working from home without a good reason, being the jilted lover of the job search, and more

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

1. I want to work from home but I don’t have a good reason

I work for a large company that publicly celebrates its benefits such as flexible hours and working at home. I’ve never worked from home and never felt like my own manager really encouraged it, but would like to start, even if just once a month. Here’s the problem: I don’t really have a reason in the traditional sense. I’m not a mom, I’m not in school, etc. It’s just something that I see most of my colleagues in the company doing and I’d like to do it as well. I’d like it for a better work/life balance. I work in NYC and have a long commute; I think it would be a refreshing change of pace to not have to do the commuting rat race every once in a while. I also work in a small cramped cubicle with lots of distractions and interruptions. On some of my more complicated research assignments, the peace and quiet of my home office would be incredibly helpful. Also, this is totally bratty and unprofessional, but in the spirit of full disclosure – everybody else does it and I want to too!

So what’s the best way to approach it with my manager?

Actually, those are all good reasons — well, maybe not the one about your coworkers all doing it, but the rest. I’d say that you’d love to have a day periodically where you could focus without as many interruptions. And you could also mention, if you want, that you wouldn’t mind the occasional break from your long commute. Those might not be the most compelling reasons imaginable, but they’re reasonable and in a company that promotes its work-from-home benefit, it should be sufficient when you raise it with your boss. Mention you’ll pick the days carefully so they don’t interfere with anything you need to be in the office for, blah blah blah, and I bet it’ll be fine.

2. Was my note to this interviewer inappropriate?

I applied for a permanent teaching position at a university program. After interview, I was not shortlisted/offered the job, which was not 100% surprising as I really need to strengthen my teaching experience. I sent a thank you note to two people after the rejection phone call: the hiring professor, and another professor in my particular field. Both were essentially former colleagues. We worked in the same organization and building, but they were affiliated with the university and I was not. We never collaborated, but we would see each other in the halls, at meetings, conferences, etc.

To the professor who works in my field, my short note thanked her for her time. I then said that I appreciated meeting with her, and that I learned a lot from the experience in hindsight, having been out of the job search market for so long. I then reiterated my commitment to the particular fieldwork, and to teaching. I said I admired her career and asked if it would be okay to seek some guidance from her on my hopes and plans to develop a more robust teaching career. I said that I could briefly swing by her office at her convenience, or that I would be happy to invite her to a cup of coffee if that was easier.

I thought this request was okay because she had been very informal and warm when she responded to my post-interview thank you letter, acknowledging our time as former colleagues. But it’s been a few days and I haven’t heard back. I wonder if I had crossed some kind of boundary there.

Nope, you did nothing wrong. It’s possible that she’s planning to respond but hasn’t had the time (a few days is actually not that long, particularly when you have other stuff that you have to prioritize above it), or it’s possible that she’s not planning to respond (which would be a little rude but not outrageous; some people don’t believe they have to respond to unsolicited invitations from job-searchers) … but either way, there was nothing out of line about the note you sent. It was normal and appropriate. If she chooses not to respond, don’t take that as commentary on you or the note; it’s just the way job-searching goes sometimes.

3. Can I let the employer that rejected me know that I don’t need their job — and get some feedback too?

I applied for a job a few months ago and was short-listed. Once I moved to the next stage, I had to take a 3.5 hour language proficiency test. Fast-forward several months later, and I have been offered and accepted a position that is a stronger fit. However, today I (finally) received the rejection email for the position for which I took the proficiency exam.

Although I don’t really care about this position anymore, it would be helpful to get feedback from this employer about my test results. At the same time, the “jilted lover of the job search” in me also wants to let them know that I don’t need their job. Would it be appropriate to reply the rejection email and say something like “Thank you for the application status update. Although I have found employment elsewhere, I was wondering if you would be willing to give me feedback or a score re: the proficiency test.” Or should I just cut my losses?

You can absolutely ask for feedback. But resist the jilted-lover in you and leave out the mention of having found another job. First, because it’s already a challenge to get employers to give rejected candidates feedback; they’re less likely to do it if they hear you’ve already found work and are out of the job search anyway. But second, and more important, you wouldn’t be “showing them” anything. That’s just not the dynamic. They’d be glad to know that you don’t “need their job” (no one takes any pleasure in rejecting candidates, after all) — if they think about it at all, which they probably won’t.

