It’s terse answer Thursday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. My new job just reposted an ad for my position
I recently got a new job and have been working there for a week. It’s a copywriting position, and I was hired to replace another recent hire whose work was not up to par. This company puts new employees on a 90-day probationary/trial period to start and then evaluates their work and determines whether to offer them full employment.
After a week on the job, I feel reasonably confident that things are going well. I’ve always had strong writing skills, and my superiors have told me directly that I’m doing a good job and am picking up on things quickly. Yesterday, however, I happened to notice that the listing for this job had been reposted online that same day. It’s the exact same ad that I answered to get an interview and this job. What does/could this mean? Should I be worried?
Speculating won’t do you any good, because it could be something as innocuous as someone in HR automatically refreshing the ad by mistake. Rather than worrying without really knowing, ask your manager. Say, “I couldn’t help but notice that the ad for my position was reposted today, and it made me a little anxious.”
2. Explaining flushing at work (no, not that kind)
I’m trying to figure out the best way to handle a situation that I know will come up at my new job. I’m on a medicine right now – a necessary one, can’t be substituted – that has a side effect of causing fairly severe intermittent (so it comes and goes) flushing on my face and neck. And I have really pale skin, so it’s quite obvious. I’m concerned that it will be perceived as me being nervous or shy, and that will have a negative effect on my reputation and relationships at work. The flushing occurs in a whole variety of situations that are both high and low pressure.
I’m working on my ability to control this through mental tricks and maybe I’ll try out biofeedback, but I think there’s a limit to how much I can really control this, given that it’s happening due to the medicine. If someone were to ask me about it, I think I’d be fine with saying something casually like, “oh, thanks for checking, I’m on a great preventative medicine for headaches that has that unfortunate side effect – but I’ll take fewer headaches any day!” What I don’t know is how to handle people who just watch me and make assumptions. Maybe I can’t do anything about that, and they’ll just think what they think. I’d like there to be something I can do, though! I’d really appreciate any suggestions.
Can you feel when it’s happening? If so, I’d just say something in the moment: “I think I feel myself flushing — don’t be alarmed; I’m on a headache medicine that causes that sometimes.” If you can’t tell when it’s happening, then why not just mention something to your new manager after you start? You could say something like, “By the way, I’m taking a headache medicine that’s been causing me to flush at random times. I don’t want you to think it’s a stress reaction, so I wanted to warn you ahead of time.” Your manager can then correct anyone who might comment on it.
To be clear, you don’t have to do this — but because it’s bothering you, it might give you peace of mind to say something.
3. Why can’t I get promoted?
I have been passed over for a promotion twice in the six years of working in the same department, and three times for positions outside of my department. I have gotten my MBA, taken additional training, and am in the process of planning an event for a staff of 50. No one has any complaints about my work to my knowledge, and I was one of the top two for a promotion out of 250 applicants. I did ask the hiring manager what it was that I could do to improve myself for the future and he said “nothing, it was just one of those things.” Any suggestions?
You might need to go somewhere else to get a higher-level job. Your company isn’t necessarily sending you a signal that they don’t plan to promote you (it’s possible that there were simply better candidates each time), but (a) they should sure as hell be giving you some feedback on how to better position yourself at this point, and (b) after six years there, there’s no reason not to be looking at all your options if you’d like to move up.
4. Can HR share candidates’ information with a competing candidate?
Is it ethical for a person in HR to divulge a candidate’s information to a competing candidate, specifically give that person your LinkdIn information? This recently happened to me.
I interviewed for a position and found out it was awarded to someone else on the inside when that person, who I didn’t know from Adam, went on my LinkdIn profile announcing she had the job. There was no way she could’ve known who I was or that I had also interviewed for the job unless someone on the inside gave her my information (unless she somehow was able to sneak a peek at the competition). Why would someone do this? I am very disheartened and feel my privacy was invaded. Am I overreacting? I mean, this doesn’t seem ethical to me at all.
