wee answer Wednesday: 7 short questions, 7 short answers

It’s wee answer Wednesday!  Here we go…

1. My boss suggested I become a contract employee

My boss has suggested (but not acted on it yet) that she switch me from full-time salaried employee to a contract employee so that I am not on company payroll, therefore reducing her payroll taxes, because I do not use company offered health insurance. I am the only person in the company who does not take the insurance, so she says I do not need to be on payroll. What are the disadvantages to me making this switch? I see the benefits to my boss, of course, but I see zero benefits to me. I will have to do my own taxes, pay social security, etc.? Correct?

Whether or not you’re an employee or a contract worker isn’t just a matter of choice; it’s a matter of how the law categorizes you. If you’re a contract worker, you get to control your own hours, where and how you do the job, whether you work on a particular day or not, and pretty much everything else aside from the outcome of the work you’re delivering. If you don’t fit that description — if your boss gives you instructions and controls when, where, and how you work — then in the eyes of the law you’re an employee, not a contractor, no matter what agreement you make to the contrary. And if your boss pays you as a contractor but treats you as an employee, she’s risking pretty heavy fines. Show your boss this article from the IRS.

2. Can I pay a recruiter to get me a job?

I’m considering forming an agreement with a recruiter so that when/if I receive an offer and get hired through her, I’ll be paying her a certain share, say one-fourth of my first month’s net salary. Is this done? Is it ethical? I know by hearsay that this has been worked out in informal grounds. My gut feeling tells me that it is in the gray areas– not in one or the other side. The person I have in mind is with a recruitment agency and is one I feel comfortable with collaborating on some positions, spending time on my resume, etc. However, I wouldnt like to see myself on shaky grounds if this is a concern of ethics.

No reputable recruiter would agree to this arrangement. Recruiters are paid by the companies they hire for, and they work for those companies, not for you. Their job is to find the company the best person for the role, not to find a job for one particular person. Anyone who agrees to take your money in exchange for finding you a job is sketchy.

3. What do I need to know about when I’m leaving a job?

Tomorrow is my last day at my job and I’m a little confused as to what kind of information I should be getting from my employer and what I have to ask them for. I haven’t had any conversations with any HR people until today when I asked when my insurance would be canceled. Good thing I asked, my insurance ends at midnight on my last day. I had no idea it would end that soon and it makes me wonder if I’m going to be charged for it on my final paycheck. I’m not sure how that works. But while asking my manager about that, I mentioned getting my final paycheck tomorrow and was told, no, my final paycheck would actually be mailed to my house. The last 2 jobs I’ve had, they’ve given me a check on my last day. So my question is, what else am I missing? What are the things that should come up when you leave a job?

You want to find out about when you’ll get your final paycheck, whether accrued vacation time will be paid out or not (you can often find this in your employee handbook), when your health insurance coverage will end and how to get coverage through COBRA if you need to, and how any other benefits such as a retirement account will be handled. You could also ask about what kind of reference you’ll get in the future.

4. Resume objective when you’re switching from consulting to in-house jobs

I know you hate objectives on resumes, but my career coach suggested I use one for this reason: I have been freelancing/consulting/working for myself for the past 12 years, and am now hoping to secure an in-house position. He is afraid that someone seeing my resume, which lists my consulting business as my present job, will not realize I am actually job hunting but rather think I am looking for project work. I always put in my cover letter my desire to return to a full-time, in-house position with a team blah blah blah, but he points out that there is no guarantee my resume will always have a cover letter attached (if it gets passed around, or when I post it online). How do you think I should handle this?

I’d still rather see you use a Summary or Profile section at the top and address it in there, not via an objective. Objectives not only suck for all the reasons we’ve covered before, but they’re also starting to feel a bit passe.

5. Are company career pages for real?

Question for you about the “careers” portion of company websites. I’ve heard from more than one source that many of these “careers” areas are more for legal obligations or another reason other than talent acquisition. Rarely are potential candidates selected from this pool. Could this be commonplace?

No. In fact, many recruiting processes these days direct people to the company website to apply, so while they’re not counting on most candidates first hearing about the job there, they’re often assuming they’ll end up there to apply. (There are exceptions to every rule, and maybe you’re in an industry that’s an exception, but generally, this is how it works.) Now, maybe you’re actually asking if companies select candidates who respond to ads, or whether they mainly hire through connections. While connections can often play a big role, most companies do consider candidates from all sources, and tons of people get hired by responding to an ad.