There’s nothing to prove here, or to shove in their faces. And if it makes you feel better to let them know you’re hireable, well, they probably already knew you were hireable. You just weren’t the one they hired for this job; it’s not personal, at least not to them. You’re better off not seeing it as personal to you either.

4. Should I wait to job search until after the holidays?

I was told my last day with my current company will be in early December. With the holidays approaching, should I start job hunting now or should I wait until after the holidays?

Start now. While some places slow down or stop hiring over the holidays, plenty continue — and you’ll have less competition because a lot of job-seekers put their searches on hold around now.

5. I’m doing work for two businesses for the price of one

I was hired by a company as a graphic/3D designer 3 months ago. Last month, the owner partnered on a business in a different state in order to covertly filter business from the new company to the existing (as the new company is akin to the type of clients the existing company supports). As a result, several of us in the office have been told we will now be supporting the new startup as well (branding, identity, website creation, marketing materials, etc.).

How do I have the best chance at renegotiating a salary that’s fair compensation for supporting two companies instead of one? In the hiring process, I was never even let on to the idea of having to support a second company and – as such – I negotiated a compensation package that was fair for the one existing company position. Clearly, things have changed and I’d like to be paid what I believe I’m worth to both companies.

I’m not sure that’s realistic. Unless the hours of your position have dramatically changed, it’s not unusual or unreasonable for an employer to expand and give you more internal “clients” to work with (just like they might add new departments or new campaigns). Assuming you’re not being asked to work two separate full-time jobs, you don’t really have a lot of standing to ask for more money here — and doing so might come across as sufficiently out of touch that it could pose a serious issue for your tenure there. But you can certainly fold into a case for a raise at a more typical time — i.e., when you’ve been there for a year, it would be reasonable to ask for a raise and point to how well you’ve supported the second company in addition to the first.

{ 85 comments… read them below }

  1. Fatimat Adelabu

    #1 Project in my Jammies Day
    I’d totally sit down with my boss and let him or her know that I’d like to take every first/last (insert weekday) of the month as a Project in my Jammies Day. Of course you wouldn’t say it exactly like that. You have tons of valid reasons. At my old job I had a coworker who would work from home when it came to scheduling an upcoming semester worth of events. Things always come up at work, so if you have a big project you’re working on with an even bigger deadline, I’d definitely work from home.

    1. WorkingMom

      Also – I would argue that reasons like being a parent and being in school are not valid reasons anyway. As an employer – if I hire someone I expect them to do the job. Of course things come up, people have lives and families and obligations. Generally speaking though, an employee is responsible for showing up to work every day – even if they are in grad school, a parent, whatever. (Besides the parent one gets me – if a person asks to work from home due to parenting/childcare issues – it better have to do with the daycare drop off & pick up times and commute time – because a work-at-home parent better have full-time childcare!) Keep in mind that I am a parent as I say this – if you’ve ever tried to work at home with a child at home with you on those of off-days – you know it does not work well!

  2. Windchime

    I’m a big fan of working from home, and most of my team regularly works at home every Monday. I look forward to my work at home day; it is an opportunity to work in a quiet, comfortable place and to be able to really focus. I stay in touch with the team via IM and email (and phone when necessary). My office is right next to the laundry room, so I can take a break every hour to throw laundry into the washer or dryer. And…..sweatpants.

    I had a big surgery on my ankle about a month ago and was totally off work for 3 weeks, but then was able to start working from home. It was really nice to have the option, but I discovered that I wouldn’t want to do it every day. Once a week is just about perfect for me.

    1. Chocolate Teapot

      I find it quite difficult to work from home, but since other colleagues do, it works out fine as there is someone in the office. They tend to use the time for reviewing in peace and quiet.

      1. FiveNine

        I always thought it would be a dream to work from home, then did contract work and found my home just wasn’t my sanctuary anymore with work hanging over me there literally 24/7. I now actually prefer to go into the office but will work from home maybe twice a month.

        1. Elizabeth West

          That’s kind of how I am; after sitting on the couch unemployed all through 2012, I don’t really WANT to be at home all the time. I do appreciate being able to do it once in a while.

