Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: read between the lines

Hearing the unsaid

I love my stories (advice columns). One reason is because there is so much that is not being said. Most people write a couple hundred words and leave it at that. I think Alison Green from Ask A Manager has a limit of 800 words (though I could be pulling that number out of thin air). She’s received some fairly meaty letters and even then, there are things that are not being said. I’ve been rereading old letters and one that has stuck in my brain is from 2016. It’s not that long being only three short paragraphs.

It starts out with an eyebrow-raiser when they  say: I applied for the job of my dreams, no, the job of my life — the best job you can ever have in your wildest dreams!  Then they go on to say that they got rejected and became overly eager in emailing the hiring manager. They saw more positions on Craigslist and want to apply.

Sounds fine, right? Again, the starter was wince-inducing, but I just chalked it down to a fresh-out-of-college grad who is looking for their first job. The second paragraph sees them spouting a bunch of pop psych babble about how they ‘need to do this for myself’. They say they must just take charge’ and ‘step outside my comfort zone’. This is firmly in cringe territory and I started to suspect that it was more than just a young and naive job seeker. They ask what they should say and do. Then, they say, “As a side note, the HR manager told me I was no longer allowed to email the lady I was emailing, and if I do, they will take immediate action and may call the proper authorities.”

After dropping that bombshell as an aside!, they ask whether they should call or visit in person or or email (the HR manager, who is apparently not the ‘lady’ he’s been emailing) or what in the third paragraph.

The fact that they included that bombshell as an aside is mindboggling. The commentariat agreed that that aside was doing a lot of heavy lifting in that paragraph. And the fact that they thought it was just an aside and didn’t actually list what they had done to raise the alarm like that!

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