A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Dear Sue: I like your column and it's always the highlight of
the Tuesday business section. I was interested in your recent column about
sending thank-you letters after job interviews. You said they should be
hand-written. My handwriting is really atrocious, and I think it would be
self-defeating to send a hand-written thank-you note. I always send a
thank you letter that is done on my computer and mail it right away. I've
learned that many people interviewing for jobs don't even send thank-you
notes, so isn't acceptable and better for me to send a note that the
person can read? – Matt
Sue Says: A thank you note is useless if the person it is sent
to cannot read it, so any thank you is better than nothing. Some people
may not care that a note is not handwritten, but a handwritten note does
send a message that a typed note does not; that you took the time to put
your pen to the paper and write a sincere and personalized note. A
computer generated note may be the same one you use for every interview,
and simply doesn’t have the same personalized touch. Handwritten letters
and notes are always noticed and usually read before other mail.
Your handwriting may be atrocious, but that is something that can be
overcome. Slow down and try to write a little neater – after all a note
doesn’t have to be long. If you would be too embarrassed to write the
entire note, consider adding a handwritten message to your computer
generated letter – perhaps even noting why you didn’t handwrite the entire
document, with your handwriting as proof; that you wanted to be sure he or
she understood how excited you were about this position but that writing
the entire note was too risky because there was a chance it couldn’t be
read. Be careful not to negate any of your qualifications, but a little
light humor might just work.
Dear Sue: Another colleague and I have been put on a new project
which is being supervised by a senior male colleague. The senior colleague
is giving more responsibility to the other colleague and I am being left
out of a lot of the communication. No one is checking in with me very
often and I am left on my own most of the time. I can't help but feel that
the supervisor is giving preferential treatment to my colleague. What
advice can you offer? – Left out
Sue Says: I am not so sure that what you are experiencing is
negative. Is it possible that the supervisor trusts you and knows he can
depend on you to do what needs to be done? Are you actually being left out
of anything important? Having someone check up on you a lot isn’t always a
good thing. As long as you are contributing and doing what you need to do,
you could just assume things are fine. However, since it is bothering you,
pick up the phone or send an e-mail and do some checking in on your own.
It sounds to me as though you may need to assert yourself a little more in
order to feel more involved. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and if it
seems appropriate, let your feelings be known and request more involvement
in the project.
Dear Sue: I am retiring from my job. I have worked here for 20
years and have been very happy. I have no idea how to go about writing a
letter to my boss and the board of directors telling them I am retiring.
Do you have any ideas? - Theresa
Sue Says: A thank you and farewell is just about all you need.
Retiring after 20 happy years and on your own volition is terrific. Be
certain you state how happy you have been and feel free to mention anyone
or anything you want acknowledge. It is your letter, your time and your
chance to leave whatever legacy you wish. Enjoy your retirement!
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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