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Not checking references was first mistake in business relationship

Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 11:27 am

Q.: I got an email from someone asking me to participate in a business project with him. He said he was referred to me by a woman with whom I used to work. I signed his nondisclosure and have been inching toward working with him, but something seems off. He doesn’t seem business-savvy. – Unsure, Shreveport, La.

A.: Right after you heard from this man – and before signing a nondisclosure – you should have called your friend to check his references. Just because he said she recommended him doesn’t mean it’s so.

Stop now and contact your friend.

Q.: I have a unique style. I wear my hair kind of funky, and it’s partly dyed pink. I also wear crazy colors of nail polish. It shows my fun side, I think.

Usually it’s no big deal, but recently I have been interviewing for a part-time job that can help tide me over while I’m finishing school. I’m beginning to think that my style is getting in my way. When I have gone to a few interviews, the people have been cordial but totally uninterested. – Unemployed Cutie, Silver Spring, Md.

A.: The choices you make in life affect the choices that others make. Chances are you can find a place to work that will embrace your style, such as in the art world, in certain hospitality areas and in telephone marketing.

You also may want to evaluate whether it might be worth it to tone down your style for work.

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or C/O Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.