does my boss hate that I leave at 5 p.m., paying for LinkedIn, and more

It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Does my boss hold it against me that I leave work at 5:00?

I work at a small company(~15 people) and many employees work longer than 8 hours a day. I’m in the lowest position in my organization but feel I have about 8 hours of work a day on average. When I leave work after 8 hours, my boss looks at me like I’m insane. I was told during the interview that this job would be a primarily 9-5 job with some exceptions of longer hours some days.

The strangest thing is my boss made it very clear during my interview that the most important thing to him was that I got my work done on time and thus far I haven’t had any problems. I can’t tell if I’m just imaging things, but I’m terrified my boss thinks I’m lazy. Help!

If all you’re basing this on so far is a look, there’s plenty of room for misinterpreting. Sure, the look might mean “how dare you leave at 5?” but it also might mean “I had no idea it was 5 until I saw you leaving — where did the day go?” or “I envy your ability to leave at 5″ or who knows what else.

So why not ask him about it? Ask for feedback about how you”re doing overall, and as part of the conversation, say something like, “I might be misinterpreting, but do you have any concern about the hours I’m working? I generally work 9-5 but stay later if I need to in order to get my work done. I want to make sure we’re on the same page about your expectations there.”

2. A job that fired me says I can use them as a reference

I was recently discharged from my job, and the director of HR said I could use her as a reference. I was only employed for about 90 days from when I was hired and I wasn’t a temporary hire. I am confused why she would offer this to me when I was fired. Can you tell me if it would it be wise to use her name as one of my references or not a wise move?

I wouldn’t. First of all, you were only there 90 days, so they’re not going to be able to speak with any nuance about your work. Second, you were fired, so whatever nuance they do have isn’t going to skew positive. She probably offered because it felt like the kind thing to do, but I wouldn’t put her (or anyone from that job) on your reference list.

3. Is paying for LinkedIn worth it?

Is the premier Job Seeker membership tier on LinkedIn worth it? It’s pretty pricy, but I’d probably be more inclined to pay for this than some scammer job board site.

I don’t think so, but maybe others who have tried it can chime in. It does let you see who has viewed your profile, though, which is interesting information (although not especially useful, since you have no way of knowing if they viewed it and thought you were a great potential candidate or thought you were sadly lacking).

4. Is being introduced to the team a good sign at a job interview?

I have a question about a job interview I just did. Is being introduced to the team a good sign? I have read that it could be a good sign or that it does not matter. The hiring manager could do that every potential employee, right?

Yep. Some hiring managers do it with every candidate, some do it only with candidates they think are strong, some do it when they have time to kill during the period set aside for the interview, and some don’t do it it at all. You can’t really read anything into it.

5. Telling an employee that she’s disliked and should look for another job

Are there any ramifications to a manager and a supervisor for pulling in a current, good employee who they don’t like and telling them that they are not liked in the team and they should probably look for employment elsewhere?

Legal ramifications? No. (Assuming their action isn’t based on the person’s race, religion, etc.) Other ramifications? Sure. The person is probably going to feel horrible and start looking for another job.

Are you the manager or the employee in this scenario? If you’re the manager, you need to be more direct and give the person feedback on what the issues are (and agree on a transition out if that’s how you want it to go). If you’re the employee, take it as writing on the wall and start job searching.

(I should note that “you’re not liked here” is BS feedback … but in some cases it could be reasonable to say, “You’re having problems integrating into the team, which is causing problems X, Y, and Z.” So I’d want to know which it was before fully condemning the manager.)

6. Will a background check reveal that I quit my job recently?

I quit my previous job where I worked only 5 months because of an abusive manager. I was offered a new job contingent upon a background check; however, during the interview process I let them assume I was still working there because I didn’t want to say anything negative about why I left without finding a new job first. Now I am afraid they will verify my employment and find out I already quit a month ago. How should I handle this?

Did you lie to them about it, either on your resume or when talking to them? If you didn’t lie but rather just didn’t mention that you’d left that job, it’s not a big deal. You weren’t under any obligation to update them when you quit.

However, if you did explicitly lie, that’s a problem. Part of the point of a background check is to check your integrity and make sure the information you provided is accurate. If it wasn’t … well, yeah, that’s going to understandably be an issue. You’re better off owning the decision and not trying to hide it.

7. Should I mention I needed to revise an answer on a hiring exercise?

After an initial phone screen, I was asked to complete a timed technical exercise. The problems were emailed to me and I had to send back my responses within a certain time frame. That same evening, while thinking about the exercise more, I realized with horror that I had misinterpreted one of the questions (of only two) and submitted an incorrect response. I quickly sent a revised answer with a brief note explaining that I had realized my error and hoped my revision would be taken into consideration. I figured it was likely that I would never hear back.

The next week, I was asked to interview by phone with the hiring manager. I was prepared to discuss why I made the mistake and how I would prevent a similar error from happening while on the job. But it didn’t come up in our conversation, though the hiring manager did ask what experience I have doing the technical aspects of the job (this is actually the part of the job in which I am least experienced, but think I would enjoy).

Now, I’ve been invited to interview in person. My question is whether you think it would be useful to bring up the technical exercise, or if I should just not mention it unless they do?

They thought you were strong enough to invite to interview after that happened, so they presumably saw your revision and were satisfied by it. That said, I’d still probably say something anyway, just because it would bug me if I didn’t (and because it’s possible that saying something about it could move you from “barely made the cut due to that weird answer on the exercise” to “strong candidate with no reservations.”

So if there’s an opening to do this naturally, I’d say something like, “I hope you got the follow-up I sent to the technical exercise. I was mortified when I realized I’d misinterpreted the question originally.”

{ 156 comments… read them below }

  1. WWWONKA

    #3 I have said it here before. LinkedIn is nothing more to me than Facebook for the business world. Unless you have a person as a contact you can not message them. I do not want to make “friends” with everyone just to message them. I also feel it is a place to post your resume in the hopes of a job prospect rather than making a contact.

    1. Confused

      I disagree. My friend’s husband got his job through Linkedin and she encouraged me to use it when I was job searching. I connected with several recruiters. One remembered me when we met at a job fair, the other = an interview at a very difficult-to-get-into company. My industry is all about who you know, it’s a good way to stay connected.
      I’ve wondered about the paid version too, though. Maybe good temporarily/short term while job searching? *shrug*

      1. Sancho

        They sometimes offer free trials for the Premium accounts. So maybe try it for thirty days, see if it is actually useful, and decide then if you want to keep going with it.

          1. Sydney Bristow

            Yes you do. I did the free trial and put a note in my calendar reminding me a few days before the free trial ended. It wasn’t worth it, in my opinion. I’d say I’m moderately active on LinkedIn. My profile is very detailed and completely up to date. I am connected to coworkers and former law school classmates who I feel know my work and I know theirs. I somewhat regularly check the “people you may know” section to see if new people I’d want to connect with have joined.

