It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My coworkers are going to my dad about problems with me
I recently started working at the same school that my father has taught at for over 30 years. He is actively involved in various aspects of the school and he is well respected by just about everyone in the district. (It’s a large district, but the superintendent knows him by name, which almost never happens.) Realistically, I know that has some role in my being hired, but I am qualified for the job; in fact, I’m overqualified (the job requires an associate’s degree, I have a master’s degree). While I don’t think anyone thinks I shouldn’t be there, there is a tendency to defer to my father, even though he’s not my supervisor. Generally, I want to know how to address this matter so it doesn’t interfere with my work.
More specifically, recently, I made a small mistake that seems to have upset a coworker, perhaps even disproportionately so (I knocked on her door to ask a question at what was apparently a bad time). While I think this is the sort of matter that can be handled without getting anyone else involved (this being the first time I’ve met her, so obviously not a recurring problem, and it won’t happen again), as the party in the wrong, I admit that maybe I’m not the best to judge what is or isn’t a big deal. However, she didn’t go to my supervisor, she went to my father. So, I’m torn because I want to avoid this lady, but I also feel like I need to address the fact that I’m clearly being treated as if I’m under my father’s guardianship. What do I do?
You need your dad to agree not to play into this. If people come to you about matters involving you, he needs to say, “When we’re at work, Lucinda isn’t related to me. You should address this directly with her.”
If it becomes an ongoing issue, you might need to say something similar to the culprits, but I bet you can solve the whole thing if your dad refuses to participate in it.
2. My employer requires all employees to back into parking spaces
I work for a mid-sized corporation. A new parking policy has been introduced, which requires all employees to back into parking spaces. I don’t like this because it takes longer to park now and because I am terrified of hitting the cars on either side of me when I am attempting to back in. When I questioned the reason for this policy, I was told it was for employee safety and that it would prevent people from backing out of a parking space and hitting someone who was walking by or another car. I feel the odds of me hitting someone are something are greatest when I am trying to wedge myself and my car in a tight space, while in reverse. What do you think of this policy and do you think it is logical?
I have no idea, without knowing more about the parking situation. But regardless of how reasonable it is, if you make a big deal about it, it’s not likely to reflect well on you — most people will think this is a pretty minor thing, and major pushback on it will seem out of place.
For what it’s worth, I once lived somewhere that required residents to park that way and I was highly annoyed — but I discovered that it was pretty easy after the first week of doing it. (And then I never lost the skill, which has been handy.)
3. Since I can’t contact job candidates’ current managers, how can I know if they’re hiding problems at a current job?
I’m a manager in training for a mid-size level retailer and am completely brand new to hiring, I have a concern regarding job applicants who check “no” on “may we contact your employer” for current employers. I’ve read your articles and if memory serves me correctly, this should not necessarily raise a red flag because employees don’t want their bosses to know that they’re job searching. Understandable.
My concern is if they check “no,” is there any way to try to find out if they’re hiding anything (i.e. performance issues, tardiness, etc.?) Like I said, I’m new to hiring, so the answer may be as simple as there may not be much that can be done. I mean, if I bring someone in for an interview, is there any way I can address that concern with the interviewee without being overly suspicious that something could very well be wrong? Any recommended questions that I could ask?
It’s definitely very normal for candidates to request that their current employers not be contacted, since that can jeopardize their current jobs. And yeah, that means that if there’s something going on with their current job, you probably won’t get to hear about it — but you can certainly ask about why they’re looking for a new job, and what challenges they’ve experienced there.
I wouldn’t worry too much that there’s some dark story you won’t be able to uncover, as long as you’re doing a thorough job of checking references from previous jobs (and making sure to talk to past managers, specifically). Someone who has glowing references from their last three jobs is unlikely to have suddenly become a different person at their current position. It’s patterns that really matter most anyway, and you’re going to get a good sense of that from the past managers.
4. Interactive, web-based resumes
With the digitization of our world, what is your opinion on interactive, web-based resumes? The content would be as professional as expected (based on the posts you’ve made regarding how to write good resumes and cover letters). But it would be web-based and has a bit of interactivity (more organized links, sections, etc. and maybe with a bit of light animation when you click on menus). I’ve seen a few in the past, but they are few and far in between and usually for design-related positions where the individual needs to demonstrate their visual and programming skills. But for regular white-collar jobs… what do you think?
Nope. People keep looking for creative ways to improve on the traditional resume, but the vast, vast majority of hiring managers prefer the traditional resume because it serves their needs the best. Traditional resumes are easy to scan and quickly find information in, and they can be easily input into electronic applicant systems. That’s seriously all we want. Don’t mess with it!
5. Can I ask for a paycheck advance?
I work for a small business that provides home health care. As you can imagine, I depend on my vehicle to get to my clients’ homes. My car recently broke down and is going to cost me about $600. I’ve turned everywhere. The bank, credit cards, installment loans, family, friends, etc.all have been denied. I have nowhere else to turn and I’m running out of options and money. I’m depending on my friend’s car to get to work but that option is running low as well. Am I in a position to ask my manager (owner of the company) for an advance to help me pay for the repairs?
In general, I’d avoid doing that if at all possible, but if you’ve truly exhausted all other options, you don’t have a lot to lose — if the alternative is being unable to get to work, then this isn’t crazy to ask. Just make it clear that it’s not something you’d ask if you had other alternatives, and that you understand the answer may be no.