It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. I was offered my boss’s job, but now she says she’s not leaving
About two months ago, senior management took me aside to let me know that my boss would be leaving the company in a few months and that they wanted me to take her position. It would be a huge bump in salary and responsibility, and a position that is rarely vacant, so I enthusiastically said yes.
Since then. I have been shadowing my boss, attending trainings, having regular meetings with leadership, and sitting on hiring panels in preparation for my new role.
Today, my boss abruptly told me she wasn’t leaving after all so I’m not getting her job, sorry. I’m dumbfounded. She said this literally as she was getting on an elevator so I had no chance to follow up. What do I say on Monday? I feel like sending out resumes right now!
I’d say this to her: “I wanted to follow up your mention on Friday about your plans. We didn’t a get a chance to talk much, so I was hoping you could tell me more about what’s going on.” If she continues to be brusque (and “you’re not getting my job, sorry” certainly qualifies as that), I’d just say, “Okay, thanks for letting me know” and then go talk with whoever offered you the promotion earlier. To them, say this: “Jane has told me that she’s not resigning and that the plans for me moving into her position are off, but she hasn’t told me anything more than that. I was hoping you might be able to talk more with me about what this means.”
They owe you a fuller explanation than what you’ve received so far. Because of the work they’ve been having you do these last few months, they owe you some information about what changed and why (not necessarily micro-details, but at least the gist of the situation) and some discussion about what that means for you and your future there. (The latter might just be “you stay in the job you’re at,” but ideally they’d recognize that this sucks and would talk to you about other paths to development and promotion.)
2. Resigning employee is slacking off during his notice period
An employee of mine put in his two weeks’ notice a week ago. During that conversation, I outlined the tasks for his remaining time, and checked in with him again on the Monday after that conversation. However, for the past week, he has been coming in late, leaving early, and from what I can tell, not completing the tasks we discussed.
I had a conversation at the end of the week with him about my concerns (that he wasn’t completing the tasks and putting in a full 40 hours) and he responded that it was his prerogative to adjust his own hours and that he still had a week to complete the tasks. While the company is flexible with work hours, it’s still expected that people regularly come in for a full eight hours. As for the tasks, a few of them are ongoing and would easily fill his remaining two weeks. After our conversation, I’m feeling very powerless in this situation, and would prefer at this point that he simply not return to work.
While it may be too late to salvage his last week, how do I handle this now, or with future employees who put in two weeks’ notice?
I’d say this to him: “While you’re still working here, we need you to meeting the same standards as before you gave notice. If you’re not up for that, would you prefer to simply make today your last day?” (Say this in a collaborative tone, not a threatening one.) If he says yes but doesn’t change what he’s been doing, it’s your prerogative to intervene and say, “Hey, it seems like we have really different expectations of what these last two weeks should look like, so I think it would be best to wrap things up now.”
Keep in mind that if you do that, he’s going to leave pissed off (which you might be fine with — he’s clearly not too invested in making a great impression on you). Depending on details I don’t have, it might make more sense to just roll your eyes, accept that this guy sucks, know that he’s blown his reference, and just get through the remaining time in his notice period without getting into it with him and be glad when he’s gone.
3. Recruiter is making it hard for me to negotiate salary
About five weeks ago, I was contacted by an outside recruiter regarding a position across the country, in my current field but at a much larger organization and in a narrower (probably less stressful) role. There were phone interviews with the outside recruiter, the internal HR guy, and the hiring manager, and then a day on-site of serial interviews with eight different people.
Initially, I’d provided a target salary range to the recruiter and HR guy, but I qualified that I’d need to look into cost of living. In later conversations, I let the recruiter know that the top of my initial range was where I would need to start in order to break even. In my final interview with the hiring manager, she asked about salary for the first time, and I told her what I’d told HR, and that I was preferably looking for a little above the top of my range. She said she thought she could get me the top of the range, maybe higher depending on how I did with her boss.
I received an offer via the recruiter the other day, but it came in lower than the low end of my initial range, and he indicated HR had suggested they did not have room to move. I really want to go to work for this company, but they’re in an area with much higher housing costs as well as state income tax, and the accepting base salary offered would in effect feel like I was making a little less than I am now. It might still be worth it, but I feel I’m worth more, and I’d like to ask the employer for it.
I asked the recruiter to negotiate on my behalf, but he said our only options are to accept the offer, or to decline it outright but say that I’d accept at the top end of my initial range (or some higher number, if we wanted to leave room for negotiation). I’d prefer not to jeopardize the offer by completely walking away, and to have a final chance to accept the low number. I’ve been considering emailing the hiring manager and asking if she’s open to a conversation, so I can let her know how excited I am about the job but that I’d like the higher salary she thought she could get me–but I don’t want to irreparably offend HR and the recruiter.
This is tricky, because the recruiter might be absolutely right about how to proceed (based on his knowledge of the company and the hiring manager) and both he and the hiring manager could be irked if you try to go around the recruiter, or the recruiter might be totally off-base. If nothing else, though, I’d push the recruiter to accurately represent your position — which isn’t one of the limited options he suggested (reject or accept only if $X) but rather a very normal “let’s talk about the salary” stance.
Any chance you have other questions for the hiring manager? People often do have the sorts of questions that really need to be answered by the hiring manager directly, and one option could be to arrange a conversation for those, and then end up covering salary during that discussion too.
4. Employer requires women to be escorted to their cars
My employer requires that female, and only female, employees have a male employee escort them to their car after their shift is over. I am a 40-year-old woman and have been threatened with being terminated for leaving without an escort who is younger than my own children. I am often times required to wait up to 45 minutes after my shift ends (and off the clock) before I’m allowed to go home. I would think it should be my choice when I could leave work after I am off duty. Please advise?
Whoa, no, that’s not legal. Your employer can’t discriminate by sex, which it’s doing in subjecting you to different rules than men, especially a rule that’s causing you to have to stay at work long (unpaid, no less!). Say this to your employer: “I don’t need an escort to my car, and I need to leave on time. Federal law prohibits us from treating women differently than men, and I know we don’t want to violate the law, so I’m leaving now.” If they push back, the EEOC might like to hear from you.
5. Using a professor as a reference
At what point should you stop using a college professor as a reference? In my case, I have used for several years a trusted mentor and former professor as a reference. I’m not looking for a new job anytime soon but when the time comes, at what point in your career/age does that become something that looks odd to a reference checker?
I find professor references pretty useless — I really want to talk to managers. You might have been a great student who made thoughtful contributions to class discussion and wrote insightful papers, but that doesn’t tell me much about what you’re like at work.
I can understand students or new grads including professors on their reference lists if they don’t have many other options, but as soon as you do have options, you should use those instead. (The exception to this might be if you work in academia, although I’m just guessing there.)