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“my coworkers are coming back from lunch drunk, my manager wants me to talk to people in-person more often, and more” plus 4 more Ask a Manager

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“my coworkers are coming back from lunch drunk, my manager wants me to talk to people in-person more often, and more” plus 4 more Ask a Manager


my coworkers are coming back from lunch drunk, my manager wants me to talk to people in-person more often, and more

Posted: 10 Jan 2017 09:03 PM PST

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

1. Coworkers are coming back from lunch drunk

I am writing to help a friend who is in a rather tough predicament at work. The issue involves two of her colleagues. They all work in an office environment in the same department. The manager works remotely out of state and is hardly in the office. The newest employee is an alcoholic, and the other employee (a friend of my friend) has battled alcoholism for years. Unfortunately, fate has brought these two together. My friend has witnessed both of them taking 4-5-hour lunches, coming back drunk, speaking to clients with slurred speech, and remarking that they are on their way to pick up their kids while under the influence. Needless to say, it has made my friend extremely uncomfortable.

My friend has spoken to both of them individually and as a group to let them know that their behavior has become obvious and afraid that others will begin to notice. My friend has come to me asking for advice. I told her that I would document all indiscretions and continue to talk to them in hopes that she will break through to them. If, after a couple of months they continue with this behavior and/or it gets worse, I would go to HR with the documentation.

Oh my goodness, no, she needs to speak up now. As in, immediately. She needs to call her manager today and let her know what she's observed. Her coworkers aren't just putting client relationships in jeopardy — although that alone would be a reason to talk to her boss — but they're also endangering other people and themselves. Their behavior is so far over the line that this is absolutely not a "wait a couple of months and see what happens" situation. It is a "call the boss today and speak up" situation. Please urge her to do it.

If it makes her feel better, you can point out that she's already done her coworkers the courtesy of talking to them directly about the problem. Frankly, what they're doing is egregious enough that she wasn't even obligated to do that, but she's done it and they've ignored her warning. It's time — past time, really — to talk to her boss.

2. My manager wants me do more talking to people in-person rather than sending emails

My manager has often told me to just go talk to coworkers (mostly on other teams) instead of sending emails to get help or resolve issues. This has always made me uncomfortable, because I feel like I’m always interrupting people who are really busy. I know that I myself hate being interrupted constantly throughout the day, and would prefer emails first for issues that aren’t an emergency.

Obviously, I need to do that my manager says. However, do you have any suggestions how to get over feeling uncomfortable interrupting people all the time?

The first thing to look at is why she's saying it: Have you been having trouble getting answers from people? Or are things getting delayed too long when you're waiting on a response to an email? Those are good, business-related reasons for her request, and focusing on that might help you feel more comfortable.

You can also look at the culture of your office. Do you see other people dropping by each other's desks? You might be working somewhere where that's just how people operate, and you need to sync up with those norms in order to get what you need.

Also, when you make yourself go interrupt someone, you can soften it by starting with "I have a question for you about X. Is now a good time or should I come back later?"  That kind of interruption is less disruptive because (a) you're telling them up-front what the topic is, rather than asking for their time when they don't know the topic and thus can’t assess its importance relative to whatever else they're doing, and (b) it makes it easy for them to tell you to come back later — or to ask you to email them if they prefer that.

3. Should I tell my new boss about a personal problem that's affecting my work?

I landed my dream job in accounting. I really enjoy the work, my boss, and my coworkers. After a bit over two months, though, my job performance has not been good and I am afraid I am going to be fired. My long-time boyfriend broke up with me the night before I started my new job, and while I am usually good at compartmentalizing, the stress has been causing me to take too long on projects and I haven’t been quick to pick things up.

My boss has been meeting with me to discuss my performance, and while I am generally hesitant to share personal problems in the workplace, I don’t want my boss to think I am not interested in improving or that this is my general work ethic. Do you think there is any benefit to letting my boss what is going on? Or at this point will it just seem like I am making excuses?

It's worth letting your boss know that you've been dealing with something difficult in your personal life (and even that it started the night before you started the job), because that will give her context that she doesn't currently have. Right now, without that context, all she knows is that you're struggling, and she has to assume that what she's seeing is the normal level of your work. If you let her know that it's not and that this is unusual for you, that will help her understand what's going on (and could buy you a bit more time).

To be totally frank, because you're new this is a little different than if you'd been there longer. With a long-time employee with a great track record whose performance temporarily slips because of something in her personal life, it's much easier to cut the person some slack. With someone new, your manager doesn't really know what your normal baseline is, and so she needs to see good performance from you in order to be convinced the role is the right fit … but it's still helpful for her to hear from you that this isn't your normal. But that means that it's extra important to find a way to re-focus on the job now, so that she can start to see what your normal work is like.

