terse answer Tuesday: 6 short answers to 6 short questions

It’s terse answer Tuesday! Here we go…

1. New boss wants us to make all sick leave requests public

My new boss, less than a month into her job as an assistant vice president, has asked us to “request a meeting” via a public folder in Outlook when we take time off. This allows all of our co-workers and counterparts at another facility to observe these requests. She has access to this information privately through ADP, but says Outlook is easier for her to access. I don’t feel it is anyone else’s business when I take a sick day or two hours of personal time. Is there any legality to denying her request?

No, she can legally require this, and she can legally fire you for refusing to comply. However, if you object, why not suggest a different solution that will protect people’s privacy, pointing out to her that there are privacy concerns with the current system?

2. Does my salary include my bonus?

When applying for a new job and being asked what my current pay is, can I include my annual bonus?

Yes, but you need to break it out as separate: “I earn a salary of $X, and I get an annual bonus that totaled $X last year.” If you combine them into one figure and the employer calls your current company to verify your salary, you don’t want to look like a liar.

3. Should I interview for a job I know I won’t take?

I am currently working in an industry that I love but not in my ideal job (educational non-profit, but more on the logistical than educational side of the organization) and not at a competitive salary. I’ve been looking at job postings and recently applied for one that is in a similar organization but would take me even further from delivering educational programs than my current job. The salary would be $10 – $15k higher than what I make now. I’ve done a phone and senior staff interview and they want to bring me back to meet with the executive director and chairman of the board. At this point I really don’t think the higher salary is enough to lure me away from my current position, but what do you think? Should I go just to meet them or should I save all of our time and explain that I don’t think I’m the right fit for their organization?

The argument for doing the interview anyway: You never know if you might change your mind. And it might be useful to establish a relationship with these people for the future.

The argument against doing the interview: If they only have, say, five interview slots, you’ll be taking one of them from someone who might really want the job. In other words, someone might get a rejection because of you.

On the hiring manager side, I really don’t want to spend my time interviewing candidates who know they’re not interested. But balance all of the above to decide what to do.

4. ACT vs. SAT

I am an undergraduate student applying for summer internships. Several big banks require applicants to enter their SAT scores (with no place to mention ACT scores). However, I took the SAT, did ok, then took the ACT and got a perfect score, so I chose not to retake the SAT. Should I enter my mediocre SAT score, convert my ACT score to a 2400, or email the HR departments of all those companies?

No idea. As an east coast person, I never took the ACT and don’t really know what the deal is with the ACT, other than to say don’t email a bunch of HR departments to ask because that will make you seem high-maintenance. But I’m posting this in case someone who knows the answer can tell you.

5. Best HR books

If you had a chance to recommend the 3 best HR books for people who want to pursue their career in HR field, what would those be? I want to learn a lot about this field.

I’m not in HR and have never been in HR, even though people keep applying the HR label to me. I come from the manager side of things, so I’m going to recommend a book from that perspective:  I think First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham is a great book on managing. His point that bad hires often aren’t bad employees because they’re dumb, lazy, obstinate, or insubordinate but rather because they are “miscast” has stuck with me for years. Making this mental switch can change the entire way you deal with struggling employees, making the entire process much more pleasant for everyone involved.

6. Can I follow up a job rejection with a request to volunteer?

I have a question about volunteering. I was recently rejected in the first round from a position with 200+ applicants (and even received a personal email saying so!). It’s a biology field research job that I’d love to get some experience in, and so I thought I’d ask if they had any room for a volunteer (providing it causes them no undue stress). They’re hoping to have someone start by mid-November, so I was thinking I ought to wait until then to ask about volunteering– what do you think? Too soon still? I asked for and received some (unfortunately somewhat generic) feedback about how she went about the hiring and thanked her, so I’m trying to avoid flooding her inbox.

