Dear Coach: A man in my office addresses me and other female co-workers as "Sweetheart", "Hon" or "Darling". I am offended by this; it makes...

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Dear Coach: A man in my office addresses me and other female co-workers as “Sweetheart”, “Hon” or “Darling”.

I am offended by this; it makes me very uncomfortable.

I don’t want to make a fuss or file a complaint, but I don’t know what to do.

Am I overreacting?

Carol Kleiman: You are not overreacting.

It can be demeaning, even if it’s meant to be kind.

At worst, it’s a power trip that tries to put you in your place.

But if you think the man is unaware of what he’s doing, invite him to lunch as your guest and tell him, gently, that being addressed that way offends you and constantly raises the issue of gender.

If you think he knows what he’s doing, no lunch.

Take him aside in the office, explain it’s offensive and ask him to stop immediately.

Dear Coach:

Would it be OK to send an e-mail thanking a prospective employer for interviewing me?

It would be a good way to bring up things I forgot to say in the interview.

By using regular mail, the note might not get there before a decision has been made on the position.


Send your e-mail with the additional information, but also send a thank-you note by regular mail — without any additional info.

Dear Coach:

I stated in my cover letter for a job that my salary was open to negotiation.

I got a reply back that said they had to know my salary expectations first because there was a salary budget for the position.

But they never said what the salary was, so how can I respond?

If I’m too high, I won’t even get an interview; too low, I’d probably be underpaid if I got the job.


Employers who do that are suspect.

They won’t tell you anything but want to know everything. They want to pay you as little as possible.

I agree it’s an unfair question.

If you want to answer it, do an Internet search to find out the salary range for that job and then give a figure you feel comfortable with.

But I agree: You can’t win.

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.