I have a good friend who works for the same company I used to work for, but in a different state. I retired eight months ago and she wants to retire next month or by the end of the year, depending on her success of securing a post-retirement job. Since I retired, I've tried very hard to stay in touch with calls and emails but she’s been so lame in responding, and has never initiated contact. Now, out of the blue, I get an email from her, not a phone call, requesting a character reference for a job she wants for her retirement life. I resent that she’s made no effort to stay in touch since last December, but now she wants my help and has no problem asking for it. I don’t know if I want to do it. What do you recommend?
Dear Feeling used:
I understand why you are unsure as to what you want to do with your friend’s request. I recommend that you reply to her email, letting her know that you need to talk to her before you do anything. When you have the conversation, nicely explain that you have been hurt by her lack of keeping in touch and are surprised by her request. If she responds with a sincere apology, give the reference; but if she becomes indignant and/or defensive, tell her you would not be comfortable providing one since you have had limited interaction with her for close to a year. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised by your friend’s response.
In my office, all of us, except for the company owner, work in cubicles with low walls. In addition to having no privacy, blocking out others’ voices and noise is nearly impossible, so many of us use radios, CD players, fans, or even white noise machines. I go a step further and wear headphones. One of my co-workers told me in confidence that some people are badmouthing me for this. They’re saying I’m unapproachable, a snob, and not a team player, which is the furthest from the truth. I want to put a stop to this negative talk and maintain my productivity. Any suggestions?
Headphones are misunderstood
Dear Headphones are misunderstood:
Replace the headphones with earbuds, which are less noticeable and, hopefully, less offensive. Also, take the time to socialize with your colleagues. Stop by their pods to exchange pleasantries. Without verbalizing it, convey that you are friendly and approachable. Mention the difficulty you have with the noise in the office, and ask them how they deal with it. Hopefully, by taking the initiative to break the ice and discuss the issue in general terms, the other employees will get to know you better and feel more comfortable working with you. And you may even pick up some tips for dealing with the noise. Best of luck!
I’m a salesman and do my job very well except for one thing. I tend to be unable to call up a person’s name when I run into them unexpectedly. The other day, I crossed paths with someone I have occasional dealings with. I froze up and couldn’t remember her name when she approached me and my wife. It came to me after she was long gone. I felt bad and now I’m dreading when I see her again, talk on the phone, or have an email exchange. Obviously, this is a liability in my line of work. I’d say it’s Alzheimer’s, but that would mean I’ve had it since I was in my 20s – over twenty-five years ago. I’ve come to believe it’s a missed brain connection. What do I do?
Brain freeze in Virginia Beach
Dear Brain freeze in Virginia Beach:
As soon as possible, call this person to apologize and explain your shortcoming. Then, start making a concerted effort to improve your ability to recall individuals’ names. Consider using a mnemonic device and/or thinking of a funny image related to an individual’s name when you first meet him/her. Hopefully, one or both of these “tricks” should help.
© 2010 Rozanne R. Worrell