my coworkers think I’m too enthusiastic, telling my competition that we’re up for the same job, and more

It’s five short answers to five short questions. Here we go…

1. Should I ask for a job offer before flying out for an interview?

I have had two phone interviews that went extremely well, then a Skype interview that also went well. Their next step is to have me fly there to meet the team. I would prefer an offer prior to taking the time out to fly there. Should I go ahead and ask for the offer beforehand and tell them I could make the trip a house-hunting trip if I decide to take the offer?

Well, no, because they haven’t decided that they want to make you an offer; that’s part of the point of having you come out there to interview in person. “Meet the team” doesn’t mean “leisurely social occasion.” This is part of their interview process.

Saying that you won’t fly out without an offer is likely to have them just remove you from the hiring process. When you apply to out-of-town jobs, part of the package is that you might need to travel there for an interview; that’s just part of the deal.

2. Should I tell my competition that we’re up for the same job?

I have the inside track on a senior executive position, returning to a previous employer. A former colleague (from another company) emailed me because he interviewed with this company too. I honestly answered his basic questions about the community, management, and company but didn’t mention that I was in discussions with them about a job myself. They’re hiring for a few jobs, but it’s probably the same one.

Now he followed up to say his interview went well and ask more questions about quality of life in hopes he’ll be called back in. In the meantime, my second interview was scheduled, and I know they are only interviewing a couple other candidates again. The CEO’s stated intent is to put me and one other before the board in the final round.

I’m torn about what to do now. On one hand, this is business and I really want the job. I’m thankful knowing who I’m up against. I like and respect this person, but we’re not close. I’m confident I am the stronger candidate, but hesitant to disclose that I’m the competition, which could help them prepare for their next interview.

Is it bad karma to stay quiet? Is it ok to again answer honestly, but not disclose? Do I ignore the email? Or is the best thing to tell them and not answer any more questions? Knowing this person, if I answer honestly, I wouldn’t recommend relocating here because of their concerns. But I feel that honestly answering could be interpreted as trying to scare them off.

You should tell them that you’re also talking with the company about a job, which may or may not be the same role. Otherwise, if you get the job, it’s going to be really awkward with your former colleague, who will think that you withheld pretty pertinent information from her while she was asking you for advice on the job for herself. Or, if she gets the job and you don’t, it’s possible that she’ll find out that you were a finalist for it, and it’ll be just as weird that you didn’t mention it. Besides, it’s unlikely that simply knowing that you’re a candidate too will give her a leg up.

So yes, let her know. And don’t say that you wouldn’t recommend relocating here, even if you sincerely believe that’s the right answer for her. Just answer her questions honestly and straightforwardly and let her draw her own conclusions.

3. My colleagues don’t like how enthusiastic I am about our sales competitions and incentives

I work in a competitive sales environment where there are bonus opportunities and other performance driven incentives. I am quite competitive, and of course where there’s competition I like to win. I am no sore loser though, as I strongly believe it’s the taking part that counts and always give it my all without being ruthless. However my colleagues don’t seem to like my enthusiasm and I often get ridiculed by them for it, e.g. telling me to “calm down, it’s only a prize” (whatever it may be that day/week/month) when I get excited about an incentive. I also hate when they tell me to “get a life” when I express how much I love my job and how lucky I am to have found a job I actually like. Other times, I get the feeling that I am annoying them just by being me and doing my job well and enjoying it too. I am quite a positive person, and sometimes all my colleagues seem to do is moan and groan about the most trivial things about work.

I’m getting sick of it but don’t know what I can say or do to change things. It’s starting to get me down a little, as I know some of my colleagues talk about me behind my back because I actually caught a pair of them in the act and confronted them about it. Of course, they just brushed it off as “banter.” Sometimes I feel like I’m back at high school, with me as the geek and the rest of my colleagues as the “cool kids” who don’t seem to get that the point of our job is to be enthusiastic and competitive. I know that they are probably just jealous of my successes or maybe there are some of my coworkers who are as passionate as me but playing it cool. I also think sometimes maybe they are mega game playing and keeping their cards close to their chest because some of them do have just as good sales figures as me, if not better, yet they still grump and groan and don’t really show any enthusiasm for winning bonuses or incentives (until they do win of course!). I really need some advice on how to deal with this kind of office politics as it’s starting to make me dislike my workplace because even though I try to be nice and upbeat with my colleagues, they are continuously negative and I dont want to end up hating a job I love just because of the people.

Well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with being excited about competitions and incentives. That’s exactly the reaction your company hopes that you’ll have, after all. But it sounds like you might be sharing your excitement a bit too much with people who don’t see things the same way you do, and that you might be better off not attempting to share it quite as much with people who aren’t as into it as you are.

Think of it like anything else: If you were passionate about, say, Game of Thrones and talking about it all the time, your colleagues who were not so into Game of Thrones might get annoyed and want you to tone it down. In this case, you’re assuming that your excitement is focused on a shared interest — since you all work on the same team — but in fact, they don’t really share that interest, not in the same way that you do. I know that that sucks to hear, especially if you’ve been assuming that this is a group ready-made to share your perspective, but … they just don’t. You can still be excited, and maybe you can find other people there who get excited too … but you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment if you’re looking to unenthusiastic colleagues to welcome displays of enthusiasm. (It could also be a culture fit issue, and you might take that into account the next time you’re looking for a job — there are workplaces where this kind of energy is a perfect fit.)

4. I missed a call from a hiring manager who didn’t leave a message

I had an interview last week that I feel went reasonably well. The hiring manager had said they had some more interviews scheduled and would make a decision in the next few weeks. Three working days after my interview, I saw that I had a missed call from the hiring manager, but they did not leave a voicemail message. I waited another day and did not hear from them again.

What does this mean and what should I do? Did I not get the job and they just didn’t want to leave me a voicemail saying so? Do I call them back? I feel it’s a little needy to call and say “I saw that you called but didn’t leave a message.”

I don’t know why they called and didn’t leave a message. It could be anything. Maybe they were having trouble reaching your references but then it got resolved. Maybe they had a question for you. Maybe they meant to call someone else. We can’t know.

But I can promise you that if they want to offer you the job or talk to you about anything else, they will call you and do that, and that’s all that really matters here.

However, when it’s close to the end of the “few weeks” that they said they’d need to make a decision, you can certainly check in with them and reiterate your interest.

5. Our checks are held a day after payday

I just started working for a locally owned medium-sized retail store in New York. I worked for the owner of the business before at another store that he owned but decided to close, so I’ve been moved to this current store. Anyway, I’ve been told by some of the employees (including a couple of managers) that payday is every Friday, but the general manager does not distribute the paychecks until Saturdays after 2 PM per instruction of the owner. The paychecks are dated for Fridays. Is this legal? I wanted to contact our local department of labor to ask them this question, but I feared repercussions coming back on me and losing my job if it wasn’t legal.

