terse answer Thursday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s terse answer Thursday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Accepting a job at a lower salary with the promise of a raise later

A networking contact recently put me in touch with a past coworker of his who is starting up his own firm. I met with the owner recently and, to my surprise, he asked me to join him as his first employee. He was trying to do everything himself and was quickly finding that he was overwhelmed. The position would be instrumental in the successful initial growth of the firm and could easily progress to a senior level position as the firm grows.

During our initial meeting, however, the owner advised that he knows he cannot pay me what I’m worth. I took that as a compliment! He asked if I was willing to take a chance with his company with a smaller initial salary in exchange for increased compensation down the road. I replied that I thought that was reasonable, so as long as we could revisit my salary as the organization and my level of responsibility increased.

I know your normal advice is to wait at least 1 year after starting a new job to ask for a raise, with which I agree. In a case like this, however, what is the best way to approach him in 3, 6, 9, or 12 months about a salary increase? If all goes as planned, the company’s revenue (read: his ability to afford what I’m worth) and my responsibilities will have greatly increased over this time.

Actually, agree on it with him now and you won’t need to worry about when to approach him down the road. Too many people make informal agreements like this that they fully flesh out and make formal, and then are taken aback when the raise doesn’t materialize when they ask for it later. If this guy truly means that he’ll increase your salary once conditions X, Y, and Z are met, then he should be willing to put it writing (whether those factors are a certain number of months passing, your successfully achieving specific goals or milestones, the company reaching a certain revenue point, or something else). If he won’t put this in writing, then only take the job if you’re willing to have the future increase be a “maybe,” not a definite.

2. My boss emailed everyone the reason for my time off

I requested vacation time off from the company I work for. I am doing a internship for school because I will be graduating with my associates in Health Information Technology and it is required that I do a short internship before I can graduate. The thing is, no one at my current job knows I am in school; I haven’t told anyone.

I spoke with my boss about the days I needed off and just told her I am taking family vacation time. She said okay and that she would approve my time. A couple of hours later, I saw a email pop up that was emailed to the entire office — all my coworkers and other managers — with the dates I was going to be gone on vacation and why. My name and vacation days was in bold print on the subject line. I was furious. All of my coworkers take vacation time, I in the two years I have been working with this company, I have never seen a mass email go out about their personal time they are taking off. I feel like my privacy was stripped away and don’t understand why this was done. I feel my boss could have just told the employees in person who needed to know of my absence. I also feel like this gives my coworkers a invitation to ask me about my personal time. Is there anything I could do about this situation?

I have no idea why your boss sent this email out when she doesn’t for other people’s time off, but if you’re in a role where people need to know when you’ll be out, that’s the obvious explanation. I’m sure she didn’t think she was violating your privacy by noting it was a “family vacation”; it’s not like she wrote it was for gynecological surgery or a custody hearing. I would let this go.

3. Can I use my blog to fill a gap on my resume?

I’ve recently been looking for an entry-level career in the not-for-profit sector in communications and marketing. All my experience in this area is through various internships with some fairly well-known international NGOs. My last internship ended in December, and since then I have been unable to find any work.

To fill my time, I’ve created a website and blog where I discuss development issues and topics related to the sector I want to work in. I write a post a week and with researching, writing, posting, etc., it requires about the same time as a part-time job. My question is, can I put this on my resume since it’s not an “official” role? Or if it’s relevant to the jobs I apply for, should I just mention it in passing in my cover letter? Right now, I’m worried about the 5-month gap on my resume and don’t want potential employers to think I have been unproductive in that time.

You can definitely put it on your resume. What I’m torn on, though, is where it should go. Normally you’d put it under an “additional activities” or “community involvement” section or something like that. But of course, that’s not really what you want — you want it to put it at the top of your job history to fill the 5-month gap since your last job. It’s a bit of a stretch (one post a week doesn’t really make it substantial enough to really qualify), but no one is going to have you arrested for putting it there.

4. Interviewing when the company name hasn’t been revealed

I have an interview set up at a recruitment agency next week. The job posting did not specify the exact company I would be working for (just stated, “a successful chocolate teapot manufacturer in ____town”). I’m pretty confident that I know which company is meant, as it is quite obvious if you are active in the field. How would you handle this at the interview? Is it ok to ask which company they are representing? Would you offer up your guess? Do they expect you to just “know”? Or will they only relay this information to finalists?

Also, for future reference: Would you ever include references to an unnamed company in the cover letter? (In case you are certain you identified them and it was relevant to your application, e.g. because you worked with them before.)

It’s fine to ask at the interview. If they say they’re not able to reveal the company at this stage, don’t start offering up guesses; they’ve just said they’re not going to tell you. You are not typically expected to just “know,” however. If not knowing is an issue for you (if, for instance, you know you wouldn’t work at Company X and it sounds like this might be Company X), it’s fine to decline to move forward after a certain point unless they tell you the company.

As for including references to an unnamed company in your cover letter, I’d only do it if you were 110% sure you were right; otherwise, you could harm your candidacy by appearing certain about something that was in fact a mistake.

5. Should I update my resume when applying for an internal position?

My boss is leaving a smallish (20-30 people) organization. I plan on applying for her position, which isn’t a secret. The person doing the hiring is familiar with me and my work, but doesn’t know all that I have accomplished since I have joined the organization (about a year ago).

So when I apply internally, do I update my resume to show the year I have worked for my current company? Or do I just show everywhere else I have worked previously?

Yes, update your resume. Treat it just like you’d treat applying for an external position, just less formal.

6. Why wasn’t I notified about this opening when I was on leave?

I have been off of work for a maternity leave, followed up by a medical leave, but I will be returning in the next week. I am feeling burned by my team, coworkers at the office (aka friends), and management that I was not notified of a posting for a position that I was doing before but without the formal title. I am feeling a lot of resentment about this and do not want to be feeling this anger when I return to my workplace. My manager, who is currently on a medical leave, also shared with me that it took 2-3 workers to manage my caseload when I left. She acknowledged my level of experience as being the contributing factor for why I was able to manage the workload at the time. Why was I not notified about this posting then?

Maybe because you were on leave and people are often told not to contact anyone who’s out on medical leave for anything. Or maybe because your manager is the logical person to have alerted you to the opening but she’s out on leave herself. Or who knows — it could be anything. But getting angry about it isn’t going to be particularly productive. For all you know, they’re hoping you’ll apply when you come back. Or maybe not — but regardless, express your interest in the position and ask what you’d need to do to be considered.

7. Does this mean I got the job?

I interviewed with someone for a position at a clothing retail store. The interview went really well. I was then emailed back for another interview. I attended the interview. 5 days later, the manager who interviewed me the second time sent me an email regarding what my availability is and if I was looking for part-time or full-time. Do you think that means I got the job?

The only thing that means that you got the job is a formal job offer, so no. What this means is that — at least at the time that she sent you the email — she was still considering you as a candidate.

{ 137 comments… read them below }

  1. Josh S

    #1 — Definitely get it in writing. Whatever the metrics are that determine the future raise, put it in writing. Heck, if you can get the amount of the raise, get that in there too. (eg. “When Company reaches $1m in revenue, salary increases from $60k to $100k, effective the start of the next quarter following that salary milestone.”)

    Another option that’s more common to the tech world, but entirely applicable to most other businesses is to get Equity in the company of some sort–either a % of shares in the company or Options or whatever. This creates a strong incentive for you to stay (to hit your big payday) AND ties your total compensation to the performance of the company AND offsets the potential decrease in pay that you’re taking now.