6. Telling my manager I’m pregnant

I’m pregnant with my first child, and I’m trying to figure out the logistics of when to tell my manager. A little background about my company and my position: I am a “front line” manager for a 100 person company and manage a remote team of employees. I am remote myself. I travel quite a bit to both the main offices and client sites. I’ve been around my manager twice while I’ve known I’m pregnant (though hadn’t been to the doctor yet for confirmation) and talked about “my future” with him. It is no secret that my husband and I want kids, and I let him know that we’d have one within the next year and kept it at that.

Do I tell my boss in person about the big news? (I will be showing the next time I see him) Or tell him on the phone before my next trip? What do I need to prepare to say when I tell him besides, “I’m pregnant”? Do you have any resources for planning for maternity leave?

Most people wait until after the first trimester, but then just be straightforward about it. I’d probably do it via phone since you don’t see him that much, and since it sounds like otherwise your physical appearance will tell him before you get the chance to. Be matter-of-fact: “I’m pregnant, I’m due on X date, and I’m planning to take X amount of time for maternity leave. We’ve got plenty of time to think about how to cover my area while I’m gone, but my initial thoughts are X, Y, and Z.” If your manager is a normal person, he will be glad for you, so don’t stress over it too much. This is a very normal thing that happens in workplaces.

I don’t have any resources on planning for maternity leave, but I suspect this is a topic that has been covered quite well on other sites, so I’d do some searches (and maybe commenters will have suggestions too).

7. Letting an employee know that a former employer speaks poorly of them

I recently interviewed and hired a new staff member. He came with more experience and education than most of the other qualified candidates, and was only on the market due to a family situation that mandated a cross-country relocation. He interviewed very well, impressing everyone. I made up my mind to hire him after receiving two very positive references, but when his third reference returned my call, she mentioned that he seemed to have a problem with female supervisors. This reference was the only female listed on the reference sheet, and was therefore my only female perspective on the candidate’s employment history. As a female supervisor of a predominantly female staff, this comment caused a great deal of concern. I eventually decided to go with my gut and hire him, and it has worked out beautifully. My question is, do I tell him that one of his listed references is giving less-than-positive feedback? I, personally, would want to know, but I don’t want to cause him to feel uneasy in his new position, or to violate any unspoken confidentiality agreement between employers/supervisors. Any suggestions?

How long has he been working for you? If it’s only been a few weeks, I’d wait until you know him better (and have worked with him long enough to really be sure that the reference is wrong). But if it’s been a few months, I’d probably tell him; like you, I’d want to know if it were me. And references need to be willing to stand by what they say, and while you might hope as a reference that a particularly awkward piece of feedback won’t be connected to you, you’ve still got to be willing to deal with the fact that it might be.

That said, you can certainly convey to him that you’re passing it along so that he knows she might not be a great reference to use in the future, but that you’d appreciate him being discreet about the fact that you told him … unless there’s some reason that he can’t be discreet about it, like if, for instance, the person’s reference violated the legal agreement they reached after she sexually harassed him or something, in which case he’d have a compelling reason to take action about it.

{ 60 comments… read them below }

  1. Nicole

    #7 – I was job searching in November ’09, and after offering me the position, my new supervisor mentioned she wouldn’t recommend using one of the references I had given her in future job searches. The reference had told me when I left that I was more than welcome to use him as a reference when I left, so I really appreciated the fact that she told me because I likely would’ve used him again had she not.

    1. moe

      Just curious, did she tell you the specific thing the supervisor said? I’m really confused why a manager would tell this to someone they’ve just met!

      It seems kind to the employee, but not so much to the reference person and possibly future employers too. I think there *was* an unspoken agreement that OP wouldn’t rat out the reference, and it will also prevent future employers from hearing what may well be honest feedback about the candidate. Once you tell someone something like this, you really lose control over what they do with that info–could be messy. I just don’t like it.

