I smelled alcohol on a coworker, being forced to bowl, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I smelled alcohol on a coworker but am afraid I’ll get him fired

I smelled alcohol on a coworker. I was asked if I did and I felt like my answer would be the deciding factor that could get the coworker fired. I felt conflicted. I didn’t want to lie, but I am an honest person. The HR asking me the question said I could lose my job if I withheld this information. Is that true?

Yes, that’s true. Your employers can absolutely require you to participate honestly in workplace investigations. (Although in this case, I don’t know how they’d know that you were lying.) And in general in these situations it’s usually good to say what you know to be true. It’s hard to get serious workplace problems addressed if people won’t speak honestly in reasonable investigations or have their own agendas (and that can really torpedo attempts to address everything from harassment to safety violations).

2. Avoiding cuts to vacation time at my next job

I work as support staff at a small firm. We have vacation days (use it or lose it) and sick time (can carry over from year to year). Our paid time off policy was recently changed so that the maximum number of vacation days we get in a year has been lowered. We used to max out at 20 days (at 15 years), but now it’s 15 days (at five years). Period. Ever.

While this doesn’t affect me at the moment, I know eventually I’m going to want more time off. I know I need to brush up my resume and start looking around in order to build up seniority somewhere else. So what’s the least greedy way of saying, “I really liked my job, but then they decided to cut our vacation time. What kind of paid time off do you offer?”

Do you just want to know about vacation, or do you want to ensure they won’t change it on your after the fact? For the first, it’s a totally normal question to ask (no need to even explain what happened at the other job), but you should wait until you have an offer and then review all their benefits info. For the second, I’d wait until you have an offer and raise it then by saying something like, “One of the reasons I started looking for a new job is that my current company made across-the-board cuts to our vacation time. It’s important to me that that does happen again. Would you be willing to include a guaranteed X days off our agreement?”

3. The manager who asked me to stay in touch is now gone

About six months ago, I applied to a company I was interested in, and the hiring manager had a phone interview with me. She said she didn’t feel my skills were strong enough for that position, but she’d like to keep me in mind for another position that would be coming up in the future. She requested that we connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch.

This morning, I saw a notice on my LinkedIn feed that this manager had left that company. Since my contact person there is now gone, I’m wondering if I should re-submit my resume to the company (or even apply for a specific position if there are appropriate openings). Should I even mention my connection with this former manager? Or, should I maybe take this as a potential red flag about that workplace?

I don’t see anything about it that’s a red flag. People leave jobs all the time; it’s pretty normal. I’d just watch their jobs openings and if you find one that your’e a strong fit for, apply and in your cover letter mention that you’d talked with Jane Plufferton X months ago and she’d encouraged you to apply in the future.

4. My employer is forcing me to bowl

My boss is a mortgage broker. He owns a small private business, and after our commercial shoot, meeting and bowling afterwards is mandatory. I have no problem showing up for everything, but instead of actually bowling, I just want to sit there and watch/mingle. I told them this and the office manager said to just put on the bowling shoes and throw a ball once in a while, but I have a phobia about wearing other peoples’ shoes, have never bowled, etc. They can’t force me or require me to actually bowl, can they?

Legally? Yep, unless you request an accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But it would be ridiculous for them to do that. I’d show up and just go with a cheerful, “No, thank you, I prefer watching!” if pressured. And if they really push, I’d say your feet don’t take well to bowling shoes but that you’re glad to be there with everyone or some other enthusiastic-sounding comment.

5. “Didn’t meet qualifications” despite being qualified

My husband submitted a resume for a job that he was very confident he was qualified for. However, they responded saying that he didn’t meet the minimum qualifications. We really found this to be odd, because, like I said, he pretty much fit the description. Is it okay to respond with a “thank your for your time and consideration” and request where he lacks in their needs so that he can, perhaps, strengthen those qualifications?

It’s not unreasonable to ask (as long as he doesn’t sound like he’s challenging their decision), although he might not hear anything back; a lot of employers are more willing to give feedback to people who get to the interview stage. However, you might be reading too much into it. Often “didn’t meet the minimum qualifications” is a sloppy way of saying “other candidates were stronger, so you just didn’t make this first cut.” Other times, the qualifications changed or included things that weren’t made clear in the job opening.

