devrais-je parler à mon patron d'une erreur qui s'est bien passée, de la consommation d'alcool au travail, etc.augustus 26, 2019
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It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Should I tell my boss about a big screw-up that turned out okay?
I am not a perfect, rock-star employee, in large part because of ADHD that I didn’t get diagnosed until recently, but I am generally responsible and conscientious and always trying to humbly self-evaluate and improve. If we were assigning grades, I’d probably give myself a solid B-plus. I give this context because I can’t say that I have an immaculate track record, but neither am I a dumpster fire.
That said, this week I made one of the most serious mistakes of my professional life. I was packaging up important submittal materials for delivery to a prospective client. When I asked our administrative assistant to create an overnight shipping label, I checked the deadline, for some reason did not see a particular time specified, and requested delivery by noon.
However, in the morning, I realized that our department calendar said there was an 11 a.m. deadline. How I had missed this, I honestly don’t know. I immediately went into crisis resolution mode and tried to figure out a plan B. I asked the admin for the package tracking number, and it turns out the only before-noon delivery option was 10:30 a.m. anyway, so I got extremely lucky. The package was delivered with plenty of time to spare.
I’m wondering, though, if I should tell my boss about the disaster that almost happened. If the package hadn’t been delivered in time it might have cost us a high-value contract. I believe in transparency and accountability, but because this isn’t my only mistake (even though none of my others have been anywhere near as significant), I’m worried that I could end up on thin ice. Would it be dishonest not to out myself?
I don’t think you’re ethically obligated to say “I almost messed something up but it turned out to be fine.”
There are some situations where you’d have to do that — ones where there still might be consequences that your manager needs to know about. For example, if you upset a client but then were able to smooth it over, in many cases you’d still have a professional obligation to let your boss know what happened, because it could be relevant context for her to have (in case the client seems frustrated later, or is extra upset the next time something goes wrong, or so forth). But the result of your mistake here was … the package still arrived on time.
I do think, though, that you’re obligated to take this as a flag that you almost messed up something huge and need to pay more attention/review materials more closely/double-check for deadlines. If you do that, you’re holding yourself accountable.
2. How do I navigate drinking in work situations?
I am nearly 30 and just barely started drinking alcohol, and I’m a bit out of my depth when it comes to drinking outside of my personal life. I’m on a business trip currently, and I’m just sticking with one drink at dinner. I am most definitely a lightweight, so I don’t want to get out of control or embarrass myself.
How do people navigate drinking in professional settings, e.g., at conferences, on business trips, at after-work team events, at non-work events where colleagues are present? Any other situations I’m missing that take nuance? Any tips?
First, keep in mind that you don’t have to drink at work events at all! Lots of people don’t — for health reasons (including medications that can interact with alcohol), or religion, or because they don’t like the taste or feeling, and all sort of other reasons.
In fact, since you’re new to drinking, I’d err on the side of caution and just not drink at work events until you have a much better command of how alcohol interacts with you in a variety of situations. (For example, you might think you can handle a glass of wine just fine, but haven’t yet had the experience of how that can change if you drink it on an empty stomach.)
But if you do drink at work events, stick to one drink. That’s a good rule of thumb for most people since there’s rarely cause to drink more than that in a work setting anyway. Beyond that, though, the big thing is: Don’t get tipsy. There are some offices where some people get tipsy and it’s fine, but whatever payoff they’re getting from that is rarely worth the risk of saying or doing something you wouldn’t have said or done if your inhibitions were higher. After all, that’s what alcohol does after a certain point — it lowers your inhibitions, and inhibitions around colleagues are generally a good thing.
3. Is it unprofessional to brush my hair in common areas of my workplace?
I am an assistant manager, and today something weird happened. I did not get to finish my normal routine this morning as I had to go to the UPS store (for work) so I showed up to work with my hairbrush. I work at a preschool and typically, by the time I arrive to work, there are no parents here as they have all dropped off their kids and left. I walked around to say good morning to the teachers and collect breakfast dishes as normal, but I brought my hair brush along and brushed my hair as I was walking between the classrooms.
