Sunday, October 1, 2023
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firm needs me to pay again half my wage, enjoying a ukulele in an open workplace, and extra — Ask a Supervisor

I’m on trip. Listed here are some previous letters that I’m making new once more, moderately than leaving them to wilt within the archives.

1. Firm needs me to pay again half my wage since I solely labored just a few months and “didn’t add sufficient worth”

I just lately joined a startup, and I didn’t prefer it all. They lied to me a number of instances:

1) The founder instructed me they have been have been worthwhile, however 4 weeks within the job I came upon they don’t become profitable in any respect. They’ve some income, but it surely’s fairly minimal in comparison with the bills. They survive on VC cash.

2) We agreed that I might work remotely and go to the workplace as soon as a month. Nonetheless, on my first go to there, the founder was making an attempt to drive me to signal a lease at an residence within the metropolis, in order that I may transfer there ASAP.

3) They instructed me they have been fairly relaxed they usually labored solely the usual enterprise hours, and understood that household comes first, blah blah blah. First day on the job, the founder emails me and tells me that the working hours are 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. each single day. However I can have weekends for myself (thanks?).

I’m fairly dissatisfied. I noticed many crimson flags and selected to disregard them. To start with, the founder refused to present me a proposal letter till I had formally resigned from my present office.

I simply give up as a result of I can’t stand it anymore. I gave the usual 2 weeks discover, and now the founder has emailed me saying that since I labored lower than six months with them, and I didn’t add sufficient worth to the group, I ought to reimburse the corporate half of my wages.

Is that even authorized?!?! I’m fairly pissed off that they lied to me, they usually need my wage again?

They’re welcome to ask you to show over your firstborn too, however that doesn’t imply you might have any obligation to do it.

They will ask for no matter they need, and you’ll refuse, assuming no contractual obligations on the contrary.

Clearly you need to certainly not even entertain the potential of returning any of your wage, not to mention half.

However simply to be thorough, I’ll level out that, relying on what your whole wage was, it’s doable that returning half of it may (a) make your pay for the time you labored beneath minimal wage, which certainly can be unlawful, or (b) put your wage beneath the minimal required to be thought-about exempt, which  would imply they’d owe you additional time for any hours over 40 you labored in per week throughout that entire interval, plus penalties and curiosity.

Please decline to return any cash to them and depend your self fortunate to be getting away if you find yourself.


2. Taking part in a ukulele in an open workplace

For the final yr or so, my greatest pal has been working in a big open workplace with perhaps 30 or 40 different folks. This brings with it the anticipated annoyances of getting to overhear different conversations, lack of privateness, and so forth, but it surely has additionally introduced a really sudden and undesirable shock: a girl who usually performs a ukulele in the course of the workday.

When my pal instructed me this, I used to be dumbfounded that anybody, wherever, may suppose that enjoying a musical instrument recurrently in an open-office flooring plan was acceptable. Apparently, nonetheless, not solely does this lady play her ukulele steadily, however just a few of her cubicle neighbors encourage it. As a result of it’s been inspired by a handful of workers, my pal has been reluctant to talk up and complain, however I can’t assist however suppose that there are a number of dozen different workers being compelled to listen to it who should hate it as a lot as my pal does.

I do know the proper reply on this particular state of affairs is that my pal ought to discuss to this lady and clarify that her ukulele-playing is distracting. Would you, nonetheless, like to supply a blanket ruling on the appropriateness of any common musical-instrument-playing in any respect in an open-floor-plan workplace, even when it’s been solicited by just a few folks? I really feel like that is the type of factor that’s past the pale except it’s executed with the categorical consent of all hearers, however perhaps I’m being too harsh about this?

Nope, you’re not being too harsh. Open workplaces are troublesome sufficient with simply the traditional vary of workplace sounds — telephone calls, work discussions, and so on. — and consideration of different folks is especially vital in that setting. It’s actually not cool so as to add a loud, fully non-compulsory, doubtlessly very intrusive noise into the combo with out the specific consent of everybody round. And if it’s occurring regularly, I’d modify that to the specific, enthusiastic consent of everybody round.


3. The individual taking me to my subsequent interview led me to a car parking zone and a locked door

I’m job searching and might’t work out if I must ship an apology e-mail or simply let the state of affairs drop. I just lately utilized and was referred to as in for a place within the PR division of an organization that handles adult-oriented materials. Bernard did my telephone display screen and let me know that it was principally admin work with the chance to assist arrange occasions.

They appeared a little bit unprofessional after I went in (telephone within the foyer was disconnected, had to make use of my mobile phone to undergo the decision system, and as soon as I used to be buzzed by means of I needed to interrupt an worker to ask the place the HR workplace was). I used to be lastly seated in a convention room by Bernard, given a paper software to fill out, and instructed that I might see Dolores first and Teddy after. Dolores got here in a couple of minutes later and I assumed the interview went fairly nicely! It appeared to have a pleasant circulate and I assumed I requested good questions. She wrapped us up, I thanked her, and remained seated (assuming Teddy would observe). She sort of chuckled and mentioned, “I’ll stroll you over!”