      2. Windchime

        I definitely had to have the right set-up to work from home, and it’s not for everybody. There are a couple of people at my employer who work from home full-time, and while that might sound great to some people, I found out that it’s not for me. One day a week is just about right for me; anything more than that and I start to feel lonely and isolated.

        1. Julie

          I’ve been working from home most days for a while now, and I’ve discovered that I like going into the office to spend time with other colleagues because it can get isolating to be at home all.the.time. Plus, my partner and I get along better when we’re not in the same house day after day together (she’s self-employed and works from home).

          1. WorkingMom

            I’m with you on this one – I enjoy it occasionally, I appreciate the zero commute time, and it’s nice to be able to start dinner right at “quitting time” and not 1.5 hours later when I get home. Like you though, I also have a spouse who is self employed and works from home. Having two people working at home at the same day is not all that easy – especially with one “home office!”

    2. Vicki

      At LastJob, everyone worked from home on Friday (and yes, we all worked, we were all online, and we all were productive.)

      When I went from contract to fulltime (FTE) I asked for the ability to work from home on Tuesdays as well and not long thereafter, several other team members also worked from home two days a week. Tuesday was not on a weekend boundary and didn’t have any regular team meetings.

      Eventually, after 3 years, I started working from home on alternate Wednesdays as well. Three days a week was great. It gave me a majority of the time to actually get things done without noise or interruptions and still put me in the office often enough that people knew who I was and could talk to me as needed.

      OP #1, your reasons are excellent. I bet a lot of managers would prefer the “a small cramped cubicle with lots of distractions and interruptions” reason to “I have to pick the kids up from school” or “I need to get to class”. The latter may be valid and true but don’t pose a Business Case. The former does!

  3. Jake

    #4

    Now is the perfect time to job search. So many people have heard that companies aren’t hiring during the holidays that the competition is soft. Sure some companies will want to wait, but I’d guess that the percentage of companies the quit hiring during the holidays is smaller than the percentage of workers that quit applying during the holidays. I don’t have any non-anecdotal evidence to back up this claim though.

    1. Felicia

      I’m actually getting a lot more response to my job search now than I was the rest of the year. All the companies that have shown some interest lately are doing interviews in the next 2-3 weeks, and they want the position to start in early January. The beginning of the year seems like a sensible time to start to me, and they would have to start interviewing now! There probably aren’t a lot of positions that would want you to START between now and Jan. 1, but there are certainly positions interviewing now. Totally annecdotal, but a job search often takes months or years either way, so no harm in starting. You never know which job will be the right one, and there are certainly plenty of open jobs online now

        1. voluptuousfire

          Yeah, mine’s picked up in the past week. I didn’t hear a peep from anyone for the last 3 weeks or so but last week I heard from 3 different employers and have two interviews scheduled for next week. I’m also waiting to hear back about a second interview as well.

          1. chikorita

            Same here, I sent off a job application in Dec (the deadline was Dec 17th or something), and I got an email the very next day asking me to come in for an interview in January :) and I got the job! Actually I ended up turning that one down for a better offer, but still

      1. MJ of the West

        My hiring is the busiest now than it’s been for most of the year. In part, some of this timing is just coincidental. But another part of it is that my staffing team is working hard to make their quotas for the year (admittedly, not an ideal spike, but it is what it is) and I want to hit my hiring targets and use up my headcount budget.

        And in other years when the headcount budget might be used up, we will often try to load up on interviews now because we know that we can just send offers with start dates after the new year and get a leg up on next year’s hiring.

        So, just as some businesses slow down hiring at the end of the year, others can actually increase it.

    2. More Anecdotal Evidence

      Although in 2012 at least, it certainly felt like nobody was hiring during the holidays. I lost my job on 1 December 2012 and listings were really very thin until after New Year’s Day — it went from there being 2-4 per week that I was qualified for and could toss a resume at, to there being 7-20 per week once the new year hit.

      That said, November’s a pretty good time (at least, I know a few employers barreling right along with their processes at the moment) because people want it all done with before they really hit the holiday stretch.

