It’s terse answer Thursday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Should I pursue a job with a disorganized, scattered manager?
I applied for a job and got a call to schedule an interview. We agreed on 8 p.m. that night. I went to the business at that time and the manager wasn’t there. The person there called him and said to me, “He said he thought it was tomorrow. He’ll call you in the morning.” The next day, there was no call. So since he said he thought it was the next day I went to the business at 8 p.m. He wasn’t there again. The employee called him and he said, “He thought he didn’t have any interviews today. He’ll call you tomorrow.” The next day, there was no call. I waited a day to call them again. I called them and asked to schedule my interview, and the employee said, “The manager will be coming by in about an hour. I’ll tell him to give you a call.” Still no call that night either.
I have a friend who works at the business and he says the manager is all over the place but he likes working there. Should I continue to pursue this job despite the manager’s unreliability? I am in need of a job of some sort.
If you’re willing to take a job where the manager is chaotic and unorganized and doesn’t keep track of his commitments, then sure. That sounds like a loaded statement, but I genuinely mean it. Some people are just fine with that type of thing; if you’re one of them and know what you’d be getting into, then proceed — just realize what you’re being told about how this business operates.
2. Can I leave early when my work is done?
I work remotely and manage a team of 11 employees around the country. My workload is very much under control and I occasionally will work nights and/or weekends to get my work done. My projects are always done on time or ahead of time, and my boss is very complimentary of my and my team’s work.
Since I work remotely, I often have the dilemma of being done with work early and leaving the office before 5. I work at one of our company’s satellite offices, but none of my team members or my boss is there. I still answer emails after I leave, but I don’t see the point of staying if my work for the day is done. What are your thoughts on this? If my work is always done and no one would look for me, is it okay to not log in 40 hours every week?
I say yes, it’s completely fine — but it’s not my opinion that matters on this; it’s your manager’s. If your manager is sensible, she’ll have no issue with this — but it’s worth checking with her to make sure.
3. My manager asks me to do personal scheduling tasks for him
My manager will often ask me to do personal tasks for him that are basically the same as the ones I’m supposed to do for work, but I know they’re for family members. For example, he’ll ask me to schedule a call with his sister. I schedule calls with clients, but it seems inappropriate to me that he asks this for family. He also asked me to add more info to his out-of-town trip scheduling because his wife asked for it. I don’t think he should be using company resources (my time, which could be used doing actual work) to facilitate his personal life.
For what it’s worth, the other boss, with the exact same title, didn’t ask this of me. And there are several levels of executives above them. I admit I could be overreacting because I dislike him for other reasons.
If you’re his assistant, and it sounds like you are, it’s not crazy to ask you to do this stuff. Not every manager will (as you’re seeing with the other person you work for), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not legitimate for him to choose to. In fact, if he’s busy and working on high-level projects, there’s an argument that it’s a smart way to use an assistant — to allow him to stay focused on work that benefits the company. And if he’s traveling a lot, it’s not unreasonable to ask for your help in including info that will make it easier on him personally. Ultimately this usually comes down to what’s appropriate or inappropriate in your particular office culture, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with these particular requests.
4. My office is moving further away and my commute will be much longer
My boss told me that my office will be moving to another location, which is about 25 miles further away from my home than the current location. I currently travel 33 miles one way, against traffic, and it takes me about 50 minutes. I will soon have to travel 58 miles one way, plus $2 tolls Monday-Thursday, and $4 on some Fridays (seasonal thing), with traffic, and it will take about 1-1/2 hours. I also have young children who I need to get from child care by 6 pm.
What is a good way to ask for special arrangements in my situation? Is it even appropriate? I have thought about suggesting working from other departments that are more convenient for me, even if my office has to be somewhere else, or working from home. Is it appropriate to ask about an increase in salary even if simply based on the extra travel expenses I will incur? Otherwise, I don’t think I can actually afford to work there anymore.
You can certainly talk to your boss about the impact that the new commute will have on you and ask if it would be possible to work from another office or work from home (possibly only some days, rather than all). It’s a reasonable thing to ask for as long as your work doesn’t require you to be physically present in the new location. She may not say yes, but it’s reasonable to ask.
I would not ask for a salary increase based solely on this, although if you’re doing excellent work and are due for a raise, you could make this part of a raise request (but most of that request should focus on your value to the company).
5. How do I tell my manager that I’m overqualified and ask for higher level work?
Currently I am doing an entry-level customer service job for an underwear company. I have about 5-10 years of customer service experience, as well as salaried positions with Fortune 100 companies.
I have been in this position for a year. My stats are higher than average. I am on the same level as employees that have been in the same position for 3, 4 and 5 years. How do I ask/tell my manager I am overqualified and am looking to gain supervisorial / management experience?
Well, you can certainly say that you’d like to get management experience and ask for your manager’s help in exposing you to those opportunities. But you do not want to go about this by saying that you’re overqualified for your current job; that’s going to sound a lot like complaining about the level of a job that you willingly took. Instead, just explain you’re interested in moving forward and ask how you might increase your chances of that.
6. My manager brought someone else into his decision about firing me
My employer was trying to decide if he could dismiss me for a mistake I made. In determining this, he called in a friend of his from outside the company and discussed the matter with her. There was no contract or payment for her advice – just a friendly contribution to his decision-making process. He did not inform me about this either before or after he spoke with her. The consultation took place during business hours and at my employer’s office. Did my employer violate my right to privacy by bringing this person into the matter?
No. There’s no reason that your manager can’t solicit advice from others on stuff like this, and in fact, it’s fairly common to talk through these sorts of decisions with trusted advisors.
7. How long after a reference check does it take to hear whether you got the job?
After checking one’s references, how long does it usually take a company to get in touch with you regarding whether you got the job or did not?
Two glowing phone interviews were held with my former coworkers yesterday (a Tuesday) and I have yet to hear a word (is now Wednesday evening and I am hyperventilating with anxiety). Both references said it sounded to them like the job was mine based on the “boss’s” responses to their comments.
If you can, please tell me the average length of time companies wait before offering (or not) the position. The company has not had me fill out any paperwork with my Social so I doubt they are currently doing a background check — or am I wrong? Also, when would it be okay for me to send an email to them following up and asking, “so, what did you decide?” but more gently.
It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to weeks or months. In other words, there’s no meaningful way to know. They might finish checking your references but need to interview a last-minute candidate, who they can’t meet with until two weeks from now. Or a decision-maker might be out of town. Or they might need to focus on something higher-priority first. Or they might put the position itself on hold and not get back to you for a while. You can’t know. Often, you’ll hear something back within a week or two after your references are contacted. But there’s plenty of variation outside of that.
I would also not pay attention to your references’ assessment that it sounded like the job was yours. It might be, but it’s very possible for a reference to get that impression and end up being wrong. So put that out of your head entirely.
I know that’s frustrating, but the best thing you can do right now is to put the whole thing out of your head. Otherwise you could spend days or even weeks anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. Put a note on your calendar to send a note checking in on their likely timeline two weeks after your last contact with them … but other than that, move on mentally until you hear something. If and when they want to offer you a job, they’ll tell you.