Asking For a Friend | Chapter 54
Advice from Babe to Babe
From gaslighting to green cards, there are just so many reasons we’re grateful for HR. This week, Asking For a Friend is covering all the pesky HR questions you wish you could ask your supervisor.
A good HR manager should always give you the benefit of the doubt. If that’s not the case, it can get tricky. If you’re starting to feel compromised, I’d suggest taking the conversation online. Rather than meeting for coffee and putting up with less-than-professional words, express concerns and recap any conversations via email. This will send a subtle hint to HR that you’re here to be professional. Plus, clear requests and recaps via email will save your ass later, in case anything needs to be escalated.
—Mandy Shold, BABE #154
Depending on the issue at hand, I recommend handling the situation via your supervisor or the HR manager’s immediate supervisor. Doing so isn’t ideal, but saving your email exchanges, writing down the issues you’re having and taking this information to said individuals in a calm manner should (hopefully) ease the situation and bring some solutions to the table. Also, check your company handbook, it might have a procedure for this type of issue which can help you navigate who to go to next. If all else fails and you don’t find support from your HR, supervisor, etc., I say it’s time for a serious resume revamp and a job hunt. Ultimately, you deserve to be treated with respect, transparency and support — if this isn’t the case, it’s time for a new job where the culture aligns with your values.
—Ina Mezini, BWH Administrative Assistant
It's always a challenge to interface with new employees who are probably very busy. My short answer on this is to leave enough room for the person to breathe while making sure all of your action items are completed. Also: phone calls are much better than emails. They can hear your voice and tone, and you can hear their’s. Recruiters are very different from HR Managers, and hiring managers are even more different. There are so many nuances to the communication so it's totally normal to wonder about the etiquette and balance.
—Kelly Babb, Contributor
I haven’t had it done to me, but I did work for a man who made it clear that he had done that and/or would do that in the future. I would say it's totally possible, but it takes a special kind of asshole to do that in a professional setting.
Before I went entirely freelance, I took a job with a small local company that was supposed to be temporary. During the interview process the head of the company realized I was a "creative type" and derailed the conversation into how wonderful it was going to be to have someone on staff who had that mentality because he wanted the company to eventually open up it's own marketing team and I could potentially be a huge part of that if I chose to stay. He also went on expressing interest in developing his own production company one day, or at minimum investing in one, and how I would be such an asset to him. This ended in him offering me a temporary job, doing absolutely nothing creative at the time, and telling me I would be working for a company that would allow me to work remotely if I needed to, keep an entirely flexible schedule that I could set myself daily and one that would ALWAYS encourage my creative endeavors outside of the company.
I stayed with the company for 2.5 years with my job and task assignments constantly changing yet my compensation never changing. At the time, I was commuting by bicycle 7 miles to work every day over the bridges. Since I was told it was an option, during a cold front I asked to work remotely for the day to avoid cycling in the weather. My request was copied to the entire company with a passive aggressive response from the head of the company [ who, reminder, was the guy who interviewed me ] that stated: "Anyone else want to point out their lack of dedication to their job by telling me it's "too cold" to come to work today?"
Additionally, one year in I received a random email from the same guy with the whole company attached once again. This one included my time card for the week and statement saying: “People who care about their jobs get to work at 7am every day. If you're not here at 7am, that tells me you aren't passionate.“
At the two year mark, a marketing team was developed and someone was hired from outside the company. That person was advised to send me an email telling me that I needed to make a decision on whether or not this company was my future or film was my future with an ultimatum to cut out all compensational work outside of the company or leave the company. I submitted my two weeks.
Many smaller detailed things happened along the two years but these were the highlights and the major ones that had me questioning everything about my sanity, work ethic, and value.
The end result? The head of that company reached out to me a year after my separation with apologies and a compliment to my achievements. He recently asked me to help him develop a new marketing video for the company. [ Of course, I didn't tell him I miss those consistent paychecks and that health insurance coverage but that's irrelevant right? ]
Around my one year my boss told me she knew I didn't feel valued because I spoke to HR about my workload being too intense. She went on a long rant about how I can't talk to people about my workload because it's normal and everyone works hard, and she'll try to make me feel valued. In reality I was working on twenty-one clients and every other person at my level had twelve or less. (Chill, right?)
Go ahead and assume it's not going to stop. Even when you stick up for yourself it can often be turned against you.
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!