New York requires that you be paid at least twice a month. (There are some exceptions to this; for instance, railroad employees must be paid on or before each Thursday and must receive the wages earned up to the Tuesday of the week before. I don’t know why.) As long as you’re receiving your paycheck within the amount of time the law requires — twice a month, in your case — what your employer is doing is legal. They’re allowed to tell you that payday is Friday and date the checks on those days, but not distribute them until Saturday … as long as you’re receiving them at least twice a month.

Since you know they’re distributed Saturday, I’d just look at that as your payday and ignore what they say about Fridays.

{ 129 comments… read them below }

  1. Sarah

    To take the law literally… Does that mean you could be paid on the two last days of the month? Or is there a stipulation about the time between paychecks as well?

      1. Deborah

        Under NY’s Wage Theft Prevention Act the OP should have been given a statement that lists among other things the day of pay. If the statement says that payday is Friday, they should be getting paid on Friday. Of course the employer could change that to say Saturday. They must be providing these statements to each employee by Feb 1 for the annual notice (and she should have received one at hire)

  2. Sarah

    #3 – At first read, this sounds to me like a cultural fit issue. If not, then I’m guessing you’re one of the top performers and your colleagues are jealous.

    I’m a project manager, and worked at a company that I left after only 5 months because well.. .I’m very enthusiastic, and everyone else was a vegetable. People seemed to like me “okay enough,” but I can’t deal with glum, non-smiling, non-energetic people. So for me, leaving was a cultural fit issue.

    I explained the cultural fit and my enthusiasm in interviews that lead to my next job, and it seemed to work in my favor! The next job was with very enthusiastic teams! YAY!!!!! I also learned that when I accepted the first job with non-enthusiastic team members, that I should have done a better evaluation of the personalities of people that I would be interviewing with.

    1. Saturn9

      #3
      Assuming that anyone who isn’t into the incentives is just jealous of the people who win is lazy thinking and a bit of projection (if you didn’t win, you’d wish you had… ergo!). If employees aren’t enthusiastic, it’s because something isn’t working for them.

      Maybe they’re more focused on the work itself than the prize. Maybe they honestly don’t care about the prizes. Maybe they feel the incentive process is flawed and they’re done trying to hit a constantly-moving target. (Frex, where I work there are monthly bonuses for anyone ranked in the top quartile. The problem with this? The most highly-ranked stats are based on customer surveys, the results of which are largely out of our control. There are no top performers in the upper quartile, only those that have learned most effectively how to game the system–speaking as one of those, btw.)

      If you don’t fit the culture, fake it convincingly or get out. That’s always been my method.

      1. Clever Name

        I agree that jumping to the “they’re just jealous” conclusion can be lazy thinking, but sometimes after thinking of all the possible reasons, that is the only reasonable conclusion one can make. It really, really, sucks to realize that some coworkers don’t like you because they feel threatened by you and try to take you down a notch. How does one respond to such a situation? Be crappier at your job?

        Obviously, this is only one possible explanation. Maybe your coworkers really are just annoyed by displays of enthusiasm, but I’ll be perfectly honest. This is a dynamic that I’ve experienced before, and you have to decide if you’d rather conform or be yourself and experience backlash. It takes a strong person to be yourself in the face of people who act like your true self is unacceptable.

        Hang in there. I’m going through a similar high school dynamic at my job, and I’m taking solace in spending time with my family and my friends who actually like me and value me as a person.

        1. Grumpasaurus rex

          No, the most reasonable explanation is that some people are not chipper and cheery, and get very annoyed by people who are. It’s just a personality thing, and jealousy has nothing to do with it.

              1. Anonymous

                +1

                I’m naturally quiet and have had coworkers who constantly try to get me to be chipper. Just because a person isn’t smiling constantly or bouncing around with enthusiasm doesn’t mean they’re in a bad mood or unhappy. And the more they tried to push me to act chipper, I went from happy to feeling annoyed.

                If they show their happiness by being chipper, great. Others are happy but their personalities aren’t bubbly or chipper by their personality nature.

            1. April

              It depends on how they display it. If all they are doing is saying normal things with an extra dose of smiliness / cheery voice, fine. But if they start indulging in behaviors that some people find annoying in any context – excessive talkativeness in general, or when talking always talking about the same subject, never asking others questions about themselves and listening to their answers, humming or whistling or singing at inappropriate times, etc – then it doesn’t matter how smiley and cheerful and in a word “chipper” they are while they are doing it, the behavior is still a problem. It sometimes does happen that what is politely or affectionately described as “chipper” is just unusually cheerful obnoxiousness.

        2. Colette

          Maybe they think the prizes are unnecessary, or they don’t prioritize putting in enough hours to win over their non-work life, or the competition is strongly affected by the way accounts are handed out, or you’re more likely to win if the boss likes you.

          It sounds like the OP is judging her coworkers for not having the same priorities or opinions as her.

          1. EntirelyOutThere

            As said before, just because people aren’t as chipper as you doesn’t mean they don’t value their work. For instance, in my personality, if I do something wrong, it is not going to reflect in my facial expression. I will listen to what you will say, I generally don’t apologize and I ask questions – not comabtive but so I can understand long term and not repeat the same mistake. I must not give away enough facial expressions as I have had people consistently think I am being dismissive/combative, generally I take what my bosses say seriously and I want valuable feedback to improve.

            Not everyone is the most expressive person at work. Some of us are more private, and the way we express happiness isn’t the same as others. I am a sarcastic person by nature but I can that at work. Some people are offended by it or aren’t the best choice audience for it. It doesn’t mean anything, some people are serious at work because when they’re focused that is how they work. I know I am, I am not the brightest chipper employee but that is because I am concentrating on what I need to get done.

            Not everyone wants to befriend their co-workers. I am not jealous of my co-workers, some of them may see your success is an opportunity to learn from. The most basic presumption here would be to presume it is just not their personality. We all see the world differently – and there is nothing wrong with that.

      2. MissM

        I agree it’s not necessarily jealousy. Lots of reasons why different people may have a different reaction to that kind of stuff and why people may be annoyed by the LW’s enthusiasm.

        I am the top performer in my group, and I like my job, but I just don’t get all that excited about prizes and contests that our organization offers. A lot of times, I feel like those contests are designed by senior managers who want to make work “fun, fun, fun” all the time. I’m not in preschool – I can enjoy my job without making it into a game, thanks. I don’t see myself as a negative person, but if I had a co-worker who was always pumped up and excited by the latest contest, I think it would be kinda exhausting being around that person all the time.

        1. Cat

          This is my thought – I felt tired even reading the letter. Not everyone is jazzed up by competition, even friendly competition. For some people, it’s just a stressful distraction.

          1. Jamie

            Agreed. And some may genuinely enjoy it, but not feel the need to verbally express it all the time.