  4. Sourire

    #2 – I just wanted to mention I admire how you reacted to this situation. You were able to look past the initial sting of rejection and not only understand what may have gone wrong, but it sounds like you have learned from the experience as well. Whether or not this woman gets back to you, you already got something positive of out this. Good luck on your continued search.

  5. Jamie

    OP #1 Alison is right, those are perfectly valid reasons to work from home. It sounds like your company is pretty flexible about this so it can’t hurt to ask.

    OP #4 a it’s common to get far fewer applicants around the holidays and we don’t hesitate to hire at years end. You’ll have a smaller competition pool.

  6. EngineerGirl

    #3 – Oh.my.goodness. If you are asking for a favor from someone (feedback) it’s usually best not to give them the finger.

    1. OP 3

      I wouldn’t describe what I wanted to do as giving anyone the “finger” I wanted to let them know that they took so long that I had moved on and found something better. I don’t think the wording in my original question was superbly rude. There is quite a bit that is not found in my original post, but needless to say I was given the run-around for this position. And while it was nice (in this job-hunt world) that they let me know the status of my application (both months after they said they would, and months after they had already selected another candidate– I know the person who ultimately was chosen) they weren’t superbly nice either.

      1. SC in SC

        I agree it wasn’t rude but it’s still a bit of a dig. Personally I don’t blame you for wanting to do it but if your real objective is to get the feedback then there’s no sense in including something along those lines.

        1. OP 3

          Yes, I wasn’t 100% sure about how the email would be perceived. That’s why I sent a question into AAM… it was sort of a tie among people I knew whether or not it was ok to send an email like that. And, then I said to myself, I should Ask AAM, she always knows what to do :-)

      2. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, I didn’t think your email here was rude at all — but it did sound like you wanted to give the employer the finger, mildly. And they just wouldn’t interpret it that way at all, so it would be like a one-sided fight that the other person didn’t even know was happening.

        1. Anonymous

          I agree. Your wording was pleasant but “giving them the finger” was the subtext. I mean, I get it, we’ve all been there, but resist the temptation as nothing good will come of it.

        1. OP 3

          Ok, I think you are reading to much into this. Even if I had sent this email, it’s not as offensive as you’re make it out to be. And passive aggressive? Hardly. To me at least there is a distinction between passive aggressive and polite. My intention was not to say “eff you and your job!” What I was trying to convey was a lot less charged than that.

          But to each his own.

          1. EngineerGirl

            You are missing the point. The tone of the e-mail is fine. The problem is wanting to get back at the company by making a dig at them. And you **were** trying to make a dig at them. That is passive aggressive.

            1. Anonymous

              Chill out. It wasn’t that bad, it wouldn’t be wise but it wouldn’t end the world. It amazes me how easy it is for people to play “cyber psychologist” these days.

                1. EngineerGirl

                  And the reason it is problematic is that retaliation is looked down on, makes you look cray-cray, and can harm your reputation. That’s a big deal.

                  In this case being turned down was beneficial to the writer, as it allowed that person to take a job that was a better fit. So the rejection was actually a blessing.

                2. OP 3

                  But my point Engineer Girl is that it’s been established that it would not necessarily be interpreted as a dig and this employer would not care.

                  AAM, am I misunderstanding something there, your main point was that there was nothing to get out of telling them that I already have a position. And in fact, knowing that I have one would make them less likely to give me the feedback on the test. NOT because they thought I was being rude or offensive by pointing out that I had moved on, but because they are less likely to give feedback when they know a person is no longer job searching.

                  I get why the email is problematic, but I still don’t see how it’s as disastrous as this poster is making it out to be. (I respectfully disagree that one email like this would make a person look “cray-cray”). In the end, they probably wouldn’t even pay much attention to my declaration of finding employment elsewhere.

                  Plus, I think tone and word choice go a long way. You know my intentions because I posted here (although based on the tone of your comments, it seems that you think I feel more strongly about this than I do). This employer does not.

                  But, yes in the end it all worked out for the best and I am grateful for the position that I have.

                3. EngineerGirl

                  The issue is not the e-mail, or how the company will interpret it. So let’s stop talking about that.

                  The issue is the attitude of wanting to “get back” at someone. I have a hard time believing that this reaction is a one-off thing. If you pull that stunt on your current job it could harm you.