No need to wait. Ask right now. Your chances will go up if you can provide specific ideas of what you’d be able to do for them, as opposed to asking them to design a volunteer role for you. When coming up with ideas, keep in mind that volunteer work isn’t usually “free” to the employer — they still need to have someone supervise and review the work, answer questions, and so forth … so factor in the time commitment that would be involved on their side as well when you’re coming up with your proposal. Good luck!

{ 80 comments… read them below }

  1. sudan*

    Thanks Alison!

    It is great honor to have your questions being answered by someone whom you consider one of the best person in your field. Regarding me, I completed my Post graduate with specialization in HR. I do have those basic concepts but i wanted to lead the market through learning as well as practicing so i asked for help.
    I totally agree with you. “First break all the rules” is also one of my favorite book when it comes to Management and HR. I read it recently and keep revising the highlighted areas to get those gems.
    Thanks for the consideration and your help.

    1. class factotum*

      “Good to Great” is also an excellent general management book. The writer analyzed many businesses to find out why some succeed brilliantly while others just plod along. In the end, it does come down to people and management style. I was struck – sadly – by how many of the examples he cited of poor management applied to my former employer. And indeed, my former employer just plods along. At least knowing how bad there were lets me feel like I was a another unrecognized Level 5!

  2. Susan E*

    In the federal government, number one would be a violation of the Privacy Act….others can know employee is on leave but not what type…seriously

  3. EG*

    #4 Don’t convert your ACT score to an SAT score. There is no universally accepted conversion. If the application system lets you, just enter your ACT score (and mark it as such) or leave it blank.

    1. Mike C.*

      And if they require an SAT score, they require an SAT score. Taking a different test in it’s place isn’t going to help you in the slightest.

    2. MaryBeth*

      I am also coming up with similar issues – except that I only took the ACT. The schools I applied to accepted either one, so I only took the ACT, but now I’m running into issues. Are they really saying that I need to take the SAT to even apply for their job… even though I go to a great university and am doing very well?

    3. Emily*

      I agree that converting a score is a little sketchy. They are distinct tests and you risk coming across as deceptive.

      Depending on the flexibility of the application systems, could you list your ACT score as 36/36 or 36 (of 36)? Even better, include your percentile. Something like, ACT score: 36, 99th percentile nationally.

      If the application only provides space for your SAT, put in your mediocre SAT and keep an eye out for an appropriate place to include your ACT score elsewhere.

    4. Under Stand*

      Out of curiosity, what do they do if the person applying took the SAT’s before 2005? So you might have looked awesome with a 1300 then but now…. not so much…

        1. Under Stand*

          Not necessarily. My son took SAT’s in 7th grade. If he chooses not to take again, his score was high enough to get into state schools. For that matter, a sophomore taking them in 2005 may be just getting a BS. Or if they went for a masters…. Remember that is only 6 yr ago.

    5. Anonymous*

      I’d be willing to bet that many of these institutions (outside of higher ed) consider SAT the standard and don’t think about ACT. Since many (almost all) schools allow you to submit either, the midwest is full of people who chose ACT over SAT. The places you’re applying to aren’t trying to systematically exclude midwesterners (unlikely), and they’re not trying to get people to study for and take the SAT for an internship application. I’d say find a tactful place to put it on your resume (which the system might have a spot for), or put it in a comment section– there’s gotta be a textbox somewhere, right? Otherwise type in “n/a-ACT 36/36,” or put it in a cover letter.

      1. Anonymous*

        My advice about the test scores – if they are asking for SAT scores, give them SAT scores. We accept ACT, SAT and three others, but there is always someone who turns in test that is not on the list. They do not make it to the interview. The instructions are simple, and for you not to follow them does not look good to a potential employer. Just my opinion.

  4. Anonymous*

    Re: 1. New boss wants us to make all sick leave requests public

    At my office, everyone on my team knows what date and # of hours we request PTO only because we cannot have so many people off on one date due to the type of work we do. For that reason, I don’t see what the big deal is. We do this on Outlook but not via a meeting request. Instead, everyone has access to the manager’s Team PTO calendar and we view it from there. Is this what you are referring to? If so, then letting others know when you are out of the office is just like receiving one of those out of office automatic e-mails, except people know ahead of time.

