bringing luggage to an interview, Monday morning meetings, and more

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

1. New manager keeps scheduling meetings for Monday mornings

Employee morale is at an all-time low at our organization for many reasons. Our new CEO isn’t helping with the matter. He schedules meetings on Monday mornings. Sometimes these meetings are conference calls, sometimes they’re day-long, in-person, rah-rah meetings. Employees who attend these meetings drive in from far locations.

I’ve not worked anywhere where long meetings are scheduled on Mondays or any meetings are scheduled on Mondays. Mondays are typically the busiest day of the week for us. These meetings make us less productive which in turn has worsened morale. Is this a new management technique to schedule meetings, and especially long ones, on Monday mornings?

I’ve … never worked anywhere that didn’t have meetings on Mondays. Meetings on Mondays are a pretty normal thing — not because it’s a management technique (it isn’t), but because Mondays are a normal work day when meetings might need to happen.

That said, day-long meetings? Day-long rah-rah meetings? That part sounds like a problem for sure, unless they’re very rare.

Why not say to him, “Hey, Mondays are the busiest day for us and it can be tough to fit in meetings; squeezing them in causes X and Y to happen. Is there a different day of the week we could schedule these for?”

2. Should I tell our new director that a board member was a candidate for her job?

I was recently on a hiring committee for the executive director of a small nonprofit. We had several fantastic candidates, and after making our hire, we asked one of the other finalists to be on the board. She enthusiastically accepted.

Here’s my question: How confidential should hiring processes be? Should I tell the new executive director that the new board member was also a finalist? I think I should, because it gives some context and perspective for the new ED, and ensures that the new ED doesn’t accidentally step on any toes because she didn’t know this new board member was also a candidate. I want the new board member to have a great experience, and it will help with the new ED treats her with an extra amount of respect and deference.

If I shouldn’t tell the new ED, should we also destroy the records of the hiring process to ensure confidentiality?

Yes, you should tell the ED, for exactly the reasons you say here: Otherwise you risk putting the ED at a disadvantage and she may inadvertently say something that rubs the new board member the wrong way. But I would not tell the ED to treat the board member with extra respect and deference. The same amount of respect and deference that any board member should get, yes, but not extra — that would be kind of patronizing to the board member, and may put the ED in a needlessly tough spot.

On destroying hiring records, you actually can’t — you’re required by law to keep them on file for one year from the date the application was received, and for two years for applicants who you’re aware are 40 or older, in case any legal challenges are brought to your hiring decisions.

3. We weren’t informed about health insurance open enrollment and now don’t have health insurance

I recently found out that I don’t have health insurance. We were supposed to sign up online during open enrollment but I wasn’t notified. We were supposed to have received an email instructing us. I spoke with several of my coworkers and found they also didn’t get the email to sign up and no one is enrolled because of it. Is there anything we can do?

Yes, go talk to someone in charge of this as a group, and explain that you weren’t notified and that you’re being denied access to health benefits as a result. Say this: “What can we do now so that we can get enrolled? Obviously the company does intend for us to have access to health insurance, so how can we make that happen?”

Don’t go to someone low-level about this, either, even if they’re the one responsible. You want to talk to someone high enough up that they’re going to recognize that this is a big problem and take action to remedy it (whereas if you talk to someone junior, they may not have the judgment or experience to recognize that it needs to be addressed or to know how to address it, and/or may be more interested in covering up the mistake).

4. Bringing luggage to an out-of-town interview

I received a call today that I made it to the third round of interviews. The interview will be in two days, and the company has already purchased my ticket. I will be staying in the area near my interview for 2 nights. There is a small window of time between when I arrive in the city and when my interview begins, which means that I will not have time to drop off my suitcase prior to the interview. I will be meeting with half a dozen people, and am concerned that I may end up wheeling my bag around as go to and fro meeting people. Should I not bring luggage (and purchase items post-interview)? If it is acceptable to have luggage, how do I address it when I arrive at the interview?

It’s totally fine to arrive with luggage, and it often happens when people are in this situation. You don’t need to roll it around with you the whole time. When you first arrive, ask either the receptionist or your first interviewer if there’s somewhere that you can leave it while you meet with people. They’ll take care of it from there.

5. Using notes in a Skype interview

I’ve prepared thoroughly for a Skype interview coming up and I’d like to have my notes on hand. Is it acceptable to look at my notes in the interview? Is it different for when I’m asking my questions to the interviewer?

I also wonder what would be acceptable in an in-person interview.

It’s generally fine to use notes in an interview, as long as you’re only glancing at them occasionally — not reading from them or giving the impression that you don’t know the answers to basic questions about your work history. However, it’s a little different when you’re interviewing over Skype — in that case, looking down a lot can come across differently than it does in person, when there’s a larger context and more cues for the interviewer to get about your interaction. With Skype, I’d try to keep it to a minimum.

However, when it comes to asking your own questions, it’s more reasonable. I’d just say something like, “I have a few notes here about what I want to ask you about,” so that if only your head is in the frame, it’s clear what you’re looking at.

{ 195 comments… read them below }

  1. Newsie*

    #5, is your camera separate or built into your laptop? If it’s separate, can you put the notes directly behind the camera, so it looks like you’re still looking at your interviewer? Like a Teleprompter, almost?

    Note: This may be making things unnecessarily complicated! But it’s worth a practice run…

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      That’s a really good idea. Even if the camera is built into the computer, whether it’s a desktop or laptop, you could hang your notes on the wall or something so you could see them, but they’d be out of the view of the camera.

      1. Bimmerguy*

        Also, if the notes are pre-typed, you could just have them pulled up in a separate window, positioned beside the window with the Skype feed in it.

        1. Colette*

          The issue with this is that your camera isn’t actually in the middle of your Skype window (or on your screen at all) so looking at your screen looks like you’re distracted.

          1. ism*

            If your camera is built in at the top edge of your monitor, it could help to have your notes posted just above the monitor, to help with the “eye contact” illusion over Skype. I was also going to suggest the split screen idea if the notes are typed, but tile your windows horizontally with the notes on top and the skype taking up most, but not all, of the lower screen. Whatever keeps your eyes nearest to where the camera is.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I’d prefer to print them out in this case and then just say, “I have notes,” and scribble a bit as questions are answered, the way I do in a face-to-face interview.

          3. junipergreen*

            I’ve found most people look at themselves in the little PIP window on Skype (fascinating!), so anywhere on screen would probably still appear appropriate.

  2. Ann Furthermore*

    #3: That completely blows. Did only one email go out? At open enrollment time each year, we are bombarded with emails about it starting about one month out. Plus everyone gets something mailed to their home address, and then, after the deadline passes, you get a confirmation letter listing all your elections. And even after that, there is still a grace period of a week or 2 where you can make corrections. I’m sure they do that at least in part so that people don’t really have a leg to stand on by saying they had no idea that open enrollment was happening.

