DEAR HARRIETTE: Today I was sitting in Starbucks doing my work. A man came down to sit next to me, which of course I had no problem with -- until he started watching an obnoxious video on his phone without any headphones on. I understand that it is a public space, but everyone else in the store was reading or doing work. He was easily the loudest person in there because of his phone. I kept giving the man looks and then would look at his phone, giving him the hint that it was very loud and distracting, but he just sat there chuckling at whatever he was watching. Do you think I should have said something? -- Annoyed Starbucks Customer, Portland, Oregon
DEAR ANNOYED STARBUCKS CUSTOMER: Ever since coffee shops became the go-to place for many people to do their work, an unspoken understanding has arisen: Be mindful of your personal space and that of others. This translates into people commonly being conscious of the volume of their conversations and their devices.
You could have nicely asked him to turn the volume down on his phone. It could be that he didn’t realize that he was being a distraction.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a rising senior in college, which means I will soon be stepping into the real world and taking on big responsibilities. I am more excited than nervous for this step in my life, except for the fact that I need to find a job. All my peers seem to have either already accepted a job or have one set up. I feel like I am doing something wrong since I don’t have a job offer yet.
Do you know how I should start searching for a job, or if there is a good time when a lot of employers are hiring in New York City? My parents do not live here. Plus, they aren’t willing to take care of me after I graduate. I need to figure this out on my own. -- Stressed-Out Senior, Queens, New York
DEAR STRESSED-OUT SENIOR: Take stock of your career aspirations. What would be your dream job? Think about that and identify a title for it. Then start looking at job postings in that field online. Talk to your career counselor about job leads as well. Many schools receive job postings on a regular basis.
Beyond your dream, be practical. What skills do you have that you can use to earn money? Many college graduates do not start out in their field of choice. If you must work upon graduation, expand your horizons and look for part-time gigs, paid internships or jobs that are peripheral to your interests but that keep you close to your goal. Also check with your school to see if there are any on-campus jobs available. Sometimes students can work in the administrative office even after graduating.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)