It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My boss moved down the street from me and is being a jerk
My boss just moved in down the street from my house. She has a new husband, who has been my neighbor for a while. We live in a rural area so not right next to each other. She is probably an acre away.
Her father-in-law, who lives with them, had an issue with my husband walking the dogs in front of their house, to the point that he threatened to shoot one of the dogs. The dogs were on a leash and not on his property. A bad interaction took place and words were spoken. Later, my husband took the initiative to make peace in the spirit of not having a feud with neighbors.
After that, my boss made it sound like it was all my husband’s fault. She even talked about it at work. Someone overheard it and told me. After that, she has been been talking to everyone at work about everything that goes on in my house. People at work know when I leave the house, when I come back, when my husband leaves and comes back, what time he walks the dog s(even though he no longer walks by their house anymore), if I yell at for whatever reason in my own house, and that about once a month, my husband has a few beers and like to be in the front yard and talks to his friends so as not to wake up the kids. Mind you, we are on about an acre and the front yard faces opposite to them.
This lady is embarrassing me by talking to others about my private life. I’m never at work because I’m a home health nurse and always on the road, so only go into the office once a week for five minutes and never hear any of this firsthand. I hate being in this situation and feel that my privacy is being invaded in the worst way and feel bullied, because to avoid problems now I can’t even walk the dogs down the street that I was accustomed to. I’m not in a position to sell and buy a new house right now and am afraid to speak up and confront her in fear of retaliation at my job. I’m a per diem nurse and they can simply stop sending me patients, but at the same time my reputation is at stake. I don’t know what to do.
Whoa. Your boss is being horrible and totally out of line. You have three choices: (1) Ignore it. You’re only in the office five minutes a week, so maybe you can decide that you don’t care if she’s sharing this sort of things with coworkers (who really can’t be that interested in what time you leave the house or what time your husband walks the dog — surely people are going to sick of hearing this?). (2) Talk to your boss. Be polite and straightforward: “Clarissa, now that we’re living on the same street, I hope we can agree to protect each other’s privacy at work. I’d rather my coworkers not hear about my comings and goings at home. Can we agree that for the purposes of work, we’ll pretend we’re not actually neighbors?” (3) Talk to someone above your boss, possibly HR, and be particularly clear about your fear of retaliation.
Which of these makes the most sense will depend on how bothered you are and your sense of how vindictive your boss is. But if you can, I really do think ignoring it might be your most effective option. I can totally see why you’re rattled to have her reporting on your movements like this, but the stuff she’s reporting is so mundane that it has to be making her look pretty terrible to other people.
2. What’s up with this job ad?
I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this job posting:
At [company], we want people who are tenacious and hungry to learn. You will work with smart, creative and passionate people to create excellent user experience and highly collaborative platforms. You will create solutions that will impact hundreds of thousands of students and companies. Be a part of [company] and join us as we shape the future of job training and job recruiting.
ARE YOU BRANDING INTERN MATERIAL?
We deal with Projectships, NOT internships, PROJECTSHIPS. If you can handle that, you’ve passed round one. You’re a professional amateur who isn’t afraid to try the crazy! You are so bright, people mistake you as the Greek God Apollo. You’re so motivated, you’re already on our FB, helping us get fans! PS: You’re not accepted into the program yet. You crush deadlines like how your ex crushed your heart. You’re OCD when it comes to details and organization. You dance like MC Hammer, smart like Zuckerburg, innovative like Jobs, tweet like RainnWilson, and party like the Kardashians. We don’t care if you’re smaller than Thumbelina or eat like Kobeyashi. We want you because you are you! If you’re offended, Shut Your Face! What does that even mean anyway? So if you are ready to throw cool events/challenges like we do, write dope blog posts, spread the word about [company] to your campus + social network, win prizes, internship/networking opportunities, earn cash, score scholarships, network with some influential people, and most importantly, go to WAR with other colleges, START APPLYING!
And just in case you didn’t get the position, we guess that happens sometimes. We tried something but it didn’t work out. We hope we’re still friends!
I think they are trying way too hard to be cool and in the process have achieved the opposite. It’s always a bad sign when an ad spends more time trying to convince you that they’re hip than talking about the actual work they need done.
Notice too how they snuck a request for free work in there. It’s pretty crappy to pressure people into promoting your business for free in the hopes they’ll get a job — sorry, projectship — out of it.
I am skeptical that anyone should want this job.
3. Putting keywords on your resume in white font
I recently heard a suggestion to type a bunch of industry “buzzwords” into your resume, but in white font. The idea is that those words would be picked up by any automated filters/software but wouldn’t look strange to a hiring manager looking at the resume. Is there any merit to this, assuming that the visible portion of your resume isn’t awful?
Nooo, don’t do that. If your resume is going into an electronic application system (and you won’t always be able to tell that it is), the formatting is going to gegt stripped out and those words are all going to appear, no longer in white, and you’re going to look like you (a) don’t trust your qualifications to stand on their own, (b) don’t trust the employer to assess your qualifications, and/or (c) are trying to game the system.
Also, the whole idea is based on the belief that you need a jumble of keywords to be seen. You don’t.
4. Can our employer require us to make up the time if we come in late or early?
I work for a small (34 employees) nonprofit organization in Colorado. Although many of us are salaried employees, we are told we have to make up time we take for doctor appointments or if we leave early or come in late, even by half an hour or hour.
I was under the impression that as salaried employees, if we work any part of a day, we are not required to make up the time.
Nope, that’s up to your employer. If you’re exempt (not just salaried, but classified as exempt according to the federal government’s definition), your employer can’t dock your pay for coming in late or leaving early, but they can dock your vacation time or require you to make the time up.
They shouldn’t do those things to exempt employees, especially if you regularly work extra hours, but they’re legally allowed to.
5. Should I explain in my cover letter that I’ve been laid off?
So I got laid off yesterday from a job where I had sort of seen it coming. They nicely told me it was absolutely no fault of my own and that all my work for the company had been fantastic, but with the reorganization of the department, my role was becoming far more junior and they wanted to rehire for that. They’re setting me up an internal recruiter to maybe find another position, but I’m more worried about applying for jobs.
I know everyone says it’s always easier to find a job when you have a job, and I have started hunting — but what do I do moving forward? Should I address this in cover letters when it’s clear I’m currently working nowhere? I was laid off as part of a reorg, so I was laid off with a lot of good friends and coworkers in one fell swoop. Should I ignore this in cover letters? I don’t want potential employers to think I was laid off because of anything I did.
Don’t get into it your cover letter; your cover letter shouldn’t be about why you left your last job, but why you’re interested in and would be great at the job you’re applying for.
Employers who want to know why you left will ask, and you can explain it then. But loads of people have been laid off, and it’s not something you need to proactively explain in your application materials.