It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Coworker is forwarding her requests to me over to my boss
I started my new job a few months ago, and everybody has been great compared to my old toxic workplace. However, there is one coworker who seems to think I can’t do my job – or maybe I’m just reading into it too much. For example, she will email me a request and then forward that same email to my boss in a new email with no additional notes to him. The only reason I know this is because he will reply to both of us on the forwarded email with his input. It’s possible she forgot to CC him the first time, but it’s happened more than once. We got along really well at the start, but now she acts coldly towards me and it’s become really frustrating and I feel petty being this paranoid about it. She has no say over my job but she does have far more seniority than I do.
Should I approach her about this or is it all in my head and I should let it go?
If she’s just forwarding her own requests to him and there’s no hidden subtext (like “I shouldn’t even be having to ask for this!” or “this is my third request!”), then it’s hard to see how this is her implying you can’t do your job. But I think you could just ask her about it, by saying something like, “I noticed you often forward these emails to Fergus. Should I cc him when I reply, or otherwise keep him in the loop?”
The acting coldly is more of a concern to me. I’d take that as a flag to examine whether there’s anything that she could be legitimately distancing herself over, including concerns about your work, professionalism, or responsiveness … but if you can’t spot anything on those fronts, I’d ignore it as much as you can and just be pleasant, professional, and responsive to her (and everyone) and let it be her own issue, since there’s not much else you can do at that point. (Although if there are opportunities to ask, “Hey, is there a different way you’d like me to do X?” it might draw out of her whatever’s going on … but it also might not.)
2. Should I really send my resume to the brother of a coworker of my mother-in-law?
I recently applied for a librarian position at a local university, which I casually mentioned to my in-laws over Christmas dinner. Yesterday, I received a text from my mother-in-law, asking me to email my resume to Jane (one of her coworkers), who will then forward my resume to Jane’s brother, Bob, who works in a department at the university completely unrelated to the library or the department for whom the librarian would be a liaison. I wrote a great resume and cover letter – shouldn’t that be enough? However, my husband, like my mother-in-law, thinks that it’s “worth a try” to send my resume off to Bob via Jane in the hopes that it might possibly be of some assistance. To me, it just feels weird and pointless. What do you think?
Also, about 7 years ago, I worked on a grant for the department the librarian would liaising for. My former boss is now the associate dean for that department. If I wanted to reach out to her, would it be appropriate, and if so, what do I say?
It’s possible that Bob has zero pull and sending your materials to him would be pointless, but it’s also possible that Bob has lots of standing with the hiring manager and a note from him saying “you should take a look at this candidate” would get you extra attention. For all we know, Bob mentors the hiring manager or plays soccer with him or used to job-share with him. Who knows, but there’s really no harm in doing it, and potentially something to gain. I’d do it.
As for your former boss who’s now the associate dean for the department you’re applying in, yes, definitely reach out to her. Attach a copy of your resume and cover letter and say, “I wanted to let you know that I applied for this opening in your department and would love to talk with you or (hiring manager) if it seems like it might be the right fit!”
3. Do I have any shot at this job?
Last summer, I got to the final round of interviews for a slightly-above-entry-level marketing job at a major university. I was ultimately rejected for that job, but after I asked the hiring manager (let’s call him John) for feedback, he replied with a very pleasant note, saying that I was a very strong candidate but that they decided to go with another applicant who had a more experience in higher ed. He encouraged me to keep an eye out for future openings.
Cut to today, months later. I received an email from John’s boss, who I also met during the interview phase. He said that John was leaving his position, and that he remembered enjoying meeting me when I interviewed over the summer. He encouraged me to apply for John’s newly open position.
While I am happy that he remembers me, I am wondering if I realistically have a shot. I was rejected for that junior role specifically because I didn’t have enough experience. I can’t say that much has happened in the intervening time to make me a stronger fit for the old role, much less this new, more senior one. I suppose I have nothing to lose by sending in my resume and cover letter, but I am kind of dreading the idea of going in for a lengthy interview process for a job I’m unlikely to get. That said, if I did get this job, it would be a colossal step forward in my career. Should I throw my hat in the ring?
If you don’t have much of a shot, you’re unlikely to get sucked into a lengthy interview process. By definition, if you’re far away from what they need, they’re going to realize that pretty quickly and not invest that kind of time.
Also, the fact that you were rejected for the more junior role because you didn’t have enough experience doesn’t actually mean that you can’t be the right fit for this role. It’s possible that you did have a reasonable amount of experience for that role but someone else just had more. It’s also possible that the senior role requires experience in different things, and that you have that. Or even that they simply liked you and are willing to see if they could make this position work.
You have nothing to lose here, other than the amount of time it will take to apply. You should do it.
4. Hiring manager from previous interview is the new manager at another position I’m applying to
I interviewed for a position a few months ago, but after several rounds of meetings and a promising outcome, the hiring process for the position stopped. The hiring manager I was meeting with had resigned, so the company was no able to go forward with a hiring more junior position when the senior position needed to be filled.
Fast forward a few months, and a new opportunity has come up for a position at another company that I am very interested in working for. After researching on LinkedIn, I see that the hiring manager at this company is the old manager who I had been meeting with at the previous company who had left!
I am wondering how to approach this situation since we’ve already met and she has interviewed me for essentially the same role, but in a competing company. Do I write to her directly or go through the normal application process? If I get called in for an interview, do I simply laugh it off as coincidence or should I let her know I was aware of the change in her employment and an excited to meet again?
Apply through the normal application process, but then send her an email letting you know that you did. I’d say something like this: “Jane, I just saw that you’re the new teapots director at Teapots Inc. — congratulations on the new role! I really enjoyed our conversations about the teapot analyst role at Tea World before you left, and I thought I should drop you a note to let you know that I’ve applied for the teapots coordinator position with Teapots Inc. (I applied through your website, but I’m also attaching my materials here in case that’s helpful). I’d love to talk with you if you think it might be the right match.”
Definitely don’t just pretend you don’t know. It’s possible that her prior conversations with you will give you a leg up, or that she can save you some time if she knows it’s not the right fit.
5. Am I supposed to reply to this thank-you note from an SVP at my company?
I am a trainer at a call center. I recently received recognition for being a high performer, and the senior vice president sent me a thank-you note, including his business card. I appreciate the note, but I don’t know whether I’m expected to do anything with the business card. Should I contact him in some way or is sending business cards just something executives do? I’ve never met him in person.
It’s pretty common for people to slip a business card into communications like that, to provide their contact information. It doesn’t mean you’re expected to contact them; it’s more “here’s my info in case you ever need it.” That said, it would be gracious for you to send him a quick email letting him know how much you appreciated his note.