currently work with,” doesn’t know what it’s for.

        1. Anonymous*

          I think i’d view it as stranger to not connect with people you work with. People I work with or have worked with are the core of my professional network, after all. Everyone I work with has LinkedIn with a 100% filled in profile, though it might be more common because i’m in communications, but I’m sure not all of my 200+ connections are looking for a job. We had a transition to work course my final year of university, and creating a LinkedIn profile was mandatory, so all my old classmates have one too.

          1. Bah*

            Exactly. It’s odd to NOT friend your professional network (colleagues). Obviously your profile should be discreet, as far as job hunting goes. (The only people who should say: “Contact me for… job offers!” are students and the unemployed.) But I keep my FB friend group small (you know, actual real friends), and use LinkedIn for people at work, clients, and people with whom I’d perhaps do business with some day.

            Also, LinkedIn suggests people you may know and shows up pretty high in Google hits. It’s not hard to “find” somebody on LinkedIn.

          2. Vicki*

            You want to connect with co-workers, people you’ve met at conferences, etc. And you want to connect with them _now_ when you’re not job-searching.

            Because no matter how much you currently intend not to leave where you are, something may change – no promotion, no raise, change in managers, company layoff. When that happens, you cannot build your connections in a few days (and if it’s a layoff, you won;t have time.)

            Build a network.

        2. FreeThinkerTX*

          It sounds like the OP may be confusing LinkedIn with Facebook. I would definitely NOT “friend” coworkers on FB. But they were some of the first folks I connected with when I set up my LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is all about business.

          1. Vicki*

            I friended a lot of co-workers on FB when I was laid off. It’s not the best substitute for seeing them every day and having lunch, but it’s a good way to keep in touch.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      Cat’s out of the bag? I have probably 50 coworkers as connections, including my manager and several past managers. No one is likely paying attention to your profile anyway, but my only concern would be if you pay for the linkedin job searcher subscription and have a “job seeker” badge on your profile. I think it looks better to be connected in your industry, if you are going to bother with LI at all. I don’t really understand what the people with 10 connections are doing.

    3. Vicki*

      “I think at this point, having a linkedin profile is more an indication that you’re active in the industry and have an awareness of how networking works.”


  2. EJ*

    #2 – worth considering: I have low blood pressure and low iron, and as a result my body lacks oxygen and I yawn all the time (including during workouts). I have learned to yawn with my mouth closed in professional settings. This intern may just be rude, but he may also be struggling against yawning and not know how he can mask it.

    1. Jessa*

      This can also happen if you have breathing issues. A lot of times yawning is an oxygen level thing. Not just a being tired thing. But absolutely, mouth closed especially if you’re eating.

      Unless the intern is being silly most people cannot control WHEN they yawn. Covering or closing one’s mouth however, is good manners.

    2. Jamie*

      I was coming here to post this – I’m severely anemic and low BP also and this yawning against my will is horrible. When it gets really bad I go in the bathroom and breathe super deeply to try to stave it off.

      That doesn’t excuse his behavior whatsoever, though. Open mouth, leaning back…that needs to stop.

    3. Uncommonsense*

      Also, uncontrollable yawning is a side-effect of some medications – I know, because it happened to me! No matter how much rest I had gotten, until my body adjusted to a new prescription, I was yawning all the time at work (though not stretching my back and throwing up my arms, but it was also not some small little thing either). So just be mindful that sometimes yawning isn’t something you can help.

      1. Poe*

        I have this side-effect…and have had it for the 10+ years I’ve been taking the medication. It can be really embarrassing sometimes, and I try really hard to keep my mouth closed, cover my mouth, etc, but occasionally one will surprise me. I always feel terrible when someone says “I’m sorry, am I boring you?”, so please address it directly and not through off-hand comments.

    4. crookedfinger*

      It could also be a tic of some sort.
      I start yawning almost uncontrollably in some situations that make me nervous or uncomfortable (crowds of people, interviews, dates, etc.). Granted, I don’t do it that dramatically or impolitely, but still.

    5. Stells*

      It could also be to a sleep disorder – I end up yawning and fighting sleep during any meeting over 30 minutes if I’m not careful. I take medication, am on a pretty strict sleep schedule, and try to manage long meetings by bringing a drink or something small to snack on when my eyes are feeling heavy. But, sometimes, even all that isn’t enough.

      Ask him if it is due to something medical or if he’s just that tired.

      And yes, he needs to learn to cover his mouth!

