It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Can I ask to leave early on my second day of work to attend my son’s preschool concert?
I have just accepted an offer with a company two weeks ago and will be starting my new job in 2 weeks. I just found out that my 3-year-old has a Christmas concert in his preschool on the second day of my first week at my new job. I would really like to attend his concert but am not sure if it is acceptable to leave early on my second day. I was wondering if I could ask my manager if I could leave early to attend my son’s concert.
My new workplace is 1-1/2 hours away from my son’s preschool and I’m starting my new job as a supervisor. I have a meeting at my new work a week before my start date, and I’d like to ask my manager if it is ok to leave early when I see him at the meeting.
I wouldn’t. It’s only your second day and your new manager and colleagues don’t know much about you yet. You don’t want one of the first things they learn to be “she’s cutting out early on her second day for an optional thing.” Fairly or unfairly, it’s likely to start people wondering if you’re going to frequently want to leave early or come in late, and it’s likely to raise questions about how well you follow professional norms (which usually dictate not doing stuff like this during your first week — unless it’s truly unavoidable, like a time-sensitive medical appointment).
2. Responding to secondhand gossip about yourself
What is the best way to handle hearing secondhand gossip about yourself in the workplace? My coworker, Cathy, told me that our manager told her that I had “tattled” about some disproportionate behavior Cathy exhibited after I made a mistake and performed a duty I had been asked not to perform in the past. This was after our manager held a team meeting to discuss the mistake I made, and the behavior that Cathy exhibited afterwards.
It really put a bug in my ear hearing that my boss allegedly thinks I “tattled” like some kind of petulent child whose concerns aren’t warranted. At the same time, Cathy is a known gossip, and does not seem to let go of past wrongs easily or willingly.
I’m put in an awkward predicament: do I ask my manager if what Cathy says is true, thus revealing Cathy as a gossip (instead of speaking to Cathy directly about how badly that bugged me), or do I trust that the manager will approach me with any severe problems with my performance, as she’s promised to do, and just let this instance go? I will tell Cathy I don’t want to hear gossip anymore, and I’ve already told her not to tell me if/when the manager says things like that about me.
Let it go. This already sounds like a fair amount of drama, and you’re better off not adding to it by reopening this with your manager. I don’t think you have much to gain by that discussion, and you probably have something to lose. I think asking Cathy not to share those sorts of things with you was a good move.
3. I’m not allowed to know the salaries of the employees who I manage
About eight months ago, I was promoted to director at the small company where I work. I now oversee a department that had already existed prior to my promotion. At no time was I informed of any of that department’s salaries. When it came time to do a review for the head of that department, I completed the review form and asked for his salary information so I could figure out what raise would be appropriate. I was told to give him the review, letting him know that I recommended he be given a raise, and to have him see my boss for details. I have no idea how much of a raise he is getting or if it’s fair. I have no control over it whatsoever. Am I right to feel uncomfortable about this? I’ve been in management over 18 years and have never experienced such a thing.
Yes, this is weird and not at all typical. Managers generally know what the people working for them are earning, and if for some reason they don’t, they can generally find out. Your boss is going to some odd lengths to keep that information from you. I’d ask about it, saying something like, “I’d like to know what the people working for me are earning so that I can have open discussions with them about raises, retention, and so forth. Is there a reason you’d prefer not to share that information with me?”
4. Will stretched ears impact my job prospects?
Is it okay to have stretched ears at an interview if the jewelry is simple, like plain and black plugs that aren’t bigger than 2 gauge? Will college professors consider scholarships with them? I’m 16 and I will graduate at the age of 17. Can I get a decent job besides retail with them? If I move to a place like Ohio or Colorado, will it help? Will wearing simple jewelry help or will they still notice and hate them? I hate normally sized earlobes. I would like these questions answered so I should know if it’s okay to begin stretching. My cousin had a friend who had them and had to get plastic surgery because no one would hire him.
Background: a two gauge is not permanent and can be sized down. It’s the last size where this is possible.
I don’t think college professors will care much, but employers definitely will. While there are some employers who won’t care, it will significantly limit your job prospects with loads of employers (maybe the majority) who are squeamish about ear stretchers.
My advice: Don’t do anything at 16 that will limit your options when you’re an adult. Wait until you see what kind of career you end up in and what kind of options you have, and then decide what makes sense for you.
5. My phone cut out during what might have been a hiring-related call
Recently I have been applying online for jobs in my field of study. I have received a few calls from unknown name and numbers that were human resources, which is good, but today I received another call from an unknown name and number. I picked up and said hello, and the woman said, “Hi, is this (my name)?” I said yes, and as soon as I said yes my phone died on me. Terrible time for a brand new phone to die. I was not familiar with the voice and was debating whether it was a hiring manager of some sort. I quickly charged my phone but didn’t not receive a voicemail or another call from the blocked number. Would a hiring manager or human resources see this as me “hanging up” on them, when it was a total accident, and not call back or send an email in regards to the position?
It’s likely that they assumed it was a dropped call, and in most cases they’d call back. Since they didn’t, there’s a decent chance that it wasn’t an employer. Or maybe it was — but there’s really nothing you can do about at it at this point since you don’t know who it was. I’d put it out of your mind and move on.