It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Explaining urgent bathroom runs post-cancer
I had advanced colon cancer a few years ago with aggressive treatment–surgery, radiation, chemo. I’m lucky to be alive and I’ve been pretty upfront about my experience.
My problem is that all this treatment resulted in some problems which are embarrassing in the workplace. I now have occasional bouts of IBS-like diarrhea, which comes on with little warning. I also have problems with — how can I say this? — pretty awful flatulence. It doesn’t happen often and I try to get away and stay away from people when it does, but I can’t always and I am sure people notice.
I am now at a new job and wondering if I should explain my occasional swift departures in the middle of a conversation. It does not happen often but it does happen enough that it’s noticeable. Folks here know about my cancer.
I think this is totally up to you and what you’re comfortable with. Personally, I think I’d probably find peace of mind in just telling people what’s up so that I don’t have to wonder about what they might be thinking. You don’t need to be super explicit about it, but would just say to a couple of people you have particular rapport with, “A side effect of my surgery is that I occasionally may have to quickly dash to the bathroom. If I run off while we’re talking, it’s not you.” I’d figure/hope that would be enough information for them to also put two and two together about the flatulence too.
Congratulations on beating cancer!
2. Should we put windows in our office doors?
We’re designing a new office area for our small business, and trying to find out if we need to put windows in each office (door) for one-on-one meetings. We’re trying to balance privacy with accountability. Are there any guidelines to follow?
That’s really up to you; there’s no one best practice. But I’d recommend not using “we can see you at all times” as the way to have accountability. Accountability should really come from managing people well, paying attention to their productivity and their results, and hiring professional adults who aren’t going to abuse the privacy of an office.
3. Temp agency won’t get back to me
Currently I am seeking employment and am using an agency that initially sent me to interviews for temporary or temp to perm positions. We have a professional relationship and have shared a few laughs, so the relationship isn’t adversarial. Every week I email her my availability. My calls are not returned. For the past two months, I’ve heard absolutely nothing, even though there have been positions posted on their website and job boards for positions I am qualified for.
What is the most polite email I could send to this agent to (1) assist me, or (2) TELL me she isn’t going to? I’d like to call her on her rude and unprofessional behavior, but I need her assistance. The “no answer means no” new communications style is just rude and lazy.
It’s rude, but it’s also really common with temp agencies, which are dealing with large volumes of applicants. What this person has conveyed to you is that she’s only going to get in touch with you if she has a position to talk to you about; otherwise, assume you won’t hear from her. It’s going to be better for your quality of life to simply accept that, since there’s really nothing you can do to force her to operate differently.
That said, the fact that they originally sent you on interviews and have since stopped may be significant. Is it possible that something about those interviews made them not want to keep sending you out? A good agency would give you feedback if that were the case, but not all do; some just stop calling. On the other hand, it’s also possible that you didn’t do anything wrong and after failing to place you a few times, they just turned to newer candidates.
4. Am I applying for too many jobs at this employer?
I have a feeling the answer to my question might be “if you have to ask, it’s too many,” but am hoping otherwise. I’m looking for staff positions in academia in a college town. I currently work at a private university, but for financial, reputation, and commute reasons, I would love to work at a very distinguished university that’s also in my city. It’s a huge employer and often promotes from within, meaning that getting a foot in the door is difficult.
I’ve been applying to singular jobs at this distinguished university since last May, but am unsure how many jobs I should be able to apply to and how quickly. Since last May, I’ve applied to nine individual positions at this university, all jobs I would be qualified to do, and have had phone interviews for two of those positions. Is this too many? Not enough? Knowing that these jobs all feed through any number of HR personnel, I don’t know whether I should apply to anything that interests me, or only the top 5%, or somewhere in between. Do I cap it at some arbitrary number of applications per month? I feel like I’m way overthinking this, but I have a horror scenario of being blacklisted by their HR department for applying to too many jobs.
You should be fine, as long as everything you’re applying for is a strong fit for your experience and you’re not applying for jobs that are wildly different. But make sure you’re really being discriminating about that; don’t let your zeal to work there prompt you to apply for everything you’re remotely qualified for.
When this becomes a problem is when (a) you’re applying to lots of really different things, which makes you look unfocused (since hiring managers want to hire someone who wants this particular job, not just any job they can get, or (b) when you’re doing it at a smaller organization (which is going to have fewer jobs advertised anyway). At a large employer, it’s much less likely to be an issue.
5. Can my employer revoke my bonus after a direct deposit into my bank account?
Can my employer revoke my bonuses after they’re deposited into my account if I put in my notice soon after? This will really help me figure out notice timing!
They shouldn’t — once earned, that money is yours — but it is possible for an employer to revoke a direct deposit (within a limited period of time — I believe it’s five days, but you’d want to verify that with your bank) and take that money back. Generally they can only do this to correct mistakes (such as if they accidentally overpaid you); they couldn’t do it to, say, recover money for property of theirs that you took on your way out the door. But theoretically, an unscrupulous company could say that the bonus was a mistaken payment, and then you’d have a mess on your hands.
If you want to be really safe, wait until a couple of weeks have gone by, or transfer most of the money in that account to an account at a different bank.