using Facebook for work without looking like I’m goofing off, forwarding business calls to a personal phone, and more

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

1. Using Facebook for work without looking like I’m goofing off

I work in a large nonprofit, on a team of two that manages one program. I recently created a Facebook page and LinkedIn group for our program. Additionally, I created and curate an internal newsletter in which I summarize relevant articles and share them with staff that have opted in; to collect the articles that I include I use twitter, Facebook, and wide variety of websites (traditional news outlets, new media sites like Buzzfeed and Vox, blogs, etc.). All told, I spend at least an hour a day on social media and news sites for work.

We work in an open office plan, and I worry that people get the wrong impression when they see me with multiple tabs of twitter feeds and blog posts open when they walk by. I do not work in communications (our organization has a communications team, but individual programs manage their own social media accounts). While some of the people I work with either know or can easily understand what I’m doing, to the majority of people who come and go (and don’t necessarily know what my work encompasses), I think it just looks like I spend a lot of time screwing around.

Is there anything I could or should do about this? A sign on my cube? An email to my department? Just get over it, since my manager is on board?

I wouldn’t put a sign on your cube; it would probably look too defensive (unless you came up with funny wording, maybe). I’d mainly not worry about it, especially if you know you have a reputation for being conscientious and productive. But if it would give you peace of mind, you could say something at a department meeting if you have them (“I’m doing X, Y, and Z, which means you may see mean on social media and news sites a lot”). There are also some cultures where it wouldn’t be weird to email your department it (“Hey, I’m going to be spending a bunch of time on social media and news sites in order to do X, Y, and Z and feel weird about doing that without explaining to people why”), and other cultures where it would feel really odd to send that email — so I’d let your knowledge of your particular workplace culture be your guide there.

But mainly, I wouldn’t worry too much about it as long as your boss and people you work closely with know what’s up.

2. Employer wants to forward business calls to our personal phones whenever we’re away from our desks

Today my employer sent out an email stating that there would be call forwarding features installed at the college. Attached was a “follow-me calling form.” This was a consent form consenting to the receiving calls to our personal phone without any compensation whenever we are away from our desk.

I work in admissions at a college, so basically anyone can call call inquiring information about our school from the 800 numbers or currently enrolled students. This can cause many overage fees for me if forwarded to my phone. Can they legally tell us to do this, especially without compensation? They gave us a deadline of this Friday.

They can legally do this. If you’re in California, they’re required to pay a portion of your cell phone bill. If you’re not in California, you should just ask your employer how you should file for reimbursement for any overage charges that this new set-up incurs. In other words, assume that you’ll be reimbursed and ask them about the logistics for making that happen — because any reasonable employer will reimburse you if this incurs extra charges.

I can’t tell from the way your letter is worded if this is just when you’re away from your desk (meaning still during the workday) or if it’s outside of work hours too. If it’s outside of work hours, it’s a pretty significant change in the conditions of your employment, and I’d be asking more about that — are you expected to be available evenings and weekends now? What if you typically turn your phone off on the weekends? What exactly are they asking you to do? And of course, if you’re non-exempt, you’d need to be paid for any time spent answering those calls.

Oh, and ask if it’s optional, too. It may be.

3. Thanking my coworker for a gift card she gave me after a favor

I’ve worked in the same 80-person office for three years and know everyone really well. Our office manager recently approached me to ask for help reformatting a budgeting report she’s owned for the last four years. I ended up automating the whole process for her, which took less than two hours for me. She was super grateful and promised to get me a thank-you gift since it was outside the scope of my regular job. (I said I was happy to help and told her a gift really wasn’t necessary.)

The next week, she gave me a really sweet thank-you card and one of those pre-loaded one-time credit cards worth $50. It was very nice and I thanked her a lot and assured her again that the work was no problem. My question to you: is it appropriate to tell her how I spent the $50? I ended up buying a much-needed new bag for myself that I love and have gotten many compliments on. Would your answer be different if I had spent it on groceries and household needs?

I think it’s generally gracious to tell people if you bought yourself something specific with a monetary gift; it’s nice to hear that kind of thing, just like it’s nice to hear about how someone enjoyed the show you gave them tickets to or the foot massage you bought them or whatever. But if the gift went into your general funds, that doesn’t really apply; in that case, I’d keep the thank-you more vague.

For what it’s worth, I don’t love that a coworker basically gave you 50 bucks for work you did for her (as opposed to buying you coffee or a muffin or something else small and non-cash if she wanted to thank you with a gift). This is no criticism of you — and you likely would have made her uncomfortable if you’d turned it down — butI did want to note that in general coworkers should stay away from rewarding their colleagues with cash (unless they are your employer, in which case cash is generally the preferred gift).

4. Staffing company wants to charge the employer that wants to hire me

I got an agency job with a well-known agency. I was told it was temp to perm. After 13 weeks, the company asked for my CV and wanted to hire me as permanent. However, the agency said they won’t release me and are demanding some kind of fee. I told them that they are going to lose me my job, and their response was, “That’s ok, we will find you another one!” But I want to work for that company; it’s local and the pay will be good and I like the job.

When I confronted them about saying it was temp to perm, they told me that the person who told me that would not have said that, but she did. I always thought that after 13 weeks you were free to be employed by the company if they wanted to offer you a job, but this company wants a percentage of my wages (that the company has to pay to the agency for “finding me”).

That’s actually pretty standard when you go through a staffing agency; their contract with the employer typically requires a placement fee if they want to hire you permanently. That’s part of how staffing agencies make money, and it’s not really fair to expect them to waive their fee, since they provided a service for the company by placing you there. I totally get why you’re frustrated with it, but if you go through a staffing agency, this is part of the deal.

5. Recruiter asked if I knew anyone who was interested — in a job that I’d like

I got an interesting message from a recruiter on LinkedIn today and I was wondering if you could help me decipher it.

I got a message from a small but growing teapot company with an opening for a position with the same title as I have right now. The company is based in a city about 75 miles from where I am living right now and a city I hope to relocate to as my partner lives there. The email briefly introduced the position and then asked if I know anyone I could refer.

I am considering putting my name forward as a candidate. I’m confused, however, because the message asked if I knew anyone I could refer. Every other recruiter who’s contacted me on LinkedIn has directly said “we would like to talk to you about the position.” I have most of the skills they are looking for but have practiced those skills in a different software program (think Microsoft Word vs. Google Docs). Are they coyly asking me if I’m interested without directly trying to poach me or are they really looking to see if I know anybody (but they’re not interested in me specifically)? It seems like a simple request… but is it?

