It’s five short answers to five short questions. Here we go…
1. When can I announce my new position on social media?
I recently graduated from a master’s program in the humanities field, and after some false starts, (the degree might be considered one of them), I decided to follow my fiance 6,700 miles away from home, and hitch my horse to a new industry. Thanks to the advice on your site and a few informational interviews, I received a great job offer.
I accepted in November, nailed down the fine points in December, and will not start until January. My question is: when can I announce my new position on social media? I will meet my colleagues as soon as 3 weeks before my start date, and would like to connect with them on LinkedIn. I’m also itching from restless to announce my glee to the world. Should I sit on my hands until the end of my probationary period or reveal my excitement head-on?
I’d wait until you start to list it as your new title — because you aren’t currently inhabiting the role, and shouldn’t list it until you are. But you can certainly announce it meanwhile, and you can certainly connect to your soon-to-be coworkers, by including a note explaining who you are (although you could also just wait until you start for that — which probably makes a little more sense unless you have a particular reason to talk to them before then).
2. Managing two nephews on a family farm when one is goofing off
Could you please advise me on how to handle two nephews who have equally inherited my business and their deceased father’s portion? I am 63 and run the large farm, and the two boys are in their late 20s. One will eventually manage but is not ready, and the other is a total goof-off. If I fire him, the other will walk too and I can’t afford that to happen. There is absolutely no respect for what their father and I have built. They leave expensive lights on, use free diesel for their trucks, goof off and waste time. I am loss as to how to handle them. If the one boy was not around, things would run smoothly, but with him around there is such waste of time and money. Firing him, I feel, is not an option.
Can you talk to the responsible nephew and point out the impact of their behavior? Be specific — explain what the impact of each of their actions is on the running of the farm. And appeal to his sense of duty to his father and his family. Frankly, you could also try having this conversation with the other nephew, too. If that doesn’t work though, you might need to consider letting them both walk, at least until they grow up a bit more. Ultimately you might have to decide whether having them both around goofing off is better than not having them around — but try a heart-to-heart first.
What other advice do people have on this one?
3. Should I have handled this negotiation differently?
I recently received a great job offer in a new field, and truth be told, I was fine with the salary and very happy with the benefits. Despite that, I decided to follow the advice of family members, friends, and online resources, and negotiate the salary. Because I am a recent master’s graduate, new to the field, and would be assuming my first salaried position, I wasn’t sure where to begin. My only resource included the interval for the position in my city and the average in other major metropolises. So to prepare, I picked a figure closer to the median (about 15% above what I was offered), and memorized my script, which details my value through skills and new business potential.
When I told the HR manager that I wanted to discuss salary, she hesitated, but let me go on, and I sensed that she was holding her tongue throughout my spiel. When I was finished, she told me that there was no room to negotiate. In fact, I had received a position and a salary far above my worth, and that applicants of my skill set are usually brought in at a much lower level. It was only my future boss’ belief in my potential that brought me on to where I was, she said. I was floored. I wasn’t expecting that, and I was equally thrown by the shock and vitriol in her voice. I didn’t know what to say. Isn’t everyone supposed to negotiate? Unsure of how to hold on to my dignity, I politely told her that I understood what she was saying, and asked about appraisals and discretionary bonuses throughout the year.
Was there anything I could have done to press her on negotiation? Should new grads and those new to an industry even bother negotiating?
There’s nothing wrong with trying to negotiate, but I wouldn’t have pressed her further in that context. As a new grad, you don’t really have a lot of negotiating power (unless you’re unusually accomplished and sought after).
The thing here that I would have advised doing differently is your salary research. You probably would have been better off checking around with people working in your field (ideally in your region) and asking what they’d expect a position like this one to pay, for a new grad without much experience. Online salary surveys are usually too broad to be accurate and can result in figures that are wildly off-base for a specific position. It’s possible that you overshot because of that and that getting more targeted opinions from people working in your field would have set your expectations differently.
I also might not have asked about appraisals and bonuses throughout the year after this particular conversation, but I wouldn’t worry about any of this too much — it’s your new manager’s opinion of you that matters, not HR’s.
4. I used my own property in work for my employer and I want to control how it’s used
I am a graphic designer and I have purchased many expensive fonts on my own over the years. I have used some of these fonts in designs I have created for the company I currently work for. I have paid a lot of money for these fonts, and I believe if you buy something, it is yours.
Many of my designs have been given to production artists so they can roll out the designs for many different schools and resorts. I have been ordered by my art director that I have to give these fonts that I have purchased to the production artist so they can do the roll-outs. I have a moral problem with giving away things that I have purchased to artists who can now use them personally for free. They now own the font even though they did not pay for them like I did. My solution would be to just let me do the roll-outs so I don’t have to give things I own away.
I’d love to hear from designers on this, but my take is that once you brought the fonts into work you were doing for your company, you gave up the rights to restrict their use. After all, your company needs to be able to take the work you’ve produced for them and use it as they see fit, even after you’re gone. If you were no longer with the company tomorrow, “just let me do the roll-outs” wouldn’t be a viable solution.
It probably makes more sense in the future to have the company purchase any fonts that you use in your work for them, so that this isn’t an issue.
5. Is this Christmas Eve work policy fair?
My workplace is scheduled to close early on Christmas Eve (3 pm rather than 5 pm). Employees working Christmas Eve still receive 8 hours of pay. However, if you elect to use vacation on Christmas Eve, you have to use an entire day (8 hours). Is this correct? I think that if the company is scheduled to close early, you shouldn’t have to use a full day of vacation. (For example, I usually work 8-5, and think that I should only have to use 6 hours vacation in this instance). Do you have an insight?
Yeah, it’s not especially fair, but it’s (a) legal and (b) a pretty common way to do things. And it’s basically a thank-you to employees working Christmas Eve day. I wouldn’t quibble over two hours.