5 more updates from letter-writers


Here are five more updates from people who had their letters answered here this year. (I’ll be printing updates daily or close-to-daily through the end of the month. We’ve got a lot this year!)

1. Advising a great applicant to run far, far away from my troubled workplace (#2 at the link)

I really appreciated your feedback and also found the comments very helpful. I felt, truly, for the commenters who chastised me for sitting on the sidelines, because I was chastising myself for that, too.

What happened: We offered the candidate the job, and I also took your advice to reach out to them and offer to answer questions, etc at the same time. (It wouldn’t have been weird to my employer to do so, and it was a great suggestion.) But the applicant-turned-new hire did not take me up on that offer. They took the job.

Within a couple of weeks, the new hire began to express some very polite and professional frustration with the parts of the new job and organization that I think were misrepresented to them. I gave the new hire tips for dealing with their frustrations and how to navigate our organization without going absolutely bonkers. I hope it helps — I think managing expectations and doing a lot of self-care is a huge part of being able to get by in this particular job, because the org’s problems are fundamentally, in hindsight, about a personality issue from the top.

I’ve since left the organization, and I’ve been much more direct in my exit interview and memo. I don’t have any expectation that what I had to say will be well received, but I’ve done what I can. I also now know that the feedback I gave our organization has been a repeat of what others (we’re pretty high-turnover) have provided, to no avail. (“Stop being so critical, you don’t understand” is the general response received.) For now, I’m banking on our director seeing what a great talent and asset our new hire is, and maybe upon reflection she’ll see that making some intentional changes will help to retain staff.

2. How can I ask my manager and coworkers to stop talking about politics at work?

I was pretty prepared to use your suggested responses if the conversations dragged on in meetings, but luckily that didn’t end up happening again. There were shorter discussions about political candidates in meetings towards the beginnings and ends, but in those cases I was able to duck out or tune out until the topic changed. So, I would actually say I ended up taking the advice of the commenters who told me that asking to keep discussions about political candidates out of meetings would be seen as adversarial and wouldn’t be taken well.

3. I was offered a new position but they won’t tell me what the pay is (#2 at the link)

Thanks for answering my question. I was over-thinking and management was checking to see if I was interested. I did let them know I was not interested. The main reason is that I’ve been training our new hires temporarily since early April. My manager quit at end of April and I continued training new employees under my new manager. I was never paid for April training! I did receive my regular pay, but we are paid extra for the role of a trainer even if it’s temporary role. On top of that, the amount of paperwork I had to complete to show “proof” that training took place rivaled the novel War and Peace. My new manager had to research why I was never paid, complete mounds of paperwork, and have various persons from upper management sign off. Even after that, no pay. We were told my paperwork was sitting on some executive’s desk waiting to be processed.

By early September, I advised my manager that I would be calling HR to complain which I did. I was guaranteed the missing pay would be in this Friday’s paycheck. Only a few more days and I’ll know. By the way, my company is large, international company. SMH…. thank you for your great advice.

4. How do you get experience if all the jobs require you to already have experience?

I did end up getting an offer for a technical writing position, which is very exciting for me! Thank you again for your help, and thanks to the commenters for their insights. I think reading your book and your archives helped me a lot as well.

5. My injury is preventing me from going on a company cruise — and my company wants me to pay them back for my ticket

Thank you so much for your time and for all the advise that everyone had suggested. I ended up having a meeting with both HR and for some reason my supervisor. I was willing to work with them if we could come up with some sort of an agreeable figure and/or payments. Well, needless to say, I felt like they ganged up on me, to the point where my own supervisor was defending the actions of the company and actually was shaming me for not going. The decision to make me pay stood. With that being said, I asked for an invoice in our last meeting months ago; I have yet to receive it, so I have yet to pay it.

5 more updates from letter-writers was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.


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December 2, 2016 at 03:30PM