                4. OP 3

                  Wow, I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you don’t mince matters. Now, you officially are venturing into web psychoanalysis territory, and that is just plain rude.

                  The core issue is the email and how it will be seen by the person from whom I will be making the request. Whatever you choose to interpret from it is your choice. But, you do not get to decide what my central goal or point is. I do that.

                  Frankly, if you communicate with people the way you have been communicating with me here, then perhaps you are the one that needs to worry: If you pulled a “stunt” like that where I work, it would burn you right out of a job. I have no problem with friendly disagreement, but you go beyond that.

                  And with that, I am back to happy thoughts. Thank you, once again AAM for your response and to other, constructive posters and commenters.

  7. Chocolate Teapot

    4. Start the job hunting as soon as possible, as an excellent position (I don’t want to say “Dream Job”!) may appear when you are least expecting it.

    1. Chinook

      I agree – never put off job hunting. You never know when a given position may be posted. All it takes is one.

  8. AdAgencyChick

    #5: If your boss is loading you with the new company’s duties in addition to your current duties, such that you’re going to have to work more hours and/or work more efficiently to get it all done, then I think you have a solid case for a raise. But if your manager is reducing your original workload to accommodate the new stuff, then if I were her, I’d be annoyed that you asked. I’d think, “OP is doing the same amount of work, what does it matter that it’s for two different companies?”

    1. Twentymilehike

      I was thinking something along these lines, also. I’ve worked closely with a graphic/web designer, and can completely understand and of now the OP is maintaining TWO company websites, that’s potential a huge increase in work and responsibility. If the workload is going to remain the same, however, AAM is right in that there isn’t much of a case for a raise at this point.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Or even if the manager isn’t reducing the original workload — if the original workload wasn’t huge to begin with, and adding in the second company doesn’t require significantly more time and energy than you’d normally expect from a full-time job. (Which might or might not be the case.)

      1. MissDisplaced

        I’m wondering though if OP was hired by Company A to be a graphic designer (at say $20/hr) and then the manager is bringing in work from Company B that consists of 3D Design & Animation (which is a significantly higher level of skill and pay, say going rate of $70/hr) and expecting them to work for the much lower rate.

        That would be akin to being hired as a receptionist (at minimum wage) and then having the company you work for soliciting legal clients upon finding out that their new “receptionist” has a law degree and will review cases.

        Not illegal, but sure would be unethical!

        I’ve actually had this type of thing happen. I once took a $10/hr. job as a coordinator. When they found out I could do graphic design work, they began forcing me to do so, but at the lower wage level. Needless to say, I left that job pretty quickly.

        1. AdAgencyChick

          This, too. I was once hired at a nonprofit as a copy editor and was paid bupkes. But as soon as they found out I could write, they started handing me work that they’d previously been paying a freelancer $125/hour to do. After six months, I asked for double my salary at another company, and got it. Bye-bye!

  9. Ruffingit

    #5: I’m confused as to your use of the word “covertly.” Is the your current boss stealing clients from the partner company without them being aware that was his reason for partnering with them? Doesn’t matter in terms of your question, but I am curious.

    Anyway, in terms of your question, you’re not working for two businesses, you’re working for one that is taking on more clients. That’s very different than two full-time jobs for two separate entities. If your workload becomes such that it is 1.5 jobs or 2, then you can ask for assistance or more money or whatever, but working for an existing company that takes on more work is pretty normal.

    1. MissDisplaced

      I thought that word was a bit of a red flag too… perhaps OP can clarify?

      But yes, the company YOU WORK FOR is the one PAYING you for the hours you work, so what does it matter what you’re working on?

      The only way I can see this being a problem is if you negotiated a specific type of contract work or freelance terms with Company A but now your boss is making you work for Company B and that somehow makes the scope/terms of the work different (as in a different pay grade). Bit of a stretch, but odd things can happen in the design/creative world.

    2. AnonHR

      That is a red flag if he is truly covertly funneling business.

      But, I work for a company whose owner also owns a number of other companies. I am employed by CompanyA and am their HR, but also provide HR for CompanyB. I am also involved in a very small way with CompanyC, (which gets most of their business from CompanyA). Sometimes acquaintances who aren’t as familiar with an arrangement like this assume that’s a bad thing (like someone is sneakily making me do more work that I should be) or illegal in some way. I wonder if OP is under an assumption like that.