    I think it would be an issue if your manager is requiring you to tell others how or what you are doing on your day off, which it doesn’t sound like it. It sounds like others are just knowing when and how long you are out for.

    1. KayDay*

      I would completely expect that the other employees know when a fellow employee is off. Often, if someone calls in sick where I work(ed), an email went out to anyone they might interact with, and the others found out over morning coffee. If they work with you, then it is their business that you are off. (and I would feel this way even if you are a remote employee). However, I do see how this could become annoying if other coworkers were flooded with all these stupid “meeting” requests about sick time. Also, I do agree that the specific reason does not need to be public. I would expect to see “Suzy out of office” on the public calendar but not “Suzy out for colonoscopy.”

      1. Dan Ruiz*

        I agree. My previous employer had a similar system. We all knew when Dave or John were out because we got a notice.

        On the other hand, my current employer has no system for notifications. Only the boss knows when someone is out. I like the former. I interact with people dialy and I really appreciate knowing when they’re out and especially when they’re planning to be back. If I know I can’t get Joe’s feedback until next Monday, I can plan to work on stuff that doesn’t require it.

        As KayDay says above, I don’t see why it would be a privacy issue unless you’re required to reveal details about your absence.


  5. KayDay*

    #4: You don’t take the SAT or ACT to get an internship; you take the test to get into college, and many colleges will happily accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT (and rumor has it that in the midwest, the ACT is the more common test). OP: congrats on the perfect score. If these are east coast places, they may not have any idea what the ACT is. I’m not sure how “mediocre” your SAT score is, but since you did so well on the ACT, I’m guessing it’s not too bad. My personal opinion (I’m not in banking) is that you should use the SAT score on the application, but be sure include your PERFECT ACT score on your resume (clearly they care about test scores). Be sure write your score as 36/36 (is 36 still perfect?) and be ready to explain to them what the ACT is.

    (FYI, I’m an east coast person, but many kids from my HS went to mid-western schools, so they strongly encouraged us to take both tests. When I got to college, some other Freshmen didn’t even know what the ACT was)

      1. Natalie*

        I grew up in the Midwest and I don’t think that’s true. A lot of places prefer the ACT, but when I was looking at colleges (not that long ago) I don’t remember coming across a single college that wouldn’t have accepted the SAT.

        1. Stacy*

          I’m from California and I had NO idea until now that people weren’t just encouraged to take both the ACT and SAT if they were college-bound. The idea being to use the best score to apply to state schools, (and to take the SAT II as well if considering the University of California system). At the time, (and both tests have changed since this), there seemed to be a way to compare them, (a chart in my high school’s office, if I’m remembering correctly), but how accurate this was, I’ll never know.

          I’m really glad no one asks for those anymore. I like to emphasize my people skills. :)

        2. Anonymous*

          I think she may have meant to take the SAT. Personally I had to drive 6 hours and wait for nearly 2 months to find a place to take the SAT, the ACT was only an hour away. This makes a big difference. While most colleges I applied to would have taken either, it was much more difficult for me to take the SAT.

    1. Laura L*

      “And rumor has it that in the midwest, the ACT is the more common test.”

      Confirmed. However, they encouraged students who might apply to more elite schools, especially those on the east coast, to take both. I only took the ACT, though, and most of the east coast schools I looked at would take either scores. I ended up only applying to Midwestern schools, so it wasn’t an issue for me.

      And this was 11 years ago. So, if most schools were accepting both scores back then, I’d assume they’d do the same now…

      1. Kelly O*

        I grew up in the Deep South and we took the ACT; it was very, very uncommon to find someone who took the SAT unless that person was gunning for an East Coast school. The only person I knew who took it wound up going to MIT.

        The rest of us took the ACT and that’s what many state schools based their scholarship requirements upon. I was out in the working world before I realized other people took the SAT as commonly as we took the ACT.

