It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Asking about birth control coverage when interviewing with faith-based organizations
I’m a young nonprofit professional with interest in working for a variety of faith-based organizations. Given all the current controversy extending even beyond the nonprofit field, it’s recently hit home for me that in the near future, I may very well in interested in taking a job at an organization whose employee health insurance does not cover contraceptives. I would never want to work for such an organization as it is clear that their mission and entire organizational culture is opposite of my own beliefs.
Normally, I would never bring up the specifics of employee benefits until after an offer has been given, but this issue seems to have a totally different foundation. I wouldn’t want to waste either of our time by going through an entire interview process only to reject the offer for these personal reasons. Is there any way to bring this up tactfully earlier in the process?
Probably not. Asking about details of benefits usually doesn’t go over well until you’re at the offer stage (or close to it). I suppose you could frame it as inquiring how they’re responding to the controversy on the issue, which might get you some information, but which may or may not feel relevant, depending on the specific organization you’re talking to.
But you can certainly ask at the offer stage. And if you discover an organization isn’t covering birth control, you can certainly make it very clear that you consider that unacceptable and that that’s why you’re turning down the offer.
2. How should I point out that my coworker plagiarized?
I realized that a staff writer has plagiarized one of their pieces from an earlier work by a another university staff member. There’s no attribution to the original piece, and the staff writer’s piece is essentially a shortened and partially rephrased version of the original piece. It’s the exact kind of plagiarism I constantly work against at my job (I’m a writing tutor). I have never met this person, and may never meet them, as they work at the main campus in another state. Typically when I email someone at the university campus, I don’t get much of a response. Should I email the staff writer asking her to at least credit the original source? Is it appropriate to bring it up to anyone else?
I’d email the writer and cc her manager, saying something like, “I noticed that this piece appears to have been pulled from ____ but doesn’t have attribution. Wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s missing the original source.” Cc’ing her manager may seem like overkill, but plagiarism is a big enough deal (and in an university environment, your coworker can hardly be oblivious to that) that it’s reasonable to make sure that someone other than her knows that it happened.
3. My job offer was revoked over my availability
I am a college student who just accepted a new part time job nearby campus that I am really excited about. I signed an employment offer form and am days away from orientation. I have given my two weeks notice at my previous job as well. I just was asked today about my availability. I sent them an email containing my availability, which includes a week and a half time I cannot work because of a school extra curricular commitment that I cannot get out of. I had mentioned this week long commitment during my job interview and I was assured it would not be a problem. Following my email I received a phone call saying that they are not going to give my any hours for the rest of the summer because of my unavailability and that I can apply again when my availability opens up.
Are they even allowed to do that? I had already been offered the job and had quit my other job because I really need the job. I have plenty of availability for the week before my commitment to do all the training they need me to do, the only problem seems to be the week I cannot work. After that week school will start and my availability will be even more limited, so I don’t even know if they would take me if I applied after. I am overly qualified for the position and have 2 years of previous experience working at the same company back home. I am not sure how to approach this whole situation.
Yes, they’re allowed to do that, but it’s crappy. I’d try calling the person who hired you and pleading your case — point out that you’ve already quit your job because you thought you had an agreement with them and that you were clear about your availability in your interview. Ask them to reconsider since you’re now in a difficult spot as you’ve already resigned your current job (stress that part, because it should make them feel ridiculous for doing this).
4. Getting a vacation time bump when you negotiated extra vacation time earlier
My husband started at his current company 5 years ago. When he started, he negotiated a starting salary, benefits, and vacation package of a senior employee. The company put him at the 5-year mark with respect to vacation – or 3 weeks of paid time. However he recently realized he may not be bumping up to the next level of paid vacation. While all the 10-year employees will get 4 weeks, he believes he will still get 3. He hasn’t confirmed this with his manager or with HR though.
Because he technically only has 5 years with the company, he is unsure if he should speak with his manager about moving up to the 10-year mark for vacation. At the same time he doesn’t feel that waiting another 5 years at this company for the additional vacation is something he wants to do at this point in his career. The company also allows no unpaid time off, so scheduling longer family vacations has been tricky as our children get older. Should he raise this topic in advance of the yearly review cycle in 2015 in order to give his manager time to review any options with HR? What would be the best way to approach this with his manager or HR?
Yes, he should absolutely raise this — maybe a month or two ahead of the review cycle. This isn’t something that should take major advance notice to implement (it should be a simple adjustment if everyone is agreed, which they should be), but if he wants it to kick in at that point, it’s reasonable to raise it before then.
5. Citing experience moving around because of a parent’s job
I grew up moving from one place to another because of my dad’s job (US, Singapore, England). Is there a way to use this experience(s) in answering interview questions or use to stand out/grab attention during my job searches and interviews?
Probably not. Experience with other cultures and the ability to quickly adapt to new contexts are both useful things, but that’s trumped by the fact that citing experiences from childhood and adolescence generally doesn’t come across well in a hiring process — unless it comes up organically in conversation with your interviewer. It’s not something that’s likely to be a differentiator; it might just be an interesting point in conversation. I’d construct your candidacy around what you’ve achieved, far more than where you’ve lived.