It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Should I have resisted more when asked to move offices?
After a tumultuous six months of departmental reorganization, my boss retired, leaving a vacant office space behind in a crowded, multi-story hospital clinic building. The director of our department gave the space to me, and I have been slowly reorganizing it over the course of several weeks.
Today, as I was leaving the building, the office manager of one of the other practices stopped me and told me that they needed that space, but would try to find another space for me somewhere. I asked her if she had asked my department director, and she said she had emailed him about it. I said OK, and went on my way. As it turns out, the director of my department wants to hold onto that space, and doesn’t want me leaving it.
Should I have put up more of a fuss when I was approached by the office manager? If so, what is the professional way of protesting something like that? I’m afraid I may have harmed my cause by not being confrontational enough.
Did she say she that your director had replied and okayed the change, or just that she’d emailed to ask him about it? If the latter, it probably would have made sense to say, “Let me touch base with him” rather than just agreeing to the change … but it’s not really a big deal that you didn’t. And it doesn’t really sound like you hurt your cause at all, since your director is pushing back against the other department anyway.
2. I was rejected for lacking experience than I actually have
I have a question for about about an interview and subsequent follow up feedback that I got recently. I interviewed for a position which would require me to be the out-of-office support for a public figure. I thought the interview went well, although the HR person and the hiring manager asked a lot of “What would you do” rather than “What DID you do” questions.
A few days later, I received feedback that although I’d interviewed well, they felt that I lacked experience for a role that would be a sole-charge position with community engagement aspects. They also said that this position would be re-advertised, as it hadn’t been filled yet.
The thing is, I feel like I have lots of experience in this area, but never got a chance to really talk about how it’d be applicable in this context! I know the onus is on me to prove my experience, but how would I go about (or should I at all) in contesting this?
Well, you can’t contest it, so you definitely shouldn’t look at it that. This is 100% their call, no matter how wrong you think they might be. That said, you can certainly let them know that you do in fact have significant experience in that area and that you’d love the chance to tell them about it if they think it might be worth further conversation. But that’s really all you can do; from there, it’s up to them.
3. When should I bring up a request to telecommute 2 days a week?
At my current job, I have it set up where I work from home twice a week, and my husband has the same in a different company. Between the both of us, one of us is home 4 days a week so that our kids can do after-school activities.
I’m back to the job marketing seeking my next opportunity, and don’t know when and how to bring that up. The jobs I interviewed for seem to be big on flexible schedules just as long as you get your work done. I thought about few options: asking after getting an offer, asking after one month working there, or asking to work 10 hours a day and come in 4 times a week (if getting to work from home two days doesn’t work). What’s the best way to bring this up?
Normally the advice is to wait until you have an offer, and then try to negotiate the arrangement you want as part of the offer. That said, even companies that are open to flexible (or something flexible) schedules aren’t always open to telecommuting nearly 40% of the time, so unless you have extremely in-demand skills, be prepared for the possibility that they’re just not going to agree. So it this is an absolute requirement for you and you won’t consider the job otherwise, I might bring it up a bit earlier, to save time and aggravation on both ends if it’s a deal-breaker for them.
4. Following up with a hiring manager who canceled an interview
I submitted my resume to a company for a position that I thought would be a great stepping stone for me. A few hours after the submission, the hiring manager called me to set up an interview. He wanted to do the next day, but I had to work all day that day and there would have been no way to ask off on such short notice, but the day after I was off. So we scheduled for that day instead.
The morning of the interview, I received a call from him saying that he was going to have to cancel the interview and possibly reschedule in the future. He was talking so fast I couldn’t really understand the reasoning but he was giving a reason nonetheless. He said he may call earlier next week. If I don’t hear from him by the next Monday or Tuesday, should I email him or should I wait and see what happens?
Sure, it’s fine to follow up at that point. Send an email saying that you wanted to check in and see if he’s still interested in meeting. But after that, move on. Sometimes positions fall through, or they hire a different candidate, or the position changes, or all sorts of other things.
5. My manager is upset that I went around her to get a locker
I just started working for a hotel as security fire guard. I asked my supervisor about getting a locker in the men’s room in the basement. She said that there are associates who have worked longer than me who do not have lockers themselves. But I found a locker on my own and went to HR about the available locker. My supervisor was there and asked me about why I was in the office. When I told her I was there to see a list of who occupied the locker I found, apparently she was upset that I went over her head.
I was called in and found out that it was bad on my part to want to know the status of available lockers and I was wondering if they can simply fire me on a matter like this.
They could, but it’s unlikely. It sounds like your manager had told you that others were in line to get lockers ahead of you, and that she was irritated later when it seemed like you were ignoring that and trying to get a locker anyway. That’s annoying, yes, but it’s not such a big deal that you’d generally lose your job over it. Go talk to her and tell you misunderstood and that you didn’t mean to go around her, and you should be able to smooth this over.
6. Can I include volunteer experience as work experience on my resume?
I have taken a two-year break for employment to purposely provide volunteer support to a group of nonprofits in my community. Recently I was approached by our senator to apply for a job based on the work I have been doing unpaid. Since the experience comes from this volunteer project, should I include it with my work experience? Otherwise it looks like I have not worked for two years and the reviewer may never make it to the volunteer section to see the pertinent skill set, let alone the reference section.
Yes, you absolutely should include it with your work experience. It’s sounds like real work, despite being unpaid, and it’s relevant to the position you’re applying for.
By the way, your resume shouldn’t have a references section at all. You don’t supply those until they’re requested. However, you can certainly open your cover letter by explaining that your senator encouraged you to apply, and why.
7. What went wrong with this performance evaluation meeting?
I work for a large nonprofit institution. My job is unique in that I work in a laboratory which is located some distance from my department head’s office (I cross paths with him only about twice a month), and the head of the lab (whom I report to as a “day-to-day” supervisor) works for a different department.
June and July are job evaluation months at my workplace and I’ve had the strangest evaluation in my 20-year employment history. I arrived at my department head’s office on time, but he hadn’t completed the job evaluation and he told me to “get the hell out” of his office. He immediately apologized, and he asked me if I was offended, and then he was very complimentary about my work. My day-to-day supervisor was 30 minutes late. When she arrived, she wanted to talk about how I should be promoted! A promotion would be great, but she was clear about the fact that she is advocating that I seek a promotion without a pay raise. Then the meeting was cut short because my department head had a meeting with a couple of VIPs.
Isn’t the point of a job evaluation to document one’s goals and areas for improvement? I’m not clear about what those are supposed to be for the next year. On the job evaluation form, employees are allowed space to comment about the evaluation process. I realize that its not wise to rat out my department head and supervisor to the HR department, but I would like to document what happened in the meeting. Is the job evaluation form an appropriate place to do so? If not how can I politely voice my dissatisfaction with the meeting?
The point of an evaluation is to discuss how well you’ve been meeting the goals for your position, what you do well, and where you do better. It’s not necessarily to set goals for the coming year; in fact, although many organizations use them that way, it’s generally better practice to have a separate conversation about goal-setting for the coming year. (In part because they are both big conversations that require separate preparation and separate outcomes.)
Since you’re not clear about your goals for the coming year, tell your manager(s) that you’d like to meet to discuss them, and send over a proposal for those goals ahead of time, so that they’re prepared to discuss it. I wouldn’t bother with a complain or documentation of what happened in the meeting. While not ideal, obviously, it’s not so egregious that you could formally complain without looking like a different kind of problem yourself.