    And while I don’t know the new guy or his mentality, I don’t think it would be untoward for you to suggest the above compensation scenarios to him, rather than waiting for him to take the lead.

    Good luck!

    1. AdAgencyChick

      Yes, yes, yes, get it in writing! It is simply amazing how even the nicest people have amnesia (whether real or feigned) about what they’ve said when it comes time to claim a promised benefit, like a raise or telecommuting. The latter happened to me — I was offered telecommuting one day a week during the off-season at one job, which I was allowed to do the first off-season. And then the second off-season, when I reminded the boss I’d be working from home on Fridays, it was like she’d never heard of such a thing — “oh no, we can’t do that!”

      If you don’t have it in writing and this person turns out to be such an amnesiac, then the conversation can go in a very negative way — “I thought you were doing this because you believed in this company, not for a bigger paycheck!” Whereas if you have it in writing, it can be a very unemotional conversation of “Here’s what we talked about, and I believe we’re at that point.”

    2. Sharon

      I agree with this, too. But be wary of options, they are NOT the same thing as stock. During the dot com bubble many people found out the hard way that options can legally be empty promises.

      1. Henning Makholm

        Stock can become quite as worthless in mostly the same situations, though. And employee stock often comes with restrictions on negotiability. At least with options the worst thing that can usually happen to you is zero; with stock you get the exciting opportunity to pay tax on the market value of your shares before they crash.

        1. Laufey

          I thought you only paid capital gains when you sold the stock? Ergo, you could still be left with worthless stock, but you shouldn’t have to pay tax on it in the mean time.

          1. AdAgencyChick

            That’s when you buy and sell stock. But if you’re given stock as compensation, I would think it gets taxed as income.

            1. Lexy

              Options are also considered compensation [and generally taxable] when they mature… depending on the structure of the options. [shudders in memory of auditing option compensation packages]

  2. Josh S

    #3

    It’s a bit of a stretch … but no one is going to have you arrested for putting it there.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could have people arrested for blatant lies/exaggerations or horrendous resumes?

    1. Anonymous

      Only if we could also arrest employers who promise things when you’re interviewing that somehow never materialize.

        1. Anonymous

          Oh, but that would deny them the chance to see if someone on the outside has a week more experience than the internal candidate who’s already been doing the same job unofficially for 2 years and who now has to quit and start over from the bottom somewhere else.

  3. Josh S

    #7 — It means you’re still a candidate, and that’s a good thing–you’re probably one of only 2 or 3 people left in the running.

    It also means that the manager is looking to see if your availability matches with the hours they most need someone to work. For retail, that’s typically nights & weekends.

    If you can work MTWFSa and you’re looking for FT hours, but they only need someone to work part time hours on Thursday and Sunday, then you won’t get the job. Sometimes this is a determining factor for retail jobs.

    As for your response–be honest, but also be as flexible as you can. If you go to church/synagogue/temple, block that time (or day) out as unavailable. Likewise if you have a standing appointment for health reasons. But realize that a job takes precedence over your Tuesday night out with friends, and mark that time as available. They absolutely will NOT book you for 80 hours/week, so you WILL have free time to rearrange your schedule if you get hired.

    As for the FT/PT distinction, you can say something like, “I would love to work full time hours, since it would mean I can dedicate my work energy entirely to the store, but I recognize that may not be possible. I’m most interested in working here; if that means I need to start with PT hours, I’m more than willing to start there and work my way into more hours.” But if you have any contacts at the store (other employees/former employees you know), you can find out if the manager has a preference for FT or PT work, and tailor your response appropriately.

    (All of this is assuming that you’re wanting this job at any terms. If you will only take the job if it’s FT, or whatever, then say that.)

    1. Disgruntled

      As for the FT/PT distinction, you can say something like, “I would love to work full time hours, since it would mean I can dedicate my work energy entirely to the store, but I recognize that may not be possible. I’m most interested in working here; if that means I need to start with PT hours, I’m more than willing to start there and work my way into more hours.”

      OP, if you are taking the job because you need the paycheck or benefits that only come with a FT position, proceed with caution before saying something like this! I said this to a manager during an interview and she assured me there would be a full time position available soon, but that I’d have to start part time, “but I can schedule you for about 40 hours each week if you want.”

      I needed the money, so I stupidly said yes, worked ~40 hours a week while still officially classified as “part time” (which meant I wasn’t eligible for benefits) for a few months, then asked Boss when she thought I’d become full-time. She claimed she never said such a thing and no full-time position was available now or in the foreseeable future.

      I didn’t have a horse in this race because the only thing I had in writing was something in my offer letter like “This position is 20-30 hours a week (Scheduled hours may be changed based on the needs of the branch).”

      SO! If you plan to “work your way up” from part time, insist that you get something in writing that specifies when or how you’ll become full-time or it may never happen.

  4. Cara

    #7 – I sometimes confirm the candidates schedule for a variety of reasons. Boss asks me too, I forgot to write it down, I may want to make sure the candidate’s answer will be consistent the second time around, etc… So no unless it is in writing there is no offer as AAM stated.

  5. Alanna

    I have been working in international development for 10+ years, and I’ve done a lot of hiring. I am not sure putting the blog on the resume is the right choice. While it’s legit to do so, it doesn’t necessarily make you more marketable. Development employers can be really shy about the internet and blogs in particular. And in this field, employment gaps are far more common because everyone knows how hard it is to find work.

    1. Jessa

      I don’t know I’d try to slot it as a job, but I’d probably put it in somewhere if it was relevant to the place I was applying for. If I did a blog on Amazing Teapot Tech in Chocolate. I’d certainly put that in if I was applying to International Teapots LLC.

      1. Crystal -asker #3

        Thanks for all the advice. I think I’ll leave it out unless the job I’m applying for is basically ‘blogger’. I’ll look at doing more volunteer work in the meantime to help supplement my other work experience.

        1. Diane

          You can put it under “Social Media Experience” if that’s relevant to the job.

      2. Christine

        Hmm….All of my volunteer work over the past couple of years is at the top of my resume because that’s all I have at the moment (my last permanent job ended in 2008; had 2 temp gigs in 2010 but lots of volunteering in between), and it’s more in line with the avenues I’ve been exploring. No wonder I’m having so much trouble! :'(

    2. JT

      “Development employers can be really shy about the internet and blogs in particular.”

      True, and very unfortunate. Luckily this is changing and more openess is coming into the field.

      In any case, regarding the applicant, I don’t think it would reflect badly on an applicant to mention it in some way. I also don’t think a post a week is equivalent to a job unless they are quite long and thoughtful/researched, so shouldn’t be used to fill a gap on a resume. Just mention in some other way if relevant in terms of topic or work.

      1. Chinook

        I agree with JT about a blog a week not being equivalent to a job unless the effort/research required were obvious. When I look at AAM and how often she posts (and with such high quality), I still could see it only as a part-time job that would be noteworthy on the resume under “Accomplishments” as well as a mention in the cover letter.

        Be aware, though, that you will be judged by the content of that blog if you point it out. Not only the actual content, but layout, grammar/punction skills, bias and a lot of other things can influence a reader of a blog’s opinion of the writer (which is why I think so many of us want to work at the Chocolate Teapot Factory where Allision is the CEO).

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          If I ever have to apply for a job with a resume again (please god, no), I’ll absolutely list Ask a Manager as a job under the work history section. I spend a large amount of time on it, it accounts for a not-insignificant chunk of my income, it has a fairly big audience, and frankly, it’s what most people know me as more than they think about the consulting stuff I do! It’s a job, and it’s going on there, prominently :)

          But I wouldn’t have listed it that way in the first couple of years I was doing it — it took up less time, didn’t generate significant revenue, had fewer readers, etc. It really was a hobby at that point, whereas now I think of it as legitimately part of my work.

