Irrational Implications: Dealing with Friends and Family That Make too Many Assumptions

Q: My husband and I work for the government in very stressful jobs. My in-laws are stuck in the cliche that working for the government is easy and imply frequently when we meet. I find it very offensive. Is there an appropriate way to broach this topic with them?’

A: Sure. Tell them that it hurts your feelings that they don’t take the time to understand that your jobs are challenging and stressful. Say, “May I tell you about just one week on the job so perhaps you understand?” If they brush off this effort, then continue to tell them, every time they comment, that they have upset you with their assumptions. And then change the subject. There is no need to be defensive or rude in return, just be matter-of-fact and move to a different topic.


I.D. Inquiry: How do I Answer the Office Phone When I know Who is Calling?

Q: How should an office phone equipped with caller I.D. be answered? Should we acknowledge the person directly and less formally if we know who is calling or should we stick to our normal formalities?

A: Answer as you would if you didn’t have Caller ID – John Jone’s Office. You have no way of knowing if it is really Sue, or someone using Sue’s phone, so it is best to be professional and let the caller identify him- or herself.

Fair Warning: How Early of a Notice Should I give Before Retiring?

Q: After working for a company for a life time how long a notice should be given before retiring?

A: It depends on how long a search might be needed to replace you. The minimum, of course, is two weeks. A month is thoughtful and helpful to the company, if they need to rethink and decide how to fill your position. You might give a month and then consider negotiating if they ask for more time and you are able to stay longer.

Job Jitters: Do I Reach Out to Interviewers Whom I Haven’t Heard From?

Q: I recently went on an interview and I felt it went really well. I interviewed first with the Human Resource Director then with the person who is the head of the department of the position I am applying for. After the interview I sent a thank you note to each of the interviewers. At the conclusion of the interview they said they would be making their decision by the end of the week. It is now the following Monday and I have not heard either way. Should I send an email to both interviewers or call to express that I am still really interested in the position or just wait for a response?

A: Since it is only a few days since they said they would be in touch, you should wait for them to contact you.  However, if you haven’t heard from either one in a week or two, it would be fine to call to inquire.  Good luck!