  10. Anonymous

    I hate that having kids is considered the only good reason to work from home. Your reasons are just as good.

    1. SAK

      +1
      Having kids at home is a reason not to approve work at home except in an emergency. Our policy – working at home is not a substitute for childcare.

      1. CAA

        Same here. It’s written in our remote worker agreement that if you work from home you’re required to have alternate childcare.

    2. tcookson

      Having kids (and even a husband) at home is a reason I DO NOT want to work from home. People do not understand that just because they can see me, does not mean that I am available to them. If school and husband’s work would last from 8am – 5pm, I might want to work at home occasionally, but they all get home at 3:30. I might could get a reduced day of work in, but I’d just have the 3:30 interruption and be irritated.

      1. MissDisplaced

        Thanks for saying it!!!!
        My profession often allows me to work from home, but I choose not to. I find I get way more distracted and it’s so much easier to walk away when at home.

        But, it’s nice to have the option when it snows!

        1. Jamie

          I have really liked working from home the last couple of days, but it’s a novelty for me. Reasons I’d hate to do this often have already reared their ugly heads.

          As tcookson mentioned, it’s hard for family to adjust that just because I’m sitting typing in my jammies doesn’t mean I’m available to them. Not that they are demanding or anything, but they need reminding and so working from home isn’t interruption free.

          I miss my office. I have my set-up perfected and all my gear is there, so while a laptop on a stand is great for the time being because it’s the only option at the moment, I miss 3 stationary 23″ monitors and a big desk for my stuff…portable is awesome sometimes but I imagine it’s like people who like to camp: it’s fun on occasion but it’s really nice to get home to permanent comfort.

          I absolutely lack the self discipline to enforce time boundaries on myself. Crazy but I end up working WAY more hours than when I’m in the office. Usually I put in a full day in the office and once home I deal with emergencies. Without that line of demarcation between work and home I just deal with stuff all the time. I’ve been lectured by my husband quite a bit last few days and I’m going to try to observe normal hours next week. And none of that came from my employers expectations – every time I’ve worked from home work bleeds quickly into personal time and I am always on duty. I’m just not cut out for this full time.

          1. Windchime

            Good point about the equipment setup. At work I have two monitors, a fairly spacious workspace (cube, but comfortably big, comfy office chair, etc.

            Here at home, I have an office in a spare bedroom but with only one monitor. Lately, since I have had my foot in a boot, I have been working in an armchair on a laptop which is significantly less screen real estate than is comfortable. It’s doable, but not the most efficient thing ever.

            I am very, very happy that my workplace supports work-at-home days. Last year when my elderly pet was very ill, I was allowed a lot of flexibility to work at home while I was caring for him and I really appreciated it.

      2. Xay

        Exactly. I don’t mind working from home when no one else is at home, but I switch to work in the office during school holidays. Even with a 12 year old, it’s hard to draw boundaries when I’m at home.

    3. Elizabeth West

      Most companies have a policy that you have to have childcare if you work from home. You’re supposed to be working, not wiping toddler butts and playing Candy Land.

    4. Lacey

      As a mum of two girls, I have no idea how anyone can work from home and look after children at the same time. I work from home one day a week, and my work hours finish when they get home from school, and start again when they go to bed.

      1. Ruffingit

        People can’t work from home and look after children, that’s principally why daycare provider or nanny are jobs of their own. Those who think they can do that are fooling themselves or they’re shortchanging either the childcare duties, the work, or both.

  11. SAK

    #3
    I recommend when you approach your manager you explain your work from home situation – do you have a separate home office or are you working at your kitchen table? I manage a large team that is a mix of local and remote people and we have all learned how to work well without being in the same office. As a result many of us that are local do work from home on occasion – to save on gas, get some quiet time, bad weather, work around a doctor appointment, etc. Some like it more than others and some are more successful at it than others.

    And to your point about others do it so you want to as well – I certainly factored that into decisions when people asked me to work from home. We have such a distributed team that it seemed hypocritical to insist local people come into the office if they prefer to work at home on occasion. As long as they can be effective in their jobs I view giving them flexibility as a benefit of working for our company and a reason to stay.

