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Dear Khun Melanee,

I work part-time in the sales division of a local company. They hired me because I am a native speaker of English and they needed someone to "clean up" their correspondence and their communications with foreign customers. Published on July 19, 2007

They write the original and then I edit it.

The English language skills of my colleagues are quite good. What they write is easy to understand, so the work isn't that difficult, just wrong tenses, inappropriate wording and such.

I like to think that I'm an easy-going person, and if anyone wants to know why I changed something, I explain. They know the work better than I do, and it's quite possible that I misunderstood the point when I changed their work.

If they still object after my explanation, I try to adjust what I've corrected so we're both happy.

More and more often, though, my colleagues are questioning my changes and insisting that their original is correct and shouldn't be altered. At first, I'd simply smile, but their objections are becoming increasingly annoying. I seem to be spending more time explaining and discussing the work with them than actually editing it.

Can you give me any advice about handling this situation? I'm about to commit "colleague-icide". Just kidding. The ladies are never rude or anything.

In fact, they're always charming, but they are also becoming time-consuming.

I'm paid part-time wages, but with all their questions, the job could turn into full-time, even 24-7.


Dear Khun Mike,

You might see your colleagues' discussions as annoying and time-consuming, but I think you've already put a finger on your "problem" - the ladies have come to enjoy the discussions with you. Perhaps they consider the time they spend with you as a way of improving their English. Perhaps they find you as charming as you find them.

The best way to curtail discussions is to smile and then mention that you don't have much time. They'll still have questions, though. I expect that a few days after you try to curtail your discussions, they'll ask you for extra English lessons.

Problems that Melanee can advise you on? Fax (02) 751 4446, or e-mail her at: melaneepetra@hotmail.com.

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