It’s actually not an uncommon way to word this kind of message — both because they genuinely want to know if you know of anyone who might be good for the position and because they figure that you’ll speak up if that person is you. I’ve also used that wording before myself when I’m specifically hoping the person will say “I’m interested!” but where I don’t want to seem like I’m attempting to poach them for political reasons (e.g., if I have a relationship with their current employer and don’t want to cause tension there by directly going after one of their employees).

{ 127 comments… read them below }

  1. Stephanie*

    #1: I think if people know you’re the Social Media person or work with Social Media, they won’t bat an eye.

    #4: Wait, that’s weird. The company should know they have to pay the staffing agency a fee for finding, interviewing, and employing you. I don’t get why the company would balk at the agency fee to the point that they’d let you go.

    #5: Yes, just say you’re interested! Happened to me once–recruiter for a competing company contacted me on LinkedIn.

    1. Sadsack*

      I am curious if the employer is talking, or if OP is only doing it. OP didn’t give that much detail, so it isn’t clear why he thinks the job is on the line.

    2. OP #1*

      I handle social media for my project, but I’m not the social media person. I agree that nobody would bat an eye if they saw him on Facebook, but because very few (like, 6 out of our 400 employees in this building) know that I manage social media for my program, I definitely.can’t assume that they know what I’m doing.

        1. LBK*

          For the same reason as every time you pose similar questions: because it’s overly confrontational and will usually escalate a situation rather than resolve it. Sure, maybe in a perfect world you’d be able to be blunt like that and the busybody would have a life-altering epiphany about their obnoxious behavior and immediately change for the better, but that’s just not how reality works 99% of the time.

          1. Mike C.*

            Ok, fine, be at the mercy of every busybody tattle-tale. I’ll be over here getting work done and occasionally browsing Facebook without having to worry about what every last Tom, Dick and Marry has to say about my personal work ethic.

            There’s no reason to be so incredibly passive when others are spreading rumors and gossip about you and your professional reputation. There’s also no reason to not understand thatI’m speaking in a general sense, not handing out a script.

            I get so tired of this. You don’t have to be at the mercy of trouble makers and rumor mongers!

            1. Ad Astra*

              Well, it’s possible that coworkers would be gossiping or spreading rumors about the OP’s work ethic when they see her on Facebook, and that’s something she shouldn’t tolerate. But I think the OP is also worried about the people who will walk by, see her elbows deep in social media, and conclude that she’s goofing off — without ever bringing up the subject with the OP or with other coworkers.

              Obviously telling someone to mind their own business when they walk past her desk would be way too aggressive, so it may be helpful to come up with ways to show that this is part of her work. It’s about controlling her own image, not reacting to others’ behavior.

              1. Tanith*

                Exactly. The OP did not say that people are actively gossiping about her, or confronting her to her face about her large amount of social media time. In that case, she should respectfully correct them. But the OP is more worried about the silent disapproval or confusion that some passers-by might have, which could slowly erode her reputation without any sort of gossip or confrontation.

            2. LBK*

              I’m not saying that you have to be at their mercy or be passive. I’m saying that it’s not helpful to suggest telling people “what you do at work is none of their concern”. Even if you’re going to say that’s not a suggestion for a script it’s certainly a suggestion for a tone, and that tone is aggressive and confrontational and won’t work well in most situations. I don’t think Alison has ever suggested a script here that I wouldn’t consider direct, and it often feels like your comments are ramped up from what Alison suggests rather than just agreeing with her phrasing or approach.

              If this is just your particular writing style and I’m reading your suggestions as more aggressive than they are, then so be it. I’ll just assume that you don’t mean what you’re saying or that I’m reading your tone wrong and not bring it up again. But I get so tired of your assertions that the scripts provided by Alison and others are passive, weak, indirect, etc. I’ve dealt with many a terrible coworker and I’ve never had to say anything that I would summarize as “what I do at work is none of your concern” or any other way you’ve phrased many of your comments.

            3. Diffi Cult*

              Mike C, I’m guessing you’re a man, and I think you might not realize how the same behavior can get a very different response depending on whether it’s a man or a woman doing it.

              A man who is blunt may get a reputation for being “assertive” and a “straight-shooter” or even “gruff with a heart of gold”. A woman who says exactly the same thing will more likely get a reputation for being “crazy” and “difficult” and a “bitch”. That’s not to say women can’t be blunt, just that it can be professional suicide unless they choose their words very carefully.

              A blunt woman who has spent years undoing her “crazy bitch” reputation

              1. Mike C.*

                While I’m fully aware of the differences in how men and women are treated in the workplace (patriarchy sucks), Yes, I enjoy privilege as a man that women don’t, and I also enjoy privilege according to my position that allow me to directly question just about anything I see going on. Most of the time this means I get to play diplomat (I know, this must be shocking to many reading this!) but there comes a point where I put my foot down. This isn’t about being “gruff” or “rude” or anything like that.

                It’s about not being tolerant of childish behavior. Behavior like “spreading rumors about coworkers” or “tattling to the boss that you’re not doing your work”. As an adult, the OP should not have to walk on eggshells simply because some busybody might mistake the OP’s actual work for sloth or worse. Any such concerns that are brought up should be dismissed out of hand as silly, both because work is actually being performed and it was not the business of these hypothetical individuals to bring it up in the first place.

                Look, I get that there are going to be times where you can’t do this for one reason or another. But what I get so frustrated with is this idea that someone in a professional workplace can be seen, accused of, questioned, whatever of any number of bad behaviors, and the onus is on people like the OP not only to prevent it, but to quell the concerns of the nosy and rude in such an extremely passive way as to not appear “defensive” or “aggressive” or “confrontational”. Because heaven forbid one openly object to someone who is trying to ultimately take money out of your own pocket through petty games and office politics!

                The workplace is challenging enough with actual work to have to deal with this crap.

              2. HR/San Francisco Bay Area*

                + 1000 The mantra I learned to use from an older female manager was “Betty White not Bette Davis.” ;~)

            4. OP #1*

              Whoa! I’m not even sure there ARE any busybodies. Nobody has said anything to me – I’m just anticipating potential problems.

              1. Mike C.*

                If this is the case, I think you should just worry about being awesome at your job and making your boss happy. If other people start judging you, they’re in the wrong, not you. When they make those “concerns” known, they look like idiots to their superiors who actually know what you’re up to.

                1. Zillah*

                  Mike, I understand what you’re saying, and in a perfect world, maybe that’s the way it would work. However, what you’re saying just isn’t practical, and you’re applying the word “busybody” far too liberally. Many perfectly reasonable people would notice if a coworker seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time not doing their work, and it’s not realistic to expect that none of them will form any sort of opinion about it.