  12. Hcat

    #1- The company I used to for had a flexible work arrangement policy, and if you wanted to participate, it was up to you to present a business plan to your manager about how this would benefit the company. An an example, in my plan, I wrote that I wanted to propose a telecommuting arrangement. Working from home on say tues/ weds each week would increase my productivity and allow me to work on X and Y. I had an efficient workspace that was secured to ensure my laptop / company information would not be compromised, and added that I considered this a trial, and agree to review the arrangement with my manager at the end of the month. for feedback and concerns that she would have about this arrangement. I left out anything about commuting, worklife balance and that everybody else was doing it – because it should be about how the company benefits, not you. good luck!

    1. Chinook

      Hcat, I like how your company sets up telecommuting – it doesn’t allow for judgements if whether someone’s home situation is “worthy.” Having to justify how it benefits the company (or how it won’t be harmed by it) is a great way to approach any thing you want done in your job.

  13. Dr. Speakeasy

    #2 – I’d wait until after the semester and then follow up. If I received something like this I would want to respond but this is exactly the type of email I’m most likely to lose track of in November. Nothing to do with you – just overwhelmed with students who need my time, committees that need to finish up projects, co-authors that need to be contacted and projects that need finishing touches/presentations as we head into major conference season.
    (I’m not saying I should lose track of this, just that in November I can see how this could get lost in the shuffle)

    1. Original Poster #2

      Good point. Thank you for your suggestion and insight. I had thought about following up after the new year, but worried I would appear pushy and pesky! If anyone else has experience or input on following up in such a situation, that’d be fantastic.

      1. Anonymous

        Just send a follow up email after the semester and grading ends, if you don’t get a response by them.

  14. Noah

    #1 – I agree with Allison 100%. You presented perfectly valid reasons to work from home. I’m also single and now work from home one day a week. I presented it to my boss as a quiet day away from the distractions at the office. It allows me time to focus on longer term projects instead of fixing short term issues. People can’t just pop into my office and ask for something when I’m not there. My day is Wednesday, which I chose to refute the argument that I’m just taking a three day weekend. I just tried to anticipate any reason my boss could say no and refute it early on. My organization has a great flex time policy but has generally frowned at working from home. Sounds like your company is already agreeable to work at home, so you should be ahead.

  15. Girasol

    #1 (Working from home): You could prove yourself first. When there’s a big assignment that needs attention, just say, “I need a day to focus on this. I’d like to take it home and knock it out on Friday, since I have no appointments here that day.” Come back with good results and your boss has a better reason to accept another request. It might be an easier approach than asking to do it long term when you’re not comfortable with your justification.

  16. Original Poster #2

    Thanks for your response / input. I suppose I am over-thinking this. Every step of the job application process is plagued with questions of etiquette and strategy; it is utterly mind-boggling! I am more self-conscious now that the process involves colleagues and acquaintances on the other side judging me. Good to have this column to return to for insight.

  17. Len

    #1- My supervisor let me work from home for exactly those reasons. I had one of the longest commutes in the office, (around 60 miles roundtrip) and I worked in a very cramped space with very chatty co-workers. It worked out fine when I had a specific project that was made easier by working from home. Other days I concede I would have gotten more done if I had gone into the office.

  18. EngineerGirl

    #1 Other reasons I’ve worked from home:

    * Split schedule and I only want to do the commute once
    * I’m feeling kind of sick and can only put in a part day – if I couldn’t telecommute they wouldn’t get any work out of me at all
    * The same if I’m contagious
    * Strange hours – say a telecom with someone on the other side of the world.
    * Need to stay home for a delivery / work man
    * Echoing the I don’t want to be disturbed and want to focus.

    That said, I normally don’t work from home because I get too easily distracted by the hiking trails close to my house. I’m not the best at self discipline!

    But realize this – once you start telecommuting your employer may expect your availability to increase because you can log in from home. This is the BIG down side.

    1. EngineerGirl

      Oh yes – I slept through my alarm and will miss the meeting if I commute in – but can make it if I log in from home.

      1. The IT Manager

        I used that one once. I normally work from home 2 days a week so the home office is prepared for a day like that.

