my boss is blocking access to the bathroom, disclosing depression, and more

It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. I can’t get to the office bathroom when my boss is in the conference room

My boss is a control freak and wants to be involved in everything that going on in our district. He holds all the meeting for our company in the conference room — at least five scheduled meetings and then when anyone stops in to talk with him. The problem is our only restroom is in the conference room. I start work at 9 a.m. (I have a 20 – 25 minute drive into work and like to use the restroom before I start work). Many mornings I come into the office to find the conference room being used. He has a small conference table in his office, but won’t take people in his office because it is such a mess. Are there any laws to stop him from blocking the restroom from employees?

Your workplace needs to offer access to a bathroom, yes. But before you go at this from a legal standpoint, have you tried simply knocking on the door, opening it, saying “Excuse me, I’m headed to the bathroom,” and simply walking through the conference room to your destination? In other words, the fact that he’s holding a meeting in there doesn’t have to mean that you can’t walk through it to use the bathroom; if he’s even halfway sane, he’s probably assuming that’s what people will do if they need it. If, however, he tells you not to walk through there while the conference room is occupied, then ask him what people should do for bathroom access during that time.

2. Including quotes from coworkers on your resume

I had the opportunity to look over a few resumes for a position my company is hiring for. I noticed that a good handful of the resumes (about 20% or so) had about 2 inches of the left margin blocked off and filled with quotes people supposedly said about the applicant, like “John is an outstanding coworker,” ” Susie Q has great communication skills,” etc. Not only did most of these quotes contain little substance to speak to the skills of the applicants, but I found the whole thing a little narcissistic. Thoughts?

Well, it’s not narcissistic to promote your own work on your resume; that’s what it’s there for. The problem with what you’re describing is that the quotes are so lacking in substance or concrete specifics that they’re essentially worthless. Including anything worthless on your resume isn’t a good idea, but when you feature it so prominently, it says, “I don’t know what truly high performance even means, so I think you’ll be impressed by a quote saying I’m a good coworker.”

3. Disclosing depression to my manager

My question is about how much I should disclose to my manager about mental health problems. Since the start of this year, I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety. I am in treatment for it and had mostly been functioning normally, but lately the depression has gotten worse and affected my work. I have trouble staying motivated, am losing confidence, and have been all over the place emotionally. For the last couple of days, I’ve sat at my desk holding back tears and spent my lunch hours driving to somewhere I could sit and cry without being seen. All of this is affecting my productivity and now I’m worried about missing a deadline. On top of that, I’m a youngish woman in an industry that’s traditionally male-dominated, and I’m concerned about keeping my place in the corporate culture.

I know I need to say something to my manager since it’s affecting my work, but I’m not sure how much to share or what to say. I am in treatment, and she might already have a clue because I adjusted my schedule for a recurring “personal appointment” every week. But unfortunately getting better is likely to be a long-term process. I’m sure my manager will be very understanding about it and be glad I was honest — she is awesome about things like this. But she is also under quite a bit of stress because we recently lost a team member and she’s been doing two people’s jobs while traveling and trying to hire a replacement… so I don’t want to make it any worse.

Well, here’s the thing: Just letting her know about something that’s already going on isn’t going to make anything worse; it’s just going to give her some context to understand what she might already be noticing. In fact, if she has been noticing some of this, letting her know what’s going on will likely relieve some of her stress rather than adding to it, because it’s more stressful to worry that someone’s performance is slipping for no known reason or to notice that you’re not yourself but not to have any context for it.

So talk to her. You don’t need to go into detail, but you can say, “I want to let you know in confidence that I’m working on some issues with depression. I’m trying hard to keep it from affecting my work, but I realize that I might be behaving differently than before, and I wanted to let you know what’s going on. I’m working with my doctor to get it under control.”

4. How can I convince my father to run his business differently?

My father runs a multi-agency that sells every kind of insurance, bookkeeping for other small businesses, taxes, immigration, and more. I have recently graduated with a B.B.A. and my parents have strongly requested that I start working for my dad. I am trying to help him manage his business, yet I am losing motivation to help him because he will not implement the things I have created at the workplace. I have created an employee handbook, installed clock-in/clock-out software, and helped advertise across social media. He keeps putting off on slowly changing the workplace and installing some workplace etiquette and policies. He is scared to lose people. He currently has 2 employees, one part-time bookkeeper and one sales representative. Both of them make personal texts/calls (30-40 minutes daily), which should have been taken care of during their paid lunch hour!) and get paid a generous salary while overstaying breaks and not completing daily tasks. What can I do in this situation? How do I organize this workplace and better yet, how do I get my father to understand I want to help him make money and that I am not nitpicking!?

You can’t. Find a job somewhere else. You’ve proposed changes, and your father/manager has indicated that he’s not interested in implementing them. That’s his call and his prerogative. That would be true in any case, but it’s especially true when you’re right out of school and don’t have a ton of experience in the work world, because at that point it becomes not just a fruitless quest, but a sort of silly one too.

You’re better off finding work somewhere without family ties, so that you can have a more straightforward relationship with a boss, unencumbered by family dynamics and expectations.

5. Should typing speed go on my resume?

I am applying for an administrative assistant job, and I was wondering should I put my typing speed on my resume. I have a fast words-per-minute, but I’ve read online that I should leave that off of my resume. I feel with my typing speed, it could be a useful addition to my resume but other websites say otherwise. What is your take on this?

Put it on. I agree that it doesn’t belong on there for non-administrative-assistant jobs, because if you’re applying for, say, a research analyst position, selling your typing as one of your qualifications doesn’t make sense — but it does make sense for admin assistant jobs. If it’s high, include it. (P.S. Mine is 103, and I would like to have that tattooed on my face for all the world to know about.)

6. What does it mean that my interviewer cc’d a bunch of other people?

After my final round interview, the interviewer, who would be my supervisor if I was hired, told me that they would get back to me in the next few weeks, after I asked for a timeline. I emailed 2 weeks later, on a Friday morning, reiterating my enthusiasm and asking if I could get a sense of their new timeline. The interviewer emailed back on Monday, saying they would get back to me sometime this week. My interviewer CC’d the office manager and regional HR head, as well as another manager who I had interviewed with previously. What does this mean? I guess I am still in the running, but they need to think about details, like salary and work authorization? I know I’m trying to read tea leaves here.

You are trying to read tea leaves, and you are better off not. It could mean anything — from an offer being imminent to the interviewer nudging others on staff to let you know they’ve chosen another candidate. In other words, it means nothing. Be patient and wait for an answer.

7. My company is making me log how I spend my time

My company insists that I use a daily log sheet. I therefore have to state what I do throughout the day, but no one else has to do this (I job share). I find this degrading, as I have worked there for many years and have only been asked to do this recently. Is this lawful for them to expect me to do this on a lengthy basis?

Yes. Of course. Do you really think there’s a law saying that employers can’t ask you to log how you’re spending your time? Think this through — what on earth would be the reasoning for such a law?

In any case, since this is a change, why not ask your manager what’s behind it? Say something like, “Was the change to the daily log sheet prompted by any concern about my work? I was surprised to be asked to do it after so many years of not, and wanted to make sure it wasn’t indicative of a problem on my end.”

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