          1. Chinook

            Congratulations on it generating significant revenue (I didn’t know that and I am happy for you because I think we all believe you deserve it). In that case, it is definitely a job and even comparable, I would think, to running a successful home based business. And anyone who would question if it was would only have to look at your archives to see how much work you put in (which is very different from a home-based business, like the tutoring that I do, where there is no product for me to point to).

          2. Jamie

            Speaking of revenue generation – if you had mentioned this before and I missed it I feel awful, but I just read in the other thread that you get more $ for click throughs and purchases?

            Some of my usual vendors I buy from anyway are ads here and had I known that I totally would have linked from here and not via my bookmarks.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Thanks for asking (and thanks to everyone else asking about this and white-listing the site)! I do get more for click-throughs. I don’t think I get more for purchases that stem from click-throughs though (although I should probably find that out for sure).

      2. Anonymous

        The 1 post a week doesn’t give enough info about how much time is spent on the research part of the blog post. I think maybe the focus shouldn’t be the blog, but on the research part of it, but only if it’s good quality research. Since I’m not in OP’s field, I don’t know what that means. In mine it means peer-reviewed articles in journals including Nature and Science, and too often those are behind paywalls (not free), so doing research on your own would be hard unless you have a very good library or are going to a university library. And then reading 5-10 articles I would probably expect it would take to do 1 blog post on a very narrow topic in my field would take some time to do.

        1. Crystal -asker #3

          I probably should have elaborated a little bit more. By one post a week I mean 1500 – 3000 words. It would be similar to writing a short research essay (though not as formal), and takes about the same amount of time. I use the public library, online paid libraries, and research reports from various organisations (ILO, UNHCR etc) to inform my writing. The analysis of the issues is informed both by my research, my education and my personal bias ( I have a Master’s degree in the area I’m blogging about, so I’m not completely coming out of left-field).
          I think it is good advice to leave it in the ‘other activities’ section for now, unless it is directly relevant. If a potential employer asked, I would have no problem sharing it with them, so I have no concerns on that front. Thanks again for all your thoughts and advice.

  6. Jessa

    Regarding the vacation thing, I think I’m reading this like the OP had an email go out that says “OP out days to days and is taking this internship thing etc.” The fact is it does not matter WHY the OP is out and it’s NOT the business of anyone. Or really of the boss to say so. All the boss needs to do if that notification is necessary (why only the OP and nobody else?) is to say “OP off from day to day, call Wakeen if you need help.”

    I would worry if the manager was trying to undermine me, possibly by getting people to infer I was going to leave the job or not come back because of this internship. Yes, I’m paranoid.

    1. # 2 Question Asker

      Thank you! I agree with you 100%. It should not matter why or when I am taking vacation. Plus I am not the only employee in the office so I should not be the only person that has a mass email go out to everybody regarding my vacation time. I also had a lot of my coworkers come to my desk and ask me ” why I am going on vacation “

      1. Anonymous

        A clarifying question: did the announcement to your coworkers say that you are going to be doing an internship? Or that you will be “on vacation” or “using family vacation time” or something similar?

        If your boss told others that you were going to be off for an internship when you wanted your schooling to be private, I can see being upset about that. If your boss just said you were going to be on vacation, or use vacation days, though, I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I disagree with you that “it should not matter why or when” you take vacation – why is your own business, but in many jobs it affects others in the workplace when someone is gone, especially for a lengthy period of time. Even a short internship (2-4 weeks) is a pretty long vacation. If you’ll be gone for a significantly longer period of time than your coworkers are normally away at a stretch, that could be the reason your manager sent an email.

        1. Aimee

          I agree with you. If the OP is going to be off for an extended period of time, the boss probably sent the email as a way to give everyone a heads up. That way she doesn’t get a bunch of people asking where’s person X.

          In my job I have to send an email out to my coworkers whenever I’m going to be out for an extended period of time. It’s just to let them know in case they need something. Not everyone at my company has to do that but it comes with my job. It doesn’t mean that I need to fulfill their requests when I’m off. It just means that they know I’m off so they can either wait until I come back or ask another person to help them.

          I never took it as being unfair or that I was being singled out. There are other people who have to do the same. It just comes with my job.

          I also understand your need for privacy but your coworkers are probably just being friendly as others have indicated. We spend so much time with our coworkers that it’s only natural for them to be interested in our lives. That doesn’t mean you should share everything with them but sometimes people are just being friendly and want to learn more about you.

          1. Clobbered

            Look, there is no way that the mere fact that somebody in a workplace is on vacation comes under any kind of privacy umbrella. When you are employed, you are engaged in a public sphere activity within certain parameters. Other people will know what you look like, what your skills are, what your personality is, and where you are during working hours. In many workplaces vacation times are listed on company wide intranets or calendars. The fact that you are on vacation is not a sensitive matter.

            Also, bear in mind that given you didn’t say to your boss “I need some vacation time to brush up on my bondage techniques and build a new dungeon” they aren’t even going to be in the frame of mind that you told them something private. Going to school is not something a lot of people will consider sensitive information.

            As to how to deal with coworkers who ask you what you are planning, simply say “nothing special unfortunately, just have some things I need to get done”.

            Even if your boss hadn’t sent the email, people would still be likely to say “hey, haven’t seen you in a while, have you been away”. Work is a social activity, unless you are self-employed. Your boss did nothing wrong by common workplace norms.

            1. Cat

              And also, the OP sounds super private; the co-workers were probably glad to have something that seemed like a very neutral subject to make conversation and bond about. Where you’re going on your vacation is usually the most non-charged of workplace topics. Much safer than asking about somone’s family or dating life or whatnot.

            2. Jamie

              “I need some vacation time to brush up on my bondage techniques and build a new dungeon”

              Now that’s an out of the office message that would have people talking.

        2. fposte

          Since people are now apparently asking the OP why she’s going on vacation, I’m presuming the email didn’t mention the internship, just that she would be on vacation.

          In which case, OP, I’m with Anon, Aimee, and Clobbered; this wasn’t inappropriate of your boss, and it wasn’t at all out of the norm in a workplace. You didn’t realize this and were startled, and I understand that, but I’d recommend going the “I didn’t know, now I do, and I’ll adjust” route now.

        3. Chinook

          I agree that stating that the OP is going on vacation for an extended period of time is useful information because, as a colleague, I would read that as “so don’t assume she will be checking her emails as she is not working, so either find someone else to contact or wait until she comes back.” This can be a very healthy attitude as it reinforces that vacations are a time when you shouldn’t be working.

      2. Cat

        They’re probably just being friendly; most people like to talk about their vacation plans.

        1. KayDay

          Yeah. I too would like to know if the boss just said using vacation time, or if the boss said internship. If the boss simply said the OP will be out on vacation, that is completely normal….I mean, what else is s/he supposed to say: “the OP is going to be disappeared from work for 4 weeks,” is going to raise a hella lot more questions than saying the OP is going on vacation. If the OP is going to be out longer than most people (and plenty of employers actively discourage employees from taking more than 1 week of at a time, I don’t know if that’s the case her), it’s completely reasonable to tell people. My offices have always required employees to put their PTO time on a calendar so everyone can see.

          If the boss said that the OP was doing an internship, I am a bit more understanding, but still…an internship and completely school is something people frequently talk about at work. It something to be proud of, so I can see why the boss would mention it, if he didn’t realize the OP wanted it kept a secret. . I doubt there was any malice intended.