And keep in mind, you can be highly qualified for a job and still not get interviewed, because other people are even stronger … although I realize that in this case it’s probably the specific wording of the rejection that’s throwing you. As a general rule, though, I wouldn’t read much into the wording of rejection notices, ever; they’re often form letters, and often weirdly worded.

I want to leave without notice but feel guilty about my coworkers

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A reader writes:

I work in an industry normally noted for its stability, although our location has seen 10 people in my position leave in less than two years since current management took over. (For reference, full staff for us is 10). I am scheduled for an interview with another firm later this week and am confident it will go well and I can become number 11. We have never been at full staff as long as I’ve been here; management is unhelpful and just bad in general. We currently have 6 people in my position, so if I depart it is down to 5, or 50% staffing. There have been no qualified applicants in months, so I am certain that I will not be replaced in that time frame if I gave a standard two-week notice.

My concern is not with “burning bridges” (I will never come back to this company), good will with management (they made this mess to start with), or even etiquette per se. My concern lies with my coworkers. I’ve become good friends with a few of them, as we’ve been through hell together here. If I leave, my workload will fall to them. I know they’re looking elsewhere too, and in fact we have a sort of “race to be number 11″, but I can’t help but feel a bit guilty to “win the race.” So my question is this: I don’t feel obligated to give any notice at all and would love to tell my *fingers-crossed* new employer that I can start next week. But my conscience tells me that the longer I stick around the easier the burden will be for my coworkers. But at the same time, is staying longer just delaying the inevitable? Basically, going into the interview this week, I hope to be able to have an answer if asked “when can you start?”

You should give two weeks notice at your current job because it’s the professional thing to do. Even if you don’t care about your company at all (and leaving your coworkers aside for the moment), you should care about your reputation.

You never know when someone from your company might pop up in the future (as the hiring manager for a job that you want in a couple of years, or as an informal reference that you never even know about), and hearing “oh yeah, she left with zero notice” is a really good way to kill your candidacy.

Plus, those coworkers who you feel guilty about leaving behind will definitely understand why you’re leaving — but they’ll make a note of it if you leave with no notice and it will probably affect how they see you. For example, it’s going to make the smart ones a lot less likely to refer you for jobs in the future.

And last, that new job — they’re going to wonder why someone currently employed is willing to walk with no notice to her current job.

Two weeks really isn’t very long in the larger scheme of things — certainly not enough that you should sacrifice your reputation just to avoid working it. And the last two weeks at a job you hate tend to be pretty satisfying; you’re leaving after all, and everyone knows it.

(Also, just a side note: Two weeks notice isn’t so that your employer can hire your replacement in that time; it would be rare for that to happen. It’s so that you can help with a smooth transition of your work.)

open thread – January 30, 2015

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It’s the Friday open thread!

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

standing on the street with a “for hire” sign, my employer left me stranded, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Standing on the street with a sign saying that you’re for hire

I wondered if you’d have any comments on this story about a new grad who stood on the winter streets with a sign that said, “U of T Grad for hire; Take my resume & get a free Xmas gift; Marketing / Ad-Job; [email address]” The gift was candy canes.

She was apparently successful.

Not a gimmick everyone can pull off, but I guess it can work once in a blue moon.

It works very rarely, you kind of debase yourself in the process, and if it works, you’ve just ended up with a boss who responds to flash and gimmicks rather than merit and talent, which is going to make for an unhappy work life. I’ve never understood why someone would go this route rather than selling themselves through the far more effective means of a compelling cover letter and strong resume, which in addition to working has the advantage of screening for better managers than ones who hire for “gumption” and candy canes.

2. My new coworkers are mispronouncing my name

I’ve recently started a new job at a great company. Just one problem–not everyone knows how to say my name! I have an unusual name, and a lot of the time, people will read it and make their best attempt. Unfortunately, I don’t find out about their creative pronunciation until a few weeks later. For example, I’ll hear them say my name incorrectly during a conference call, or realize they’re pronouncing my name incorrectly when mentioning me to others.

How do I correct people I’ve been working with for a few months and tell them that’s not my name, without making them feel dumb, or looking dumb for not correcting them sooner?

I’d just correct them on the spot when you hear it (“Oh, it’s actually Imogen”), and just be matter-of-fact about it. The more matter-of-fact you sound, the less awkward it will be for them. I wouldn’t do this on a conference call (unless you’re the next speaker, in which case you can do a quick correction), but otherwise just correct it and move on. Don’t get caught up in worrying about making them feel dumb or not correcting them sooner; as long as you do it the first time you hear it, people will just note the correction and it won’t be a big deal.

