It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Do I have to organize a Boss’s Day gift?
That time of the year is coming up again: Boss’ Day. I am a huge proponent of the “gifts flow down” mentality and usually don’t contribute to a gift, but I have a particular dilemma this year.
I recently took over as Administrative Assistant for my department, and our old A.A. moved into a different role within our office. Since she’s still here, she’ll occasionally reach out to me with things to keep on my radar. Well, today, she emailed me to remind me to coordinate a Boss’ Day gift. The only problem is I hate the idea of Boss’ Day gifts. I think asking people to contribute money or gifts to people who make vastly more than the rest of us do isn’t appropriate and I don’t want to send out the “give me money” email.
It’s become a tradition in the past couple years, though, and I don’t know what to do about it. If the bosses (we have two) have come to expect this and I don’t do it this year, I don’t want there to be any kickback. But if they ascribe to the same mindset that gifts should flow down and are uncomfortable with the tradition, I would absolutely love to put an end to it.
Do you have any advice as to how I could ask them about this? I don’t know how to broach this without looking like I’m saying they don’t deserve recognition or accolades for the hard work they do here. I think they do, but I don’t believe that needs to be expressed in a monetary manner.
I’d default to assuming that you don’t need to do it; it’s far more likely that your manager won’t care than that they will. But if you’re concerned, why not ask the old AA who mentioned it to you? You could say something like, “I usually don’t do stuff like this and have heard some convincing arguments that gifts shouldn’t flow upward in a workplace, but I wanted to check with you: Have Jane and Fergus ever said anything that indicates to you that they expect this or would be upset if it didn’t happen?”
Or you could simply thank her for the info and then ignore it.
2. Is it weird for my boyfriend to join me at work for lunch?
My boyfriend is on an alternative work schedule for the summer and gets to take off every other Friday. Today, we met up for lunch, and when the small cafe we frequent had run out of seats, I decided that it wouldn’t be so bad for him to come back to my office with me. Our building has a seating area outside and it’s not heavily used, but the weather was good and there were a few colleagues already eating their own lunches. (A note about my office: people keep to themselves or at least their departments, so the only people I socialize with are the other three I work with. I know the people on the patio but not well. Also, I’m 23 and one of the youngest in the organization; most people who work at my company are 30+ with families.)
Anyway, I was a little apprehensive because the surprise lunch at my office meant my boyfriend was wearing a t-shirt, some basic blue cotton shorts, and sperries–not exactly office-like. I hoped that just a quick in and out lunch wouldn’t be a problem, but as soon as we sat down, the entire table of colleagues to one side looked over at us (very obviously) and one or two kept looking at us as we ate. I felt like the attention was unwarranted as we were just sitting and chatting and eating–zero PDA. But I still left feeling like I had crossed some sort of line in having my boyfriend join me for lunch.
Any advice on whether this is something that’s okay to do in the future or should I just avoid it? It wouldn’t happen often but I’d like to be able to have him stop by once in a blue moon (better dressed, of course). Admittedly, I think part of my apprehension comes from being the youngest at an organization and new to the working world in general.
I wouldn’t worry about this. If he were joining you constantly, it could come across as a little immature (like you couldn’t get through the workday without boyfriend contact), but on occasion, like once a week or less? In 99% of the offices out there, totally fine, as long as you’re meeting him outside your office, which you were. (If you were bringing him in to eat with you at your desk, that would be weird. And obviously, PDA is out but it sounds like you know that.)
Also, there’s no reason he has to put on a suit to meet you for lunch; he’s not the one working at your office, and he’s allowed to dress however he wants, as long as it’s reasonably inoffensive.
I’d bet money that people were looking at you just because people are interested in seeing coworkers’ significant others. We are a gossipy species.
3. Having employees write up formal complaints to sign
A question came up between my manager and me, and I thought I’d bring it to you! We are an HR office (the two of us). I had an employee come in to make a complaint about another employee. We agreed to take the issue to his manager and I wrote down his complaint, typed it up, he signed it and all that jazz.
The reason that I wrote down the notes was because some of his complaints were very valid (there is some funny budgeting going on), but some of his complaints would NOT be something to put on paper (for instance, that he suspected this employee was a lesbian – I told him that was not something that we could file a complaint about but he didn’t seem to agree).
But my manager said that we should never write the notes up – the employee has to do it himself. She said it was inappropriate for me to do it even if I got his signature. What do you say?
I say y’all are making this more bureaucratic than it needs to be and you don’t need to have employees sign formal written complaints at all, unless you’re in a context where people routinely deny saying things that they said to you earlier. If for some reason you’re committed to doing it this way, though, it’s really up to you whether you want to write it up for them or have them write it up themselves; there’s no real “best practice” around this because you don’t need to be doing it this way at all.
(Also, this particular employee sounds like an ass.)
4. Asking a friend to refer me after I’ve already been rejected
I applied online for a job yesterday, and at the same time sent an email to a friend who just got hired there, asking if she had the contact information for a recruiter there so I could send a quick follow-up email.
I got a rejection to my online application the next day, but my friend also got back to me and said she could forward my resume along as a referral. Should I go that route, or would it be weird since I already got rejected?
Ask your friend. She’s in the best position to know. Let her know that you’ve already been rejected and ask if she thinks it makes sense for her to pass your resume along anyway. In some cases, that’s reasonable to do and can result in you getting a second look. In other cases, she might prefer to defer to the judgment of whoever did the original screening. (The latter is more likely to be true since she’s new, but let her make the call.)
5. Can my boss find out about my side earnings?
Due to my current low pay relative to my career field at my current job, I am contemplating doing side jobs to earn some extra money. To save you a large email, you will need to trust me when I say that these jobs would never become clients to my current employer anyway. But I have plenty of free time outside of work to do these jobs, which are also outside of my employer’s current client area.
I am worried, however, that when my boss files taxes, he can see my earnings as an independent contractor. While I don’t really *NEED* to continue working at this current job, I enjoy working here for the most part, except the low wages. Can my employer see my earnings from being an independent contractor?
Nope, he cannot. The only people who can seeing your earnings as an independent contractor are the IRS.