            The most interesting thing was the ability to see a ranking of the search results I ended up in. Most of the time I appeared because of a former employer who is fairly prominent in the field. This is useful information if you want to try and get key words into your profile so you appear in more searches, but I wasn’t really able to accomplish that in 30 days.

          2. SB

            Have you ever gotten one of those Visa of AMEX gift cards? I keep those handy even after I’ve spent the money because when I sign up for a free trial I use that number for the credit card number.

    2. Felicia

      There are lots of jobs that you can apply for that are posted on Linkedin, and i’ve gotten a job that I applied to on LinkedIn.

      Perhaps you’ve never looked at the job searching feature? Some great companies advertise jobs on LinkedIn. So you actually do make contact by responding to job postings, it’s not just posting yoru resume

      That being said I dont see the purpose of the premium feature, but it’s not the same as Facebook, and there’s more to it than you’ve explored . It’s also an easy way to keep in touch with your former managers after they’ve left the company (they’d never add you on Facebook, but they will add you on LinkedIn, so you can contact them)

          1. the gold digger

            No, but it’s an easy location to search from. You can save the jobs you want to apply for and then keep them saved once you have submitted, so it makes it easy to track.

        1. voluptuousfire

          Agreed as well. I’ve gotten all of my recent job interviews off of Indeed.com and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great tool because if you submit your application via LinkedIn’s site, it attaches your profile and gives the employer a better overview of you as a candidate.

    3. Cathy

      “Unless you have a person as a contact you can not message them.”

      This is not true. I send inMail to people all the time and I receive it as well. Just yesterday I got a message from a recruiter.

      1. Tina

        Inmail is the premium, pay-for function. Until recently, you used to people to “send a message” to someone who was in a shared group (without paying anything), but it took a few steps and now you can’t send a message quite as easily. But I did use it quite frequently to recruit alumni and other professionals for career panels that they put together, and I only have the free account. I quite miss that function!

        1. ChristineSW

          Actually, you can send a private message to someone in a shared group, but only in response to a specific post in a discussion. You’d see “reply privately” next to the post.

          1. JJ

            It depends on that person’s group settings. When you join a group you can decide if you want to allow anyone in the group to send you a message.

        2. Catherine

          That function is still there. Just click on the number of group members that is hyperlinked and search for your keyword. You will see “send message” appear on the right hand side. Click it to reach out to your intended contact.

          I don’t pay for networking, but I do spend a lot of time working with LinkedIn to help my clients with their job searching and career moves.

    4. Theresa the Great

      I disagree. You can message people that are not your contacts or in your network but I believe this is only possible with premium accounts. While Linkedin doesn’t state this explicitly, its implied in their marketing that you can follow up with recruiters about job opportunities. I don’t know if recruiters are receptive to this but I like that I can identify the HR person or team members that I’d potentially be working with.

    5. Brandy

      I got my current job through LinkedIn, though I only have the basic profile (not premier).

      Someone actually had been trying to connect with a coworker of mine, and the coworker said “I don’t have this skill set, but my coworker Brandy does…” and the person contacted me through LinkedIn. We met in person, hit it off, and two years later I don’t regret the decision at all.

      DH also got several interesting job offers/ requests for interviews through linkedin.

      We’ve also both gotten a whole bunch of junk. I would imagine this depends on your title and industry.

    6. Rich

      Strongly disagree with the discounting of LinkedIn. I use the Recruiter feature to access everyone in their system and it’s helped me place people at my current gig. In fact, it’s my go-to for sourcing and where I stay abreast of what’s happening professionally for people in my network. Come to think of it, I may not have my current gig if it weren’t for LinkedIn.

      As for paying for premium, unless you’re aggressively connecting and networking for a clear purpose (i.e. you’re in sales or starting a business), I don’t think it’s worth it. When I see the premium badge on someone’s profile, it doesn’t make them any more attractive as a candidate.

      1. Erin

        I completely agree with Rich! My previous employer (FTSE 100) purchased the full “recruiter” functionality for all recruiters and we used it extensively, both for candidate sourcing and job advertising. We also reduced using the more traditional boards. So keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, easily searchable and professional. But I don’t think you need to pay for it as a candidate.

    7. Laura

      I got my job via linkedin and did upgrade to the premium for the ability to contact directly the hiring manager and bypass HR. It was a huge corporation. I sent resume through the online portal to HR, but it started a conversation with hiring manager, and ultimately led to job.

      I also like that you can see who has viewed your profile. Maybe its just the stalker in me, but I liked knowing if HR at the companies I was applying to ever went and looked.

      1. JobSeeker 1

        Laura, how did you initiate contact with the hiring manager? Was this after a phone interview or did you make contact before having an interview? If you made contact before the interview, how did you know who the hiring manager was? I know the HR contacts are tied to the job postings on LinkedIn but I don’t recall ever seeing info on the hiring managers.

    8. Vicki

      This is why I pay for a LinkedIn “Business” account (the lowest $$% level of “premium”). I get 3 InMails per month and if I don;t use them, they carry over to the next month. This allows me to send a message to people I’m not connected to, which can be very useful.

      @ WWWONKA – you’re welcome to your opinion, of course, but as a user of both LinkedIn and FB, I strongly disagree with your first statement. LI is far far more than “FB for business people”.

      Also, it’s not true that you cannot message someone unless they are a contact. You can message people who are 2nd or (I think) 3rd level contacts if you worked at a company where they worked or ar in a group with them. Also, many people post their contact information.

      Finally, LI “contacts” are not “friends” (although, many times, friends are contacts).

  2. WWWONKA

    #2 I would not make any reference to that job on my resume or contacts. Ask that HR person what her intentions are.

    1. FormerManager

      I wonder if the HR person meant she’d give a neutral reference. Even so, I wouldn’t use her because a neutral reference means nothing.

    2. Elizabeth West

      I wouldn’t either, but mostly because the OP was only there for 90 days. That’s not long enough for a reference, good or bad, unless she set the place on fire.

      1. JJ

        You can do this with a regular account too – you have to change your profile’s privacy settings. If you choose to be anonymous, you can’t see who has viewed your profile either.

    1. AdAgencyChick

      Not always — sometimes it will tell you exactly who, and sometimes it will just say “Someone in the XYZ industry.” Then when you try to find out who, it asks you to pay.

      1. Jen

        This is a setting available for regular users. You can set whether others should see your full name, your company or just “someone”, but if you want to browse anonymously then you won’t see the names of the people who view *your* profile.

    2. Felicia

      I think if someone’s a second or perhaps 3rd degree connection (and definitely a 1st degree connection), you can see who viewed your profile. That’s one thing I don’t like about it…If I view someone’s profile, they know i was looking

      1. Sydney Bristow

        You can disable that so you appear anonymous in most searches. I can’t remember when premium account holders can see your info, but I think they all have a LinkedIn logo next to their name. If you don’t want them to see that you looked and aren’t sure if your name would appear then I just wouldn’t look at those profiles. Everyone else should be fine if you set your preferences to appear as anonymous.

