I accidentally sent my boss a message complaining about her, boss wants to know my long-term plan, and more

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

1. I accidentally sent my boss a message complaining about her

I accidentally sent a message to my boss which was meant for somebody else and am very embarrassed.

I’d had a long day. I had back to back meetings from 12 to 4. I started work at 7 am to allow myself some extra time to produce work products before the meetings started. A few of the meetings were intense, with coworkers having professional differences of opinions that resulted in some animated Zoom conversations. I had an important appointment that required me to leave at 4:30, but I did not tell my boss in advance because that’s when I’m typically scheduled to leave work anyway.

Then, at 4:15 I got a text message from my supervisor saying she needed me to jump on another meeting. Assuming the meeting might not end by 4:30, I sent a quick text message to my sister, who was joining me at the appointment. I said, “My boss is being insane and asked me to join another call. Hopefully we can still leave on time.” However, I accidentally sent the message to my boss. Obviously, I was totally mortified. Even though it had been a long day, I meant the text message in a lighthearted, joking way. I have a lot of respect for my boss, and in no way think it is unreasonable for her to ask me to join a call when she needs input.

I apologized immediately. I explained the message was meant to be humorous and intended for my sister. I acknowledged how rude it was, and said that it is, of course, perfectly reasonable to expect me to join calls during work hours. My boss said not to worry about it, but she then told me not to join the call since it was almost over and that she could catch me up tomorrow. We are all working remote due to the pandemic, so I could not have a face-to-face discussion with her right then.

I am not sure if an apology via text message is sufficient, or if there is more that I should do to try to make amends. This is particularly unfortunate because I truly think she is a great boss, and in no way insane. Do you think I should bring this up with her again, or is it time to let it go? Also, from a manager’s perspective, how serious is this offense? I think we have a good relationship, and don’t want her to think that I resent doing my work and think she’s a bad or unreasonable supervisor.

Well … yeah, as a manager, if I got that I’d feel a little stung, but more importantly I’d wonder if it reflected something you saw as a pattern, or if you were unhappy with me in ways I hadn’t been aware of. (And I say that as someone who knows that it’s very normal to blow off steam about your boss, even a boss you like.) It wouldn’t be a huge deal, but it would be irresponsible for me not to reflect on those questions after seeing that comment.

So yes, I think it’s worth following up with her. The next time you talk, I’d say something like, “I want to apologize again for the message I sent to you that I meant for my sister. It had been a long day and I was feeling pressure to leave on time to meet her for an appointment, and I was just blowing off steam. It wasn’t in any way unreasonable to ask me to join that call! I really like working for you, and I’d never want to give you a different impression.”

It’s not that this is a serious offense — it isn’t. This is just about not leaving your boss with an inaccurate impression or having her worry about how you’re feeling about her/your job/her expectations.

2. My boss wants to know my long-term plan

I work at a nonprofit (about 50 people total). We’ve survived COVID-19 so far, but the future is uncertain. We’re waiting on news about some grants and state-issued money to know what the immediate financial future looks like. Without them, it seems pretty dire.

My supervisor asked me today what my five-year plan is: if I want to stay with the organization, if I’m looking to stay in the field, if I think I’d like to move on. They explained that, with some potential/probably financial turbulence, we may have to reorganize, so her boss was looking for insight on what some possibilities could be.

I felt caught off-guard and flustered my way through saying that I thought I would probably move on from our organization before another five years were up (I’ve already been here for over five years and am not really challenged anymore, with no potential for growth.) I asked for more time to think and let her know, with no hard date set as to when to do that.

Frankly, I’ve been considering moving on from the organization for a while and potentially leaving nonprofits entirely. My immediate plan was to leave in spring 2021 and start massage therapy school. (My partner makes decent money and has awesome benefits, under which I’m covered; it’d be tight, but doable … minus, you know, COVID.)

Do I tell my boss any of this? Should I just say that I’d like to stay at my organization for the foreseeable future? Or do I take this as an opportunity to try something new out entirely? Plans are by no means set in stone about massage therapy school, but it’s a pretty strong contender.

Do not tell any of this to your boss. There is too high of a risk that you’ll end up being pushed out earlier than you want to leave, because if they’re looking for places to make cuts they’ll figure you’re an easy one since you’re on your way out anyway.

