short answer Sunday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. My manager humiliated me in front of everyone

I am in a toxic work environment that I am desperately trying to leave. A large project I work on had a massive cock-up. I am unsure what happened, to be honest, but a massive database had its information scrambled. I told my supervisor. She then asked me to announce it during a group meeting. Then, she had the entire office take my massive file, individually check my work, and had me sit at my computer as they read off the mistakes that needed correcting. She then made a joke in a separate office later that there was a method to her madness, and she had me “hook, line, and sinker”, and several members of the office then laughed (not all, and several looked very uncomfortable).

Again, the file was messed up. But, the way my manager approached it… it was humiliating. My fellow admin was extremely upset for me. I’m not sure what to do! Should I go to HR about this specific situation? My supervisor has been investigated in the past, under an HR manager that left in a bit of scandal, for bullying and other issues, and has not gotten in trouble.

Should I just leave without finding a new job? I am trying to leave, and while this was a mistake, I did not feel I deserved to be placed in that situation.

That sounds awful, and you should absolutely be actively looking if this is typical behavior for her, but don’t leave without having another job lined up, because job searches in this market take far longer than people think they will (often a year or more) and it’s much harder to find a job when you’re unemployed than when you’re still working.

As for whether it would be worth talking to HR … maybe, maybe not. This post may help. But in general, HR isn’t there to stop managers from being jerks, and this company has already shown a reluctance to intervene with her.

2. Is it okay for me to use a functional resume if most of my jobs have had the same duties?

I have been working as a payroll analyst for 8 years now (3 different companies); prior to that, I was an admin assistant. I have a payroll designation and have been studying for a HR designation as I wanted to change my career path into HR eventually. As you can imagine, the 3 positions of payroll analyst have similar responsibilities, but I managed to learn slight different things at each job. I work very closely with the HR department, particularly in the current position that I’ve held for 5years now. It is also the thing that inspired me to want to change career paths.

I would like to update my resume to target for HR related positions. Instead of listing each position and what I do at each job, is it common/ok if I list what I have done/learn, arranging them into categories such as “employee relations”, “benefits management,” “policy and procedure”… and then list all the previous employers and the period that I was with each of them after the skills section?

Nope, that’s a functional resume and employers hate them because they make it hard to understand your job history (what you did where and when) and because they’re generally used by people trying to hide an employment gap, job-hopping, or outdated skills. Use a chronological resume. It shouldn’t matter too much that your duties were the same at all three jobs, because you should be focusing more on accomplishments than duties anyway. Employers don’t want to know what your job description was; they want to know what you achieved.

3. Was this firing handled correctly?

My roommate works for the county in Maryland, and belongs to a union. She was recently fired for excessive tardiness. While this is a legit reason for her termination (she has missed a lot of days in the past, and often showed up late), she claims that she cannot be fired for excessive tardiness because the proper disciplinary procedures were not followed.

What she means by this is that due to her status as a county employee, she has certain rights, plus is protected by her union, and that her boss must first verbally counsel her (with the counsel being on record) for tardiness, then he must write her up for tardiness, and then finally he could terminate her for tardiness. Because this procedure was not followed, she complained to her union.

I didn’t want to turn this into a “is this legal or not?” because I know Maryland is an at-will employment state, meaning that the employer can basically fire a employee for any reason except retaliation, discrimination, etc., therefore the “termination procedures” are usually company policy and not law. However, because she’s a county employee (which I assume falls under the government/public sector), and because she’s part of a worker’s union, do they have to play by other rules when it comes to termination?

It totally depends on what her union contract says. It probably spells out rules for firing, and those are the ones they’d be required to follow (as with any contract).

4. Anonymous complaint form ended up not being anonymous

I work in a large college academic resource center. We have an anonymous noise complaint webform for students to report loud patrons; I used it to complain about some student workers who I do not supervise. The IT department tracked my complaint to my computer and I was pulled into a meeting with my supervisor about it.

What is there to be done about this invasion of privacy? I used an anonymous webform and was tracked! Should everyone know that this form isn’t really anonymous? Who, if anyone, do I talk to about this, and what the heck do I say?

