It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My coworkers are joking that I got my promotion by sleeping with my boss
I have been working in a French start-up for the past six months. Most of the employees here are 20-30 years old, and the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. I have always had very good and friendly relationships with my colleagues.
Three weeks ago, my boss (who also is the founder of the company) promoted me to a managing position, which is especially unusual given my young age and his habitual reluctance to hand down responsabilities.
Apart from some expected envy, I encountered some reactions I did not expect. Some of my colleagues now felt entitled to make salacious jokes about my boss and me. For instance, when I told the big news to a couple of colleagues, one answered with a wink: “OMG, you are far better at it than I expected…” I just laughed and blushed, because I knew he wasn’t serious (I’m a woman, everyone here assumes my boss is gay, and most of my colleagues know I’m in a serious relationship anyway).
I thought these comments would slowly vanish, but it turned out they didn’t. I guess my colleagues know it embarrasses me and simply think it’s funny to tease me, without understanding how hurtful these comments are. I tried to give my colleagues a hint of what I felt about these jokes: I stopped laughing. Instanstly, I received “oh come on, relax! it’s a just a joke” comments.
I’m afraid some new employees might take these jokes seriously and assume I really have made my way like this. I’d like to make these jokes stop, without being labeled as a killjoy if possible.
I’d recommend finding a way to be fine with being labeled a killjoy if that’s what it takes to stop these comments. They’re insulting and they’re incredibly inappropriate for a workplace — and that’s compounded by the fact that they’ve apparently become an ongoing thing. Being a killjoy to people who are that out of line isn’t something to be avoided at all costs. (And I don’t mean that in a schoolmarmish way. I mean it in a normal person way, because seriously, reasonable people aren’t going to have an issue with you shutting this down.)
The next time you hear something like that, I’d say, “That’s really inappropriate, and it’s insulting to both me and (boss). Please don’t say that again.” If they respond by telling you to relax and it’s just a joke, say, “It’s not an appropriate joke; please don’t make comments like that at work.”
2. Performance evaluations that assess workplace friendships
I worked for a manufacturing company that quickly promoted me to team lead of the quality department. I’d always thought that when you are in a leadership position, you should be pleasant and polite to your employees, but maintain a level of distance as well. So when I got my review, I was surprised to find that “makes friends with coworkers” was “unsatisfactory,” much less a part of the review at all. This was a very busy department; it’s not like people were standing around chatting. I am an introvert by nature, and one of the managers was always asking me questions like, “Are you always so quiet?” I spoke up when necessary, but always kept it work-related with the occasional “nice day out” or “how was your weekend”? We also worked 10-12 hour shifts so everyone was always kind of dragging. Is making friends at work a valid thing to put on a performance review?
No. An evaluation might reasonably assess whether you have cooperative, collegial relationships with your coworker, but whether or not your friends with them? That’s ridiculous. Your job isn’t to make friends with coworkers; it’s to get work done. It’s lovely (sometimes) if you do end up being friends with some of them, but it shouldn’t be something you’re evaluated on.
3. Expressing a location preference before being offered a job
My old boss, who is now a C-level exec reporting directly to the CEO of a 200-ish person company, would like me to join his company and be one of the first six or so employees opening its European branch. I would be growing and managing a team. He has mentioned that location is not yet decided, and they are choosing between European Capitols X and Y. They lean towards X, because old boss and CEO have a stronger network in that location, but no decision has been made.
I’m very interested in the role, the company has an exciting product, and I loved working for my old boss. I would like to formally start the interviewing process. However, I am not interested in living in European Capitol X and would strongly prefer Y. I’ve researched X and it does not have terribly favourable reviews in terms of quality of living. Additionally, Y would also allow me to live very close to my family and childhood friends. I have checked and working remotely would not be an option.
Is there any way for me to bring this up as part of the interviewing process? If so, how? And when? I’m aware this is jumping the gun slightly, but I am at a loss as to whether this is something I can discuss, but it’s an important factor.
Yes, and in fact you should, if you know for sure you’d only take the job if it’s in City Y. I’d say this: “I’m really interested in talking with you further about the job, but I want to be up-front about the fact that I’d only be interested if the job is based in Y, which I know is still undecided.”
Or, if City X isn’t a total deal-breaker for you, just not your preference, I’d say this instead: ” “I’m really interested in talking with you further about the job, but I want to be up-front about the fact that it would be a hard sell for me to move to X. I’d be excited about City Y, but I’m doubtful that X would be the right move for me.”
4. Telling the HR director she’s breaking the law
Our HR director sent a message to everyone today saying that due to many people failing to take their required lunch breaks every day, they are instituting a policy by which your time WILL be deducted automatically if you do not take a lunch. Of course this is illegal, but I am struggling finding a way to relay this to the HR manager without it sounding like I’m telling her how to do her job – I mean, this should be pretty elementary for an HR manager, right? Can you please help me with this?
“We’re actually required by federal law to pay people for all the time they worked, even if they fail to take a required break. We could get in a lot of trouble for docking people’s wages even if they didn’t take lunch. We can of course require lunch breaks and discipline people if they don’t take them, but federal law is really clear that we do have to pay people for all time worked.”
5. Listing Uber-like work on a resume
During a busy school semester when I couldn’t keep regular work hours, I have been doing some work in the “sharing economy,” or maybe the better term is “on demand” work. Think Uber, but with dog walking. It’s an app-based company where I have an online profile and people contact me to take care of their pets. I’m not an employee of the company, and I am not sure how to handle this in terms of work experience. I have a ton of positive reviews on the website, and now that I am working on getting a more traditional job again, I would like to use this experience. Should I share my profile, if it is relevant to the job I am applying for? Does this go on my resume, and how?
I have a ton of other customer service experience but I haven’t worked at one of those jobs since my last temp position ended in April, and I don’t want to look like I haven’t been doing anything other than classes in the meantime.
If you’ve been in school full-time, it’s fine not to have any work on your resume for that period. But you can also include this if you feel like it demonstrates relevant skills (such as reliability and customer service), especially if you have no other way of demonstrating them. I’d list it like any other freelance job, but I don’t think you need to link to your profile (or at least, not unless you’re applying for a job where showcasing customer service will be particularly useful).
coworkers are joking that I got my promotion by sleeping with my boss, performance evaluations that assess work friendships, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.