It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…
1. Boss confiscates food gifts meant for others
We have outside acquaintances that we work with, who gift us with goodies to share amongst myself and staff members. However, my boss takes the goodies and hides them from us. When we bring it to her attention as to where they are, she tell us to get our own stuff (like the coffee pods) and that we don’t need to eat the sweets (her excuse-we’ve had plenty of goodies bestowed to us around the holidays). This is by far the most ludicrous and insane issue I’ve dealt with pertaining to my boss’s behavior, but I honestly I would like your opinion upon handling this matter.
Your boss is an ass — both in regard to the hiding stuff away so no one else can have it and in regard to telling you that you don’t need the sweets.
You could tell her as a group that she’s demoralizing your whole staff by taking gifts clearly meant for all of you. But if no one is willing to do that — or if you do it and she doesn’t care — then at that point, you’d need to accept that this what she does and it’s part of the package of working with her. (If you feel strongly that must do more, there are some other suggestions in the comments on this thread about dealing with a similar situation … but really, at that point, let it go.)
2. Applying for my old job at my old company
Several years ago, I had a job at Company A in City A. I was in that job for 2.5 years, and it was a terribly toxic environment but I absolutely loved the city I was in.
I ended up leaving Company A (on good terms) for a series of higher-responsibility jobs, all in different cities, but I found I really don’t care about moving up the ladder and I still really miss City A.
It’s been eight years since I left, and I see my old position is open again. I don’t love what I do, but I would gladly do it in order to get back to City A. The staff has turned over since my time there, so as far as I’m concerned it would be like a new position at a new company. How can I convey that in my cover letter?
I would strongly, strongly recommend that you not head back to a “terribly toxic” workplace. There are other jobs in City A — apply for those.
But if you’re committed to doing this, I’d apply, note in your cover letter that you worked there in X role during Y years, and then send a note to the hiring manager (the person you’d report to if you got the job) saying something like, “I applied through your online system, but since I worked in this role from 2006-2008, I thought I’d reach out to you directly as well.”
3. Can I hold people’s paychecks until they turn in their time sheets?
I’m a business owner, and we require all exempt (salaried) employees to track time. As an ad agency, it’s essential for client billing, profitability analysis, etc. However, very few keep up with it. Can I require time sheets be turned in on certain days, and if not, withhold pay for that pay period? Not dock them or penalize them, just require that time sheets be turned in before payroll can be processed? If they miss the deadline, they need to wait until the next pay period.
In practice, we’d be lenient…a three strike policy. I need some leverage because nagging isn’t working.
Nope. Assuming you’re in the U.S., your state law requires you to pay people within a certain amount of time after the work was performed; you can’t hold people’s checks.
Getting exempt employees to turn in time sheets on time is practically a universal struggle. If it’s super important to keep up with them, your best bet is to put their managers in charge of making it happen and holding them accountable for spot-checking that they’ve been filled out and following up with people when they haven’t been (including “you have to do this today before you leave,” which mostly will work when it’s the direct manager saying it).
But also, look for ways to make the process easier on people — you want them spending their time doing the work, not tracking their time, so while time-tracking can indeed be a must-do, the more you can make the process easy and efficient, the better for everyone.
4. How should I respond to this update from an employer?
I recently had an interview and I thought it went great. They even asked for me to take a personality assessment. They contacted me about a week later, saying they got the assessment and that my personality worked great for the position. They also stated that they are leaning towards a person who has more experience in that field, but that I’m still in the running. Should I try to come up with something to say on how I think I’m the best candidate for the position or should I just take it as they are letting me down slowly?
Well, you can’t really argue that you’re the best candidate for the position since (a) you don’t know what the rest of the candidate pool looks like and (b) that’s a call that only they can make. But it would be fine to say something like, “I really appreciate your candor about where you are in the process. If you do decide it makes sense to talk further, I’d love to.”
(I doubt they’re letting you down slowly. If they were ready to reject you, they could just reject you. I’d take it as face value — they think you’re promising, but someone else may be better, and they’ll keep you posted.)