should you offer your business card at a job interview, applying for a job with an ex’s father, and more

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

1. How to ask if I’m getting paid for work I’ve been doing or if it’s volunteer work

I would like to nominate myself for stupid question-asker of the year.

I did some at-home work for a nonprofit a few weeks ago that was paid for with the remainder of a grant. Recently, they contacted me and asked if I was available to do more of the same type of work. I agreed to do it, picked up the materials, and have done about 25 hours of what’ll probably be 50 hours of work. I assumed the work would be paid even though it wasn’t explicitly mentioned, and now I’m wondering if they wanted me to do it for free, because they have a volunteer working on the same thing (though she was also working on it when I was doing the paid work before), and if the grant was used up, where are they getting the money to pay me?

Is there a way to ask if this is paid work without sounding as stupid as I feel? Or do I just hope they ask for my hours at some point? I’d send them the hours I’ve done so far since it’s been two weeks (I was paid biweekly before), but I’m afraid they’ll respond with, “Um, weren’t you doing this for free?” and it’ll be twenty kinds of awkward. I’d still finish the work even if I found out I wasn’t getting paid since I already agreed to do it, but I’d just feel better if I knew if I was getting paid or not instead of wondering about it.

Unless they specifically asked you to do this as a volunteer, I would assume that you’re still getting paid. It would be utterly unreasonable of them to just assume that you understood that you’d no longer be getting paid, since you were previously being paid for; this is something reasonable to assume they’d tell you about. So I would simply submit your hours just as you did before, and assume that pay will be forthcoming. If you still feel weird about doing that, though, then it’s fine to send an email saying, “Should I submit my hours using the same process that I did before, or do you want me doing anything differently?”

2. Applying for a job with my ex-boyfriend’s dad

So, I’m looking at this bangin’ internship with the… wait for it… OLYMPICS! Awesome, right? Here’s the thing: One of the people that I assume would end up seeing my paperwork would be my ex boyfriend’s dad. So:

1) Is it weird if I apply?
2) My ex’s parents never hated me; in fact, I’m still friends with them on Facebook and communicate with them often.
3) Because of my previous statement, is it weird to namedrop?
4) Wouldn’t this look so amazing on a resume?
5) Am I being immature about this whole thing?

No, it’s not weird to apply. It wouldn’t be weird even if you weren’t still communicating with your ex’s parents, but it’s especially not weird since you are. I’d really consider his parents as being just like anyone else you know, and apply the same “not weird” standards to them that you would if they were, say, family friends.

And in fact, you should send your ex-boyfriend’s dad an email and let him know that you’re applying, because he may put in a good word for you.

3. Should you offer your business card at a job interview?

What is the etiquette on using your current business card at an interview? I’m leaning against it – they already have my contact info, so I don’t need to give them a card. However, our business cards are unique and it will make me stand out a little.

I don’t think it really matters either way. I wouldn’t, just because they already have you info so it seems like overkill — plus you’re not there as a representative of your employer, so your business card is a slightly ill fit for the situation. But it’s no big deal either way.

4. How can I keep my manager from making a scene at my goodbye party?

I have been bullied by my line manager for the last year and i have made the decision to leave my job. My problem is that i don’t trust him not to turn up to my leaving party and make a scene. Can you advise me how i can prevent him from coming without putting the idea in his head in the first place?

Unless your manager is truly evil, it seems unlikely he’d make a scene — and if he did, it would reflect more on him than on you. But if you’re concerned, just decline the party. You can’t have one and then forbid your manager from attending.

5. My company fired me but is offering to send my resume to other companies

I have a question about finding another job after being fired. Here’s what happened. “Sarah,” someone senior to me and the only other person on my team, was a perfectionist and needed to be in control. Because of this, she delegated no work to me and left me in the dark on most projects, and thus I came off as “not doing much” even though I always asked for more work. Well, finally this issue came to a head and my boss put me under review, and at the same time Sarah was instructed to delegate to me and include me (before I was not included in the majority of projects and tasks).

Well, at this exact time, several *huge* projects came up, and I was tasked with taking the lead on several these — and I believe I did a good job all things considered. One of my weekly check-ins with my boss ended with him patting me on the back and saying “You’re doing a good job.” But when our weekly check-in came around this week, I was taken straight to HR, told I was terminated, and was escorted out. This came as a total surprise because even though I was under review, I had received nothing but positive feedback, with the exception of small email formatting edits. This job was toxic and I am much happier away from the negative environment, but now I’m looking for a new position.

Here’s my question. During the termination meeting with HR, the HR manager mentioned several times that he would help me out if I found any other positions I was interested in. He said if I found any other jobs I was interested in, I should let him know and he would forward my resume to the respective hiring managers. I asked him what the benefit of doing this was, and he said that it looks better if a resume comes from someone in HR rather than the person themselves. But that makes no sense to me! This company decided I wasn’t good enough for them, but now they want to help me find something else? Why do they care what happens to me now? I was not let go for any willful misconduct (other than not being up to their standards that they still can’t define), but still why would they want to help me? It all seems so strange. But is this normal? Does this usually happen?

I don’t think it’s weird that your company is offering to help you find another job; that’s not uncommon, and just because you weren’t right for one particular job with them doesn’t mean that they think you wouldn’t be right for plenty of other jobs with plenty of other companies. However, I do think it’s weird that he’s suggesting that he send your resume to companies himself. It’s great for him to do that with his own contacts, but just to random companies where you happen to be applying and where he doesn’t have contacts? That’s odd, and I don’t think I’d take him up on that.

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