It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Do I need to have an outgoing voicemail message when job searching?
I don’t have an outgoing voicemail message on my phone — I gave up trying to record a normal-sounding message after several tries, and never got around to actually recording one. Is this a Bad Thing, or not really a big deal? I’m job-hunting right now and am wondering if it would reflect negatively on me if an interviewer called and got my generic-robot voicemail.
I don’t think it’s a big deal, but I do think it’s better to have a message with your name that confirms the caller has reached the right person so that there’s no uncertainty on their side.
2. Am I being taken for a ride?
I recently discussed the possibilities of starting up an online store for my employer. I also suggested that, with my background in running an online store as part of my own business (in the same industry), that I could design and implement it for them, including all graphic and web design, marketing, product research, etc. They were not aware I had these skills when they hired me.
I submitted a proposal and presented a mock-up store to our dealer principal, who was very impressed, and we had another meeting (my manager, the dealer principal, and myself). As part of this meeting, they wanted to know my expectations regarding remuneration. I gave them an idea of what I thought was reasonable if the position was full-time, and they basically said that they couldn’t justify paying me any more without seeing results, which is to say: “Get the site up and running, and when we start seeing some growth, come and talk to us.” On top of this, they want me to continue doing my current job as they “can’t afford to let the retail business suffer.” They also said “if this project is successful, we’ll make sure everyone knows it’s yours” and that “there’s huge potential for you to progress within the company.”
Later that day, I told my boss that I wasn’t really comfortable putting my extra skills to use without any extra remuneration. He said that his hands were tied and that I would have to accept this is the way it’s going to be, and that I’d be in a better position to negotiate for a pay rise when the site is up and achieving good growth.
What’s your opinion on this? Is it unreasonable for me to expect extra compensation while using these skills? Am I being taken advantage of, considering it could cost them upwards of $40,000 to have someone else set it up? On one hand I think this would be a great project and would give me something to sink my teeth into, as well as a great addition to my resume if it’s successful, but on the other hand, I feel like I am being taken for a ride.
Hard to say without knowing more about your employer. Some would mean everything they said to you, and some wouldn’t. What do you know about your employer that can help you evaluate this?
I can say that if they’re planning on hiring someone to do this work regardless of whether or not it’s you, then yes, you should expect to be fairly for it. But if they weren’t planning on doing this and you’re the one pushing the idea, then it’s not surprising that they’re not willing to hand over a bunch of cash that they’d never budgeted to spend for a project that hasn’t been a priority to them. In that case, their stance is more reasonable than it would be if they were seeking a solution for this work on their own.
3. Should I mention on my resume that I’m represented by a literary agent?
By day, I work full-time at a media company, but in my spare time, I write novels. While I have yet to achieve my goal of being published, I do have a fairly well-known literary agent who represents my work (a quick Google search will show she has many successful clients). Is this something to include on my resume or is it more likely to scare people off (i.e., I will not be fully committed to my job because of my writing)? Of course, a search of my name on the internet will bring up this information, as my Twitter is mostly dedicated to my writing. I’m just not sure how big a deal to make of it. While I do want to be published, I do not plan to stop working full-time when/if that day comes, as mid-list debut authors certainly do not make enough money to support themselves.
In summary, would you recommend including this somewhere on my resume/cover letter, and if so, where?
Unless it’s relevant to the work you’re applying for, I wouldn’t include it. Simply having an agent isn’t going to be considered enough of an achievement that it belongs on a resume and you risk looking a little naive for including it. And yes, you also risk turning off employers who will assume that your heart will be with your novel writing rather than the work they’d be hiring you for (which it may well be, but there’s no need to highlight that fact).
4. Quitting without notice because of a seriously ill relative
I’ve been working for my company for only about 5 months and I just got made permanent last July. My dad is in the Philippines and he’s in a critical health situation right now. I asked my supervisor if he can give me two weeks unpaid vacation. If he approves my vacation and while I’m in the Philippines I realize that I can’t leave my dad in that situation (because my mom told me that anytime he might forget us because of the infection in the brain), can I quit my job or it would give me a bad record?
Yes, you can if you need to. This is one of the few situations where quitting without notice is understandable. You would simply explain that your father is critically ill and you need to stay with him, and apologize profusely for not being able to give notice. Any reasonable employer would understand that.
5. Interviewing for a job with politically sensitive responsibilities
I’ve been asked to interview for an administrative assistant job at a university’s medical school. When I was phoned by the department to interview, they brought up some of the services they do for patients, and said that occasionally part of my job would be scheduling appointments with patients. Some procedures are very politically sensitive, and so I was asked on the phone if I was comfortable talking to patients to schedule those procedures. I’m a pretty apolitical person, so my initial reaction was to just say yes, so I could at least have a little bit more time to consider it.
Now, my own feelings about the topic aside, is it smart, career-wise, to work in this department? I know that even if I’m not politically invested one way or the other, future employers might be.
Unless the name of the department or your prospective job title make it clear that sometimes you scheduled whatever the procedure is, I don’t see how a future employer would even know about this or why it would come up unless you raised it yourself. And no reasonable employer is going to say, “I see you worked in the women’s health department. Did you ever have to schedule abortions?” So in that case, I wouldn’t worry about it.
If the name of the department or job does make this clear, then yes, you’d need to decide how you feel about some prospective employers in the future potentially having strong feelings about it.
6. My employer is now telling me I’ll need training I don’t have
I was hired five years ago at a nonprofit childcare for a job that required a college degree or commensurate life/work experience. I did not and do not have a degree. My past job experience with more than 15 years experience qualified me for the position and I was hired.
My employer just informed me that I would now be required to hold a status in a childcare registry in my state. The registry is not a required thing for childcare workers. In order for me to hold the required status, I will need to take 20 units of college classes or 200 hours of training. If I refuse to do this, I have been informed it will hamper my ability to keep my job. Is this legal?
Yes. They can change their job requirements at any time, and it sounds like they’re doing that here. If they’ve decided that they want to have (and want to be able to tell parents they have) all registered childcare employees, that’s not unreasonable of them.
7. My company gives all employees access to everyone’s salary information
I just started working at a company that sells basic home electronics and appliances. I recently, by accident, discovered that I can go into our computer system, enter my employee number, and see details about my earning (past, present, future). The problem is so can any other employee/coworker! And I can enter their employee number and see all the details of their earnings anytime I want to.
Does this not seem to you as a legal privacy issue? I don’t like coworkers coming up to me and saying “loan me $20, I know what you made last week.”
Legal issue? No. Privacy issue? Maybe, depending on your perspective. But some companies — including yours, apparently — do make people’s salaries public (at least within the company), and some people actually like this and want to see more companies doing it, so that it’s easier to see how various employees and types of work are valued, whether there are patterns of discrimination based on things like gender or race, and so forth.
But if your coworkers are hitting you up for money based on knowing what you made last week, your problem is rude coworkers, not pay transparency.