It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My manager asked me to think about if this is the right job for me
My manager has asked me “to think if this is really the right job for me.” What she is saying is that she doesn’t think it is the right job for me, and this isn’t the first time she has asked this question. I don’t think it is, but I certainly don’t want to talk her into letting me go.
I have been looking for another job, and would love to move from my current situation. That said, I need to stay working until I find something else. My current manager is very involved in my day to day work, so seeking work elsewhere isn’t the easiest thing to make time for. What is the right way to answer her?
When your manager is asking you to think about whether this is the right job for you, it’s a big warning sign that your job is in jeopardy. That means that it’s pretty urgent that you find time to job search, even though it’s hard to do that — because statements like your manager’s are the writing on the wall that your time there might be coming to an end, and it’s nearly always easier to find a job while you’re still employed than afterwards.
As for what to do now, with some managers you could be honest, say that it’s not the job for you, and agree on a transition period (during which you could job search while still being employed). With plenty of other managers, though, acknowledging that the job isn’t for you could mean that you’ll be out of there within a couple of weeks, if not less. So you’ve got to know who you’re dealing with here. If it’s the latter, your best bet is probably to say something like, “While it hasn’t come as naturally to me as I’d like, I want to do this work and I’m committed to meeting your expectations” and then work to show that you’re doing that — while simultaneously speeding up your job search in case that doesn’t work out.
2. How should I fill our daily required meetings?
We are required by our organization to have daily meetings that are to last no more than 15 minutes, following the Lean process. We are to review any new Just Do Its that have been submitted and follow up on old ones. We have 9 people in my department and we are average about 4 Just Do It’s a month. This doesn’t leave us much to talk about.
We’ve adopted our own format which is really just open to discussion, if anyone has anything to talk about. Some days we get into great discussions about an issue someone is having, or putting together a team-building exercise. Other days, nothing. We have certain people who never speak up, and others who always do. I’m trying to find a way to make this more engaging and somehow get everyone to play a role. We assigned a Safety position to one team member, but he never brings anything up. Our Analyst talks about system issues, and he does well. But the rest of them are bumps on a log. I try being lively and engaging, but I think they look at me like I’m just crazy and pray for the end of the meeting. I tried making everyone rotate who leads the meeting; they half-heartedly went through the motions until it was over. I thought about developing roles and throwing them into a hat. Each month you get a new role and you report on “something” at the meeting related to your role…I think they would all hate me if I did that, though.
Yeah, this is what happens when you have meetings for meetings’ sake, rather than because there are specific things that need to be talked about. I’m not at all surprised that you’re finding that some days you have nothing to talk about if you’re having meetings just because you’re being required to.
Rather than trying to find a way to fill time, why not push back on whoever imposed this requirement and either explain that it’s wasting people’s time or get advice on how to make the time do what it’s intended for? If that doesn’t work, don’t resort to making up things for people to talk about — convene, see if anyone has anything for discussion, and if they don’t, adjourn the meeting and let people get back to work.
3. How to handle a request for an online review when you don’t want to give one
Last Wednesday, my wife and I closed on a house. As with all home-buying experiences, this one had some hiccups. Unfortunately, our agent was far less adept at navigating these hiccups than we would have hoped. Without going into all the details, there were issues from paperwork mishaps to the fact that he effectively showed what cards we held during each negotiation. How did we end up with such an agent? We’d known him professionally for almost two years, and used him a couple times in signing rental leases (a common practice in our metro area) before finally buying a home. He is very friendly and has a great eye for properties and for what we really valued in properties. For straightfoward rental contracts, he was great. We would just never use him again for a homebuying transaction (which for context is his main line of work in real estate, aside a few random rentals like our previous ones).
Despite the hiccups, we closed and he got us a nice engraved butcher-block cutting board as a housewarming gift. He also sent us a link to rate him as an agent on a popular reviewing site. This requires ratings for different metrics, including things like negotiation. We feel bad not leaving a review after his personal request, but we would not recommend him as a homebuying agent. Unlike saying a job candidate has excellent penmanship (and conveying he may not be a great fit), talking up our agent’s good qualities is at best infelicitous. These are good qualities for an agent, but not compared to the legal and administrative work in actually negotiating and executing the contract to purchase a home.
Since this is effectively how he gets professional feedback, what should one do? Have a frank–and awkward, and undoubtedly relationship-breaking–conversation with him on how we’d rate him (just not do it online)? Rate him honestly but perhaps while still being a little charitable? As additional context, while he’s been in the business nearly 20 years, he is just getting his online presence up-to-date. As such, he only has a couple reviews online. In all honesty, I’m afraid even a charitable portrayal would likely undermine his ratings. Any suggestions?
I don’t think you’re obligated to tell you him your concerns about his performance if that’s a conversation you don’t feel like having. He’s not an employee, where you’d have an obligation to provide candid feedback and professional development. How about just ignoring the request? Plenty of people aren’t online reviewers, and receiving the request doesn’t obligate you to fulfill it. If he follows up with you about it again and you feel like you can’t continue ignoring it without being rude, at that point you could either fall back on a white lie (“we’re not big online reviewers”) or bite the bullet and nicely tell him why (for instance, “to be honest, we loved working with you on rentals but were a little dismayed by XYZ in the house purchase — and I think it’s the house-buying work that you’re looking for the review on”).
4. I’m hearing impaired and having trouble with my manager’s accent
I started a new job and have a supervisor with an Indian accent who I have difficulty understanding. I am hearing impaired, which exacerbates the situation, especially when I ask her to repeat something multiple times. I feel frustrated in these situations, and she probably does too. When she repeats things, she says them faster, which doesn’t help either. She is aware of my hearing loss but not of my trouble with her accent. I don’t know if I should bring this up. I feel odd doing so.
“I’m so sorry, my hearing doesn’t handle accents well. It’s nothing on your side, but it will help me hear if you can slow down.” Say this nicely and even a little apologetically, so that it’s clear you’re not just being a pain about talking to someone with an accent.
5. Do I have to be paid for my notice period if my employer tells me to leave immediately?
I have heard before that if I give the proper two-week notice and my employer asks me to leave immediately, they have to pay me no matter what for those two weeks. Is this true?
No, that’s not true. They don’t have to pay you for any time you didn’t work, even if they tell you to leave sooner than the ending date you offered.
However, in most states, you could collect unemployment for those two weeks (because even though you resigned, which would normally make you ineligible, those two weeks without pay were involuntary). Unemployment is usually significantly less than your paycheck would be, but it’s something.