fired VP trashed our office, when is my application response rate good enough to stop worrying, and more

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

1. A fired VP trashed our office and won’t stop emailing us

The small company I work for (seven people) recently fired our VP (via phone, no less) and he trashed our office, stole contracts, payroll/billing files, employee files etc. This was seven weeks ago. Since then, the former VP has taken to cc’ing the entire company on every email he sends — things like demanding his employee file, demanding to be reimbursed for mileage, saying how bad our president/owner is, etc. He is now threatening to show up at our office and “wait until his mileage is reimbursed.”

Our president/owner — who is more of a silent partner and we maybe see him three times a year — has taken a very laid-back approach to dealing with this. In fact he’s done next to nothing about it. We are now afraid the former VP will show up in a hostile manner and disrupt business. Is there any legal thing we as employees can do to get our president to deal with this situation accordingly? At the very least, can we claim this is causing a hostile work environment and do something with that route? We are at our wit’s end with all of this!

I can’t think of any legal options you have to force your president to act (“hostile workplace” means that the conduct is based on sex, race, religion, or another protected characteristic, which isn’t the case here), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t push him to deal with the situation. It would be perfectly reasonable for one of you — ideally whoever is most senior in your office — to say to your president, “This is becoming disruptive and we’re concerned he will show up at the office, which isn’t something any of us feel equipped to deal with. What can we do to get him whatever reimbursements he’s owed and put an end to this?” That person could also say that the situation is making people feel unsafe and needs to be dealt with.

Additionally, it sounds like your company has grounds to pursue legal action against this guy (although if the president doesn’t want to do that, that’s his call). Also, assuming you’re not the person whose job is to deal with things like reimbursements and requests for his employee file, you could block his emails or set them to go straight to your trash, so that you’re not stuck being a witness to all of this.

2. When is my application response rate good enough to stop worrying?

How does one know what a good response rate is for job applications? When is the percentage good enough to stop worrying?

I work in the entertainment industry as a stage manager, and I applied for 19 summer seasonal positions during the past several months. Seven invited me to interview, and two offered me a job (two others might have, but they didn’t offer me an interview until after I’d already accepted a position at one of my top choices, so I never got the chance to find out).

Looking at those numbers, I feel like I’m doing pretty well–about a third of the jobs I applied to wanted to interview me, and a decent percentage of those gave me offers. But I still agonize over the ones that did neither: did I screw something up? Was some part of my resume/cover letter not doing what it was supposed to?

I feel especially silly about this because, I mean, I got a job! The worrying part should be over! How do I give myself permission to stop agonizing over this?

The percentage is good enough to stop worrying when you’re getting interviews for jobs you want, and at least one offer for a job you want.

The assumption underlying your question is that if you’re qualified for a job and sending in good application materials, it should result in an interview. But that’s not correct — employers hear from many qualified candidates with good application materials, and they pick the ones who seem closest to what they’re looking for. That means that it’s very normal for many good candidates with good materials not to get an interview.

It’s certainly possible that your resume or cover letter could be improved (most people’s could). But they’re apparently doing their job, based on your results.

3. Can I leave my phone number off marketing materials for my freelance work?

I’m a doctoral student, and while I wait patiently for the faculty job market to improve (haha) I’m planning to branch out into freelance copy editing part time. My question is: Would it be acceptable to leave my phone number off of most of my marketing materials (business cards, website, etc.)? What about my resume, at least when I send it to individuals rather than businesses? It’s my personal cell phone. I expect that most of my work will be academic manuscripts to start, and at this point I’m not sure whether I’ll have more success getting work with publishers or individual authors. I don’t have a land line or (since I’m freelancing) an office phone, and I would rather be able to control that access at least until I have a chance to correspond with a client a little bit.

I think it will look odd to some people if you don’t list a phone number, and others won’t care. If you want to screen for clients who are happy to communicate over email and screen out the ones who aren’t, this would be one way to do it. But if you’re not able to be that picky yet, I’d include a phone number.

However, it doesn’t have to be the number for your personal cell. Why not set up a Google Voice number and put that one down, and have people leave messages that you then check?

4. When I cover for a colleague who’s on leave, should that go on my resume?

For the past couple months, I have been covering for my colleague who is on family leave. I’ve basically taken on their role in addition to my current responsibilities, although my title and pay grade have remained the same. Would you recommend including my temporary job duties on my resume? Or would it make more sense to discuss them in a cover letter or interview?