    A couple years ago my company started pushing the HSA option pretty aggressively. I can see where it makes sense, but it’s not an option for us because of a dependent deduction issue. At the same time they stopped offering the plan I was signed up for. I ended up choosing the HSA option by mistake, because both it and the traditional plan are administered by the same provider, so the choices on the website were a bit unclear. But when I realized the mistake and explained what had happened, I was able to get switched to the right plan.

    You should be able to get this rectified without too much trouble. I don’t think there’s any law stating that people can only do that stuff at a certain time. I’m sure companies do it so they’re not bombarded with people wanting to make changes to their plans all the time. Plus if you get married, have a child, etc, normally you don’t have to wait for open enrollment to start.

    1. Lillie Lane*

      The OP has my sympathies — I almost didn’t make the open enrollment a few months ago because I’m remote and somehow got kicked off a listserv. Only from seeing a notice on the company intranet was it clear that we were supposed to enroll. OP, hopefully you and your coworkers can get back on your insurance!

    2. Sourire*

      I seriously can’t believe only one email was sent out to indicate open enrollment and not any other kind of notification. I mean really, for something as important as health insurance for employees and their families, ONE EMAIL! That, in and of itself, is a gigantic problem that I think also needs to be addressed when OP and his/her coworkers go about fixing their lack of enrollment.

      Good luck OP!

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Right. We always get at least three or four notifications, and there are meetings set up for people to ask questions about benefits if they want to.

        In OP’s situation, the fact that several employees missed the notification, if any was given at all, is a sign that the company, and not she, is doing it wrong.

      2. HR Manager*

        Seriously – I send so many emails with the same warnings of due dates, and must enroll in FSAs, etc that I know it can be annoying, but also because there is always at least one employee who doesn’t keep on top of his emails (ok, way more than one).

        I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but this is the time where over-communicating is helpful. We also then set up in person meetings with the benefits reps that we invite all employees to attend to hear about our programs in detail, and also learn of any changes. We don’t do the benefits fair style event due to space. But if we have an employee who misses OE (and we always have a handful who still do) it is truly their own fault.

      3. cuppa*

        We get e-mails and reminders, and even if you deny coverage, you have to indicate that. I get an e-mail a week or a few days out with the members of my team that haven’t submitted a response yet so I can go track them down and get them to respond.

      4. Kyrielle*

        We get several emails and two meetings to go over options – but everything including the meeting invites are sent via email. If someone messed up the email list so none of those were received by a group, I could see this happening to us.

      5. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Yes, my company goes overboard – in a good way – on open enrollment. E-mails, web sites, posters, all managers remind your people… etc.

        I find it difficult to believe that no one in a group office raised the issue….with the ACA “Obamacare” issues dominating our news … no one brought it up in November “hey what about health insurance for 2015?”

    3. Sparrow*

      Same here, we get multiple email and snail mail notifications about open enrollment and automated emails reminding us if we haven’t enrolled. Good luck OP. Hopefully you can get this worked out soon!

      1. Judy*

        Yes, email and snail mail before, email several times a week during enrollment time. On the company internet portal with a countdown of how many days left in open enrollment. In the site’s monthly newsletter.

        Also, usually you’re re-enrolled in whatever you had the previous year (except for FSA & Dependent Care) is what happens if you miss it.

    4. Ex Prudentioal UK Employee*

      I’ve been there. At a previous firm I was shocked to get a letter in the post telling me my health insurance had expired. Asking around I found that it was because I hadn’t renewed online. I hadn’t renewed becausse I hadn’t had any letters or emails telling me to.

      I tried to get HR to sort it out. Their response was that the need to renew online had been made clear on posters and in the staff magazine. And no, they would not let me back into the health insurance scheme. So I complained to the Head of Reward via email. I ended up getting written up for it.

      It was a horrible firm to work for.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        At my job my company pays 100%, very generous, but sometimes doesn’t pay premiums and one didn’t know until she went to pick up a prescription and didn’t have insurance. In 2014 there were a few times out health insurance was cancelled without advanced warning. It sucks when places pull crap like that.

    5. SystemsLady*

      My company changed our insurance provider this past year without talking it over with us (which they usually do) and then only notified us along with an email from the HR person saying, oops, it’s enrollment season a month earlier than usual, the form is absolutely mandatory this time, and we have one week to review the new plan and submit the paperwork.

      Now the plan was largely the same in most respects, aside from now being administered by a provider I completely mistrust from previous experience. But combined with the fact that a big chunk of employees are almost completely remote, it really stepped on a lot of toes.

      At least she had the sense to be constantly sending emails after that first shocker!

      I can’t believe how badly people seem to be able to mess up these extremely important things. Good luck OP!

    6. Mpls*

      Actually, open enrollment does have legal ramifications if your plan premiums are deducted pretax (as most as when you get it through your employer). If you don’t change your options during open enrollment, then you can only change it during the year if you have one of the qualifying “life events” – like a birth, death, marriage, gaining/losing other coverage. Forgetting to enroll doesn’t count as a life event.

      However, if you only just missed the window, your HR/benefits department should be able to squeeze you in as part of open enrollment, especially if there was a systemic issue on their part.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Is there actually a law about this, stating that employers that offer benefit plans must define an open enrollment period? I always thought it was more of a convenience for HR than anything else, which I totally understand. Otherwise you’d have people constantly wanting to change their elections, which would be a complete nightmare to manage.

        1. Ilf*

          I don’t know if there’s a law, but it makes sense since it is health insurance, otherwise it encourages free riding – I’ll get on the insurance the month I plan my surgery, and drop it the month after.

          1. Bx Rosie*

            Yes, there is a law (ERISA) that requires an annual open enrollment period and then restricts the times when employees can change coverage during the year (as someone pointed out earlier — life event changes). Not saying this is true of OP (because there are a lot of poorly run benefit departments), but people miss things all the time. I run a benefits department and this time of year we get all the people who missed open enrollment. If we missed communicating with someone, it is our error and we can allow them into the plan. But it is usually the other situation — I can prove that multiple pieces of mail were sent to their homes, weekly e-mails went out, posters up, employee meetings/webexes and the employee says they had no idea it was happening. Incredibly frustrating when you have all but sent up flares announcing the event.

    7. Chriama*

      At my company there’s a standard benefit plan that gets selected for people who don’t bother to enroll or opt-out. That way, even if you forget, you’re still covered. It might be different from the OP because we have flex benefits, so if the cost of our selections is less than the money given then we get the difference returned in our paycheques. Whatever your situation though, I honestly can’t believe that you just miss out on benefits. Either you get enrolled in a default plan (which might be crappy) or you get money back, or something else. Leaving employees without insurance is not an acceptable option.

  3. Chocolate Teapot*

    4. We have visitors in the office this week, and it means the cloakroom is full of little wheeled suitcases, so not entirely unusual. Also, if the interviewing company purchased the ticket, then presumably they know there is only a small amount of time between the plane landing and the first appointment?