Are you sure that’s what happened? An internal candidate posting gloating messages on external job candidates’ LinkedIn pages seems pretty out there, and I wonder if there’s some more innocent interpretation. In any case, though, I’d just let it go and not be terribly disheartened — there’s no real privacy violation if she works for the company where you applied (since you have to assume when you apply to a company that anyone who works there could become privy to it); it’s just bizarre and not worth stewing over.
5. I’m being made to sit in a painful chair
I am a full-time employee for a very large national company. That company holds a government contract that I work on. Recently the government agency we are contracted with had new chairs brought in for our entire office, though no ergonomic study was done beforehand that I am aware of. At over 6’6”, I am a very large parson and my shoulder blades literally rest on the top of this hard plastic and mesh chair back. The lumbar support is also not adjustable so it does not feel right. This causes both lower back and shoulder pain that I have never experienced before. The day after I was forced to sit in these chairs I woke up with continued back and shoulder pain even though it had been 12 hours after I had last sat in the chairs.
After talking to my manager, they told me I had no other option but to get a doctor’s note. I made the next available appointment and went. They accepted my note and I got a new chair that, while not perfect, was 100% better than my current chair. But after only a week, I was told that I and anyone else who had a different chair due to a doctor’s note would have to give up their chair because the government contractor didn’t like that the chairs weren’t all the same. I was told that I would need another doctor’s note with more exact specifications or I would not be able to get a different chair. I feel that even if I bring in a note with the exact make and model of chair I need, I will still be sitting in these painful chairs for the rest of my time at this contract. My manager, I, and even my doctor don’t know what to do. What would you suggest as a next course of action for something like this?
Go back and get the more specific note that they’re asking for. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass, and yes, it’s ridiculous that they’re micromanaging what chairs you sit in, and yes, it’s even more ridiculous that they’re requiring this extra documentation, but they are. So get it, and hopefully put an end to it.
6. Termination if company ceases to exist
After two years of active job searching (unemployed), I have finally landed a job offer. Love the company’s culture (small company in terms of staff, but moderate size in terms of capitalization).
However, I am a little unsure of how to interpret the following paragraph in the offer letter: “Your employment with the company will be as a regular employee, subject to your successful completion of a six-month probation period, at which point your salary will be reviewed. However, should the company cease to exist, for whatever reason at any time, your employment may then terminate on simple notice as per the company’s policy.”
So, as I understand this, any possible future termination would be swift, with no notice or severance package, regardless of the amount of time employed with them? I can’t imagine a 15 or 20-year employee being treated in this way. I know that in Canada, an employer must at least pay vacation pay if not taken at the time of termination. Is there any way that I can protect myself from being booted out should the company “cease to exist”? Can I try to negotiate this clause in some way (doubt it)?
I can’t advise on what protections might be available to you in Canada or about anything related to Canada for that matter, but it’s pretty normal that if a company ceases to exist, it might not be paying severance. I’d point out, though, that this language isn’t saying that you’d have no notice; it’s saying that you’d have notice per the company’s policy — so to find out how much notice that is, you’d want to look at the relevant policy.
Overall, though, this doesn’t alarm me too much. It’s what would happen in lots of cases; they’re just telling you in advance. (Maybe because Canada requires it? Who knows what goes on up there.)
7. I put the wrong phone number on my resume
I recently realised I made an ridiculous mistake on my resume — my phone number had the wrong area code. In Toronto, where I live, there are two area codes and I inadvertently switched them — the last 7 digits were correct though. I know how important it is to have my resume perfect and am furious at myself for the mistake. However, in all of my cover letters (in the body of the email application) my phone number is correct. Would employers who were potentially trying to contact me have given up/passed upon reaching the wrong number, or would they have contacted me by email instead?
Do you think I should re-send emails for potential applications to inform of the mistake? Or will this look worse for pointing out a glaring mistake?
Some employers contact people by phone and some by email, so there’s really no way to know if someone has tried to reach you and given up. I’d err on the side of a follow-up email with a correction. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than letting the mistake go unfixed and possibly missing phone calls. (I should note, though, that even a follow-up may not fix the problem, because it won’t be attached to your resume itself — but it’s your best bet.)