It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Should I say something to my ex-husband about his false LinkedIn profile?
Long story not so long, my ex-husband (with whom I have a cordial relationship and also two sons) was RIF’d a couple of weeks ago due to a merger. For some reason, he’s created a second Linked In account and connected to me with the new one (in addition to already being connected on the old account). I clicked through, wondering if he’d created a new accound and immediately noticed that he’s listed a degree he does not have from a university he did attend for a few years. I know 100% for a fact he didn’t get that degree (he did go on and complete a degree elsewhere and that is also listed on this new account).
Normally I’m a mind your own business person on things like this but (a) he’s technology-challenged, and more importantly (b) he’s the father of my sons and when bad things happen to him, whether self inflicted or not, it’s hard on them. So the question is this: do I say something to the ex about getting that lie off his LinkedIn profile or do I continue to mind my own business?
If you have a friendly relationship with him, I don’t see anything wrong with saying something — as long as you frame it as something you’re assuming he did by mistake, rather than assuming that he’s intentionally lying. For instance, “Hey, what’s the story with your second LinkedIn profile? And did you notice you accidentally put that you had a degree from Yale?”
But if the relationship isn’t warm, you risk seeming like you’re just hassling him, in which case it’s not worth it and I’d let it go. As far as a potential impact on his kids, the much bigger problem would be if he’s lying on his resume (since there’s it’s clearly deliberate, whereas on LinkedIn it could be user error) — and that’s something you can’t/won’t really be able to know.
2. Interviewer suggested I was lazy for not looking for jobs outside the company
I recently attended an internal interview at the company I work for. Although the interview went well initially, I was asked a very strange question halfway through. When he had established that I have extensive and varied experience, the interviewer asked me if I had looked outside the company for a new role. When I answered that I hadn’t, he asked me, “Do you not think that’s a bit lazy?”
I am frankly shocked that he asked me that. I would have thought that an employee who stayed with a company for several years would be considered loyal, not lazy.
This guy sounds like a jackass. If he’d be your manager if you got the job, I’d be very wary — he just told you something very revealing about how he thinks of employees.
3. Explaining why I’m looking for a new job after four months
I recently took a job simply because I didn’t have one. I’ve been there about 4 months and I don’t hate the work, but the salary is so low that I am barely covering my bills and I rarely leave my apartment because I am so in the red. I have been applying to jobs and have set up a few interviews. I am asked on almost every interview why I am leaving my current job. I have tried “I am looking for new challenges,” but I am usually met with a “But you’ve only been there a couple months” response. How should I go about explaining myself to a potential employer? Is it okay to tell them I don’t make enough money?
Yeah, think about that answer from an employer’s perspective: Someone who’s looking for new challenges after four months is someone pretty damn flighty. If employers believe you, it’s usually going to be a deal-breaker. If they don’t believe you (and instead think you’re covering up the real story), you’ll look naive for thinking that answer wouldn’t be a huge concern for them.
There isn’t really a good answer here, because the fact is that you accepted your current salary — and most employers will think that you shouldn’t have done that if you were just going to keep looking (unless the job is a minimum wage type job, in which case most people will find it reasonable). You’re probably better off leaving this job off your resume while you’re looking, since you haven’t been there long enough for it to help you and it’s going to keep raising red flags.
4. Do I still have a job?
I have had a part-time job since 2011 at a radio station I really love to work at. At the time of my hiring, I was a high school senior, so the few hours I worked was fine by me, mostly during high school football season, and maybe a few games in the basketball season. However, late last year, I’ve started to lose hours because the station was downsizing and shifting the employees around. I hadn’t received a “you’re fired” or “We have to let you go” (the former is least likely since I was always being told how well I was doing) type of statement, but I haven’t had any hours since November/December.
The job already had rather irregular hours, but when I was needed, it was always until about January before my hours dwindled. Now it’s September, when I’ve usually been working since August, and I haven’t had any hours, but still considered (I think) an employee. To keep myself busy, I’ve asked my supervisor at the local library if I could volunteer more hours there (I’d been there since 2009.)