      1. Nicole

        No, she did not tell me specifically what he said. I didn’t ask, though I was curious. All of my other references spoke very highly of me, and they had all known me for a longer period of time than the reference who did not. In fact, I had never received any negative feedback from this reference, so it was very irritating to me that he apparently spoke to this potential employer who he had never met more openly than he spoke to me about my performance.

        I can see where you are coming from in your opinion that letting him know about the bad reference is potentially doing a disservice to future employers, but I politely disagree. I believe that if you cannot give a positive reference to someone, you should not offer to be a reference in the first place. From my perspective, a reference should be someone who can speak highly and honestly of your abilities. I don’t want to list someone as a reference who will not speak highly of me when I have three other people who *will* speak highly of me. If someone is consistently a poor performer, he will probably struggle to find people to serve as references, and those who do will either be poor references or will only be able to speak very generally of his abilities.

        1. Anonymous

          Maybe it’s not that he said something about you–it could be that she just found him frustrating to deal with (hard to get on the phone, brusque, patronizing, whatever). One of my former managers is impossible to deal with; there’s nothing specifically bad she can say about my performance, but she never returns phone calls and can’t keep anything straight. I used to routinely find attendance points deducted because she miskeyed employee numbers or confused me with another employee with the same last name. If I could help it, I wouldn’t list her as a reference, but since she was a former supervisor it’s not like I have much choice.

          What kills me is that I almost avoided having her at all. Out of three years with the company, she only became my sup for the last three months. :(

          1. Natalie

            Unless that job is your only previous job, I think you can absolutely avoid listing that former manager as a reference. If anyone asks, which they probably won’t, the fact that she was only your supervisor for 3 months is reason enough, assuming you list the supervisor before that as a reference.

    2. Laura

      This exact thing happened to me, as well. My former manager said he would be a reference, but when my current boss called, he gave a less-than-enthusiastic reference. The way my boss phrased it was almost exactly like yours, just that maybe I would not want to use him for future jobs. I really appreciated that she let me know and luckily my other references were stellar, so she just kind of disregarded that one. He really had no reason to do that as we left on good terms and I helped the department out after I was no longer working there, but people can be petty. I think it would be entirely different had he not offered, or had my employer called prior supervisors who I had not listed as references who had some negative feedback on my work.

      1. K

        When I was laid off last year, one of my co-workers came up to me, gave me his contact info and said that I could absolutely use him as a reference any time.

        A few months later when I applied for a job, I e-mailed him to see if his offer was still valid. He responded that he could no longer be my reference since he became a manager and it was against company rules.

        I’ve actually thought about hiring a reference checking service to see what my references will say in order to avoid situations like the OP.

        And I +1 Nicole.

  2. Lesley

    OP#1: You’d have to pay your own payroll tax if you were a 1099 contractor. That’s more than just the taxes taken out of your check now–you pay the employers half as well. Plus, you’re much less likely to get benefits such as severance pay or even unemployment in the event that you lose your job.

    You also aren’t entitled to other benefits besides health insurance that your company might provide–vacation time, sick leave, FMLA, retirement plans, EAPs, discount programs, etc. Unless you are planning to start your own business, I wouldn’t do it.

    If she’s talking about making you a non-1099 contractor (like you’d be the employee of a staffing agency or something, who would pay your payroll taxes much like your employer does now), you’d still lose many of these fringe benefits. Unless you’re offered a sizable raise, I’d be very cautious.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      These are good points. I was working from the assumption that the employer wouldn’t be changing anything about the job other than the classification, in which case it’s not even a (legal) option. But it it’s going to be considered anyway, then yes — tons of other reasons not to do it, all of which Lesley lists!

    2. Piper

      There is also such a thing as a W-2 contractor, which more and more Fortune 1000/500/100/50 companies are using. Basically the contractor works for a staffing company that contracts them out to another company. It’s a pretty crappy deal because you lose all the benefits of a full-time employee (health insurance, paid time off, 401K, etc) PLUS you lose the benefits of being a 1099 contractor (working your own schedule from wherever/whenever, how you do your job, etc). It’s really an awful situation (speaking from experience here).

      But, it doesn’t sound like your employer is asking you to do W-2 contracting; its sounds like 1099. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Just because you aren’t using their health insurance doesn’t mean you aren’t using their other benefits (401K, paid time off) plus as an employee, the company still contributes to your unemployment insurance should you ever get laid off. You absolutely lose that benefit as a 1099 contractor.

