It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Employee reported her coworker for a Facebook photo that showed some skin
My coworker, “Kara,” reported our coworker “Sally” to the manager of our organization for having a Facebook profile photo that Kara felt was inappropriate and reflected poorly on the organization. The photo showed a strip of Sally’s bare skin, but there was no reference to our organization visible in the photo or in the caption. (Her back faced the camera, and she had a fur over her shoulders. You could see a portion of her back and part of an armpit, but not as far down as her waist. According to Sally, she was wearing a halter top that wasn’t visible in the photo. According to the Kara who reported it, it was a topless photo. She claimed to know this because she overheard the other employee discussing the photo shoot in their shared residence.)
Our manager directed Sally’s supervisor to speak to her about the photo. The supervisor did so, although she felt that the photo had no bearing on our organization and was not inappropriate.
I will soon become the supervisor of both Kara and Sally. Sally expressed concern about being able to work productively in close proximity to Kara and stated that the reporting of the Facebook photo to our manager had been very upsetting. Due to the nature of our work, these employees not only work together but also live in close proximity to each other, and it is difficult to establish solid boundaries between work and personal lives. I want to ensure that Kara does not continue to pass information about the personal lives of her coworkers on to the manager of our organization when that information has no impact on work performance. Unfortunately, this behavior seems to be condoned by the manager. What is the best way to manage this situation?
This is none of Kara’s business. Who cares if she had a halter top on or not? The photo was of a piece of her back. It’s hardly scandalous.
Your real issue here is your manager, who thought this was an appropriate thing for the organization to involve itself in. I want you to tell Kara that you want her to focus on doing her work and that it’s not appropriate to make this sort of complaint, but before you can do that, you need to get aligned with your own boss about that — because you don’t her to undermine that message, and it sounds like she might. I’d say this to your boss: “I feel strongly that Sally’s photo didn’t cross any lines, and that it was none of our business. I want to discourage Kara from interfering in her coworkers’ private lives in the future, and I want to make sure that we’re on the same page about that.”
2. Admin is monitoring our hours
I am a salaried employee and have been so with my company for over 7 years. I just got a new position and had my boss come to me and tell me that there is an admin monitoring the time I’m clocked into the office and that she noticed I’m sometimes short of 40 hours every week.
This has never come up in any other position I have had. I even had an experience at a previous location where one of my coworkers, who consequently left the company, did recieve a formal notice from HR for missing time, but my boss at the time was rather a gossip and also told me that it required executive level permission to even be able to pull his time.
Is it legal for this admin to be pulling and checking time specifically for this department when it is not done for every other salaried employee? I feel like I’m being treated differently than I was before.
Yes, that’s legal. It would be illegal if you were being singled out for different treatment because of your race, religion, sex, disability, or other protected class. But it’s perfectly legal to do it for other reasons. And it’s pretty common for one department to managed differently than another. Your new boss has a different management style than your previous boss.
As for how to handle this, if you regularly work more than 40 hours in other weeks, I’d point that out to your boss and note that it balances out over time. I’d also ask if he’s concerned about your output. But otherwise, what you’re hearing is that your boss wants you working 40 hours a week.
3. Can I ask for my old job back?
I recently left a position I enjoyed for one offering more money. I left on good terms, with excellent performance reviews during my time with the company. The new employer has turned out to be a very poor fit, leaving me sick from the stress of facing work day after day. My former employer has not yet filled my former spot. Is it reasonable to request my position back if I provide an assurance that I would return for the long-term. If so, what is the best way to approach this?
Some back information: it has been 3 months since my departure. I was replaced by a temporary employee for the remainder of the fiscal year. I helped the department locate this employee because I knew her to be a good match for the work and culture. She is not interested in the position beyond the original temporary period. The department has approval to refill the position for the new fiscal year.
Sure, you can reach out to them. Say that you’ve given it a great deal of thought and you’re regretting your decision to leave and wondering if they’d be interested in talking about you coming back. As the boss in this situation, I’d be wondering about the issues that drove you to leave in the first place and how I’d be able to be confident that those won’t have you thinking about leaving again in a year or two — because if they will, it might be more in my interest to just keep things as they are now that we’ve made the transition. So you’ll need to be prepared to talk about why you left and why you don’t think those issues will continue to be issues, and to be convincing about it.
And make sure that whatever you say is really true. There were presumably reasons you went searching for a new job in the first place, and those will likely still be there. Do you want to go back because it’s the easiest way out of your current position? Or do you truly want to go back and stay for a good long time? If it’s the former, you might be better off searching for something new.
4. Changing my resignation date
Once I have submitted a resignation, can I change the date? I gave 2 months notice to help facilitate the transition, but work is making it unbearable to be there and my health is taking a big hit for it. High blood pressure and migraines to name a couple.
I would like to decrease to one month notice as per policy.
Absolutely you can. I’d say this: “Unfortunately my circumstances have changed, and I’m not longer able to give you the two month notice period I’d hoped to give. Instead, I’ll need my last day to be X, which is still one month of notice from today.”
And really, if it’s truly awful and/or impacting your health, there’s no reason that you have to stay a full month, unless you’re contractually obligated (and a statement in a personnel handbook that they want one month’s notice does not in itself create a contractual obligation on your side). More on that here.
5. Using technical terms in an interview
I frequently see postings for social media marketing positions or employees who are tech-savvy in general. However, many times the interviewer (who is often older and not proficient in computer skills) seems lost when I attempt to communicate my capacities in these areas. For example, during an interview, I might use terms like: “blog,” “newsfeed,” “tweet,” “upload,” “cloud,” posted on.”
Are the above terms too “technical?” But if that’s the case, how do I explain my skills?
Nooooooo. Those terms are barely technical at all. If your interviewer doesn’t understand them, the problem is on their end, not yours. I realize that doesn’t help you if you want the job, but this is so bizarre that I don’t really know how to advise on it. I could imagine encountering this once as a weird fluke, but if you’re encountering it regularly … well, I’m at a loss and baffled that it’s even happening. Are you perhaps interviewing with … time travelers?
Seriously, it’s weird.
employee reported her coworker for a Facebook photo that showed some skin, time-traveling interviewers, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.