It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. How can I avoid companies lying about salary and location?
I was working for a nonprofit and my direct supervisor left. Several months later, he contacted me and asked if I would be willing to interview at his new place of employment. We had gotten on fairly well at job #1, so I did and I was offered a position. At the same time, I was also offered a job at a third company.
I told my former manager that Company #3 had offered me a certain pay level ($6,000 more a year than company #1 was currently paying me) plus a $2,000 sign-on bonus.
He told me that his new employer could meet the salary but only provide a $1,000 sign-on bonus. I accepted because the hours were better and it was closer (VERY close) to my home.
However, the pay is actually $2,000 less per year than I had been earning at company #1, and the sign-on bonus was explained away as “a joke.” Additionally, now they want me transfer me to a site over an hour away in a different county, in the middle of a snow belt. During winter, I would be commuting both ways in the dark and my night vision is not good. I feel cheated and taken advantage of, and am quickly becoming very unhappy and resentful. I am seeking another position. Going forward, is there any way to avoid this type of situation with future employers?
Yes — get job offers in writing, along with any other commitments that you care about. Absent a contract (which most U.S. workers don’t have), employers can still decide to change the terms of your employment (although not retroactively) or your location, but getting the basic terms in writing will ensure that you’re in agreement about pay and that promises aren’t later going to be called “jokes.” That’s horrible.
2. Should I remove any mention of a controversial issue from my resume?
I want to preface this by saying I have no interest in inciting some kind of debate about the appropriateness of the political issue involved, but I have run out of people to ask about this.
I’m searching for a position more in line with the field I am pursuing a masters in (public health). I have a resume question regarding my volunteer work with an organization that has a political agenda regarding reproductive health options, including abortion. The work that I do with this group is purely awareness-related, and the organization also supports initiatives and health clinics that promote proper prenatal care, safe sex practices, and testing for sexually-transmitted infections, in addition to their attention to abortion access. I have this contribution worded neutrally on my resume, and have asked several people about their opinion of how it’s worded. Everyone I have asked has said it is worded in a professional manner that doesn’t sound as if I am trying to face off with the world on this issue, but agree that its very presence on my resume may turn off employers who are reading my information.
I do support increased access to reproductive health options as a public health issue, but I know that if I really want a better job, this is not the hill to die on even though it is important to me. Despite the fact that I take pride in being involved in this volunteer program and have learned skills from it, I think I need to try taking it off my resume. The only other problem that I have with taking this off is that it will appear as if my volunteer work screeched to a halt when I graduated from undergrad a little over two years ago, which is a sticking point with me because my job is only slightly related to public health and my volunteer work has always been more relevant experience. What should I do here? I’m so desperate for a job that engages me in the field I love, and I don’t want to turn any employers off with the only chance I might get at an impression.
Well, I say this as someone who has marijuana policy and animal rights work on my resume, but I think that you’re being more cautious than you need to. Especially in public health, I just don’t think this is going to be a huge sticking point for the majority of employers. (Are the people who are telling you to take it off hiring managers in your field? I’m betting not. I’ve noticed people who aren’t actually hiring tend to think this kind of thing is far more of an issue than it actually is.)
The work experience will help far more than it will hurt you.
3. I’m being undermined in my family business
Through some light internet digging, I landed on your article from 2012 about how to be more authoritative at work, and I wish I had read it back then. Without going into great detail, what happens when the workplace is a family business and no matter how many routes you take to gain authority, you are constantly being undermined by the owner and general manager and even through conversation to the owner, aka your father, he still makes all of the major decisions with the general manager at the workplace when initially you were brought in as a management role? It’s become an uphill battle that I’m constantly losing and my self worth/esteem has taken a huge hit.
Thanks for taking the time to look over my question and I hope you can provide a different perspective that will bring back my motivation for the job that was once a career.
Get out. Family businesses can sometimes work, but when they’re dysfunctional, they’re really dysfunctional. Go work somewhere without family members; you will be happier.
4. Should I send my thank-you note by LinkedIn?
I just had an interview that I’m thinking went pretty well. The interviewer said to me twice that he could see why I got this far in the recruitment process. Of course, I know I don’t have a job offer until I have a job offer.
Unfortunately, he did not give me his name card during the interview. I found his profile page on about.me and he has a LinkedIn page as well. Would it be too stalker-ish to send him a thank-you note via about.me or LinkedIn?
I also feel like I could have answered one of his questions better to show my skills, but I am not sure how to word it properly in my email without sounding desperate. Basically the question was “how do you address issue ABC?” I mentioned that this issue requires a lot support from the management team and my supervisor works closely with management. I also elaborated on why management support is important and talked about the contrast I have seen with this issue, with and without management support. He said my answer made sense, but I now realize I should have highlighted my own involvement in this. Should I mention this in my email if I do contact him?
If you absolutely can’t figure out his work email address, go ahead and send it via LinkedIn. Include a mention that you realized you didn’t have his email but wanted to reach out to him, so that he understands why you’re contacting him there.
That said, it’s not ideal; not everyone looks at their LinkedIn messages regularly and there’s more chance of it being overlooked there. Direct email is better if you can guess it (which is often pretty straightforward if you’ve seen other email addresses at the company, since they usually follow the same structure).
You could certainly elaborate on your answer to the question you mentioned when you email him. I’d say something like, “I thought a bit more about your question about ABC and realized I didn’t touch on my own efforts in that area.” (Followed by whatever details you wanted to share.) Keep it short, but it’s a reasonable thing to mention.
5. Required to read a book before a staff retreat
I’m a non-exempt employee. My boss has instructed us to read a specific book before an upcoming staff retreat. Can he require us to read the book outside of work hours? If I wanted to read it outside of work, is that a problem from a legal/overtime standpoint?
You can indeed be required to read it outside of work hours, but as a non-exempt employee, you’d need to be paid for that time (including overtime, if it puts you over 40 hours that week).
companies that lie about salary, controversial issues on your resume, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.