  3. ExceptionToTheRule*

    #3 – I had a non-negotiable offer from a company about 18 months ago. I chose to walk away, which turned out to be a wise move. Turns out that “non-negotiatable” extended to a lot of other aspects of the job according to the colleague who recruited me. He ended up quitting after 6 months. I considered it a bullet dodged.

    1. OP #3*

      The thing is, I don’t think this attitude comes from my new manager or his group. I think it’s the HR rep herself.
      I am confused by their set up at the company because it looks like this is an internal HR person but at the same time it says smth like “X company Y recruiting”. Does it mean that she gets paid when a candidate accepts a position? I don’t see why she would threaten me otherwise.
      The first time this woman talked to me on the phone, she didn’t even know what position I was interviewing for. And she herself called me! She said “Oh you don’t qualify for this job, you need to apply for job ID xxx”. Luckily, I had the job ID right in front of me and I said that this was exactly it. There were other things about this woman that proved to me that she was very unprofessional and clueless in general. To top it off, she was supposed to send me an offer in writing yesterday and she didn’t. I am not sure if it is her passive-aggressive way to force me to accept it verbally on the spot or she just didn’t have time.
      I would absolutely love to join the new group but I am just afraid this HR person is affecting the process in a very negative way.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        You definitely need to contact the hiring manager. You should also let the manager know what is going on with the HR person. In addition, you should also ask about how much power the HR person has in the group – can they block promotions, transfers, pay raises? If so, that is a red flag (especially in light of her apparent incompetence). It is possible that this is an HR person on a power trip – in which case an end run to the hiring manager is utterly appropriate. The hiring manager also needs to know that the unreasonableness of the HR person is keeping good candidates off the table.

        1. V*

          Good advice! I didn’t even think about how much power the HR person could have and how that would affect the OP if she did start working there. It would suck if OP’s future at this company was in jeopardy just because of a power hungry, incompetent HR person.

      2. Poe*

        There was an HR person at one of the companies I worked at who was so terrified of negotiation (after he once gave away the farm and got in trouble) that he presented all offers as “non-negotiable”. The company lost some great candidates, and it turned out there were other issues with his performance.

      3. Anon-Mouse*

        Did we apply for the same company? I swear, I had a very similar experience a couple of months back. Worse than the inflexible (and almost threatening) HR recruiter, this company seriously guarded it’s employee emails–all of the people I met with for my interview, including my hiring manager, where all “You can get in touch with me through HR” so that’s how all of my communication was filtered. I ended up declining the offer, because HR was so inflexible about everything and I couldn’t touch base with my would-be hiring manager. It’s too bad, it would have been a great opportunity (or maybe it was a blessing in disguise…)

  4. B*

    #7 – LinkedIn is a great resource for everyone so yes, confirm your boss. What most people refer to when not friending current coworkers and bosses is Facebook. LinkedIn is more professional.

    1. Carrie*

      Yeah, I think #7 is mixing up LinkedIn and Facebook. I don’t friend my coworkers on Facebook, but I think it would be ridiculous to avoid them on LinkedIn! Many, many, many people have full resumes on LinkedIn and 500+ connections and are NOT actively looking for jobs. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for connecting with others in your industry so you can do your current job better.

      1. Alicia*

        I think there are things to be careful of with LinkedIn as well though. Make sur you have it so your changes don’t come up for everyone else to see, in terms of liking groups, or posts for jobs. For example, you don’t want your boss seeing you just joined a group called “searching for science jobs”, so make that private.

  5. SCW*

    With question #5 it could be a legal issue–if the OP was off on FMLA leave and has been cleared to return to work by their doctor, but the manager refuses to let them return then there is a legal issue. HR could say–ready to return, and the manager could resist. So if HR says you have to schedule the OP it could be a legal issue, if the reason the manager wont schedule the OP is illegal–say the manager is refusing to schedule you because you are in a protected class.

  6. Girasol*

    #7 Is it advisable to connect with a manager on Linked-in? He could be an excellent contact sometime or I might be able to be helpful to him in some future job change. Still, I find what the OP said about the manager asking to contact a bit of an awkward situation – is it just a friendly networking contact or something else? – and wonder if asking to connect to my manager would be perceived as even more awkward.

    1. Vicki*

      I had a manager who asked to connect to everyone in our (30-person_ department when he joined LinkedIn.

      That was 2007. Things may be different now but at the time, it was clear from his email that he was also suggesting we all connect to each other as well.

      Remember that your connections each have connections. Accept the connection (but don’t post “I’m looking for a better job” status updates.)