As we walked over to what I assumed was Teddy’s workplace (I do know I in all probability ought to have clarified that), she chatted with me a little bit extra. We get to a doorway, she opens it, factors to the suitable, and says, “That manner!” I thank her and stroll down the hallway to appreciate that’s she’s taken me to the again exit of the constructing to what seems like a workers car parking zone (windowless hallway main on to again door). I attempted to return inside to ask if there had been a mix-up, however the door was locked and nobody was round, so I walked across the constructing to the entrance. I meant to return up, give Bernard a name to double-check that I wasn’t holding Teddy ready, however on the stroll over I began to second-guess myself. What if Dolores had made an government choice that I wasn’t the suitable match (her title was increased)? Or Teddy had gone off to lunch or one thing? I didn’t wish to be the candidate who couldn’t take a touch, so after I did attain the entrance, I simply received in my automotive and left.

It’s been about two days because the interview and I wish to ship a follow-up like I at all times do. However I’m actually at a loss if it will be acceptable for me to ask if the interview was reduce brief as a result of I wasn’t a superb match or if it was only a mix-up. I perceive I’m in all probability not going to get the place at this level however I’m simply so curious!

There are two potentialities right here: (1) Dolores deliberately led you out to a car parking zone as a very horrible “we’re not and by the way in which, F you” (which is difficult to think about as a result of that’s simply so gratuitously impolite and unkind, however years of scripting this column have taught me that something’s doable) or (2) There was some sort of mix-up, like there was a door within the hallway that you simply missed earlier than you exited or she by accident pointed you within the improper course.

If it was #1, you owe these folks nothing. However as a result of it’s doable that it was #2, ideally within the second you’ll have referred to as Bernard and mentioned, “I will need to have misunderstood Dolores’ instructions and one way or the other I’ve ended up exterior and locked out.” It’s more durable to try this now that just a few days have handed, however you can e-mail him and say one thing like, “I hope I didn’t misunderstand subsequent steps after I was at your workplace earlier this week. After I met with Delores, she led me to your car parking zone. Within the second, I assumed the interview have to be over, however I needed to let you realize what occurred in case if I misunderstood and was meant to stay round to satisfy with Teddy, like we’d initially mentioned.”

This isn’t good — if the state of affairs was #2, there’s a superb likelihood they’re going to be confused by why you’d simply depart. However additionally they bore some accountability to appreciate you have been gone, retrace the place they’d taken you, and reached out to make sure this actual confusion hadn’t occurred.


4. Interviewer requested how my household would describe me

I used to be being interviewed for a job, and the interviewer requested me, “What phrases would your coworkers use to explain you?” I mentioned, “They might say I’m very good and really dependable.” Then she requested, “What phrases would your loved ones use to explain you?” I used to be totally baffled by this query. I imply, I actually don’t know the reply. But additionally, what’s the level of this query? What’s she looking for out about me? I’ve one other interview in just a few days, and I’m anxious I’ll be requested this query once more. I actually really feel like saying, “That’s none of your online business.”

It’s only a crappy interview query. You may drive your self insane by making an attempt to learn into unhealthy interview questions; most of the time, they’re simply somebody making an attempt to be artistic or who downloaded some questions off the web (and who in each instances lacks a basic understanding of find out how to interview successfully).

It’s fairly unlikely you’ll be requested this query once more as a result of it’s not regular, but when for some cause you have been, I’d go along with “My household would in all probability say a lot the identical as my coworkers; I’m principally the identical individual with each teams.”

Frankly, I’d like extra folks to answer intrusive interview questions with “that’s an odd query — why do you ask?” … however I understand that the ability dynamic in interviews makes that sadly unlikely.


5. Can I trash-talk one other candidate who’s interviewing for a similar job as me?

Suppose I’m going to a job interview and it so occurs that I do know one of many different candidates and his work. Would it not be acceptable to touch upon it and say in what methods my work is superior to his/theirs? Like, examine items of achievements?


It could come throughout as actually obnoxious — boastful and jerky. Don’t do it.

Your job is to not inform the employer the way you examine to the remainder of their candidate pool; they’ll resolve that on their very own. And you need to belief that for those who’re actually that significantly better of a candidate, they’ll see it; you do not want to allow them to know.

(And you’ll examine a time when a candidate did this in an interview with me right here. His feedback included the hilarious line, “He didn’t do something final summer time besides go to Burning Man.”)

Don’t do that. You’ll not get the job, and you’ll change into the discuss of the workplace.


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