If you feel like the additional responsibilities have strengthened your candidacy for the jobs you’re applying for, include it on your resume. You can either focus specifics of what you’ve accomplished in that area or you can just write “served as acting communications manager for three months, including X, Y, and Z.” (The former is stronger than the latter, but might not be practical, depending on the circumstances.)

5. Talking to my boss about participating in a clinical study for anti-depressants

I’ve qualified to participate in a clinical study for anti-depressants. The commitment would be a one-hour appointment once a week for five weeks, and then an hour appointment twice a month for three or four more months. The clinic is only open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., so I would have to go during work hours.

I would like to participate, not only because of the compensation, which isn’t necessarily a lot, but for the opportunity to contribute to research in a field that has affected me personally throughout my life-myself and several close family members.

How do I ask my boss about the viability of participating without having to reveal it’s for an anti-depressant study? I am the only person in the office, and the summer months are very slow. It’s not so much that my boss would mind me having doctor appointments, as I just don’t know what to say–he’s a very caring person and I don’t want him to think anything of it. I don’t think I would mind telling him the reason except it still seems that mental illness has a strong stigma around it and revealing that it’s something I struggle with would be crossing personal/professional boundaries. On the other hand, the university where I work is doing a big campaign on mental health awareness, but that seems geared more toward students than staff. I would love to hear what you think, and how others have had conversations (or not) about their mental health struggles with their bosses when needing time off for things relating to it.

You don’t need to explain the nature of the appointments at all — it’s fine to just say that you’re going to have a recurring medical appointment for the next few months. No further details are necessary, and your boss really shouldn’t ask anything further.

{ 91 comments… read them below }

  1. MissGirl

    OP2, you remind me of myself. I recent finished my first year of an MBA program. After one of my finals, I stressed over questions I could have done differently or better. When I received an A in the class, I still fretted over that darn final. I could’ve done better! I wasn’t perfect!

    I realized I was analyzing not because it was helpful but because it was habit. Being stressed and freaked out had become my go-to emotions for months and my mind couldn’t let go. Once I recognized I was doing this out of habit, it became easier to release the anxiety. I remind myself it’s over and I have new challenges and joys awaiting me.

    Immerse yourself in your new job and preferably a fun hobby. Allow your mind time to adjust to this new normal emotional state. The stress will ease and soon you’ll laugh about how freaked out you were.

    1. dragonzflame

      Ohhhhh…this explains so much about my state of mind right now. Thanks!

      1. Pennalynn Lott

        Ha! Me, too! I woke up yesterday morning and *had* to grab a sheet of paper and a pencil to work out one of the problems on my Calculus final from the day before, just to make sure I got it right. The test is over, there’s nothing I can do about it now, but I’m still fretting over it. :-)

    2. MommaCat

      As another theater worker, I can tell you that theater and hobbies don’t generally mix! ;-)
      But yes, theater can be a high-stress job, so this explanation makes sense.

    3. FormerSM

      OP2, your rate of return on applications is *amazing*. So much of the world you’re in (and I used to work professionally in) is about the network you build – and to have the number of responses you have without an “in” is huge.

      Give yourself permission to bask in the great feeling of landing one of your top choice jobs. Then go do that job really, really well. And THAT is what is going to get you continuing work. Your energy now is best spent focusing on knocking it out of the park with this gig, so everyone you work with will 1)remember your name and 2) recommend you for the next job they hear about. People want to work with known quantities, and if you establish right now that you are OUTSTANDING at what you do, in a couple of years you won’t have to worry about applying for the job – the gig will come to you.

      I also second taking a deep breath or four, and finding a portable hobby. Theatre work is fantastic, and yes MommaCat it’s super time consuming – but don’t let it be ALL consuming. Find something you can turn to when you start stressing (I did crochet. A colleague practiced rodeo roping – not kidding.)

      You are going to be so great! I’m so excited for you and your summer gig, and all the places you’re going to go from here! Break all the legs!

  2. Henrietta Gondorf

    #1 has my shoulders up around my ears. Theft, sabotage, and now threatening to come by the office? The possibility of workplace violence seems too significant to discount.

    I hope you get a good resolution, LW#1, because this is pretty alarming.