The other thing you can do since you have an unusual name is to use a service like Audio Name and put a line in your email signature saying “hear my name,” linking to an audio recording of you pronouncing your name. Hell, if you have a small company or a small team, you could even send that link out to everyone with a humorous message about you’ve noticed people aren’t sure how to say your name.

3. My employer left me stranded on the side of the road when my car broke down on a work trip

My employer requires use of personal vehicles for this job. I travel all over the state in my vehicle and can log over 500 miles per week on behalf of the company. I was recently stranded on the side of the road far from the office and also my home due to an unexpected issue with my car. This is the only time in two years of employment this has happened, as I take care to maintain my vehicle.

Is my employer liable to help me in any way, such as sending someone from the office to pick me up, offering to pay for a taxi so I can get home or to the office, or paying my tow charge? In the very least, are they responsible for my safety in this situation? As you might have guessed already, zero assistance was offered by the two gentlemen who run the small business and were sitting in the office at the time while I was sitting stranded on the side of the road, in winter, in New England.

I can’t think of any law that would require it, unfortunately. California requires employers to reimburse employees for all expenses or losses incurred in the direct discharge of the employee’s work, which might cover something like this if you work in California, but it sounds like you don’t. A small number of other states might have something similar. But otherwise, I can’t think of a law that would cover this. (Can anyone else?) Regardless, though, the big take-away here is that you work for people who are both jerks and bad managers.

4. Employer wants proof I graduated from high school, and I don’t have it

I have lost my diploma over the years. My high school has closed. The school my transcripts went to has closed. I graduated in 1986. I have college credits. Is this enough? My future employer wants a school that is credited to the board of education. I went to a Catholic school.

It should be enough. You graduated from high school nearly 30 years ago. It’s ridiculous for them to ask for this. I would just say: “The high school closed years ago and I’m not able to obtain the documentation you’re requesting. How should we proceed?”

These people have lost their minds for requiring this, by the way.

5. How can I stay on top of all the news in my field?

I am a leader of a nonprofit organization in an emerging space that is gaining increasing attention every day (early childhood). You would think this is good news, but I am recently feeling so bogged down by everything that I intend to read (new research, new nonprofits, op eds, etc.) that is coming out rapid fire about this area of work, I can’t figure out how to manage the reading list. I can’t read everything, there’s just no way and I’m losing track of what’s important. It’s such high volume that someone sent me a critical New Yorker piece last week that I think I would have missed completely (phew on that one!). I feel that I have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about our sector and to be able to speak intelligently about current developments in real time, but it often feels like I’m behind the 8 ball. What tactics and/or tech do you recommend to effectively filter so that the important stuff rises to the top?

Can you assign someone to be your filter — charge them with reading the most important sources in your field and sending you a daily or weekly digest of the most important pieces? You might also look (or, better, assign someone else to look) to see if there’s a blogger or other news source in your field that’s doing this type of digest already.

Aside from that, though, I have no good answers — I struggle with this one too — so I’m hoping that readers will weigh in with other suggestions.

managing colleagues’ expectations when I work part-time

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A reader writes:

I’m a project manager and have recently reduced my hours to 20 hours per week (I’ve just returned to work after six months parental leave). My hours are spread over three days and I have an early start, so I leave work well before the end of the traditional work day.

I deal with many different people in various roles in the course of my job, sometimes very briefly, so many of my colleagues won’t know that I work part-time, and I’m concerned about not meeting expectations for response times.

I’m considering setting up an automatic reply in Outlook to let people know my working days and hours, but this is way more complicated than it should be! I either have to manually turn this on and off each day (which I might forget to do) or have the reply on all the time; if I use the standard out of office assistant the words “Out of Office” are added to each message it sends, which I don’t want if I am in the office; and if I use rules and alerts I can remove the words “Out of Office” but then it sends a response for every email, not just the first in the thread.

What would you recommend in my situation? Is there another way of handling expectations I’m missing? Or am I overthinking the whole thing?

