It’s fast answer Friday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. My coworkers are all set against our new manager
My old manager left last month. His replacement starts in a week. So my department has been basically without a manager for a month. In that month, all the bad habits of my coworkers that the old manager ignored have just become more and more obvious and blatant.
Most of my coworkers do not like the new manager. We got to meet him and the other finalist for the job a while ago. We got the guy that they didn’t like. I liked what I saw of him because, unlike our old manager, I think he will actually be a boss and not a friend. I think he’ll make us do what we need to improve and go to bat for us with other departments when it’s needed. No one else agrees with me. They have all made up their minds, he hasn’t done anything yet and they all ready hate how he does things.
How do I deal with my coworkers? The new guy is going to change things. We aren’t getting any positive results with the way we do things now. And I’m game to try anything he wants to do. But I’m all alone in this. In this last week before he gets here, my coworkers are getting worse in their bad habits. I was pinned down in an actual corner and couldn’t escape while one of my coworkers had a fight with the head of another department, now she’s mad at me for not defending her. (I wasn’t going to touch it with a ten foot pole… She shouldn’t have started it in the first place and doesn’t take criticism. Period.) I know as soon as the new manager starts making changes, I’m going to have everyone trying to get me on their side where we don’t need to change anything because the way we do things is perfect. And I just don’t believe that and can’t find a good way to come away from those conversations without them deciding that I’m on the side of the enemy and someone to be fought against at every turn.
“I’m willing to give his way a try.” “I think what he’s suggesting makes sense.” “I don’t see it as us vs. him.” Repeat as needed.
If they have a problem with that, let them have a problem with it. If this guy really is a good manager, it sounds like these aren’t people you’re going to want to be aligned with anyway, because I don’t see this going well for them.
2. Relocating without a job
I desperately want to relocate to a city five hours away. I only seem to hear back from jobs in the new city when I use a friend’s address
(I usually write in the cover letter that I’m moving “at the end of the month” or whatever). I am actually in a situation where I could move quickly were I offered a position, and I also have enough savings to move without one (8-10 months of savings). I notice you always saying that it’s easier to get a job when you’re employed, but I’ve also seen you say that, if you can, you should consider moving without a job if you want to relocate. I don’t know whether to quit my job and move, or keep working and applying from a distance. Will it look strange to employers that I moved to a new city without a job? I’m in my late 20s if that makes a difference.
If you can explain why you wanted to move to this particular city, most employes won’t be put off that you moved without a job. However, you’d be going from employed to unemployed, and that does make you less competitive, in the eyes of most employers. Since you can use a friend’s address and you could presumably make the drive to the new city on short notice if you need to, why not continue what you’re doing — so that you remain employed but also have the benefits of a semi-local candidate? That way, you also won’t risk using up all or nearly all of your savings if it takes longer than you think to get a job.
3. Bringing chocolate to your interviewer
I was reading another career related blog who I will let remain nameless. She stated that it would be a good idea to bring chocolate for everyone if your interview was right before lunch. She stated that it was a way to stand out and that everyone would be in a good mood for your interview and will remember you as the one who brought chocolate. After reading that, I thought, “No way am I going to do that because bringing chocolate does not make you a better interviewer nor does it make your qualifications better.” What do you think? Is this a nice gesture or is this going way too far?
Ack! No, you are absolutely right: Do not bring chocolates to your interview! Do not bring fruit or wine either. It will come across as gimmicky and like you’re trying to suck up, and it will not make you a stronger candidate; to the contrary, it will probably make your interviewer uncomfortable.
Whoever wrote that should be kicked off the Internet.
4. Listing short classes on your resume
I work for a state government agency. Our HR department offers a variety of professional development classes that we can take. Each year, we can choose from and take 2-3 classes. I always try to take advantage of these opportunities. How do I list these on my resume, or should I list them at all? Keep in mind these are only 1-2 day classes, so I’m not sure if I should even put them on there at all. To give an idea of what type of classes these are, this year I took Customer Service, Advanced Creative Problem Solving, and Legislative Process.
I wouldn’t list them at all. Listing individual courses is rarely helpful (as opposed to your overall program of study), but that’s especially true in a case where they’re only 1-2 day classes. If you list them, you risk looking like you think they carry more weight than they do.