          1. -X-

            When I heard about the internship I thought the boss was excited and proud of this person’s work, and didn’t think the OP would want it to be private. An oversight, yes, but done out of niceness or a different interpretation of things.

          2. Sharon

            Agree with this. We actually had a lady start work with us last year, and then go out on leave. Her manager was discreet with it, but we did eventually hear that she was on “indefinite leave”, no other explanation given. I minded my own beeswax, but did wonder if it was disciplinary or maternity or what. Then in January we all got a very sad email that this lady had died…. she had cancer.

      3. Runon

        If often matters how long you are gone. Should I wait if this person is going to be back tomorrow to get their assistance or try to get someone else. The only job it wouldn’t matter for is a job that wouldn’t matter, if you are out of the office for an extended period of time all of your work will have to be passed to someone else, all of the tasks that would have been assigned to you will need to be someone else’s task.

        I assume the internship is more than a couple days, a couple of days might not get an email but a couple of weeks is a much bigger deal to the team you are a part of with trying to get all of the work done. It might also be that you have a bigger range of tasks or interactions than your coworkers.

        Finally, not telling people will make them ask you more and speculate. If you really want privacy, lie. Lie and stick too it and make it not a big deal. Oh I’m just going to stay with my sister in Nowheresville while they move for a while. Stomping your feet and insisting people have no right to know is totally your right but people are going to speculate and ask and ask and ask. Just lie if you want to keep it to yourself. Lie and be whatever about it if you really want to be private.

      4. Mimi

        I’m not sure I understand why your co-workers are asking “Why are you going on vacation?” Why does ANYBODY go on vacation? Weird question….

      5. Kou

        I don’t want to harp on you or anything, but I’m having such a hard time wrapping my mind around why you feel this was out of line. I could see why you might not like it emailed to everyone on the level of “very minor annoyance,” but not on the level of “my boss has stripped away my privacy and now I’m naked in the breeze.” This is very, very far from inappropriate conduct on the part of your boss.

        I think you are reading something into it because you’re worried about why she would choose to do this to you and not everyone, but unless you have some reason to need to scrutinize that (i.e. your boss is exceptionally passive aggressive and vindictive, in which case this email is not the real issue) I think you should let it go.

        1. SevenSixOne

          I agree. I’m super-private at work and don’t tell anyone more than they absolutely have to know but I also understand that most other people are nowhere near as private as I am and will share information I don’t want shared without a second thought. If all the information your boss shared was that you were going on a family vacation, and your boss doesn’t have a history of being a jerk, let it go.

    2. AnonAgainUnlessYouCanTrackMe

      Thanks for using “Wakeen” b/c I’ve had a fairly el crapo week and it truly made me LOL.

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      I don’ think the email said she was doing an internship, because she wrote that her boss doesn’t know: she said she told her “about the days I needed off and just told her I am taking family vacation time.”

      So if the email just said “family vacation time,” there’s no issue.

  7. Anon

    Looking at OP#2 another way…are you withholding so much of yourself to the point of isolation? Yes, everyone is entitled to privacy, but when you take any comment about your personal life as an invasion, you could be doing serious damage to your career.

    We have a person in our office who refuses to share any info about herself (to the point of where she lives) and she has alienated everyone. Since no one is comfortable working with her, she is being let go.

    1. -X-

      Your comment of the dangers about being super-private is right – it can upset some people,

      But I also have to criticize your co-workers or whoever it is who has decided to let this person go – we should try to get beyond that sort of things and evaluate people by the jobs they’re doing, or if they’re actively hurting other people’s work. Not easy, sure, but being super-private doesn’t hurt anyone and we should be big enough to not let it upset us.

      1. Cat

        It depends, I think. Some jobs require a level of trust and rapport; not so much in the job duties, but because there’s tight deadlines or tense situations and those won’t be dealt with smoothly and efficiently without that. And one person can really mess up the dynamics of the team in that respect. That doesn’t mean you have to share personal information, but you do have to figure out a way that people are comfortable working with you in the way they need to. And other people have a burden to get comfortable with you too; it works both ways. But if nobody is comfortable working with this woman, and it’s a job where they need to be (i.e., not solitary work) that’s a legitimate job-based problem, even if it’s not a quantitative, substantive one.

        1. -X-

          I don’t disagree that it’s a real problem that the private person could solve. But ethically, I think it’s really a reflection on the other people – that if they can’t deal it’s more about them than the private person.

          If someone is 100% reliable (or even 90% with slippage on unimportant stuff) at work, that builds trust for me.

          I work with some people remotely who I don’t know anything personal about, but they come through reliably enough for me.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Totally agree. If this person is really being let go because she didn’t open up about her private life and that made her coworkers uncomfortable, that’s awful.

            1. Jessa

              Exactly. And I’m being totally off the wall here: What if that employee has been stalked and just does not feel safe telling information. What if that employee is homeless and doesn’t want anyone to know. What if that employee is in witness protection and doesn’t really HAVE a good backstory to tell. What if that employee lives in a shelter for abused persons. What if that employee is gay and lives with a partner and the atmosphere of the company leads them to believe that telling that would be BAD.

              There are a zillion reasons legit or otherwise why people don’t share that information. Even if their reasons are stupid to you they have a right not to tell you anything. They’re there to work not to make friends with people that way.

              1. just another hiring manager...

                At the same time, if you are not meshing with the office culture because you choose to hold information back for whatever reason, you have to live with the consequences of not incorporating yourself into the office culture.

                I think a good manager would try to get the private employee to be more in line with office culture if not participating is negatively effecting their relationships and work, but a refusal to adapt would be grounds for letting someone go in my book.

                I do agree that letting someone go simply because they were private and it makes others uncomfortable is ridiculous, but letting someone go for not adapting to office culture after being explicitly told it’s negatively effecting their relationships and work isn’t ridiculous to me…

                1. -X-

                  “you have to live with the consequences of not incorporating yourself into the office culture.”

                  Yes you do. That’s reality.

                  But ethically it’s their problem, not yours.

                  “but letting someone go for not adapting to office culture after being explicitly told ”

                  Ethically this is BS. It’s common enough, yes, but it’s wrong.

            2. SevenSixOne

              No kidding! Is it possible the private co-worker won’t share anything about her life outside of work because she’s been stalked and harrassed by someone at work before? That’s why I keep a tight lid on my life outside of work.

          2. Cat

            You’re right; it’s not about opening up about one’s private life. It’s more about figuring out how to convey through manner and tone that you’re reliable and trustworthy, in addition to backing that up with your work; one relatively easy way to do that can be sharing some judicious things about your personal life (or showing some judicious interest in other people’s) but it’s not the only way.

      2. ThatGirl

        I totally agree with you but for some reason being secretive to that extreme about your personal life IS a little weird for most people.

        The watches-way-too-many-cop-shows-on-TV part of me started screaming, ‘serial killer’ when I read Anon’s comment.
        Honestly, isn’t that how all news stories end when someone engages in a horrendous crime? The neighbors outside, shaking their heads and saying, “He/She always kept to themselves. We never knew much about them…”

        I don’t agree with them letting her go for that specific reason, but I do understand why that’s the reason. People should feel safe and comfortable at work and companies have a responsibility to ensure that for their employees.

        1. Jamie

          Heh – it’s a joke in my family that if the neighbors were ever interviewed about us they’d go on about how awesome my husband is, use his name…talk about how friendly he is and what an awesome and gregarious guy.