      In fact, it may be “safer” to connect with manager and co-workers. because you never know who might see your profile. Surely you don;t want to make it 100% private (even if you can??) because that would look funny. So, treat it like any other social media network. Don’t type anything you wouldn’t say in person.

  7. Mike C.*

    RE #1:

    Outside of basic things like “I’m not a jackass to work for”, isn’t the answer always, uh,

    MORE MONEY? Isn’t that how you recruit someone you like? Or at least a great place to start?

    1. Josh S*

      Great place to start, yes. But certainly not “always” the answer, or even a big part of the answer. Maybe the guy would be willing to work for the same salary in exchange for more vacation or flexible work hours, or [fill in the blank].

    2. EngineerGirl*

      Absolutely NOT!

      I was recruited aggressively for one of my favorite jobs. The director sometimes saw me at lunch, stopped by, talked to me about the projects. He let me know now valued I would be on his program, and how they would listen to my inputs. He let me know about exciting opportunities. When my then assignment ended, his was one of several offers. Guess which one I chose? And I went straight across salary-wise. The job was everything this director said it was, and to this day it is my favorite assignment ever.

      Having great assignments / challenges, an exciting work environment, and being valued all cost the company nothing but can provide great value to a professional worker.

    3. Poe*

      Nope! I’m currently looking at jobs that pay less than I currently make, but are in the geographic area and the specific sub-field of my industry that I want to work in.

    4. Vicki*

      I have never chosen to move for “more money”. My reasons have always been for a job that valued my talents.

  8. saro*

    There are things you can do to make sure you don’t ‘look’ like you’re looking for work on LinkedIn such as turning off your ‘broadcasts’. If you look around on the account settings, it should help you out.

    I am more liberal in adding people on LinkedIn, more so than FB. I haven’t had any problems yet.

  9. periwinkle*

    #1: It’s called recruiting a passive candidate. Companies do it all the time. Just reach out to the writer to say that you’re impressed by the quality of his blogging work for the newspaper and that you’d like to discuss the position your company has for a full-time real estate blogger.

    #2: I like AAM’s approach – you’re not nagging the intern, you’re helping him establish good professional behavior.

    #3: I’d definitely reach out to the hiring manager. I’d also be tempted to let him know that although you’re very excited to be working with her, you’re concerned that the HR rep seemed to be threatening to revoke your job offer simply because you asked if there was negotiation room. Between that and the pressure to accept the offer immediately before receiving a written version, I’m wondering if the HR rep used to be a bad salesperson before she became a bad HR rep…

    #7: Connect with your boss. Feel free to leave “career opportunities” checked in your communication options. I bet your boss has that enabled. Put your relevant work history experience back in your profile. I bet your boss has hers in there. As long as you don’t have “I’m looking for a new job because my current one sucks!” as your summary, you’re fine.

    1. OP #3*

      Thank you for sharing your opinion! I was thinking the same thing actually. I shared more information about the process above in a reply to ExceptionToTheRule. Another detail: this HR rep also messed up my interview experience when she told me I was supposed to meet with 2 ppl whereas it actually happened to be 4 people. I specifically asked for time estimate and number of interviewers so I could take time off from work without jeopardizing my current employment. I did mention this to my interviewers (nicely, of course), and they were very upset and told me they’d talk to the HR.

      1. HR IsItLegal?*

        Hiring Managers are notorious for changing up the interview schedules. It’s likely at least equal ownership on this one.

  10. John Quincy Adding Machine*

    Anyone else immediately think of Buster Bluth when reading #2? “Wow, we’re just blowing through nap time, aren’t we?”

  11. Anonymous*

    #2: Yawning can come from some medical reasons (someone mentioned low blood pressure) and as a medication side effect. He probably can’t stop doing it. But he can learn to do it in a less distracting way, which is worth talking to him about.

    1. rlm*

      I was also thinking it could be due to Tourette syndrome, although after reading about the other behaviors such arriving late — it sounded more like this guy just has no clue how to behave professionally.

  12. Erin*

    Did anyone else yawn about 5 times just reading question #2 and the associated comments? Or was that just me?

  13. Bah*

    #2 sounds like seems abnormally disturbed by other people’s personal habits and is rightfully concerned that her comments will cast her as nagging, picky, etc. She corrects people over minor things, wish probably diminishes the impact of her corrections about important things (late arrivals).

    Yawning can come off as bored, disinterested, or being rude; that’s one of the ones I would correct. But this may not be well-received if you’d already nagged him about nail biting and voice volume. Pick your battles.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      He’s an intern. Part of the deal is that he’s there to learn how to be professional in an office. She’s doing him a service by telling him.

