someone is deleting my work, the best time of day to quit, and more

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

1. Someone is deleting my work

About every two weeks, somebody deletes a large part of my work. I don’t know who’s doing this, how, or why. I have to use a program that won’t allow me to retrieve earlier versions of text files, so I can’t get the deleted text back. I’ve started keeping a back-up text file, but even that has its problems – it’s not really compatible with the other program.

By the way, there is no chance that I’m accidentally deleting my own work. I’m very good at using this program. Also, the deletions happen while my work’s being reviewed by a couple of other people. They blame nebulous computer issues and don’t seem interested in looking into it more or fixing the mysterious computer problem. This is extremely frustrating.

What else can I do about it? Or, how can I move on to another job without burning any bridges here? I love every other part of working here, but when my work disappears and nobody seems to care, I don’t feel that what I’m doing is valued/valuable.

Do you have an I.T. department? As soon as you’re done reading this answer, go there immediately and tell them what’s going on, and enlist their help in solving it.

If it helps, it’s far more likely to be user error than maliciousness. I mean, yes, it is possible that one of your coworkers is regularly and systematically sabotaging your work, but it’s way more likely that one of them is misusing the program without realizing it. Your I.T. people should be very concerned about this and should track down the problem. If they’re not, then you need to raise this with your manager, explain you tried enlisting I.T., and ask for help in brainstorming what else you can do.

2. When is the best time of the day to quit?

When is the best time of the day to quit? I have been talking to another company and if everything goes well at our meeting tomorrow, I want to talk to my boss on Wednesday. However, he is in the office kind of sporadically, so I never know how long he is going to stay. Is it a bad idea to talk to him as soon as he comes in (and then having to work there for the rest of the day) or should I wait until towards the end of the day? Is there a standard “time” for this kind of talk? I have never had to do anything like this before, so I am a bit clueless.

Well, first, do not resign until you have a formal job offer. Not just a conversation where everything went well, not even a conversation where they say that they’ll be making you an offer soon. A formal job offer, that you have accepted, and a start date.

Once all that happens, talk to your manager. Time of day doesn’t really matter. I have a personal preference for hearing that kind of thing in the morning, because that allows me to immediately start doing all the things I’ll need to do when someone resigns, whereas if I hear it late in the day, I might have to wait until the morning. So if you can do it in the morning, it can be a kindness … but the exact timing isn’t really a big issue. In fact, it’s more likely to be determined by when your boss can meet with you.

3. Is my manager getting ready to fire me?

My supervisor keeps trying to force me to train multiple other individuals to do parts of my job (even though it doesn’t impact them at all) but won’t allow me to be trained on other tasks that do impact my job because “we already have someone who does that.” For example, he wants me to train five people how to run the website even though that is my main responsibility. But he won’t allow me to take a records management course because it wouldn’t be fair to XXXX. Is he setting me up to fire me?

Maybe. Or maybe something else is going on. What kind of feedback are you getting from him? (And if you’re not getting any, ask for some. Always, but especially since you’re worried about what’s going on.)

In any case, I’m a big believer in just being straightforward about stuff like this. Say something like this: “I noticed that you’re having me train all the account managers in how to run the website, and I wasn’t sure if it indicated any concerns about how I’m doing it. Can you share your thinking with me so that we’re on the same page?” (Of course, if you ask, you’ll need to be prepared for an answer that you might not like — but it’s generally better to know than to not know. And you might find out it’s something else altogether, like that your manager got chewed out by his own boss the last time you went on vacation and no one was covering the website.)

4. My second job is requiring hours that conflict with my first job

I currently work a full-time position for one company. Recently I took a second part-time job, which is “requiring” that I work on Black Friday, a minimum 12-hour shift. My full-time job is open that day and I am required to be there also. Also, I have availability to only work on Fridays after 5 p.m. What are my legal rights, and is this “requirement” from my second job a breach of policy or law? I don’t feel this is right and would like to know my rights as an employee to both of these employers.

No, that’s perfectly legal. Each of your employers can require you to work whatever schedule they want, and they’re not required to accommodate the agreement you have with a different employer, or even to always adhere to the hours you originally said you were available to work. And if you’re in retail (which it sounds like you might be from the Black Friday mention), it’s pretty common to be expected to work during major shopping periods.

You can certainly try pointing out to your part-time job that you have a full-time job and told them this from the start. They might have simply overlooked that. But if they won’t budge, then you’ll have to decide if you want the job under those terms or not.

5. Should I drive my transcripts 40 miles to be considered for a job an HR person is blocking me from?

I applied for a job in August the day it was posted. The requirements were someone with a Masters or JD, submission of an electronic transcript, etc. I have a JD and was qualified for the job, but both my undergrad and law school did not offer electronic versions of the transcript. I know that a sealed transcript is considered official, so I submitted a written paragraph as an attachment that explained this situation. I even offered to drive the 40 miles to the job location and hand deliver my official transcripts if needed.

Fast forward to now, November. The job is re-posted after they did not find a qualified applicant and no one was hired. I call HR and ask them how may I re-apply and/or update my application. I have now opened the sealed transcripts and scanned them to a jump drive, now verifying my education experience. Since then, I have been working now for 2 months as a voluntary intern in the field and have practical experience as well. I wanted to update my application or re-apply so that my new resume, transcripts, and references will support my qualifications. HR stated that the system will not allow me to re-apply because without my transcript and without verifying my education earlier, I did not meet the qualifications. The only advice she gave me was to next time make sure that all of my materials were complete. She added that even if this job were re-posted in a year, I would still be unable to apply.

This is a small university with one person working currently in the department where I am applying. I want to drive 40 miles to the job location and physically deliver my updated resume, official and sealed transcripts, printed application, and references. This would give me peace of mind to know that my file was not passed over due to a technicality. I have no problem with being passed over for a job, but I find it unsettling that I was labeled as not meeting the requirements of (Masters or JD), when I indeed possess a JD. Is my plan a good or bad idea? Any advice? Or am I better off not working for this company?

I wouldn’t drive there, because it sounds like this HR person will block you from applying anyway; her objection wasn’t that you couldn’t get her those materials now (since you can), but rather than she has already disqualified you and isn’t willing to reverse that.

So it might be a lost cause. But before you conclude that, I’d try emailing all your materials to the hiring manager directly, with a short and cheerful (not irritated) note explaining the situation. Be as brief as possible — two sentences, max. (Example: “I’d love to be considered for the X job, but because my law school transcript wasn’t electronically available when I first applied in August, Lucifer Bigglesworth in HR has told me I am permanently ineligible. However, I’ve since obtained electronic transcripts, and I’m hoping you’ll consider me a candidate.”)

This way you might be able to bypass this awful HR person who doesn’t understand that the goal of her job is to hire the right person, not to throw up bureaucratic and unnecessarily rigid roadblocks.

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