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      I’d be more worried about the short amount of time than bringing the suitcase. Maybe I’ve been delayed too often recently, but I would be prepared with phone numbers and emails of the interview people to contact quickly in case of a delay.

      1. Sourire*

        +1 Especially depending on where the OP is flying in and out of, as the weather has been horrible for travel this year. Presumably they would think to check on flight status if the OP was late, but it can only help the OP to be proactive about any delays.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          Exactly. And, on a recent trip, I was not flying in or out of cities where it was actually snowing, but due to the cascade of delays, I was horribly delayed. I’d say be prepared to be delayed no matter where you are!

          1. Beezus*

            This! I have a friend who schedules airline crew members, and works with people who schedule the planes. Your flight from Dallas to Albequerque can be cancelled outright if bad weather elsewhere holds up a lot of people and planes. Chances are good that your plane was coming in to Dallas from Milwaukee or your pilot was scheduled to man a flight from Buffalo the day before and storms held them up. Airlines try to scramble extra resources to the right places when they foresee trouble, but there’s only so much they can do sometimes. It’s a fascinating industry. :)

            1. Ann Furthermore*

              It is — I work in the aerospace industry. Now I don’t do anything directly related to aircraft, I do ERP implementation and support for the back office software. But one of the subsidiaries develops crew management software, and I’ve learned a little bit about it. A problem in one place can cascade throughout the entire network. Then you have to factor in mandatory crew rest periods, and then sometimes you also have to accommodate laws in individual countries.

              Weather delays and other equipment malfunctions usually result in planes being in the wrong place, and then the airlines need to figure out how to get them all back where they’re supposed to be, which is a huge pain and very expensive. It’s called disruption management. I remember learning about this in some informational meeting years ago, and the person leading the session said that whoever figures out how to improve the process, or even make it a teensy bit more efficient, will make a boatload of money because it’s such a huge problem for airlines.

        2. AdAgencyChick*

          +1. It’s being proactive that will keep interviewers from holding lateness, if the plane is indeed delayed or traffic is a hot mess, against her. I think most interviewers would be totally understanding of a plane delay if they knew that it might be a possibility in advance, because then they’re not tapping their feet wondering, “Where is this person?” Whereas if OP is delayed and doesn’t say anything until she gets in — “So sorry, unfortunately we had to sit on the tarmac for an hour before we could leave!” then the interviewer might understand the reason, but it still might be hard to get past that initial reaction of annoyance.

          If there’s an admin or other coordinator who’s in charge of setting up the interviews, I’d go so far as to let that person know not only the arrival time, but also the flight number, so that that person can keep track of any delays. And if there is a significant delay, it’s probably worth buying Wi-Fi on the flight if you hadn’t already in order to send a quick email or text to the right person.

      2. AmyNYC*

        I might be proactive about this and send an email the day before “I’m excited to meet with you all tomorrow; in the even of a travel delay, who should I contact to keep to team/panel/whatever up to date?” They know you’re planning ahead, and if you CAN’T notify them, hopefully it’ll register with some one that you mentioned a possible delay.

    2. Meredith*

      Yes, have contact info in case you’re delayed, especially if someone is picking you up. And don’t worry about the luggage, they’ll hold it for you till you’re ready to go to the hotel for the night.

      1. OP #4*

        Thanks for the reassurances that luggage is totally normal! :)

        I appreciate all the tips on being proactive! It is a good reminder for me, as I tend to be too autonomous and just explain things after the fact. Thankfully I have sufficient time to get to the interview, but would be cutting it VERY, VERY close/possibly wouldn’t have enough time if I dropped my bag off prior to the interview.

  4. Matt*

    #1 As an “early bird”, I’d strongly prefer those Monday morning meetings to the Friday late afternoon ones that my coworkers love to set up …

    1. Cheesecake*

      I dislike both early Mondays and late Fridays; what about meeting on Tuesday at 10am? or Wednesday at 3pm? Anyway, i agree with AAM, there is nothing wrong about a Monday Meeting. But all day rah rah meetings every Monday? Why?

      1. Ali*

        My team has their meetings in the middle of the week in the afternoon. The one time my (now former) manager did try to schedule a meeting on Friday at the end of the day, it totally backfired because he was wondering why no one seemed interested. He never did that again!

        1. Xarcady*

          My last job but one, half the department was scheduled for 8:30 to 4:30 and half was scheduled for 9:30 to 5:30. Manager liked Friday afternoon meetings that started at 4 pm and went to 5:30 or 6 pm. And pretended to be surprised when half his staff started to complain about being kept late every single Friday afternoon.

          Either start the darned meeting early enough to end at 4:30 or have it some other day. The way this weekly staff meeting was scheduled, it seemed like punishment for those of us who came in for the early shift (and who frequently worked until 5:30 anyway when it was busy).

          One of the many reasons I left there, even though I enjoyed the actual work.

      2. fposte*

        All day rah rah meetings sound horrible to me no matter what day they’re on. I’m not sure I have an hour of rah, let alone a whole day.

        1. LBK*

          Especially since they sound like misguided attempts to improve morale. Generally, demoralized employees want solutions to problems, not cheerleaders.

        2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          A HALF day meeting, shoot me. Add any amount of rah to that and I’m the one doing the [joke censored because joking about that sort of the thing on the internet is a very very bad idea, in other news, don’t joke about bombs in airport security].

          1. Aunt Vixen*

            Any meeting with rah-rah in it is going to be one in which it’s not long before I raise my hand and say my personal morale would be raised by being allowed to get back to work. See also 45-minute meetings about how productivity is down. It’s taken me a long time to come back to the understanding that there even are meetings that aren’t the opposite of working.

            1. ThursdaysGeek*

              I worked at a lab once where the “and we’re going to keep having meetings until we find out why nothing is getting done around here!” system was in place. From that I came up with the Sample Uncertainty Principle: You can know the exact status of a sample and it is not moving OR the sample will be in process but you can’t know the exact status. They wanted the exact status so often that there wasn’t time to process the samples.

              1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

                I once worked in a place where the motto was “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail!”

                So they hired a vice-president of planning, who immediately began setting up task forces and committees. And before long, we were spending 25-30 hours a week in meetings.

                She left (on her own) – and finally we were suddenly more efficient.

                I still have nightmares of waking up – with her standing at the foot of the bed with her clipboard, saying “I have a committee I’d like you to be part of”…..

                1. ThursdaysGeek*

                  And now I’m wondering if your “suddenly more efficient” was the same efficiency as before she came, or greater or lesser efficiency than before she came. In other words, other than the loss of her being there, did her presence have any lasting positive or negative effect?

                  But don’t think about that too much — the nightmares sound bad enough as it is!

              2. Steve G*

                I recently left a very similar situation, not with “samples” per se, but I will call them that. I have quite a few years experience “processing samples” and at 2nd co I was giving constant informal updates on the status of each one, and like you, I was often thinking “can’t I just tell you when it’s done? It’s not like there is uncertainty about them getting done – I am going to get them done, so why are all of the updates needed?!?!?!”

