Category Archives: old columns

deja deja vu

When I read Miss Manners‘ column this morning (well, really it was Sunday’s column), I knew I’d read it–and even written about it!–before.  So imagine my surprise when in the deep little help please archives, I couldn’t find the post that I was sure would contain precisely the phrase I recognized in the column.

I broadened my search.  And, lo and behold, I found the post. But guess what–I never found the column. I know, I would bet the farm if I had one, that in early 2009 Amy published this letter from a woman who spills things on purpose to give her an excuse to clean up her boyfriend’s garage apartment.  I know it.  But apparently I couldn’t even find the column then, and I can’t find it now.

Weird.

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Takin’ Care of Business

Hellooooo gentle readers (that’s just a glass of wine and the end of the co-rec softball season talking)….

You probably won’t have noticed–unless you subscribe to this blog’s feed–that I did a lot of housecleaning last night, evaluating and clearing out categories that had been used once, lamely, in three years.  (As the librarians would say, I was working on my “controlled vocabulary,” for example, consolidating the four terms I used for “parenting” into one).

If you do subscribe to the feed, you already knew this, or at least you knew that dozens of old posts, “edited” and “published” anew when I changed the categories attached to them, were clogging up your feed reader.  To all of you folks: sorry if this was annoying or confusing–and to those who actually said they liked looking back at old posts: thanks!

If you’re very, very observant, you may have noticed that I’m not the only one who’s had this problem.  Over in the sidebar, you’ll see a new feature: I’ve finally added a feed of all the major columns I read…so now you can see what’s new, and get to it right from here!  But it’s immediately apparent that Carolyn Hax is also having RSS woes.  This has been going on for over a week now–whole bunches of her back columns coming through at once.  She and the WaPo are well aware of the problem, but it doesn’t seem to be fixed yet.

But I, too, have been happy to revisit some of Carolyn’s old columns, even though they’re from just a few weeks, rather than a few years, back.  For example, this one, published while I was on vacation in July, came to light today:

Dear Carolyn:

I have a sticky situation at work. The company I work for often needs information from “Jane’s” organization. I have been in my field for a year, while Jane is seasoned in hers.

I feel intimidated by Jane, who can be short and abrasive on the phone, and usually speaks loudly, like she’s yelling at me. She hangs up as I am ending my remarks. Like “Good [click] bye.”

When our conversation is over, I feel small and a bit run over.

I don’t know how to deal with her rudeness and present myself as a professional who should be treated respectfully. I don’t want to be argumentative, and there really is no one above her I could talk to. Any suggestions?

D.C.

Jane isn’t your mother, your mate, your close friend, your beauty contest judge, your doctoral review committee, the judge at your custody hearing or even the seen-it-all, public-weary power-tripper at the window of the DMV. You don’t need Jane to like you. You just need the information your job requires.

So, put on your business skin (read: elephant hide) over your thin personal skin, state your business and be done with Jane, while expecting the same from her. It’s both assertive and pragmatic. And if her hanging up on you shaves your Jane time to its absolute minimum, maybe that’s a gift.

Hear, hear!  These are words I could stand to take to heart, as, I wager, could many of us hypersensitive, overachieving young professionals.  So often, I’ll come home from work upset about how someone was “angry” or “disappointed” in me at work.  SK, saint that he is, hears me out, and then my dramatic tale ends in a long pause…and he invariably replies with, “um…that’s the end?” (why does this happen after every story I tell?)  He often gently follows up with, “I think it’s possible you may be reading too much into this.”

I hope I’m getting the hang of just doing my job the best I can, and not fretting so much about whether I’m everyone’s favorite….but it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder to wiggle into that skin before tromping through the jungle.  Or something.

Anxious in Ann Arbor

I’ve been plotting this blog in my mind for months now, and I’m excited to finally get started! Although I have lots of retroactive posts in my head (posts that, no doubt, would wow you with my credentials to do exactly what I’m doing here!), I am disappointed to report that I can no longer access many of the relevant columns. Hmmm….now that I think about it, this will be a major problem later on, as links to new columns wither and die. I’ll think about that tomorrow, as Scarlett would say.

For now, let me assure you, about the only thing I’m qualified to advise anyone on, is advice columns. Since I know I’ll be overeager at the beginning–and since I don’t have to work tomorrow–I’ll try to post something about each of my key columnists. Hopefully this will introduce you to them (if you’re not already old friends) and also give me a chance to work out what this blog is going to be.

Carry on, gentle readers!