        1. Recent College Grad

          You can disable the “premium account” badge that appears next to your name. I got my upgrade for free through the “LinkedIn for Journalists” group. You take a half-hour tutorial on how to use LinkedIn for research and finding sources and then are upgraded for a year.

            1. Recent College Grad

              I’m pretty sure it’s a closed group, so if you don’t have writing/editing experience you won’t be let it. Does anyone know if LinkedIn does anything like this for other industries?

      2. holly

        i’m the opposite. sometimes i view people’s profiles just so they know i exist and was checking them out. it feels a little like an online dating service, but has worked to make connections.

  3. Sourire

    #5 – I am very curious why the employee isn’t liked. Is it a personality clash, differing views on how to get work done, people simply forgetting the workplace is not middle school?

    I have to imagine that if this dislike is so strong management is thinking of having a chat about it, the employee already knows. I don’t see an issue with discussing fit and teamwork issues, but in terms of asking/telling an employee to quit: I am not sure I see any upside, rather I only see potential issues.

    1. Anonymous

      Yes. #5 seems so pathetically “mean girls”. I can see world view clashes or perhaps behaviors that aren’t liked. If that’s the case then have a discussion with the employee. But a simple dislike sounds like the problem is with the manager, not the employee.

      1. Ruffingit

        The OP mentioned the manager and supervisor don’t like the employee so yes, mean girls comes to mind because there’s no point in telling a good employee she isn’t liked and should look for employment elsewhere. That is too vague to be useful in a business context and if she’s so universally disliked as OP says they told her she was and is not fitting into the team, the appropriate action there is to talk to her about fitting into the team or let her go. But calling her in to say “You suck, everyone thinks so, look for work elsewhere?” No, that is never appropriate.

          1. Kelvin

            It is totally a “mean girls” situation. The Manager and her Supervisor would like her to leave because she doesn’t play the games the other two do. She was welcomed into the team and then not helped to develop as she was not a “yes” person if she thought something was wrong. It also has been over time and yes, it is a bad kind of bullying. They did not have specifics as to why no one likes her, they just want to make her feel bad so she leaves because they have no reason to fire her.

            1. Anon Accountant

              Wow. In that case, I really hope that employee finds a much better job where managers and supervisors don’t play games and behave like adults.

            2. EngineerGirl

              The OP still needs to find a new job. These two are “gatekeepers” which means that they control the info going in and out of the group. I bet the higher level management think OP is a bad worker.
              The other side of this is that it will escalate if the two “leaders” don’t get what they want. The next step is to start withholding the info needed for the target to do their job, resulting in mistakes and rework. This is a critical time where the employee needs to keep date-time stamped directions from the bosses. Through email is best. If they give verbal directions (this kind always do) then follow up with an email stating “just want to clarify our discussions on (date) that you want me to do X, Y. Please let me know if this isn’t the case.”

              In the end though, this isn’t a fixable situation. The target needs to leave while their reputation still is intact.

      2. BCW

        I love how every time someone isn’t liked or doesn’t fit in its either bullying or mean girls that gets brought up. Now, I truly have no idea how it was said, but there can be very valid points to that. We had an employee, lets call her Jill, who thankfully quit but was generally disliked in the office, aside from one girl who was also not the favorite in the office, but was tolerable. Separately, she was awful at her job. It was common knowledge to everyone except Jill that people didn’t like her. I wasn’t her manager, so it wasn’t my place, but I think if her manager would have brought it up in a productive way, it could have been good. I don’t think it would have been bullying or anything. When in an office of 20 people, 19 of them don’t like one person, there is usually reason for that and could be something for someone to work on.

        1. Del

          No one has control over whether or not other people like them. That’s the simple truth. The only thing they have control over is their own behavior. So if there are problematic behaviors, then address the problematic behaviors. Don’t just leave it at “no one likes you” because that gives the employee literally nothing to go on. It makes it a personal attack rather than a roadmap to repairing the problem.

          1. BCW

            I agree that just saying “no one likes you” isn’t productive in the least bit. I’m just saying that it doesn’t make it bullying. I think the manager should have said something along the lines of “it seems many of your colleagues have an issue with you because of x,y, and z behaviors, so it may be in your best interest to work on those, or if you choose not to, maybe this isn’t the best place for you”.

            1. Bea W

              When you tell someone “no one likes you” when in reality you know that you are the only person who doesn’t like her, it’s a statement made with the intention of taking the onus off you and just making the other person feel bad. It doesn’t necessarily cross into bullying, but it is emotional manipulation and a form of mistreatment.

              When you tell someone “No one likes you” and then tell them they need to find a new job because of it, that adds in a coercive element on top of emotional manipulation, and that is indeed bullying.

              1. BCW

                But it really may be that no one likes them. I think everyone is assuming that the manager was the only person that doesn’t like the employee.

                1. Anonymous

                  The thing is, though, that unless that person is doing something that is affecting other’s work or is actually abusive themselves, you are all presumably adults and need to learn how to play nice. I’ve heard “everyone doesn’t like so-and-so” for the stupidest reasons, like their hobbies are a little different, or that they’re very introverted and shy, or dresses weird, or whatever other stupid petty thing.
                  We don’t know why this person is disliked or whether the supervisor and manager are using a Royal We, but how they are handling it is wrong wrong wrong regardless.

                2. some1

                  “But it really may be that no one likes them.”

                  Assuming this is true, an authority figure taking it upon herself to speak for everyone on the team is what makes it bullying.

                3. Bea W

                  It’s possible, but I think more often it’s a generalization if not outright hyperbole. It’s possible that each and every person on the entire team doesn’t like that one employee. It’s more like, given human personality differences, that the feelings run the gamut – some like her, some don’t, some are neutral, or perhaps some don’t like her personally but are mature enough to recognize that it has no bearing on their ability to work with her as a team member.

                  I don’t see “everyone is assuming” any particular thing. FWIW my first impression what the OP had heard multiple complaints about the person and responded independently with that in my head. I figured the OP had a co-worker who had some annoying habits or an overall interpersonal style that rubbed the rest of the team the wrong way. Posters in this thread did bring up an alternate take on it that made me think. Sometimes it’s more about one or two people in a position of power or influence with a personal dislike and not actually “everyone”.

                4. TL

                  It doesn’t matter. It’s bullying – it sets the whole team on an “everyone vs. you” approach. That shouldn’t be said.

                  When I was a student, I had a club advisor use this position with me and it was a) not true (believe me, I asked around + I was good friends with several other officers) and b) it was definitely a power play to make me do what she wanted.

                  It didn’t work; I decided she didn’t have any real power and ignored her the rest of the year. :)

                5. AGirlCalledFriday

                  I would disagree. If the problem is really that others in the workplace don’t get along with an otherwise good employee, a manager will try to rectify the issue rather than tell the offending employee to get a new job. On the other hand, if the employee is expressly disliked by the manager, there’s no reason for damage control, and the best scenario for the manager is to just get rid of the employee. Unless management has already spoken to the employee about problematic behaviors already, which wasn’t in the letter.