If you were always working with the same group of people, I’d tell you to just send them all a one-time reminder and be done with it, but since it sounds like this is going to come up with random new people all the time, I’d do three things:

* Add your hours to your email signature, so that it’s a constant reminder for people:

Clarissa Plufferton
Project Manager, Warbucks Enterprises

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

* Use the auto-reply feature in Outlook. Resign yourself to having to turn it on each time you leave for the day and turn it off when you arrive. Set up some automatic reminders for yourself until it becomes habit. Use it to auto-send a message that says something like, “My regular hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., so I’ll respond to you when I return to the office.”

It sounds like Outlook has some restrictions that make this function in a less than ideal way, but none of what you listed sounds prohibitive. A little annoying, yes, but not prohibitive.

* Figure out whether your schedule is likely to lead to any problems if someone does need a faster response, and figure out how to field those situations preemptively. For example, do you need something in your email signature that directs all queries on X to a colleague? Or maybe you just need to raise this whole issue with your manager and be sure that your’e both on the same page about the fact that some people might send queries that you won’t be seeing for a couple of days (and ensure that she’s thought that through and is okay with it).

Anyone have any other tips?

what to do when your staff is misusing email

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Ever had the frustrating feeling of reading a long, convoluted email and wondering, “Why didn’t this person just pick up the phone?” Or seeing someone take offense to an email that sounded abrasive, even if the sender didn’t intend it that way?

If you manage a team, chances are good that you’ve seen people making some bad choices when it comes to how they use email. At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I talk about some of the most common email problems and what to do if you see them on your team. You can read it here.

how to respond to a rude firing as a freelancer

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A reader writes:

As a freelancer with many different clients, occasionally some of them don’t work out. However, I’ve found that some employers can be what I consider rude when letting me go after the work I turned in was not what they wanted. One was very cordial up until the point when she wrote, “You’re good, but not exceptional. And we’re looking for exceptional.” Another told me that I “wasn’t worth the money.” Part of me feels like I’m being too sensitive–what they said was true, after all–but part of me feels like I deserved more respect, even if I wasn’t what they were looking for. Now, I never responded back saying I felt this way because I feel like it would be rude of me to do that (lovely irony there), and I shouldn’t be telling someone else how to fire me. Am I right here? Is it better to just let that stuff go? I feel like there’s no way for me to bring that up without looking incredibly bitter.

Also, what is the best way to fire someone with class? Any tips on doing that? Any specific language you’ve used in the past?

In this context, I don’t see a lot of point in responding back to point out that they were rude, even if they were. It’s likely to make things more antagonistic and there’s not a lot to gain from doing that. In general, I think you have more to gain from being gracious — saying something like, “I’m so sorry to hear that. I put a lot of effort into ___ (trying to hit the right tone/understanding your client base/whatever) but it sounds like I didn’t hit the mark. I appreciated the chance to work with you and wish you all the best in your work.”

You might not quite feel like saying that when someone’s just been less than gracious themselves, but this approach will generally make you look better than the alternatives — and it comes with the bonus of sometimes making the other person feel like a jerk, while you remain a shining example of professionalism.

As for how to fire someone without making them feel like these clients did to you … I’ve got advice on firing employees here (and here and here and here), but I think you’re asking about freelancers. That’s a little bit different. Depending on how long and how closely you’ve worked with the freelancer, it could be anything from a detailed conversation explaining why you’re switching gears (for someone you’ve worked with closely and/or for a long time) to a simple “I really appreciate all your work for us, but we’ve decided to try something different.”

Of course, with an employee, you’d typically want to give clear feedback about problems, a chance to improve, and a warning if you’re considering parting ways. With a freelancer, it’s good to do those things if it’s practical — but it won’t always be practical. Quick feedback like “we’re looking for something more like X than Y” of course will usually make sense, but when it’s more complicated than that … well, in a lot of cases you’ve hired the freelancer to be the expert and don’t have the time, ability, or inclination to invest in developing them, and it will just make sense to switch horses. So there isn’t always a warning with freelancers, although it’s good to provide one if the situation allows for it.

One other thing: While I totally get why what your clients said didn’t feel particularly kind, there’s another way to look at this, which is that their candor is giving you potentially valuable information. “You’re good but not great” is actually the reason for a lot of job rejections, although people rarely hear it so clearly (and bluntly) stated. It doesn’t mean others won’t consider you great; it’s just useful data about how this one company saw things. And “you’re not worth the money” — while I’m sure it stings — is good information to have about what at least a portion of your client base is willing to pay. Of course, if you’ve got plenty of clients happily paying those rates, then pay this one no heed. But if  you don’t have the number of clients you’d like to have, maybe there’s useful info here about pricing, who knows. Or maybe these two clients are just be jerks and not representative of anyone else … but the point is that it can be useful to depersonalize feedback and see if there’s anything of value to you in it.