            My thought when reading this is I doubt very much her coworkers have a problem with her feelings, I doubt very much they actively wish she hated her job…but being overly vocal with YAY about anything will be very wearing quickly on many people.

            I like my job and sometimes I really love it, and I do feel lucky to have a decent job…but I don’t gush about it at work. I’m happy to be alive, have a healthy family, and a good marriage but I don’t gush about that stuff either…it just is.

            I just wonder how often this enthusiam is being expressed and is a response expected? I think this is probably a culture thing, but it doesn’t mean the coworkers are negative or less than – just different the the OP.

            1. Ruffingit

              This is along the same lines of what I posted below. How much and how often is she expressing her great enthusiasm? That matters because it can be exhausting having to deal with someone who every day or at least 3-4 times a week is doing the whole “YAY!!!! THIS IS THE BEST JOB EVER” thing. Great, fabulous, we’re glad you love your job, can we move on now? It would get old after awhile to have that conversation every day or a few times a week.

        2. kelly

          Agreed. At LastRetailJob, store management had various contests either at their own initiative when we needed to make corporate goals or a corporately-mandated contest, usually around the holidays. The usually related to credit or email goals. I was never a big proponent of participating in them because I felt they were a distraction and took away from some of the real issues. Most of the time the rewards were a relaxation in the dress code or an individual prize.

          Only one incentive I felt was beneficial to both the employees and customers. They were trying to increase awareness of in store ordering for items that were out of stock in the size or color or weren’t available in store. If a store met a certain dollar goal for in store ordering, then corporate paid for a all employee lunch. I liked that because everyone benefited from the reward not just one person and you were trying to provide the customer with a useful service, not trying to foist more credit or invasive offers on them. My store got the lunch for a couple of months thanks to yours truly in the home department and knowing how to use the website to get item ids for items that weren’t available to purchase in store.

          1. Anonymous

            That’s great Kelly! I like your reasons for why it was beneficial to both employees and customers. That’s the kind of incentive I would appreciate, too.

    2. MJ of the West

      Glad you found a good fit. Enthusiasm is one of the things I look for strongly when hiring (especially for Project Managers)!

  3. ScaredyCat

    #3 I think this is more an issue of “this really is just a job to some people”.

    I remember once talking to a colleague about some aspect of our job. I don’t think I was particularly enthusiastic about it, but I did show genuine interest in her opinion about the subject matter. She just looked at me blankly, and said “You think I actually like my job?!”.

    At the time, I really felt like she had slapped me, all of a sudden. But of course, we were on our lunch break, and there are people who like to disconnect from work completely, during it.

    1. Ruffingit

      This is a good point because, for some people, work is work. They do it and they go home to their real lives. They have no interest in making great goals, earning incentives, etc. They just want to do their jobs. I tend to fall into that category. I have no interest in climbing the corporate ladder or managing others or becoming the top salesperson or whatever. Most of my energy goes to things outside of my job – husband, home, friends, etc. And that’s OK. I’m good at what I do, I do it well when I’m at work. And that works for me. Not everyone is like that, some people are more ambitious and I’m good with that. It’s just a difference in how one looks at their work and it’s OK that not everyone is enthusiastic.

      1. Jamie

        Yep. There is also the fact that some professionals find prizes demeaning.

        I’m all in favor of merit bonuses, but the other ‘incentive’ things some places do? Earning relaxing of dress code, the good parking spot, name on a certificate with a gold star…even items like tvs or iPads or whatever…I’m a professional, not a kid selling candy bars to win a new bike. Pay me appropriately for my value to the company and I’ll decide how and when to reward myself.

        I am very competitive, to an unhealthy degree, but I perform best when competing against myself and always trying to raise my own bar – I’d rather worry about doing my best and keeping my eyes off the other kids’ papers.

        Then again I’m not in sales, but I do think a lot of people, even those who are seriously emotionally invested in their jobs, would find token prizes insulting.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          Well we are in sales and I’d be run out on rails if I tried to use a parking spot or, or a dress down day, or a certificate as an incentive.

          Money & food. That’s all people want.

          Example, certain thing happens, catered lunch for everybody. Not boxes of pizza, catering from Chipolte or something else nearly as awesome (as there is nothing exactly as awesome as having your own Chipolte set up in your building for lunch.)

          Chipolte day is a big deal and quite popular with the IT group I might mention.

          1. the gold digger

            I had to get a plaque made for a customer. After I saw how much it cost, when I took the invoice for my boss to sign, I told him, “If you are ever tempted to get me a plaque, don’t. Don’t waste the money. I would much rather have a certificate to a restaurant.”

            And to his credit, that year he gave all of us $100 restaurant certificates.

            1. Cassie

              Yeah, I never get the point of plaques. My boss has a billion of them, from various organizations, hanging on his wall. My other boss has nothing – probably because he is not as active in committees and organizations, but also because he wouldn’t put it up.

              Anyway, the first boss is also very much into giving plaques as gifts. The plaques we have made cost like $80 a pop – if he ever considers giving me one, he shouldn’t bother. [ That said, I wouldn’t be opposed to the presenting of the plaque, in front of other people, because it would be a chance to get some public recognition; but what would I do with the plaque afterwards? I’d be too embarrassed to hang it up in my cubicle].

              1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

                Plaques and awards make sense in some cultures or situations. We aren’t a plaque culture and my people would think I had temporary dementia if I tried to give one with a straight face.

                They make sense as years of service awards (in some cultures, we don’t do them), or as recognition of achievement from outside organizations like associations or charities, so I don’t hate on plaques, they just don’t fit us.

          2. Jamie

            It can work well when the food is for a department and at work, that’s fine.

            But when it comes to individual rewards I’d rather have cash bonus and then if I want to use it to go out to dinner I can, or not. Maybe it’s just me, but workplace gifts can be nice if they are personal – but for systematic, institutional rewards for work I think cash is always the best best because when all is said and done you can’t go wrong increasing with money.

            It’s the very heart of the employment covenant.

  4. Vally

    (Another long time lurker, first time poster.)

    #3 I’d be one of those unenthusiastic coworkers and I can see from the OP’s letter how they might come across to their coworkers as grating. The OP sounds like a kind of person who would tell an introvert to ‘be more social’ or someone suffering from depressions to ‘cheer up’.

    It could be a culture thing, like already mentioned, since different places have different norms about how the enthusiasm is to be shown and how much it. Displays of enthusiasm that go too far above the local cultural norm are then perceived as either fake or naive.

    Or maybe the OP’s coworkers know something OP doesn’t and they are up for a rude awakening.

    1. Brightwanderer

      ” The OP sounds like a kind of person who would tell an introvert to ‘be more social’ or someone suffering from depressions to ‘cheer up’.”

      I think that’s an unfair extrapolation. There’s a big difference between either of those two things and being someone who is optimistic and enthusiastic about competitions and prizes.

