It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Employee takes a vacation day every week
I’m hoping you can tell me if there is anything that can be done about an employee who had admitted to taking one vacation day a week each month so that he is working only four days a week most months of the year! He has told me that this is exactly what he intends. He’s an exempt employee and receives a very good vacation package. The only time he doesn’t request a day off for a week is when we have a paid holiday (we have all the federal holidays off each year). This makes scheduling very difficult since public service points have to be staffed during all open hours. My supervisors say there is nothing to be done. But I wonder.
If you’re not his manager, there’s nothing you can do. But certainly if his manager objected, she could intervene — there’s no reason his manager couldn’t say, “Your job is intended to be a five-day-a-week job the majority of the time. It causes X and Y impacts when you’re regularly working an abbreviated week, so going forward, I need you to use your vacation time differently than you have been, so that most of the time we can count on you being here for the full week.”
2. The person who got the job I applied for told my current boss about it
Recently, I applied for a new job. Not because I don’t like where I work, but the business is going under; the owner has let us know it’s in huge trouble and she wants out from under. I have two children to support and need to start seeking a back-up plan.
Apparently the decision came down to two candidates and another woman got the job. Friday, she came into my place of employment (she used to work here years ago and is friends with the person up front). She announced to my current manager (her friend) and the owner that I applied and didn’t get the job, but she did. She revealed personal information I said in my interview along with numerous other issues bragging how she got the position, and I didn’t. I was livid and embarrassed but kept my mouth shut.
My current employer is wonderful and I feel terrible. I will talk to her Monday. This person completely violated my privacy and may have jeopardized my current position. Should I let this company that hired her know what she did? This is a small community and the dental field even smaller. I’m really angry and now fear for the job I have now. I’m trying to seek advice before I act!
She was totally out of line and you’re right to feel shocked at her behavior, and at the company that apparently relayed to her things that you said in your interview. I don’t think there’s much to be gained by complaining to the company that hired her, however.
The good news here is that your boss isn’t likely to be shocked that you were interviewing someone else, since she has clearly told you that the business is in trouble and she’s trying to get out. Most people would be job searching in your shoes, and your boss will hopefully understand that.
3. Can an employer record private conversations in our offices?
I know it is legal for employers to monitor employees’ computers and what their Internet activity is. However, I have just learned that our boss (and probably the IT guy) is also listening in our offices. Except for support staff, we all have private offices. The only way this could be done is through spyware installed and the microphones on our laptops. Is this legal? Is there a difference between random, ambient listening and recording? I always thought it was illegal to record someone without their knowledge and consent.
I am not sure how often this has happened or if it is something new, but it is also somehow not surprising. I have been planning to leave this job for over a year, and will be giving notice very soon, possibly tomorrow! There are a variety of issues with this very toxic office, and I am glad to be leaving after 13 long years. The reasons I have stayed so long don’t matter at this point, but, I am curious to hear your take on the listening.
It depends on your state, but mostly courts have ruled that employers can record at work because there’s little or no expectation of privacy in the workplace. And the Electronic Communications Privacy Act allows employers to install recording devices in any location used primarily for work, so that would exempt bathrooms and cafeterias, for example, but allow offices. (But some states, such as Connecticut, have stricter privacy laws that prohibit this, so you need to know your state.)
Typically, though, if an employer is recording at work, they’ll include a consent statement somewhere in that paperwork that you signed your first day of work and/or will include a policy allowing that kind of monitoring in their employee handbook.
4. Having lunch with the person whose job I got after she was fired
A few years ago, I started as an assistant to a small department. I ended up becoming decently good friends with B, the person in the role directly above mine in the hierarchy. Last year, B was asked to leave the company and I was promoted to her role. B handled her departure very professionally and, from what I could tell, on good terms with everyone in the department. At the time of her departure, B was not aware that I was to be her replacement. We haven’t been in touch since her last day at the office.
Which brings me to my question. After many months of job searching, B has recently found a new job in a slightly different area of our industry. In her new role, B and I will interact occasionally – a few emails here and there, and in-person meetings a few times a year, with the first meeting approaching imminently. On one hand, I am looking forward to seeing her again, as I always enjoyed our friendly, jokey rapport in the office. But at the same time, I worry that the events I described above are simply too uncomfortable to handle with anything other than the strictest professionalism. I assume that by now she’s figured out that I’ve taken over her former job (which she’d once told me was her dream job), and no matter how gracefully she handled her departure, on some level, she must feel some resentment towards a combination of me/my manager/the company. Do you have any advice for how to navigate our upcoming lunch meeting?
The best, most gracious thing that you can do is to act as if it’s not weird and she doesn’t resent it. If it’s not weird for her and she doesn’t resent it, it would be condescending to her to imply otherwise. And if it is weird for her and she does resent it, it will still make it easier on her if you don’t act like it’s a Big Awkward Thing to be tiptoed around. Act normal, and it’s likely to go fine.
(And really, if she does have resentment toward your company, it’s unlikely to be toward you personally. You didn’t scheme to push her out of the job so that you could have it, and she almost certainly knows that.)
5. Listing Airbnb hosting on a resume
What do you think about including shared economy activities on your resume/LinkedIn profile and bringing it up in interviews? My husband and I are hosts on Airbnb, which involves a lot of coordination, hospitality, scheduling, and business management/accounting (we receive a 1099 from Airbnb).
I’ve brought it up in an interview before as an example for handling a difficult situation after using another office example (they asked about how I would handle a participant arriving late/needing after-hours assistance and I had a perfect example from a guest arriving from out of the country/their flight being delayed).
It feels a little strange to bring up and I couldn’t gauge the reaction during my interview, but it’s also a large part of my life outside of work (we host (renting our basement room) about 75% of the time).
I wouldn’t include it on your resume; I think to many people, it will read as not quite resume-worthy. However, I don’t see anything wrong with mentioning it in an interview if it provides a relevant example of something they’re asking you to illustrate from your past experience.