I can’t fire my awful assistant, people keep asking how old I am, and more

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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I have an awful assistant who I can’t fire

I’m a nurse and I work with several nursing assistants. I have no authority to hire them, fire them, or implement any kind of substantive rewards or consequences, but I am responsible for their work.

Most of them are great. One, however, is extremely unpleasant to deal with. If I ask her to do something, she will scowl and mutter darkly about how busy she is and how unreasonable I am. Sometimes she yells at me and sometimes she outright refuses simple requests. I do a lot of work that should be hers because it’s easier than having a fight every time. She also bullies the other nursing assistants, talks inappropriately to patients about her personal problems and weird conspiracy theories, and the entire atmosphere of the unit is tense and miserable when she’s around.

I am at my wit’s end. Every time I try to initiate a conversation about her attitude, she scowls and mutters and walks away. I have talked about this issue with my manager and the director of nursing, but all they ever do is talk to her, and it doesn’t change anything. I would fire this woman in a heartbeat if it were my decision, but it’s not, and I don’t know what to do. Do you have any ideas?

Talk again with her manager. Say this: “I know that you’ve spoken with Jane multiple times about issues like X, Y, and Z. But it’s continuing. I think we’re at the point where we need to escalate this — putting her on a formal improvement plan with a clear warning that her job will be in jeopardy if this continues.”

If her manager refuses, ask this: “I’m at the point where I simply can’t get what I need from her, and she’s resisted everything that I can think of to change the situation. Since I’m responsible for her work, I need something to change. What do you suggest?” You might also ask, “If you don’t think it’s at the point of a formal improvement plan and warning, can you tell me what would bring it to that point for you?”

If this gets you nowhere, you’re dealing with horrible management, and they’re actually more the problem than this particular nursing assistant is.

2. People keep asking how old I am

I have been with my organization for almost 2 years. Although I am only 22 years old (graduated from college early), I gained a lot of respect in my field in a relatively short period of time, and do a lot of networking and presenting with various organizations the national level. There is also a training component to my job where I am the instructor. In my field, most of the people I am interacting with are male, and around 35 years old or older. Despite dressing professionally and wearing makeup, I have a bit of a baby face and I am often asked some variation of “how old are you?” by peers or clients I’ve just met. Although I think most people are just curious (though one or two have actually been rude), to me it comes across as unprofessional and makes me feel like I need to justify my position and experience level. Is there a light-hearted way to not respond to this question?

You could try “oh yeah, I know I look young” … “older than I look” … “I’ve been out of school for a few years” … or “85.” But you might be better off just owning it — “I’m 22.” Say it confidently and then move on.

Some people are going to be skeptical about your experience level, and that’s probably true no matter how you answer the question. But the best way to respond to that isn’t by feeling like you need to justify anything; it’s by demonstrating that you’re awesome at what you do. Show them that (and don’t get rattled by the age questions), and the age stuff should fade away pretty quickly.

3. My boss doesn’t want me to use a fan at my desk

It’s winter in Scotland and our office seems to be overcompensating by having the heating on at least 25 degrees. I realise I tend to run far hotter than my colleagues so I have a fan on my desk to try to combat this. I dress in the minimum that is decent, drink plenty of water to try to keep cool, and regularly visit the warehouse (which has no heating and feels lovely) but I can’t get through my day without nasty headaches and feeling nauseous due to heat.

Lately, my manager has started telling me to turn my fan off (it points only at me and I have no coworkers near by to get hit by the blast) because other people are cold and even resorted to turning it off when I leave my desk. I’m at the end of my tether; I understand other people are cold so I don’t complain about the ridiculous level of heat, but every single day people who don’t generally work in our office visit and make comments “it’s like an oven in here!” and yet it seems the cold blooded get listened to more simply because they whine louder. I’ve spoken to both my manager and my supervisor but all I get is a shrug or the more usual “you need to see someone, you’re not right.”

I’m at the end of my tether here and can’t think of any more reasonable steps to take. Why can’t I have a fan on if the heating is on 24/7?

