It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. New manager said I’m young and untrustworthy and can’t talk about wages
In the last few months, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with our new manager. When she first started working in our restaurant with no previous experience in food, she immediately tried to rearrange everything. I understand her need to be in control, and I can deal with that. But within the first week, I asked my coworker if he had a phone cord as my phone was dying and I needed to call for a ride home. She overheard and went across the street to purchase a $40 phone cord for me, which made me personally uncomfortable as I didn’t ask for it and wouldn’t be using it more than once, so I didn’t understand why should would do it.
More recently, I discovered new hires were making more than me and after talking with two coworkers about it, I asked her for a raise, as I’ve worked there for nearly two years. She brought me into her office and gave me an hour long talk about how she thought I was too young, untrustworthy, and unthankful for her buying a phone cord for me when she had first started. She announced I would no longer be considered for a lead position, and on top of that, told me I could and would be fired if I talked about wages with my coworkers again.
Am I allowed to file some sort of complaint about this? Before she started my record was spotless and my performance reviews were spotless, but she seems to have developed a grudge against me and constantly goes out of her way to mark me down and discredit me in front of her higher-ups.
Your new manager sucks. There’s no such thing as “too young” for a raise, you can’t substitute a phone cord (unwanted, no less) for a raise, and telling you that you’re now unpromotable because of this is the final nail in her “terrible manager” coffin.
Oh, wait, no, it’s not. The final nail is her illegally telling you that you’d be fired if you discuss wages with your coworkers. The National Labor Relations Act says that employers can’t prevent employees from discussing wages among themselves. You could indeed file a complaint over this — but I’d also be job searching, because she’s not going to get any better.
2. My coworker is angry that I won’t cut my hours so she can have more
I work in an overnight health care situation with another worker. Unfortunately, the company indicated that we had to go down to only one overnight worker. Since I have seniority, they asked what I wanted to do. After thinking about it, I chose to only work three nights a week instead of four, so that the other employee could at least get two overnights into her schedule.
She came to me and asked if I would consider only working two nights every other week so that the hours would be fair. Our manager gave her the day shift, so in the end she actually ended up with 31 hours a week, with me at 33. I told her I would not give her any of my hours and explained that if I had kept my normal schedule, she would have lost an additional 11 hours a week, but because I didn’t want to do that to her I told management that I would only work three days a week instead of four. There are daytime hours available one weekend a month, which I’m taking advantage of to try and make up for the 11 hours a week I’m losing.
Along with the hours problem, my coworker is angry because I was told first about the cut in hours and didn’t inform her prior to management doing so. But my company had told me that if other employees found out prior to management discussing the cut in hours, I would lose my job at this particular house. My coworker is no longer speaking to me because of this. I’m heartbroken because I chose to take fewer hours so that she could have more per week, but because I’m not offering even more she has chosen to not speak to me. I feel like I can’t win for losing.
Your coworker is being really unfair to you. You did her a favor to try to give her more hours — at a cost to yourself — and she’s not only not acknowledging that, but pressuring you to take an additional loss and giving you crap for following formal instructions from your job not to disclose information that was confidential at the time. She’s the one in the wrong here.
You haven’t done anything wrong, and you did more than many people would do to try to help her out. If you haven’t clearly spelled it out for her yet, I would say this to her: “I actually took a cut to my hours so that you would have more. I can’t cut them further, but I did that because I wanted to help you.”
From there, it’s really up to her to decide whether to handle this reasonably or not. There’s not much else you can do on your end — but please do take comfort in knowing that you tried to do a nice thing here.
3. Hired, trained, and then no contact
I was recently hired as a freelancer for a company shortly before Christmas. They had me come in and fill out all kinds of papers and I was offered healthcare and given a pass card. I then worked for two days (at someone else’s desk – they were away that week) and got good feedback. Because it was the holidays, I was told (not by the hiring manager, but the person giving me assignments) to take the next few weeks off because the other employees and clients were away.
Fast forward to the Monday after New Year’s Day, my supposed return date. I go into the office — the pass key did work. The person whose desk I was using was obviously back. The hiring manager – once aware of my presence – was perplexed as to why I was there. I told him what I explained above. He then stated that they didn’t have enough work yet because everyone was just getting back from holiday and it would take time for things to pile up. He assured me that I was still on board but to wait for his call.
It’s been a week and a half since. I do not want to make calls pestering him about what’s going on because I think it will affect the situation negatively but I am concerned. When I was hired, I was under the impression that it would be steady work. In fact, I thought it was temp-to-hire. How would you read into a situation like this?
Did he give you any kind of timeline to expect? If not, I’it’s reasonable to email him now and ask if he can give you a sense of when he’s likely to be ready to start. You could say something like this: “I’m planning out my own schedule for the next month or so and want to make sure that I’m not overlapping with when you’ll need me. Do you have a sense of when you’re likely to want me to return?”
But unless it’s something both firm and soon (like “next Monday”), I’d keep job searching for now. That doesn’t mean that this job won’t eventually come through — I actually think there’s still a good likelihood that it will — but right now it’s too shaky for comfort, and you don’t have enough insider information to evaluate why. They should proactively give you that information (like “our client work always kicks into high gear in late January and we’ll definitely bring you in then”), but since they’re not, the safest course of action for you is not to keep all your eggs in this basket. I know that’s frustrating.
4. I can’t find out the recruiter’s name
I am applying to a position with a small/medium non-profit and wanted to find out the name of the recruiter to whom I should address the cover letter. I’ve done some research and identified the name of the would-be manager in the role (unless there are internal changes expected).
They will surely be involved in the process but will likely not be the only (or maybe even first) person doing the recruiting. Should I address the letter to that person or just go for a generic “recruitment manager.” HR is unwilling to share with me.
No one cares — seriously. Don’t spend any energy thinking about it. Address it to the hiring manager since you know that person’s name — but if you didn’t, “dear hiring manager” would be totally fine. (In case I’m confusing you, “hiring manager” and “recruitment manager” are two different things; “hiring manager” is the person who will manage you once hired. That’s really who you’re writing to, not that it’s a big deal either way.)
Plus, in a small nonprofit, there probably isn’t a recruiter anyway; small nonprofits — depending on how small we’re talking — don’t generally even have dedicated HR people (but rather someone who handles HR on top of other work).
5. Listing an upcoming book publication on my resume
I am pretty happily situated in my current job (thanks, in large part, to your advice!), but I’ve also recently signed a publishing contract (novel-length fiction), and I’m interested in how you’d go about listing this on a resume, especially considering that long production limbo before the book actually hits shelves. I have an MFA in writing, and I’d love to eventually move to a field that’s more writing-centric. Your thoughts would be great.
It’s still very early in the process and I haven’t yet been given a production timeline, so I can only guess at the date of publication. Thus, my closest inclination would be to list it as:
NOVEL TITLE, forthcoming from Winterfell Press, an imprint of Westeros Press
I think that’s perfect! The key here is that you indicate there’s a publisher on board. If you were still shopping it around, I wouldn’t list it — but now that it’s under contract and a definite thing, this makes sense.