It’s mini answer Monday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Should I tell my manager she might have offended my new coworker?
I am a senior member on my team and am often asked to do more detailed analysis than the rest of the team. We have a new team member who is very experienced in the industry but new to the company. My manager asked me to run some data that fell under the new person’s area of responsibility. I had run a similar report in my own area and she wanted to see the data in the same way. I did what she asked and emailed it to my manager and the new coworker.
As soon as the new coworker opened the email, she asked if our manager had asked me to do it. I said, “Yes, why?” because she sounded annoyed. She said, “I don’t understand why [manager] wouldn’t ask me to do that.” I told her that I had run a similar report before and that our manager just wanted to see the data in the same way. (It is really just data, she is still going to make decisions on what to do with it.) Honestly, I don’t disagree with her, and she could also run the information easily.
Should I tell my manager that the teammate might have been offended? I know my manager thinks highly of her but often doesn’t give much positive feedback to anyone on the team. Other teammates (including those that have left) have expressed that they did not feel valued by management. I don’t think it’s my place to tell my manager that morale can be low because of a lack of feedback. However, I think this is a concrete example of why morale might be low on our team.
If you have a good relationship with your manager, you can certainly give her feedback on this area in general, but I wouldn’t report this specific instance to her — it’s too likely to backfire and make your coworker look bad for making a big deal out of it. However, if your manager asks you for something like that again, you could certainly say, “I’d be glad to, but I don’t want to step on Jane’s toes since it’s her area. If you want, I can show her how I formatted that report for you last time so she can run it.”
2. My company always holds our paychecks until 6 p.m.
My company constantly holds everybody’s check until 6 p.m. every payday so that we don’t cash it that day. Is that legal in any way? Our usual work day is from 8-5 p.m., and for others it’s 7-3:30, and for some it’s even earlier. We are constantly stuck sitting around waiting to be able to get our checks. They also will not offer direct deposit. Also, for the hourly employees, they make them clock out at 5:00 but make them wait till 6:00 sometimes even 7 to 7:30 to receive their checks. Is there anyway of stopping this and being able to get my check in a timely manner?
Also, this past Memorial Day, at the last minute they decided to have everyone come into work. Fortunately, I had plans and decided to just use a sick day, but my general manager was not too pleased with my decision and told everyone in my office that she was going to dock my pay for not coming in. If I am a salaried employee, can she dock my pay for using a personal/sick day and can she tell others in my office that she is going to do that?
In no particular order:
* Most states specify that you must be paid within X days from the end of a pay period. As long as your office is within this limit, it doesn’t matter how late in the day they give you your check. I would simply start planning as if pay day is a day later than it really is, so that you’re not inconvenienced when your check isn’t ready earlier, and so that you don’t feel you need to wait around for it.
* It’s legal not to offer direct deposit.
* If you’re an exempt employee, they can’t dock your pay for not coming in one day. If you’re non-exempt, they can.
* They can indeed tell others in the office that they plan to dock your pay.
3. My coworkers call me names when they walk by my desk
How would you advise handling coworkers who engage in unnecessary, mean, petty behavior? For example, walking past my desk and uttering nasty things (“bitch”) under their breath. Or, talking about me within earshot. So far, I’ve just let all of this roll off my back, but I think this is nuts. Especially since I’ve only been there a short period of time. Also, if it’s relevant at all, I’m in a different department then them but do have to work with one of them occasionally, and due to the nature of my job, I’m the ultimate decision maker on the projects we work on together.
That’s hostile to the point that you shouldn’t let it roll off your back. Talk to them — calmly and professionally — about what’s going on (example: “I don’t need you to like me, but I do need you to be polite and professional toward me in order for us both to get our work done”), and speak to your own manager if that doesn’t work. It’s not reasonable to expect you to work in an environment where people are behaving this way as a matter of course.
