tiny answer Tuesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Asking about start time at a new job

Last week, I was offered a job (after being unemployed for nine months) that I’ll be starting this week! I have a small question but one I want to make sure I approach correctly. I work out with a trainer a few days a week in the morning (6:00 – 7:00 AM), which makes it hard to arrive at the job by 8:00 but not hard to be there by 8:30 or 9:00. When is the best time and what is the best way to bring up daily start time with my new boss? My position doesn’t require a specific start time, such as a receptionist, to open office doors or anything like that.

The first day, I need to be there at 8:00. I worked at this company once before, for a six-month contract (same department, different manager this time) and it seems like the managers have some leeway in terms of granting different start times for their employees (last time we had team members showing up anywhere between 7:30 and 9:30). It’s a health insurance company, if that helps.

I’d show up at the same time as everyone else for at least your first week. Skip your trainer or reschedule the appointments for that week; your priority this week is getting off on the right foot at your new job.

After that, it’s fine to ask your boss about coming in at 8:30 or 9 and explaining why. Just be sure that you’re asking if it’s okay, not announcing that you’ll be doing it. If your boss seems in any way uncomfortable with it, I’d reschedule the training appointments.

2. Disclosing that I’m colorblind

I’m a student in public relations, seeking my first full-time job. In my internships, I’ve sometimes had to design marketing items, which I enjoy doing. However, I recently found out that I’m partially colorblind. I can only see three shades of purple. A friend showed me a sheet of Pantone purples because she couldn’t decide which she liked — it looked like a solid color sheet to me, but she insisted there were 24 distinct squares of color. Most people can see about 100 shades, and most designers can see 150 shades. (I can see 150 shades of orange.) Do I need to disclose this to interviewers?

No. It’s not something that’s going to perform your ability to perform the essential functions of the job, so you can wait until you’re on the job — at which point you can mention that you’ll need a second pair of eyes when purple is involved. It’s not going to be a big deal.

3. Applying for a job with organizations that fund my current employer

I’m on the job hunt but I have not told my current employer. The nonprofit I work at is completely grant-funded. I found two job positions I am interested in submitting applications for. The first position is at the organization that provides the grant funds for my salary right now. The second position is at the organization that I just submitted a grant proposal to (for projects at the nonprofit I work at). Is this okay ethically and professionally, or do you recommend avoiding these organizations due to the ties I have with them through my current position?

There’s no ethical issue in applying, but you’d need to be prepared for the fact that they might mention to your current employer that you applied. If you have contacts there, you can try reaching out informally first to gauge if they’d be willing to treat your application confidentially.

4. Negotiating pay when managers want you to transfer to a new location

My brother is almost 30 and has worked in the restaurant business his whole life, primarily as a bartender within walking distance to work. He’s been at the same restaurant for about 9 years and the owners really like him. The owners of the restaurant are in the process of opening a new one in the city and keep asking my brother to be the lead bartender there. My brother might be interested if the pay was worth it.

The problem is the commute into the city would be long, costly and might require him to move closer to public transportation. My brother has no experience in negotiating, so how should he go about negotating that raise for that position?

Or do you think it’s worth asking for an arrangement that wouldn’t require my brother moving, such as a bonus in exchange for doing the training? The new lead bartender can be trained at his current restaurant for a few weeks, then work the rest of the time at the restaurant in the city.

He can certainly lay out what he wants and why. If they really want him to take the new job enough, he probably has some negotiating power.

5. Should I list my work as a stay-at-home-mom on my resume?

I have been searching for work for a little over a month, and I am starting to get interviews. I have military experience before my kids were born and that was the last full-time position I had. With being out of the professional workforce, what is the best way to handle an interview with that 4-year gap on my resume? Should I list my stay at home mom experience as it really is a full-time job? I get a lot of “it’s going to be tough to find a job with your lack of experience for the last 4 years” and “do not put that on your resume”. . . Do I refer to the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom, or should I just stick to my past professional employment?

Don’t list being a mom on your resume. As much as it’s hard work, it’s not professional work, and it’s going to come across as a little naive to most employers. (Here’s a good article that talks about why.) Your best bet is to network and do some of the other things described in this post.

6. I accidentally asked a job candidate a taboo question

My husband is in academia and, as you know, it’s common for the people being interviewed to have day-long interviews with a lot of people. We just got back from a department dinner with the newest candidate. There were plenty of people at this dinner that weren’t on the interview committee and just meeting this candidate for the first time, including my husband and me.

So if one of us happened to be chatting with the candidate and asked him a taboo interview question, is that a problem? I asked him if he is married. Of course, I have no say whatsoever if he is hired, but my husband will probably be asked his opinion whether or not he thinks the guy meshes well with the department. I’m just worried that if he isn’t hired, now he will have a possible discrimination action because of my big mouth.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. The question itself isn’t illegal; choosing not to hire him because of answer would be. Plus you’re not even involved with the hiring. And he’d need to prove that his answer to the question was the reason he wasn’t hired — fairly unlikely in academic hiring, where (a) many people have spouses and (b) the hiring process is often rigidly documented. If your husband is worried, he can mention to the hiring manager that this happened, but I wouldn’t give it too much thought.

7. Applying for a job with an employer when I backed out of their internship a year ago

About a year ago to the date, I was offered an unpaid internship with a great company. The day after I accepted it, I received an offer for a (temporary) full-time job filling in for someone who was going on maternity leave. I decided it was best to take the paying full-time job. As soon as I had made this decision, I called the woman I was to work for at the internship and while I’m sure she wasn’t happy, she said she couldn’t blame me and would have done the same thing if she were in my situation. Now, a year later, this company is hiring for an entry-level position that I want to apply for. The woman who offered me the internship still works there, but is not the hiring manager for this position. Should I reach out to her with a “no hard feelings? I still like this company and want to work here” message? Do I address this in my cover letter to the actual hiring manager, saying something like, “it was a mistake to pass up an internship with this company but your agency did want to hire me before, so please consider me again”? Or, since it’s been a year, would it be best not to bring this up at all? Do I have a chance at being considered for this job?

I’d definitely mention it, since if the hiring manager knows about it and sees you haven’t even acknowledged it, she may assume you’re being weirdly ham-handed about the situation. I’d say that you were offered an internship last year that you ultimately had to turn down in favor of full-time work, but that you’ve remained eager to work with the company.

As for whether you have a chance or not, I have no idea — but you don’t have anything to lose by trying.

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