Welcome to the universal thermostat wars, in which no one can agree on the right office temperature.

I’d say this to your boss: “I don’t want to impact the temperature for other people, but I’m warm to the point of it making me feel sick and being to focus. I keep my fan pointed only at me so that it doesn’t impact others, and it’s the only way I’ve found to be physically comfortable without asking for the overall temperature to be lowered. Can I continue using my fan as a compromise?”

4. Will I be judged for using two spaces after a period?

I have always used two spaces after sentence ending punctuation. I know the norm is now to use only one, but habits are hard to break. I have read several articles recently that say this can make you look old and outdated, like a relic from the typewriter era.

What is your take? Personally, I am in my late 20s and am otherwise extremely confident with my work/email writing style. Do you think anyone is judging this minute detail? I would be interested to hear what your readers have to say about it.

No one is judging you on it because so many people still do it, but it’s outdated and if you’re someone who cares about such details, you should train yourself out of it.

(And because I’m bracing for an outcry: It’s true that lots of us, including me, were taught to put two spaces after a period in our seventh grade typing classes. But the practice came from typewriters, which used monospaced type, meaning that each letter took up the same amount of space. Double spaces after a period were used to give a visual pause so you could see that the sentence had ended. Now that we have computers with proportional fonts, a single space after a period is the rule and has been for a while. Change with the times! More here.)

5. Asking whether a job is still open before applying

Is responding to an online job ad, asking whether or not the position is still open prior to actually applying or sending them a resume/cover letter etc. likely to hurt my chances of potentially being hired for the job?

The question is meant to pertain to any job situation, but in my particular case, the month-old ad in question instructs applicants to demonstrate ability by thoroughly editing and source checking a lengthy article. (A cover letter and resume are still required.) The position would be a great fit for me, but I also need to secure a job yesterday. I know myself well enough to realize that this particular application process will consume at least several hours of my time, and wasting time is something I can ill afford to do at the moment. (Perhaps this process shouldn’t take me so much time, but I’m just working with the facts.)

I don’t want to throw away that time if the position has been filled, but I can also see how contacting the employer with only that question could come across in an unattractively casual manner, & create the impression that I’m not a “go-getter,” or that I’m not properly enthused about the job being offered.

It won’t hurt your chances. But you might not get a response, and while you’re waiting for one, the position might close. Some employers just don’t respond to questions about their openings, especially from non-applicants. So if you’re strongly interested, I’d go ahead and apply.

For the record, asking applicants who haven’t passed any initial screening yet to spend several hours on a test is really poor form. (It’s rude because the majority of applicants won’t even get interviewed. The employer should spend 15 seconds considering whether a person is a reasonably promising candidate before making a request like that.)

employers want workers who they don’t have to train

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The Washington Post has a great piece from Peter Cappelli about how the “skills shortage” that people like to blame on schools (and on college students’ choice of focus in their studies) is BS … and that the real issue is that employers just don’t want to train people anymore.

He rightly points out that the argument that there’s a skills shortage because schools aren’t properly preparing students for work falls apart when you realize that the reported “skills gap” is about all levels of hiring, not just for entry-level roles. And if employers are having trouble finding people at all career levels with the right experience, then the issue isn’t about what schools are doing.

He concludes: “What employers really want are workers they don’t have to train … Companies simply haven’t invested much in training their workers. In 1979, young workers got an average of 2.5 weeks of training a year. While data is not easy to come by, around 1995, several surveys of employers found that the average amount of training workers received per year was just under 11 hours, and the most common topic was workplace safety — not building new skills.”

Oh, and he also notes that 30% of U.S. employers acknowledge that job seekers were looking for more pay than they were willing to offer. Which might have something to do with an employer’s inability to find the right people.

It’s a great piece, and you should read the whole thing.

do you feel tele-pressure when you work from home?

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The flexibility of working from home is usually a boon for workers … but regular work-from-home’ers know that this flexibility comes with a dark side too: “tele-pressure,” or the urge to respond to emails, texts, and voicemails as fast as you can, so that you appear connected and responsive. That leads to people doing things like interrupting evenings and weekends to respond to emails that aren’t actually urgent, or even neglecting their biggest priorities during the workday itself in order to remain continuously responsive to a never-ending stream of emails and other communications.

At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast track blog today, I talk more about tele-pressure and offer six steps you can take to minimize it. You can read it here.