                  That doesn’t make them busybodies; it just means that they’re observant and sometimes have opinions about their observations. It’s hardly a damning indictment of their character. And while it’s very nice to say:

                  When they make those “concerns” known, they look like idiots to their superiors who actually know what you’re up to.

                  that’s also a problematic approach, because 1) many of them won’t make their concerns known because they recognize that it’s not their place to get involved and 2) it’s concerning that you’re calling people idiots just because they raise an issue with their supervisors without investigating it first.

                  It’s not that one should always give one’s coworkers an explanation – that’s obviously not realistic, and some things are absolutely private. But, when it’s possible, it’s often helpful to do so.

            5. Wanna-Alp*

              You don’t have to be aggressive in order to avoid being at the mercy of busybodies.

              You can be active and direct without being aggressive. It is the tone of what you’re saying that is the problem, not that you are addressing the issue non-passively.

              Yes, sure, anyone who makes a comment shouldn’t be a busybody in the first place, and it’s not the OP’s fault, but why should the OP have to take an “aggressive hit” in order to deflect a busybody? A gentler way of phrasing it will help the OP without inflicting damage on their reputation.

      1. Lisa*

        Maybe tell people about what you are working on for your specific program, and ask them to please follow you on FB and LinkedIn. Your email can be announcing that you are trying to expand the audience reach, and that you’d like people to like or follow the profiles you created. You can even ask that your team put those profiles in your email signatures with image links too. Announce it by asking for help. I’d also meet with the official social media person to discuss what types of posts work for the organization as a whole so that you can tailor that stuff more on your end.

        1. Ad Astra*

          I like this idea. It explains why you’re on social media without coming off as defensive, and it could earn your program a few extra followers.

        2. JMegan*

          That’s a great idea!

          I would make it clear that engaging with the project on social media is optional. We had a whole thread about that a few weeks ago – the consensus was that it’s not okay for an employer to require their staff to follow, like, etc. But definitely a “here’s something cool that I’ve been working on, please follow the project if you’re interested!” email would be a great way to handle it.

          And yes also to working with your actual social media team, to make sure you’re not duplicating or contradicting each other’s posts. Good luck!

          1. Ad Astra*

            At least in my office, “please follow us on social media” goes a long way. No need to be heavy handed about it! Employees who like their company and believe in its mission are usually happy to help.

        3. Tanith*

          Are there any software programs that allow you to access Facebook and Twitter through a simplified, professional-looking, disguised interface? There must be! If not – sounds like a moneymaker!

          Kind of like “Timesify” which turns Buzzfeed articles into a NYTimes format.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Op, forgive my ignorance of non-profits, but if you’re posting information that might be interesting to the rest of the staff, why not just send an email with all the links to what you’re doing regarding you’re particular program? I would think, if it’s all within the non-profit, the people on the other programs still may be interested in what you’re doing?

    3. Vicki*

      #4 – I had a contract/temp-to-possible-hire position at LastJob. It was a 90 day contract. When they told me they wanted to hire me after 6 weeks, they actually held off on the hiring process until the full 90 days had gone by because they didn’t want to pay a “finder’s fee” to the recruiter (or a shortcutting the contract fee or whatever it was).

      This was very annoying to me, because I lost out on 2 months of PTO and other benefits of being an employee because the company wanted to pinch pennies.

      1. JessaB*

        I would not want to be your company when the staffing agency realises they are pulling this sort of thing to deliberately bypass the contract. It won’t go well for them.

  2. "Computer Science"*

    #1, I wonder if a sign or email asking your coworkers to send you relevant links to share on your organization’s Facebook page would nip any questioning looks in the bud. The sign would only be effective in a larger workspace, of course- my office has ~230 people at any given moment, and there’s a lot of turnover, but inviting people to participate both urges folks to get involved (even if you never actually use their recommendations), and explains what you’re doing in an approachable way.

    1. "Computer Science"*

      Sorry, half a thought there- my office would be a good place for a poster like this because things are so constantly in flux, and there isn’t time to explain everybody’s responsibilities. Signs are already deployed for other areas (social club, maintenance requests, etc) that explain roles in a way that invites people to engage when necessary.

  3. Kathleen*

    Ha, I often communicate with clients over text, and I’ve wondered if people walking by my office think I’m just playing on my phone all day long. (I use a company phone to do the client texting, but it doesn’t look that different.) But since I’ve been there a couple years now and have a good, well-established reputation, I don’t worry too much about it.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Yes, I used to be self-conscious sometimes when I was looking at my phone and coworkers would walk by, but I’ve noticed every time I turn around and look at my boss across the hall, she’s on her phone too! Plus, she’s never said anything about it so that’s all that really matters.

  4. Tribal Tableau*

    Many companies, e.g., the one I work for, negotiate a fee waiver with staffing agencies if the temp employee works for a certain amount of time, e.g., 90 days. This is a good way for the staffing agencies to maintain a strong working relationship with their clients.

    1. hbc*

      I honestly thought everyone did this. We’re a tiny company (i.e.: not a lot of leverage), and all four of the agencies we’ve worked with don’t charge a fee past 520 hours/13 weeks.

    2. BritCred*

      The one I went through charged a slightly higher rate for my temp weeks since it was a temp to perm. But someone else had to work an extra couple of weeks through the agency to cover the placement fee before being taken on direct by the company.

      But I agree that its usually done on a waiver basis in some way.

    3. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      Yeah, I’m confused. I wonder if the OP has the details straight.

      AFAIK, there is always a standard X weeks and then the employer is free of paying additional fees. I’ve never seen one higher than 16 weeks, as standard, and then we negotiate down (before the first temp arrives!) from there. We can usually get 16 weeks to 12 weeks, although we are working with one company right now that held firm at 14 weeks.

      Anyway, this is between the company and the staffing agency, not the employee.

    4. AMT*

      I was placed in my current and prior jobs by an agency and my understanding was that after 12 weeks of being paid through the agency there was no additional fee; my current job decided to hire me on permanently sooner, so they paid an extra fee to end the relationship with the agency (it was only like a week or two early, I don’t know why they didn’t just wait it out but it worked out better for me).

    5. CAA*

      These different intervals are interesting. I’ve always seen them go out to a year unless you negotiate down to 6 months at the start of the contract. The positions I’m filling are exempt software dev and test roles so maybe the industry or type of work makes a difference. Here’s a typical fee schedule I found on Google, and this matches what I usually see.

      Time Worked on Contract / Conversion Fee Percentage Due
      0 – 90 days 20%
      91 – 120 days 17.5%
      121 – 150 days 15%
      151 – 180 days 12.5%
      181 – 210 days 10%
      211 – 241 days 9%
      242 – 272 days 8%
      273 – 303 days 7%
      304 – 334 days 6%
      335 – 365 days 5%
      After 365 days No Fee Due

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

        That is interesting!

