It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Manager asked about religion when I asked to take a day off
My workplace has an unfortunately named paid time off day called “Religious Day.” It’s essentially a personal day that’s granted when someone is hired, without the need for accrual. Besides the name, the staff handbook does not specify what this day is to be used for. If you’re not religious, it seems like just another day of paid time off similar to a personal day.
I requested my religious day and my manager’s response over email was, “what are you celebrating?” I did not reply. I had to speak with them on the phone regarding something else, when they brought this up again. I told them it is my birthday, to which they replied, “I think it’s inappropriate to use a religious day for a non-religious purpose.” They said they were going to HR. I don’t know anything more about the conversation with HR, but the day was subsequently approved.
I am curious about this. Am I on solid ground here? I think I am free to use the day as I choose (subject to work coverage) and my manager shouldn’t be probing into my religion.
It sounds like your HR department agreed with you, as they should have since the way your manager wanted to handle this is coming awfully close to discriminating on the basis of religion, which is illegal. After all, if you aren’t religious and so have no “legitimate” use for the day and thus can’t take it, your company would be illegally favoring religious employees over non-religious employees. Your manager was out of line.
2. My office is gossiping about how much time a married male coworker is spending with a new female hire
I have a peer named Fergus, who has been seen around the office talking quietly with a new, young female coworker (Felicity). Fergus is a manager in our office and is married to someone we all used to work with. People are starting to notice and talk about how much time Fergus and Felicity are spending together. Felicity doesn’t do the same job as us, but it is possible he is mentoring her in some way.
I have already decided that I am not going to say anything to him about how this relationship is starting to look. I am not a super close friend. But one of my close friends is his direct manager. She has been hearing a lot of people mention how much time they spend together and is wondering if she should say something to him. And if so, how should she approach it? My friend’s main concern is he doesn’t realize how bad it looks and that people close to his wife are taking notice. I offered to post the question to you.
I’d rather see you and his manager shut this down when you hear it come up, by telling people to stop gossiping and pointing out that they could do real damage to Fergus’s and Felicity’s reputations and to Fergus’s marriage, without having any real grounds for it. Seeing them spending a lot of time together talking quietly isn’t a damning sign of an affair, and it’s the sort of thing that probably wouldn’t raise eyebrows at all if they were both men or both women.
That said, if the gossip is getting intense, then his manager might be doing him a favor by mentioning it to him. Her message shouldn’t be “you need to shut this down” or “this looks inappropriate,” but more “hey, I felt weird knowing that people are talking about this and not passing it on to you in case it becomes more of an issue.”
3. My new job was a scam
I was employed by a businessman through a website. I never met him because he was out of state. He needed an assistant to help with his patients and such. No biggie, right? He began texting me asking when I was available to start my first task and I told him. He told me that he sent a paycheck. It shocked me because I had not even done a single assignment so I was confused. It came within a day through express mailing. In the package was a check for $2,400! I began to get nervous and he told me to deposit it because I’d have to send a part of that money to a client. So I did, although I had a bad feeling about it. With such a large deposit, only $200 was made available. He then gave me instructions to go to a Money Gram nearby my neighborhood and told me to send out $180 to a client in Georgia. While the check was going through the processes of being checked by my bank, he kept bugging me about it even though I told him I would let him know when it was available. After going through all that, I quit the job through text and told him that I would send all the money back to him when it’s available. I felt really uncomfortable with the tasks he was giving me.
Soon after, I got an email that the check was declined and I told him. My bank account dropped down to a negative of $155 because the $200 I took out was now taken out of my own money. I told him that he needs to pay me back, but he did not respond. I have all the documents of the transaction that was made — a copy of the check and all the receipts. What should I do?
So … this is a really common scam — they send you a large check and ask you to deposit it and then send part of that money somewhere else. Then the check bounces and you’re out the money you sent.
You should report it to your bank and file a police report, but that money may be gone for good, I’m sorry to say.
4. Should I write my own LinkedIn recommendations for other people to post about me?
I’m in Russia, where it is 99.99% expected that you are going to write your own recommendation letters for other people to just sign.
How would it reflect on me to have LinkedIn recommendations from people I didn’t directly report to? Not just random people, I’m talking CFO, SEO, deputy COO. The problem is, I can’t ask them to write recommendations (they are very busy) and would have to do it myself on their behalf. But I also can’t write so many truthful and normal-sounding recommendations (without BS like “great team player,” ” dedicated over-achiever,” etc.) without them being short and kinda samey (“he is great and smart and helpful”).
Is this a good idea at all? Or is this a good idea but I should make recommendations more detail-specific? I’m hesitant to do that because I don’t think that’s how humans would talk when recommending someone, so it would feel weird and obvious that they didn’t write the text themselves.
I wouldn’t, for a couple of reasons. First, recommendations are much more effective when they’re specific and don’t all sound alike. Second — and probably more importantly — it’s just not worth putting a lot of energy into LinkedIn recommendations because most hiring managers don’t put much weight on them. That’s partly because they’re public (so obviously no one is going to say something critical about you there), partly because they’re so off done as write-for-me-and-I’ll-write-one-for-you trades, and partly because the value of a reference lies in being able to ask specific, targeted questions and not just reading a pre-written statement.
5. Short-term jobs on a resume
I have a couple of short-term positions on my resume, and I’m wondering how to best indicate that these were term positions and that I’m not a job hopper and wasn’t let go. They’re extremely relevant to the work I want to continue doing and one is fairly prestigious, so leaving them off isn’t a good option.
As long as you make it clear that these were intended from the start to be short-term, you won’t look like a job hopper. You can do that like this:
* Teapot Coordinator (short-term contract)
* Teapot Mender (temporary)
* Teapot Assistant (internship)