    3. Gene

      And by “sizable raise” you should be talking at least 50%. That’s in the ballpark for non-salary costs for an employee. You’ll also need to form a company (sole-proprieter, LLC, corportation) and pay all applicable self-employment taxes and do all the paperwork.

      Get a good lawyer specializing in this field involved on your side and be a hard-ass when negotiating; if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        You actually don’t need to form a company, but just don’t do this arrangement anyway. It’s probably not legal in your situation, and it’s certainly not in your interests.

        1. Dan

          What ?!?

          For all of the “is this legal” questions that you get (the answer’s no), you finally get an “illegal” question and the writer doesn’t bother to ask if what’s going on is legal!

    4. Miriam

      I work as a tax preparer at a well-known tax preparation company, and there are a lot of peope who come in as “contractors” with a 1099-misc when they are most likely employees–because their employers don’t want to pay the payroll taxes. And these employees/contractors usually have no idea about all the extra taxes they need to pay.

    5. Anonymous

      Other things you might lose:
      1. Promotion opportunities
      2. Raises
      3. Support of the people who work for and around you – although you’re still the same person, contractors just get treated differently (and are the first to be let go if company fortunes turn down).

      1. KayDay

        Another thing the OP might lose is ease in getting a new job. For some reason, some (as in a sizable minority; definitely not all) employers don’t like to hire former contract workers to be full time employees. I absolutely do NOT agree with this at all, but it is yet another thing to consider (aside from the fact that it would probably be illegal).

        1. Piper

          Yes, yes, yes! Now that I’m stuck in this contracting job, I feel like I’m branded as a contractor. No one will even look at me for a full-time, permanent position despite what I say in my cover letter about wanting to move back into a permanent job that more closely resembles my career path from my jobs prior to this contracting job (which I only took because jobs are scarce and I thought being employed, even as a contractor, would be better than being unemployed). And sadly, this job is only one year of my work history, versus 9 prior years of permanent jobs, but I’m branded nonetheless.

    6. Unknown Genius

      1. My boss suggested I become a contract employee

      Don’t switch, if you switch besides paying your own taxes you lose “guaranteed” hours, insurance, retirement accounts and it will be easy to lose your job WITHOUT unemployment. Stay as an employee and let him fire you. BESIDES it’s illegal as AAM said, check articles from WSJ that’s why Fedex got into trouble

    7. Anonymous

      One other thing you’ll loose if you are a 1099 is Unemployment Insurance. If your company is doing this because they are having financial trouble that is really worth considering. (In addition to all of the other really good points.)

  3. Hannah

    A lot of important drawbacks have been mentioned, but wouldn’t one possible benefit of becoming a contractor be a switch to hourly compensation? I have heard of people who had their previous salary divided by 40 hours a week to determine their new hourly compensation. So if you regularly work more than 40 hours a week, that would be a huge raise, because the employer would then be paying you time and a half for any additional hours.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      It wouldn’t be time and a half (that’s only for overtime for non-exempt employee), just the regular hourly fee, but not all contractors bill hourly, so even that wouldn’t be assured. Either way, though, I’d argue that it’s outweighed by the drawbacks. Which include illegality.

      1. Piper

        I’m a W-2 contractor (as mentioned in the situation above) and I get paid for overtime (time and a half). By definition of my job, if I was not a contractor, I would be an exempt employee, but because I’m a contractor, I’m classified as non-exempt and hourly. But my boss has told me repeatedly that I better not work overtime because he doesn’t want to pay the extra money for it. I still think this whole W-2 contracting thing is a little fishy, even though tons of huge corporations do it. I know Microsoft got into big trouble a few years about mis-classifying employees like this.

        1. Dan

          I don’t think the W-2 thing is fishy. It’s perfectly legitimate for a company to want to have people on staff under its control, but not want to pay benefits or otherwise carry the burden of a “full time permanent” employee. They are even free to hire your services through a temp agency — I interned for a major company that hired its interns through a staffing agency. What’s kind of strange is that you’re over-time eligible for things under this arrangement that you wouldn’t be if you worked as a full time employee for the company.