        Yep, I’m sure it’s the professional nature of the jobs you are filling.

        Our jobs are warehouse help, clerical or entry level inside sales. All lacking a specific, hard to find, professional skill set. And I’ve never seen anything over 16 weeks. We’d laugh the agency away.

      2. Anna*

        My experience was after ninety days someone needed to know what was going on. So after ninety days at my last long-term gig, I started making noises. I needed to know if I was going to be brought on permanently or I needed to start looking elsewhere. That was in October. By January I was on permanently.

      3. HR Mgr.*

        Having a staffing background and several years of HR recruiting, I can say that…it varies. Agencies and Recruiters will contract with organizations and spell out the terms. Direct hires will fetch a percentage of the employees first year salary while temp to hire will typically require a pre-determined number of hours before a hired can be made without additional fees. TYPICAL is around 60-90 days…

        The profit margin increases substantially after the required work time…if you’re going to hire the temp employee, it’s best to make that decision and process the hire fairly close to the release date.

        1. Chinook*

          “The profit margin increases substantially after the required work time…if you’re going to hire the temp employee, it’s best to make that decision and process the hire fairly close to the release date.”

          I agree 100% and it was one of the reason I chose to become an independent contractor (when asked to by my supervisor) – after a year, the agency was doing zero work and making a good profit off of me without giving me an benefits. Atleast by me taking the profit, I am able to fund my sick leave and vacation time.

    6. Chinook*

      “Many companies, e.g., the one I work for, negotiate a fee waiver with staffing agencies if the temp employee works for a certain amount of time, e.g., 90 days.”

      Ditto for me. I looked into this when I became an independent contractor for the company I work for after spending a year working there through a staffing agency. Because of what I do, I have an excellent relationship with the company’s procurement department and they were able to verify that, after one year of working through the agency, I was considered a free agent (in hockey terms) and the company was able to hire me outright or through another agency or as an independent contractor free of charge.

      I have explained to others who work through the staffing agency (all our EITS and summer students are paid that way) that they should think of themselves like professional hockey players – they are tied to a contract with the agency who can then shop it/you around to various companies. You only become a “free agent” available to those companies without charge once that contract expires.

  5. INTP*

    #4: As Alison explained, this is totally standard. Generally, permanent placements get a percentage of the annual salary and temporary placements get a percentage of the pay for each pay period (or other defined short term period). For temp-to-perm, the client pays a percentage while the employee is a temp and a previously determined fee when that employee becomes permanent. It’s possible that there are some agencies that will not require payment after 13 weeks but they most likely charge an increased rate for the first 12 weeks (otherwise it’s not a great deal for them – they’re getting paid for 12 weeks of temp work versus one year of salary or many months of temp work for a perm or ongoing temp hire). It’s highly unlikely that no one at your employer was made aware of this – maybe they hoped not to pay, maybe the person budgeting for personnel in your department wasn’t made aware of these rules, who knows.

    I understand that the situation must be very frustrating, but direct your anger at your employer. They knew what the fee would be when they hired you temp-to-perm, decided they didn’t want to pay it, and tried to blame it on the staffing agency. All very unprofessional on their end.

    5: I see two likely possibilities here. Either the recruiter didn’t ask you directly because you are missing some qualification (which might not be specified in the job description) and they don’t see you as a viable candidate, or because you’re a non-local cold contact so there’s just not a statistically great chance that you’ll be interested and they have better luck asking for referrals. In any case, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to mention that you are interested in the job yourself and already wanted to relocate there. The worst that can happen is the recruiter says that you aren’t a fit, but knows you’re interested in any future openings in their city.

    1. Daisy*

      Yes, if it`s the same job the OP is currently doing, some distance away, it`s quite a long shot that she`d be interested- they don`t know that stuff about her wanting to relocate. It seems more logical to ask for referrals. No reason necessarily that they don`t want the OP.

      1. kkcf*

        OP Here–I live in the West, so 75 miles is actually chump change :) I live in Smaller City A 75 miles away from Huge City B. There’s a fairly large group of people who commute from A to B (and a smaller group that go B to A). So it wouldn’t be too unreasonable to commute. Would it suck? Yes. But not unreasonable.

        1. INTP*

          Most cold contacts aren’t going to be interested in the job even locally. I still think it’s worth telling the recruiter that you are interested – like I said, the worst that can happen is they say “This job requires more experience in X, but I’ll keep you in mind for others that open up.”

  6. Jen S. 2.0*

    Agree with others on #4 — a placement fee is totally standard when you hire the person the agency sent you. These are some of the pros vs the cons of using an agency.

    Pros: they do the work of finding and sifting through and interviewing candidates, and they will find you a new person if you don’t like the one they send.

    Cons: if you DO like the person, it’s gonna cost you. You pay the agency to find the person, you pay the agency while you have the person on your team, and if you want to keep the person, you pay the agency to release them. If that’s a problem, you need to find your own candidates.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah. All pretty standard.
      It’s unfair to put the employee in this position. It feels as though the company is trying to circumvent the process they obviously signed up for when they decided to use the service.

  7. Soupspoon McGee*

    #1: You can also send out an email letting your coworkers know they and their clients are invited to subscribe to or like your social media pages, while making it clear it’s purely optional. That gives you an opening to describe the variety of forums you’re using and, and someone else suggested, ask for interesting articles.

  8. HR Caligula*

    #4- Yes, standard protocol for professional temp agencies. We did use an agency a few years ago to place a quickly needed receptionist and after posting for the job and holding interviews elected to hire her permanent. The fee seemed high for the position but did negotiate a significantly reduced fee which included keeping her on their payroll for 6 months.

  9. Marzipan*

    #2, the other thing you might want to bring up with your employer would be if you require access to particular information or resources in order to answer the calls you receive effectively. In some jobs, where you answer calls will generally be unimportant; in others, having access to the right setup is essential. However detailed your knowledge of the various courses students could take at your college, I would imagine that you need to check details sometimes; and if there are any actions you need to take during or immediately after calls (like actually signing people up for programmes, or sending prospectus information to them) then you obviously won’t be able to do these things when you’re away from your desk (regardless of whether it’s during work hours or not). At best, you’ll be a sort of human answering machine, scrabbling about to make a note of what the caller needs so you can action it later.

    If this sounds like it would be the case for your job, I would suggest also asking for more clarification along the lines of “Griselda, I’m concerned that in my role answering calls when I’m away from my desk would lead to a poor experience for callers because I wouldn’t be able to access X or do Y.” and asking whether this policy was intended to apply to your sort of role. You could also back this with examples or data about calls that you wouldn’t have been able to successfully answer from away from your desk (i.e. “About 25% of the calls I receive are asking for general information and can be answered easily, but the other 75% require more detail and can’t be resolved when I’m on the go” or whatever applies in your situation).