The manager above me made a point to rush up to me and tell me I need to do my beauty stuff in the bathroom. I was confused by this as I thought she meant the makeup in my purse but no, she explained that me brushing my hair was unprofessional. I am young, so maybe this is just a rule on professionalism I have never heard before. I am just confused. This was pretty much a one-time thing, and not a habit I have. Is it really all that unprofessional in this otherwise rather relaxed atmosphere for a work setting?
Yeah, there’s an etiquette rule about not doing personal grooming in public. Some workplaces might not have thought it was a big deal, and it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but it’s also not outlandish for your manager to ask you not to do it. (It’s also the kind of thing that can be frowned upon without anyone telling you, so it’s good that she did. She might have done that because you’re young and she figured that you’re still learning professional norms.)
4. I don’t want to give employees free tickets to a circus
I am an office manager in an office of 70-75 people. We received in the mail unsolicited tickets (buy an adult ticket, get a child ticket free) for a circus show that will be in our area next month. The letter enclosed with the tickets asked that we give them out to employees. Personally, I am extremely opposed to animals being used in shows/circuses and will not attend/support such an event. Should I offer the tickets to our employees? I suppose some may want to take their children and this would help them reduce the cost. I probably shouldn’t make the decision based on my personal convictions, but I am really struggling with this.
Also, I did a quick Google search and this business has many BBB complaints (30 in the last couple of years). The majority of the complaints are in regards to cancelled shows for various reasons and refunds not given on the cancelled shows. Our employees could potentially pre-purchase discounted tickets online and lose money if the show is cancelled, which seems to happen often based on the BBB complaints. This potential financial loss to our employees along with the use of animals in the show makes me want to simply throw the tickets away and act like we never received them. What say you, my trusted adviser?
Throw out the tickets. This isn’t a perk; it’s a marketing gimmick — a way to generate sales of tickets. You’re not obligated to help them market to your staff. (Also, as awareness of the abuse of animals in circuses grows, you’re likely to have employees who would object to you encouraging circus attendance, and rightly so. You don’t need to stir that up just because a business wants to promote themselves to your employees.)
5. Employer took two and a half months to reject me, but sent three updates meanwhile
In early June, I applied for a remote job at a small nonprofit organization on the day the posting was closing. About two and a half months later, they emailed me to let me know that I was not selected as a successful candidate this time. What threw me off is that they took so long to send me a rejection letter after the window for applications was closed. In the meantime, they sent me three separate update emails asking me for a little more patience. All three emails were very similar, but the last two were exactly copy-pasted. I did not have any type of interview or contact with them besides the update emails.
I don’t want to sound petty, but it did make me feel a bit off since they gave me no information at all on how much time the whole process would take. Also, before I applied I sent an email to ask some questions about the process and they answered it three weeks later, after the application window had already closed.
Is it normal for companies to take this much time to review a job application? I understand that recruiting can be a tough task, especially for smaller organizations, but it came off as a little irresponsible to keep someone hanging for so long without any explanation. Am I being too strict? Is there any way I can give them some constructive advice on this without sounding insensitive?
Nope, this is entirely normal. In fact, this employer was unusually considerate; most don’t send that sort of update, let alone three times.
Most employers don’t provide candidates with timeline estimates before they’re even been interviewed; at most you’ll generally be informed when you’ve been rejected, and sometimes not even that. And it’s not unusual for a hiring process to take two or three months from start to finish.
Most employers also aren’t set up to answer questions from job candidates who haven’t yet been selected for interviews, and a lot don’t respond to questions at that stage, instead reserving any back and forth for candidates who they’ve already decided they’re interested in talking further with.
I wouldn’t think of this as them keeping you hanging; presumably you didn’t have your entire job search on hold while you waited to hear from them. (At least I hope you didn’t!) Whenever you apply for a job, you should always just move on with your search and not pin any hopes on the position working out, because with any given opening, the odds are against you. (Many positions get hundreds of applicants, so even qualified candidates may not be interviewed, let alone hired.)