          The fishy business comes when companies want to pay you as an “independent contractor” but then treat you like an employee.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Actually, the IRS has ruled in several cases (most notably Microsoft) that doing this long-term makes these workers common-law employees, and that they are entitled to the same benefits, etc. as other employees. So in the eyes of the law, it’s a sketchy thing to do (unless the person is truly temporary in the traditional sense).

            1. Michael C.

              Just a heads up with Microsoft’s contracting policy:

              If you’re a contractor directly with Microsoft you can work up to 1 year but you must take a 100-day break after that year – for said legal reasons.

              MS now often utilizes vendors who bids for their action and hires employees to work for MS under their own vendor name/status. People who work as vendors tend to get royally screwed – but that’s another topic altogether.

              I wonder if a 1 year thing is a legal thing everywhere? You can’t have a contractor for over a year or you’d have to adopt them as an Full Time Employee?

              1. Piper

                Hmmm, that’s interesting. Where I work there are people who have been contractors for upwards of 3 years. They could be a contractor forever without getting hired or without taking a break. There really is no difference between a contractor and a regular employee except for benefits.

                I’ve interviewed other places where you could only be a contractor for 18 months, then they either hire you full-time or you leave, and I think that was for legal reasons.

                On a side note, what is with this onslaught of contractor jobs? I’ve been looking for a new job for several months and the only thing I’m finding in contractor positions, which I do not want (especially since most of them are below the career level I was at prior to getting laid off from my last job a year ago and I only took the job I’m in now because I needed a job and it’s what was available in my area).

              2. Natalie

                Piper,

                I suspect the onslaught of contractor jobs is a sign of the economy – employers are feeling squeezed and know that their even-m0re-squeezed labor pool will accept conditions they wouldn’t have 10 years ago.

          2. Piper

            I am contracted out through an agency. I’m not an employee of the company I work for (W2 or otherwise). I do know that there was a lot of legal brouhaha over this with Microsoft, so calling people contractors and treating them as regular employees can get into legally hazy territory.

            I’m eligible for overtime because all contractors are paid hourly and classified as non-exempt. But if this position were a full-time employee position, it would be a salaried, non-exempt job based on the type of work I’m performing. There are a ton of employees in a specific position (not the same position I’m in) and some of them are contractors and others are full-time employees. The contractors are non-exempt and hourly, eligible for overtime; the full-time employees are non-exempt and they are doing pretty much the same work.

            1. Kimberlee

              I’m confused about part of this… my understanding is that contractors are not “elligible” for overtime. Overtime is something employers have to pay. As a contractor, you could certainly CHOOSE to bill at time and an half after 40 hours a week, but I would think most do not (that a flat hourly or flat project fee is better for everyone). It sounds like you are an “employee” of the agency you contract out from, rather than a contractor yourself? I’d be interested to know more details.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Employers can choose to pay overtime to anyone they want; they’re only required to pay it to non-exempt employees, but they can choose to agree to pay it to others.

              2. Piper

                Because I’m a W2 contractor (not a 1099), I do not bill the employer. I get a paycheck from the agency that employs me and farms me out to the company I work for. That’s the difference between 1099 and W2 contractors. It’s all still very strange to me and I hope to never work as a contractor again and I cannot get out of this job fast enough (for some many reasons, but the total lack of benefits is one of them).

                The reason so many employers are using W2 contractors instead of 1099 is because it gives them a loophole from getting out of the issues that Microsoft had. I still think it borders on sketchy based on what I’ve seen. All the contractors use company equipment, are given phones, computers, supplies, cubicles, etc., and are required to work certain hours and are fully integrated into the regular employee workforce.

              3. Joey

                Wanna know why temps get overtime, even when they work in jobs that are usually exempt? Its contractual for a couple of reasons. The staffing company bills per hour and usually have a higher markup for OT. Temps would be taken advantage of if they were paid a salary. Some companies would try to get their monies worth. But more so the staffing companies have an easier time recruiting and can make more money.

              4. Jamie

                In response to Kimberlee’s comment – you don’t have to pay contractors OT, but a lot of contractors (and I’m only speaking from IT here) have it in their contract that the hourly charges are more for over x number of hours, after certain hours, weekends, holidays, etc.

                If you outsource IT to a contractor you might very well have to pay double time for an emergency on a Sunday or after business hours, than you would typically. Just like you’d pay a plumber more to come out on Christmas day than a normal Tuesday.