    2. Elizabeth West

      The availability thing is not a problem for me; I’m hourly, so when I log off, I’m off. I don’t get called about stuff and I won’t check my email until the next day.

  19. Jenna

    Apply now! We’re currently hiring for a position and we can’t wait a month and a half extra to hire someone. There might be fewer jobs posted, but we are definitely looking to get someone as soon as possible.

  20. Cassie

    #1: Our dept is considering allowing telecommuting. For those who want to participate, they could designate 1 day a week (can’t be Monday or Friday) to work from home, with the caveat that you are “working” during your set hours (say 8am to 12pm, and then 1pm to 5pm).

    No reason needs to be given, and it’s completely optional to the employee, but the manager needs to approve (e.g. brand new staff and certain positions are not eligble) and also needs to make sure there is enough coverage in each unit. So all the people in payroll can’t telecommute on the same day, etc.

  21. Call Me Mrs. Bobo

    I am happy the hear that companies are still hiring during the holiday season. I have a goal to be working by December 1, so I am thrilled that there are companies that need help now and are willing to still interview.

  22. Meg

    #5.
    It’s possible that the work is specified in a contract. I’ve done from “freelance” work for 3-6 months, doing very specific things outlined in a contract for an agreed rate. That prevents the client from tacking on extra tasks – making additional graphics, maintaining an additional website, etc. Those tasks would be outlined in an addendum or separate contract with compensation agreed upon for those tasks only.

    If your working agreement is set up this way, most definitely request for more money, or decline the work.

    If your working agreement is setup in a traditional sense, paid hourly vs paid per project, not really much you can do. You could argue that it’s additional responsibilities, but if you’re paid based on the time and energy you put in instead of paid for the product, it doesn’t follow that rule always.

    1. Briggs

      Yeah, I was thinking this too. If OP5 was hired as a regular employee of the graphic design department in this company, then Alison’s advice applies. But, if she was hired as a contractor for a specific project or set of projects, then she should definitely renegotiate her contract since the scope has changed.

      When I contract with a client, I often let them know that my quote is based on an hourly rate, so they can have an idea of where my final number comes from AND so that they know that adding things to the project will increase it by a certain amount. It’s helped me avoid misunderstandings when projects change in the middle, which they always inevitably do.

    2. MJ of the West

      I actually see this attitude come up a lot here on AAM. Employees (presumably full-time W2 workers) who seem to want extra compensation for each additional piece of work they do. I realize that might be harsh in this situation, but it does look to me like a perspective that is flawed.

      Full-time employment is very different from contracting. It’s not just about hours and how you are paid. It’s more fundamental than that. A contractor is selling a service, and getting remunerated for that specific service. A full-time employee is basically selling themselves, to be used for whatever projects the employer deems fit (there are obviously numerous exceptions here).

      Increases in productivity (the economic measure of output per worker) rarely result in increased wages. Instead, the employer will pay you enough to keep you from leaving (generally) and you are still competing with all of the other folks in your field who are looking for full-time employment.

      Ultimately, compensation for FTEs almost never relates to workload. Instead, it is generally based on your experience/skill level and the job function being performed (and geography, of course). So, as Alison said, I think if you do well use this as a way to ask for a *merit* raise, but don’t try to “renegotiate” because your employer suddenly derives more value from your time (which they already “bought”) than they used to.

  23. OP 1

    There is fantastic advice in here, thank you all. I feel much more confident now about having a conversation with my manager. Will keep you updated on the results (hopefully from my home office!)

  24. jennie

    I always wonder what applicants hope to gain by asking for their assessment scores. If I tell you you scored 85% or 68% how does that help you? You don’t know what an average score is or how much the score factored into the decision.
    I guess applicants are just looking for some closure and some reason they didn’t get the job, but assessment scores are not always a great indicator of the reasons. I’ve hired someone with a lower assessment score plenty of times due to better experience or fit.

    1. OP 3

      Generally I might agree with you. But in this case language skills were a big part of the job, and the entire exam was not graded by a computer or automaton.

      So actually it helps a lot, it was a language proficiency test, not a regular skills test. It’s hard to find tests that seek to gauge higher levels of proficiency in this language, so knowing my score would actually help me a lot personally and professionally as I continue with this language.

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