  6. Anonymous*

    On interviewing when you’re not that interested in the job: surely this is simply a question about whether the poster has time available in their schedule? As has often been said, interviewing is a two-way street, and the OP has no way of knowing if the interviewer will be able to ‘sell’ them on the job.

    The possibility that some other candidate won’t get an interview is not the concern of OP. Similarly, the hiring manager’s preference for only interviewing interested candidates: it’s the job of the hiring manager to determine that. The situation is the exact complement of the recent posting about an overly persistent applicant whining about their need to feed their family.

      1. Anonymous*

        But two of the three “factors” given weren’t factors at all – they were wholly irrelevant to the OP’s question. Burying relevant information in noise can certainly be a useful tactic to adopt at times, but it seems an odd one to choose here.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think they’re pretty relevant, assuming the OP is a person who is interested in knowing about the impact of her actions on others and considering that as she decides how to proceed.

          1. Anonymous*

            So does that mean that hiring managers should consider which candidate ‘needs’ the job most when making their hiring decision?

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I think you’re missing the point. She asked if she should do something that she felt might be wasting her time and others’ time. I gave her the factors to consider.

              1. Anonymous*

                Well, she certainly wouldn’t be wasting the hiring managers time – on the contrary, she would be being generous enough to permit the hiring manager to make another attempt to convince her that the job is worthwhile.

    1. Dan*

      “The possibility that some other candidate won’t get an interview is not the concern of OP…”

      I think it should be. IF the OP has no intention of taking the job, then they should get out of the way so others can get a shot.

      Look at it this way: if the employer only has time to interview 3 candidates, and you’re in there wasting his time, didn’t someone get bumped out of the running and get denied the opportunity for no reason at all?

      Of course, this argument only applies if the OP has made a decision. If the OP is still on the fence about the whole thing, then it would make sense for them to keep going.

      Put yourself in the shoes of the guy getting bumped and your opinion might change.


      1. Anonymous*

        Look at it this way: if the employer only has time to interview 3 candidates, and you’re in there wasting his time, didn’t someone get bumped out of the running and get denied the opportunity for no reason at all?

        Not at all – the OP would be giving the interviewer the opportunity to ‘sell’ them on the job, perhaps addressing some of the OP’s reservations. That’s hardly denying someone else an opportunity for “no reason at all.” Besides, anyone who can ‘lose out’ on an interview to a candidate who wasn’t all that interested in the position was obviously not a strong contender in the first place.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Besides, anyone who can ‘lose out’ on an interview to a candidate who wasn’t all that interested in the position was obviously not a strong contender in the first place.

          Definitely not true. I typically have tons of well-qualified candidates for any given slot, and usually only interview a small handful of them. I’d generally be glad to interview many of the people who end up getting rejected simply because there’s not time to talk to everyone.

          1. Anonymous*

            I’d generally be glad to interview many of the people who end up getting rejected simply because there’s not time to talk to everyone.

            Then you, as the hiring manager are free to make the time, if you wish.

            However, since the OP has no way of knowing the candidate pool (unless the hiring manager chooses to tell her), that cannot reasonably be expected to be a factor in her decision to continuing interviewing. So it’s not something for the OP to consider.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s generally the case with most hiring rounds.

              Look, you may not care about factoring the impact on other people into your decisions. That’s your prerogative. Other people do care, however, and don’t need you making that decision for them.

              1. Anonymous*

                Do hiring managers factor the effect of their decisions on the candidates when making decisions?

    2. Anonymous*

      Original Poster for #3 here — I ended up deciding against taking the interview for a few reasons (including not wanting to waste either of our time and knowing after the first two interview rounds that the organization and I were just not the right fit for each other). But what really convinced me was a conversation I had with my current boss — I set a meeting to talk about a couple of projects that I really enjoy and asked if there was the potential for more work like this to come my way. He seemed really receptive to it and mentioned a couple of things in the pipeline that I might be a good fit for.

      I’m not getting a title bump or any more money, but knowing that my boss is willing to work with me on the parts of the job I dislike (and throw me some more interesting projects when he can) makes me willing to stay for less-than-stellar pay. I don’t want to give up that working environment just for a salary increase.