              1. KarenT

                A very interesting question! Bullying is technically (as in in most major dictionaries) defined as someone using force or influence to intimidate someone.
                However, with bullying being the current social issue it is, I think we can agree that we use the term bullying to describe a wide range of social situations.
                That said, I think we need to be careful to distinguish between bullying and meanness, as they aren’t necessarily the same thing. It’s not nice to be a jerk, but that doesn’t make it bullying.

                1. some1

                  I think by your definition this constitutes bullying. The sup and manager are using their influence as authority figures.

                2. Bea W

                  That would be my definition as well, using influence, force, coercion, emotional manipulation to influence the behavior of others in a negative way (think the kid shaking others down for lunch money) or putting up some kind of barrier to success (influencing other kids on a playground not to include someone).

                  What makes it bullying is the intent to exert power and influence over others. It is often a pattern of repeated behavior, but I also think it is accurate to describe isolated incidents where someone is trying to use power to their advantage through being mean as “bullying behavior”.

              2. VintageLydia

                I define bullying as targeted and excessive abuse. Just not inviting someone to join you for lunch wouldn’t necessarily be bullying, but shunning them from group activities even if the really shouldn’t be (like meeting invites and stuff like that) would be. Going out of your way to make someone’s life miserable would count, and also using your position of authority to make someone feel bad about themselves without any real constructive goal for the conversation would also count (like it sounds like is the case here, if Kelvin is the OP.)

        2. Anonymous

          I always wonder if the person no one likes is actually the bully. Because I’ve never liked those people, they often seem sort of unliked (sometimes feared). So when someone says no one likes me I always wonder, well were you a jerk?

          1. Bea W

            Sometimes that’s the case. I assumed the OP was talking about someone who was behaving in a way that others really disliked. Then I reread the letter, and it’s unclear if the team actually dislikes this person or if it’s just the managers who dislike the person but want to (or did) tell her it’s the “team” who doesn’t like her.

        3. Forrest

          I think people’s points are this isn’t a productive way of handling it and thus mean girl behavior. If it continues or escalates, then it could be bullying.

          1. fposte

            And I don’t think it matters all that much if it’s bullying now or could escalate into it later, because the term itself doesn’t really get you anything. What’s wrong with it now isn’t that people don’t like somebody–that’s perfectly allowable–but that the manager sucks at managing. If you don’t want her there, fire her, and if you want her to change, tell her what to change. Telling an employee that nobody likes her is like saying “Everything you do is bad” or “Stop being the way you’re being”–it’s not managing, because you haven’t told the employee what you want her to do.

            Admittedly, we seem to be getting this second-hand, which could complicate things. But if this manager doesn’t want her he should let her go, and if he wants to keep her he should tell her what he wants her to do. He’s failing by doing neither.

            1. Forrest

              We’re also not clear on who view its from either. Its either a) A manager who sucks, b) an employee who had this said to her or c) an employee who is misinterpreting what was said (“You need to work on your team work” “No one likes me!”)

            2. Ask a Manager Post author

              And I don’t think it matters all that much if it’s bullying now or could escalate into it later, because the term itself doesn’t really get you anything.

              This is what I came here to say too.

        4. Ruffingit

          I have no problem with someone productively bringing up a bad fit issue. In the OP’s case though, that isn’t what happened. They brought in a good worker and told her that people didn’t like her and she should find another job, but they were unable to give her specifics as to why others didn’t like her. That is bizarre and extremely unprofessional behavior.

          1. AB

            “I have no problem with someone productively bringing up a bad fit issue. ”

            Right. And nowhere, in this conversation, the phrase “no one likes you” is appropriate.

            You can raise concerns that even indicate the entire work group has problems with the person’s behavior, but “liking” has nothing to do with it.

            I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully worked years with people I didn’t like (because of their work style, personal opinions, etc.). Our job is to be professional and collaborative and valuable to the business. Being “liked” is entirely optional in my view.

            1. fposte

              Totally agree. The statement is inappropriate in a multitude of ways–it’s unhelpful, it’s mean, and it’s irrelevant.

            2. AGirlCalledFriday

              Agreed. I had this happen to me once – a manager tried to fight my getting a promotion and framed it as “No one wants her in this position”. Well, the owners investigated and as it turned out, my coworkers were supportive of me. Turns out he wanted his brother in the job.

              I tend to find blanket statements involving “Everyone” tend to begin and end mostly with the person they originate from.

              1. Jessa

                Exactly. And an attempt to parse it so the employee quits (so they don’t have to contribute to unemployment…) NOT on.

              2. Ruffingit

                That’s been my experience. Global words like everyone, always, and never don’t typically have anything to do with the truth. It’s usually the person speaking them that is/has the issue.

        5. EvilQueenRegina

          There’s someone like that who sits opposite me at the moment – the general consensus of opinion is that she isn’t very good at the job, and a lot don’t like her very much as a person either although there are some who do. This has been brought up to her manager a lot of times over the two and a half years this woman has been there, and it is only now that someone has used the words “official complaint” that she is taking it seriously. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be (a meeting about it had to be postponed as an emergency came up) but our manager does need to, as you said, address it in a productive way. Unfortunately, she hadn’t in the past taken on board that the number of people raising concerns meant that there was genuine reason for it – for example, there was a short lived experiment last summer with this coworker (D) taking on responsibility for all requests for finance. During this time, there was a huge increase in problems with these. D made a big song and dance about how the finance department were causing it all and while I acknowledge they weren’t entirely blameless, D was responsible for a lot of the issues. Another coworker did point that out to our manager at one point however this got ignored – I wondered if that was because our manager had interpreted it as D being picked on. However, when D was out on long term sick leave, things with the requests for finance actually improved, and our manager said to me that she’d been expecting me to be desperate for help with them due to struggling to managing it. After I explained how things had improved, D wasn’t given the task back again when she eventually returned, although the issues with her weren’t addressed – this was before Christmas and her performance is only just starting to be properly investigated now.

    2. Lils

      Not being liked is irrelevant to the workplace.

      It’s laughable to expect people to like all of their coworkers, reports, supervisors and administrators. The ability to collaborate and communicate effectively should be an expectation for everyone. Assuming this person is doing his/her job and working with the team productively–they are described as “good,” after all–the manager and supervisor need to suck it up, and tell the coworkers to suck it up too. And guess what? No one will “like” the manager and supervisor for doing so, and that’s ok. A manager’s job is not to be likeable, but to lead.

      1. Cassie

        Yep, I agree. Being “liked” or not is not that important (or even at all?) in the workplace. It’s like NBA teams. Does everyone on the team love each other and go to happy hour together? No, not most of the time. Do they work together to a common goal (winning games, winning championships)? The great teams do and do win rings, the poorly-managed teams fall to pieces.

        I wish managers could see the analogy. It’s not exactly the same, since pro teams have a clear shared goal (to win), whereas in a traditional workplace, each person is basically just there to collect a paycheck (even if the workplace has a stated mission).

