It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My boss is livid that I don’t have experience I never claimed to have
I recently applied for a job that asked for experience in X, Y and Z. I have tons of experience in X and Y, but not much in Z. However, the job sounded interesting and the company would be great to work for, so I applied anyway. My cover letter and resume highlighted my experience and X and Y, and I really didn’t address Z at all. To my surprise and delight, I was brought in for an interview. The interviewer asked a lot about X and Y and nothing about Z. I must have done well in the interview because I was offered the job. Great, right? Well, no.
Turns out my new boss is livid I don’t have experience in Z. Livid to the point that I think I’m going to be fired. But, in my opinion it’s still workable: I’ve offered to go training and I’ve suggested adjusting workloads with colleagues so that they could do more of Z and I could do more of X and Y until I get up to speed. I don’t think it’s a deal breaker, but he’s the boss, I guess.
He’s pretty upset that I don’t have all the skills he’s looking for – and I get that if he had a vision for how his team would function, then this is not ideal – but he’s even suggesting that I shouldn’t have applied for a role that I wasn’t fully qualified for.
Now, I get that if I can’t do the job (even though I think there are ways around it), then he’ll have to fire me. But, did I actually do anything wrong in applying? I didn’t misrepresent myself, and HR never asked about this skill – so what do you think? Should I have passed from the beginning on throwing my hat into the competition?
What?! No, absolutely not. Your boss is the one who messed up here, by mismanaging his hiring process. If not having experience in Z was a deal-breaker, then he damn well needed to be sure to probe into Z during the interview process.
People apply for jobs all the time without having 100% of the qualifications in the ad. That’s completely and totally normal. You did nothing wrong. I suppose I could argue that it was in your best interest to ask about Z during the interview, to make sure that you felt it was a job you could thrive in … but that pales in comparison to your boss’s responsibility to find out if you had the skills and experience he needed before offering you the job.
2. My coworkers are always trying to feed me and I have an eating disorder
I recently started a new position (this is the end of my third week), and am incredibly uncomfortable with the office culture. It is a huge facility with 350 employees and I am the receptionist, so everyone knows me but I don’t know them. I have struggled with an eating disorder my whole life, and am currently in a bad place.
My performance is excellent, and I am complimented very often by owners and administration. However, my weight has noticeably plummeted in these three weeks alone (20-25 pounds). Everyone is always reminding me there is lunch (they provide lunch daily), bringing me treats, and then following up on if I enjoyed the food they brought me. I am not comfortable discussing food or eating in front of others.
I do not know how to handle this. I do not want to be rude and often lie about eating, but even the act of stating I enjoyed eating something (even if it’s a lie) is very embarrassing and uncomfortable for me. I am getting very anxious daily when this happens. I cannot directly tell these people my situation, because 1. I don’t want to and 2. There are SO MANY of them! How can I even begin to handle this without causing offense OR sharing my personal information?
Ugh, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. First and foremost, I do not have expertise in eating disorders, and I think you really, really need a professional helping here. I’m hoping you have a therapist since the eating disorder is ongoing, and this would be excellent thing to discuss with her, because ultimately we live in a world where people are pushy about food and you’ll want to have strategies for handling that. If you don’t currently have a therapist, please take this as the nudge to get one! That kind of weight loss in three weeks is a big deal.
From a workplace relationships angle, you could try shutting some of this down with “Thank you, but I try not to talk about food at work” or “it’s kind of you to check, but I’d rather not talk about food.” Or you could say, “I have a medical condition that impacts what I can eat, so I’d actually be grateful if you didn’t bring me food or check in on my eating — thanks for understanding.”
But again, a therapist who specializes in eating disorders is going to be key in getting you through this. Call, call, call today.
3. Employee always barges straight into my office
I recently hired a new employee, who is performing well but can be a bit pushy. Every time she has a question for me, she walks at a brisk pace through the hallway, straight into my office and to the corner of my desk (where my screen can clearly be seen), without pausing.
I feel like this is a bit of an invasion of my personal space as well as privacy, especially since my desk is situated so the side of it faces the door and someone approaching can quickly see my monitor. Moreover, I tend to get very focused so it is just a bit jarring.
Everyone else here is in the habit of pausing each other’s doorway and speaking from there before entering, or knocking on the open door before entering.
I am leaving this employer next month, so I know I could just ignore this for a bit and it will go away, but I want to hone my managerial skills as well as coach my direct report properly and not leave a problem for the next person. Is the best thing to do to just politely request that she pause at the door before entering my office due to privacy concerns on my screen, on the spot, next time it happens? Or would it really be better to just forget about it since I’m leaving so soon? Or, am I just being too sensitive?
Nope, you’re not being too sensitive at all. It’s a completely reasonable expectation to share with her. (You’re only being too sensitive if you’re frustrated that she’s doing it when you haven’t yet asked her not to.)
I’d say this: “Even when I have my door open, would you mind knocking before coming all the way in? I’m sometimes working on sensitive documents or otherwise focusing on something where it would be better not to break my focus at that exact moment. Thank you.”
4. How do I handle being on a city council on my resume?
I’m on a small nonpartisan city council and I’m wondering how I should handle it on my resume. It’s a very part-time job. I currently have it listed under a Community Involvement section and I emphasize the position in my cover letter if I feel like it’s relevant to the job I’m applying for.
While some managers seem impressed by it, I’m not sure if it might hurt me with other companies. I wouldn’t want to leave it off because a simple Google search would turn it up and I wouldn’t want to get hired at a company where having this position would cause problems.
I’d include it, in exactly what you’ve been doing. It’ll be a plus for most employers, but it might present worries about conflict of interests for others. But as you say, if it’s going to cause problems, you want to know that before you’re hired rather than afterwards.
5. Do I negotiate salary with the hiring manager or HR?
I’ve just been offered an permanent position at a company I’ve been doing some contracting work for. I know and have worked with the hiring manager for the permanent position, though she wasn’t my main point of contact as a contractor. The hiring manager told me in person that I would be getting an offer, but didn’t name any details (including salary). HR called to extend the offer officially, and I’m supposed to give them my response (I asked for a day to think everything over). I’d like to negotiate the pay–but should I do that with HR or the hiring manager?
It depends on the company. If I were you, I’d call the hiring manager with one or two other questions about the position/offer and then include salary in there at the same time. If you don’t actually have any questions for the hiring manager aside from this, I’d still start with her — she’ll tell you if you need to talk to HR instead.