  7. lindt*

    Job seeker here with a question somewhat related to No. 1. Is it ok to mention on your resume that you assumed increased responsibility at work while your boss was away on leave? Or would that violate your boss’s privacy by letting future employers know that she/he was in fact on leave?

  8. Suzanne Lucas*

    I don’t get what the big deal is with letting your coworkers know when you’ll be out. At every job I’ve ever worked (not including fast food), when someone will be out they send out emails to everyone that needs to know. Like this:

    Hey all, I’ll be leaving the office at 3:00 on Thursday! Thanks!

    Then the auto reply on email and the voicemail message said the same thing. No one ever sent out a email message that said “Hey all, I’ll be leaving the office at 3:00 on Thursday because I finally have a doctor’s appointment so that I can get this horrible fungus taken care of!”

    1. The Plaid Cow*

      An employee that doesn’t want to let their “co-workers and counterparts” know when they will be out of the office. It may not “feel it is anyone else’s business when I take a sick day or two hours of personal time”, but it is their business if you are not in the office to do the job you were hired for.

    2. J.B.*

      For me, I have no issue with people being able to see my outlook calendar of when I’ll be out but the reason is not necessarily my coworkers business (esp if health related, of course mgr would be told the reason). Outlook allows you to establish private appointments so why not do it that way instead of meeting request? Then anyone who wants can look up the calendar.

    3. Jamie*

      I agree with Suzanne and I would like to add that just telling me you’ll be out of the office is fine. In fact I would prefer my co-workers keep the specifics to themselves and I have very little interest in their fungus, court dates, or gyn appointments.

    4. Kelly O*

      I have to agree with you.

      That’s been fairly common practice most places I’ve worked. “I’ll be leaving at 2 this afternoon for a doctor’s appointment and will respond to your email when I return in the morning.” Or, some have even just said “I’ll be out of the office on Thursday. If you have an urgent request, please contact Jane Smith, otherwise I will respond to your message when I return on Friday.”

      I’ve seen variations of those in both email messages sent out before an absence, or in out of office replies. At my mom’s office, they have to change their voice mail message daily and make sure to note if they’ll be out of the office for extended periods. I guess I don’t see the problem, especially if you’re not putting “Kelly’s counseling appointment for her crippling fear of what everyone thinks of her” or “Kelly having ingrown toenail removed.”

      1. Jamie*

        That would actually be kind of awesome. It could be a game to craft the weirdest out of office reasons for the office.

        Kelly is out due to her crippling insecurity, Jamie is out debunking the myth that Bigfoot has been spotted in downtown Chicago…

        I wouldn’t mind the over shares if they were entertaining.

        1. Anonymous*

          “Leaving early to finalize my costume for ComicCon, wanna see my Princess Leia pics from last year, they are on Flickr…”

          This would be SO much fun. I might suggest it at the next staff meeting.

        2. Suzanne Lucas*

          I am so in favor of over-sharing humorous out of office messages.

          How about just writing the truth for when you’re at an all day meeting? “I won’t be checking email or voicemail because HR is forcing me to sit through a sexual harassment training, even though there is no evidence that this type of thing decreases harassment….”

          1. Jamie*

            I don’t know…I think some of the things people would write about my ISO meetings would make me cry.

            I know it’s hard to believe that not everyone loves being pulled away from their jobs to discuss ISO compliance and have their documentation critiqued by the keyboard monkey/policy wonk…but they don’t.

            Yeah – I think those OOO would be scathing, but hysterical.

  9. Anonymous*

    For #3: I would recommend doing the interview to practice your interview skills. The way I see it it is a negotiation, it works both ways; you are interviewing them as well. On the other hand, if you know it in your heart that the job isn’t right for you, and you don’t feel motivated to even have the interview, let alone to perform the job, then you might want to consider something else.