    1. Artemesia

      He trashed the office and wants additional reimbursements and threatens to come by and camp out? I would be terrified; this sounds like the kind of unstable yutz that our open carry culture is enabling to to solve their problems with lead. The owner isn’t around so he isn’t the one who gets shot here. I’d be demanding as a group that some sort of security be put in place to protect the office until this guy is dealt with.

      1. Mike C.

        Yeah, if this VP sends an email that actually threatens employees, I think it’s reasonable for the OP to go to the police. The fact that the president isn’t dealing with it is likely causing the VP to act out more until there is a response.

      2. Far Western Suburb

        I would think that local law enforcement would welcome a head’s up about the guy.

      3. Mephyle

        Can’t the employees contact the police? They feel personally threatened and unsafe.

    2. Lily

      Surely the building has at least one security guard or a front desk person? Send them the VP’s name and a photo, explain the situation and that you’re concerned he might be violent, so if he shows up they need to call the police immediately and not let him into the office.

      1. MaggiePi

        I work in a small office, in a medium town, with less than 10 employees. We have never had security. Unless they are in a large business park or something, it’s likely OP’s office doesn’t either, unfortunately.
        OP, if he shows up, call the police.

      2. Lily Rowan

        My office is in a building with no security at all — a decent-sized office in a decent-sized city. Anyone can walk right in, and there is often not even anyone at the front desk of our office.

  3. MillersSpring

    OP5: You’re overthinking it. Alison’s suggested verbiage is perfect. If the boss asks if you’re OK, or even asks what’s up, you can add that you’re fine and you prefer not to discuss it further. I hope it all goes well. You’re doing a Good Thing.

    1. Anna the Accounting Grad

      Exactly. You could tell your boss that you’re participating in a study — perhaps adding that you’re doing so for the warm fuzzier — but there’s really no need to go beyond that.

      1. Lily Rowan

        For me, it would really depend on the boss — I’ve worked for a lot of people who would not be thrilled that I was volunteering for things that would take me out of the office on a regular basis.

        1. Yetanotherjennifer

          Yes, I had a boss who didn’t want me to volunteer as a reading tutor once a week. Later she offered me an afternoon off each week to go skiing.

      2. MoinMoin

        Or perhaps leave it at “I’ll be taking a new medication and will have recurring appointments related to that.” It gives a little more context if you think the friendly relationship is “owed” it without getting into the nitty gritty of whether it’s truly necessary because you volunteer, depression, etc.

        1. Mabel

          That is helpful. My old boss never asked what my recurring (therapy) appointments were for. But my new boss said she felt terrible for not asking me about it and making sure I was OK. That was an awkward conversation for me (partly because I’ve never met her in person, even though she’s a nice, warm person), but I was able to reassure her that it’s nothing life threatening. When I recently had to change the day of my appointments, I just referred to it as my “regular appointment,” and she was fine with it.

          1. MoinMoin

            I tend to be one of those people that assumes a friendly relationship from the start and I have to stop myself not to TMI them or pry too much into their lives, but I like to think most reasonable people are just friendly because they care and are interested and will take the hint if you keep it vague. And the unreasonable ones aren’t really nice, just nosy, which absolves you of any guilt from not being more forthcoming. :-)

    2. INFJ

      I second MillersSpring’s sentiment: kudos for wanting to contribute to research! Even if you get placebo and aren’t “helped” in that way by the study, you are helping to determine what works and what doesn’t so that the patient population as a whole will benefit! (I’m assuming from the letter that this isn’t a phase 1 healthy volunteer study.)

  4. Mando Diao

    OP1: I’m not trying to be a contrarian here (because it’s obvious that the former VP is insane…no further comment necessary), but I’m struck by the suspicion that the president of the company isn’t on the level here. We don’t know what exactly was said in the firing phone call (unless you do; update us please if so), but I wonder if the president said flat-out that the reimbursement wouldn’t be happening, which is what triggered all of this behavior. Seriously, the president should have followed through on the promised reimbursement. You don’t get to sit by quietly with a smirk on your face and act like you had nothing to do with the problem, when you are in fact the person who could have prevented it and chose not to. (When it comes to employees and their privacy/safety, I 100% lay this on the boss for not taking preventative action when it’s a simple matter of cutting a check). I’m not a fan of blaming people for having a reaction to something lousy that someone else did first, though I temper that stance here because everyone involved is an idiot.

    tl;dr – If the promised reimbursement was in a contract or is part of a standard policy, this issue lands in the president’s lap. He needs to pay it. Easy solution.

