Three more updates from readers who had their questions answered here this year! This is the last of the updates in this round.
1. The reader wondering whether to tell her manager why she’d been behaving oddly at work (a fall-out with a coworker and the break-up of her marriage) (#4 at the link)
I took your advice and just concentrated on keeping my head above water for a while, and as things went from bad to worse with my family situation, I definitely let some things slip at work. I acknowledged to coworkers when I dropped the ball, and I’m now concentrating on rebuilding my reputation, taking on more responsibility, etc.
Because it was hard for me at the time to distinguish my feelings from my behavior, I think an apology to the boss would have complicated and exacerbated the circumstances. I tend to think fixing your behavior is the best apology anyway.
I also think one of the comments hit it on the head. I was pretty jealous of my manager and coworker for their good relationship, and needed to reset my expectations to reasonable boss-employee and coworker-coworker relationships, and stop worrying about their relationship with each other.
Thanks for your advice, it was one of the best things that happened to me at the time.
2. The reader wondering if mentioning her book deal was hurting her job prospects (#4 at the link)
I just wanted to let you know that you were absolutely right and I switched around the framing, and it’s been successful. While I don’t have a job yet, I’ve had two interview requests and things are looking much better. Thanks for your help!
3. The reader wondering how to fit into office culture during a part-time internship and whose invitation to the staff retreat had been rescinded
I had written to you over the summer regarding my summer internship and the strange office culture/general unfriendly vibe that I was experiencing there. Shortly after I wrote to you, and after taking some of the advice of commenters, I found that my experience with the staff became much warmer. I don’t think that anything particularly changed about my behavior – I do believe, as many folks assessed in their responses, that much of the feeling had to do with the fact that being a short term, temporary employee in an office often means that it feels a little stiff.
In any case, shortly thereafter, the Associate Dean took me aside and apologized to me for rescinding her invitation for the staff retreat. She explained that it had not been a smooth planning process and she really felt at the time that, per what I would get out of the experience versus the cost of me taking public transportation out there and time away from the office, it wouldn’t have been a good time investment. She then said she realized that that could have made me feel uncomfortable, which wasn’t her intent. Shortly after that, I started connecting more intentionally with my colleagues and was really pleased by the relationships that I was able to build.
I walked out of the experience with some very great project work under my belt, and some incredible contacts. Plus, I think I have a very strong chance of being hired at the institution and might even consider working at that office again if the opportunity presented itself. I know, a very different situation from where I had began in the office, but I was very much impressed with the latter part of the experience. That said, I haven’t forgotten the short-term weirdness and I would definitely be discriminating if I find myself with multiple options.