      1. jmkenrick

        I agree with you that is an unfair extrapolation…but similarly, I think the posters suggesting that all OP’s coworkers are jealous is an equally unfair leap to make.

        It’s hard not to read a letter like that and insert a bit of yourself in it. In my case, I’m not a competitive person, and the competitions within my department are not where I draw my motivation. I do win them occasionally, but have found that if I focus on them (rather than other sources of motivation) then I get stressed out and upset. I wouldn’t appreciate a competitive coworker constantly engaging me on it. (It makes me think of those kids in school when you walked out of the test…”What did you put for the question on hydraulics? I put c, but then I thought d might be the right answer. I figured out I only need a 75 to get an A for the semester, because I got a 90 on Tuesday’s quiz. What do you need? What did you get? Did you put b?)

        That’s why AAM’s advice is so spot-on in this case. The letter is not enough info to let us know if the coworkers are jealous, or apathetic…or if OP is obnoxious. AAM’s advice will allow OP to fix the problem either way…

    2. iseeshiny

      Although “displays of enthusiasm that go too far above the local cultural norm are then perceived as either fake or naive” is very apt and IMO the most likely cause of the op’s issues.

      1. tcookson

        +1. I doubt that this OP is coming across as fake; it seems more likely that she’s coming across as naive (as in skewed heavily toward earnestness ln the earnestness/sophistication continuum). Not all people who are more enthusiastic/ positive than their co- workers elicit their co- workers’ exhausted pleas to tone it down. Sometimes a more upbeat person can uplift everyone else. That is more likely to happen if the positive person is team- oriented and focuses their energy on encouraging others, though, versus going on ad infinitum about how they relish making others eat their dust.

  5. FD

    #5- It’s not particularly unusual for the paychecks to be dated the day they’re actually printed but not to be actually issued until the day the owners designate. For example, my company receives the paycheck packet Thursday night but we don’t give them out until Friday.

    At the first place I worked, they didn’t give the paychecks out until Friday at 2pm, because the company got a fee if they were cashed or deposited before that–I don’t know exactly why. My guess is this is the same thing here.

    The only weirdness is that they say that payday is Friday when it’s basically Saturday. That’s kind of strange.

    It is kind of a pain though because a lot of banks close up at noon on Saturday. Unfortunately, it’s probably just a condition of working there.

    1. Grace

      #5 – It would probably be a good idea to post your legal question for employment attorneys who practice in your jurisdiction on www dot avvo dot com. It’s a free service to use for basic questions. Additionally, when companies play games with payroll it usually means they’re having financial problems. I would get my resume up-to-date and start looking for a new job.

      1. Graciosa

        Sometimes it does mean there are financial issues, so it makes sense to keep an eye out under these circumstances – are the vendors getting paid? I would want to know.

        However, some companies do adjust payroll dates in order to improve cash flow. My current (very large and financially stable) employer pays everyone one week later than my previous (very large and financially stable) employer.

        I am absolutely certain there is a CFO somewhere in the past who thought this (like extending payment terms to suppliers) was a brilliant idea (and it was a definite shift as I have co-workers who remember the implementation). I disagree, but don’t get to make that decision.

        While it’s good to be cautious, it may not reflect on the company’s ability to make payroll.

        1. Grace

          @Graciosa,
          Good points about why some financially sound companies may delay paying employees. It’s, however, always a bad thing to mess with employees’ paychecks as it causes morale problems. I don’t care what the rationale is for the delay: pay employees on time as they have bills to pay, creditors, etc. It’s penny-wise and pound foolish: What an employer “makes” by not giving timely pay-checks is lost by employees looking for new jobs (productivity problems, morale, turn-over, hiring, training) because they are angered/worried about pay.

    2. jmkenrick

      It’s weird that they phrase is that way because if they just presented Saturday paychecks as an annoying condition due to [insert reason], people would likely just accept it.

    1. Arbynka

      I love the video of Buzz A. handing out Halloween candy.

      “This is Milky Way. Milky Way is a galaxy out of space. I have been to outer space.”
      “This is Mars. I am an astronaut.”
      “This is Moon Pie. I walked on moon. What have you done.”

  6. MJ of the West

    Alison: The sentence (in #1) “When you apply to out-of-town jobs is that you might need to travel there for an interview;” might need some wordsmithing.

  7. MJ of the West

    To #1: I read this and I can’t help but read as ‘Should I demand a job offer before I proceed to the next phase of the interview process?’

    Seriously?!? I get the impression that this person is probably a fresh grad.

    1. AdAgencyChick

      I KNOW. This question was throwing me because the “should I tell them I won’t go unless I have an offer?” part sounds so naive, and yet “house-hunting” says to me that this person has been in the workforce long enough to have accumulated a down payment! My brain is exploding from the contradiction. (Though of course this could be a new grad with family money to burn.)

      1. A

        “House hunting” count also just refer to checking out neighborhoods and figuring out where s/he’d want to live in this new city. Anyone relocating would need to do that.

        1. TL

          As a still mostly recent grad working in a non profit field, I can assure you my moving decisions are motivated solely by price, not neighborhood. :P
          Of course, a lot of people make more money than I do when they graduate, but still.

          1. April

            Not to open up more of the personal safety debates that have aired on here more than once … but … Are you a male or female new grad? I have a theory that the safety of the neighborhood would factor in much more largely for women than men; I would think that even on a small budget, it would be a consideration.

    2. V

      I was really confused about this question as well! I think that would just be common sense, regardless of whether you are a new grad or have been in the workforce for a while. Interviewing is a process, and these days a long one with 200+ applicants for each position. Maybe they thought Skype was supposed to take the place of an in person interview?

      1. Ruffingit

        They ought to just be glad they weren’t asked to make dinner for 40 people at the director’s house. ;) Seriously, yes, this is part of the interview process OP so no, you don’t get to ask for an offer before you fly out there. That is cart before the horse big time.

  8. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    #3
    From my view, the real problem here is a management one. We’re a sales organization and we’re chock full of incentives and prizes + commissions & goal bonuses. It’s not easy to structure these things so that original good intentions don’t backfire into badwill, but if you are running a sales organization, that’s your job.

    If management is giving prizes (which I sincerely hope is either money or food because pretty much no one wants anything that isn’t money or food) and only 1 in 20 people is excited about the incentive, that’s piss poor. It’s not necessarily on your co-workers. It may be a really bad system and you’re just a kind, sweet person who likes having fun and winning prizes of any nature.

    If you worked with me, I’d want to know. The point of an incentive system is to incent people. If I’d planned something that worked that badly, I’d want to know so I could fix it.

    Now about you and being in sales and pissing off co-workers: this happens. Top performers must learn the skill of being gracious, lest they find arsenic in their morning coffee. It’s probably better to go out to the parking lot, grab your cell phone and call your SO or your mom “I won a prize I won a prize I won a prize!!!!” than to grab the person in the cube next to you to break out in celebration dance.

