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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Thank-You Notes

Dear Sue: I like your column and it's always the highlight of the Tuesday business section. I was interested in your recent column about sending thank-you letters after job interviews. You said they should be hand-written. My handwriting is really atrocious, and I think it would be self-defeating to send a hand-written thank-you note. I always send a thank you letter that is done on my computer and mail it right away. I've learned that many people interviewing for jobs don't even send thank-you notes, so isn't acceptable and better for me to send a note that the person can read? – Matt

Sue Says: A thank you note is useless if the person it is sent to cannot read it, so any thank you is better than nothing. Some people may not care that a note is not handwritten, but a handwritten note does send a message that a typed note does not; that you took the time to put your pen to the paper and write a sincere and personalized note. A computer generated note may be the same one you use for every interview, and simply doesn’t have the same personalized touch. Handwritten letters and notes are always noticed and usually read before other mail.

Your handwriting may be atrocious, but that is something that can be overcome. Slow down and try to write a little neater – after all a note doesn’t have to be long. If you would be too embarrassed to write the entire note, consider adding a handwritten message to your computer generated letter – perhaps even noting why you didn’t handwrite the entire document, with your handwriting as proof; that you wanted to be sure he or she understood how excited you were about this position but that writing the entire note was too risky because there was a chance it couldn’t be read. Be careful not to negate any of your qualifications, but a little light humor might just work.

Dear Sue: Another colleague and I have been put on a new project which is being supervised by a senior male colleague. The senior colleague is giving more responsibility to the other colleague and I am being left out of a lot of the communication. No one is checking in with me very often and I am left on my own most of the time. I can't help but feel that the supervisor is giving preferential treatment to my colleague. What advice can you offer? – Left out

Sue Says: I am not so sure that what you are experiencing is negative. Is it possible that the supervisor trusts you and knows he can depend on you to do what needs to be done? Are you actually being left out of anything important? Having someone check up on you a lot isn’t always a good thing. As long as you are contributing and doing what you need to do, you could just assume things are fine. However, since it is bothering you, pick up the phone or send an e-mail and do some checking in on your own. It sounds to me as though you may need to assert yourself a little more in order to feel more involved. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and if it seems appropriate, let your feelings be known and request more involvement in the project.

Dear Sue: I am retiring from my job. I have worked here for 20 years and have been very happy. I have no idea how to go about writing a letter to my boss and the board of directors telling them I am retiring. Do you have any ideas? - Theresa

Sue Says: A thank you and farewell is just about all you need. Retiring after 20 happy years and on your own volition is terrific. Be certain you state how happy you have been and feel free to mention anyone or anything you want acknowledge. It is your letter, your time and your chance to leave whatever legacy you wish. Enjoy your retirement!

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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