There are five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Colleague steals people’s snacks
I have a colleague, Popcorn Patty, who loves to steal large bags of pre-popped popcorn from the common area of the office and secure them in her office so that no one else can eat them. She even rummaged around people’s desks stealing popcorn. This is not a communal popcorn. This is people’s personal popcorn. We’re too small to have HR and she’s the company’s vice president. She can afford it and often brags about how to get that popcorn on her own.
It also takes people’s chocolate and other open snacks. Last year, during the pandemic, she went into my desk and stole a half-eaten candy bar that had been in my mouth. It sounds silly, but I was excited to eat the rest of it.
I am subordinate to her and don’t necessarily have to talk to her about theft, but it annoys me. Any way I tell her this will make her defensive and she will treat me like I’m an absolute idiot. I am prepared for the act of wounded animals. But I’m not sure how to address it in a way that is beyond reproach. How can I stop this popcorn thief?
In theory, nobody needs a special position to tell a coworker to stop stealing the food, but your office policy could mean that getting from a higher person would be more effective, especially since she (a) doesn’t care seems to think what someone thinks and (b) reacts to criticism like a jerk. Is there anyone else she can turn to – a manager, an administrator in charge of common rooms, or someone who has used her successfully in the past? If not, can a couple of you guys walk up to her together and tell her to get out of here?
However, in writing this column, I learned that people who so shamelessly steal other people’s food (she doesn’t even try to hide it!) Are remarkably immune to complaints about it, so you may need to look for solutions that the thefts are for they are logistically more difficult. If she was just stealing snacks from common areas, I would suggest not keeping her there anymore – but she goes to your desks for food! You could try the lockable lunch box solution that person had to resort to, or even a locked snack cabinet that someone on your team would keep the key to.
2. Should I tell a sales rep that their social media yelling has lost my business?
I am a buyer with my own company and I have a supplier seller who I have always enjoyed working with. We go back over 10 years professionally. She was always spirited, fun-loving and very extroverted, someone you could always rely on for laughs and good times. Unfortunately, however, she has come a long way down the rabbit hole and for the past two years her social media has been full of racist, hateful, and paranoid, ignorant banter. In all honesty, I am concerned about how much your site has changed. I wait for her to become the next viral Karen every day. Professionally, I no longer feel like working with her or supporting one of her products, depending on how ugly she has become.
I don’t need her products, but I like her and I don’t want to stop buying her, but I’ll stop while she’s the Presenter. I don’t have regular contact with her professionally, so it doesn’t need to be addressed, but I think I should speak up based on my personal and professional values. (She’s more of a branded supplier’s agent than a direct seller.) Should I tell her company why I’m no longer selling and / or talking to her, or just ghosting and assuming she’ll get lost at some point?
Inform your company. I doubt if you reach out to them directly (people who walk into that particular rabbit hole are notoriously hard to reach unless you can work with them in real time) you’ll get anywhere, but their company should know that they are losing your business because their representative spreads racism and hatred online.
3. My mentor just tells me what to do
Within the last six months, my manager recommended that I join forces with a colleague one level above me (we do the same job and have the same boss, she just has more time under her belt) to mentor me act. She had never done it before and I had never had one so I was expecting some bumps when we found out.
The problem I run into is that she just tells me what to do instead of discussing, coaching, or asking questions. My manager knows this is happening and said this is a common problem with new mentors, but he hasn’t offered much beyond that. The thing is, it’s a trigger for me because my mom is going to do the same. She will give advice or advice on things I know very well to do myself (thinking, paying bills on time or closing doors behind you, basic things). My mentor does the equivalent and I don’t know how to ask her to stop. My impulse is to let out a gruff “I KNOW”, but of course I would never do that. She tends to explain things to me that I already know because I’ve been with our company for two years and have been doing the work myself for over five years, unfortunately she often advises me as if I were brand new to all of them. So I often cancel our weekly meetings, sometimes because I have nothing new to report or say and sometimes because I don’t want to be told what to do.
How can I show my mentor that I value her experience and expertise, but that we need to improve our communication style?
You could say, “What would be most helpful to me from mentoring would be coaching – not only do you tell me what to do, but you discuss things with me and help me cope with problems that go beyond just ‘doing X. or Y ‘go out. Is that something you feel like doing instead? “You can also try to convey to her specific problems that you are dealing with and say from the start,” I am not asking you to tell me what to do, but I would like to discuss a few different options and hear your point of view on each of them ”(or whatever would be helpful to you).
Since your supervisor suggested this mentorship and apparently knows that there are problems with it, she would ideally coach your colleague. If the above doesn’t work, you could speak to your boss one more time and ask if he could try to help your coworker mentor more effectively. If the doesn’t work, I think you can tell your boss that you don’t find the meetings helpful because of your coworker’s style, but you appreciate the opportunity to try it out.
4. I put in a salary range – but then I saw the benefits
I recently applied for a position I am highly qualified for and asked for a salary of $ 80-90,000. I am currently making $ 75,000, which is well below the current market value of my role. I was officially offered the job for $ 80,000, but if I were to review the benefit package, I would lose about $ 15,000 in benefits if I switched, which is essentially a cut in salary.
I declined the offer and they asked if I would reconsider if they raised the salary a bit. I told them that after examining the benefits, I really need $ 95,000 to justify the move. This was out of their budget and they refused. I feel like the A-hole to counter outside of my originally desired range, but that was before I knew its advantages. Am i the idiot Is it rude to ask about detailed benefits earlier in the interview?
No you didn’t do anything wrong. I mean, if your current accomplishments are truly exceptional and you know they are unlikely to be found anywhere else, this should be factored into the desired salary range that you initially state. But if it doesn’t, then you had no way of knowing how this employer’s performance would compare to your current ones. If they wanted to make sure you took this into account, they should have at least given you a rough description of their offering earlier in the process.
But it happens and employers generally get it. This could help them learn to discuss benefits earlier in their hiring process, which would be a good thing – but no one here sounds like they’re an idiot.
5. Post-employment training courses
My employer recently approved and paid me to attend two expensive advanced training courses that I’ve wanted to take for some time and that would be very helpful for my career. Payment has already been made and I am registered for the courses with my business email address. However, I recently had a job offer with another organization that I cannot refuse … and would start before these courses begin. Can I quit my current job and still attend the courses because payment has already been made?
For ethical reasons, you should ask your current employer. They may want to try to get a refund or transfer registration to someone else. If neither is possible, you may be asked to keep the courses if you wish. But because it’s their money, it should be their calling.