    1. some1*

      This is a really great way to push back on this, and will come across better than, “I don’t want to.”

    2. Graciosa*

      In addition to being concerned about call experience issues related to where you are not when you answer (at your desk, with information at your fingertips), the college should also be concerned about call experience issues related to where you are when your personal phone rings if you’re not at your desk.

      In a meeting?

      At a noisy fast food restaurant?

      In the bathroom?

      Honestly, if I absolutely had to do this and could not talk sense to anyone with the authority to stop the stupidity, I would turn the ringer on my personal phone off and let the callers go straight to voice mail.

      Although it might be better to indicate that my only personal phone was my home phone, so I would neither be able to answer calls nor to respond to messages left there until the following work day. I’m also perfectly capable of explaining truthfully and with a straight face that the phone I’m seen carrying belongs to a “family member” if questioned.

      If the business (including a college) needs you to be available by mobile phone, they ought to supply it – but I’m having a hard time imagining an admissions crisis that can’t wait until the OP returns to the desk.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        My admission colleagues could tell you many a story about “crisis calls” from parents! (Crisis being in the eye of the beholder, of course).

      2. Anony*

        Yes! I agree! Our database system can only be accessed from our desk. So if I am away, it makes it harder to pull up information regarding the student’s needs. Also, our job does require us to be available weekends so it is possible I will be receiving calls on my days away from the office.

    3. Bostonian*

      This is a really good way to frame it. I can’t imagine it would make a good impression on callers if they reached someone who was clearly not in a typical office setting and there were crying babies or barking dogs or just wind and traffic noise in the background. And you’d always need a pen and paper handy and need a system for remembering to follow up on those calls once you returned to your office.

      OP, can you think about or talk to your manager about *why* they want to do this? Are there calls going unanswered during business hours? Do a lot of people call in the evenings and they want those calls to be answered? Are there ever emergencies that come in? Are most employees in the department in a lot of meetings all over campus and hard to track down?

      Then, think about what some alternative solutions you might be able to suggest. Should the office have a voicemail message explaining that the office closes for lunch each day, since midday coverage is a big problem? Do you need a rotating system of after-hours coverage? Do you need to better manage the process of getting back to people promptly when they leave voicemails after hours? Do they need to separate out the 800 number so this only applies to people with your direct line who are actually trying to reach you specifically?

      1. Meg Murry*

        Yes, I suspect that who this is really meant for is upper level employees who want to work from home one morning, or are often in meetings out of their office but want to be able to screen for important calls without giving out their cell phone number.

        I think OP also needs to clarify whether by signing this form she is only acknowledging the policy and possibly setting up her “follow me” phone number, or whether this will automatically turn on the “follow me” option and she would be expected to use it.

          1. Bostonian*

            I think it’s totally reasonable to go to your manager after a department-wide memo like that to discuss the details of how it will apply to your specific circumstances. This sort of policy has such different implications for different kinds of jobs (hours that you typically receive calls, how many calls you get, whether you need to access information during calls or follow up immediately afterwards, how often you’re in meetings, etc.) that sending the same memo out to everyone with no further information or discussion seems like a pretty bad management move, actually.

            You might hear it basically doesn’t apply to you or you won’t be expected to use the feature, or you might hear that you’re actually expected to be on call all the time and it will be a pretty major change in your job. But you can’t react or respond appropriately until you have more information.

      2. Anony*

        We get calls from students, people inquiring about our programs, etc. so I don’t think this feature would be useful away from our work computer which is the only place we are allowed to access student info

    4. Ad Astra*

      This is a great point. Even knowing just a tiny bit about OP’s job, it doesn’t sound like answering the phone while she’s away from her desk would be very useful. If she doesn’t have access to her set up, sending calls to voice mail or an alternate employee gives the office a much better chance of actually helping the caller.

      Plus I picture the phone ringing while she’s in the bathroom stall and her having to decide between answering a work call on the toilet and explaining why she didn’t answer, even with call forwarding turned on. No thanks.

    5. Purple Jello*

      And what if you need to forward the call to someone? Can you do that from your cell phone? Would it count as an additional outgoing call?

    6. Anony*

      I completely agree with everything u said regarding ease of access to info. I also will definitely take your advice for presenting info regarding the nature and effectiveness of the calls

  10. Cambridge Comma*

    #1, if you feel self-conscious, perhaps you could display some of the things you are reading in a way that doesn’t scream social media? For example, reading the blog posts in Outlook by adding RSS feeds, or using a third party program to work with Twitter?
    I do this with blog posts — I genuinely only read professional blogs at work, and often learn a lot from them, but I don’t want it to look like I’m surfing the net all the time, so I read them in Outlook.

    1. OP #1*

      I use hootsuite for twitter and had frankly forgotten that I can use it for Facebook too – thanks!

      I have a few blogs set up in Outlook but I get a ton of great content from my twitter lists, which means I’m then clicking through to the pages to read them.

      1. Wanna-Alp*

        You could also choose to put something about your social media role in your email signature.

        Having people know that you’re a facebook/Twitter contact point for the company might be useful in other ways as well as subtly reminding people that that is part of your job.

  11. Merry and Bright*

    On #4 I just wonder if this is one of the unethical job agencies that doesn’t work with contracts, engagement documents or proper terms and conditions? I have done work with some in the past so I know they exist. If so, the OP and the client company might not have anything to work from. Just a thought.

    Also, the throwaway promise about the work being temp-to-perm does not surprise me either. I’ve bought that t-shirt a few times.

    However, this is not a general rant against agencies. I’ve worked with a couple that have found me regular and interesting work and would not have my current job without one. But the OP’s situation is pretty classic.

    1. Blerp*

      I don’t know, like Allison said and in my own experience this is pretty par for the course with temping.

      1. Merry and Bright*

        I wasn’t disagreeing with Alison (see my last sentence). Those fees are absolutely normal. I was just putting out another possible explanation as there are a few agencies (like any other company) that don’t do things by the book.

  12. Liewe Heksie*

    #1: Invite your colleagues from the other programs and coworkers you sit in close proximity to to join your group/page on social media. In that way you get to inform them about what you are doing, but it also does what social media is intended for by adding members to your community, creating excitement/awareness and furthering the cause/message of your program.

