It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Our new PR guy is horrible, but my boss loves him
I am in middle management at a public library. We recently hired a new PR person. Pretty much everyone hates him, except the director (I’ll get to that in a minute). He is combative, argumentative, and does not have any desire to learn about what we actually do. There have been several incidents where he screamed at a staff member, and she felt physically threatened. Additionally, there is a performance issue; routine tasks do not get done.
Our problem is that the director loves this person and has pretty much made him her #2. We have no HR and no assistant director, so while the public service managers and staff are on the floor dealing with the public and their everyday demands, plus trying to figure out how to work around his performance issues, he is functioning as her sounding board. We cannot figure out why she likes him so much. She made him salary, and he is allowed to come in whenever he wants as well as work from home. She is talking about building him his own new office. Repeatedly, we have expressed our concerns, and the director always backs him up. We have tried to work with him directly and be honest, but he always lies and says he’s done things that he actually hasn’t. Despite a paper trail a mile long, the director trusts him and ignores our documentation.
We love our library and want it to continue to be a great place for patrons to visit, but all of us are feeling burned out, beaten down, and sad. Do you have any suggestions?
You can certainly talk to your director about your concerns about the new guy’s performance (ideally many of you, not just you), but if she has a blind spot where he’s concerned, there might not be much you can do there. Your next option would be to talk to someone over her head, but that’s a risky move — you’d need someone you know to be reasonable and to have good judgment, and you’d need credibility with them and enough rapport that you could trust them to handle your concerns discreetly. If neither of those work … well, you’re looking at the damage a bad manager can do.
2. My manager does performance reviews every two months
Is it normal for my manager to want to do individual performance reviews every 2 months? It’s not just for me, but includes the 3 other people in my department. I know for a fact I’m doing a great job (my manager has told me so on several occasions outside of the performance reviews), so I guess I don’t understand why the necessity to have these reviews so frequently? I’m also the newest person on the team, and my cubemate said my manager never used to request these meetings so frequently before I started (a year ago).
Formal performance evaluations every two months? No, that’s insane. Generally they’re done annually, or sometimes every six months at most. There should be no need to do them every two months; that’s what normal feedback is for, as well as serious “we have a problem we need to fix” conversations if needed.
3. Should I try it make it up to a family friend for costing her a referral bonus?
I have been interning at the company my dad works for this summer and things have been going great. I love the company and the people are wonderful. My first week, a job opportunity that aligned with my degree and desired career path became available and it was brought to my attention by one of the women in the department. Because my dad has worked at this company for a number of years, I have known this woman since I was a small child and she’s a long-time family friend. I was encouraged to apply and ultimately was offered and accepted the job. I’m very excited! It’s a great fit and I can’t wait to start in this new role.
Here’s my dilemma: There were a number of applicants for the position and in the end it came down to two of us. The other candidate was also referred by the same friend who gave me the heads up about the job opening. This friend was very encouraging throughout the interview process and I will be working very closely with her in this new position. Unfortunately, because I am intern, I am considered an internal applicant and she will not be receiving the $1,000 employee referral bonus that she would otherwise. She had casually mentioned this information to my parents and they then let me know. Basically, I cost her $1,000 by getting this job that I would have never known about if it weren’t for her. My parents have suggested giving her a $100 gift card to a nice restaurant as a thank-you which I am more than happy to do. I’m worried though that this may be considered inappropriate or a “thanks for the job.” Do you think this is okay? I really would like to do something, I have obviously thanked her in person for the heads up and encouragement but I don’t want this to come across the wrong way.
I can’t imagine she’s sweating this — and if she is, she’s in the wrong. She suggested you apply, you did, you got the job, the end. You didn’t steal $1,000 from her. Plus, if she’s a long-time family friend, she should be glad you got the job, not annoyed that she lost out on a bonus because the other candidate didn’t get it. That said, your parents know her, and if they think a restaurant gift card is the way to go, I’d defer to their judgment. I don’ think it will come across as an inappropriate pay-off — just enclose it in a card with a sincere message of thanks.
4. Company says they won’t pay us for any time we forgot to record on your time cards
Recently the company I work for has faced great financial strain and has not been able to consistently meet payroll. (So far, as employees we have always been paid; the money has been taken on loans and from owners’ family members.) The stress has cause great scrutiny on our time cards. An explosive outburst from one of the owners resulted in them saying that if any punches were missing from an employee’s card, we would not be paid for the time. Now, sometimes employees forget and sometimes the time clock is not working. The owner feels that we are cheating them by making up more time than is earned and they say that they can’t afford that and if any punches are missing we will go without pay. We also aren’t allowed to see our time card (digital) before being paid from it.
