It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Employer wants me to pay apply for a job
I recently learned of an internship position at a nonprofit organization that I think would be a great opportunity for me. I started applying through a third-party website, but I quickly ran into a roadblock when I was instructed to pay a $25 fee in order to submit my application. Even though I have no doubt that the posting is legit, I have serious reservations about paying an application fee for a job.
I’m not sure how to proceed. At this point, I’m considering dropping it all together. I’ve also considered contacting the person at the organization in charge of this internship. If I decide to go the second route, I’m having some difficulty with how to word that email. I’m curious to know your thoughts.
You absolutely should not have to pay to apply for a job. But did they say what the fee is supposed to cover? If it’s for a background check — as opposed to getting your application looked at — that’s a thing that sometimes happens. (I don’t love it; I think it’s a cost of doing business that the employer should cover, but it’s not unheard of.) But if this isn’t about the background check and is really just to apply, no, that’s totally ridiculous and not okay.
2. How can I get rid of some of my work?
I was hired to help with a specific job function, but my first day I was handed a bunch of extra duties. These are thankless administrative tasks. I would like to talk to my boss about not having these duties on my plate for much longer. In a recent conversation, he agreed that I should be working primarily on the job that I was hired for, but there wasn’t any follow-up as to whether those other duties would be given to someone else. How can I bring up that I don’t want to do these job functions with being whiny or looking like I don’t want to be a team player?
“You mentioned recently that you agreed I should be working primarily on X and Y and not getting so pulled into administrative work. Is this something we can work to change? I’d love to talk with you about how feasible that is and what we’d need to do to make that happen.”
3. I saw coworkers smoking pot at work
I’m a manager and witnessed two guys under another manager smoking pot, as I was driving into work. They were on work property, and it was during work hours.
While not being judgemental on a personal level, I am not sure as to my fiduciary duty to my employer on whether or not to report this. I feel compelled to report them but have to work with them, and know they will not get fired. I’d just as soon shut my mouth. Thoughts?
I’m as pro-privacy and as anti-Prohibition as they come, but what you do on work property during work hours is your employer’s business. And as a manager yourself, you have a higher level of obligation than if you weren’t.
So. Is there a safety issue? Would you report them if it were alcohol? Would you want to know if they’d been your own employees? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then yeah, you do need to tell their manager what you saw. (You can ask them to leave your name out of it if at all possible, since you need to work with these guys.) If the answer to all three questions is no, then I’m not going to tell you that you’re obligated to take this on.
4. My coworkers won’t stop commenting on my weight loss
About 10 months ago, I decided to lose the weight I had put on after my last marathon. It was keeping me from being my best and feeling good about myself. I took off about 70 pounds and now am at a healthy weight for my height. The problem is the rudeness I am getting from coworkers. I have had comments ranging from “you’re too thin” from my boss of all people, to “put on some weight” from another coworker. I am 5’2 and 125, NOT underweight. I am muscular and have low body fat, so I do appear lighter than this (I wear a size 0) but I am in proportion. I do not wish to discuss my weight, my body or have constant intrusive questions as to what I am eating at lunch. I am an athlete, and my standards of fitness and weight are not the same as an ordinary person. Yes, this does happen. Almost daily.
I am uncomfortable with this and at the point of going to HR, especially with my boss’s comments. How do I proceed?
“I don’t want to discuss my weight, thanks.”
“Let’s not talk about my body.”
“My body’s not up for discussion, thanks.”
Because our society is so weird about weight, lots of people think that talking about how thin you are is borderline-complimentary, or at least neutral, unlike talking about how fat someone is. So it’s likely that they genuinely don’t realize that they’re putting you off (clueless as that may seem). Clearly let them know them know that the comments aren’t welcome, and they’ll probably stop. If they don’t, you can escalate (“Hey Jane, I’ve asked you to stop commenting on my body and you haven’t stopped; you’re making me uncomfortable”) but try the lines above first.
5. Can I put work on my resume that I can’t verify?
What should you do if you have valuable work experience that can’t be proven? For two years after high school, I worked in a local copy/print store. Unlike a typical copy place, though, we also ended up doing a lot of design work as well, making things like fliers, pamphlets, and business cards for local businesses. While I was there, I picked up a lot of skills relevant to the line of work I’m hoping to enter-graphic design, copywriting, editing, desktop publishing, etc., and it’s also the only real office experience I have (a bad job market and family emergencies have left me working freelance since college.)
Until recently, I’ve been keeping it off my resume because, at this point, there’s no way to verify it. Not long after I transferred schools, the place went out of business and the manager I worked under has disappeared (I heard a rumor she moved out of state.) However, as my job hunt drags on, I’m realizing I need all the help I can get, and I’m considering putting it back on. Without anybody to back me up and prove I’m not simply making it up, should I add it back on, or would it be more trouble that it’s worth?
There’s no requirement that every detail on your resume be verifiable — and it would be odd for employers to try to verify every single detail. They’ll verify the stuff they care about most, but the fact that you can’t prove that you did design work at this job is no reason not to talk about the fact that you did. It’s true, and it’s relevant. If someone wants to talk to the shop, you can explain they’re out of business (which is not exactly unheard of with employers), and you can offer to demonstrate your design skills in other ways. (In fact, if you’re applying for design jobs, you should have a portfolio displaying your work anyway — and they’re far more likely to focus there anyway.)