    You can be happy but at some point it’s a zero sum game where the amount of celebration you put out detracts in equal quantity from those around you.

    Anyway! Energy, enthusiasm and fun is welcome in most sales environments. There are a million sales jobs. You might need a culture with a better fit (since it sounds like management has dropped the ball on forming culture).

    1. Clever Name

      This came to mind too. Maybe the way the incentives are handled don’t work for most of the team, and need to be handled differently.

      “Now about you and being in sales and pissing off co-workers: this happens. Top performers must learn the skill of being gracious, lest they find arsenic in their morning coffee. It’s probably better to go out to the parking lot, grab your cell phone and call your SO or your mom “I won a prize I won a prize I won a prize!!!!” than to grab the person in the cube next to you to break out in celebration dance.”

      This is really, really good advice. It addresses the dreaded and hated “they’re just jealous” problem in a constructive way.

    2. Ruffingit

      It could also be that there are too many incentives being offered. Seems counter intuitive to think that way, but it might be a volume problem. Maybe people aren’t enthused as much because it’s like “Oh, yet another incentive to achieve. Whatever.” Sometimes people just get tired of having to continually work for incentives or whatever and the game has become boring and not worthwhile to them because another incentive will come along next week.

    3. Mints

      Calling a friend is good advice! This happened to me in am academic setting, when TAs would hand back papers in class, sometimes I would be anxious about a grade, but then get an A, my usual reaction would be stay quiet but then text Mr. Mints “I got an A on that Aristotle paper!!! :D” Other students would have reactions like fist pump, or “Yes!” out loud, and I never got that.
      So yeah, tell someone who will be excited for you, no questions asked

  9. hamster

    #3
    I never held a sales job. But i once had one where they would have a strong incentive culture ( even though the money from the incentives/prizes was small compared to the base range. AND i was completely satisfied with my salary) . I did not go well, because i was such a horrible fit there let me explain:\
    – I like being a top performer. The best. I can not stand if i don’t fix stuff / deliver the best /etc. But in any case, i take it as my personal craftsmanship. It is a matter of personal pride to me. I feel demeaned if then they gave me a prize ( not a performance bonus , or something, but a prize ) and told me , yeah, keep outperforming em all and we’ll throw you a 100 bill. .It feels to me they feel i competed with my co-workers for that bit of money . I find it humiliating. DO not like it A BIT. The environment where i thrive is where i feel like a team with my mates. When we go out toghether and accomplish a goal ( deliver a great product/keep customer happy/ etc )
    – I saw lots of people , that do not care about their craft overall, but when even meager money is involved, they compete not in a good way ( to get more things done, but with another ) / get happy/ sad with what seems to me disproportionate emotional response.
    So in my case , where i have a certain type of personality combine with probably a cultural ( family ) distaste of discussing money with co-workers, ( how much did you pay for that annoys me THE MOST ) , and see how i would be unfit in an powerful incentive culture . ( Do not start me going on rings and other sales stuff)
    Your personality type should be very good fit for a sales org. I suppose you could look for another one. But you can learn for my personal approach and keep telling everyone at this job that you just like to do a good job. You’re in for the fun, etc . Yes, call your mom or friend or SO and tell them you got a prize, but for all premises , act like a teenager in highschool where zero sum money games are played

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      I’m not a fan of “the top X” gets a “Y” incentive. I think people deciding to compete with each other in a mostly friendly fashion is good, like runners who need another good runner alongside in order to do their best — but I don’t like incentives set up where only one person can be on top and get a top whatever.

      We set our incentives so that anyonewho achieves X receives Y. Potentially everyone (who is sales fronted) is a winner. I also believe there have to be team goals/incentives, and completely inclusive goals/incentives, where people who never even talk directly to a customer are included in sales related goals. So if X happens, everybody, including warehouse workers and IT and reception receives Y.

      You might not hate this as it is as work-together team based as we can conceive it.

      1. hamster

        What you describe is something a lot humane and more fun. I am ok with those. At the next company after the one i describe we had a sort of game-based rewards. Like in a forum. So if you accomplished X your status on the company wiki would be Y. Tell me I worked my way into being guru-master-of-all. Just a silly title but i liked it. Yes, tone and setting are key.
        I stand by my suggestion to OP though. sometimes if the culture/colleagues are of a certain nature, best play the “i didn’t learn for this math test. I just happened to take an A . now have you heaard about Britney’s new single?”

        1. hamster

          <>
          YEAH, that is very true. And as a woman i found it difficult to gauge the line between asserting my value/success and dismissing it so i don’t appear ungracious. It’s a work in progress, that’s for sure.

        2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          We’d probably get along.

          And now I want a company wiki and titles like “guru-master-of-all” !

      2. Joey

        But shouldn’t there be some type of additional recognition for being the best of everyone? I think most people are grown up enough to understand that not everyone can come out on top. Think of it this way, which loss would hurt more, the top salesperson or someone below who met his goals? Isn’t it more important to retain the top person?

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          There’s probably plenty of situations where that’s a good strategy.

          In our environment we put the most visible recognition on multiple achievements of many but at the end of the day, our reps are commissioned so, the difference is always in the paycheck.

    2. CAA

      Just the other day I was explaining to someone why it’s offensive to ask your software dev team for their best estimate on an important project and then tell them you’ll give them a bonus if they do the same work 20% faster than they said they could. Some people have a very hard time understanding that.

      1. EngineerGirl

        You can’t drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in one hour – no matter how hard you push in the gas pedal.
        I wish they would understand that.

        1. Graciosa

          I usually explain that giving me eight more women to help won’t allow me to produce a baby in one month instead of nine.

      2. Chinook

        Isn’t rewarding someone for doing better than estimate setting them up to work on the “Scott Principle” where they a,ways underestimate so they can look like a hero when they overdeliver? I am overly honest in life and even I would do that because what is the reward in doing what you promise when everyone just moves the goal line so they can go above and beyond.

        1. Windchime

          We always pad ours anyway, because there is nothing more frustrating than having someone impatiently tapping their foot as you are heads down, trying to finish something up.

          1. Jamie

            This. Under promise over deliver is self defense in areas where you can’t estimate time with total certainty.

            No one gets pissed when you finish early.

            1. Parfait

              Weeeellll…as long as it’s not TOO early. If you estimate that a project will take 600 hours, and it takes 60 hours, that’s 540 hours we could have planned for something else.

              If you estimate 600 hours, and it takes 560, then yay team.

              1. Jamie

                Oh for sure. If you are way out with your estimates you risk credibility being called into question.

                But if someone wants a report and looking at it I think I can knock it out in 4 hours, if uninterrupted and if there is no weird anomalies in the data, etc. I’ll promise it a couple days out, so if there are issues I didn’t see at first glance or emergencies I’m not “late.”

