It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Confronting employees who violated the spirit of our office gift exchange
Every year, I coordinate either a white elephant or Secret Santa gift exchange for our small company. This year, we set a price range of “around $30” for those who wanted to participate.
A few of the gifts that were given this year were clearly not worth the provided price range. One of the gifts was a used item from the employee’s home (the recipient discovered this after the event ended). Do I (and if so, how) confront the employees who didn’t play in good spirit?
Don’t. These could be employees who wanted to participate but couldn’t afford to buy something for the set price range. If that’s the case, they’re likely to be humiliated and hurt if you talk to them about it. It’s of course possible that that’s not what happened and that these were just people greedily trying to get a gift without playing by the rules, but that’s not so imperative to address that it would be worth risking the first scenario.
This kind of thing just comes with the territory with office gift exchanges. Assume the most charitable explanation and let it go.
2. Sales team won’t tell us their schedules
I work for a company with close to 5000 employees, in a smaller branch that is not at corporate headquarters. I work in a very busy customer support department handling a high volume of incoming calls.
Our sales team is supposed to take requests for new accounts and pricing questions. My frustration is that the sales team does not have to provide their schedule to customer support, except for when they go on vacation. So, we do not know what time they are going to arrive, what time they are going to lunch, when they are going to come back. We have been asked not to set a time line for customers on when they will receive a call back from members of the sales team, and so many of us end up helping customers with the sales questions when we can, if time sensitive.
Is this a normal set-up between customer support and sales? It feels very dysfunctional to me and a bad experience for our customers.
I don’t think they necessarily need to provide that level of scheduling detail to you (that would be a real pain for many people, especially if they don’t have rigid schedules like that) in order to solve the problem. Instead of pushing that as the solution, why not talk to the sales team about the problem you’re experiencing — you have no way of knowing when customers will hear back, so you end up answering sales questions yourselves — and ask for them to help you figure out a better solution to it. You might end up hearing that they want you to tell everyone they’ll hear back by the end of the day, or the next day, or that they have some other solution that will work fine. Start by raising the issue and ask for their help in solving it, and see where that gets you.
3. Leaving work off my resume that I don’t want to do again
Is it okay to leave tasks off a resume that you don’t want to do anymore in the future? I work as an administrative assistant, but I’m thinking of changing fields/jobs in the next year or so. I’m doing quite a bit of accounting tasks now, but I never ever want to do that again. An das much as I keep saying that those things really aren’t something I’m good at or like to do, when managers see accounting experience they just assume I won’t really mind – I do.
I’m thinking of just leaving those off when I apply somewhere else, but I’m not sure that’s smart. It does say something about my attention to detail and thoroughness, but I intend to stay as far away from numbers and figures as possible if and when I change jobs. In short: should I include it and mention when asked that I don’t really like those tasks or should I just skip it all together?
If that work is only a small portion of what you do in your current job, then sure, leave it off. A resume is a marketing document, after all, and there’s no point in marketing yourself for work you don’t want to be doing.
But if it’s a major part of your job, it would be pretty strange to leave it off entirely. In that case, you’re better off getting really clear in the interview about whether the job contains accounting work — and raising it again when you get an offer, to make sure the hiring manager is fully on board with keeping accounting work off of your plate.
4. Employee keeps getting loans from coworkers and won’t pay them back
I am the HR manager at a trucking company. We have over 100 drivers on the road. I have one dispatcher who has borrowed money from several drivers and never pays them back. Recently it has gotten so bad that one of the drivers refused to continue hauling the load because the dispatcher had texted him that she was unable to pay him back. At that point, to keep business flowing, the company had to repay her loan!
Now that it is affecting business and continues to happen, can we fire this employee? It is really giving our company a bad name and making my life hell, as these drivers keep calling me wanting me to do something. I have seen the text messages she sends them.
You can absolutely tell her that she’s not allowed to continue asking coworkers for money, and fire her if she doesn’t comply. Hell, you could fire her right now without that warning if you want to (no law requires warning people before firing them), but you might want to do her the courtesy of letting her know that she’s jeopardizing her job first, since she may not have understood that this was something she could ever lose her job over. You’re not obligated to do that, certainly, and it might be that her relations with colleagues are now so bad that there’s no way to justify keeping her on, but it’s an option to consider. (It also might increase the chances that she’ll actually pay people back, since it will be much harder to do that without a job.)
But in answer to your direct question of whether you can fire her: Yes, you legally can.
5. Will working for my dad cause an issue in a background check?
After I graduated from university, I took a gap year off and went to travel and take classes that I wasn’t able to commit to when I was an undergrad. I also spent a hefty amount of time doing administrative work for my dad, who is in the process of retiring and selling his business. Now that the transition for his business is settling down, I’ve been actively seeking for job opportunities.
I listed my role at my dad’s business on my resume, and I also mentioned that the role was under my dad’s supervision during the interview. I made it clear that it wasn’t an official job, as my dad paid me back by sponsoring my travel expenses and also on my class tuition. I’m just a little worried that they may not find any supporting documents or proof of my employment if they were to do a background check on me, as my dad just paid for my travel expenses as compensation for the work I did and I obviously have no pay stubs.
While I’ve made it clear how things were while working for my dad, I’m still a little paranoid that they might not hire me if they can not find enough evidence about my employment. Is this something I should worry about? Should I remind my manager about my unofficial employment at my dad’s place when she asks me to sign an agreement for background checks?
I wouldn’t worry too much about this; you’ve already made it clear what the deal was. The only thing that could be an issue if if the background checker will be calling anyone other than your dad to verify that job. Does he have a staff and an assistant or an HR department that might take those calls? If so, it’ll be crucial to make sure that they’re in the loop so they don’t just say you didn’t work there. But if your dad is the only one who might get the call, that’s likely all the verification they’ll care about. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to remind the hiring manager about the arrangement when they kick off the background check process, just to make sure it hasn’t slipped her mind.