Evil HR Lady Gets a Little Mean

I got this e-mail this morning:
Could u plz help me to writing my career development goals.

That was all it said. I copied and pasted so I didn’t accidentally correct grammar or spelling. (And yes, I’m guaranteed to make grammar mistakes since I’m picking on someone else right now. ‘Tis Muphry’s Law.)

First of all, the answer is no. Although, if I was, the first thing I would do is say “u” and “plz” are not real words. So, your first goal should be to write out full words. Secondly, I believe you are asking a question, so it should end in a question mark. I do suspect that English is not this person’s first language (and heaven knows I know how difficult it is to learn a new language), so I’ll give the “to writing” a pass.

The real problem here is that I can’t write someone else’s career development goals. I can maybe answer a specific question about how to write one, or a few things that should be included in a development plan, but I can’t do it for you.

And this is a good thing. Because you need to develop your own plan. You need to really have two development plans: One for your job that deals with your relationship to the company and another for you alone that addresses your long term goals that don’t necessarily involve your current employer.

I realize few people actually do that, but think of where you’d be if you did. It’s always a huge advantage to know where you want to go. So, stop trying to pass your goal setting off to some random person on the internet and figure it out yourself.

And please, leave the “text speak” for your teenagers. We like proper grammar around here.

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21 thoughts on “Evil HR Lady Gets a Little Mean

  1. Said the anonymous blogger from the world of Hair Roasts. Or is it Head Rests? Home Raiders? Heckling Ruffians? Lolz.

  2. You might have opened some floodgates here, EHRL. I posted something very similar a few months ago, having received a cover letter written in similar terms to the one you copy-pasted above.

    Having written about why I would not help that person find a job, I received a few abusive (and anonymous) emails explaining to me that I, in essence, I was somewhat out of touch.

    There should be a curriculum in High-School concerned with teaching how to write business letters.

  3. Along those lines, Rodolphe, from an old post of mine, a friend who was doing college interviews with high school students wrote,

    I get emails from high school seniors asking for Rice interviews. Almost invariably, they address the initial email to ‘Dear Ilene.’ When I was their age, I never would have dreamed of addressing an interviewer by their first name. It's only now that I am a doctor and have saved people's lives that I feel I've earned the right to interview for a job and call my interviewer ‘Bob’ or ‘Phil.’

  4. Oof.

    This letter has little to do with the sender's grasp of a second language, and instead reveals their lack of respect for their career advancement and their would-be mentor. It should contain an introduction, an appeal for assistance, and an expression of appreciation for the recipient's time and consideration.

  5. I know that in my high school as well as my college courses, using professional writing and speech was constantly given to us, to the point where the same thing was repeated over an over. I can't believe there are people that don't understand you can't use textspeak when trying to find a job. It just blows my mind.

  6. Last year I was the recipient of an atrocious email from someone wanting a job. Incomplete sentences, lack of any grammar, unintelligible text – truly bad. As my office is government we simply replied no opening and keep checking with HR.

    Last week…phone call…wants and internship….same freaking person! Sweetheart, I remember you and there is nothing you can help us with. How did she get into college?!

    I am willing to bypass a slight error – it happens to the best of us. If the whole thing is a hot mess..you.will.never.work.here.

  7. I bet you also get letters, like I do, from students asking you to complete their school work for them. It's always really obvious when that's what they're trying to do — the letter will be something like: "What are the most important principles of situational judgment behavior?" (This is a real one I recently got.)

    Seriously? I do this for free, and you think I'm going to write your paper for you?

  8. @Rodolphe Mortreuil

    I have received similar feedback after being solicited for advice. My response is simple – you came to me for advice. If you are looking to me as resource, realize that while I may not be in touch with your peer group, you are clearly out of touch with mine (Fortune 100 employers and hiring managers). Listen, learn, and adapt.

  9. In fairness to the teenagers, it's not all their fault. In my local education system, they often allow 'txtspk' in English exams, reasoning that they are trying to assess creativity, not grammar. Arghh! Needless to say, this provokes an annual outcry in the newspapers (followed up by Letters to the Editor about 'how it was in my day').

    However, please don't take this to mean that I approve. I loath 'textspeak'. Anyone who used it would immediately go on my 'reject' pile, because Matt is right. If they want to fit in to the professional world, they have to adapt to the rules of that world, in dress, language and writing.

    PS Other Anonymous – most regular readers of EHRL know she is not an anonymous blogger, but a well-known published newspaper columnist.

    Another PS – EHRL – is the new word verification to get rid of that annoying commenter who always wrote in chinese? If so, great.

  10. Yes, the word verification is to try to cut down on my recent spam infestation. I hate word verification. It annoys me to have to do it on other people's blogs, but I'm getting desperate here.

    Stop Spamming me, please? I'm sure my readers can find their own Chinese mail order brides or whatever.

  11. I get plenty of those, too, every time I write a post about career advancement for business analysts… And sadly the worst messages are typically from native English speakers.

    I agree with Peskish, this type of message reflects a complete lack of understanding of how you should present yourself when you are asking for assistance — in any language!

  12. Ugh, I'm 28 & I would toss something like that in a reject pile. Who in the world is going to become doctors & lawyers once most of the current ones retire? No judge or law professor would accept "text speak." I think I'd say "Sorry, I don't read 'net speak. Try English."

    So please don't lump ALL young people in this boat. Ask A Manager: if someone asked me to do homework or even a cover letter, I'd quote my hourly rate (over $100 an hour). Maybe THAT would shut some people up; you could have fun making up some crazy amount no one would pay.

  13. I am a member of Generation Y and I completely agree with your opinions above. This continues to be one of my greatest pet peeves. I text and I know where to leave text type writing…FOR TEXTING! I only wish that the majority of my generation had the same capability. Working in the Human Resources Consulting field I see endless cover letters and resumes with incoherent sentences, endless spelling mistakes, which could easily be fixed by spell check and text shorthand, this is unbelievably frustrating. Please for the love of Pete realize that business letters differ deeply from a personal message you would send to a friend. If you cannot realize this distinction good luck in the business world, it will eat you alive!

  14. I think a lot of this came about when people became "Human Resources" instead of personel. People learn to communicate with each other. Resources are something to be used.

    Just a thought, not being critical.

  15. I had a guy write me a huge "love letter" in text speak. He was 40. An Army Ranger turned business man. And yet he wanted to let me know that "ur such a fox. b4 i met u i thought ppl were…"

    L8r. The cadence of speech is a crucial piece of information about a person. You get a sense of intention, education, and tone that frequently gives you more insight than the words themselves impart.

    Love your blog!

    PS: Word verification was "stone". A real word?? What?

  16. For the record, we (the high school teachers) are trying. It's as frustrating to us as it is to you! I'm less interested in creativity than clear communication.

  17. People wouldn't need to have "career plans" to anywhere near the same degree had the business world not pulled out of the social contract with workers starting some three decades ago.

    Also, I've seen plenty of truly atrocious writing from both HR — one of the most worthless professions on the planet, IMO — and from the managerial pukes you suck up to.

  18. Class-factotum: lose your ego. You may have earned the right to be called Dr. so and so but I've also earned the right to be called Ms. so and so.

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