      3. AdAgencyChick*

        Meetings before 10 AM on Mondays and after 5 PM on Fridays are grounds for defenestration in my book.

        Also, I’m delighted that someone else besides me uses the phrase “rah-rah meetings.”

        1. Judy*

          Especially if you’re asking people to travel to the meeting, you should try to limit them to after lunch on Monday through before lunch on Friday. It seemed from the post that some people had to travel, and it’s very annoying to have to travel on Sunday.

          When I was doing significant travel to a location that was about a 6 hour drive, I tried to schedule my meetings from Tuesday morning to Thursday lunchtime. I could work at my own office on Monday morning, and start driving around lunchtime, getting to the hotel not too late in the evening. I would leave after lunch on Thursday and be home in a reasonable time. A few times I needed to leave at 5pm, and it wasn’t fun to have to get home at 11pm, unpack, get to bed and then go to work the next morning at 7.

      4. OP #1*

        These kinds of meetings are to encourage us to get along and communicate between departments. We think they think this will improve morale. When in reality, the morale issues stem from problems at the top.

        1. HM in Atlanta*

          All I can think about is that they are relationship-oriented people,who think that you being friends with Joe will make you work better together. (When the problem is more something like Joe’s boss wants everything to go through her before he starts work on it, and you need his piece completed faster – AND you and Joe get along just fine.)

          Or, I could just be projecting.

            1. INTP*

              I worked at a similar place. I find it super annoying because I get along with pretty much anyone who doesn’t cause me problems at work by default, so I’ve had more working relationships made difficult by getting to know people than improved! (Like coworkers who have revealed their very sexist and offensive dating habits, offensive personal views, etc. I still put on a happy face and work with them but then I have to suppress rage instead of plodding along in blissful ignorance about what they are like.)

        2. Koko*

          Nooo, what a terrible idea! I mean, I know that the shared experience of misery can bring people together, but there are better ways! Why not buy a case of beer and a couple bottles of wine and invite everyone to come to the cafeteria or a conference room at 4:00 or 4:30 on Friday?

          1. SherryD*

            Because half the people will say, “We’re doing what now? Well, if we’re not doing any actual work, and it’s 4 on a Friday, can I just go home?”

            1. Koko*

              I think it’s reasonable to tell people who aren’t attending an in-office social event during regular hours that they have to work, the same way you could tell people who don’t want to attend the holiday party during regular hours that they have to work if they don’t come. (I also think it’d be reasonable to give people the hour off too, since you’re already OK with the lost productivity, but that wouldn’t help the camaraderie aspect in this case, only the morale part.)

      5. INTP*

        There’s nothing wrong with a Monday meeting in general, but since the OP mentioned people driving in from out of town, I’m wondering if this means that people have to spend their Sundays driving to the meetings? That would tick me off. I get that sometimes travel on a weekend can’t be avoided because the client meeting or conference or whatever is scheduled for Friday afternoon or Monday morning, but since it often isn’t compensated, weekend travel for a regularly scheduled rah-rah meeting is almost as egregious as an all-day rah rah meeting in the first place.

      6. ReanaZ*

        I used to work at an nonprofit where my department had MEETINGS MADNESS MONDAYS. This included a pretty worthless 2-hour department meeting, but the real goal was to try to consolidate as many projects meetings and manager/employee checkins and brainstorms into a single day. The rationale was that it is hard to get “real” (substantive technical, analytic, writing, or design) work done in small chunks of time between meetings, so we should try to have one “lost” day where no real work got down, but we got meetings out of the way, to try to reserve other days for long chunks of uninterrupted work time.

        It actually worked really well for me and most of our department, but I see how it could be extremely frustrating for someone with a lot of problems to solve/calls to make/clients to please on Mondays.

    2. Sadsack*

      I try very hard to find time other than first thing on Monday to schedule meetings. Monday early a.m. is a tough time because people coming in from the weekend may have forgotten about the meeting until they have had time to get on their pc and look at their schedule, which may not happen the moment they walk in the door.

      I try to avoid Friday afternoon meetings because, come on, they suck. However, they are occasionally unavoidable.

    3. Ezri*

      I don’t mind meetings on Mondays, and no matter what day it is I prefer to get them out of the way in the morning. We had a teapot demonstration yesterday afternoon and it dragged… on… forever… All day pep meetings sounds brutal.

    4. Hlyssande*

      I have extra early 7am meetings tomorrow and Monday. Sob.

      I suppose that’s better than late evenings with some of our Asia-Pacific divisions, but still.

        1. Hlyssande*

          Understandable, but still frustrating.

          A few weeks ago I had three late evening calls scheduled and still had to be in the office on time the following mornings.

    5. Koko*

      I have recurring meetings at 10-11, 11-12, and 12-1 every Monday–it’s basically a check-in for each of 3 projects/teams I’m on where we review what we have planned for the upcoming week or 2, decide on any changes that need to be made in case something has changed or come up since the previous Monday meeting, and give our coworkers a heads-up if we’re going to need something from them this week.

      I spend 9am-10am prepping for those meetings, and by the time I get back from lunch it’s 2pm and I have just 3 hours left to actually work on my projects. But I’m just used to thinking of Monday as meeting day and I know not to plan on getting a massive amount of work done that day. If something is due on a Tuesday I either get it mostly finished by the end of Friday or I know to put in a few hours over the weekend or to expect to stay late on Monday. I actually quite like the weekly rhythm of having Monday as an “assess/course-correct/plan” day and feel it really helps set me up to have a productive week.

      1. OP #1*

        It works for you maybe because your work is more projected based. Your meetings are purposeful. Our work is more sales based, very customer oriented, so it’s difficult to handle important issues when sitting in a meeting – and an especially long one at that.

        1. Koko*

          I definitely sympathize with that. I’d hate to be stuck in a meeting that wasn’t just a check-in/alignment when there’s a backlog of work to get through!

    6. HR Manager*

      As a non-morning person, Monday morning meetings are the worst, but I can’t blame someone for actually scheduling a meeting during a normal working hour. I did use to have a great executive who really liked Monday meetings at 7am for his team. Ugh..he always invited me to just sit in as his HR person, and I always passed on those (I made the ones not at 7am) :p

    7. Elizabeth*

      I think it sort of depends on the type of meeting. Personally, I prefer staff meetings in the middle of the week, as on Mondays I’m usually catching up on stuff that piled up over the weekend and Fridays, I’m trying to plow through and get as much done before 5pm as possible. Either way, I’m focused on those smaller tasks and not really thinking big picture.

      If it’s just a run of the mill status meeting on a project or something, Monday or Friday is as good as any other day, though ideally I’d avoid the first or last hour of the week.