            2. JT

              Piper, I think there are two or three reasons for the emphasis on contractor jobs. One is the companies can avoid paying benefits, because not all workers are aware how much more they need to be paid to make up for this. This is shading into illegal practice.

              The other reason is flexibility – it’s easier for companies to not continue with contractors (or reduce their hours) than to lay off or fire employees.

              On the workers’ side, in the more creative parts of the economy, some workers like the flexibility of being a contractor, where they might be able to vary their hours or work habits more.

              1. Joey

                Couple more big reasons:

                1. They don’t know if they have the business to sustain employees long term.
                2. They don’t have to bother with unemployment costs.
                3. For blue collar jobs they don’t take on the workers comp risks that are usually higher for new employees.

                And most of all they don’t have to manage temps. They can just call the staffing company no questions asked and say send me a replacement.

              2. Piper

                I understand all of those things, but the job they hired me for requires a very specific combination of skill sets and apparently, they had very hard time filling the position. So just calling up the staffing company and asking for a replacement would be difficult. They interviewed upwards of 20 people until they found me. (Of course, then they chose not to use the skill sets they hired me for and completely – unofficially – changed the job description after they hired me, so I have no idea what these people are thinking, really.) And for what it’s worth, this is not a blue collar job and it’s also a job that just a few years ago would never, ever have been considered a contract position (at least as the job description is written).

              3. Joey

                But that problems not specific to temps. Company’s can almost always change the job on you. Where I think most temps have a problem is even though they know this going in is that over time the feeling of not belonging and the lack of job security becomes a problem. Although there are advantages like not having to go to stupid company functions/trainings, putting in less than 2 wks notice and leaving right at 5. But as you know working through a staffing company may not be for you.

            3. Avril

              Piper,
              I was in the same situation as you and can confirm that it is not a good place to be. I did it for 5 years, which I believe is a bit too long to be considered ‘temporary.’ I had many of the same responsibilities as the regular employees there but could not participate in career development courses, was not eligible for special reward programs, as well as having none of the benefits mentioned above. For my own sake, I resigned without having another job lined up. My husband and I can do this financially for a while, but it is not something I planned on doing. You have my empathy, and hope you find something better. (By the way, if I worked over 40 hours in one week, I would have been paid time and a half).

              1. Piper

                Thanks, Avril. I don’t know many contractors in my company who are happy with their situation.

                I, too, am on the verge of resigning without a job lined up. I just can’t do this anymore. I’m treated very poorly on top of everything else (and I’ve mentioned before how they pulled a bait and switch with my job description/duties as well). This is not the job I signed up for and I’m miserable. Plus my husband has moved to a new city for a new job and we’re living apart right now (and maintaining two separate houses and sets of expenses). I had initially wanted a job in the new city before I moved, but with every day that passes, I’m closer to just quitting and moving.

                I do have a side gig that I’d love to work on full-time. Perhaps it’s time to take the leap.

              2. Rana

                Piper, have you told your employer (the temp agency) about the change in your duties? That may be a breach of the contract between the temp agency and their client; at the very least they’ll want to know about it because it might affect what they can charge the client. If it’s with the temp agency’s approval, they should have notified you to confirm that you were okay continuing under those circumstances.

              3. Anon

                Me too, going on 2.5 years. It was supposed to be temp to perm, and I left a job I loved for it. So that part’s been disappointing. And I really miss having vacation and sick time.

                There are pluses for me, though: I have an AWESOME boss (who really is trying to get me a perm position, cares about my professional development, and about me as a person), I’m making more money than in my prior industry (even though I’m paying for my health insurance and get no benefits), and I’m learning a lot of new things. But, boy, am I getting crabby from having no vacation time. And I live in dread of getting sick enough to miss work. Or something happening to a family member.

              4. SA

                Piper – If you were as difficult to find as you say you were, then you have some leverage. If you’re on the verge of quitting anyway, you could go to the company you’re contracted out to (not the staffing company) and try to negotiate. If you have special skills that are hard to find and/or you’d be difficult to replace, they are likely to work with you. The reason this contracting is happening is because the job market is heavily weighted in favor of employers at the moment. But if you have unique talents even in this market, you may have more power than you realize.