  13. UK HR bod*

    OP 4 sounds (from the use of temp agency and CV) as though she could be in the UK. In that case, there is a limit on charges so long as she’s been temping for a set period of time. It’s a long time since I’ve used temps, so I’m not entirely clear, but broadly, they can charge a fee or offer the option to continue you as a temp for 14 weeks – someone who’s used temp agencies more recently in the UK may be able to clarify that. The terms in that 14 week period can’t be worse either. The other alternative is that she leaves and start work permanently 8 weeks later.

    1. Jules*

      If OP 4 is in the UK, in my experience the agency’s fee will usually be a flat % of hired salary (anywhere from 15-40%). If they filled the role initially as temp to perm, their contract may offer a discount on the placement fee to take into account the fees the agency has already collected on the temp contract, but that’s not universally true (as many agencies have separate temp and perm desks). But yes, the company will know they need to pay the agency a fee (unless they’re complete idiots, in which case, OP 4, consider this a bullet dodged!)

      1. Jules*

        Oh, and the ‘separation period’ between when she leaves the ‘temp’ job and starts the ‘perm’ job as a free agent can be as long as 6 months, depending on how niche the agency is and what they’ve put in their contracts….

        1. UK HR bod*

          Those agencies should probably reconsider – the government website says an 8 week separation period.” You can charge these as long as the hirer has first had the option to have the worker supplied for a set period. After this the worker can transfer without a fee…..You can only charge transfer fees if the transfer takes place within whichever is later out of:
          14 weeks from the start of the first assignment with the hirer
          8 weeks from the end of any assignment

  14. KT*

    For #1, results will speak volumes more than any sign or email. Is there any avenue to present updates on your social channels, like a monthly staff meeting or internal newsletter?

    For me, I send a monthly social media update, with stats and analysis, like “In September, our Facebook had a 10% increase in followers, but more importantly, we had a 20% engagement rate. That resulted in 12 clicks on our “donation” button”.


    “Twitter showed a huge increase in impressions, thanks to the event department’s fantastic soiree using hashtag #BlackTie”

    That way people know I’m actually doing work that ties back to the business (also helpful because many still don’t understand social)

  15. A Teacher*

    #2, is google voice a possibility for a phone number for you? It’s what I give out to students and others. The app is free on my phone and I can listen to calls off my phone or computer. It also transcribes voicemail (sometimes with interesting results). I’m just thinking if you’re away from your desk maybe you’re not answering your phone and won’t check in and see you come back anyway, so with Google Voice you could get on the computer and check it that way

  16. Not Today Satan*

    #1, if I were you, I would just try to stop caring what people think. In this day and age, social media is a hugely influential force, and tons of people have social media related jobs. Even back in 2008, when Facebook was still for college students only and Twitter was fairly new, I had a lot of social media-related duties at work. If people still don’t understand that social media isn’t just some sort of “goofing off for teenagers” realm, that’s sort of their problem.

    1. NickelandDime*

      I agree. When we really started to ramp up the social media here, I’m sure some folks thought I was “goofing” off. One person even tried to advocate having Facebook “blocked” at the office because it “spreads computer viruses” and went into this long story about how her computers at home were messed up because of Facebook. IT ignored her, luckily. People need to focus on their work and not worry so much about other people.

    2. Ad Astra*

      I agree on principle, but I also work at one of those offices that has Facebook, Twitter and YouTube blocked on most employee computers. I wouldn’t even have Facebook if I didn’t need it for work, so it’s funny to me that so many people still see that as goofing off, but that’s the reality in some offices.

      If the OP works in a more old-fashioned office, it might make sense to worry about damage to her professional reputation. There are some good ideas upthread about how to explain what she’s doing without being defensive about it.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        You can log in to FB here but not do anything. Sooooo frustrating. Either unlock it or block it completely. I typically just don’t look at it until I get home because I hate doing it on my phone and I can’t get on our guest wi-fi with my tablet.

  17. Dawn*

    #1: Look into using a social media manager program like HootSuite to roll up all your FB/Twitter/LinkedIn stuff onto one dashboard. Not only will it eliminate the appearance of hanging out on social media all day, it makes it TONS easier to launch and monitor campaigns, respond to tweets and wall posts, post content, etc etc etc. I think most of them are free until you start doing crazy huge campaign stuff too.

  18. Cheesehead*

    #2….I would definitely ask for clarification on what the expectations are, and get everything clearly and in writing, ESPECIALLY if their intention is for you to take calls outside of your normal work day. If this is the expectation, ask if there will be certain days or hours when you would be ‘off duty’, because personally, I think it would be insane to expect you to essentially be on call 24/7. And when you ask about reimbursement, also ask about how you will be paid for being on call and knowing that you may have to take a call at any time and be ‘on’ professionally. When you’re on call like that, you can never really relax. It limits what you can do. You can’t have a few drinks, and you can’t go to a concert, for example, because you wouldn’t be able to hear the call, and even if you could, having all of that background noise isn’t professional. So you should ask about compensation for merely BEING on call, and then also ask what the compensation will be for when you actually do take calls.

    From years ago when I would have to be on call for a week about 3x/year, I remember something about “on call pay” (which was a nominal amount per hour or day for the time when you might have to drop everything and take a call) and “call pay” (the amount that you got when you actually had to take a call or respond to a page, paid for the duration of the call, but with a minimum increment, like 15 or 30 minutes). Assuming that the expectation is that you take calls outside of your normal work time, I would definitely ask them about the pay for both of those scenarios. Assume that they will be compensating you for both, because hey, that’s reasonable.

    And can I just say that I strongly dislike how employers can just presume to use employees’ personal items like this? They think they can co-opt her personal phone to take business calls. What’s next? Geez, if it’s that important for them to have ALL calls answered, then they need to provide the means to do that…..that is, get a company phone!

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I’m curious to see how this plays out. OP, please give us an update when you get more clarification.

      I can’t imagine they expect this 24/7 to go to one’s PERSONAL phone. Even at my company, where they provide a company paid mobile phone, you would not be expected to take/return calls immediately whenever someone calls. Accessible, yes, but still within normal hours for your region (which sometimes does happen with us as we’re a global company).

    2. catsAreCool*

      When I’m away from my desk at work (when I work in the office), I’m usually in a meeting or training, talking to or working with a co-worker, using the bathroom, or getting some water. If I’m in a meeting or working with a co-worker on a project, wouldn’t it be rude to the coworker or meeting leader if I answered the phone? If I’m in the bathroom, it seems rude to the caller if I answer it there.

  19. Sharky*

    #2 – You might want to clarify if you HAVE to use this feature. It may be that the form is to obtain written consent from individuals to let them know they’ll be responsible for any communication sent to personal phones which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use the call forwarding feature at all. They may be doing it to protect themselves so that people don’t forward calls, run up huge bills (especially given it’s not unlikely that university staff and faculty may travel abroad), and then suddenly expect reimbursement for these work-related calls. In other words, the form may be “Hey, I acknowledge that if I decide to use this feature to forward calls to my personal phones, I’m responsible for whatever happens” which isn’t the same as requiring you to use it.