I’ve been looking for other work, and keeping busy already, but should I leave my current job despite all advice against looking for work while not employed?
Why not ask them what’s going on? Frankly, I’d consider you “not employed” in the most literal sense, since you expected to receive hours starting in August (it sounds like) and haven’t, but that doesn’t mean those hours aren’t coming — but you certainly can’t count on them. Talk to them and ask them directly if you should expect hours, and if so, when you should start seeing them. Then make your decisions from there.
5. School wants me to teach for longer each week, without extra pay
I have been working as an adjunct instructor at a small technical college for five years. In addition to my regular classes teaching microbiology, pathology, and psychology, I have (on very short notice) taken classes because other instructors quit before the first day of class; I have taken a class during mid-semester because the instructor was hospitalized; and I am ahead of my faculty file; everything from continuing education to required webinars etc. is in order, to date, filed. I am rated every semester (observed by my superior) and receive the highest grades in every field. My students’ evaluations are among the highest of all instructors. In five years, I missed one day of work. I love my job.
About six months ago, they told me that my microbiology class will change to a higher level, from a 200 class to a 300 class with more prerequisites. No problem. However, the class will be held 45 minutes longer each meeting time, so twice a week, meaning 90 minutes of extra work. The problem: They want to pay me the same amount I get paid now. What is your take on that?
My take on that is that it’s time for you to negotiate for a higher rate. Don’t assume that you’ll be offered more when you deserve it; in many workplaces, the onus is on you to raise the issue and negotiate for what you want. (No surprise that you’re a woman, by the way — women negotiate far less often than men do.) It’s time to tell them that you believe the extra work is worth more. (With the caveat that adjunct are notoriously underpaid.)
6. Asking employer to pay for your desk and chair when you work from home
In work from home situations, do you think it is reasonable for the company to cover expenses related to the work-from-home setup, including office furniture? I recently started with a small, but growing, company and it is a 100% work from home gig. I already had internet access at home, so the company just had to cover my work laptop. We’re transitioning between selling a home and moving into a new home (in an apartment while we build), so there were no other office set-up expenses initially. Now that we’re getting settled in the new home, I think it is worth asking my employer to cover expenses related to a desk and office chair. (I’ve been using a chair from our dining table set, since space was limited in the temporary apartment.) My husband thought that was a little unreasonable to ask, but said I knew my company best and left it up to me. I think the company has a pretty sweet deal already with not having any overhead for employee workspace – no rent, utilities, etc. So covering a few hundred dollars on some office furniture would be perfectly reasonable. Additionally, the way I asked was to say “would you consider covering…” and “what we’re looking at is $XX. If you would be willing to cover a portion, we would certainly cover the difference” giving my employer plenty of options to say no, we’re not covering that, yes, we’ll cover X amount or yes, we’ll cover everything.
What do you think – reasonable or not?
It’s fine to ask, but whether they’ll approve it or not depends on your company. You have to know the culture there. In many nonprofits, this wouldn’t fly — the assumption is that you’re benefitting in lots of ways by getting to work from home and that you get that they have limited resources. In plenty of other organizations, though, no one would bat an eye at this. So you really need to know your employer. But if you’re going to ask, the way you worded it is fine.
7. Is there a French or British Ask a Manager?
I’m a recent graduate of an American college and grew up in the U.S. I also moved to France three weeks ago because I have always wanted to live here for a few years. I have dual-citizenship and no visa issues, but I am having trouble trying to get my first professional job (but not my first job ever! I’ve had about five). Part of the problem is that I’m worried my cover letters are too informal. I know that both France and the U.K. expect a more formal tone, and that makes me worried that conventions that are outdated in the US (“dear sir or madam…”) are still the best way to go here.
I know that you specialize in the U.S., but do you know of a blog or ebook comparable to yours, but meant for job-seekers in France or the U.K.?
I don’t, but I’m throwing this out there in case readers do.