The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

August 27, 2013

Your Office Coach: Be careful, but honest in describing dismissal

QUESTION: I’m having trouble explaining why I left my last job. For three years, I worked in a residential treatment facility for youthful offenders. Everything was fine until I was assigned to the third shift, which lasts from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Adjusting to this schedule was extremely difficult.

Because I could not sleep well during the day, I was always tired at work. I began falling asleep in the middle of my shift, which was obviously unacceptable. Since I was never able to break this pattern, they eventually let me go.

Now, when I apply for a job, I’m not sure how to answer the “reason for leaving“ question. If I put “terminated“ on the application, I never get an interview. If I tell an interviewer I was fired, I never get called back. I want to be honest, but I also want to be hired. How should I handle this?

ANSWER: Since you should never lie during a job search, you will need to be truthful without being self-destructive. For example, when applications request “reason for leaving,“ you might give an ambiguous answer like “shift difficulties.“ This is a true statement which can later be explained during an interview.

When talking with potential employers, focus on the physiological challenges of third-shift work. For example: “Although some people have no problem working at night, I could never seem to reverse my sleep patterns. Since I didn’t get enough sleep during the day, I kept dozing off during my shift. I was never able to adjust, so unfortunately I had to leave.“

Of course, this explanation only works if you are applying for positions with regular daytime hours. But I assume there’s no question about that.

Q: My new boss is driving me absolutely crazy. Even though “Ron“ knows nothing about the work I do, he arbitrarily shortens my project schedules, then interrogates me about why I’m not working faster. When I try to explain, he ridicules me for goofing off.

Ron’s unrealistic expectations are like asking someone to have a baby in four months. I have been with this company for twelve years, and I’m good at my job. But now I’m wondering if I should quit before I get fired.

A: Based on your description, this guy either has no management experience or is not very bright. But despite his shortcomings, you might as well make one more effort to educate him before throwing in the towel. In a calm, non-defensive manner, try to help Ron see that the two of you are actually on the same side.

For example: “Ron, I understand that we need to accelerate the schedule, and I’m willing to do that. I just want to be sure that we allow enough time for quality checks. If customers start complaining about defective products, you and I will both be in trouble.“

If Ron begins to listen, then perhaps there’s hope. But if he continues to act like an arrogant tyrant, you may want to start exploring other options.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.“ Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter officecoach.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

Business Video
Stocks