    1. Kyrielle

      This. And conversely, if the reimbursement isn’t owed, or was paid and the VP is making a mountain out of a chocolate pudding cup because he feels like it, then the boss should be taking stronger action to get this guy dealt with (like maybe calling the police, given what the guy did when leaving!).

      The VP is being an unacceptable jerk, possibly with some minor justification (minor compared to the degree of his acting out).

      The president is failing utterly to deal with the issue in any way, and he SHOULD deal with it, one way or another. He absolutely is the person who has that responsibility, and it has clearly hit the point of a) making his employees feel threatened, b) costing his business money, and c) hampering the ability of his business to continue (the guy stole key information? The guy trashed the office?). And what is he doing about it? Apparently not much. This is ridiculous.

    2. the_scientist

      All of this is giving me hives. The VP is clearly off his gourd, but now he potentially has in his possession confidential employee and client information. This is an enormous data security issue and that in and of itself should be enough reason for the president to act.

      Regardless of what happened or didn’t happen before, the president cannot just sit back quietly. While there is logic to ignoring a temper tantrum, this has passed into something that poses a real threat to employee safety, employee/client data and the business as a whole.

    3. Stranger than fiction

      I was wondering the same thing. Like, what the heck disks guy do to be fired on the spot? As my mom always said, there’s two sides to every story. And this president/owner isn’t being helpful at all which isn’t helping me believe he didn’t provoke this guy to some extent. Not that it makes it right for him to act out in this way, but I could kind of understand it more.

  5. BobtheBreaker

    OP1- You mentioned Payroll and Employee files. Does this mean that the Vice President of Temper-Tantrums is in possession of Personally Identifiable Information? Does he have enough PII to assemble someone’s Identity? In this instance, he may have just committed Identity Theft. It varies by jurisdiction, some only penalize the act of impersonation while others allow action based solely on possession of documents. In most instances it’s a felony. It might not solve all your document problems, but it may solve some.

    1. Jack the treacle eater

      If this was in the UK it would be a massive data protection issue and possibly open the company to court action.

    2. Take Me 2 Atlanta

      This was my first thought as well. Make sure you tell the president this – the fired VP likely has his personal information as well.

    3. RVA Cat

      This. Alert your bank and closely monitor your credit, and report anything suspicious immediately.

      Also, has anyone filed an insurance claim for the property damage? They will probably want a police report.

    4. S0phieChotek

      Plus if able to trash office, does that mean former VP has keys? If so, change the locks to the building.
      Don’t ask President for approval (IMO) just to it an expense it.
      Have everyone change passwords to computer files; if there are master passwords that everyone has on the computer or for remote Cloud storage, change them all. The President will just have to deal with learning new ones.
      This would completely freak me out; esp. former VP having Personal Employee file (where I live, etc) and clients might leave if they knew former VP has access/copies to their files. Another reason to pressure President to deal with this now?

      1. Chloe

        Right? I was also wondering if he still has keys. And I second everyone’s comments about information security.

    5. Stranger than fiction

      It sounds like he was looking for his own file and couldn’t find it. Not trying to take his side, but from what the Op laid out for us, his axe to grind is just with the owner, although his scary behavior is what’s worrying Op, understandably.

    6. MaggiePi

      Yes. I’d look at identity insurance for yourself, just to cover your bases. And ask (but sadly not expect) the company to pay for it, for at least a year or two.

      1. The Strand

        And if they don’t pay for it, make sure you list it as an unreimbursed job expense next year on your taxes.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger

      And SHUT DOWN HIS COMPANY EMAIL ALREADY! His domain account should have been locked at COB on his last day, if not sooner.

  6. Jack the treacle eater

    #3, I can’t help thinking that not only will it look odd, but it will be bad practice and lose you a lot of work.

    Speaking as someone who has freelanced, you are effectively a business, and people expect to be able to pick up a phone and call a business. Some might prefer to email, but many will want to pick up the phone and talk, and you’re really hoping they’ll do it there and then; picking up a phone is immediate, email may or may not be.

    Why not go and pick up a cheap cellphone just for the business, and give that number out? That way you can keep your business and personal life separate, which has its advantages as well.

