It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. I constantly have to open the door for coworkers from another floor
Our office staff works behind a locked door, to protect customer information (we deal heavily with personal data and banking info in our sales process). The admin function all happens upstairs, away from customers, and only those of us who work upstairs have access. Before you hit the locked door, you pass several offices, including mine, which is closest to the door. Downstairs folk come up frequently to deal with issues and hand in paperwork, and have to be let in.
Since I moved into this office, I’ve been relegated to door-opener, and I’m losing my mind. If I’m not here, they knock on the door until someone opens it, but if I am, they typically stare at me until I get up and open the door for them. If I ignore them or tell them to knock, my boss, who is in the office next door, gets up and lets them in, and I feel guilty for him being interrupted.
What the heck do I do about this? I’m being interrupted probably 10-30 times a day to open a door, but it’s bad security to give the door code out to everyone in the building even though these people have legitimate reasons to go into the office. Sometimes I fake a phone call if I hear someone coming up the stairs, but even if my door is closed, often people knock on my window and gesture at the door. I also don’t want my boss to think I’m being unhelpful or lazy, but I’m going crazy.
Talk to your boss! It’s not unhelpful or lazy to say “this is regularly interrupting my work and impeding my focus”; your boss presumably wants you to be able to focus on the work you’re there to do.
That said, it sounds like a terrible system: people regularly need to get into a locked area but can’t have their own keys, and there’s no one whose job is specifically to deal with the interruptions. When you talk to your boss, it might be worth seeing if any of those factors can be changed. Is there an admin on your team who can be charged with opening the door (and maybe relocated to be closer to it)? Can the downstairs people sign out a key when they need one (with some sort of security attached to the check-out system)? Something else?
2. Was this bad interview experience a test?
I graduated in August and have been job hunting ever since. Even though I hadn’t applied there, I was contacted by an oil company that has a connection to my alma mater to come in for a general interview yesterday. Naturally the refinery is on the outskirts of the city, and it took me three and a half hours to get there, but I managed to be on time for my interview at 1 p.m. I waited for three and a half hours for the interview. One hour was allocated for an English exam that I had not been informed about (I live in a non-English-speaking country), but that still leaves two and half hours of just waiting in an empty conference room. As it is a safety hazard, we were not allowed to take our cellphones in with us and there was nothing to do or read while we waited. From the other candidates, I also found out that they had double booked each time slot.
I hadn’t had anything to eat other than a banana in the morning and I was fading when they were ready to see me at 4:30 p.m. As you can imagine, the interview went very poorly. It became obvious that they only called me because they saw the name of my alma mater on my resume and that they thought my master’s in a different but related field was just wasted time. I knew immidiately that they would not hire me, and indeed this morning they sent me an email telling me that.
I’m wondering if the waiting was a test or if they are just that bad at time management. This is supposed to be one of the best companies to work for in my country as a chemical engineer and in fact they are the only oil company we have. I really don’t want to believe they are this disrespectful and/or incompetent. I also can’t help but think they’re taking advantage of the bad job market because they know we really need the jobs so we won’t say anything. Do companies do this sort of thing on purpose?
It’s highly unlikely that the waiting was a test. It’s far more likely that they’re just inconsiderate of people’s time, or something went wrong in the scheduling, or some scheduling conflict came up at the last minute (like they planned to have four interviewers and two were out sick).
For what it’s worth, while they handled this poorly, that banana is on you — with a 1 p.m. interview, it’s reasonable to think you might be there much of the afternoon. Next time, eat beforehand!
3. Does being a guild leader count as management experience?
Many jobs ask for supervisory experience, such as leading a team, managing goals, etc. While I have no professional or volunteer experience in management, I do have unconventional experience. I am a big gamer, and one aspect of many games is guilds. As a guild leader, one is responsible for the behavior for the team, setting goals for each member, team building, interviewing and electing officials to help moderate the team and carry out various duties as asked, following up with members on a one to one basis to ensure goals are being met, and if not, what actions should be taken to help the team member and the guild grow as a team. In essence, being a guild leader in these games gives a lot of practical, real life experience.
Would it be acceptable to use this unconventional experience to apply for jobs, and if so, how would I fit it into a resume or application?
No. It’s totally possible that being a guild leader gives you more substantial management experience than I realize, but the majority of hiring managers are going to be like me — unfamiliar with it — and will think it shows a naivete about what managing actually involves.
4. Choosing between a job and a long vacation
Am I stupid for thinking about not taking a job because I would probably not be able to take a long vacation that was approved by my current manager?
This is my first corporate job out of college. I have been here almost three years and I like it. Best part: generous vacation day handling by my boss. He approved two months for this summer.
Recently, I was approached by another manager from another division. The job would be a step up the ladder, but I know from the nature of the job that taking so much time off (especially during summer – in the first couple of months of me being there) is not an option. Is there another alternative I don’t see yet?
If you’re sure the time off absolutely wouldn’t be okay, then the only other real option would be to see if you could wait to start until after the vacation (although your current boss might not be thrilled about you disappearing for two months and then disappearing for good, so that might not be workable either).
But sometimes people think something is impossible when it actually isn’t. It’s possible that the new manager wants to hire you enough that she’d be willing to okay that previously-scheduled vacation, and it might make sense to just tell her about the situation and see what she says. You’d want to be prepared for what to do if she says no (i.e., are you willing to lose the job offer over it, or would you rather cancel the vacation?) but — depending on the context, which unfortunately I don’t know — it might make sense to at least raise it. If you decide to, I’d say it like this: “I’m really excited about the possibility of this job. I have a weird situation, in that I’ve scheduled a trip for all of June and July and already bought tickets. I realize that might be prohibitive for this job, but wanted to check with you to see if there would be any way to make it work.”
5. Is this interview process really just a formality?
Recently we had an unexpected vacancy in our small department, when the full-time teapot clerk left. I am the part-time teapot clerk and have been there a year. Wen the full-time clerk left, my boss told me that HR would be contacted, and I would be given that full-time role because I was a great worker and deserved it. I have been working the full-time hours while waiting on word of the official promotion.
Several days ago, my boss comes up to me and says HR will not just let them put me in the position. They have to advertise and interview for it. I am really upset now. I have worked very hard to get this, and now there’s a chance I won’t get this great opportunity that would double my salary and allow me to have health insurance. Is this a normal thing to do?
I know you have to interview if you change jobs at a company, but this is the same job, just more hours! My boss says the interview process is just a formality, but I can’t help but worry they might find someone else. Should I trust them when they say it’s a formality, or should I start looking elsewhere? I love my job, but I don’t think I would be okay with it if someone else got the position.
It’s not uncommon for companies to want to advertise positions and conduct full hiring rounds instead of just moving a current employee into the role. Sometimes it’s because they want to make sure that they’re truly hiring the best person (in which case, no, this isn’t just a formality). Other times, they’re just following internal rules, but it really might be just a formality. I don’t know which it is. But your best bet is to understand that they have rules they need to follow and that those rules aren’t particularly outrageous, and just see how it plays out.
If you’ll really be too upset to stay if you don’t get the full-time position, then sure, start looking around. But you say you love your job, and it would suck if you left a job you love and ended up somewhere you don’t like as much. I’d rather see you try to change your mindset from “horrible injustice” to “it’s not ideal, but this stuff happens.”