          And her? “Yeah…we don’t know about her…she’s real quiet, keeps to herself…I don’t even know her name.”

          Some of us loners are perfectly harmless…I even make the charming and gregarious one kill the spiders.

          1. LPBB

            That is exactly like me and my boyfriend.

            He all the time wants to *do* things with the neighbors, while I have circled the block waiting for people to go inside so I don’t even have to deal with saying “Hi!” and agreeing the weather sucks/is awesome/means Doomsday is coming/whatever. If it weren’t for him I don’t think anyone on the street would know my name.

            And yet, if anyone is going to snap and go on a murderous rampage it’s definitely not going to be me.

        2. Jessa

          The watches too many cop shows part of me, automatically went the other way – the person is doing it for self protection. Living in a shelter for the abused. Living homeless. Witsec. Avoiding stalkers.

      3. Kou

        Generally I agree, but it sounds like this person has taken it to a logical extreme that would be pretty unsettling to deal with. I’m not sure how I would interact with someone who did that– sure I know very, very private people at work who I don’t know a single thing about outside of here (and I even have friends where I don’t even really know what their job is or where) but it sounds like this person was… Making it weird, you know?

        “Good morning Wakeen! How was your weekend?”
        “We don’t speak of those things here.”

        1. Jamie

          +1 – “We don’t speak of these things here” will be my answer to everything from now on.

          I think if people have a reason to be so private (or just want to) they should work on mastering the art of saying nothing pleasantly. If the answer to “do you have a long commute?” is “I’d prefer people not know where I live” that will weird people out. If the answer is, “not too bad – hey…that copier is making that noise again (or what about them White Sox or whatever) it’s not weird…but just as private.

    2. Anonymous

      I, like OP #2, would be irritated if my vacation “reason” was shared with everyone when no other employee’s is. I think OP #2 should let it go, though, because the reason for the vacation was a lie. I wouldn’t want to risk the boss learning I lied to her.

      There isn’t a lot of info here, but I’d presume OP #2 hopes to leave this organization after completing the associate degree. If this organization had positions OP could aspire to with the new degree I think OP would have let everyone know about the classes. As it is, it would look very odd if you walk in to the HR department one day, announce you have a new degree and want to apply for a job no one thought you were qualified for. That would raise a lot of questions, including “When and where did you do your internship?” Again, I wouldn’t my boss to learn I lied to her.

      Stick to your plan, OP. This email announcement is a mere annoyance not worth risking what you’ve accomplished thus far. Suck it up. Let it go. Finish your degree. Leave that joint.

      1. Cruella DaBoss

        Did I misread something? Did the boss send out a mass email that read, “OP will be out on vacation from this day to that day.” or did it read, “OP will be out from this day to that day to participate in a two week Top Secret intership.”?

        If it was the latter, then yes, you have every right to be angry. But if it was merely a notice that you were going on vacation, then you are overreacting.

        Letting others know when one will be out of the office is merely a courtsey to coworkers. A mass email saves time rather than going from desk to desk telling each coworker in person, especially if it is a large department.

        1. -X-

          Even if it was the internship, I think the boss if proud of that or things it’s something to be proud of. Maybe that’s a mistake, but it’s a “friendly” mistake.

    3. Chinook

      Ironically, because she is so private and a boss really has no reason to explain why the person is being let go, you have no idea why she was let go. It may be perceived that it is because she doesn’t share but there also may be performance issues that don’t affect anyone directly except TPTB. And in a vaccuum, rumours will spread.

    4. Diane

      I’ve worked with an ultra-private person who was so secretive about her activities, we didn’t know where she was or what she was doing on work time. She had a great deal of flexibility, but her reluctance to share even work information looked like she was abusing it — whether or not she was. And that could by why someone would be let go. Perceptions becomes reality, and people fill in the blanks the best (or worst) they can.

      Jaime, even though your neighbors may have a only a slight inkling that you exist, I bet your co-workers do know enough about your work, work ethic, communication preferences, and perchance for pink Hello Kitty Kiss dolls that they feel confident in your work and general sanity. Thus demonstrating that one can be private without being secretive and paranoid and ineffective.

      Now excuse me while I dust my dungeon.

    5. Cassie

      I would hate to be this person, in that office. There may be a million reasons why she doesn’t want to share her personal information – ranging from being stalked to just having an utterly boring life. Maybe she doesn’t want to be judged for owning seventy cats and living in a shoe-shaped house. Is it affecting her work, and if so, how?

      Saying other coworkers are feeling alienated because she won’t open up to them is not a good enough business reason for me. I know people will disagree – in some work environments (such as the military, or law enforcement), there has to be a certain level of trust among the team because they are (theoretically) willing to die for one another. But in an office environment? I don’t think so.

      I presume in the military or law enforcement situation, even if there was a guy (or girl) that didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the team, the team would still be duty-bound to watch each others backs. I mean, could you imagine the soldiers saying “I’m not going risking my life to save Private Ryan – he never joins in the weekly poker games. He’s such an odd ball.”?

  8. Kay

    Re #6: At a company I previously worked at, we were explicitly NOT allowed to contact anyone on formal medical or maternity leave about work matters because that could potentially screw up the short-term disability pay they were receiving. It could be seen as the person on leave doing work and cause annoyance on both ends.

    (There was of course no restriction on e-mailing to ask after their health and requesting baby photos!)

    1. KayDay

      This has been my experience as well. Because it’s part of disability, anything that could be considered “work” at all could cause problems.

  9. littlemoose

    For OP #3 – my suggestion would be to list the blog under “Other Activities” or a similar section, and then add dates, just like you would for a job (e.g., December 2012 – present). My concern in listing in like a regular job is that an employer might look at it and think, “She tried to make a living blogging, how naive and millenial of her.” Not that people can’t do well blogging – many do! – but some people still see it as “not a real job” or don’t take it seriously. Moreover, while you were blogging to stay current and informed in your field (which is awesome), it wasn’t remunerative or a full-time effort. So, I think listing it as an other activity with dates would adequately express that you’ve been doing this since you stopped working regularly. Also, five months is not that long of an employment gap, IMHO – your last job clearly ended because it was a term position, and now you’re looking for another position. I don’t think that screams “unemployable,” “fickle,” or “possibly in prison for a while.” Good luck in the job hunt!

  10. # 2 Question Asker

    Exactly. No the job I am currently at now has no positions for the degree I am pursuing that is why I didn’t want anyone to know I was in school because if they knew the degree I am trying to obtain they would know my plans of leaving the company way before I finished school or secured a job in my field. I will tell them I have a associates degree in Health Information Technology but after I obtain a position and put in my 2 weeks notice.

    1. Runon

      I don’t understand why you would tell them then? Why tell them at all? If you are so focused on having your privacy then why would you tell them something that would be totally irrelevant? You only have to tell them your last day of work.

    2. Anonymous

      I wonder if vacation has somehow become political at your workplace, and your boss is making a stand by announcing yours. Or she has been bitten recently by a manager in another department not knowing one of her subordinates was out, and making a fuss.

      You don’t have to say anything more than, “Doing my own thing,” or “Working on some personal stuff” or “I just need a bit of a break before the weather gets really warm.”
      If you take a day off, you could always go out of town and take a bunch of photos to post or show off.

      And by the time you’ve got the degree and applied and been accepted, it may well be far enough out that nobody connects it.

    3. fposte

      So is that you’re annoyed because the company’s announcement that you’re out on vacation means that you’re put on the spot about withholding your secret from people who ask?