I can’t tell whether you were pulled into that meeting to be chastised about complaining, or if they just wanted more information. If it was the first, that’s really ridiculous and you should approach everything regarding this employer with a high degree of caution from now on, because telling someone something is anonymous and then penalizing them for using it is obviously completed messed up behavior. But if they just pulled you in because they wanted more information or something else relatively innocuous — well, it’s still bad to say something will be anonymous and then not treat it that way, but it’s not as alarming.

In any case, you can certainly talk to your manager and express your concern that a form that claims to be anonymous in fact is not. You could also complain to IT. Whether you should do either of those really depends on your relationship with your manager.

5. Does it mean anything if the hiring manager connects with me on LinkedIn?

I had a second round of interviews for a manager position towards the end of April, and their timeline for getting back to applicants was two weeks. My first interview (after the initial phone interview) was with the regional manager who would be my direct boss and we had great chemistry; we came from the same professional beginnings and shared remarkably similar experiences. We discussed our shared passion for wellness initiatives and it felt more like a conversation than standard interview. The interview went so well that it went on past the expected time frame and I was pleased to get a second interview with a panel of three other individuals a few weeks later. The panel interviews were good, although I could not get an impression (good or bad) from one of the interviewers.

Since the second interview, two weeks have passed and I decided to reach out to the recruiter through email and politely ask if they are still looking at the same timeline for a hiring selection and if a decision has been made. I did not receive an email back from the recruiter, but later that same day the regional manager (the one I really got along with) asked to connect with me on LinkedIn. I do not want to read too much into this because she does have over 500 connections, so maybe she just likes having as many connections as possible. However, I think it would be weird to connect with a candidate if there is the potential that I’m not getting an offer. In any case, is this something you would do if you were set to offer a candidate a position, and on the flip side would you connect with a candidate who was a rejected for position? It also seems weird that the same time I follow up with the recruiter is when the regional manager asked to connect.

Don’t read anything into it. You had a rapport and you have similar backgrounds, so she’s connecting with you because she’d like you in her network. That’s the most you can read into it.

The timing may or may not be coincidental. For all we know, the recruiter reached out to her about getting an updated timeline, and it nudged her into remembering she’d meant to connect with you.

6. Linking recruiters to my LinkedIn profile

I get the feeling that many recruiters (external and internal) are not properly vetting me, i.e. not looking at my LinkedIn profile, blog, online portfolio, etc. I also get many requests for my resume, which is linked from my website. Would it be alright to add a more obvious link to my LinkedIn profile to say “here’s my most up-to-date resume, I don’t necessarily have access to my most up-to-date one on my current device”?

I don’t understand what the last part about not having access means, but if they’re not looking at your LinkedIn profile to begin with, adding a link to your resume there won’t matter. And recruiters should already have your resume, if you’ve applied with them. Your LinkedIn profile should of course be up-to-date, so looking at either your resume OR your profile should suffice — you shouldn’t be terribly worried if they’re only seeing one or another.

As for the requests for your resume from your website, sure, link to whatever you want there.

7. Applying for jobs without management experience

A lot of the jobs I am looking to apply for want a year or more of supervisory experience. In all cases, I want to apply because I fit most, if not all, of the other qualifications. (In other words, I don’t feel that I am aiming too high or skipping steps in my career path.) But when it comes to that experience, I just plain don’t have it. Is there a way to address this in a cover letter? Or am I most likely just going to be out of the running because of it? It just doesn’t seem like much of a transferable skill where I can sort of substitute with other experience, like the way I have used, for example, work with my roller derby league to help demonstrate my experiences in outreach and marketing.

I really don’t want to waste hiring managers’ (or my) time and give them one more resume to sift through. Help?

Some jobs absolutely won’t consider you if you don’t have the management experience, but others will — and since you can’t tell from the outside which are which, go ahead and apply. I don’t think you need to specifically call out the lack of experience in your cover letter though — they’re going to figure it out themselves, and unless you’re able to talk in your cover letter about other leadership experience you’ve had that might be transferable, there’s no point in highlighting the lack of it. Good luck.

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