      1. JMegan*

        My big problem with Monday meetings is that so many of the stat holidays are on Mondays (or at least in my jurisdiction they are!). So once a month or so, your regular Monday meeting has to be moved to Tuesday, oops, can’t do Tuesday because it conflicts with the Teapot Assembly weekly meeting. The next day we all have free is Friday, in which case we may as well cancel because there’s nothing happening between that and the next scheduled Monday meeting.

        IMO it’s just too difficult to maintain a set schedule that includes Monday meetings. If a meeting absolutely has to happen on a weekly basis, it’s better to have it in the middle of the week. But that’s totally my preference, and it’s obviously not a reason to *never* have meetings on a Monday.

        All-day rah-rah meetings, though – ugh. You certainly have my sympathies on that part, OP!

    8. MaryMary*

      Our former COO didn’t approve of the flexible schedules some employees had, so he schdeuled an all-staff meeting first thing Monday morning. Everyone attended, but it was not a very productive meeting.

    9. Kelly O*

      One of the places I interviewed recently was fairly up front about Mondays at their organization – it’s pretty much a meeting catch-up day for them. One meeting in the morning to review industry changes over the weekend, a lunch break, and then a couple of afternoon meetings to review last week and plan the next. The guy I would have worked for said it was a pain at first, but the company placed a big emphasis on planning, so it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Plus, the lunch break time usually turned into a longer group lunch, and restaurants were not nearly as crowded on Mondays as they were Fridays.

      So their whole idea was, we get these out of the way Monday, so we can focus on getting our work done during the week, and the other mid-week things were just quick, stand-up only types of things.

      Most every other place I’ve worked has had more meetings on Mondays, particularly Monday after lunch. It’s not at all uncommon in my experience.

    10. KH*

      Task/work related meetings on Mondays, the kind of meetings that are needed to work effectively in the coming week.

      Feel-good/teambuilding/corporate culture-building/informational meetings on Thursdays or Fridays, the kind of big picture meetings that are needed to keep everyone going in the same direction.

      It’s not hard.

  5. Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei*

    In my experience, Monday meetings tend to be short “let’s get to work!” kinds of affairs. It’s considered bad form to schedule them to start before 9am, although if there is a legitimate need and / or coffee and donuts are provided, an early start is easily forgiven.

      1. De Minimis*

        We do our weekly check-in meeting on Tuesday morning…I think that works way better, it’s early enough to where it can still be useful in planning for the week, but it doesn’t take up time from Monday which can sometimes be busy.

        1. Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei*

          I do this for some of my project scrums, and it makes sense: by Tuesday, everyone has typically powered ON after the weekend, reloaded their brains with work stuff, probably have some small news or accomplishment to relate, and have a pretty good idea of what they’re attacking next.

    1. Hlyssande*

      They’re short and sweet, but if you’re so unfortunate as to have different back to back Monday meetings it’s still unpleasant, haha. I had that problem last week. 7am (I start at 7:30) through 10:30, back to back different meetings. Yay!

  6. Noah*

    #4 – I arrived for my interview for my current job with luggage. I had to check out of my hotel before the interview and catch a flight shortly after the interview ended. The HR rep who coordinated the interview let me keep my bag at her desk. I felt silly asking, but she was unphased by the question.

  7. Onymouse*

    #4: as another perspective, consider whether you can trim down to maybe a backpack and a suit bag. Could be doable for two days, and you can tuck the (empty, because you’re wearing the suit) suit bag into backpack for your interview.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s certainly an option, but the point I really want to stress is that there’s no need to do it if it’s not the OP’s first choice. There’s nothing that will raise even the tiniest eyebrow about showing up with luggage and asking them to stash it somewhere for you. It’s totally normal — happens all the time. So the OP should just do whatever is easiest for her.

    2. Cat*

      A backpack didn’t strike me as more professional than a wheely bag, and I’d want to leave a stuffed backpack in the cloak room if I could too.

      1. Sadsack*

        Depends on the back pack. There are laptop backpacks that are plain black and do not look unprofessional.

        1. Colette*

          I’d have no problem bringing a backpack into the office, but I would never bring one to an interview, regardless of the materials/design. IMO, it’s too casual.

          1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

            Sadly, as a person who loves backpacks, I have to agree with you. It says, “off to school!” or “going to pitch my tent!”

      2. Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei*

        I can relate about the backpack, but – I feel naked without my notebook computer or at least my iPad. I mean, I get it, that I should not be texting people during the interview; this is more of a Linus / Security Blanket issue for me.

        (For you younger readers, that’s Linus from the comic strip Peanuts, not Linus Torvalds)

        1. OP #4*

          I am actually a notorious under packer—it is a bit of a game to me—so I will be traveling with one very small carryon and my purse. In other situations the backpack could be a viable option, but for today’s appointment (and, let’s be serious, outfit choice) and backpack would be more conspicuous. Thanks for the suggestion! I love hearing strategic packing tips.

    3. Kelly O*

      My current temp role gets a lot of interviews from out of town, and the suitcase is truly no big deal. I either keep it in a file room off my desk (which is at the front door) or the HR VP who meets everyone first.

      I cannot stress enough how this is truly not a big deal at all, and we (and honestly every other company with whom I’ve worked for whom this is potential issue) truly do not have a single problem with this.

      People get you’re traveling, and traveling means you have “stuff.”

  8. CAinUK*

    #3 – As others have mentioned you should be able to still enrol – ESPECIALLY when the employer didn’t inform your group. This should include any reimbursements for medical expenses incurred during the lapsed period. Your employer will sometimes have a broker who helps get everything lined up and processed with the actual insurance group, so that broker is a good champion to battle with the insurance plan to get your group enrolled ASAP. Ask your HR rep if this is the case.

    But I did want to mention: this is a big deal, and I would treat it as a red flag to audit other things that run through that department: check that your retirement payments are being matched accurately (if offered), that your W2 looks accurate, etc. Sometimes these are one-off mistakes, but sometimes these are signs of a department that doesn’t really know all the ins/outs (especially in smaller orgs where many ppl wear different HR-ish hats). And even more reason to heed Alison’s advice to go to a senior manager about this as a group—they may have a better view of any patterns or problems you’re unaware of.

    Between this letter and yesterday’s letter of HR overpaying an employee $9k and asking for it back, my general advice is: take time to review this stuff once every 6 months! It’s annoying, but an HR mistake can have real consequences for you even if it isn’t YOUR mistake.

    1. sunny-dee*

      Actually, there is a fair chance the OP may *not* be able to enroll.

      Along with medical expenses, this has a very real impact on your taxes. There’s a penalty — 2% of income — if you spend more than 3 months uninsured, and open enrollment for the health exchanges closes in 3 days.

  9. A Kate*

    #2 I guess a hiring process is never truly confidential, given that employers often do informal reference checking, but I agree with the OP that they should be held as confidential as possible. For me, though, that means keeping a candidate’s candidacy within the organization. Once the ED his hired, she is part of the organization, and I see nothing wrong with looping her in.

