People always ask me to answer questions on my blog. So I am sort of going to answer questions. Questions I hate (that I have edited to save people from the trauma I probably caused David Dellifield):

Email number one: The obnoxious reference check

[Name redacted] is applying for a position at our company and listed you as a reference. I was hoping that you could complete the brief questionnaire attached to this email to provide your feedback. Thank you in advance for your help, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

This email is from Let me tell you something: That questionnaire was not brief. It was about ten essay questions and then insanely inapplicable multiple choice questions.

This company is ridiculous for sending an onerous questionnaire to references. For one thing, it puts me in a bad spot because I loved working with the guy who gave my name as a reference, so I want to give him a good report, so I have no choice but to fill out the BS questions and try to have a good attitude.

The other reason the company should not send a form like this is they look incompetent. Not just for destroying the relationships potential new hires have with their references, but also for not being able to make hiring decisions without asking a third-party if the candidate is professional. Seriously. Open your eyes in the interview, guys.

Email number two: The annoying request from mainstream media

I write for BusinessWeek Magazine and I am putting together a special report for called “Managing Gen Y”. We are inviting a few experts such as yourself to contribute articles. I thought you might have some great thoughts on some aspect of managing gen y and I wanted to see whether you would be interested in contributing a column? We would need the piece in about 3 weeks. What do you think?

I know, you're thinking, what's the problem here? Who doesn't want to write for BusinessWeek. And, in fact, I did. (Here's the link.) But here's the problem: BusinessWeek doesn't pay me. That's problem number one. I wrote basically the same thing for Time magazine (here's the link), and they paid me. Which makes sense. Because I'm a professional writer. I mean, I have a book on the topic. I have a history of working in journalism. That counts, right?

Okay. So they tell me they are not paying me, but I will get a lot of traffic. Then they tell me how many zillions of page views gets a month. But I wrote for Yahoo for a long time. So I know the page view game. These big sites get tons of traffic but the traffic is spread out over tons of pages. Zillions or something. So, the truth is that my most current post gets more traffic than 90% of the pages on Yahoo or Business Week.

So don't tell me I'm writing for you for free in exchange for traffic. Just because I'm a blogger doesn't mean I'm stupid. In fact, it means I have a lot of metrics at my disposal. (Another crazy thing: You never find out page views for your own article when you write for a huge site in mainstream media.) The week my Business Week article came out, here is a list of blogs that sent me more than twice as much traffic as Business Week without me having to write anything for them: (not safe for work)

I'm not going to go on and on about Business Week because first of all they gave me the best review of my blog ever: A Business Week writer called my writing “poetic.” I love that. And when I complained about all this stuff, they were nice. I mean, they listened to me. That counts for something. And I really need Business Week to write favorably about my company when it's time for my big publicity moment. So. Um. I love Business Week so much.

Email number three: Salary gap whiners

[This is for every single person in the whole world who bitches to me that there is a gender gap in the salary department. All of you. Your emails are so annoying that I'm not going to print one. ]

The reason the emails are annoying is that I've spent the last five years interviewing the people who do the salary discrepancy research, and digging into the details, and I report on it constantly, and the people who tell me there is a salary gap do not read this stuff.

First: Women who are in their 20s earn more than men in major cities. So this means that any data you show me about salary gap is focusing on older women. They had less opportunities, they are gonna retire, and the world has already revolved around the baby boomers. I'm done talking about salary gap like baby boomers are the only demographic that matters.

Second: Feminism in the workplace is over (link one, link two). So everyone should just shut up about dividing the workplace into men and women. Men are helping women all the time. Women love working with men. And look! Workplace spouses are the only intense flirting outlet that Cosmo readers voted was within relationship bounds.

Even if there were a salary gap, which there isn't, women do not help themselves by bitching about it. If you work for a company that pays women less than men, just leave! Who controls you? You do.

Third: The gap is a result of women making decisions that men don't make. I have written about this so many times because the research pops up constantly. Here's another piece. From Cornell University (via Self magazine) A woman whose spouse works 60 hours a week is 52 percent more likely to quit her job than a man whose wife does the same.

Women choose different paths than men. Which means that women who have the same education and same skills set earn less than men because most women want different things than most men do. And this is okay. Really.