      If so, I think that needs to be let go–it’s not really fair to be annoyed at the company for unintentionally making it harder for you to keep a secret from them.

  11. # 2 Question Asker

    Well when I requested my time off my boss immediately called me on the phone and asked me ” what’s going on” she kind of put
    me on the spot to tell her. She waited days before approving my time and sounded disappointed.

    1. Anonymous

      How much time are you actually taking off? Do you have actual vacation or PTO for all of it?

    2. fposte

      I’m still not seeing that as a big deal, though. If your theory is that she emailed people to punish you, that doesn’t really fly because your outage is something reasonable to tell people about.

      And if it’s clear that you’re not entirely satisfied in your job, it’s reasonable for your boss to be alert to the possibility that you’re looking elsewhere.

      1. Kou

        Unless this is a work environment where taking time off is a sin and announcing a vacation is like putting the scarlet letter on someone, but then that’s kind of a relevant point that needs to be brought up.

    3. E

      Your time off does impact others at your workplace, and there’s a reason it does have to be approved. I’m just thinking about the amount of time an internship often takes and a random 2 weeks to month off is something the boss might need to think over. I had a coworker take a total of 6 weeks off during our busiest 2 months of the year for a staycation and the rest of us were all a bit annoyed because we got way overworked. So, no, you don’t have to tell your boss why but your boss also doesn’t need to approve all vacation requests without explanation.

      And everybody on my team lets the rest of the group if they’re on vacation, coming in late, working from home, etc. Sometimes with an explanation, sometimes not. Sending an email out to say “I will not be in from x date to x date” is I think often a pretty basic thing to do when working with others. My boss has never done that for me but she has reminded me, when I’ve asked for a day off or to be able to come in late or whatever, to let people know.

      1. Jamie

        Agreed. I don’t think it’s weird that it was announced when the OP were going to be out, rather I find it strange that this isn’t done when anyone is going to be out.

        It’s just common courtesy to notify people if someone won’t be in – even if just to alert them of where to go if they need X in the interim.

        If it were me and if I was taking some time for a personal reason I didn’t want to discuss at work I’d just call it a vacation…which is what you did. I’m confused on exactly why the OP is upset – seems par for the course to me.

      2. # 2 Question Asker

        Yes I understand. I am the receptionist for the company which I am not exactly thrilled with. I started off as a assistant and got moved to the front desk. There are 2 girls that have the option of picking up the receptionist line if I am away from my desk. So I have 2 backup people. I would really like to change positions. All the work gets dumped on me. They slap their cups and even shoes on my desk and say ” watch this while I go to the bathroom”

        1. Anonymous

          If you are the receptionist then it makes perfect sense that everyone gets told that you would be out for 2 weeks. That’s going to require not just someone to answer the phone (potentially one of those two women, I assume they aren’t 12, but potentially they have other duties and can’t do that) but also to actually work at the front desk. Clearly that is a job that the leadership thinks needs to be done and so they now need to decide if someone else does it instead of their usual duties for 2 weeks, or in addition, or if they get a temp. Having an email go out to everyone is completely reasonable. I would have been surprised if your boss hadn’t done it.

        2. fposte

          I think you’re in the bad-relationship place with this job, OP, and that while your question was essentially about the socks the guy leaves on the floor, the real issue is that you’ve pretty much had it with him and everything he does bugs you.

        3. Chinook

          As recepitonist, then it is perfectly reasonable for your boss to say that you are on vacation because it is possible they are hiring a temp to cover the front desk and she doesn’t want people to think you were fired. If they they don’t have a temp, then it is cueing your coverage that they will have to be answering the phones for the next few weeks and that they shoudln’t resent you because you are on vacation, which we all deserve to have.

          As for slapping “their cups and even shoes on my desk and say ” watch this while I go to the bathroom”,” that is a completely different issue. First, is it a perception that they are doing this rudely that is biased because you hate your position or are they just that rude abotu everything. I can understand asking to leave cups at reception while using the bathroom (as receptionist, I was asked to supervise all sorts of personal items, including Blackberries, while people were in the washroom, and I took it to mean that I was to ensure that they didn’t walk out with anyone else and caused no extra work on my part).

          And if all their work is getting dumped on you, then this is a compeltely different issue it means that you are getting too much work too handle or from people who shouldn’t be assigning it to you. When I have had this done, I have approached my supervisor to ask them how they would like me to priortize it and had them clarify my role and given me the authority to push back by pointing those people to her by saying that she is the one who assigns my duties and I would be willing to help them with her permission (this seemed to diveret a lot of the work because they never seemed to want to approach her with it).

        4. some1

          Ugh, the putting coffee cops and other personal items on my desk used to happen to me when I was a receptionist. It was so obnoxious. I used to move them to a counter-space that was by my desk.

          As for the email from your boss, I can see why she sent it now. Since your position is so visible, people will notice that you are gone more than some random person in Accounting who not everyone even knows. She is probably heading off all the questions at the pass that would come if she didn’t announce it. I was one of the back-ups for the receptionist at a former job. The receptionist was absent a LOT and every time I covered for her at least a dozen people would ask me, “Where’s Jenny? Is she sick? Are you up here all day?” etc.

          Also, of course you earned your vacation time and you are as entitled to use it do whatever you wish. And even though you have two admins who can back you up while you are out, they will need to do there present jobs while you are out t0o, so it’s helpful to have as much time as possible to coordinate how that will work, especially for two weeks of coverage. And most likely not all of their work can be done from the reception desk, especially if you have a lot of incoming calls &/or visitors, or if you are expected to be at the desk almost all of the time.

          This isn’t about your boss picking on you. This is about the nature of receptionist position being one that has a different set of logistics to cover absences.

          1. # 2 Question Asker

            I agree now announcing my vacation just comes along with the position. I guess I just let my emotions get too involved, one reason is because I do not like being the
            receptionist the person who has to answer all the ignoring calls and ask for permission to go the bathroom and lunch like I am not a adult. The company I work for has a hard time filling their receptionist position. My boss just told me I was going to the receptionist desk and I had no say so. They have always had a temp to fill this role. The receptionist desk was empty for years before my boss forced me in the position.

            1. some1

              “ask for permission to go the bathroom and lunch like I am not a adult”

              Ugh, this is the other part that sucks about being the receptionist. The only thing I can recommend is that you think of it in terms of asking the co-worker to cover while you are away; not asking for permission to use the bathroom or take the lunch you are entitled to.

              Next time you have to go the bathroom, I would just call your back-up and say, “I need you to come up to the front desk for a few minutes.” If your back-ups refuse, let your manager know as matter-of-factly as you can.

              As for lunches, there’s two options: set up a schedule that your back-ups alternate covering for you from say, 12:00-12:30 every day. If your back-up is late getting to your desk to cover lunch, politely say something like, “I really count on being able to leave for lunch at noon. I really need you to be at the front desk at noon sharp from now on.” If it continues, alert your manager.

              Your second option is emailing your back-ups each morning and coordinate who is covering your lunch for when you will want to go.

              The first option was the most efficient for me when I was a receptionist, but it also lacks the flexibility of being able to take your lunch at different times.

              1. Chinook

                I have to agree with prearranging your lunch schedule, and maybe even 2 coffee/health breaks, with your coverage ahead of time. I would actually send out a schedule a month ahead of time so everyone could coordinate as need be (and the OM pointed out that, if they couldn’t cover, the yhad to find a replacement, not me). If there was a reason I had to take a break at a different time, I would coordinate with that day’s person.

