Monday, March 29, 1999


Professor: Don't bury the bad news in letters

        If you're sending a rejection letter, it's better to deliver the bad news right at the start rather than trying to soften the blow with a buffer, a neutral or positive sentence that delays the negative information.

        That suggestion comes from Kitty Locker, an associate professor of English at Ohio State University, who conducted experiments to see how students felt about different styles of rejection letters. She found that the students reacted most negatively when the rejection was buried rather than stated upfront; they tended to be surprised at the turndown after the upbeat beginning.

        She also found that a writer's attempt to end a rejection letter on a positive note only made the reader feel worse.

Older job-seekers should be aggressive
        If you're older than 50 and out of work, you'll have a better chance of landing a job if you can come across as creative and aggressive.

        Steve Harrison, who's 60 and president of the employment firm Lee Hecht Harrison, says older executives can appear out of date and less vital than younger counterparts.

        While you can't change your age, if you keep up with the latest business thinking and technologies, and can show a prospective employer that you have a passion for life, you can have a vibrant image, Mr. Harrison says.

1st new Monopoly token since '50s: sack of cash
        There's a new game token being packed inside Monopoly sets, and this one is most appropriate, considering the cutthroat buying and selling that goes on during the board game. It's a sack of money.

        Hasbro said it was adding the new token, the first since the early 1950s, to packages being shipped this month. It joins 10 other tokens — a battleship, cannon, dog, horse and rider, iron, race car, shoe, thimble, top hat and wheelbarrow.

        The very first Monopoly sets produced in 1935 had no tokens; the inventor suggested that players use buttons or other household items.

Credit card company offers tips in booklet
        Visa U.S.A. is offering a free publication called Knowledge Pay$$ to consumers who call (888) VISA-606.

        The 32-page glossy magazine includes articles on a wide range of credit-related topics, including credit reports, cardholder rights, safe cybershopping and how your name gets on direct-marketing lists. An abbreviated Spanish-language edition is available at the same number.

        Knowledge Pay$$ compiles a lot of information in one handy place.

        Just keep in mind that it's sponsored by a credit card company, so some of the views expressed (such as “The Top 10 Benefits of Plastic”) reflect the industry's interests.

        A Visa spokeswoman said no one calling to request the booklet will be placed on credit card solicitation lists.

Author advocates sharing responsibility
        Many managers find it hard to delegate tasks because they feel insecure about losing control over the work or believe that giving responsibilities to subordinates will diminish their own importance, says Robert Heller, author of How To Delegate.

        Mr. Heller says managers need to look at the barriers they create to delegating and realize that they will still maintain responsibility for getting jobs done, even if they aren't doing all the work themselves. He says delegating work to the right people should actually make a manager look better to his or her superiors. For those nervous about delegating, he says the more you do it, the easier it gets.

        — The Associated Press and Gannett News Service


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