  20. Allison*

    #1, I occasionally use social media for work (posting jobs, industry research, etc.) and I’ve stopped caring, for the most part, what people think of it. My boss, and the people who work with me, know I’m productive and do good work, and their perception of me matters far more than what some random person in marketing or engineering may think of me.

    That said, if you are worried about privacy, maybe get one of those screens that go over your monitor screen so that people looking at it from an angle won’t be able to see anything.

    1. Ad Astra*

      Out of curiosity (and I hope this doesn’t come off as aggressively playing devil’s advocate), how would you approach this differently if your job included social media but you didn’t necessarily have a reputation for doing great work? How can you avoid looking like you’re goofing off if you’ve had performance issues and your boss and coworkers are not so confident in your ability to produce?

      1. OP #1*

        Or in my case: I’m newish (6 months), and while my boss knows I do great work I pretty much don’t have a reputation beyond my small work group.

  21. MashaKasha*

    I like the wording on #5. It gives you an opening to apply for the job yourself, and at the same time doesn’t look like they’re pressuring you to change jobs just so they could get a commission. Much better and more professional-sounding than most emails and calls I get from recruiters. OP5, go ahead and apply for it!

  22. Erin*

    #1 – Been there, done that. I wouldn’t worry about it to much. I 100% understand where you’re coming from, but people are probably too absorbed in their own lives and work they probably won’t notice or care what you’re doing. You can play it by ear and address it in the moment if you notice someone noticing. Also, in general I think there’s a big increase in companies utilizing social media, so more and more this will become a normal thing to see at work.

  23. CollegeAdmin*

    #4 – I agree with Alison and the commenters; this is pretty standard.

    I once worked as a temp through Staffing Agency A and was placed at Company X. Company X had recently been bought by Company Y. When the temp position was ending, Company Y approached me to hire me to fill their 1-year receptionist position. They wanted me to do some sneaky backdoor stuff and not tell Staffing Agency A that Company Y wanted to hire me to avoid paying the “finders fee.” Instead, they wanted me to sign up with Staffing Agency B (their usual agency) and hire me that way. I declined – that was just the tip of the iceberg of Company Y’s questionable business practices.

  24. Mollyg*

    #4 They key piece here is that they lied to you about you going perm and this is fraud, which will make enforcing any contract more difficult. You are not their slave and you can stop working for them anytime. The company is also free to hire anyone they want. The worse the temp agency can do is try to sue the company, but there is a good chance they will not since their fraud will come out. The job market is hard and I would not give up easy on a good job. I would call the temp agency out hard on their lies. They may back down.

    1. MK*

      To begin with, it’s not a given that the agency lied about this being a temp-to-perm position; it’ perfectly possible that the person who told the OP that was misinformed (or even that the OP misunderstood, if the wording was vague). Even if they did, it’s unlikely that this qualifies as fraud, if you mean the actual criminal offence; I doubt the agency has anything to fear from this “coming out”. In any case, the OP probably has no way to prove she was actually told that.

      And as far as I can tell, what the OP is afraid of is not that the company offering her the job and her taking it is illegal, but that they won’t offer it at all, if there is even a chance the agency will sure them. And she is right to fear that: unless she will be highly valuable to the company, it’s not likely that they will want to risk a law suit, even one that has no chance of succeeding.

  25. Brett*

    #2 We have this feature in our office. It is important to take advantage of the Send All Calls and Call Forwarding features if you have this setup. “Follow Me” rings through to your cell phone when your desk phone is called (it will actually ring both at once). Send All Calls overrides Follow Me, and Call Forwarding overrides Send All Calls.

    Send All Calls pushes an incoming call automatically to the next defined coverage point. This should not be your cell phone (for one thing, cell phones are outside the coverage path, so once SAC pushes to a cell phone, that call is lost if it is not answered). The next coverage point normally will be either a general office line or your voice mail box. This keeps your cell phone from ringing. If you are on a Follow Me system, you should turn on Send All Calls every night when you are done at work and turn it off when you come in. On some systems, you can program Send All Calls to automatically activate at certain hours, but you will also want to turn it on manually when you are taking days off.

    Call Forwarding overrides Send All Calls. You can often program a button on your phone to set an automatic forward path (e.g. to the general office line or your voice mail) and then use that button to turn it Call Forwarding on at night and off in the morning. This will definitely prevent Follow Me calls from hitting your cell phone.

    Side note: If the OP works for a public university, there are often state level regulations that will define how to be reimbursed for personal cell phone use or even require an agency to create a reimbursement plan if employees use personal cell phones for public business.

  26. JGray*

    #4- My company hires temp employees all the time especially during the summer. We decide how much we want to pay the person and then we pay the temp agency a certain amount based on what the pay for the person is (and whether it is in the office or out in the field because work comp rates differ). For instance $25/hour employee means we pay temp agency something closer to $40/hour. For our temp to perm employee they have to work through the temp agency for three months. If we hire them at the end of three months than there are no extra fees. Sometimes people work longer than 3 months for the temp agency. We are a huge client for this temp agency so it could be that they waive fees based on the amount of business but I have never heard of extra fees (i.e.fees not already being agreed to) being added if someone has reached the end of the temp period. Also, in one of my previous jobs I was placed by a temp agency but the employer after 3 weeks wanted to hire me so my boss negotiated to buy out my employment contract. Not sure how financially how that worked out (i.e. did it save the company money or not) but my boss was willing to do it because he wanted me to work directly for the company.

  27. AnonPi*

    #5 And sometimes they don’t really care if you’re interested or not, they just want your potential connections. I’ve had a few like that, which has made me a little leery of recruiter contacts through LinkedIn.

    1. kkcf*

      OP here–that’s what I thought at first. Basically, “could you introduce me to your more attractive friend over there?” Expecially because my title is the same as the title they’re recruiting for.

  28. Megn*

    #4: I’ve worked as a contractor (employee to a contracting firm) for many years and when the client comes to me to offer full-time employment, we have to see where we are in my contract. Usually it’s been 6 months, as in if I worked at least 6 months for the client, they don’t have to “buy out my contract.” Under 6 months, it’s a percentage because I’m still “under contract” although it’s still at-will (the contract is between the companies, not me).

    I went through a similar issue recently. My 6 months wasn’t up yet, and my client was going to buy out my contract… and then the parent company of our client got hit legally with some major stuff and let go of 12,000 workers (contractors first, then employees)… and I wasn’t converted yet. But yeah, 13 weeks is like, barely 3 months. It might have more time on your temp before they can get you free (i.e. not buy your contract out).