                If you estimate based on perfect conditions and no roadblocks you’ll just be adding unnecessary stress…because rarely is anything as problem free as we’d like.

  10. Anonymous

    Your coworkers aren’t motivated by contests and they aren’t going to change. You are driving them crazy. Stop!

  11. Julie

    #3 – I work in a different environment, there are no physical rewards such as bonuses, but I do understand all too well what its like to work with people who spent more time hating on my success rather than trying to improve thier own quality of work. The bottom line is, you’re there to work. I had to decide for myself when all of this started in my organization if I wanted to make friends, or if I was here to do the best job I could. I work in Animal Welfare, so it was an easy choice for me – I was there for the animals, and I wasn’t going to let anyone else dictate how I was going to do my job. You shouldn’t put a cap on your abilities and talents because your peers aren’t supportive of your success. What you’re doing now has the potential to effect your further advancement, and depending on how serious you are in moving up in your field, or using this job as a catalyst for a future career, you should stay confident, do your best to be unaffected by the negativity of others, and keep on keepin’ on! Its a long and lonely road, but at the end of the day, you still have your true friends outside of work and you’ll be rewarded for your hard work. Good luck to you and stay strong!

    1. Clever Name

      This! You’ve articulated the perspective beautifully. I’m the same way. My work is much less important than yours, but I’m not going to do less of a good job just because some of my coworkers don’t like it.

  12. Yup

    #3 I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum. I hate workplace competitions. LOATHE them. Anything that sets me against a coworker to achieve something feels like a negative, unfruitful activity encouraging individuals to put themselves ahead of others in a destructive way. There can only be one winner, and everyone else is by default lesser or a “loser,” no matter their achievements or contributions. When I work with people who demonstrate a competitive streak, it makes me feel like they’re trying to dominate me — step on me to get to the top, push me aside to win, knock me over in their own quest for the best. It feels like everyone is revealing their worst selves for personal gain.

    Now, I recognize that this is an extreme personal reaction. Many, many people enjoy workplace competitions and find them to be motivating and energizing, a challenge for participants to put forth their best efforts. So I self-screen out of competitive workplaces like yours in favor of collaborative environments instead. I’m sharing my thoughts so that you can understand why someone might not be as into as you are. If your coworkers are burned out on contests, distrustful of the fairness or motives of the incentive program, or otherwise not as into the competitive aspect? Your energy might read to them like self-interested greed rather than good-hearted enthusiasm. So your open attempts to engage with them in the “game” might come off as pushy tunnel vision. Not that you actually *are* any of those bad things, of course – you sound very sincere and hard-working. But your motives could be misinterpreted by someone who doesn’t share your own values.

    TL;DR – They’re probably not jealous. Try easing off the gas on the outward competitiveness to improve the working relationships.

    1. Ellie H.

      I agree. I am a pretty cheerful person and find negativity unappealing and unproductive, but given that the letter writer specifically mentions being enthusiastic about performance competitions, I can easily see how this would be off-putting even to coworkers who are not particularly negative. Competition can be uncomfortable when you know your co-competitors well because when you succeed it means others did not. If everyone is supposed to be working collaboratively toward a shared goal (success of the company) then competition among colleagues doesn’t seem very productive, unless it is truly meaningless, and if it’s truly meaningless then it is not very useful.

  13. LisaLyn

    OP1, even ten great remote interviews usually isn’t going to be enough for a company that has the means to meet you in person to not fly you out. This is totally standard. If you are going to be applying for other jobs in different locations, this will be what will happen with those jobs, too.

    As Alison said, they don’t know if they are going to make you an offer yet and honestly, you should look at this as a great opportunity on your end. You can take the time while you’re out there to get the feel of the city and of the office environment. This is as much an advantage for you as it is for them.

    1. Ann Furthermore

      One time I did get an offer, which I accepted, after only phone interviews. It was a unique situation though — they needed someone with my skill set, who was local to the project location, so that there would be no travel expenses associated with my time.

      But by and large, you are correct. It’s very rare to get an offer after only having remote interviews, no matter how well they go. And outright asking for one is presumptuous. I would strongly consider removing a candidate from the hiring process if they asked for an offer before considering an in-person interview. In most cases, candidates travel on the employer’s dime. What more do they want?

      1. TL

        I got my offer after only phone interviews! But they really liked me and the position I was in/am taking is not particularly well-paying.

  14. MissDisplaced

    # You poop rainbows and sunshine… your coworkers don’t.
    Get over it. They’re not “jealous” of you, they just don’t like it because it’s WORK and a job and not their entire life.

  15. Anonymous

    #3 – I’m in a similar situation. I’m not necessarily “over enthusiastic,” but I always hit the deadlines our manager gives us for projects and my coworkers give me a really hard time about it. (I used to be a newspaper reporter so hitting deadlines is in my blood, haha). My supervisor is obviously happy that I hit my deadlines, but doesn’t always help me when she says things like, “Sally is the ONLY one who completed the project report on time this – you all need to take notice.”

    OP #3, if it were me, I would keep doing great work but tone down the enthusiasm a smidge – not entirely, because I do think it’s important to show that you’re passionate about your job. I would also try not to take your co-workers comments too personally.

  16. Gilby

    #3
    OP, how long have you been in sales/this job? Are you newer to the workforce on general?

    The reaction of “Get a life” or “It is only a prize” that you say you are getting from co-workers, may be because it is just old news to them.

    You are asking them to like your enthusiasm and have that same enthusiasm as you do and that is not right.

    That is no different than them not liking your enthusiasm. Why should they conform to your view of the job?

    Maybe you are coming off as a show off. Maybe you are coming off like a, in your face “I am here, I love my job, I just got a prize, so much that it is just flat out annoying to people. It is not jealousy.

    You should really take a look at yourself and how you are interacting with others there. You are looking at everyone else as if they are the problem. If mostly all people are giving you this reaction it reflects more on you.

    1. No So NewReader

      I get concerned about saying “it’s jealousy” because that becomes a crutch. There. That resolves that.

      No. It doesn’t. Because the coworkers seem to remain “jealous”. Nothing has been solved.

      OP, your choices are:
      Keep doing what you are doing and ignore this as it gets worse and worse.
      OR
      Dial it back, in the hopes of building a working relationship with your cohorts.

      Do realize that when you win, emoting all over the place will not go over well. This emoting could be just in the form of constant smiles. You coworkers see that and things go down hill fast.

      You can’t expect your coworkers to change without changing yourself. It could be if you dial it back then they might dial it up some what.

      I had one job where I won most of the sales contests. And that was because I had the most hours. I went to the bosses and asked if this could be restructured some how so that other people could have a crack at winning because over time this is going to do nothing but kill morale. (The answer came back NO. Then I got really worried. I kept my mouth shut about the contests. I did not talk about what I won, etc. I think this helped. I also made sure I was supportive of my coworkers endeavors and cheered them on.)