5. Should you tell candidates they didn’t get the job?
I interviewed a candidate who I thought was an extremely strong fit. My boss was on board with the hire, but the boss’s boss, who has of course the ultimate say, didn’t like the person as much as we did and isn’t letting us hire him. The candidate has followed up, sending emails every couple of weeks asking how we are coming along in the search, and I think that we somewhat led him on with our enthusiasm. We also haven’t hired anyone else yet, so the position is still on the site. Do you tell candidates that they didn’t get the job?
Yes, absolutely. Always, always, always, and especially when someone has taken the time to interview with you! And is now following up and asking for an update! It would be incredibly rude and unkind to not respond to him. This is someone who put time into preparing for the interview, possibly took time off work, and clearly wants an answer. You owe him a response. Please let him know that you won’t be offering him the position — and do the same for all other candidates who are out of the running.
6. Toilet trauma
I’ve worked with some very odd folks in my life, and sadly this one does not take the cake. We have a new female manager (another department) who refuses to sit when she uses the toilet. No one would care, except for the fact that she also refuses to clean up the “after effects.” I’m trying to be nice here. Bluntly, she pees all over the seat and leaves it. We thought for a few weeks a guy must have been sneaking into the ladies room.
This might not be such a big deal, but considering that there are only 2 female bathroom stalls in our building, it’s a real problem. We know who it is, because with women we know each other by our shoes, but I am at a total loss how to handle this one. Our HR is not an option yet, and this company has a reputation for vindictiveness for reporting bad behavior. I’m considering a swat-style busted-you operation out of desperation for safe toilets.
Gross. Is it possible to put up a sign in the stalls, politely asking people to clean up after themselves (and even saying it’s been a recent problem)? Alternately, you could approach HR not with a complaint, but asking if they could order toilet seat covers because this has been a problem and let them handle it from there.
7. Manager won’t give me goals or an evaluation
I have been working in the nonprofit world for 3 years, and I have been in my current role for about 8 months. My manager, who used to be in a role similar to mine, was promoted to his current manager level role about 5 months ago.
Since I began this job, I have had no performance goals for my position. Once my manager was hired in his new position, I asked that we discuss performance goals and I even gave him some suggestions of what I think are good measurables for my job. He said he would work on them and get back to me. I have been reminding him on a regular basis and I still have no performance goals. We were even supposed to have an official performance review session at the end of the year, where he said that we would discuss and prepare these goals for the new year, but that meeting was supposed to happen over a month ago and still has yet to be scheduled.
I still remind him often that this is important to me and he agrees, but I have seen no action in response. In fact, I have not had a single one-on-one meeting about my performance, good or bad, since starting my job 8 months ago. While I have never received any indication that I am doing poorly, I would like to ensure that my manager and I are on the same page in regards to where I should be focusing my time and how my performance is going to be measured. Not to mention that these performance reviews are used to decide annual merit-based salary increases.
I don’t think my manager is avoiding the goal setting and review process because he doesn’t want to do it, I just think he is very busy and doesn’t have a lot of experience in managing others. Am I asking too much by continuing to harp on this? Should I just take no response as an indication that I am doing well? I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I am blindsided by a bad review down the road because I wasn’t clear on my job expectations.
Your manager sucks. I’d try one more time, this time escalating the seriousness: “Bob, I’m really concerned that we haven’t solidified goals for my position and haven’t done my performance review. I’m uncomfortable not having any feedback on my work, not knowing what the measures are for my success, and not having a review, particularly since these reviews are used to decide on raises. I know that you’re busy, but I’m increasingly unsettled by the lack of these things.” Making it a more serious conversation might be the shove he needs. But if that doesn’t change anything, I’d write out your own goals and your own performance review (as a self-evaluation). I’d send it all to him and say, “Since it’s been X months since we originally talked about these, I went ahead and created my own. I’m going to consider these in effect unless you tell me otherwise.”
If you have an HR department that assumes managers are doing this stuff, you might also want to talk to them about the fact that it’s not happening for you. I’m not usually a fan of going to HR for much outside of payroll issues or benefits questions, but this guy is neglecting some pretty basic stuff.