      1. Bah*

        She’s doing a service by telling him that his yawning is creating a poor impression of him or conveying something he may not intend (boredom, disinterestedness), but I suspect his voice volume was probably within a normal range and that he wasn’t eating his fingernails like there was a meal in his cuticles. OP seems a bit hyperbolic/histrionic, and her messages about important things (yawning, on-time for work) are going to get lost among things that are less important.

    2. EngineerGirl*

      Not pick your battles, because this one is important (normal professional behavior). I am disturbed at the passive aggressive response though, which is just as unprofessional as the yawning. You want someone to do something? Tell them. That goes not just for interns, but co-workers too.

    3. Anonymous*

      Nail biting (like there’s a meal under there) and speaking at the top of your lungs aren’t minor things. The former is gross in the context of meetings/working with people, and the latter is disruptive and inappropriate. The being late and yawning are horrible habits too. I don’t think the OP is being naggy or nitpicky at all–they just got a socially inept intern.

      1. Anonymous*

        Or a very new/inexperienced intern who’s used to the behavior that’s acceptable at school, but doesn’t know much about that office yet. I was there a couple of years ago. It takes some work to start understanding a social situation you’ve never been in before.

      2. Cat*

        Eh, the only one of those that strikes me as in any way substantive is the coming in late, to be honest. That said, it’s an intern so the bar for correcting him is lower and it’s good to be aware if he’s coming off less than professionally. But I still can’t imagine judging a colleague because they bit their nails; and while I find people who talk louder-than-normal mildly irritating on occasion, I also realize that people naturally pitch their voice in different ways. Likewise, some people just yawn. And I suspect that every single one of us has some kind of habit that drives other people buggy if they let it.

    4. Anonymous*

      Yawning, nail-biting, and talking too loudly can all be distracting. I can understand that writer being disturbed. But it does seem odd that the only things to do about it that occurred to them were passive-aggressive – maybe they thought that is nicer or more polite than confronting the guy about it, and thought of it as subtle rather than passive-aggressive? I’m confused.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        She said that she’s purposely avoided being direct because she’s already talked to him about other “minor” things, and she was asking how/whether to be more direct about this one.

  14. Maria Angeles*

    Re: #1, when it comes to contracting for blogging/writing work, I’d like to say to Allison and others that professionals generally get commisioned to specifically and almost always ONLY from their work samples. When I worked as a magazine/newspaper/web writer, I never was even asked for a resume—and I can’t think of anyone I know who has done otherwise. Editors say “send me your clips.” If they like what they see, they will hire you. Also, if you are someone with a “name” (recognizable byline) they would not even ask for clips. It would be like “Maria, we’d love you to write a column for us.” Then Maria would decide if interested or not and they’d discuss $$$. Period.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But they want to hire the person for a regular full-time job, not to write on contract, which means that they need to do a full interview to make sure this is even someone they want to work with. It’s a staff position, not a freelance one (from what I can tell from the letter).

  15. Anonymous*

    I am thinking that #7’s concern is not that his boss found him, but that his profile says he’s actively looking for new opportunities. A lot of people never change that setting so I doubt it’s as revealing as he suspects it is.

    1. A*

      This. 90% of my LinkedIn connections have this listed in their profile. I’ve always considered it more so as a ‘always open to new opportunities’ kind of thing

  16. Skye*

    #2 Just tell him directly that he needs to cover up his yawns, with a hand or something, make it appear that he’s not actually yawning. If you’re concerned about being overly nit-picky, find some things that he’s done right and point those out as well when you talk to him about the yawning. Like, I don’t know, dressing professionally, or working quickly and/or accurately, or something. Even if all you can come up with is that lowering his speaking volume and changing nail biting habits has made him appear more professional, that’s at least something positive to bring up.

  17. The Other Dawn*

    #2. Another thing to consider is maybe this intern has sleep apnea. I was recently diagnosed and it definitely explains why I’m yawning All. Day. Long. Not to mention that I sometimes am close to nodding off in meetings or while I’m driving. That said, while the act of yawning and the frequency of it is uncontrollable, HOW I yawn IS controllable. I certainly don’t make a big show of it. I just cover my mouth and let it out.

    The intern is there to learn proper professional behavior. Just tell him he needs to learn to cover his yawns. And he’s truly yawning all day long, maybe suggest he get checked for sleep apnea or something else that might be the cause.

