my employer is competing with my walking group, job searching after generous medical leave, and more by Alison Green on November 20, 2014 It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go… 1. I tried to organize walks with coworkers, but the company scheduled its own activity over it I work in a place that encourages others to take leadership in making the company a better place to work; it’s actually part of our evaluation tool. So, as the holidays are coming up and people don’t always make healthy choices during holidays, the company started a way to be supportive of one another with better decision-making about food and exercise, etc. In response to this, I replied to the email asking if anyone would be interested in starting a walking club a couple of times a week. (The company-wide email is perfectly acceptable in my organization). I got a lot of positive responses (though no official company sanction) and we chose two days and times to start with. Excellent. Emails were exchanged (cc:all) for several days. Except, the very next day, the person heading up the wellness initiative sent out a company-sponsored flier announcing a more hardcore workout (but saying it can be modified for all fitness levels) and the days and times conflict with the times we had decided to start walking. I’m irritated, and I don’t know how to proceed. I know this isn’t some enormous problem, but it’s annoying. I feel that if my suggestion had been inappropriate or stepping on someone’s toes, they had plenty of time to talk to me about it, and I feel it is disrespectful to schedule in a way that conflicts with the other stuff. I feel like I either need to say something, or at minimum change the previously agreed upon times for walking, because I don’t want people feeling like they have to choose. So my question is: what do you suggest? Should I say something? What? Should I change my times? Honestly, I feel like canceling the whole walking thing altogether. I branched out of my comfort zone, and now I just want to go back to keeping my head down. I … think you’re way overreacting. It’s very unlikely that the company-sponsored workout was deliberately scheduled at the same time as your walking club; it’s probably a coincidence, and whoever scheduled it probably wasn’t paying attention to when your walks were scheduled for. If you’re concerned about people having to choose, why not just change the times you’d settled on? Yes, that’s mildly annoying, but it’s not worth canceling the whole thing or staying angry over. 2. Negotiating salary when coming from the military I’m an active duty Air Force officer looking at potentially transitioning to the corporate world in the wave of military drawdowns the force is facing. I have taken the transition assistance classes, and am working with a military focused recruiting company to find my dream job assuming I make the cut. All of this has prepared me well to negotiate, and your site has helped a lot but I’m seeing a large trend with people asking what you used to make and I’m a bit concerned here. My pay is pretty much a matter of public record. For having x number of years in, and knowing my rank anyone can look up how much I should be making, however there is a large amount of my pay that comes from a tax-free housing allowance. I know how much you dislike employers basing salary on previous work and not what you will be doing but I’m also a realist in knowing I may have to jump that hurdle at some point. How do I explain to people that because a full 20% of my compensation is completely tax free and all of my compensation is state tax free, my salary shouldn’t be based off of what I used to make but what I am worth? I know you are against people lumping in benefits when discussing salary, but in this example my monthly base pay is $5,415 and my housing is $1,560. Is it fair for me to include those and other entitlements, such as special pays and other allowances, into my total salary if and when I’m asked about my current salary? It’s absolutely reasonable to bring it up, but don’t just lump it all together as “salary,” because that’s not strictly accurate (and you risk causing confusion if they try to verify it). Instead, I’d just explain what you have here: “Well, the military handles compensation differently. My salary was $X, but much of that was tax-free, and I received a $18,720 housing allowance. What I’m looking for in a civilian role like this one is something in the range of $Y-$Z.” 3. I feel guilty about job searching after my employer gave me generous medical leave I have been on my job for almost two years now. This is a high-stress, low-paying job that has high turnover. It was a position that used to be held by two people but because of budget cuts only one person is doing this job with the exact same workload. When I applied, I figured I’d stay a year and then move on like everyone else. Well, about a year in, while I was looking for a new position to transfer to within the agency, I had an auto accident, broke some bones, and was out for almost three months. Management was super nice! They even gave me a few weeks of extra sick leave that I hadn’t yet earned so that I would receive a full paycheck when all of my leave ran out. The job is still stressful, the workload is still overwhelming, and I’m just as unhappy with it now as I was before the accident. Actually, with all my injuries and new medical bills, I’m even MORE unhappy and stressed out than I previously was and feel myself sinking into a deep depression. Now that I’m back, I feel guilty as hell for still wanting to leave and feel as if I owe them for being so understanding while I was out and so accommodating when I got back. I don’t want management to view me as ungrateful. They know how stressful the job is. They even joked that they didn’t think I was coming back at all. I am grateful for the job, the paycheck, and benefits, but how long should I wait before applying for other positions? Six months? A full year? I’m so conflicted. You’re not obligated to wait at all. Yes, they handled your medical leave well, but that doesn’t make you an indentured servant — and a good manager isn’t going to want you to stay in a job where you’re not happy anyway (both for your sake and for theirs). If this job isn’t right for you, you should be job searching now. Plus, job searching takes a while — you could start now and not have an offer for six months or more. (Although if you get one right away, that’s fine too.) You can appreciate how helpful they were without letting it tie you to a job you’re not happy in. 4. Finding a part-time job in my field while working part-time retail I recently graduated from college with the hopes of going into nonprofit work focusing on the environment. I spent the summer working on an organic farm and, once that internship was over, moved back in with my parents and got a part-time job at a big box store to be able to pay off my enormous student debt. I have continued to look for “real” jobs (as my parents like to put it), but the issue is I get paid $11.50 an hour currently, and taking a job in my field would be a cut in my hours and most certainly move me down to minimum wage. My solution to this is to find a “real” job that is part-time and work both, one for the experience and one for the money. My question is, when should I bring up that I already have a part-time job that I need to keep? Right away in the cover letter, or in the interview? And also, am I doing the right thing by keeping my current job? My parents keep suggesting that I need to go back to school for my master’s, but I only see that making the problem worse by increasing my debt and still not being able to find a good paying job in what I want to do. I’m not sure I’m following your logic. Yes, taking a job in your field would mean cutting your hours at the big box store, but you’d presumably be making it up by the hours you’d be working at the new job (unless you have reason to believe the new job will pay minimum wage, but most nonprofits pay even entry-level staff more than that). In any case, I wouldn’t confine yourself to a part-time job in your field. Part-time jobs in professional fields are usually much harder to find than full-time jobs, so you’d be putting yourself at a real disadvantage by only considering those, and you’ll be missing out on lots of employers who are only seeking full-time workers. 5. Can my resume note that my work was mentioned in two books? My work has been mentioned in two different books (one was just a reference to the work I did, but not my name and the other mentioned my name). How do I mention or reference these in my resume (or do I at all?). Both really show my level of expertise in my particular area of work, so I’d like to include these references, but as I didn’t write the book, I’m not sure how to include this. You could say something like “work on X featured in The History of Teapots by Barnaby Plufferton.” But I’d only do this if the book really delved into your work — if it was just a footnote or a couple of sentences, it probably doesn’t rise to the level of resume-worthy. You may also like:a candidate lied to me about salary (maybe)ask all your questions about the new overtime law herecan I include the value of my benefits when I talk about my current salary?