4. Contacting an employer before applying for a job to explain my schedule limitations

Should I contact a potential employer before I apply to them to explain that I am a college student who has classes that mean some days of the week I cannot work, or can only work part of the day?

Not every job posting includes what the schedule they’re trying to fill is, so if I apply and then find out in the interview or later that it wouldn’t work out, then both of our times are wasted.

I wanted to know for any potential good job that comes my way, whether it be a part-time position where I’m just looking for a paycheck, or something that I hope to become my full-time job/part of my career path post-graduation.

If it's a full-time job, assume that they're looking for full-time availability. I wouldn't apply to those at all while you're still in school unless the only schedule adjustment you'd need is something minor like leaving two hours early on Thursdays. But if you can't work full-days or have multiple days where you're not available the whole day, those just aren't the right fit for you right now.

If it's a part-time job, go ahead and apply, and you can discuss schedule specifics if they invite you to interview.

5. Should I redact the name of a political employer on my resume?

My career started in politics working for the Democratic National Committee as a communications director for my home state. I’ve since transitioned to the financial services/investment management industry. Do you have any guidance on how to handle my former employer on a resume for non-political roles? Would it be acceptable to redact the name of the organization to minimize the political aspects of my experience, of course providing the details upon request?

No, redacting the name of an employer would look really weird and would just draw more attention to it. The DNC isn't terribly controversial, as political organizations go. I mean, it's obviously partisan, but it's not likely to draw the same response as a less mainstream advocacy organization might. As long as you're not applying for jobs with conservative political organizations, it's unlikely to be an issue.

my coworkers are coming back from lunch drunk, my manager wants me to talk to people in-person more often, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

my coworker’s husband is texting me and blaming me for their divorce

Posted: 10 Jan 2017 10:59 AM PST

A reader writes:

I just started a job that I’d like to make my long-time career and am not sure how to handle this situation. I made friends with a coworker who lived near me at this new job. We carpooled and shared office space on the days that we were able to work together (my position takes me to different offices every few days or so). In the beginning, we talked about normal work-related things, we went out for dinner after our shifts twice, and did a shopping trip on our day off for an event that she wanted to go to. As we hung out more, our relationship often touched on our spouses. She had a pretty contentious relationship with her husband and since they were newly married, she often asked me for advice since I was married longer.

I always advocated for her and her husband to go to couples counseling when she talked about how upset she was with him. Then, after a shift with her a few weeks ago, I got a few phone calls and a few texts from her husband at 3 a.m. I never gave him my phone number; he took her phone to call me from, as well as taking my number He asked me to stay away from her, because he didn’t need anyone to come between them.

He also friended my husband and sent him a message stating the same thing he told me and friend-requested a few of my friends on Facebook for some reason. (Presumably to get in contact with me or to spy on me?) I ignored all of the contact and blocked him on all social media. I then emailed my coworker checking in on her a day later, because I was worried about her. She said he had told her about his actions 24 hours after doing it and that he was sorry and would never do it again. I left it at that, knowing that it would be awkward at work but also knowing that his actions should not reflect on her. I resolved to just be professional at work, but I was also really worried about her.

I haven’t seen or spoken to her for two weeks (my job has taken me to other offices for the past few weeks) and this morning at 3 a.m. I woke up to more phone calls, texts, and messages on my Instagram from her husband telling me to stay away from her and that it is my fault that they may be getting divorced. I emailed my coworker again to inform her of the contact, this time with a more serious tone, because I was scared for myself and her. She sent me a message back telling me to leave her alone and to block both of them on all social media, and that she would be professional at work but that was it.

Now I’m nervous. She seems upset about the whole situation but also upset at me. This behavior seems abusive to me, and it feels really out of place. I shouldn’t have to be harassed at 3 a.m. by someone I’ve only met a handful of times. But if my coworker is in an abusive relationship, she can’t control him or stop him. Should I go to my direct supervisor (who is one step up from her manager) to talk about the situation? What can my supervisor really do to mitigate this situation? I don’t want to get my coworker in trouble at work either, because none of this is technically her fault. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Oh, I'm sorry. This is awful, for you and for your coworker, who does indeed sound like she's dealing with a spouse who's controlling at best and possibly abusive.

I lean toward thinking that you should mention it to your manager — not to request any particular action, but just to let her know what's going on since it's so unsettling and potentially could have ramifications at work if your coworker's husband ups his harassment.