  10. LCL*

    Re #1
    I am responsible for all of the scheduling of our shiftwork, 24/7 group. I did have someone who transferred in from another group go ballistic when I sent an email to the remaining people on the crew changing assignments because of his absence. Too bad.

    It’s nobody’s business what your sick leave is for. It is their business if you are gone, because that affects their schedule and work assignments. You might consider changing your outlook on this-experience has shown me that the people who make the biggest deal about absolute privacy about everything are the biggest pains to manage, in regards to leave and everything else.

  11. KellyK*

    I think it is reasonable to let coworkers know whether you’re available or not. The reason is none of their business. The spot where it gets tricky is that your manager probably does want to know the reason for a sick day. I would privately let your manager know that you’re not comfortable telling everyone in the office what you’re doing with your time off, and ask if they have a problem with your Outlook posts being very generic and more detail provided by a private e-mail.

    1. KellyK*

      And by “more detail” I mean things like having the public meeting say “12 PM – 4 PM – KellyK Out of the Office” and the private e-mail to the boss saying, “I have a doctor’s appointment. Can I take a half-day of vacation on such and such day?”

      1. Jamie*

        This is so reasonable, I thought everyone did it that way.

        We just use Out of Office on the company calendar so people have the info. The reasons for the OOO are between you, your boss, and HR.

      2. Yup*

        Agreed. The only additional detail I provide for group calendars is when the out of office is work related — “At Client XYZ office” or “At Enterprise Management Conference” — so that people aren’t confused if they get an email or call from me, on a day when they’re expecting me to be OOO.

    2. Christine*

      I agree with everything said. The only thing I have a problem with is when coworkers are frequently absent, especially when you work directly with said coworker, and no reason is revealed to those affected. This happened to me at a job several years ago; I inquired my manager about why this coworker always seemed to be out, and he gave me the “it’s not your business” speech. I definitely respect the right to privacy, but I would’ve appreciated knowing at least generally what was going on; a simple “Suzy might be out from time to time for awhile due to a family situation” seems reasonable to me.

      1. KellyK*

        I don’t think it’s the manager’s job to tell you why someone is absent, unless it’s in the context of letting you know when/whether/how to get in touch with them if you need to, or how the absence will be handled from a work perspective. For example, if you work in a company where calls on your vacation are normal, it might make sense to mention that someone is out for a family emergency and shouldn’t be called. It would also be reasonable to say “Suzy may be out from time to time over the next couple months. Fred is filling in for her on X, and please direct any questions about Y to Jane.” But even whether it’s an illness or a family situation isn’t necessarily anyone’s business, and being vague about it can just fuel the gossip mill.

        I totally understand being curious, but I think what information is shared should be up to the individual, not their boss.

        I remember being fairly horrified when we had an H1N1 scare because one employee had it. It started off very confidential and appropriate with an e-mail to the effect of, “FYI, someone in the office has it, they’re staying home and they haven’t been in lately so we don’t think anyone’s been exposed, but here are the precautions we’re taking just in case.” And then the person’s boss replied to all, and named names. It was nice to know that the person in question was okay, but I don’t think they needed to have their medical information spread around to hundreds of people.

        1. Christine*

          That’s a good point KellyK. I like the example language you suggested – something like that is very reasonable and, imo, considerate. This way, I’m not getting agitated each time I come in and see this person out yet again (My coworker’s situation eventually came to light a few months later; she and I never got along, but I did feel bad for her situation).

          I do recognize that it is up to the individual as to how these situations are handled; but things like this affect workload (we were both data entry clerks) and I personally think it’s the courteous thing to somehow let other workers know that this could be a regular thing, and that the person isn’t just slacking off all the time. I know that’s probably not reasonable, though.

          I’m long-gone from that job though, thank goodness!

    3. Joey*

      Managers don’t need to know why a person is out unless its tied to some type of protected leave. It doesn’t really matter why a person is out. The only thing that matters is how the absence impacts the business. Think about it. If I say I need to be out because my dog died does that really help you decide how much my absence impacts the business. And are my chances better if I have a better reason. Managers should not be in the business of deciding whether a reason to be off is good enough. They should only consider whether or not the operations can absorb the negative impact of the absence.

