my manager threatened to kick my ass, using vacation time when my company closes early, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My manager said she’d kick my ass after I dropped some equipment

I was helping help pack things in on a video shoot, when, I had unnoticed that I dropped a small lens cap on the street. It got pretty dirty and I apologized to my supervisor. As she was attaching it to the camera, she said in a serious tone, “Eric, if you do this again I’m going to kick your f’ing ass,” in front of a coworker. I didn’t respond to this, but I was boiling on the inside. I have been working with this person for about a year and a half, we have no problems between each other.

I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted. How, exactly, do you respond to this, if at all?

I’ve got to think this wasn’t serious — what previously normal-seeming person gets that upset over a dropped lens cap?

But if you’re really sure it wasn’t a misinterpreted attempt to be funny, then say something like, “Jane, I was pretty surprised by your response to me when I dropped the lens cap. I’m not sure how to interpret what you said.” If her response confirms it wasn’t a joke, then you can say, “Obviously I want to be careful with our equipment, and I’m not cavalier about that.” Optional add-on, if you’re comfortable with it: “A threat to ‘kick my ass’ doesn’t really seem appropriate to me.” Whether or not that last part will do any good — or whether it will do more harm than good — depends on your boss, so proceed accordingly.

2. During a long background check and approval process, I found another job I might want more

I’ve been on the hunt for a new job for about 6 months and am very ready to leave my current place ASAP. I applied to a job at a government agency back in January, was told in early February they wanted to hire me, and due to paperwork and background checks I am still waiting on an official offer I’m told is coming sometime soon, but I have no idea when. Of course, I continued looking because nothing is real until it’s in writing and you have a start date, and another opportunity seems to be a very strong possibility.

If I turned down the government agency at this point, I feel that I’ll have led them on for months and then left them in the lurch. But, I never got or accepted an offer from them with a number attached; I just said I was excited to review the offer when it came. I know their crazy bureaucratic process is not my fault, but how much should I weigh the time they invested trying to get me on board if I end up getting both these offers?

Their massively bureaucratic process is not your responsibility; it’s theirs. If it causes them enough problems, they can look into changing it, but you don’t bear any obligation to be extra accommodating to them because of it. It would be utterly unreasonable for them to expect you to forego other offers when they haven’t even made you a formal offer yet themselves — when you haven’t agreed on a salary or other details, and when they could end up not hiring at all.

Go with the job that you want the most.

3. My manager keeps giving me work outside my part-time hours

I’m currently employed part-time at a small business and receive and hourly wage. I really enjoy the work I do when I’m there, which is 2 days of the week, but my boss has been contacting me almost every day of the week either through texts, calls, or Facebook messages, to do something. While they are small tasks, they really intterupt and affect my day because she wants it to be done immediately, and I do not get compensated. She will even contact me at my other part-time job, which she knows about, to do something and ask me to do her task then and there. She gets upset if I or the other employees (all of which are part-time) don’t check Facebook or her texts, even on our days off. She will also point out mistakes everyone has made on this Facebook group she created, and scold us on it as well. When I recieved this job offer, I was not told about being contacted outside of my hours.

I’m intimidated by her, but at the same time it’s really affecting my personal life, and I’m making a lot of mistakes at work. I am searching for full-time job elsewhere but in the meantime, is there anything that I can do to help the situation?

“Could we talk about my hours? We had talked about a part-time job, two days a week, and that’s what I’d planned for, so I have other commitments the rest of the time and I’m not always able to respond quickly — or even at all — when you send me work requests outside those two days. Should we talk about changing my schedule so that I’m working additional hours, or should I just save up those items for when I’m back at work?” If she says that she just wants them done and doesn’t want to increase your hours, then say, “Because I’m part-time, I’m filling the rest of my time with other commitments. I can save up these tasks and do them when I’m back at work, or I can occasionally put in an extra hour or two outside of my normal hours, but I can’t be two days a week and available the rest of the time too.”

And if the tasks keep coming outside of your regular hours, track how much time you’re spending on them and say something like, “How would you like me to track the time spent outside of my regular hours and report it for my paycheck?” (And assuming you’re non-exempt, she’s legally required to pay you for that time. It’s not optional.)

4. Using vacation time on days that my company ends up closing early

Occasionally our company closes early the Friday before a long weekend or the day before a holiday — say 3-ish and everyone gets full pay. Bu if I have a scheduled vacation day, I am charged a full 8 hours. Does this pass the smell test?

Yes, that’s pretty normal. You’re using your vacation time in exchange for a sure thing — the certainty that you have that time off.

5. Is this hiring manager not interested or just busy?

A hiring manager at a company I see as my “dream job” contacted me last week. My resume was sent through an internal referral, and the hiring manager emailed me wanting to set up a quick call about the role. He sent me the job req and I even noticed he checked my LinkedIn profile too. I had replied within hours and informed him I was interested. However, after that email, I have yet to hear back before we can even speak. It’s been over a week and I’ve followed up with a couple emails. Is it likely they’re just not interested or just too busy to reply?

Could be either, but for your purposes, it doesn’t matter — it’s time to move on. You’ve made it clear you’re interested, It’s in their court now, and if they want to get back to you, they will.

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