    1. IT Kat

      Personally, I’d suggest going with the (free) Google Voice number over buying another cell, even a cheap one – why spend money if you don’t have to? You can have Google Voice ring your cell if you want and callers never know your actual cell number.

      1. Anon.

        This is what I did for years as a freelancer, and also at a related job when I had no office and had to use my personal cell for work. I’ve had a phone stalker in past years (it sucked) and worked in a field that can be, shall we say, very, very hostile to women who say things certain people don’t want to hear about their favorite entertainment, and using Google Voice has been an excellent screening mechanism.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger

          Yes, and once you take someone on as a client, you can set their number to ring directly through to your home or cell phone (or both) if you like. I have the default setting is that people go right to voicemail, but I have set some specific numbers (of people I know) to ring through to one or all of my phones.

      2. 2 Cents

        I second the Google Voice suggestion.

        From my experience: I freelance part time and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually spoken on the phone with my contacts. Everything is done over email. When I have spoken with them, it was usually at the beginning of a project / relationship so we could work out terms, make sure we were all on the same page, etc. *Plus* depending on your tax situation (and I’m not an accountant), I’ve been able to deduct part of my cell bill and my computer use, so that’s something to keep in mind.

      3. TootsNYC

        “callers never know your actual cell number.”

        Until you call them back–and then they save that one to their contacts. at best, they’ll have 2; at worst, they’ll only keep the real one, and call you in the middle of class.

        But I still like Google Voice.

        1. Marcela

          Nopes. If you call from the Google Voice app, which in my phone is now Hangouts, they will see the phone call coming from your GVoice number, not your real one. Same with texts, if you use Hangouts, the number your contact will see is the GVoice one.

          1. teclatrans

            Right, this is what I do. I have a Google Voice number and use the hangouts app or the Google Voice app.

            A cheap minutes-based cell phone from 7-11 would work too. (And would be more easily written off as a business expense.)

      4. Connie-Lynne

        Plus, if you lose your phone, you can repoint google voice at your new phone, a friends phone, or just let it take messages until you get a replacement, and your clients never need to know.

    2. MsChanandlerBong

      Counterpoint: I’ve been a freelance writer/editor for 12 years, I’ve always had steady work (I make more than I ever did working full-time), and I have never once given a business card to someone, nor do I advertise my phone number. I have a website that generates leads; those people email me, I email them back, and then if it moves forward, I call them. I find that giving out your phone number just gives tire kickers license to call you and ask if you’ll write them $1,000 words for ten bucks.

      1. Rana

        Yeah, that’s my experience too, as an indexer/editor. A lot of it depends on where your client stream is coming from, and how you expect to communicate with clients over the course of a project. Most of my clients come from direct referrals from publishers and word of mouth, and are perfectly happy using email as their preferred form of communication.

        I myself prefer to have the initial query and quote phase of communication be over email so that everyone is clear on what’s being agreed to (plus it prevents the awkwardness that can happen if a would-be client calls you at a time that’s not convenient). Once we’ve established a relationship, I’m more than happy to share my cell, as there are some things (especially with editing) that are often easier hashed out live than via email.

        In the decade I’ve been freelancing, I’ve only had two clients prefer calling over email.

        1. Kera

          I suspect this varies by field, but as an academic commissioning editor, I give out my business card (with desk and mobile phone number) all the time and the last time someone called me was in January. And they wanted me to put them through to our Director so they could sell him better photocopiers. I can’t recall an unscheduled phone call I actually wanted to have or which produced useful information. When I’m drafted in to hire freelance editors, a clean website and a professional email address is vastly more important to me than a phone number.

          OP3, do check the websites of any professional/academic society publishers in your field (and adjacent fields!) I know some of the large UK science society publishers are looking for copyeditors at the moment, and they can be good clients.

      2. Mander

        I do a bit of freelance copy editing, also mainly for academic clients, and I have never given out my phone number. This is mainly practical: my clients have been all over the world, and I don’t want to get phone calls in the middle of the night. Virtually every job I have done has been handled entirely by email.

    3. Google Voice

      OP3 can also get google voice- and you can have it forward calls to your cell only at certain times of the day.