In normal times, maybe you could share your thinking with your boss, if and only if she and the organization both had a track record of handling this kind of thing well and not pushing people out earlier than they wanted to leave. But right now, with so many employers facing budget shortfalls — and yours openly saying they’re contemplating how to reorganize — the risk is just too high.

Go back and tell your boss you’ve been happy at the organization and hope to stay for a long time. (If you then do end up leaving in the spring, you can explain that your plans changed. You’re not writing any of this in stone.)

3. Is liking a competitor post on LinkedIn a cardinal sin?

I work as a manager in a small specialized team in a much bigger company — our team is about a dozen analysts and 4-5 people with a management role. One of our former colleague, whom I’ll call Sansa, left for a competitor company a few months ago, after 10+years with the company. Nearly all of us in the team are “friends” with Sansa on Linkedin, from her time with our company.

Apparently, one of our analysts liked a post from Sansa on LinkedIn, with his personal account, and the other managers in the team are considering it a cardinal sin, and that it shouldn’t be done, and that we should remind our staff not to do that, ever. It may be cultural or personal difference (the other managers are American older men, and I’m a younger European woman), but I don’t see why it’s so much a problem. We cannot control personal accounts on LinkedIn, and it’s not because Sansa is now competition that she’s the devil all of a sudden. What would you advise?

They’re overreacting and being weird. Liking a LinkedIn post from a former coworker is not wrong or disloyal, even if the person now works for a competitor. That said, some employers are weird about this kind of thing — although usually it’s more about liking other companies’ stuff, not the posts of individual people who you know personally.

Can you be a voice of reason and point out to the other managers that this is an over-reach, that your employees aren’t going to cut off Sansa just because she now works for a competitor, and that they didn’t do anything disloyal?

The exception to this is if Sansa’s post was promoting her new company in a way that was in direct competition with your company — like if it was about a product that’s clearly designed to threaten your market share. If that’s the case, you should explain to your staff that even if they just meant to be supportive to Sansa, it’s the kind of thing that can ruffle feathers.

4. We close early before long weekends — but not entirely

My company, like most others, closes early on the Friday before a holiday. However, they always send an email saying that we are closing at say 1 pm on Friday, but expect us to check our voicemail and email until 5 pm in case of an emergency, and that the main line will be answered until 5 pm and calls will be forwarded as usual. So really, it’s not closing early at all.

Is this the norm? Why do I feel like this is unreasonable and/or disingenuous about granting an early dismissal for a holiday?

We are an insurance agency, so it’s not like we have patients or legitimate medical emergencies that need to be addressed immediately. We do have claims of course, but policyholders are provided claim reporting information that directs them to go directly to the insurance company, which is generally staffed 24/7.

It’s not terribly uncommon. They’re not fully giving you the afternoon off since you still need to check in and would need to work if something urgent came up — but they’re saying you don’t need to keep working if no emergency comes up. You can go home, lounge around, check in a few times, and continue doing nothing unless there’s an emergency. And if you don’t often have emergencies, then you probably won’t end up working during this, which is good. But they want to make sure that if something does come up, letting everyone head out early won’t cause problems.

I don’t think it’s especially unreasonable or disingenuous — it’s a way for them to let people leave when they otherwise probably couldn’t.

5. Do I need to include my most recent job title on my resume?

I’ve been at my current company for about a decade. In that time, I worked up to a very respectable job title. In May, the company had major layoffs. I was spared but made a lateral move to a different division, and with it came a different title that is very generic and not a good description of what I do (which is almost the same as what I did before with my old title).

I am considering applying for jobs that would be a good match for someone with my old title. Do I need to list my current title on my resume or can I just use my pre-May resume? I’m afraid for two reasons — one is that the title sounds much less impressive and like less of a match to the new positions and the other is that I would list this title as just beginning in May, I’m worried that it looks like I was given a new job, didn’t like it, and left. Is leaving off this detail lying?

Yeah, you’ve got to list your current title. Otherwise you’d be saying your old title is your current one, and that’s misrepresenting it. That could easily come out in a background or reference check, and that would raise questions.

That said, if you don’t think the title accurately captures what you do, you can include an explanation in parentheses like this:

Senior Breakfast Specialist (manager of breakfast communications)

You don’t need to worry about leaving so soon after your title changed. You might get asked about it, but it’s not going to be a big deal. Just explain the company has been having layoffs and you’re looking for a more stable role. Interviewers will get it.

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I accidentally sent my boss a message complaining about her, boss wants to know my long-term plan, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Original Source: askamanager.org

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