                True, there was griping among the AA’s for having to cover, but that became an issue of their attitude towards their job (as this was part of their job description) that could be dealt with by the OM. Most importantly, it forced me to take breaks during the day as these people were already at my desk when it was time for a break (as many of them would “force” me to leave). This helped a lot during busy periods because it gave me time away from that annoying sound of a phone ringing.

            2. The Other Dawn

              Yes, it’s totally reasonable to announce your vacation. The receptionist usually handles a multitude of tasks so it’s important to know when she won’t be in. It’s not like your boss announced that you were going to have hemorrhoid surgery. She said “vacation.”

              As much as it sucks that you got forced into the position, it’s totally your boss’s prerogative to put you where she needs you most. I’ve never been in a place where people were asked if they wanted a different position. It just happened and if we weren’t willing to accept the job as is, we were welcome to move on. I’m not sure if you really meant you have to ask permission for the bathroom and lunch, but as a receptionist, if you’re going to be away from your desk someone needs to know so they can cover for you.

              Sounds like you’re almost out of there so I wouldn’t let things get to you. It will just make your remaining time that much more difficult.

            3. jennie

              I think I’ve met one person in my entire career who enjoyed being a receptionist. I agree it’s not fair if it was a bait and switch, but I’ve hired people for reception and explicitly stated the nature of the job and that we’re looking for someone interested in this work long-term and not as a stepping stone and still they were dissatisfied within months. We finally went to a completely automated phone system and a rotation on the desk by people with other duties for rare walk-in visitors.

              1. Elizabeth West

                Depending on the company, it can be a very enjoyable job. I had one position where I was the front desk, but we had an auto-ring on the phone and I rarely had to answer it. It was a materials testing lab–most people just called straight in to their analyst and skipped over me entirely.

                The other awesome part was this: I wasn’t stuck up there all the time. I had plenty of times when I could go prep test bottles, run in back and wash glassware, water the plants, file in the basement with my boom box going, ship samples when we coulnd’t test them there, etc. I loved my coworkers–there were twelve of us and we had fun all the time. And receiving samples was fun even when they were stinky. I really really loved that receptionist job. Despite the fact that it was part-time with no benefits and the pay was very low, I was extremely sad when the business shut down and I lost it. Because it was 1999-2001, it will have to drop off my resume now, but I don’t want it to!

              2. Jamie

                I did this when I temped….the phones and all those people. And having to be sunny and welcoming all day.

                Nothing in IT is as tough as that.

                1. Cat

                  Yeah, back when I temped, I felt like being a receptionist was kind of like people said about being in a war*: long periods of boredom punctuated by total and utter terror and chaos when every single customer decided to call in all at once.

                  * Apologies for the melodramatic analogy.

            4. Elizabeth West

              Been there, done that.

              If people who aren’t supposed to assign work to you are doing so, you can always tell them to check with your supervisor first. But I woudl ask your supervisor if you are expected to do this (not in that way–more like “I’m a bit swamped up front; when people ask me to help with tasks, are there priorities you would like me to set there? Do you want me to refer them to you first?” or something like that). I had to do this at OldJob because there was one person in particular who tried to dump stuff on me under my boss’s radar all the time.

              Having someone cover the phone when you go pee and eat lunch and are out is just part of that job. I had plenty of days where I had to eat at my desk because my backup was out. It happens. So does “watch my stuff.” That never bothered me; what did was when people used my desk as a supply closet and stole my pens, sticky notes, stapler, etc. I put big stickers on everything “FRONT DESK” or “LIZ’S STAPLER” or something. That cut down on it a bit.

              If you’re up to the internship for school, just hang in there; a better job may be just around the corner. :)

          2. Jessa

            Okay the other personal items on your desk can be dealt with and needs to be. Either make a specific space for it, or get a side table and be firm with “stuff goes here.”

            Because at this point “watching stuff” has already been folded into your job description. You’re highly unlikely to get them to completely stop. So you need to get them to do it on your terms. Stuff goes here. You say please and thank you and you don’t talk to the receptionist like they’re some order taking robot.

            1. # 2 Question Asker

              Yes it is just annoying to me how they just drop their stuff on my desk food, cups, water bottles. I don’t understand why they bring this stuff up from their desks if they are going to the restroom, they should just lock it in their cubicle drawer while going to the restroom.

              1. Jamie

                Just out of curiosity are they leaving it on your desk itself – or up on a counter. Most front desks where I’ve worked have a counter kind of above or circling the desk. Is that where they are leaving stuff? Because that’s kind of a common area rather than being part of the desk – in a lot of places.

                1. # 2 Question Asker

                  It’s pretty much my desk it’s a long piece of wood that is in front of me that as my name plate on it and my outgoing mail basket.

                2. Anonymous

                  Is the outgoing mail basket the one where people drop off mail for you to send? (Sorry if it’s not a part of your responsibilities, but it is rather common for the receptionist to send mail) If so, they may be viewing it as sort of a common surface, rather than your desk. Maybe you could move the basket?

        5. anon

          Just wanted to say I feel your pain, OP. My cubicle is right by the bathrooms, which in and of itself already sucks like no other. Then to have people “drop off” their stuff at my desk all the time and pick it up whenever they feel like it or remember to do so just makes me wanna smack someone.

        6. anon 2

          Just wanted to say I feel your pain, OP. My cubicle is right by the bathrooms, which in and of itself already sucks like no other. Then to have people “drop off” their stuff at my desk all the time and pick it up whenever they feel like it or remember to do so just makes me wanna smack someone.

    4. Jane Doe

      I can see why you’d be annoyed at that, even though I think it’s pretty normal to notify your coworkers why you’re taking time off. I think the Anon poster above might be onto something about the use of vacation time becoming political or controversial. I worked at a company where people would routinely use up all their vacation time (depending on how long you were there, you could have enough time banked to take 2+ weeks), then put in their notice at the end of their vacation. Completely within their rights, but often annoying for their managers.

      I also think it’s normal to be disappointed you might be losing an employee…that said, people change jobs all the time. It’s also possible she’s annoyed because she feels she can’t really deny your request.

      I’ve also had bosses who waited to approve a vacation request because they had to check with someone above them.

      1. Judy

        On one team I worked on with lots of turnover, it started to be a joke, after a person responded about the vacation as “I need to work on my roof.” He didn’t seem to be one who would work on his own roof, in fact I was slightly concerned he’d fall off, he was kind of clumsy. He turned in his notice when he returned, and from that time until I left, anyone taking vacation was asked (by peers), “so, you working on your roof?” They may still be doing it to this day.

  12. # 2 Question Asker

    I am taking off almost 2 weeks. I have vacation, sick, and personal day time.

    1. Anonymous

      It you use the reply feature you can actually respond to people rather than creating a new comment thread. Simply click “Reply” below the comment you want to respond to.

    2. Jamie

      Your boss allowing you to use sick time for this is pretty generous – that’s actually really nice of your company. Most places would make you take the non-vacay/PTO time unpaid if they allowed the unpaid at all.

      1. E

        Yeah, if my boss approved my taking sick time for an obvious vacaition, she’d be agreeing to essentially lie to HR. Which she might do, because we all bend the rules here and there, but it would be a big favor.

        The boss might also have assumed that the personal/vacation time was supplementing sick time because OP needed an extended hospital stay or something, hence the acting concerned and asking what was going on.

  13. Just sayin'

    #1 – I’d suggest you get specifics in writing, but I’d also consider asking for equity… If it really takes off, it will be worth way more than any salary increase and if it doesn’t (which you should know in some reasonable time), you can move on to another opportunity. Wealth creation is all about ownership, not salary!!