  4. Laurie

    #3 I personally found the paid LinkedIn tier really useful when job searching a couple of years ago, and credit it with landing me my current job with a fortune 500 in LA.

    I used the paid subscription primarily for in-depth research on the position, the company and the people. I don’t know if any of the features below have since been expanded or removed (I’ve gone back to the basic version now that I’m not job searching), but this is what I used it for:

    1) Searching for job listings by salary, by years of experience needed, seniority level etc. The basic search doesn’t give you results that can be filtered by salary ranges.

    2) Searching for people in the company. I used this to look up in-house recruiters at fortune 500 firms, and to look up people in the company who already had the position I was applying for. It helped me see what a typical hire’s resume looked like, and what they were working on in that company. In my field, ‘analyst’ is a pretty common title and it could mean anything from excel monkey to IT guru, so this level of detail helped a little bit beyond the basic information in the job listing.

    It’s possible that I found LinkedIn more useful because of my industry and because I was searching in LA, but I’d definitely recommend it at least for a month.

    1. Anonymous

      +1 to all of this. I also had a premium account during my last job search and used it in the same ways. Additionally, I used it to try to learn more about the people I’d be interviewing with and try to anticipate what they might be most interested in during the interview. And, sometimes looking up people with the same or similar job titles in the company yielded good questions for me to ask during interviews about typical development tracks or advancement opportunities in the organization, or about training and other professional development. To be honest, I found it kind of interesting to see who had viewed my profile but not especially useful, but it was definitely useful for learning more about different companies and preparing for interviews. I would also recommend trying it for a month to see if it’s helpful.

    2. Jaimie

      My husband used the paid version of LinkedIn to reach out to former employees (carefully selected) of two companies who had extended offers to him. He politely asked what their experience had been and inquired as to why they had left. He wound up getting really helpful feedback, and six years later he’s still in a job that he loves.

      I got my current job from a LinkedIn listing. It is more helpful than other job sites because it matches key words from your profile to key words from the job listing. It brings the ads to you, rather than leaving it to you to search for them.

  5. Kate

    Agree with Allison about #2 – they are probably just offering the reference to be nice. I once interviewed for an internship and didn’t ultimately get it, but the interviewer invited me to chat about similar internships at other organizations. He offered to write me a recommendation, too, which was nice I suppose but … what is he going to say? I didn’t hire this person?

    1. Chriama

      Yours is different though. I have a friend who interviewed for an internship and didn’t get the position, but the guy referred her to another internship that she ended up loving. It may depend on the field, but if someone is really impressed with you and offers to refer you to their contacts, say yes!

      1. ChristineSW

        Absolutely! Just because you weren’t hired for a job/internship doesn’t mean you’re not hireable anywhere. Perhaps the position required a certain level of experience in a specific function that the person did not have, but had a skill set that the hiring manager knew would be valuable at other organizations.

      2. fposte

        I think a referral is very different from a reference, though. I refer candidates with some frequency, but I’d never give a reference for somebody who didn’t work for me and I’d never take seriously a reference from somebody who didn’t employ the candidate. So I would, if I were Kate, totally talk to the guy but I’d be skeptical about the value of the recommendation myself.

        1. Kate

          yes, this is exactly what happened. he pointed me to some other internship opportunities (so I would list him as referral source on the application or in my cover letter, which is certainly helpful), and also offered to write me a recommendation, which seems well-intentioned but unwise to me.

          also, I misspelled Alison in my original post – sorry!

    2. Zed

      Well… it is easy for me to imagine a scenario in which there are two great candidates for an internship but only one position available. I could definitely see writing a recommendation along the lines of, “Kate was on my shortlist for our recent XYZ internship, and she was a very strong candidate. In her interview, she was thoughtful and knowledgeable about [many relevant things]. Although we did not have a second internship position to offer her, I think she would excel in the field, and I encourage you to consider her for your XYZ internship.”

      In that case, it is less like a recommendation and more like an introduction. It might not get you the job (or the internship), but it might get you the interview, especially if the two hiring managers know each other. I know if someone I knew sent me a note about a potential intern they wished they could hire, I would pay attention!

  6. Ruffingit

    #2 is bizarre, but I have seen something similar once. A person I knew (Wakeen) was unjustly fired from a position by the woman who owned the company. Her husband, who knew his wife was a jerk with major issues, but refused to stand up to her, invited Wakeen to dinner and told him that he would ensure that the company didn’t fight unemployment and that Wakeen would get a good reference. That company was all kinds of bizarre in so many ways and frequently lost good people through firings and people just walking out the door.

  7. AdAgencyChick

    #1 — definitely ask. You may be misinterpreting that look, as Alison says, or you may have a boss who expects more out of you but isn’t willing to give feedback. I’ve worked for a couple of the latter and it’s no fun — you basically don’t hear what you’re doing wrong until your review. Better to find out what’s going on sooner!

  8. A Teacher

    Does the whole team really dislike the person or has it become a mob mentality? In that I mean, do a few dislike her so they’ve nitpicked the qualities about her they don’t like and pointed out her flaws to the rest of the team enough that everyone else now believes she’s horrible too?

    I teach high school so I’m viewing this from a dirty lens in some sense because high school kids do this a lot. I guess whenever I hear the term “everyone” I take it with a grain of salt until I know more information–there can be people that everyone really can’t stand–but more often than not it is a personality difference between one or two people and the stronger person or the more well liked person will do little things to undermine the less liked person until “everyone” dislikes her. Hopefully that makes sense.

  9. Just A Reader

    #5 has happened to me. Turns out my boss is the only one who didn’t like me.

    He lobbied to keep me when I quit, and my team cried when we announced my resignation.

    I’m much happier in my new job, where I get constructive feedback instead of personal attacks.

    1. Kelvin

      Agree, it is just the two that don’t like her. The rest of the team probably does not even know that this harrassment is going on.

    2. SB

      I worked with a manager like that (I say manager because she didn’t have the power to fire me). It was a retail job I had while I was going to school. She had her pets and I wasn’t one of them. I was liked by the store managers because I got good sales #’s and generally worked hard, showed up on time, and got everything done that I was supposed to. Apparently that didn’t sit to well with her and she started scheduling me for times when she knew I had class. That particular store guaranteed you at least so many hours on the clock each week and she would try to short change me. It got to the point where she was telling me that no one liked me there (which I knew to be a lie) and I should just quit. So I did (after finding another job). I never looked back.

      1. voluptuousfire

        I had a similar situation when I worked retail just out of college. Did well in the position but since I wasn’t one of the manager’s pets, I didn’t get hours and the girls who were her pets but had limited availability got 25+ hours. (As in scheduled them for time they had other comittments.) This manager ended up deadheading about 6 employees she “didn’t like” this way.

        That I never understood: Why schedule people for shifts scheduled when they’re in class and they’re your “pets?”

  10. Anon

    I asked #6. When I submitted my résumé for the postion, I was still working at the company so I was not dishonest when applying.

