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Published: Tuesday, 5/2/2006

ASK THE GOOD GIRLS

WITH LESLIE WHITAKER

DEAR GOOD GIRLS,

What do you do about an interview gone bad?

A major Hollywood studio asked me to interview for a different job than the one I originally applied to because

they considered this job more appropriate for me.

The personnel specialist interviewed me and passed me onto the department manager. When I walked into the conference room, I was surprised to see the entire department: the manager and three other employees.

The manager s theory was that everyone should be involved. She had a neatly typed list of 20 questions. Employee number one challenged me on almost every line of my resume (I got the feeling she s going after manager s job); and employee number two said nothing. Employee number three sat there silently and doodled on the top of my resume. Furthermore, the manager s description did not match most of what the personnel department had told me about the job earlier in the day.

Next I got called back to meet with the vice president along with the department manager. I believe this was a personality meeting to see if we all mesh. The VP s description of the job was even less similar to the original description given by the personnel person and the salary at $5,000 less.

I didn t get the job but I d love to give the personnel officer some feedback. The VP said it was the fourth time this year they ve had to fill the same job, and it s no wonder. Someone isn t listening or communicating clearly.

I don t want to burn any bridges. What is protocol?

Dear Reader,

Should you give feedback to a prospective employer that could obviously use some pointers? Absolutely. Make sure your suggestions are delivered in a constructive manner to the personnel specialist, and if she s smart she will put you on her A-list for future employment.

WORK WORRIES

Dear Good Girls,

I read your recent article, Working Mom Wearies of Dealing with Daily Guilt. You wrote: Remember that your work ultimately benefits your family. Fulfilling your professional obligations is a fine choice that deserves respect from you, your spouse and your children another way to cut yourself a break is to pull back a bit as a parent. As soon as it s age appropriate, children benefit from taking small steps toward taking care of themselves. If you are generally there for your child when you need to be and you are there for your job when you need to be, then you are doing the best that you can.

This seems ridiculous and impractical to me, a mother of three grown sons. Children don t need a mom who is contributing financially to the family more than they need her hugs, her encouragement and her wisdom. Not when SHE needs to give it, but when THEY need it. It s better to be poor and have time together than it is to be more materialistic and lose the chance to fully nurture your children.

Are you a mom?

Dear Reader,

I have two wonderful children. I do not believe working and loving your children fully are mutually exclusive. In my view, children need a steady supply of hugs, encouragement and wisdom from both their parents, working or not.

Thanks for raising an important issue.


Got a problem at work? Leslie Whitaker, co-author of The Good Girl s Guide to Negotiating, would like to hear from you. Send Leslie an e-mail at leslie@ctwfeatures.com or write to P.O. Box 5063, River Forest, Ill. 60305

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