  7. Wehaf

    OP1 – if the former VP took or damaged any of your personal belongings, or has made threats against you, you can go to the police and file charges against him as an individual. Even without that, you can probably get a restraining order against him. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to wait for your company to take this seriously – you can take action yourself. The disadvantage is that it may make him likely to fix on you as a particular target, if he knows that you are the one who went to the police. This is, granted a rather large disadvantage, but you are not entirely without options.

      1. Stranger than fiction

        Or maybe an anonymous report to prompt them to have a visit with mr ‘president do nothing’.

  8. StudentPilot

    OP 5, I’ve been participating in a wide reaching health survey (physical, mental, the whole shebang) and I told work it was a “health study”. No details needed, and no questions after the fact, about what type of ‘medical appointment’ or if I was all right.

  9. hermit crab

    #5 – I’m actually a year into a study on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV! Several people in my office know about it because I’m a public health nerd and like to talk about the good work the research team is doing. It’s different from your situation in that my study was only enrolling healthy, low-risk subjects (since it’s an early human trial for a new PrEP drug) so it’s not something related to an existing condition I have. But still, the subject matter is a little sensitive. Anyway, good on you for wanting to participate! Trial participation is so important to medical advances. And I really, really like StudentPilot’s suggestion for phrasing your explanation as “a health study.” That’s perfect.

    1. KR

      I think this is really good input considering the stigma surrounding illnesses like HIV and depression. +1

    2. AnonInSC

      Fellow PHnerd here – thanks for participating in the study! I have close friends who work on PrEP studies of various kinds.

    3. OP

      Yes, I am getting some good ideas for ways to phrase it, and certainly worrying way more than I need to be about informing my boss. Neat to know others are helping out in these kinds of studies as well!

  10. insert pun here

    #3 — leaving your phone number off would be noticeable, but not a deal breaker for this market. You will need to have a phone number that people can call you at — a cheap cell or a google voice number, whatever. But the vast, vast majority of people are going to make at least the initial contact through email. Honestly, even if you put your phone number on your business card, I’d be surprised if you get anyone cold-calling you. (I work in a related field.)

    1. S.I. Newhouse

      I disagree. Maybe OP’s mileage will vary depending upon his/her field, but my wife recently went through an intensive job search. Every first contact–every single one–was via phone.
      Unless I’m missing something, there is simply no benefit to not listing a phone number on a resume, and a lot of potential downside. Most cell phones that I know of will let you add unwanted calls to an auto-reject list. And yes, it will look weird to many prospective employers/clients.

      1. Ellen Ripley

        Job search, sure. Freelance writing work is a different beast, though, and I agree with insert pun that all initial contacts in my experience have been via email or other digital means. The only exception might be if you work with small businesses or other local niche professions.

        You’ll probably want a phone number to give clients just in case of an emergency on a fast-moving project, though, so you might as well go ahead and get a Google Voice # or similar at this point.

      2. insert pun here

        OP is not applying for jobs, she’s setting up a freelance business. Totally different market.

        I work with/sometimes hire many folks who do this kind of work. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to any of them on the phone, though some I’ve met in person. It’s an email based business. I have their phone numbers if I need them, but I’ve never needed them.

        1. Rana

          Yep. As I noted above, I’ve only ever talked with two clients over the phone in the course of over a decade of freelancing as an indexer and editor. The vast majority are fine with email.

    2. FCJ (OP3)

      Thanks! I’m getting the impression in general that email is going to be most important (I’m setting up a separate email so business stuff doesn’t get lost among everything else), but a lot of other people are suggesting Google Voice, too, and so I think I’m going to look into that.

  11. Collie

    Follow-up question to #5 — I know some companies prohibit employees from taking PTO to go to a second job. If OP #5 was working in such an environment, would this violate that rule because of the compensation or would it be treated as a different situation? Or maybe it just depends? Not saying this is an issue for OP — just asking for the hypothetical.

    1. K130

      When I participated in health studies, payment was “reimbursement”, not “compensation”.

    2. INFJ

      Ethical clinical trial sponsors that respect guidance on the rights of clinical trial participants will not offer “compensation” for trial participation because that could be interpreted as a form of coercion. Participants are allowed to be payed “reimbursement” for costs associated with participation, such as parking, meals, transportation, but sometimes they don’t even get that.

      Knowing that, I doubt that, even if this trial does provide reimbursement, that it could be interpreted as compensation for work.

      1. OP

        My fault for using the term “compensation.” For the how the study will take–6 months most likely–the reimbursement isn’t significant.

