Get a rude co-worker to shut up
What to do about a hostile colleague who keeps interrupting. Plus: where new grads are finding jobs, and more on what not to put on your resume.
(FORTUNE) - Dear Annie: I was hired about six months ago to do part of the work a colleague had been doing. Lately, he has developed the extremely rude habit of interrupting whenever I'm speaking - and almost always leaping to the wrong conclusion. He shouts me down to interrupt me. It's not that I'm delivering long monologues; I try to keep my remarks brief and to the point. This is really aggravating an already stressful working relationship. How does one make "shut up and let me finish" sound polite? -Hush Puppy
Dear Hush Puppy: "From your description, I'd say the person interrupting you is not only rude but is also a bully. For bullies, everything is a control issue, so you need to let him know that you are in control," says Frank Kenna III, CEO of the Marlin Co., a 93-year-old workplace communications firm in North Haven, Conn. "How you deliver your message is just as important as what you say. It's up to you to strike a delicate balance, somewhere between a battering ram and a doormat."
When your co-worker starts to interrupt you, Kenna suggests saying something like, "One moment, Fred (or whatever his name is), I'm not finished." Say it with "a strong and confident tone," Kenna says. "If you have a soft voice, you might also accompany it with a forceful hand motion. Make sure to do this consistently every time he interrupts." Sooner or later he'll get the point.
One other thought: It sounds to me as if this guy might be struggling with some turf issues, raised by your having been brought in to take over part of his job. Many people's egos are quite fragile and easily bruised, and that can give rise to some pretty obnoxious behavior - constantly interrupting, for example. Maybe he'd calm down and let you finish a sentence if you gave him a pat on the back once in a while and made a point of acknowledging his contributions to the team. It's worth a try.
Dear Annie: I'll be starting my senior year at Northwestern in the fall and already I've decided I don't want to move after I graduate. I was born and raised in the Chicago area, my whole family and all my friends are here, and I really would like to stay. But are recruiters and employers turned off by people who won't relocate? I'm very flexible and adaptable about everything except this. -Lakeshore Drive
Dear Lakeshore: Being willing to pull up stakes and move is "a definite competitive edge in a job search," according to Brian Krueger, who runs CollegeGrad.com, a job-posting site for new grads. CollegeGrad.com recently surveyed about 1,500 entry-level job seekers and found that 91% will move if they have to, and of those, 35% would sign on for an overseas posting. You're certainly narrowing your options by insisting on staying put. But you may do all right anyway: The site also ranks cities where the most entry-level hiring is going on, and Chicago just happens to be No. 2 on the list, behind New York. (Also in the top 5 are Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.)
Many thanks to all who wrote to comment on resumes that scream "Don't hire me" (June 7). "I have seen some truly incredible things on resumes - everything you can imagine, from a woman who listed her hobby as breeding pit bulls to an applicant who attached his complete medical history," says a longtime hiring manager named Don Kristoff. "You really have to wonder what goes through people's minds."
Doris Appelbaum, a professional resume writer in Milwaukee, recalls one man who asked if his wife should put her picture on her resume: "When I said she shouldn't, he said, 'But she's very cute.' I replied, 'You are very cute, too. Do you have your picture on your resume? ' " Please, folks. No pictures.