      If you have to be competitive make the competition between YOU today and YOU yesterday. Compete against yourself and quietly inside your own head. There’s more to life than winning a contest.

  17. JFQ

    #3

    Consider your role in all this. It’s not necessarily your job to “change things”–things will be how the majority of your coworkers want them to be. It’s not your role to define the terms of the job, which in the estimation of a substantial portion of your colleagues, apparently isn’t “to be enthusiastic and competitive.”

    You don’t get to define everyone else’s terms of employment or how he or she approaches the job, and you point out that while you are a high performer, you’re not the only one; some people have a different approach that works for them.

    Your whole letter is about changing your coworkers, but you should stop to consider that maybe they don’t need to change and that most of what you can change is about yourself anyway.

    Plus, maybe your coworkers have figured out that the competition or rewards are hollow, that they are used by management to keep people chasing externally derived satisfaction that isn’t ultimately very satisfying.

    This is a decent and accessible book about motivation: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6452796-drive.

    One key point is that not everyone responds to if-then rewards, especially in the long term.

  18. Mix

    #3, I work very closely with our sales team. For the most part they are professional and high performing. I am close to many high performers, most of them play their cards close to their vest until they hit their goal, or until they almost reach it. Your personality sounds like it would be very hard to deal with, especially for someone who isn’t up for incentives but plays a strong roll in helping people meet their goals but rarely gets incentives.

    Also, one of the coworkers I am closer to missed out on a huge incentive for doubling her quota by a few thousand dollars. Having someone being completely jazzed could be rubbing it in her face. Be excited for yourself, but realize that others may be dissapointed by a near miss.

  19. Not So NewReader

    OP #2. PLEASE say something, anything. It could be as simple as “I feel I am too close to that whole situation to be transparently fair to you. I do not feel comfortable answering any more questions.”

    Cold, yes. But better than giving long-winded answers that could into massive headaches later on.

    If I were asking advice from a former coworker I would expect them to say upfront “I can’t help you because I am looking at the same job.” That gives me the opportunity to decide if I want the job that badly or to go find another person to talk with AND to really consider if I measure up to the requirements of the job.

  20. Shannon

    At my company, cheques can’t be cashed the day they are cut as an anti-fraud measure, the bank would reject it. We have to build in a day’s lead time when we’re doing payments.

  21. Ruffingit

    #3 – I’m all for positivism, but in reading your letter I could definitely see how you would be annoying. Sorry, but I just have to be honest. You said I also hate when they tell me to “get a life” when I express how much I love my job and how lucky I am to have found a job I actually like.

    How often are you expressing this and how are you doing it? If someone was telling me they just love their job and are so lucky to have found something they love, etc., I’d be happy for them the first couple of times they said it. After that, I’d be thinking “yeah, I know, you’ve said that a lot. Do you have anything else in your life worth discussing?” It’s great you love your job, but it doesn’t have to be continually expressed because talking about one topic on a regular basis gets old. It also appears that you want your colleagues to have the same level of enthusiasm as you do and they just don’t. Accept that as their way of being. You don’t have to ADOPT their way of being, but you also don’t have to judge them for it either. Either you just don’t fit into this culture or you can fit in by toning it down a bit. For example, you can just be happy about the incentive offered that week without making an issue of it such as “Isn’t this incentive just awesome, aren’t you so excited about it??!!!!” There’s a reason people use Pollyanna as a pejorative term sometimes. Calm down, tone it down and just do the work or find a place where you fit in better with the culture.

    1. JamieG

      “How often are you expressing this and how are you doing it?”

      Yes! I have a coworker who occasionally goes around the store loudly saying/singing “I love my job! I love my coworkers! I love my job!” And no, that’s not an exaggeration. That is literally what she says, usually for a couple of hours just repeating herself. It’s not a daily occurrence, thankfully, but even just once a month it makes me want to (a) scream or (b) quit. And I don’t really hate my job, or most of the people I work with! It’s just annoying as hell to hear it all the time.

      They don’t have to hate their job or be jealous or not be as good as you or whatever to get annoyed at your enthusiasm if you’re expressing it in an obnoxious way.

      1. Elizabeth West

        People who are relentlessly cheerful make me really tired. It also comes off as fake-nobody’s that happy all the time. That would just irritate the hell out of me.

  22. Another Anonymous Person

    For #1, I was in the opposite position 2 years ago. I had 2 interviews over the phone with a long distance company and to my surprise, shortly after my 2 phone interviews, the company offered me the job without inviting me to fly down to meet the team or see the office. When I said that I didn’t feel comfortable taking the job without meeting everyone and seeing their environment, the company did offer to fly me down, but it was understood that if I agreed to fly down I was going to take the job; I couldn’t let them fly me down and then not take the job. In the end, I didn’t take the job because I honestly didn’t want to leave the city I was living in but, I also didn’t take the job because I didn’t like how the company approached the process, that they weren’t willing to fly me down before making me an offer, which would have enabled me to make a truly informed, confident decision.

  23. Jamie

    Btw I’m really curious as to what kind of non-monetary incentives the OP is talking about. It could shed some light on why the people she admits perform well and even better than her don’t care about them.

    Because it’s possible that her enthusiasm is annoying because they don’t like the incentive program, but when people like the OP respond to well to it tptb think it works.

    Kind of like how my hopes for the doing away with company cookouts ebb away with each person who says how much they love them. (But I do know I’m in the vast minority on that so I keep my mouth shut, I know I’m the odd one out.)

    1. Mints

      That’s true. If the reward is something like jeans day, it might be completely missing the mark for what other top performers would like to win (cash. The answer is always cash)

    2. Kat

      Right, or it could be something they already have. If you try to incentivize me with an iPad I already won, its not going to work to well the next time that’s an award.

  24. BCW

    As for #3, maybe your thinking that they are jealous of you is the reason they don’t like you. If you are thinking it, maybe you are acting like it. I mean you may think you are “enthusiastic” and they may see you as thinking you are above them. But what I don’t get is why you need them to be as excited as you.

    1. Del

      This is a really good point. Automatically jumping to the “they are jealous of me” conclusion is essentially assuming that a) you are awesome, b) your coworkers are not as awesome as you, c) they recognize that they are not as awesome as you, and d) any negative feedback you get from them is automatically invalid.

      Maybe try listening for a little bit instead of tooting your own horn all the time. You might learn something.

  25. Anonathousand

    OP #3 – If you’re new to the job, and if you’re relatively young, take a step back and start listening to the people who have been there longer. It’s like when everyone else ahead of you on the highway starts to slow down, and you’re like, “What the heck? Learn how to drive!” And then you get pulled over, because you didn’t think “hey, there’s a reason everyone else is going so slow.” Well, everyone else knew there was a speed trap, and you’re the out-of-town newb who thinks s/he knows everything. Oops.