    During the interview, when I was asked why I was thinking of leaving my previous job, I mentioned that it did not turn out to be what I interviewed for; however I did not mention that I had already left.
    When I was offered the job, the recruiter mentioned that she wants to give me enough time to give my previous employer a 2 week notice but I just remained silent. I felt like mentioning I had already left would raise red flags and the reason I did so was because of my verbally abusive manager. You are not supposed to say anything negative during the interview so I figured it was best left out altogether. I am not sure how I should handle this if they bring this up after the BC. Also if they don’t, do I tell them a start date of 2 weeks later?

    1. Erin

      Former corporate recruiter here. Were you asked to fill out an application form or any other document for the background check? If so, did you put the correct start and end dates for your previous company? Lying on the formal app could be grounds for withdrawing the offer.

    2. some1

      I was in a similar situation, except I was laid off between the phone interview and the in-person interview.

      I didn’t offer the info in the interview, but I interviewed with four people back-to-back and they all asked something about my “present position” and I didn’t feel right letting them believe I was still employed because it felt dishonest.

      1. Anon

        I filled out a job application online when I was still working there so I was correct in stating I currently worked there. My situation was similar where I had 5 back to back interviews: however it is easier to explain that you were laid off vs why you left suddenly with no job lined up. It’s so complicated cause there are all these rules about not saying anything negative but I would have stuck it out if I wasn’t in such a hostile situation. So I chose not to bring it up even as we disussed that job at the interview. Should I say something now? I am supposed to get a call to discuss the start date as soon as the BC clears.

        1. Ruffingit

          I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t see how it helps you to do so. If asked about availability to start, just say you’re available sooner than you thought you would be, give a date and move on. Unless you outright lied about still being employed, I just don’t see this as that big a deal myself. Things happen, you aren’t working there anymore and it shouldn’t matter to the current job when exactly you left OldJob unless you lied on your app materials, which it doesn’t sound like you did.

        2. Trillian

          If you are faced with an opening then you could always say, a little sheepishly, that you did give notice before you received an offer – you decided to take a risk because things were looking promising and you wanted to ensure you got a short breather between jobs because – insert true and respectable reason – and fortunately the gods smiled.

  11. BCW

    For #1 this is one of those stupid games places like to play. Even if your work is done, and done at a high level, if you always leave first (even if you leave at your scheduled time) you will often be seen as a slacker. Its possible you are just able to complete your work faster, or that others waste time. These type of places tend to be that if you sit around for a half hour shopping online, you will probably look better to some than if you actually left. The way I started combating that is coming in earlier than others. Even if you just get there 5-10 min early, if you are there when they come in, they have no idea how long you have been there, so they can’t really judge your workday by when you leave. Again, I think these games are stupid, but the fact is for many places, the perception is that if you leave on time you are lazy.

    1. Katie

      Ditto to this. At my last position I was in the same boat. I left on time because my work was done but the perception was, I was a clock watcher (so what if I was?).

      So about twice a week, I would stay about 15 minutes to 30 minutes late doing banking, watching a TV show online. Suddenly the complaints about me being a clock watcher disappeared. It’s really silly that you have do stuff like that in some workplaces but I used the time to do things I would have done at home on the computer anyway.

      1. The Other Dawn

        There definitely are bosses that consider those that leave a 5 PM on the dot to be clock watchers. Doesn’t matter that they may have found ways to be more efficient and get the work done earlier. Or that their job just doesn’t lend itself to staying beyond 5 PM.

        1. JMegan

          Or perhaps they actually are clock-watchers, because they have to leave on the dot of five to pick their kids up from day care (or whatever.) It shouldn’t matter, as long as the work is getting done, but unfortunately it often does.

          1. BCW

            Exactly. I am a “clock watcher” because I take public transportation, so I have a certain bus or train to take. But my work is done, so it shouldn’t matter.

      2. Ruffingit

        That’s a good way to combat the problem. Just do stuff online or whatever that you would have done at home. Although I would caution that you might want to do it on your iPad or something like that so if there’s an audit of how people are using the work Internet, you don’t look like you’re slacking by shopping online or whatever.

    2. Matt

      Unfortunately there are places (like mine) where only late overtime is good overtime. I have flextime, and as an “early bird”, I’m one of the first to arrive in the morning (which goes unnoticed) and one of the first to leave in the afternoon (which raises eyebrows). The “good and diligent” employees seem to be the ones who always appear one minute short before the compulsary time starts, and stay forever in the evening …

  12. Shannon313

    #1– while I don’t agree with this at all, my company has sort of a “perception is reality” philosophy and they truly believe that if you don’t have to work “extra” to get your work done then you don’t have enough work, and that you are a “click watcher” if youvwork 9-5 daily. In reality, I make good use of my time and am therefore able to basically work 8 hour days. So what I do is come in early every day, make sure my email and whatnot are in good shape, and then come see what’s happening in Ask A Manager. It’s silly, but I don’t feel that I should be penalized with busywork for not playing Words with Friends for two hours on my phone and then staying until 6:30 “because I have so much to do”. So maybe cone in early or stay late once a week or so, just to make it so you’re not working exactly 8 hours. Again, I think it’s stupid, but if the job is okay overall it’s a small sacrifice to make.

  13. Nikki T

    #1 Since it seems you are new to the company, it could be the person before you couldn’t get the work done in 8 hours and stayed late a lot to compensate. Your boss could be wondering what’s going on that you wrap up on time everyday.

    At a prior job the boss gave me info I needed to get a bunch of form letters done. Later that same day or early the next, I handed him a folder, he said “What’s this?” it’s the letters…he also looked at me like I was insane “It use to take a week to get these”…. a week? to mail merge?

    Perhaps a talk with him would help, as once he sees that you are completing your work he’ll stop wondering about it.

    1. Jessa

      This, yes. A lot of bosses do not have a clue how long it takes to get x job done, either because the former employee was legitimately slower or because they were slacking off. You might want to let the boss know what you’re doing of a day and how, really, it makes no sense to stay late when it’s already done.

      I know I’ve had the mail merge thing happen too, when I would have to cover for someone on holiday or out ill and I’d get scads more stuff done than they did, because either they were spreading it out to make a whole day’s work because there really was not enough work, or because they slacked or were lousy at it.

      1. OP #1

        OP #1 here,

        As part of my interview, I actually spoke to the person previously in the position and he mentioned he was here for about 9 hours a day so I think that may be where his surprise comes from. I’ve also noticed a lot of people here tend to spend time in the morning hanging out and relaxing before diving into their work whereas I come in and start working right away.

  14. Bea W

    #5 – If she’s a “good employee” and the issue is other people don’t like her, that could be a fixable situation. What are the reasons other people don’t like her? Is there something specific she is doing or some specific problematic behavior that other people are complaining about that she could address if she knew how it was being perceived by others? It is better to have a good employee who can be counted on to do her job well but might be not well personally liked by others, than it is to have a crappy employee who hits it off well with everyone. It’s often possible to work with personality conflicts if everyone is willing. Sometimes it can be a straightforward matter such as people changing the way they approach and communicate with one another.