    1. Artemesia*

      I think it is such a bad idea to put someone on a board after they were rejected for a job. If it is a high level job, this is setting up the new person for a disgruntled board member who ‘should have had the job.’

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        I think offering candidate B the board seat was a risky move, but considering that she “enthusiastically accepted,” I hope things work well between the new hire and the new board member.

      2. Claire*

        LW here – I can see what you mean. However, I do think in this case it will work. The new board member is very committed to the cause, is employed at another organization that she’s happy with (so it’s not as though she’s stressed by unemployment), and self-aware enough to either check her disappointment at the door or understand that we did what we thought was best for the organization. Also, the new board member specifically requested to stay involved after I told her we’d chosen someone else. She didn’t have to say that, and it shows me that she puts the work and the mission ahead of her own ego. (it does help that it’s a women’s focused organization, with an all-woman board – I find there’s so much less ego than boards I’m on with mixed genders)

  10. Mander*

    #4 — the only thing I’d be cautious about is making sure that your luggage isn’t ratty looking or strangely enormous for a two-day stay.

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      Ha, true. I attended a meeting a few months ago that (due to some poor planning) I had to attend on the tail end of a 4 week vacation. I was back visiting family and friends in the US and I always bring back tons of stuff to Europe. So I had 2 suitcases and a rubbermaid tote (plus carry-ons). Luckily the only person who saw the masses of luggage was a good colleague who was staying at the same hotel and checking out at the same time. She still jokes around with me about it but I’m glad it was just her who saw it!

      1. Kelly L.*

        I still shudder at the memory of the suitcase I brought on a spring break trip to Chicago when I was in college. My mom and I are both avid thrifters, and I think she found this at a yard sale and gave it to me. Silly me, I never gave it a test run. It was supposed to have wheels. They didn’t roll. And then it got a huge tear in the middle of the train station. A very nice lady happened to notice and somehow had duct tape handy, or else I would have left a trail of belongings all through the building. (I think she might have been a Time Lord, or Mary Poppins.) Also, it was tomato-red, which was so not fashionable at the time. At least it was only a social trip!

        1. HR Manager*

          LOL. My mom is also a “bargain” hunter [read she buys cheap crap that doesn’t last]. She loaned me one of her finds for a trip I was taking to Japan once. I needed a big suitcase with wheels. The stupid thing didn’t roll well, but when I got to check in, the stupid handles would not go back down. The attendant even warned that they can’t load the suitcase if the handles can’t retract back downward. A strong luggage handler managed to cram that thing back down, bending the (cheap) metal bars in the process, so I was never able to get them back up to use the wheels.

          It was 2 weeks in Japan so a fairly big suitcase that would get loaded with lots of goodies. It made it a lot of ‘ “fun” rolling around the train stations in Japan, taking the bullet train to different cities, and also getting home. I told my mom I’d never use her cheap stuff again.

        2. Oryx*

          I’m pretty sure Mary Poppins WAS a Time Lord. I mean, that carpet bag of hers was bigger on the inside…

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            Ooohhh, you’re right! I know Snoopy’s dog house is bigger on the inside than the outside, but I’ve never figured out how he was related to Dr. Who.

              1. ThursdaysGeek*

                Snoopy’s dog house has either a ping pong table or pool table in the basement, among other things. It could just be built over an underground bunker, but since it can also fly and travel back in time to WWI, it might be related to the TARDIS.

                1. soapyme*

                  It’s like Oscar the Grouch’s trash can! I remember in a couple episodes he has a pet elephant and a swimming pool.

          2. Al Lo*

            Or Mary Poppins was a wizard in the Harry Potter world — she was a Ravenclaw who excelled in Muggle Studies and worked full-time in the Muggle world. She was never mentioned in the Potter canon because she was killed in Voldemort’s first rise to power for her fondness for Muggles, after a lifetime working with them.


        3. Elizabeth West*

          Ha, I WAY overpacked for my holiday, so I brought duct tape with me just in case. I knew I’d shop and I did, but luckily, my bag didn’t pop, so I didn’t need it. It was close, though. I think I’ll just leave it in my suitcase from now on. I know myself too well.

          That would really be embarrassing, to show up at the interview with a patched-up suitcase.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            I always pack a smaller empty bag inside my suitcase. Then, there is more room in my suitcase when I remove it, plus I have an extra bag for the things I’ve bought. Plus duct tape, of course.

          2. Chinook*

            Doesn’t everyone travel with duct tape (along with a boy scout/swiss army knife, sewing kit and a handkerchief for drying your hands)? I was raised to always have misc. tools on me and my mother was known for fixing drooping hemlines at grad (Alberta prom) by whipping out the duct tape.

            And when we travel by plane, one of the last things someone asks (after they ask if we have our tickets) is if we sure we have no knives on us (and someone usually does).

      2. MaryMary*

        I took my mom on a mother-daughter trip a couple years ago. She brought an older suitcase (no wheels) as her carry-on. We had a very tight layover in Atlanta, and I ended up handing her my rolly carry-on and lugging her suitcase as we sprinted through the airport.

    2. Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei*

      Heh. I think that – especially for college new-hires – the quality of their luggage will not matter to the interviewer.

  11. Angelfish*

    Re #5, I think it depends what the notes are about. I would be impressed by notes on questions you wanted to ask, but I recently had a candidate refer to notes while speaking about his/her experience in a related role and it was quite off-putting. I feel the same if people are constantly looking back at their resumes. I understand (1) wanting to be complete and (2) using it as somewhere else to rest your eyes, but it can come off like you don’t know your own background and/or lack presentation skills that are important in what we do.

    1. Not Here or There*

      I’ve brought notes on things I might want to bring up about my work experience to interviews before. I don’t usually use them, just like I don’t always use the list of questions I bring, but it can help me organize my thoughts and keep me from flubbing dates (I’m really bad at remembering dates). It’s not that I don’t know my own background or experience level or even that I’m not confident during interviews, and I certainly don’t use it as a script that I read off of. Even the best public speaker might bring notes with them, esp during something as potentially stressful as an interview. I would rather have a person I’m interview refer to notes to help them gather their thoughts or spark a thoughtful answer to a question than give me a deer in the headlights look or stumble of their answers.

    2. BTW*

      +1 I think notes are only acceptable for when you have questions to ask. I would ace every interview I had if I was able to come in with notes. When it comes to interviewing, practice makes perfect.

  12. Sparrow*

    #4 – Luggage – If you have a rental car, maybe you can keep the suitcase in the trunk and just bring whatever you need for the interview.

    1. OP #4*

      This isn’t an option for this interview, but an excellent suggestion that I am filing away for the future.

    2. jhhj*

      Do not leave luggage or anything in a rental car. Rental cars usually have bar codes on them which make them more visible targets.

      1. Zillah*

        Most people who have rental cars are using them as their primary transportation – I don’t see this advice as particularly realistic.