      1. Anonymous*

        I wish that was so everywhere, but I think this sort of depends on the work place. Keep in mind that some places have general PTO and some places have vacation/sick time as separate categories, with one for planned time off and the other for emergencies and medical appointments only. Especially when it comes to unplanned leave, some managers would definitely be upset if you called out sick because you…wanted to stay home to play with the cat. But they also might be quite forgiving if you miss work during a busy period due to a legitimate illness. Many managers recognize that $%!# happens, even at inconvenient times, but they don’t want to be taken advantage of.
        (Disclaimer: by this I mean they expect to be truthfully told in general terms if you have an emergency, are sick, or have a planned medical appointment; not that said emergency is that your mother is being transported to a residential mental facility).

        1. Joey*

          Managing attendance that way is lazy. That’s a purely subjective decision which will probably be based more on the mood the managers in. It encourages employees to lie and managers to approve leave based on how good a story someone can concoct. And exactly how can a manager decide if someone is legitimately sick? And dont tell me you have to see a dr to be legitimately sick. That’s the employees call. The only call the manager should make should be whether or not they can operationally afford for the person to be out. Nothing else matters.

      2. J.B.*

        However, out for illness or emergency may mean you’re not able to show up to something previously scheduled and someone may have to suddenly pick up the slack. Out for vacation should mean you do some preparation and planning to minimize the impact.

  12. Joey*

    Best HR books. if you want to learn about the technicalities of HR the shrm learning system is the gold standard although it’s a study guide for the phr/sphr certification so be prepared. Otherwise management books are your best bet. I like The No Asshole Rule and pretty much all of Bob Sutton’s stuff and Who Moved My Cheese by spencer Johnson.

    1. Jamie*

      I loved the book “I Hate People” by Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon. Beyond the catchy title is some really solid stuff about differing work styles and how to use those differences to get great results.

      It’s not an HR book per se, but I think it should be required reading for them.

        1. Jamie*

          I have an autographed copy and it came with a bunch of I Hate People book marks and door hangers.

          I’ve given them out at work to those I know will get the joke. I would love to use the door hanger for when I’m super swamped – like a Do Not Disturb sign – but all you need is one person to be offended.

  13. Jamie*

    While we’re on the subject of too much information – when you come back from being sick, or having an appointment – can people stop asking about the specifics.

    Because I have no intention of telling you that I left 2 hours early for an appointment to see my gynecologist. Or that I worked on Saturday and have already logged in 50+ hours this week by Wednesday so I’m entitled…

    Seriously, if my boss didn’t approve it I wouldn’t take the time – so don’t worry about where I was.

    For that matter – if the time is approved isn’t doctor’s appointment good enough even for the bosses? It’s already been approved – there’s time on the books. Do they really need to know what kind of doctor I’m seeing?

    Minor pet peeve – but it irks me.

    1. Anonymous J*

      I was actually harrassed by my supervisors back when I needed surgery and had to go to all sorts of doctor’s appointments leading up to it.

      I was so mad over how they treated me over that situation that after that, whenever I was out sick and they questioned it, I would go into GRUESOME detail (just with the supervisors.) It got to the point where they stopped asking “why” when I called out sick.

      I call out sick if I’m sick. That’s all they need to know.

      1. Suz*

        This should go along with the most entertaining OOO messages; who can gross out the bosses the most with horrifying details about WHY they’re OOO… (sigh) us office dwellers need such sidebars, don’t we?

        1. Anonymous*

          A leave privacy violation that occurs in my office: we have to get “doctor’s notes” for everything, including previously scheduled routine appointments, and they have to be signed by your supervisor and the office manager. So at least two people (probably more) get to see the letterhead that says “Dr. Crackpot, Psychiatrist” or “Dr. Goodcooch, Specializing in Diseases of the Female Parts”. They get to know what you were in for even if you don’t tell them.

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