    Not everyone is going to like everyone even in a team environment. You don’t need to like your team members in order to work effectively with them. It’s a job, not a social club. Team members have to put their personal issues aside and do what they need to do to get the job done. Does your team understand that?

  15. Anon Accountant

    #5- I need more clarification. Does this employee cause problems for staff? If so, her supervisor/manager needs to address that. Does she skip doing TPS reports until the day before they’re due then leave others scrambling because her work holds up theirs? If so, a supervisor should address that issue.

  16. themmases

    I got a good reference from someone who fired me once. As an undergrad research assistant, I worked on a project where I was supposed to lead a group of research subjects in a project each week. I got unlucky and had a few of my people drop out (not my fault, the program was kind of silly/creative and a lot of the older adults decided that wasn’t for them). At the end of the year, my review said I was too reserved/not friendly enough and didn’t ask for help quickly enough with that situation, and they told me they wouldn’t be bringing me back for another year. They never gave me any of this feedback before, so it wasn’t really fair, but it was all true.

    A couple months later, the coordinator called me out of the blue and asked if I would be available to help a different study. This job was much more my speed– working one-on-one with subjects and managing the study database. I said yes, worked there all the following year, and used that researcher and the coordinator as references for my first job out of school. I wouldn’t use her as a reference again now, but I’m really grateful to her for being fair-minded enough to see that I wasn’t suited to that one project, and thinking of me when a better one came along.

    So if the HR manager had anything positive to say about me, e.g. “You were great at X and Y, but unfortunately we really needed A, B, and C”, *and* I were looking for a new job in X and Y, *and* I didn’t have many other contacts in that area yet, I might use them.

    1. Anonymous

      I have a good reference from a manager who fired me as well. It’s a very long story as to why I was fired, but I guess the short version comes down to “I was depressed and burnt out and that was affecting my job performance.” So I was let go.

      I ended up getting a job interview just a few weeks later, and the HR recruiter insisted on talking to my former manager. So I sucked it up and wrote to her explaining the situation. She replied right away, saying that she would be happy to give me a reference, then she called to talk about the job description and what she could do to help get me this new position. She gave me a glowing reference, and has since given me another one, both of which have led to jobs. In fact, we get along much better now than we did when we were working together!

      So yes, it is possible to get a good reference from someone who has fired you. But I think my situation is similar to themmases above – my manager knew I was a good worker, just that the job I was doing at the time was no longer a good fit for me. She can still speak to my strengths, ability to work at future jobs, and so on. Would the HR director be able to give you a reference like that, after only 90 days at the company, and (presumably) not working directly with you?

      TL;DR – it is possible to get a good reference from someone who has fired you, just be aware of the circumstances and the type of reference you’re likely to get.

  17. Lisa

    #3 – You don’t have to pay, but pay attention to the recruiters and the hiring managers (dept heads) that do! You can see a LinkedIn symbol next to their names, now go peek at their profile! They pay for it, so they see you! That is the best thing about this feature, it works both ways and you don’t have to pay for it at all. Also, those who are grandfathered in to the basic package that was free way back when, can see up to 5 recent peeks without upgrading. So even without the symbol, you can probably still see the last 5 people that looked at their profile.

  18. Elle-em-en-oh-pee

    5. If you are the employee who has been told they are not liked, get another job. The die has been cast, and you cannot win against or best people like these; cut your losses and walk away on your own terms.

    They may not like you, but common courtesy would dictate they keep that to themselves, so at the very least you are working in a place that lacks this.

    If you are the manager or supervisor, I am shocked that you have gotten so far without learning how to keep your personal dislikes from getting in the way of business. If I had ever said what have are comtemplating saying (or have already said,) to anyone, at any point in my career, I would have been the one the company told to look for work elsewhere.

    If a person can’t keep their personal feelings to themselves, then generally speaking, they are the ones with the problem and and the ones the company needs to be speaking with about getting along with others.

    That said, I am going to keep the rest of what I was going to say to myself!

  19. Brett

    #5 I don’t think this is the situation here (assuming Kelvin above is the letter writer), but I have seen “We don’t like you” used as a ‘legal’ substitute for “We don’t want your type working here” where type is some sort of legally protected class.
    Sometimes the feedback is BS because the real reason is bigger BS.

  20. some1

    Is it possible the HR person from the fired job is offering the reference because she knows it would be better than what the supervisor would give, or she doesn’t agree with the firing decision?

    1. Ruffingit

      Could very well be the case. I’ve seen that happen before. Sometimes the firing is truly unjust, other people know it, and want to help out the person who they feel got the shaft.

  21. Rebecca

    #1 – at least you just get a look. Our boss says “I’m sick and tired of you people running out of here at quitting time like you’re shot in the a**. ” This from a boss who comes to work after starting time (we are usually here 1/2 hour to 1 hour prior to start), and leaves in the middle of the day, usually several times a week, and is gone for hours at a time. What ever happened to lead by example?

    1. SB

      I love comments like that, and accusations of being a clock watcher. I work because I need to, not because I want to. Even if you have the most fabulous, awesomest job, it’s still a job and you still need your unstructured home time whether it’s to pick up and make dinner for your kids or to watch entire seasons of Real Housewives on Netflix.
      There is no sense in equating time spent at work with doing a good job. I knew of a person who struggled with the most basic elements of her job and would spend hours worrying over insignificant details. Everyone that had to work with her on projects hated it because she needlessly slowed down productivity. She was in reality a very poor performer. However, she would be the first in the door and the very last out (if she even left). Management was very poor at the company and they saw it as good work ethic and praised her. Employees who were tired of having their evenings hijacked (having to stay past midnight on a simple project that could have been done within a few hours). They complained but it fell on deaf ears. Management accused complainers of being “clock watchers”.

    2. Steven M

      I hate this. At my first professional job we had a VP who would routinely reprimand us for leaving ‘right at 5’, when half of us were working since 7 am or earlier, and only just getting out the door around 5. He might have worked long hours, I don’t know (or care), but he certainly didn’t know what hours we were working.

  22. Mike C.

    Maybe it’s just me, but no one pays me to like the people I work with. I’m paid to do my job with whomever they deem I need to do my job with and that’s that.

    Besides, the police tend to frown on folks who are paid to be people’s friends. ;)

    1. Cat

      So clearly the manager handled this badly regardless of the circumstances. There is never, ever any reason to tell an employee that “nobody likes you.” Ever.

      That said, I think part of why these discussions tend to get heated is that the word “like” covers at least two different things, one of which is not relevant in the workplace and one of which isn’t. Whether you want to be friends with someone is irrelevant, as is whether you like their clothes, hobbies, favorite TV shows, or the jokes they tell (uh, assuming the last aren’t racist or sexist or whatnot).

