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Constant office parties are far from mandatory

Q.: A woman in our department has become the self-appointed party planner. “Renee” is constantly trying to organize office celebrations for birthdays, weddings, and other events. Most people cringe when they see her coming, because they know she will be asking for volunteers.

Now Renee is trying to arrange a send-off for someone who is retiring. Since I have worked with the retiree longer than anyone else, Renee says I should “do something” for her. To be honest, I do not enjoy working with this person and am actually counting the days until she leaves. How can I politely tell Renee to stop bothering me?

A: Some people delight in workplace festivities, while others view them as an annoying distraction. As long as you don’t hide in your cubicle while everyone else is eating cake, you should feel free to participate in these occasions at a level that is comfortable for you.

To accomplish this, you will need to become more assertive with your persistent party person. For example: “Renee, I appreciate your desire to recognize special events. However, I simply don’t have time to help with the planning.”

If Renee continues to prod you into participating, keep repeating the phrase “I don’t have time” until she decides to find a more cooperative target. If you stick with this strategy, she will eventually stop bugging you.

Regarding your retiring colleague, however, a slightly different approach may be in order. Unlike birthdays and weddings, retirements are typically acknowledged by management, so you might suggest that Renee discuss her celebratory plans with your boss.


Q: I would like to know how very brief jobs should be handled on a resume. My most recent position was eliminated after I had been there only eight weeks. If I include it, employers may wonder why I left so quickly. But if I omit it, how do I explain why I left the preceding job?

Also, I have previous experience with a temporary employment agency where most of the assignments lasted only a few months. Listing all those companies could make me look like a job-hopper.

I have read that it’s OK to leave short-term positions off a resume, but I don’t know whether that’s a good idea. What should I do to give employers the right impression?

A: Under certain circumstances, applicants might wisely choose to omit a job which lasted only a few weeks. In your case, however, there’s really no reason to exclude the eight-week stint with your most recent employer.

Instead, indicate on your resume that this position was eliminated as part of a workforce reduction. If the rest of your work history is solid, you’re not likely to be screened out because of a layoff.

To accurately portray your experience as a temp, list the agency as your employer for the entire time you worked with them. Then show each assignment as a project completed during that period of employment.

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