It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My boss thinks we’re best friends and I hate it
Previously, I was having problems with a coworker and thanks to your advice, things have improved greatly! But now, since I had to go to my boss more than once about the initial situation, my boss now thinks that we are best friends. It has come to the point that I am disgusted that I even let it get this far.
First things first, ever since I had to go to her about my coworker, she now thinks that everytime I go into her office, it’s time to have a gossip session. I normally just shake my head and try to change the subject, but she constantly gossips and tells me about my coworker and everything she messes up on, including anything that my coworker tells her.
She is also helping me study for a certification but every time I go into her office to study, she will ask me “instead of studying today, do you want to go shopping?” which I always decline but she still continues to ask. Lastly and most inappropriate, she is constantly buying me things! One time I told her “cute shirt!” and I guess that night she went and bought the same shirt and brought it to me the next day and in response, I didn’t even know what to say. She has tried to buy me clothes, food, my son video games, and items for Christmas. Any time I decline her items, she says “I’m your boss and elder, so you have to accept them!” and then walks off. I feel disgusted and completely violated. Should I go to HR? I’m afraid if I say something to my boss, she will completely turn around and treat me badly like she does other people that have complained about her.
Can you stop having study sessions with her? It sounds like that would help, as would minimizing your contact with her in general.
The next time she tries to give you a gift, say this: “You’re so thoughtful to give me things, but I have to be honest — I don’t feel right accepting them, since you’re my boss. I wouldn’t want it to look unfair to anyone else. I hope you understand.” If she tries the “I’m your boss and so you have to accept it,” say this: “That’s really exactly why I don’t feel I can. Thank you for thinking of me, but I don’t feel right about it.” And if she persists beyond that, just take the stuff and donate it.
When she tries to gossip, say this: “I probably shouldn’t hear this about Jane. But can I ask you about (work-related topic)?”
Ultimately, though, you’ll have to decide how much you can set boundaries without facing her petty retaliation. Often if you say this sort of thing warmly and cheerfully, you can stay in the petty person’s good graces. But other times, you can’t, so —depending on what you know of her and what you see as you try to start setting boundaries— you may need to accept that dealing with this is the price of staying on in this job.
2. My coworkers want to make my job harder in order to make their jobs easier
I’ve been having issues with my ex-team-members since an organizational restructuring saw my job better suited to another department. One issue I am having is they have asked me to change one of my processes to make theirs easier, except it will increase my currently high work load. I have explained this to them and tried to offer alternatives but they won’t consider anything and keep emailing with their request to make the change.
Am I wrong in refusing to do this? Is their disregard for my job and the constant emailing me edging into bullying and harassment to get their way? As I have already given them my answer with fair reasoning and possibly solutions would it be inappropriate to just stop responding to their constant requests? Unfortunately they are known bullies in our organization and it seems nothing ever gets done.
This sounds like routine workplace conflict, not bullying or harassment. It’s also the sort of thing that in most jobs you shouldn’t decide on your own; you should talk to your manager and find out how she wants you to proceed, unless you’re 100% sure that you have the authority to say no.
It’s possible that from an organizational perspective, it actually makes sense for you to do what they’re asking. Sometimes something will cause more work for one person but still be the right call for the organization. For example, you might be understandably annoyed that coworkers were sending you messy expense reports, causing you to have to spend your time cleaning to up, but it still might make sense for the organization to have you do that rather than to have highly-paid VPs spend their time on that instead of bringing in new business. There are all kinds of examples like this, and you won’t necessarily know if that kind of thing is in play without talking to your boss.
Also, if you talk to your boss, it might turn out that she fully backs you in saying no, in which case you can refuse with more confidence, and you can tell your coworkers that you’ve discussed it with your boss and she agrees you shouldn’t do it, and that they’d need to talk to her if they want to change that. And your boss is also better positioned that you are to talk to your coworkers’ boss if that becomes necessary.
3. I was sent more work after my internship ended
While I was interning at a legal think tank, a research fellow assigned me and another intern some work on a Wednesday. I informed her that my internship would be getting over the very same week on Friday. She acknowledged that and stated that the other intern would be present the next week and I could help her out if I wanted to, though it was up to us two interns and she would not get involved.
The work we did on Thursday was junked as she changed the format and the method we were to follow while searching for certain cases. In effect, I only worked on it on Friday (my last day), and I wasn’t particularly productive that day as I had taken up some other work from another research fellow which I was to submit the next day.
The next week (several days after my internship ended), the other intern contacted me and asked me to help her complete the task. Further, the research scholar puts a note on the document saying “get Fergus (my name) to do this.” Am I being unreasonable in denying to continue working on the project?
No, not at all! I’d approach this as if the scholar just forgot your internship ending date (which she really may have) and as if the other intern didn’t realize your internship was over. Say something like this, “Actually, Friday was my last day of interning, so I can’t help with this anymore. Good luck with it!”
If after that they for some reason they ask you to work on it anyway, that would be really audacious and weird and you do not need to comply. In that case, you could just respond with, “Now that my internship is over, my time is committed to other projects. Sorry I can’t help!”
4. Are you obligated to disclose a workplace romance?
I’m curious about your stance on whether you should disclose a workplace romance. If two peers report to the same manager and have no supervisory duties, is there an obligation to disclose a long-term relationship to their manager? In this case, there is no workplace policy on dating coworkers.
If neither of you has authority over the other — and that includes even little tasks, not just being the person’s boss — I don’t think you’re obligated to disclose. Lots of people date coworkers and choose to be discreet about it, and if it’s not impacting the work or subjecting your employer to legal risk, it can just be your business. But you do have to be prepared to disclose if something happens that would change those conditions, like if you were asked to oversee your significant other on a particular project or even just to give feedback as part of her performance evaluation.
5. Including social media on a resume
I was wondering about how to showcase public social media to employers. I’m a university student studying a directly vocational degree. I’ve been advised to start and maintain a public social media presence (Twitter and blog) for the particular subset of my discipline that I would like to pursue. I’ve started doing this, and it’s rewarding in its own right, but I’m definitely doing it with an end goal.
My question is, how do you appropriately highlight this to prospective employers? Is there room on your resume to put a blog URL or Twitter handle?
Sure. You can put the blog in an Other Experience section. If your traffic numbers are impressive, include those too.
Twitter probably isn’t weighty enough to go there, but it could go under your contact info at the top of your resume.
And this is probably obvious, but keep in mind that anything you include on your resume may be scrutinized. You want to make sure the writing is polished and you’re not posting things you wouldn’t want an employer to see.
my boss thinks we’re best friends, including social media on a resume, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.