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coworker will not cease speaking about dying, are my interview questions too arduous, and extra — Ask a Supervisor


It’s 5 solutions to 5 questions. Right here we go…

1. My coworker received’t cease speaking about dying

I work on a staff the place maintaining with the information is a vital part of our jobs. We’re all assigned to completely different areas of the information, so one in every of us works on enterprise information, one in every of us works on leisure, and so forth. We’re additionally a pleasant staff, all of us sit collectively in an open-plan workplace, and the character of our jobs means we’ve got some substantial intervals of downtime, so we inevitably converse in regards to the present occasions we encounter all through the day.

Considered one of my coworkers, Barry, is assigned to the world of “crime.” The tales he’s overlaying usually contain subjects that I, frankly, discover fairly upsetting — murders, muggings, the like. Barry can also be by far essentially the most talkative member of our staff, and when others are speaking about present occasions of their areas, he’ll ceaselessly chime in with subjects that I’d simply relatively not hear about at work. (For instance, he’ll say one thing like “Wow, that’s an attention-grabbing story about manufacturing facility contracts. That jogs my memory of a narrative from this morning a few manufacturing facility employee who simply died in an industrial accident” after which go on to explain the dying intimately.) I don’t go a single day on this staff with out listening to a number of detailed tales about dying and/or violence from Barry. No one else on the staff actually appears to thoughts, they usually appear to welcome his contributions and can actively focus on these tales with him, but it surely actually bums me out throughout.

I’ve thought-about simply placing in headphones and shutting myself out of those conversations, however this can be a very social staff, and I don’t wish to be perceived as unfriendly or delinquent — as a result of I’m neither of this stuff! Barry can also be, genuinely, a pleasant man who desires everybody to really feel included, and if I haven’t chimed right into a dialog shortly he’ll usually look over at me and ask for my enter. I’ve additionally thought-about bringing this up with Barry, however I’m torn as a result of I don’t essentially see why he shouldn’t be capable to discuss his work, since the remainder of us discuss ours. Any recommendation?

Discuss to Barry! If he’s a genuinely good man, he received’t take offense to you saying, “I do know you’re in all probability used to it as a result of you must learn numerous it in your job, however the discuss dying and violence can actually get to me. Any likelihood I can ask you to drag again on it? It may be jarring to listen to in the course of the work day.”

You’re not saying Barry can’t discuss his work. You’re asking him to be considerate about which facets he talks about and when (and to do not forget that, whereas it’s regular for individuals who work with tough topics to get considerably desensitized to their horror, individuals round them could not really feel that means).

2. Are my interview questions too arduous?

I used to be speaking with some pals about job looking out not too long ago and at one level somebody talked about that simply since you flub one query on an interview doesn’t essentially imply you’ve blown it. In assist of this level, I stated “I don’t assume I’ve ever had an applicant who had a great reply to each query I requested.” A few them objected to this, saying that if that’s true, then my interview questions are too powerful. What do you assume?

I’ve been sitting on this query some time, mulling it over. I believe my interviews are fairly rigorous (and I’ve co-interviewed with individuals who I can say with out hesitation are extraordinarily rigorous interviewers) and I can consider candidates who did have good solutions to each query.

I don’t assume that essentially means your interview questions are too powerful, although. Are you hiring individuals who go on to excel on the job? In that case, one thing about your course of is working. (That stated, be sure that to take a look at whether or not you’re hiring a fairly various group. When you’re not, then one thing about your course of may need bias constructed into it. Perhaps it’s the questions, perhaps it’s one thing else — however that may be a flag to look extra carefully.)

However actually very robust candidates can have a weak reply or two; good interviewers know that’s not inherently prohibitive (though it will depend on the specifics). You wish to take a look at the whole lot of what you’re studying about somebody via their solutions to your questions. And difficult questions can elicit every kind of attention-grabbing knowledge, even when they don’t produce the “appropriate” reply (akin to how individuals assume, how they rise to challenges, in the event that they’re even conscious once they’re scuffling with one thing, and the way they deal with it if they’re).

However should you ask a query that nobody ever has a great reply to, that’s in all probability an issue with that particular query.

3. Bruises at work

I’m a highschool instructor. In my spare time, I additionally take pole dancing lessons a number of instances per week. Not that it ought to matter, however I by no means dance in public and my social media posts round this are restricted to pals solely. It’s only a passion. However I’m all the time coated in excessive bruises from the game! It’s unavoidable. I’ve fixed, extreme bruises overlaying most of my legs and arms, a few of which look disturbing. I don’t need anybody to be involved about it, however I perceive there’s a stigma round pole dance and I don’t need this a part of my life identified to my college students.

I’m by no means positive what to say when college students, dad and mom, or different professionals I meet ask me the place the bruises are from, and I vaguely reply “sports activities,” however is there a greater technique to phrase this? (For what it’s price, most of my colleagues do learn about my passion and are very supportive, as is my boss.)

Yeah, persist with “sports activities”! Individuals are so bizarre about lecturers’ non-public lives (God forbid one in every of you get photographed with a pink Solo cup) that it’s safer.

Nevertheless, sooner or later somebody is more likely to ask you what sort of sports activities you play so that you’ll have to be ready with a solution. Cowl tales are acceptable right here.