  14. Anonimal

    #2-I gave it a lot of thought before deciding to post a response. Everybody gets to have their life be as private as they want, for good or for ill. I’m not sure how the people you work with, those that depend on you for their daily job functions, knowing you are going on a family vacation (whether you are or aren’t), is that big of a privacy invasion. Most people take vacations or at least have heard of people taking vacations. Like AAM said, I would let this go. Getting upset isn’t going to take back that email. And in the TMI land that often happens at work, this is mild by comparison.

    I’m more concerned about you not being upfront about the internship. I just don’t get that. Especially with your boss. Maybe your boss is a wacko and would fire you for getting a degree to better yourself and eventually leave. I don’t know that I’d want to work for someone like that anyway. In my experience though, most bosses work better with more information rather than less. And unless your work environment is super toxic, most coworkers would be supportive.

    Maybe all of the above is true, the wacko boss and toxic workplace. We don’t know. I’m just not sure how this is something to get super worked up over and I’m not sure how keeping this a secret is that important. But then again, my office often shares alot of personal things going on. Illness, doctor appointments, vacations, kids issues etc.

    1. The Other Dawn

      “In my experience though, most bosses work better with more information rather than less. ”

      This. I understand the need for privacy sometimes, but it really irks me when someone has something going on at home or whatever and doesn’t at least give me a heads-up. I don’t need all the details, but an FYI would be nice. At least so I know that she may be late for a few days for that reason or need to leave a little early or is upset. Instead I’m left to form my own wonder if the person is oversleeping or just doesn’t care about the job.

      1. Anonimal

        We had a security briefing last week and one of the things the guy said in relation to stalkers was…tell your boss, tell HR. People are ashamed or think others don’t need to know when in fact they totally need to know. And God forbid you didn’t tell and wacko shows up and does something and hurts others. That’s on you.

        1. KellyK

          While I agree with most of that paragraph, wacko’s actions are on wacko and only on wacko. Period. Their stalkee is not responsible for their behavior.

            1. Anonimal

              No, it was just an aside. Those were the speakers words and considering the implications to others when you don’t speak up about safety issues. I realize it’s not related to the vacation thing but in regards to privacy…

          1. Lynn

            I was stalked once a long time ago. I found that it gets to be really crappy telling people about it. Most people do everything they can to stay away from you because they don’t want the “drama” of dealing with the situation. Which is unfair, because the stalk-ee is not the one causing the drama, but who ever said life was fair?

            Even though I can see how a GOOD employer could do a lot more to keep you safe if they knew about it, I can understand the hesitation, not wanting to be fired because your employer didn’t want any “drama” around the workplace.

      2. Anon for this

        I agree with this. I fully support people’s right to privacy and that just saying you need the time for personal reasons should be enough – and is, in a fair system – but there’s a human element here sometimes goes missing if you give the barest minimum of facts.

        I’m dealing with a medical thing now – no big deal – but needing to flex the schedule a here and there to accommodate doctor’s appointments. I absolutely could have just cashed in PTO and just cited personal reasons and been within my rights and they would have allowed me the time. No question.

        But I do have a pretty close relationship with my boss. I know she cares about me, and as I haven’t been feeling well I know she’s been worried about me on a personal level because I just haven’t been myself. So I had no problem discussing the details with her. Way more detail than many would deem advisable – but I was completely comfortable and she was awesome. She’s like a medical encyclopedia anyway so she was a wealth of information and understanding.

        The upside for her is she knows it’s nothing major to worry about and that I’m okay (and not just ‘not myself’ because I’m disgruntled and looking). The upside for me is I was able to express my concern about my own performance and was assured that the only one unhappy with me was me – and that everything was fine and sometimes we have to take care of medical stuff…no big deal. I cannot tell you how much that eased my mind.

        I was also told not to use PTO because, “for all the extra time you put in? Don’t be ridiculous – just take care of yourself.”

        Wouldn’t be sustainable indefinitely – but her knowing what was up, what time was involved …makes the whole thing much easier and one less thing to worry about.

        However, if we had a different relationship and I didn’t feel comfortable I’d have absolutely just said nicely that it was personal and cashed in my PO.

        But my point is if you have the relationship where you’re comfortable being open (to whatever degree) it fosters trust and can make a difficult situation a little easier.

  15. Malissa

    #5–Treat an internal opening just like you would an external one. Especially if you are up against external candidates. Being internal you have the opportunity to ask about the position and the work. Use this to your advantage!

    I just interviewed four people for my replacement, two who were internal candidates. Neither of the internal candidates bothered to research my department and figure out what it is we do. One had even visited with me for two hours to figure out what the job was. Talk about a real disappointment.

    When the external candidates showed up and knew more about what we do than the internal ones….well we ended up hiring one of them.

  16. ThursdaysGeek

    #7 – Back when I was working retail, I never got a written job offer. I was verbally told I had the job and what time to show up. They haven’t told #7 what time to show up, so I wouldn’t think she has the job yet either. Have times changed, and even restaurants and shoe repairs give written job offers now?

    1. Anonymous

      They don’t. It’s the token low-wage worker question with a response geared for senior-level positions.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Actually, no. I didn’t write “written job offer” in this case for exactly that reason. But you still don’t have the job until you’re told you have the job, in any context.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          Ah, I was translating of “formal job offer” to “written job offer” in my mind, because of where I’ve been for so long. But a verbal offer can also be a formal job offer, depending on the job. And there is probably a very fuzzy line where it could be either as it moves from verbal to written.

          1. ThursdaysGeek

            And that might be a good point to make. As some move from mowing lawns and serving fries to a professional career, there comes a point where a verbal offer is NOT a formal offer, and you shouldn’t give notice based on it. The challange for a younger worker is recognizing when they’ve reached that point, especially when all former offers were verbal.

  17. Lillie Lane

    About #7: I think it’s weird that they had the OP come in twice and never asked her if she wanted to work PT or FT — wouldn’t that be a basic question that should have come up?

    1. Lindsay J

      Yeah, most retail etc interviews I have ever had began with: the store is open from 9AM-9PM, we expect you to have flexible hours within that timeframe and be available on weekends. You would be scheduled for about 30 hours within that time frame/ we are looking for somebody to work Friday and Saturday nights from 2PM-10PM/This is a 12 hour per week position – is that in line with what you are looking for?

      No need to go through two interviews if somebody is looking for full-time and you can only offer part time, or if you need somebody on Sunday mornings and the candidate does church and family brunch on Sundays.

  18. Sniper

    For No. 6, you are out of sight and therefore, out of mind. Plus, with other people picking up your work in your absence, I can’t see them thinking ‘ah, let me send her this info on this other opening while I do her work for her.’ Not to mention a potential ‘no contact’ rule for people out on medical leave.

    It sucks, but life isn’t fair.

  19. Cassie

    #2: I wouldn’t have a problem with my boss letting people know I was on vacation, or would be, for anything more than a couple of days. It’s better than the alternative – I was on vacation for 3 weeks and if he had told people that I was just “out”, they would probably think I was out sick or had some sort of top-secret situation.

    Prime examples: two employees took leaves of absences – for one, it had to do with the employee’s immigration status. And her boss told people about it. To me, that’s a big no-no. I would be embarrassed if I were that employee.

    The other employee took a leave of absence several months after joining the team. And then his position was posted in the job openings and they hired someone new. I have no idea why he was on LOA (whether he was sick or what) and truthfully, it’s none of my business. I was a little curious, since he had joined only recently, but didn’t feel like it was my place to ask his coworkers.

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