              5. Piper

                @Rana, I actually did go to the contracting company after I had been there 90 days. They raised the issue with my boss and he admitted to the complete change in my job description. So basically, I was told it is what it is, and that was that. I was worried about my pay rate changing because of it, but they never officially changed my job description, so on paper, it still looks like I’m doing what I’m hired to do.

                Which basically negates what you said, @SA (unfortunately). Yes, I was hard to find for the combination of skills they wanted, but then they decided they didn’t want those skills after all. So leverage kind of went right out the window with that. So, what they are using me for now isn’t difficult to replace at all. What they initially wanted, is.

  4. Pregnant Lady in Hiding

    Alison,
    Thank you so much for answering my question and giving me a perfect script for my boss regarding coming out about my pregnancy. I very much appreciate your help and guidance. I think it will be very useful. I’ll be sure to write back and let you know how it went!
    Pregnant Lady in Hiding

    1. Anonymous

      Congratulations! I was nervous to tell my boss about my pregnancy. I am a middle manager in a small department and the baby is due at the start of our busiest season! But everyone has been very supportive and I am working ahead on some things so it can be ready to hand off to the employees who will be covering for me. I hope you have a similar experience.

  5. Frances

    Poster #1. Just tell your boss you’ve thought it over, and you’d like to sign up for health insurance.

  6. Jeff

    #3 – If you work in California, you need to make sure that they are paying you within business days of your last day at work, regardless of whether you are terminated or resigning. According to the labor code, if your company willing doesn’t pay you for longer than 3 business days after your last day, they have to pay penalties in the form of your wage for each day after the day you quit, up to 30 days. If you turn in your 2 weeks notice, you’re entitled to your pay check on the last day of work. (I had a situation where I wasn’t paid until 18 days after my last day, and ended up bouncing two checks because of it. When I went to my employer to ask them to cover my bounced check fees, they refused saying I should have been more responsible with my money. When I went back to them with the labor code, I ended up getting paid an extra $500 in penalties, at a time when bounced check fees were only $23.)

    If you’re in another state, you may want to double check the labor code to know when you’re entitled to your last paycheck. I know California tends to be a lot more strict with the labor code, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just a CA policy.

      1. Jeff

        Yeah. I was rereading the labor code, and it’s actually just 72 hours notice to get paid on the last day. I think that’s different from when I had my dispute (which was about 7 years ago). We Californians are quite crazy with our rules.

  7. KDD

    #2
    I would run far and fast from any recruiter that would accept this deal. Where I live (Canada) it is also illegal for a recruiter to accept a fee from an applicant.
    I don’t understand why you would be considering this option. Are your skills not marketable? Do you interview poorly? Why not use your money to take some courses to improve yourself instead?

    1. K.

      Yeah, I honestly cannot see any benefit to the arrangement proposed in #2. I’ve gotten work through recruiters, but their clients were the companies at which I was placed. I was technically employed by the recruiter. And that worked out well, because I did great work and once they knew that, they were more keen to place me. I’ve gotten calls from people who spotted my resume online and were saying stuff like “For $500, I guarantee I’ll land you your dream job!” and I always said no and hung up. You should never have to pay to get a job.

  8. Charles

    #2 as many have said this is just not good; further even though you feel “comfortable” with this person, she will want your money ASAP as she doesn’t want to waste more time than necessary and will put you into the first job she can. What guarantee will you have that she doesn’t misrepresent you to the company and misrepresent the company/position to you? Assuming that she takes her cut from your first paycheck – how will you get that money back if you and the company find out she lied?

  9. Editor

    2. Paying the recruiter.

    This didn’t sound like a problem to me at all. I equated it with having a real estate agent represent a person as a buyer’s agent, instead of being a seller’s agent.

    I think my perspective is historical. I believe that in the 1960s and 1970s, people could sign up with recruiters who helped them find jobs in return for a cut of the initial pay from the first month or first three months. My recollection is that employment ads specified who paid the fee (employee or employer), and “fee paid” ads had the jobs people wanted to land.

    I don’t know if any of the librarians out there could find a way to search old classified ads from a large city or look at microfilm and confirm this. I also don’t know if changes in the law or court cases changed this, if it did exist.

Comments are closed.