    #5. Recruiters do this all the time. It’s not uncommon and is pretty much the norm. They don’t want to come off as poarching you, but are trying to access your own network via referrals. I just forward the email to some friends who are also looking for similar work, or talk to them myself if I’m interested.

  29. Jerry Vandesic*

    #2, if you decide to give them your number, you should give them a Google Voice number that you forward to your personal phone. That way you can control the forwarding.

  30. Kvaren*

    While working at the corporate office of a retail chain, my close co-workers and I would joke in disbelief about the blowoff corporate attorney who spent hours a day on Facebook in plain sight.

    Turns out, none of us really thought that through. Part of that guy’s job was to check up on legal matters, verify that no policies were being broken by store employees, store managers, etc.

  31. sunny-dee*

    Re #3, I very mildly disagree about disliking that the coworker go the OP $50 for the work. It could very well have saved her many hours’ or even many days’ worth of work over a month if she was having to do a lot of manual work that is now automated. A gift is certainly not expected or demanded or required — but if the effect was that significant, I can see why the woman would want to make a significant gesture of appreciation, and I don’t think there’s anything *inherently* inappropriate in a monetary gift. Especially given all of the complaints that people have about specific items — food = allergies or diet, candles = scents, personal items like a scarf = creepy. Cash seems pretty generic.

    1. JM*

      Agreed. I was recently given a major project that was initially started by a committee from another division. My boss knew I could finish it up well, and would have some extra time while she was on vacation, so I took on the project and the committee members very pleased with the results. One gave me a cash gift, and another gave me a massage gift certificate. Both were generous gifts that came from their personal funds. I was grateful but didn’t feel like they *had* to reward me — but it saved them tons of time, energy and headache, and I think they considered the cost of the gifts well-worth not having to finish the project themselves.

      1. Transformer*

        Also, sometimes I get permission to buy gift cards for thank yous and I get reimbursed. The OP didn’t mention whether it was from personal funds or not and unless specifically asked, the OP might not know.

        1. EllaEldorne*

          OP#3 here! I’m not positive but I do assume it was from her personal funds and not paid for by the company. Honestly, I saw it as more of a personal favor than a business thing. The was she approached me was more like “you’re really good at this sort of thing; can you help me out?” Also, our office has that kind of culture – everyone gets along and treats each other like friends and family rather than coworkers.

          I also didn’t feel like she *had* to thank me with a gift – the card was more than enough. I think she was just grateful for the help and for how much time my afternoon of work would save her every MONTH going forward.

    2. Vicki*

      Whenever I’ve done something for someone else and they say “Oh, how can I thank you? I want to give you something”, I say “I like chocolate”.

      At LastJob, my group had a tradition of “payment in M&Ms”. One team hung the empty bags on their cube walls.

      Small. Cheap. Shareable.

  32. Shan*

    #2: Get clarification on whether the “Follow Me” calling feature is just available for you to use at your discretion, or if you’re expected to use it regularly. If your boss wants you to begin using it regularly, figure out when and under what circumstances your boss expects you to take those calls.

    I wouldn’t panic yet because it sounds like they just need the form to get it set up, and you might have full control on turning it off and on. My company got the feature last year, and it’s extremely useful when I’m working, but not in my office and running around town to meetings. My boss understands that there are certainly situations where I’m working away from my desk but still can’t take calls (like when I’m at an event), so I have 100% control over when I turn it off/on. Luckily my company culture is that the feature is for MY convenience, not so that anyone can reach me at any time.

    But, if your boss just wants you to use it at work anytime you’re away from your desk and that could cause overages on your cell carrier, I would take Alison’s approach and ask how you’ll be reimbursed. There are definitely situations where it wouldn’t be appropriate, like when someone is requesting specific details or info and the resources you need to help them are in your office, so explain that too if it’s a concern. Even worse is if they want you to start using it on nights or weekends or other times when you wouldn’t normally be at work, because that’s changing your duties and basically asking you to be “on call,” and it’s definitely worth addressing.

  33. Jenna Maroney*

    Speaking of what is on your screen…. I’ve only had open work spaces and been in entry level positions (think front desk, or areas with little privacy. Occasionally something happens that drives me nuts (it’s happened in different companies), when someone approaches me where they can see my screen, they look at my screen while talking to me (not making eye contact). I think it’s incredibly weird because of the lack of eye contact and of course sometimes I am taking a 5 minute break to read an article, or check my bank account, or even my salary statement.

    I don’t feel comfortable saying anything but I was just curious if anyone had any experience or advice, or if anyone on the flip side of this stares at their employees’ screens.

  34. GC*

    #1 You can send out an email with links to the social media sites to your departments and ask them to follow you, give a little description of what you’ve been and will be working on.

    In another word, sell it as more of an email that saids “follow our program on social media, where we will have frequent updates through out the week” rather then an email saying “I’m on social media sites for work, not slacking off”.

  35. AnnieMouse*

    #1: Get a privacy screen for your computer. You can only see the monitor screen if you are directly facing it, otherwise it looks black.

  36. kkcf*

    OP from #5 here.

    I told the recruiter that I don’t have the experience in the exact software they needed and neither do my contacts, but we work on similar software that performs the same function. She said they need someone on thier software, which was totally understandable. Based on the advice given here/by AAM, I decided to reply telling Ms. Recruiter that while I don’t have experience in specific software she’s looking for I am looking to move to her city and to keep me in mind for future opportunites. I also mentioned that I was specifically looking for a new role and wanted to move to Big City to be with my partner.

  37. FatBigot*

    #5 In the UK it used to be possible to be sued for luring someone away from their job. I do not know if that is still the case, but head hunters and recruiters developed the language you saw. They describe the job, and ask “If you know anyone who would be suitable”. You then have the option of recommending yourself, but the head-hunter cannot be accursed of enticing you away from your present job.

    I was present at a dinner when this happened to someone else 25 years ago.

    1. kkcf*

      OP from #5 here. I’m in the US so that probably wouldn’t apply here. Interesting though. I still think it’s strange that they wouldn’t want to directly talk to me if they thought I was a fit.

      Turns out I’m not a fit for this position because they want a *specific software* (one that’s going out of date and not widely used) but I did tell them I’m looking and to keep me in mind.

  38. Paula*

    For #1 – I would make a point to leave an obviously work related Facebook/twitter page (i.e. the org or your program’s main page) prominently open on your desktop while you’re away from your desk (bathroom, meetings) so that the people who walk by regularly (but may not be direct coworkers) notice that you’re using social media for something job related, and may remember that later on when they see you on it and wonder.

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