Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 24 October 2009

Your problems solved

Q. The other night I met someone with whom I got on really well. Yet because I am a young journalist and she is an editor, I did not email her the next day, in the normal way, to say, ‘Let’s keep in touch’. I thought it might seem pushy and as though I was looking for work. Mary, was I right to hold back in this case, given the professional implications?

Name withheld, London

A. No. It is fine to email such people met socially. If they are at the top of their profession they will be pushy themselves and will welcome your initiative. They will also welcome having received your contact details in this easy way and being able to file them with just a click. Being in a fellow professional’s email address book might be called presenteeism — you are ten times more likely to get work if you are in there than if you are not.

Q. My brother-in-law, who has retired, has bought two pugs. It is my belief that he could not possibly think them attractive and that, since he can no longer annoy people at his place of work, he got them to annoy my dear sister. He is hard-of-hearing, but for her the continuous grunting must be a terrible trial. She is too loyal to complain but — is there a painless way in which I could arrange for these dogs to be tactfully but swiftly rehomed?

R.C., Boar’s Hill, Oxford

A. The idea of pugs is off-putting but, with just a short leap of the imagination, the terrible faces and the grunting can become endearing. For the hard-of-hearing the grunting/snoring can be helpful. It acts as a sort of base-level hearing gauge, against which all other pitches and frequencies can be measured, rather like the drone of bagpipes.

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