  12. Not So NewReader

    OP #1, you could consider emailing the Prez/Owner and telling him that you are on the verge of calling the police because the situation is out of hand and ask him what is going to be done here.
    This has gone on too long, action on his part, should have happened by now.

  13. AF

    OP5 – I work in clinical research, so thank you for being willing to participate! It also might not hurt to ask the clinic if they’d be open to having evening or early morning hours. They might not be able to be flexible for a variety of reasons, but it would really help their participant retention rates to be able to work with people who have day jobs. Hopefully your university’s policy for time off is pretty decent, too.

    And thanks to everyone else who has participated or is in a study! The “compensation” is usually just in recognition for the burden on the participant for time and travel. Researchers aren’t allowed to give participants a lot of money, because it looks coercive – maybe $50 per appointment max.

    1. OP

      Thanks for the input. I actually have a very flexible schedule and now would be the perfect time to participate since projects are much slower during the summer. I think if I can get a regular appointment schedule, it would be an issue at all.

  14. Colorado

    OP #1 – I personally would be calling the police the next time this ex-VP stepped onto the property or office. Especially if you or other co-workers feel threatened.

    1. LibraryChick

      Yes. This ex-VP has demonstrated that he has no problems with stealing, harassment, and exhibiting violence. Start thinking about what you will do if he shows up at your office. Plan to calmly get up and move to a more secure location – preferably some place where you can lock yourself in. Then call the police. It is important to do those two things in that exact order. If this volatile person overhears you calling the police it may escalate the behavior. Trust your gut, and be safe. Good luck.

    2. LibraryChick

      Yes. Definitely take this threat seriously. This ex-VP has demonstrated that he has no problems with stealing, harassment, and exhibiting violence. Start thinking about what you will do if he shows up at your office. Plan to calmly get up and move to a more secure location – preferably some place where you can lock yourself in. Then call the police. It is important to do those two things in that exact order. If this volatile person overhears you calling the police it may escalate the behavior. Trust your gut, and be safe. Good luck.

    3. Formica Dinette

      Additionally, if ex-VP is ccing you on emails, then he is harassing *you*. That’s all the justification you need for taking this issue to the police. If you haven’t already, try checking government agency websites like OSHA and CDC for more information about workplace violence and what to do about it. (That’s assuming you’re in the US, but I’m sure many other countries have similar resources.) I hope this creep gets out of your life soon!

  15. NarrowDoorways

    #5) Thank you for participating! I work in the clinical trials industry and patient recruitment is such a struggle! Of course, having 8-4 hours for patient visits is silly. The issue comes up A LOT. Most research centers have employed evening a weekend hours at this point.

    1. OP

      I appreciate the encouragement, I’m a little nervous, but the opportunity to find a medication that might work a lot better is big incentive for me!

    2. A Dispatcher

      I have a question for you (and those above who either work in the industry or have participated in studies)…

      You say it is hard to find candidates, but how is it that they are even approached, or is it more a proactive thing on the part of the candidate? For instance, I hadn’t ever really thought about it before this thread so it’s not something I would have sought out doing on my own, but had I been approached about it, depending on the study I would most likely be willing to help. Is this something that would be recommended at a doctors visit? Is it advertised?

      1. hermit crab

        I learned about my trial from the university that’s running it — at the time, I was a student there, and I saw a poster about it. I have also seen trials advertised around the city, especially on public transit (e.g., ads in metro cars), but that is probably linked to the presence of the NIH here in the DC area. I imagine that advertising like that is subject to a lot of requirements to make sure that it is ethical, not coercive, etc.

      2. OP

        I found the advertisement on Craigslist–which seems totally sketchy, but when the contact emailed me, it was for a reputable research company in my area, and the woman I talked to on phone was very professional and knowledgeable. I have since heard ads on the radio. So I wasn’t searching out the opportunity, but was glad to learn it was credible and that I qualified to help.

  16. newlyhr

    #1 is the president the owner of the company? Did he start the company? are there any other owners? I ask because I have seen this before. An entrepreneur starts a successful business, starts making money, and then checks out and can’t be bothered because he/she is doing something else. This kind of person likes starting businesses but doesn’t like running them. If this is the case, then beware. As long as the money keeps coming in and employees continue to show up to work, the president is not going to help you.

    So you’ve got two options:

    1. quit
    2 call the police

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