It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Acting supervisor gave me grief about teleworking during blizzard
I live/work just outside the D.C. metro, which spent this past week expecting a huge blizzard to start sometime on Friday. My supervisor has been out for the week, so I requested telework for Friday from my “acting” supervisor (a team lead, but not my team lead). He chided me for asking for the entire day (the storm wasn’t supposed to start until the afternoon), a message that I believe my supervisor wouldn’t have sent me.
I spoke to my team lead, and he said I should stay home if I’m worried (my neighborhood rarely sees plows, and we’re in an area that the storm was supposed to hit early). So, I think I’m okay. My question is, should I tell my supervisor about the other team lead chiding me? I think he would like to talk to the team lead so that their messaging about winter weather can be consistent, but I’m concerned it would look like tattling.
If it’s relevant, neither of the two team leads nor my supervisor were in those positions last winter (we had a rough summer), so this is the first major winter event for them (together and individually) in management.
Yes, tell her. It’s not tattling (a concept that doesn’t really apply at work most of the time anyway — more on that here); it’s helping her make sure that things are working the way she wants when she’s not there. You can frame it as “I thought what Fergus told me was out of sync with what I suspect you would have told me. It’s no big deal — it worked out fine — but if I’m right about that, I figured I should mention it to you so in case you want to get everyone aligned about how you want this kind of thing handled in the future.”
2. Coworker sings and talks while we’re in the bathroom
One of my coworkers sings while using the restroom and occasionally tries to engage me in conversation while she’s doing her business or I’m doing mine. It seems silly, but it makes me very uncomfortable. I’m too embarrassed to ask her to stop and it seems like a ridiculous thing to bring to HR. Help?
Let the singing go; it’s not a big enough deal to get into with her. (It would be different if she were doing it in your work area and preventing you from focusing, but I’m assuming focus isn’t so much of an issue in the bathroom — or that if it is, you can wait her out.)
But if she tries to talk to you while you’re both in bathroom stalls, you can say “Sorry, I have trouble hearing in here” or “This isn’t a good time” or “I’m pretending I’m alone in here, Jane” or whatever you’re comfortable with. (And yeah, definitely don’t take it to HR.)
3. How should my resume handle seven months of leave to play professional sports?
I have worked in sciences for my state government for four years. In August, I took unpaid leave in order to play sports professionally in a European league (my bosses are very supportive of my sporting endeavours, and I play for my country in international competitions). I’ll be back in the office in April and plan on applying for other jobs within the department within the next 6-12 months. How should I list my job and leave on my resume?
I’m looking for roles geared more towards training and development. In past interviews, I have had a lot of interest in my sporting career and how it relates to working in teams, leadership, self-management and so on, so should I make a note of it?
Right now, I simply have the previous role as:
Job, Department, 2011-present
I think it’s fine to list it that way; I don’t think you need to call out the seven months away, just like you wouldn’t need to note if you were on maternity leave for part of that time. Then you can list the sports league separately, possibly in a section titled Other or wherever else it might fit.
4. Explaining a four-year gap due to visa issues
I taught high school for five years in Canada before relocating to the US in 2011 with my husband (also a Canadian citizen) while he completed his medical residency. Due to the type of visa he was on, I was only able to obtain a spouse visa, meaning I was unable to work during that time (I was no even able to obtain a SSN). It is a long, complicated process but we are in the midst of getting our green cards. In the meantime, I have (finally) received work authorization (even though our green card application is still pending). This is the short and not-at-all-comprehensive explanation.
Complicating matters is the fact that I don’t intend to return to teaching (another long story – the short-ish version is that I have a teaching license in my old state but our current state will not recognize it and the process to get my license here is absurd).
I am now able to apply for jobs but am struggling with how to address the four-year employment gap. I spent those four years volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House (and include that on my resume – I was highly involved, just unpaid). Even though I am fully authorized to work now, I fear any mention of previous visa issues, resolved or not, will give prospective employers pause. Moreover, it’s not an issue that can be explained briefly, especially in a cover letter. How would you advise me to handle this?
Play up the volunteering, especially if it was anything close to full-time. But it really should be okay to simply say, “I needed to wait until I had legal work authorization, and now I do.” I don’t think that’s going to give employers pause — it makes it clear that you waited until things were settled, and now they are. Seriously, people will get that.
5. Tracking down a networking connection who changed jobs
A few months ago, I had a networking call with a manager at an office where I’d love to work one day. It went well, and he told me that if he spotted any job opportunities where he works, he would send them my way. (They’re very rarely posted online, and new opportunities are mainly found through word of mouth.) Recently, I sent him a quick email to check if he’d heard of anything, but it bounced back—presumably because he’s moved on to other opportunities.
I’d like to stay in touch with him, if possible, but only have his (now former) work e-mail. It’s also possible that an opportunity has opened up in this office with his departure, but because I don’t have a way to contact him, I have no way of knowing.
The person who put us in contact was another networking connection. My question is, would it be odd to ask them if they have another contact e-mail for him? Is there another way to keep in touch that I’m not thinking of? Or should I just let this one go?
I’d first try LinkedIn, which is made for this kind of situation. But if you can’t find him there, it should be absolutely fine to ask your original contact for an updated email for the guy — since the contact put you in touch in the first place, I doubt she’d be hesitant to help you reconnect.