On a separate, but equally disturbing note, we also have meal period issues. We are never specifically asked to not take a lunch, but the workload is such that they always pressure us (due to deadlines) not to take a break, even for 30 minutes.
Is any of this actionable? And if so, what can be done? We’re in Alabama.
Your employer is required to pay you for all time worked, even if you forgot to clock in. How they get your time recorded accurately is up to them (and they can fire people who forget to clock in if they want), but they do need to pay you for it. All of it.
As for breaks, Alabama doesn’t require work breaks for people over 15, but you can certainly try explaining to your manager that you need time to eat lunch or you won’t be able to focus or work efficiently the rest of the day. And since they’re not directly telling you not to, you can try simply ignoring their pressure to skip a meal.
5. I quit my old job before my new job was finalized, and now I’m unemployed
A company had been after me for almost a year to work for them and I kept saying that I wouldn’t consider it until I’d been at my current job at least a year. Once that year mark rolled around the guy offered me a job, with a huge raise, travel benefits, I’d be my own boss… the works. This was the type of job I’d been waiting for and I was ecstatic. He said he would “get back to me” on the start date, and I told my current job that I could finish out the month, but I was taking another position. Since the initial conversation where I was offered the job, I hadn’t heard back. When I contacted my new boss he was very evasive and said he was working on a date, it wouldn’t be long. Eventually I had served another 2 1/2 months at my job after putting them on notice that I was leaving. I could not stay in this position any longer because I put them “on notice” and that showed a “waive of commitment.” I still have received no communication from this new job and actually the last time I contacted him he said he felt backed in the corner and like I was trying to make him make a move before he was ready. I never responded, I was disgusted at how irresponsible he was being for offering me a job, shaking on it, not to mention his latest response which over exaggerated my persistence. I only followed up 4 times in the 2 1/2 month span where he strung me along. None of those attempts were lucrative as far as getting any further information on the job.
That’s the back story of why I am “leaving my current job,” though I’d rather stay, I have no choice. Now in interviews everyone is going to ask why I left my job and I know I can’t tell them this entire story. What do you recommend that I tell my prospective employers?
More evidence that you should never give notice until you have a start date. (Not to rub it in your face, but to help others avoid that mistake.)
I’d tell future employers that you left your old job for a new one that fell through. No need to go into any more detail than that.
6. Should I mention in my cover letter that I recently interviewed for a similar job at the company?
Should I mention in a cover letter that I recently interviewed for a similar job? Some background: I interviewed for a great job, and I didn’t get it. The interviewer was kind enough to give feedback, and said that I did well in the interview and I have great skills and experience, but I might not fit with the office culture.
Today I noticed a similar job posting with the same title in a different department for the same employer. The culture might be a better fit, and the department even seems a little better suited to my background, so I’m going to apply for it. I’ve asked the first interviewer if she’d be willing to put in a good word for me, given what she said of my skills and experience, though she’s definitely not obligated to do anything. My question is this: In my cover letter for the new posting, should I note that I recently interviewed for a similar position but another candidate was chosen? This could help if they conclude “Interview this guy,” but it could hurt if they conclude “Don’t hire this guy.”
Sure, mention it. You’ve already asked your previous interviewer to mention it for you, so whatever feedback they might solicit from her as a result of you mentioning it in your cover letter is something she’s likely already supplying to them anyway. Plus, if they recognize you as a candidate, it’s going to seem a little weird that you’re not mentioning recently interviewing with them for something else.
7. Hiring manager needs someone to start next week, but I’d need to give notice at my current job
In a recent phone interview, the hiring manager mentioned that her ideal candidate would be able to start next week. I was non-committal because I’m not sure how to respond to that. My job has a lot involved and is currently understaffed, so I couldn’t leave with such short notice in good conscience. I’ve also worked here for so long that I will most definitely need it for references in the future. When this comes up again at the interview, how should I approach it?
Just say, “Since I”m currently employed, I’ll need to give X weeks notice.” Any employer who balks at that and expects you to leave your current employer in the lurch is one you don’t want to work for.