One of the worst moments a manager experiences is being asked to recommend a former employee whose performance was less than exemplary.
What can be said about Wanda, for instance, whose attendance record was so bad that most of her colleagues thought she was employed posthumously but were afraid to let payroll know?
Robert Thornton, a professor of economics at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., offers an unusual out in the "Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations" (Meadowbrook). A LIAR recommendation for Wanda could read, "She's not your normal everyday employee." Every other day, maybe.
Thornton said the book came out when a colleague was writing a reference for a very good student. He closed with the line, "I can't recommend this person too highly," which, of course, could be interpreted in a number of ways, some of which aren't too flattering.