      But when I think back to the last couple of co-workers I’d honestly say I didn’t like (though I didn’t say that, FWIW), those things weren’t the issue. The issue is that they were unpleasant people to work with in ways that did affect the work that got done – they were hostile, defensive, officious, condescending, and/or supercilious. None of those things were technically about their quality of work in the strictest sense; both people I’m thinking of could do excellent work. But it did make the atmosphere of the entire office worse and affect overall productivity. Those are legitimate work issues that should be addressed by a manager, even if, in some sense, they’re about whether other people like the person.

      Of course, as noted, that shouldn’t be how they’re addressed by the manager; the manager should be a lot more specific and a lot less loaded in her language. But I think for purposes of discussions on this blog, we tend to conflate the two kinds of “liking” co-workers a lot when they’re really quite different in terms of their effects on the workplace.

  23. Anonymous

    #3. LinkedIn? Not convinced by it’s return on investment, though I’ve not gone Premium. Every job, etc I’ve had since 2008 I’ve found on ….GULP…Craigslist…and for FREE:

    1. Job at Fortune 100 company (They answered my ad)…Craigslist
    2. Freelance assigment with star Professor at NYU…Craigslist
    3. Huge apartment in Manhattan for a song…Craigslist
    4. Fantastic roommates from around the world….Craigslist
    5. Top-notch furniture for practically nothing…..Craigslist
    6. Handsome ‘boyfriend’…and a cop to boot….Craigslist

    I could go on and on.

    LinkedIn has done nada for me, but again, I’ve not gone Premium.

  24. Max

    #1: Sure, many workplaces secretly expect employees to work late…but on the other hand, many employees are so terrified of being seen as “slackers” that they’ll FEEL like they’re expected to work late even if there ISN’T any such expectation of them. I think, first things first, that you need to relax and de-stress. You’re getting yourself so worked up with the fear of being seen as lazy that you might be letting paranoia influence what you see. On the one hand, your boss set a very clear, unambiguous expectation regarding how long you were expected to stay, but on the other hand, every time you leave at the time he said you could leave, you think he’s visibly giving you incredulous looks while you can see him and therefore he’s secretly mad enough at you to let you see it but unwilling to say it clearly? Either he’s a contender for worst boss ever, or you’re jumping at shadows. As the original advice said, you should definitely speak with him to clear up the misunderstandings, but I’d advise you to take an evening to just relax, eat something you like, and generally let some of that anxiety flow away first.

    1. Ruffingit

      Good advice. Could be the boss really is giving her looks since those kinds of crappy passive-aggressive bosses do exist. I had one so I know how it goes – looks, curt little comments, etc., but never coming out and saying anything directly. Still though, as I said below and as Alison suggested, the OP needs to ask the boss. He’s the one with the answer.

  25. HAnon

    #1 – My current boss works (he claims) 14 hours a day and gets upset when people leave on time or a little early to catch transportation/avoid traffic/etc. Our hours are already 9 – 6 and most of us have lengthy commutes. Our work can be done online, but the higher ups are insistent that we be in the office for 9+ hours a day. Most people end up reading blogs/news/watching tv/playing games for a couple hours out of the day, since we often are up at other hours or on weekends attending to pressing work issues, and there can be some lag time during the day depending on what’s going on in other deparments. I would LOVE to work from home for an hour, them drive into the office after the major traffic has subsided (it takes me 1 hr to get to/from work with traffic, and less than .5 without) and leave before major traffic hits and get back on the computer again for another hour from home. But it seems more important to them to see filled seats than to have an efficient work force :p (I know because I’ve requested this flexibility before without success).

  26. Cara Carroll

    Do not pay for LinkedIn. I just recently read an article that even the best recruiters do not pay for it so why should you? Fyi I am a recruiter and job seeker. I don’t use LinkedIn for recruiting because my company doesn’t really have enough leverage to entice someone from their existing job, also we don’t hire the demographic that normally would use LinkedIn.

    However, I do use LinkedIn a lot as a professional ans job seeker! I do not pay for an account, I do not advertise that I am looking for a job, but one thing is for sure…content is king! I have been contacted by recruiters several times through LinkedIn about possible jobs because I come up in their searches, key words are crucial. So work on the content of your profile and of course continue to build a strong network. Good luck!

  27. Ruffingit

    #1: So many things are easily solved by asking the person involved. I think it somewhat odd when people send Alison questions like this “Is my boss upset that I leave at 5” and then give evidence about why she may or may not be. Alison isn’t psychic, how would she know? Ask your boss, the person who actually does have the answer. I don’t mean to sound harsh, it just seems odd that communicating with the person involved isn’t the first thing people think to do. I could understand if someone said “How do I ask my boss about this,” but the question as presented just made me want to say “Ask you boss.” I think Alison gave a good answer to it in that she told her how to do that.

  28. Sabrina

    I (personally) would not pay for premium LinkedIn. They have an office in my city and I applied, had two interviews, and they were insanely non-communicative. More than a month between the two interviews, and never a rejection letter or anything. I figure if their internal hiring process is so bad, then why would I pay them to help with a job search? How could they really be experts?

  29. OP

    Original poster #7 here. Thanks, Alison, for answering my question. The interview came and went, I met with the entire team (about 10 people) as well as the president, and neither they nor I made one peep about the hiring exercise. It felt weird to bring it up since there was no way to know which people interviewing me had even seen it. Though the interview went reasonably well, I recently was told that they had decided to go with someone else. No other feedback than what a strong candidate I was.

  30. Sarah

    #1 – I am often the first person in the office (office technically opens at 9am). Many of the other staff members that get here later (9:30, 10am) are here working until the office shuts at 5:30. I do not like working that late or starting that late. During my first week, I asked about working an adjusted schedule (starting at 8 or 8:30). They said it’s fine, as long as I got my work done. The thing is – you feel guilty to leave early when everyone else is working (staff of 8). I have gotten over this and have no problem closing my office and walking out at 5pm. Funny thing is that the one educator leaves at 4:30 but almost never beats me to the office! But everyone else comes in later so they don’t know this. Ridiculous.

  31. John

    For question # 6, I currently work for a background screening company. The background check will reveal that you left and I would recommend that you contact your recruiter and just let them know that you have decided to leave your current job. If they ask you why, just make sure you have a good excuse.

    1. JJ

      Slightly off-topic but do background checks reveal jobs that you were never officially hired for, like small internships or volunteering (if you didn’t sign paperwork or give your SSN)?

        1. JJ

          Good to know, thanks! I haven’t been through a background check so I was wondering what they’d find.

  32. Manda

    #3: I read an article recently on LinkedIn’s Job Seeker Premium service. Here’s a short excerpt:

    Now here’s where the story gets really troubling. LinkedIn now sells a $29.95 per month “Job Seeker Premium” membership to people looking for work. Sign up for it and when you apply for jobs on LinkedIn, your application will move to the top of the pile as a “featured applicant,” regardless of your qualifications.

    That’s a bit of a sketchy way to get noticed.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/09/03/has-linkedin-crossed-an-ethical-line/

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