  13. Katie the Fed*

    #1 – Lord, no. No no no. Meetings should last only as long as needed to actually accomplish something that can only be accomplished with a meeting. I realized a couple years ago I was spending way too much time in meetings so I all but abolished them on my team – now we just have two 15-minute short meetings a week to update on status of projects. It’s really nice. I’ve also tried to get my higher-ups to reduce meetings, with limited success.

    1. Ezri*

      My boss just did this! It came after a week where we spent nearly 50% of our time in meetings instead of our actual work. He gave us permission to say ‘no’ when invited to certain types of discussions, because we simply don’t need to be there for all of them.

      1. Arjay*

        Ugh. I’m fond of mentioning that I can either *do* the work or I can sit around talking about the work. Same thing for endless reports, status updates, spreadsheets, etc. Sure, I understand people need to know the status of things, but the more complicated and time-consuming they make the reporting, the less time I have to work on the actual project.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          I once flat out said to an account executive who both wanted something NOWNOWNOW and also wanted to have a check-in meeting first: “Every minute I spend talking to you is another minute I’m not spending working on your project.”

          That was probably more brusque than I should have been, but it sure did the trick.

    2. OP #1*

      Right. In our case, it’s difficult when there are sales goals to meet and time is spent in a meeting that is so out of touch with what really needed – as far as improving morale. We feel it’s something that management can check off the list as having done to meet their goal of helping morale.

    3. CheeryO*

      That’s awesome. We don’t have meetings too frequently, but they often run 3+ hours with no tangible results. It drives me nuts.

      1. Kelly O*

        The last place I worked we had those. Talked about HR issues or employee issues that really shouldn’t have been discussed in a group meeting. I got stuck being the minute-taker, and one night actually had to say “it is 7:00 pm and I have GOT to get home.” Got some ugly looks, but after reminding the powers that be I am on overtime after 5:00, they finally moved them around a bit. Still long, just not long into the night.

  14. Frances*

    #4 – At my last job I arranged these types of interviews frequently and always expected to and did store their luggage in the coast closet. Totally normal.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        If a coast closet is similar to a Narnia closet, where you step through and are at the coast, I want one! Now!

  15. Going Anon*

    Re #2 — I serve on the board of a nonprofit. It really depends on the ED. I’ve been in a position of dealing with an ED who knew that a board member is also a highly qualified ED candidate, and that brought out all sorts of insecurities. The relationship between the ED and the board became terribly fraught. Now, it shouldn’t have been. But it was. You need to take care that you aren’t setting up that board member as a threat.

    1. Short and Stout*

      I will admit, that is kind of the vibe that came off the letter (and I’m not even the ED who might be on the defensive). I think it’s probably just that the OP is really enthusiastic about the board member (maybe much more enthusiastic about the board member who didn’t get the ED job than the candidate who did?)

      1. Claire*

        OP here – As I mentioned in a comment above – I can see your points, but I think it will work. And I do think we made the right choice in ED, they just had different things to bring to the table. The ED we picked has less experience in management, but is hungry for the job and carries less professional baggage than the new board member. I’m not on the board anymore (term limits), and the new board member had lots of experience in the workings of a non-profit, much more so than other board members. I needed someone to replace me in that experience, and I think she’ll do well. It does remind me, however, to follow up with the ED and see how it’s going, and if there’s any challenges. (and again, this board is all women, and is very collaborative, which helps).

  16. IrishGirl*

    While not seeing the need for day long meetings, I know someone whose first choice for meeting time was 3/4p.m. on a Friday – on the grounds that because people were keen to go home as normal at 5, the meeting would be as efficient as possible with no time wasting. These meetings were all internal and didn’t involve anyone travelling to a different work location however.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      My husband and I got in an argument about this very thing a couple weeks ago. He had scheduled a meeting for his folks at 4 on a Friday, and I said it was a jerk move. He thought it was a perfectly reasonable meeting time. I don’t think you should ever have a meeting past 2 on a Friday. We agreed to disagree, but really – how could I marry someone who would do such a thing?!

        1. Katie the Fed*

          I suppose it could depend on the type of work and workflow, but I’m inclined to believe he’s just plain wrong :)

      1. Judy*

        My oldjob actually did have a strong suggestion that weekly meetings shouldn’t be scheduled on Friday afternoons. Most projects had a weekly meeting, and management decided that having a 3-4pm weekly meeting for the life of a project might be a morale killer.

      2. Us, Too*

        I’m in your husband’s camp, but I know that many aren’t so I avoid scheduling meetings early on Monday or later on Friday unless there are no alternatives that week.

      3. TotesMaGoats*

        I’ve got a meeting scheduled at 4pm on a Friday and it makes me grr every time I think about it.

      4. Kai*

        Plus, it’s impractical–at least at my office, almost every week there’s someone who’s taken part or all of Friday off for whatever reason. Especially for standing meetings that include a lot of people, Friday meetings rarely make any sense.

      5. MaryMary*

        I used to work for a company where it was considered rude to schedule internal meetings before 10 or after 2. Emergencies or scheduling conflicts were fine, but scheduling a standing meeting early or late in the day was Not Done.

    2. BRR*

      I see the point in that but people use that time to close down for the week, wrap up any loose ends, and prepare stuff for next week.

    3. Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei*

      I think the flaw in that reasoning is in the case where you have a group largely composed of people who love their work and / or have no lives, so staying late on Friday is a-okay by them.

      I once worked in a group of all PhDs and the meetings could go for hours into the night, deciding minutiae like “should we name them ‘ABC, ABC1, ABC2, …’ Or ‘ABC0, ABC1, ABC2, …’ Or ‘ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, …’ Or ‘ABC, ABC2, ABC3, …’ ?”

      Of late, my employer has instituted a policy that strongly discourages any meetings on Friday afternoon.

  17. JC*

    #4, I also think you shouldn’t worry about having luggage with you. They will very likely be able to store it for you, and won’t think it’s weird that you asked.

    This is similar to questions others have asked about interviewing or attending a conference in a city where you are arriving via public transit. I traveled via public transit to interview at my current job on a rainy day, and had to stash my rain boots and wet umbrella in someone’s office. Totally normal.

    1. OP #4*

      I will be doing both. Lots of adventuring to get to this interview. Makes for a good story and a well-earned celebratory post interview dinner.

  18. Preston*

    Honest question here on #2 about the board member and director….

    Why would this be an issue at all? (Sorry but my experience is very limited with nonprofits….)

    1. Elsajeni*

      I don’t think it’s nonprofit-specific — it’s basically just “We had two great candidates for Job A, and ended up hiring both of them, one in Job A and one in Job B. They’ll be working together pretty regularly; should we tell the one who got Job A that the other one also wanted it?” Knowing that one of your coworkers was also a finalist for your job might help you avoid tension in that working relationship, and/or help you understand what’s up if tension does develop.

      1. AdminAnon*

        It could also potentially be an issue because the board of directors has the ability to hire/fire the ED. Of course, if it’s just one sour apple, that is not likely to happen, but it is a possibility. Also, the ED has to work closely with the board members, so it would probably be a good idea to disclose the board member’s candidacy just to clear the air.