4. Why doesn’t HR care extra about cybersecurity?

I’ve had the chance recently to work together with medium to small HR departments, passing confidential documentation backwards and forwards — primarily identification (driver’s license, passports), proof of labor rights, tax data, and so forth. If a safe hyperlink to add the paperwork will not be supplied, I ask for one. 100% of the time if it’s not supplied, I get an argument from the HR division about how “our e mail is safe” and “we are going to securely retailer the paperwork.” (Ideally I would love an apology as in “I do know we don’t have one, how would you are feeling snug getting us the paperwork?”) These are respected corporations, not scammers, they usually work with giant organizations, typically authorities.

The ignorance about dealing with private data and securing paperwork towards id theft is breath-taking. Each time I encounter this, I clarify that although their servers are safe (hopefully), the act of emailing is insecure and in the event that they don’t consider me they will, like, test any respected supply ever. However I’m uninterested in being handled like I’m an off-the-grid loony.

Why are they performing like I’m loopy when I’ve a cybersecurity background and clearly know extra about this than they do? Is there something to which I can refer them (HR particular) that demonstrates their legal responsibility for the chance they’re requiring their employees to take? And what’s the greatest reply to “we’ve by no means had data stolen from us so it’s okay”?

They’re performing such as you’re overreacting as a result of they’re not used to individuals considering it’s an issue. You considering it’s an issue is out of sync with everybody else they cope with, and subsequently you should be incorrect. (You see this considering in every kind of issues, going again to Galileo!) They see your cybersecurity background, sure, however in addition they see themselves and others utilizing lax safety all day lengthy and Every thing Is Effective (so far as they know) so you must calm down. That’s the considering.

You possibly can strive saying, “I work in cybersecurity so I’ve seen too many disasters when data is emailed insecurely. I suggest sending it to you by X as a substitute if that works for you.” The final half is essential — inform them what you do really feel secure doing in order that they’re not flailing round for a solution. It sounds such as you’re ready for them to ask what you’d really feel snug doing; cease ready for that and simply inform them.

And you may strive sending this or this, however you’re combating an uphill battle.

5. Does “prepared to journey” imply I’ve to drive?

I began a brand new job about half a 12 months in the past that I like. It’s a work-from-home place with some in-person issues annually, principally throughout the identical few months each spring/summer time. The job posting stated that staff needed to be “prepared to journey” and through the hiring course of they described the frequency and typical areas of the in-person work. All of it sounded doable to me. I’m pleased to journey when wanted to attend in-person assignments and the employer pays journey bills and a per diem.

That stated, I should not have a driver’s license. I’m unable to drive for disability-related causes. I didn’t even assume to fret about that once I utilized as a result of I grew up in a European nation the place many individuals don’t drive. The massive city space the place I stay now within the USA additionally has nice public transportation that I exploit to get round with out points. My firm is headquartered close to town and the vast majority of our in-person work is finished within the space, so I’ve had no challenges getting the place to I have to for work to this point.

However, I’ve seen that the default assumption is that everybody drives to in-person work occasions. I’m beginning to fear that “prepared to journey” within the job description was meant to be interpreted as “has a automobile and a driver’s license” and I simply didn’t choose up on it attributable to cultural variations. This 12 months there are plans to maneuver a lot of the in-person occasions away from town and in the direction of a extra central location to make sure staff on the opposite half of the state have a extra affordable journey time. Sadly, extra central additionally means a rural space with restricted to no public transit. I’m nervous about having the ability to get to in-person assignments once they begin once more and the way that may affect my job.

Are you able to provide any readability on whether or not I’m more likely to have misunderstood the job necessities? Along with having a special cultural background, I’m additionally autistic, so studying between the traces will not be my robust swimsuit. And, extra importantly, I might use recommendations about how greatest to deal with the scenario. General my job is a superb match and I actually wish to keep right here for no less than the subsequent a number of years if potential. I’ve gotten nothing however constructive suggestions on my efficiency to this point and I’m in a really excessive demand place that’s arduous to fill.

If the job necessities simply state that I have to be prepared to journey, is it my firm’s accountability be certain that I’m capable of get to the work websites in a means that’s accessible to me? May my incapacity that forestalls me from having the ability to drive imply that I’d be eligible for extra assist and/or flexibility with the journey necessities? I’d relatively not disclose that I’m disabled, however I might if it might assist.

“Keen to journey” isn’t often code for “has a automobile and a driver’s license.” It often means precisely what you interpreted it as — prepared to journey. (There are some uncommon exceptions to this, like should you had been making use of for a gross sales job the place it was clear you’d be liable for a big territory in a area the place the norms had been to drive from place to position. In a case like that, you’d wish to make clear up-front. That doesn’t sound like your scenario although.)

I think your employer is assuming individuals drive, however that doesn’t imply they’ll require individuals to drive. And if the journey will not be a frequent and central focus of the job, they’ll be legally required to give you lodging — like one other means of attending to and from the opposite areas (even when it’s simply arranging so that you can journey with somebody) or letting you attend remotely.

Would you be snug saying to your supervisor, “I don’t have a driver’s license for medical causes”? That’s fairly imprecise however makes it clear that it’s not one thing that may change, and it ought to set off your supervisor to understand they’ve authorized obligations to give you an answer.

Listed here are two articles from the Job Lodging Community which may assist:

Lodging for Driving

Journey on the Job

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