I’m feeling very uncomfortable with a guy in my office. Up until this Valentine’s Day, I thought he was a decent person. We would chat when we passed each other in the hall or in the parking lot, or while waiting for coffee to brew. He’s a sales manager but not in my department and I’m a sales associate. He’s married; I’m not. He gave me a valentine. He left it in my office in-box. It wasn’t real risqué but it definitely implied that he’s interested in being more than just friends. Now, I dread having to see or talk to him, but we’re going to run into each other. I’ve got to say something, but I want to set him straight in a way that won’t make things awkward between us afterwards. Can you help me with some specific text?
Valentine went too far
Valentine went too far:
You need to handle this situation as soon as possible. You, obviously, want to keep your work relationship with this man intact. Although you do not want to put him on the defensive or embarrass him, you want him to know with certainty that you want nothing more than a work friendship with him. Remember that your tone and attitude are just as important as your words. Some text could be: Hey “Lee.” Thanks for the valentine. I may have taken your card the wrong way, but I want to be sure you know that I can only be friends with you.
I started interviewing for jobs with the federal government several months before I graduated from college a couple of months ago. I thought I had heard just about every question that could be thrown at me, but this one totally took me off guard. The interviewer asked me if I would stay with their organization if I were offered a more prestigious and/or higher grade position with another agency. I froze up and can’t even tell you how I responded. It’s like this guy read my mind. I had thought this job could be my backup if I wasn’t offered one of the jobs I was most interested in. I also think he asked me this because the position doesn’t require a college education and because my dad is high up in the management of another federal agency. How could I have answered that question?
Stunned by interview question
Dear Stunned by interview question:
I understand why the question surprised you, but the only response you should give is an honest one. You could have replied that if you are selected for the organization’s position, you will give 100 percent, but you also cannot deny that you will consider other jobs that offer more opportunity, responsibility, pay, and benefits. Also, respectfully point out that it would be irresponsible on your part not to consider such offers. The interviewer should respect this truthful and smart answer. Best of luck with your job hunt!
This blows me away. A guy with an illustrious career in the federal government retired, moved from the South to the Northeast, and decided to take a job with a state-run agency. When he showed up for his first day of mandatory orientation training, the instructors, who were all employees of the state agency, told him he was crazy to have taken the job. They couldn’t believe he took a job that was “way beneath him,” status-wise and financially given his past accomplishments at a federal agency. Although I can see where these state employees were coming from, I was shocked that they weren’t toeing the company line. Have you ever heard of such behavior?
Where’s the loyalty?
Dear Where’s the loyalty?:
Unfortunately, yes. This situation sheds light on the fact that even though an organization’s leadership team can be stalwarts of organization loyalty, dedication, and integrity, they will never be able to have complete control over what their employees say or do when they are representing the organization. That being said, if the leadership team finds out about such behavior, there can most definitely be consequences for the employees’ unprofessional actions.
© 2011 Rozanne R. Worrell