    I’ve worked in plenty of different environments and one thing always holds true: follow the cues of those who have been there longer. That doesn’t mean do a bad job, or start groaning and moaning about little things, but keep your mouth shut and your ears open to figure out the culture, i.e., where there’s smoke, there’s fire. If you’re the odd duck out of everyone else, it’s either you’re the quintessential workplace Spongebob (nothing is ever wrong! everything is always awesome!) or you just haven’t figured out the game yet.

  26. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    I’ve worked in plenty of different environments and one thing always holds true: follow the cues of those who have been there longer.

    I’m going to disagree with you in this way: blending in with the pack isn’t what gets you ahead.

    A bazillion years ago, I started my career at Wakeen’s as an administrative assistant. I annoyed everybody except the sales reps I worked directly for and the principals of the company. I didn’t want to annoy people but I also had no interest in doing things because they’d always been done a certain way or pacing myself to the existing environment.

    I was running my own start up within the company within a few years.

    I think it is important to read the cues of people who have been somewhere longer but I don’t think one should blindly follow them.

    1. Del

      [i] I also had no interest in doing things because they’d always been done a certain way[/i]

      This is something I hear a lot from people, and it’s a pretty two-edged sword. Sometimes things are done a certain way because they’ve always been done that way and no one’s thought to shake things up, and sometimes they’re done a certain way for good reasons that aren’t immediately obvious. The more complicated a system/procedure/etc you work with, the more likely you are to find it’s the latter.

      So while it’s good to ask questions about why things are done the way they’re done, it’s also good not to go off the rails until you know what you’re doing.

      For example, the software I work with on a daily basis is very old and persnickety, and only certain parts of it really work anymore. This results in some very roundabout workflows — but if you try to go the more direct route, things wind up horribly snarled. One of our new hires decided without asking that the way he’d been shown to do things was ridiculous, and he was going to do what made more sense — and wound up with a couple days’ worth of work lost, and a couple of us had to sit down and take time off our own assignments to get his stuff sorted out.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          It’s just basic html. You used UBB code. So you are exactly right, just < instead of [

        2. EntirelyOutThere

          It is HTML, theoretically it should but Alison may not have HTML code enabled here.

          In addition, there are reasons to follow procedure and there is reason to bend it a little bit. My work officially tells us that anytime a student asks us for anything – including where the bathroom is, we’re supposed to make a ticket in the system and close it. To “show” our work performance.

          The majority of us don’t do this. I spend my time on training rather than fluffing my work up with ridiculous tickets.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

            Yeah, basic HTML is enabled here.

            That’s very funny. Monsters Inc would like all of those tickets. The goldenrod ones go to Roz.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        So while it’s good to ask questions about why things are done the way they’re done, it’s also good not to go off the rails until you know what you’re doing.

        God. Yes. New people have to learn the system first before they break it.

        I was referring more to pegging your attitude to the attitude of those around you.

        My personal situation was extreme. Dial all the way back to 1985, no computers in office, I was hated upon because I chose to use the office word processor instead of the IBM selectrics that everybody else used — as one example. This pegged me as the technology guru on the cusp of great revolution.

        I know. Hysterical. Word Processor.

        But if I had paid attention to the culture, the angry looks and the talk behind my back about “the new girl!”, a bunch of good things that happened might not have happened next.

  27. Matt

    On reading #3, I couldn’t stop imagining OP as Jim Carrey in his Truman Show insurance job or some similar type of character … which would certainly drive me crazy if I was his coworker (however I’m an introvert and I doubt there are that many introverts in *sales*, but an “extreme extrovert” can probably even get on “moderate extrovert”‘s nerves …

  28. annonymous

    No3 was my letter and I have tried before to play it cool and not really care about the incentives, bonuses etc and not be so enthusiastic but manager pulled me up about it and told me to go back to being the old me. We are required to be enthusiastic but i am being shunned for it! I know the rest of my colleagues probably arent jealous but i dont know what else to think. And i dont gush – i tend to just voice my true opinion when others are being negative about the job + my positivity tends to annoy them.

    1. Del

      If people are venting about the job, that is not the time to speak up about how much you love it.

      This is super especially true if everyone is required to be enthusiastic. That kind of requirement can be exhausting and demoralizing for a lot of people, and having you chime in with how much you just love it all probably comes off as either unsympathetic or outright mockery.

    2. Vally

      Yes, when someone is in an negative state of mind, they will likely be annoyed by it, it’s the way people are wired. And it’s also not surprising that the manager wants to see you reacting so positively to the incentives. You seem to be the only one that does, so perhaps the manager is hoping it will ‘rub off’ on the others. Things don’t work that way though.

      Is there one among your coworkers you could have a frank and honest conversation with? So you could get their perspective on these incentives and find out why they aren’t that enthusiastic about them. At the same time, you might also get some pointers on how they are really perceiving you and what you could do differently to better get along with them.

      Yet at the end of the day, like someone else already commented, it is not on you to change your coworkers. You just need to find a way to get along with them.

    3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      Hey, #3!

      Listen, if people are “required” to be enthusiastic about incentives, I’m questioning the set up of your workplace myself. Maybe it’s like one of those WalMart cheer things? Requiring people to be enthusiastic will definitely produce blowback.

      Anyway! None of that is your concern. Just face your happy positive attitude toward your customers and your work and don’t mind the people around you.

      Give them a compassionate thought, though. If someone has told them that the are required to be enthusiastic, I think your fellow employees aren’t the origin of the problem.

  29. Payroll Lady

    #5 If the company is stating the payday is Friday, than checks need to be made available sometime on Friday. Not making the checks available until Saturday is against most labor laws and definitely against NY laws. They can hold the checks until you leave on Friday, but they still have to give them to you on Friday. The only time a date can be changed is due to a holiday and most times, the payment must be made before the holiday. labor dot ny dot com is a great site for all the New York Labor laws :)

  30. Collarbone High

    #5 I did bookkeeping at a place that also had the ‘no checks until 2 p.m.’ on Saturday policy, and the reason was that they couldn’t make payroll without the Friday sales receipts. They needed to ensure those deposits posted to their account on Saturday before anyone started cashing checks. The timing on this — which means the cashed checks won’t post to the company’s account until Monday — sounds like that could be the case here too. OP, I would follow Alison’s advice to expect that payday is Saturday, but I’d also be looking for signs that your company is having financial problems.

    Also, I would advise cashing your check as soon as possible once you get it.

  31. Mena

    #1: you are being presumptuous that you’ll receive an offer. And demanding one before traveling sends quite the wrong message. You don’t have the job yet. You need to go there and convince them that you’re the right person.

    #3: it sounds like you may be the Chipper Cheerleader, which gets a bit old. Tone it down, especially if you’re hearing the same message from colleagues over time. And maybe it is time to stop over-sharing your enthusiasm.

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