4. Getting paid for travel time and honorariums
I work for a small nonprofit, and occasionally I am asked to go speak about our organization to an outside group on the weekend. Sometimes these events are out of town. The staff member who does our timesheets told me that I would receive mileage for the distance from our office to the event, regardless of whether I started from home or the office, but that I would not be paid for driving time. I understand that no one is paid to drive from their home to their office on a normal day, but what should I do if the event is more than an hour away? It seems awfully inconvenient to drive an hour somewhere on a Sunday morning, get paid to speak for 30 minutes, and drive an hour home.
Second, what is conventional when it comes to accepting an honorarium if you are an hourly, non-exempt employee? Obviously salaried people accept them all the time; is it any different for hourly?
The federal rules on travel time are less than clear, but they should probably be paying you for that travel time if it’s notably farther from your home than your office is, particularly if it’s on a day that would normally be a non-work day.
Whether you accept honorariums or not has to do with the culture and conventions at your office, not with whether you’re hourly or salaried. Generally, though, people who accept them for work-related appearances have them paid to their organization, rather than keeping them for themselves.
5. Applying to a job on a tip, when that job might not exist yet
Here’s the scoop: I am a full-time customer service rep with a print manufacturer. On my own time, I am often working on freelance graphic design projects, as graphic design is ultimately my career goal. Some of my coworkers are aware of this where I work. I received a tip from a fellow CSR that one of her accounts is looking for a graphic designer, as they are having quite a few issues with their current one. This was just mentioned to her briefly on the phone after she alerted the customer of an issue with some artwork that was sent to her.
I dug around a bit online so far, and it seems no position is posted yet. I will do more digging, but perhaps the company is still deciding on if they’re actually going to search for a new hire or not, and what was said to the other CSR was just spurted in the heat of the moment. In any case, how does one apply for a position that is not publicly posted (or at least not posted yet)? Also, I’d feel leery about mentioning that my coworker was the one who brought the position to my attention. I don’t want to get her in trouble with our current employer. Do you have any pointers on how I should tread here?
Hmmm, this is tricky — if it were just a question of how to apply to a not-yet-posted job, you could just go ahead and send it your materials, but in this case your tip is based on something that may have been said to your colleague in confidence. The ideal solution would be for your coworker to go back to the client and mention that she’d like to recommend someone, but if that’s not feasible, then ask her how she’d be most comfortable with you proceeding (applying and mentioning her name, applying and not mentioning her name or why you’re contacting them, or not applying at all).
6. Is LinkedIn stalking crafty or creepy when the company purposely keeps contact information from you?
I just completed a telephone interview with the hiring manager at a large West Coast technology company. The company’s interviewing policy is that the recruiter schedules the interview, and emails the candidate with the first name of the interviewer and the time the interviewer will call, and the phone call’s CallerID comes in with a generic switchboard number — that’s it; I guess they have had issues in the past where candidates are a little too ambitious whilst following up.
This is a rather senior position, and the combination of the hiring manger’s first name and the business unit — and a bit of Google-Fu and LinkedIn noodling — makes it pretty obvious who he is. Is it uber creepy to send him a follow up email directly, or should I send it to the recruiter in hopes she passes it along? I think it’s a bit creepy to email him directly when his contact information has not been proffered, while my wife (who was born and raised in the city where this job is, and has had multiple jobs in the technology field while there) thinks it demonstrates internet fluency and the ability to do my research that would go a long way to a senior marking position at an internet retailer.
They’re making a point of preventing you from having direct contact with the person you’re phone-interviewing with; I’d respect that. That said, it’s not going to be a disaster if you don’t … but since they’re making their preferences pretty damn clear, I don’t know why you’d ignore them.
7. Can my employer fire me through a message to someone else?
What can happen to me or my former employer if they fired me but did not tell me to my face or call me? The way I found out I was fired was through an employee who had no managerial position. Is an employer allowed to do that?
Sure. They can communicate your firing however they want — through skywriting or a midnight phone call if they want to. It’s incredibly lame, but it’s perfectly legal.