        1. Claire*

          OP here – If the candidate we didn’t pick had at all put out a vibe of “sour apple”, never would have invited her to be on the board. After we told her she didn’t get the job, she emphatically offered that she’d like to stay involved, which she didn’t have to do, as it wouldn’t help her in any way. She has a lot of experience that the other board members don’t have, and that the board needed.

  19. HR Manager*

    4 – Luggage will not raise any eyebrows, unless you have something strangely out of place with you. It happens all the time with candidates I’ve met with.

  20. The IT Manager*

    I’m very curious about the industry of OP #1 because Monday meetings are common; although, there’s an point in the letter of people having to drive in for meetings so it sounds like people are being called in from home or other sites. I think it is fair to schedule meeting during business hours even. IMO early Monday morning is no worse than early any other morning meeting. I d like at least a half an hour after my schedule arrival for my first meeting because I need to get my computer up and running and sometimes that takes longer than I’d hope.

    I do tend to avoid Fridays just because many people work a compressed work schedule and take every other Friday off so it is difficult to get everyone at that meeting. And I agree with avoiding Friday afternoons especially for exempt employees who might want to slip out a bit early. We’re not exempt where I work, but people wanting to start the weekend early may take Friday off or a few hours on Friday afternoon.

    Since Monday is a government holiday, I expect the workplace to be a ghost town on Friday.

    1. cuppa*

      When I was in IT we had weekly Monday morning meetings. I actually liked them because I usually didn’t need to contribute anything, so basically I just followed along with what everyone was saying and it was a nice way to ease into the week. I was usually waiting to receive a lot of paperwork and other things on Monday mornings anyways, so it also gave me somewhere to be for a bit.

  21. CorpHR*

    I conduct new hire orientations for 100-300 people every Monday, which usually takes my time from 6am-11am. Follow-up afterward is generally 2-3hrs of work. It always fires me up when people try to schedule meetings with me that day in the 30min I have free.

    1. Beezus*

      Can you just schedule a recurring meeting with yourself during that time slot every Monday, so it appears to be booked?

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        I think you have to know your audience, because this SHOULD work, but it doesn’t always.

        If I had a dollar for every time I’ve gotten a meeting request for a time slot I had blocked in Outlook, I’d have…hey, maybe THAT’S how they calculated my salary!

        Then when I decline the meeting, I get, “Well, I wasn’t sure if it was a real meeting because you’re showing as blocked the whole day,” or “Everybody else can make that time, so can you move your other meetings?” Argh! People! I keep my Outlook calendar current for a reason, and that reason is *generally* not “I don’t want to deal with you”!

        1. Colette*

          Back in the fall, I worked with a group that I’ve never worked with before. I had a lot of meetings with them, and they always were at times that were free in my schedule. It was remarkable, and had a big influence on my view of that group.

        2. aliascelli*

          I tried to book a day a week off for no meetings so I could concentrate better…but everyone figured it out and started aiming for that day because they figured I’d have availability.

          *single crystal tear*

      2. Hlyssande*

        I have one of these to block off my lunch every day. It really helped put a stop to the majority of meeting requests during that time for me.

      3. CorpHR*

        Yeah, I should probably do that. People have a habit of disregarding booked appointments on other peoples calendars, so I’m not sure it would actually work.

    2. I'm a Little Teapot*

      6 AM? Owww.

      (Also, I’m with HR Manager on the o.0 at the number of employees. Though your workplace could be like a place where I once worked, where the turnover was so high that I lasted 2 weeks and was one of the longer-lasting temps in my batch. Gah.)

      1. CorpHR*

        Our hiring is probably 20-30% real attrition and 70-80% growth. A lot of people get burned out by the workload, but we are growing so fast, there is also a lot of internal movement and there are a lot of new heads coming in. I just wish we had a better new hire onboarding system. Spreadsheets, v-lookups, and manually sending new hire emails is not scalable at these volumes.

  22. Scott*

    We were in a similar situation regarding meetings. Fortunately, every week we have to submit a general list of what we worked on and how long it took. We all decided we should start putting down “meetings” to give management a sense of just how much time is spent meeting about the work (web development) vs. actually doing the work.

    After a month or so of seeing “10 hours”, “12 hours” “14 hours” for “meetings” managers got the hint and stopped requiring every person to attend every meeting as they had been in the past.

  23. Jake*

    I think the no Monday meeting thing might be an industry thing.

    I work construction and many superintendents have a “no concrete placements on Monday” rule that they refuse to break because there is a sense that nobody is truly prepared to work on Mondays. I think it comes from old school superintendents that worked back when it was more common for people to not show up to work regularly. I’ve never heard of a no meetings rule, but maybe there is some industry specific logic behind this.

    1. Scott*

      In the software business, a lot of places I’ve worked have a “no new installations on Friday” because if something goes wrong it eats into the weekend.

  24. Michele*

    #1: Monday meetings are common. Friday meetings are common, although I don’t care for those because a lot of people will take Fridays off. Also, I have seen situations where people were chronically late or took two hour lunches despite having conversations with them, or they skip out of work early on a regular basis. Then meetings are deliberately scheduled to make everyone work the full day. We don’t work with time cards or close supervision, and some people will take advantage of that to not be at work when they are supposed to.

    #4: I have left a suitcase with a receptionist or in someone’s office, and I have seen others do the same. With a multiday interview, it is completely understandable.

  25. soitgoes*

    I think the real issue with #1 is that the new CEO is making changes that are hugely at odds with the previous company culture.

  26. Student*

    #3 – If you are in the USA, please remember that this will have tax implications. See if you can get your company to cover everyone’s tax penalties for the time you didn’t have healthcare.

  27. kac*

    11 months ago I was flown in for an interview and, because of timing, I had to bring my luggage to the office. Like you, OP, I felt a little odd about it, but it was nothing! They were used to it, because they frequently fly people in for interviews, and the receptionist immediately took my bag and put it in the closet for me. So don’t give it a second thought!

    (Also, I got the job and it’s been wonderful!)

    1. OP #4*

      Thank you!

      Someone from HR was actually sent to meet me in the lobby and collect my things. It was really nice to have them handle it for me!

  28. Insurance Worker Bee*

    #3 I seriously do hope your group is able to get health insurance since we are being fined now for not having it in the US, but if I had a nickel for every time someone called me and said “Well nobody told me!” I’d be a millionaire.

    I hope everyone reading this post goes RIGHT NOW to find out about open enrollment in your workplace, what you’re covered for, and seriously read your health and life insurance policies. Be informed about what you are covered for and what kind of penalties come with retirement, termination, or advancing age, and if you don’t understand please call your insurance company! It is staffed with people like me who really do want you to be informed! Don’t rely on your benefit coordinator or HR department to know everything or remind you of everything, you have to be proactive.

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