You could frame it this way: "I want to let you know about something unsettling that happened. I'm not asking you to take any particular action, and there probably isn't any action to take; I just want you to be in the loop about it in case it escalates. My hope is that it won't, and I definitely don't want to make things any harder or more awkward for Coworker, but after the second contact, I felt safer letting someone else at work know what's going on."

I’d also respect your coworker’s request to limit your relationship to work contact, but make a point of being warm and kind to her when you do interact. She may be upset with you because it’s easier to be upset with you than to deal with whatever’s going on with her husband, and she’s likely pretty embarrassed too. Being kind to her may make it easier for her to move forward in a bunch of different ways.

my coworker’s husband is texting me and blaming me for their divorce was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

my bosses hate each other

Posted: 10 Jan 2017 09:30 AM PST

A reader writes:

I just left my job to start what I thought was my dream job at a much smaller company. I report to Sandy but have an indirect reporting relationship to Michelle, who also reports to Sandy. Sandy and Michelle are both significantly older than and senior to me, and they hate each other.

For Sandy — my actual manager — it manifests in how she directly treats Michelle. In meetings, she talks to Michelle like Michelle is stupid, and questions her constantly. It’s uncomfortable to watch. (It’s worth noting that Sandy is, in general, kind of an asshole. She’s pretty rude and condescending to everyone — but treats Michelle way worse than the rest of us.)

Working for and with Michelle, though, is worse. Because we both report to Sandy, and I’m the next highest-level person on Sandy's team, Michelle is trying to make me her confidant as she vents about Sandy. She has even called me twice at late at night to complain about her, and then I felt sick and anxious all night. The thing is, she’s not wrong in her complaints about Sandy – Sandy truly can be terrible — but I’m having a hard enough time navigating this weird environment on my own without dwelling on it via 10 p.m. phone calls.

It’s putting me in a terrible position — I don’t want to join in, but I need Michelle's support on day to day projects. She’s sensitive, and the few times I tried to get out of the conversation, it was clear that it hurt her feelings, and she took it out on me in, for example, the time it took for her to approve some of my requests.

The company has no HR. I’m at a loss for what to do — I moved my entire life to a new city for this job, and it is starting to feel like a giant mistake.

Any advice?

You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today. Head over there to read it.

my bosses hate each other was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

how much money do you make?

Posted: 10 Jan 2017 07:59 AM PST

It’s hard to get real-world information about  what jobs pay, especially tailored to a particular industry or geographic region. Online salary websites are often inaccurate, and people get weird when you ask them directly.

Two years ago, in an effort to take some of the mystery out of salaries, I ran a post asking people to share how much money they make, their job, and their geographic region. It ended up being one of the most popular posts on the site, so let’s do an updated version.

If you’re willing to play, here are the rules:

1. Put your job title in the “user name” field, which will make it appear in bold, which will be easier for people to scan.

2. List the following info:

  • your job (the more descriptive the better, since job titles don’t always explain level of responsibility or scope of work)
  • your geographic area
  • your years of experience
  • your salary
  • anything else pertinent to put that number in context

(And assuming you want to be anonymous, don’t put your email address in the email field if you don’t want it linked to your Gravatar, if you have one.)

Obviously, no snarking on anyone’s salary, because that is rude.

how much money do you make? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

how to stop agonizing over your resume layout

Posted: 10 Jan 2017 07:00 AM PST

And now a word from a sponsor…

I get a lot of questions from people who are agonizing over the right format for their resume. Where and often should you indent? What kind of bullet points should you use? For the love of all that's holy, what about the font?

While I firmly believe that you should put a great deal of thought into figuring out how to best present the content of your resume, I don't think you need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your format or layout – particularly when there are so many good resume templates out there that you can use to lay out your own.

Hloom is a good source for this. They've got 413 Microsoft Word templates that you can download for free. And unlike many resume templates out there, you'll find lots there that are actually job-search-appropriate – clean and modern and with a sense of design without being so fussy that they'll draw attention away from your content. (In particular, check out their Basic category.)

The idea isn't necessarily that you should these as-is, but rather you can use them as a starting point and adapt them to make them work for you. One thing to keep in mind is that Hloom provides templates for people all over the world, so pick one that's appropriate for U.S. resume conventions or adapt one accordingly. (For example, if you're in the U.S., you should remove any photo placeholder and jettison the objective or change it to a summary or profile.)

Here are a few examples to check out:

187-time-honored
187-time-honored
173-star-showing

Seriously, go check out Hloom's resume templates right now. There's no reason to keep agonizing about your format when they've taken care of it for you.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hloom. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

how to stop agonizing over your resume layout was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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