Annie Lane

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: I’ve been applying for jobs but having no luck. I did interview at two places this month. It did not work out at either.

I’m wondering about one part of the interview. When they ask if I have any questions for them, what am I supposed to say? I really need work and, honestly, don’t need to know anything except whether I have the job. I tend to blank out and say no, thanking them for their time.

Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

— Striking Out

Dear Striking Out: You’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. You may not feel like it, especially in a tough economic climate. But act like it anyway. It will imbue you with a sense of confidence that is far more alluring to employers than an air of desperation.

Here are old standbys that are perfectly appropriate to ask: “Is there room for growth here?” “What do you feel is the most challenging part of this position?” “Are there opportunities for evaluation?”

Then there are some that are less common but perhaps even more compelling, e.g., “Do you have any concerns about my qualifications?” or “Would you be able to share an example of someone who excelled in this role? Or an example of someone who wasn’t a good fit and why?”

Bring a notepad with keywords jotted down to jog your memory, and take notes on their responses. Employers want to know that you’re interested. Most importantly, remember to breathe and smile. You’ve got this.

Dear Annie: We are spending the springtime at home with just a few others, not at all what we expected to be doing. Normally, there would be proms, sports, religious gatherings, graduations, weddings and so many other events with family and friends. The Key Idea, a community arts organization is collecting postcard stories about quarantine experiences. There are some challenges, but lots of wonderful things are happening as well.

People of all ages are invited to be a part of this community art project by documenting firsthand experiences during this historic time.

What is your quarantine experience and how are you coping? Send us the good, the bad, the sad, the funny and the ironic. You can make a postcard on paper or digitally. Share your ideas and strategies for coping and have your postcard featured on our site.

Mail cards to: The Keys to Coping, PO Box 304, West Hyannisport, MA 02672. Or email them to thekeyidea@gmail.com. Find out more on thekeyidea.org.

— Lenore Lyons, founder, The Key Idea

Dear Ms. Lyons: What a fun idea, and it’s important to document this time in history for future generations to look back on. I’m happy to print the address here and encourage readers to share their stories.

Dear Annie: I just read the letter and your answer to “Excuse You,” whose new boyfriend frequently burps. I used to wonder what was wrong with my husband, too. Then we discovered that he is gluten-sensitive! He cut out the gluten, and he’s had no burping or gas since. That could be the case here.

— You’re Excused

Dear You’re Excused: Thanks for sharing this possible explanation. Indeed, gluten sensitivity often causes gas, which can manifest as belching. According to the nonprofit patient advocacy group Beyond Celiac, other symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity include abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, headache, brain fog, joint pain, numbness in the legs, arms or fingers and fatigue.

If you have these symptoms, consider asking your doctor to run a test for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. For more information on gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, visit https://www.beyondceliac.org.

Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to dearannie@creators.com.

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