It’s terse answer Thursday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. What to do when an employee starts using the wrong title
I am interested to know how would you deal with the following situation: The employee, X, reports to the manager Y. Recently, X has altered the title in the email signature from Administrative Specialist to Administrative Coordinator, without informing Y.
The HR file lists X as Administrative Specialist, not Coordinator. X sends emails both internally and externally, on behalf of the company.
Should this be addressed by Y in any way, and what would be the best way to approach it?
Yes, you have to address it! (I’m assuming you’re Y, for the sake of this response.) What if X started using CEO as her title? Titles aren’t up for grabs; they’re negotiated and/or awarded.
Go to X and say this, “I noticed that your emails recently have said administrative coordinator, rather than specialist. How come?” If the answer is anything other than that it’s an odd mistake, then you say, “While your job is specialist, that’s the title you need to use in your emails and other places.” You say this in a nice, even sympathetic tone, but you do need to say it.
2. Interviewer was dismissive and contemptuous
Today I went in for a second round interview at a fashion company with a VP. I met with HR last week, and the interview went very smoothly. I was very interested in the position, and it seemed as though my experience was a good fit for what they were looking for. However, when I greeted the VP this morning, she responded by icily sizing me up with a smug look on her face and not even saying “good morning.” When we sat down in her office, the first words out of her mouth were, “I’m not sure why HR sent you to me.”
Naturally, I was quite taken aback by her dismissal. Things didn’t get better as she proceeded to ask me questions about my experience and subsequently interrupt me to explain why I wasn’t qualified. It felt more like an attack than an interview, ending with her nearly avoiding shaking my hand as I walked out the door.
While I’m disappointed that I (clearly) didn’t get the position, I am relieved that I dodged the bullet of that woman being my boss. My question to you though: is it worth mentioning this woman’s behavior to the HR director, with whom I have a good rapport? I felt like I not only wasted my time, but also that I didn’t stand a chance to exhibit what I could bring to the position since I was put on the defensive from the start. Would this be helpful for the HR person to know so that they don’t waste other people’s time, or should I just say “good riddance” and forget the whole thing?
It would be helpful for the HR person to know, yes, but it risks being unhelpful to you, because too many employers aren’t open to this type of feedback about their interviewers — and will often give their interviewer (who they know better than you, after all) the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re the one who’s being high-maintenance. So if you think you might ever apply for a job again there (under a different manager, obviously), I’d just drop it and move on — especially since it’s not your responsibility to point out or fix whatever problems they have over there, and definitely not if it comes with a potential cost to you.
3. Why don’t I want to take this new job that I was previously excited about?
I have a pretty good job at present, but am considering accepting a different job I have been offered. A few months ago when I applied for the new job, I had a number of reasons why it would be fun, adventurous, challenging, and a great opportunity for new experiences. Yet, now that I am on the brink of having to say yes or no to the job, I seem to have forgotten all the reasons why I wanted it in the first place, and I see only the great parts of my present job. And to be honest, if I found out at this minute that the new job was no longer available, I would be relieved…..what is wrong with me?
Maybe you don’t want the job. Maybe you got a bad feeling about the manager or the work or the culture. Or maybe you do want it, but you’re afraid of change. Or maybe you’re just happy at your current job and don’t want to leave.
4. Should I really submit my parking expenses for reimbursement?
I’m an attorney for a small law firm within a couple miles of downtown. Part of my job is going downtown for various court appearances. This happens often, and each trip costs anywhere between $3 to $20 for parking. This probably totals about $100 – $200 a month.
We don’t have a written policy on expense reimbursements. Before I started working here, my boss said that the firm doesn’t reimburse for mileage when it’s just driving a couple of miles to the courthouse downtown, but they will reimburse for mileage when I have to travel to courthouses farther away–say, in the next county–and always will reimburse for parking. I’m fine with the mileage thing, but am now getting ready to submit my first reimbursement request for parking expenses.
This is where my question arises: My boss buys the office lunch and snacks often, probably once or twice a week. In the short time I’ve worked here, she has also paid for membership dues, continuing education courses, and a trip to a seminar. The point is, what she spends on these things that I benefit from is probably more than what I spend on parking. So my question is, do you think I would now appear to be greedy, nickel-and-dime-y, or overreaching by asking for reimbursement for the parking expenses? Might an employer think, “Well, the cost of the free meals, etc., she gets already more than makes up for the parking costs”?
Nope. At least no reasonable employer would. You’ve been told they’ll reimburse those expenses, so submit them. The fact that your employer also covers training, food, and other items isn’t relevant; it’s not either/or.
Remember, the general principle for thinking about this stuff is that you shouldn’t pay for the business’s own expenses. That includes travel costs like parking, employee training, and lunches that are apparently meant as morale/camaraderie boosts.
5. Would I be eligible for rehiring after quitting without notice two years ago?
I quit my job over two years ago with a great company because my boss and I couldn’t get along professionally. I was always professional and did my work properly. Always arrived on time and left late to complete my work. It got to a point where I felt that nothing I did was good enough for her and my job was on the line. There was one instance where I came into work and someone from my job approached me and told me to be careful because there were talks about letting me go. I was very upset after hearing this. I ended my shift for the day and went home. From there, I sent an email resignation letter to my boss and copied HR. In my letter, I was very professional and told them that this resignation letter was effective immediately while explaining the cause as to why. I did not give two weeks notice. I was an “at-will” employee. Do you think I would be rehireable for the company?
You left without giving notice and didn’t even bother to return to the office to wrap up your work — in nearly every context, that’s seen as unprofessional and would prevent the employer from re-hiring you in the future.
6. Should I do something special for a departing long-time employee?
I have an employee who has worked with our organization for the last 12 years. He has only worked under me for less than a year and I was not the person who hired him into the position. He was inherited. Regardless, should I do something special for him upon his departure? Is it my place to do something and to what magnitude?
What does your organization usually do for departing employees? Card? Lunch? Any sort of recognition? I’d take your cues from that, but if nothing else, I’d circulate a card for people to sign and tell him how much you’ve enjoyed working with him (if that’s in any way true), wish him well, and (if you want) encourage him to stay in touch.
7. Adding a single class to my resume
I have my bachelor’s degree and I also recently took one graduate-level class that is very relevant to my job search. After completing the class, I decided to put graduate school on hold indefinitely while I work on studying for a certification. How do I put this one class on my resume? Do I specify that it was graduate-level? Or should I just mention it in my cover letter?
You could add it to your education section like this:
Great Figures in Chocolate Teapot History (graduate level course), Teapot University, 2013
I’d only do this if it’s truly likely to strengthen your candidacy, though, since otherwise individual classes aren’t generally that significant on a resume.