    1. Jessica*

      Or she’s taking amphetamines. Nail biting, skin-picking, and yawning are all really common side effects of amphetamines. If it is from medication, then it isn’t controllable (speaking from experience) and you should just try to ameliorate how it effects her work, because the yawn itself can’t be stopped. The yawning has nothing to do with being tired.

      And for the love of all things holy, lay off nail biters. Sheesh, people, we’re anxious and you pointing out the physical ramification of our anxieties only makes us more anxious.

  18. Elikit*

    I have an out-of-control yawning co-worker. I understand that people can’t help it, but when she yawns she sounds like Chewbacca. She’s said that she “can’t help it” but I’ve never worked with someone who put such gusto into a yawn. It’s really distracting and annoying.

    I appreciate the chronic yawners who make an effort to be discreet.

    1. Jamie*

      Mine are silent, but I don’t know if some people can’t yawn quietly? Ip even though I desperately try to be unobtrusive its still embarrassing.

      It’s tough to do something involuntarily that others other people – I,e. I have a really strong startle response and I jump if I’m focused on something and people speak to me. I know it annoys people because it makes them feel bad and if I could stop I absolutely would – it’s as involuntary to me as a sneeze.

      I think the key is being aware and minimizing what you can. I’m I’m particularly yawny before a meeting ill do some concentrated deep breathing to get more oxygen. I set up my office so I face my door to minimize being caught unawares and startled.

      Speaking of the yawning thing – I’ve seen these canisters of oxygen (oxygen bar in a can) sold in sporting goods stores. Has anyone tried these for the yawning? I wonder if the shot of oxygen helps.

      1. Gracie*

        Jamie, I know what you mean. I startle easily too and last week, a coworker was standing at the ledge above my desk, rooting around in the candy jar and accidentally knocked over my pencil cup. I was focusing on something on my computer and jumped when the cup fell because that’s just what I do.

        That was last week and she still won’t stop going on about how she startled me, wasn’t that funny how I jumped like that, etc.

      2. Elikit*

        I would have a lot of sympathy in your case with the startling, because that’s clearly an instinctive response that gives you no pleasure.

        With my particular co-worker, we get a series of Chewbacca yawns, all day, every day, that she clearly derives pleasure from. I think she’s satisfied with the current situation of she yawns how she likes and we put up with it.

        And her desk is a metre away from mine, I have no option to move, and I can’t put on headphones to block it out. So I feel stuck and resentful, and not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

        1. elikit*

          So I attempted to be more sympathetic to Yawny today and it sort of worked in that I felt somewhat sorry for her for being so tired instead of wholly wanting to snap. Yay?

  19. Liz T*

    #2. I’m still embarrassed that, when I was a 22-year-old intern, someone had to tell me not to yawn loudly in a professional setting. As soon as I was told, I realized how stupid I’d been. Please tell your intern! It’s amazing the obvious things we don’t think of when we don’t have a lot of experience.

      1. Emma*

        I cringe to think of the unprofessional things I did as an intern (nodding off in a meeting(!), nail biting, and other things I’m sure). The gentle corrections I received from my supervisors were invaluable. You’re doing your intern a favor by pointing these things out in a caring but direct fashion.

  20. OP#7*

    Wow, I feel really really silly. I’ve been subscribed to the newsletter for awhile now but lately decided that wasn’t enough, so I’ve been reading the new posts each day. I realized the comments section has also been really insightful. Today it finally dawned on me: maybe people had commented on my question from way back when! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but I guess I didn’t really think anyone would comment on my question…

    For those wondering, I hadn’t confused Facebook and LinkedIn. I am friends with coworkers on Facebook, but I’ve put tight parameters in place of what they can see. The big thing that worried me about LinkedIn was the “Contact Me For” part. While I *do* want to be contacted about job opportunities, if I’m connected with my boss and she notices that, it might not go over so well.

    I opted to do the most basic profile (not even a full resume) with no “contact me for” visible. And I finally did connect with my boss…just now…lol. Thanks everyone for your advice and for pushing me to take the plunge!

  21. Anonymous*

    #2. I was in a similar situation where the HR Manager did not give me enough time and said there was no negotiating. I had another offer on hand, so I passed out this.

    A week later, the Hiring manager called me and asked if there was anything he could do. I told him I have already taken up another offer and the HR person did not give me much time or freedom. He said the job was still open and the pay was negotiable the whole time. But it was too late, I already agreed the other contract.

    So, point is, as suggested by Allison, you should reach out to the Hiring Manager and sort out any issues.

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