It’s wee answer Wednesday — seven short answers to seven short questions.
1. I don’t want to relocate to the city my employer is suggesting
I received a relocation offer from my current employer. Our small company was recently acquired by a large corporation, and we all knew something like this would be coming. I’ve always told HR that I’m open to moving (which is true; no mortgage, no kids, no husband), but I’m not too keen on the new city.
They’ve suggested I come visit the city to meet other employees at the office and explore over the weekend, but I’m a bit hesitant. Even though it’s a better position & pay, I’m really not interested (and don’t want to be tempted by visiting), but I also don’t want them to think I’m blowing off the good offer and burn bridges. Should I go on the company-paid trip?
Also, how do I get other coworkers to mind their own business when it comes to this transition? I think they should just be worried about their offers, and I’m not interested in sharing the details of my own or what I’m thinking of doing, but I don’t want to be rude.
If you’re 100% sure you wouldn’t relocate there, just tell them that. But otherwise, go on the trip with an open mind; you might be pleasantly surprised. If you still aren’t interested in moving afterwards, you can tell them that you thought it over but it’s not for you.
As for your coworkers, tell them, “I’ll let you know once I’ve made a decision.” Repeat as necessary.
2. Rescheduling an interview
I have an interview for a new job, but my current job will not let me off at that time. They will for a time earlier that day. How can I ask the interviewer for a change?
Just ask. Say, “I’m unable to get away from work at 3:00, but could be available earlier that day. Would you be able to meet earlier instead?”
3. Social anxiety disorder and interviews
I have social anxiety disorder and am currently job hunting. In case you don’t know what that is, here is a brief rundown of some of the symptoms I experience: sweaty palms, nervousness, an intense fear that I am going to say/do the wrong thing, fear of being judged, and occasional anxiety attacks. Frankly, I go to an interview and I look like a nervous wreck. Medication hasn’t worked and neither has cognitive behavioral therapy, but I can’t afford not to work. The thing is, most of my nervousness is a result of being in an unfamiliar place or around unfamiliar people (both of which are factors at job interviews). Once I have had a week or two around a new job I settle in just fine. So my question is, should I be upfront during the interview and tell the interviewer that I have this mental illness, or should I just hope for the best and say nothing?
I wouldn’t announce a specific diagnosis, but it’s perfectly fine to say, “I tend to get really nervous in interviews, so I hope you’ll excuse any obvious signs of that.” Also, I don’t know if this will help or not, but there are a lot of tips for overcoming interview nerves in my free job interview preparation guide.
4. Feedback when you’ve been used to bad managers
I’ve been in my new position for 2 months now. In previous positions, I’ve either been blindsided by crappy managers with disciplinary action after having good reviews shortly before, or not receiving any feedback at all on how I was doing. In my current job, my supervisor is managing another person for the first time, and he’s a very busy person. We meet regularly every week. Each time he sends a calendar request to have a meeting to discuss ongoing work, my stomach clenches and I get very nervous. Then in the meeting, we discuss .. work. Not me or my performance, which as far as I know is fine. The last time we met, I asked how I was doing and he said “good!” I didn’t get the impression that he had any problems with my work. However, I still get very nervous when he schedules meetings.
I realize this is my own hangup. I want to do well in my new role and some day advance in the company. Should I ask him how I’m doing often, or wait for him to offer feedback?
Good managers do weekly or bi-weekly check-ins — to check in on progress, talk about priorities, give feedback, and serve as a resource. It sounds like that’s what your manager is doing, so I’d really try to see it as just a regular forum for that stuff, rather than as a Big Scary Conversation. You can absolutely ask for feedback on how you’re doing in these meetings, but it’s going to sound oddly needy if you do it every week — I’d limit that to roughly every quarter. However, what you can do more often is to ask for feedback on specific projects — “Did you have any feedback on that memo I wrote?”, “Is there anything you’d like me to do differently with Client X?”, etc.
5. Did naming a higher salary take me out of the running for this position?
I had a phone screening this morning and was, of course, asked about salary. I stated it was negotiable, but I would prefer $40,000. (My answer was based on the general market rate for the position, as well as my own personal budget.) My interviewer was silent for a moment, and said that generally, as this was an entry-level position, the person would be paid $30,000. She asked if I was still interested, as there was quite a bit of discrepancy between the two salaries. I stated that I was, especially since they have an excellent benefits package that she had outlined earlier. Is there a possibility I will be ruled out as a being “too expensive” in the long run? I am willing to take the salary to get my foot in the door, as this is a great non-profit managerial position that will look wonderful on my resume, and will not require a lengthy commute.
It’s possible you’ll be ruled out for being too expensive, yes. Employers often don’t like to hire people for a significantly lower salary than what the person was looking for, because of a concern that they’ll be dissatisfied and continuing to look elsewhere. But it’s also perfectly possibly that you won’t be ruled out — there’s no way to know how your interviewer will feel about it.
By the way, don’t base salary requests on your personal budget. It needs to be based exclusively on the market rate for the position.
6. Business professional attire vs. business casual
I have a question about office attire. I have about 5 years of work experience — one year at an internship where the dress code was business casual and four years at my current position where the dress code is extremely casual (I’m talking everything from jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops, to yoga pants and over-sized hoodies). Needless to say, I need to buy a new wardrobe.
I asked my new boss what the dress code would be for my position, assuming it would be business casual. She clarified and said it’s actually business professional attire. She said it’s not suits and heels everyday, but it is professional.
With my lack of experience in dressing up for work, I am just wondering what “business professional” is if it ISN’T suits and heels every day. When I wore business casual at my internship, I’d wear slacks with a nice top and a cardigan (with heels or flats) — -would that be okay? Or, would this impact men more than women with their suits, ties, etc.? I have already bought a few outfits for this position, including lots of dresses that I planned to wear with a belt and a cute jacket or sweater. Please tell me I don’t have to return them!
Business casual is generally on the level of khakis, where as business professional is generally more dress pants and nice tops, just not full suits. Picture the suit without the jacket and you have the basic idea.
The outfits you bought are probably fine, as long as they’re not really casual fabrics. I’d wear the dressiest of them on the first day and get a feel for what other people are wearing, and dress to match that level of formality. (Also, think back to what you saw people wearing when you interviewed.)
7. Benefits of travel agents
I’m not sure if this question is outside your scope — if so, I apologize but would love guidance on where to go for the answer. I work for a very small company of 3 people. Is it beneficial for companies of this size to enlist the services of a travel agent? My take is that it is easy enough for everyone to arrange their own travel, but my boss is suggesting that we hire a travel agency. Seems like a waste of money, and creation of additional hassle, to me.
It is indeed outside my scope, but I’ll throw it out here to see if others have answers for you. For what it’s worth, my advice would be to talk to a travel agent and ask exactly this question; see what they say. You can also try one for a couple of trips and see what you think.