I understand times are tough, but my boss isn’t handling things appropriately. In the past nine months, I’ve gotten a pay cut, I’ve been required to defend in writing my work activity, and my benefits package has shrunk. I found out about ALL of these changes via emails from my boss or when I received my paychecks. We’re a very small company. There’s no reason he couldn’t have told me in person in advance about these things. Does he think I don’t deserve my pay and that I’m not to be trusted? I’m just an administrative assistant. I’m scared to ask questions, but I’m also worried that my boss wants me to quit. I need this job. What should I do?
Concerned about job security
Dear Concerned about job security:
If there are others in your office who have had the same experiences, then it is most likely not an attack on your performance or your trustworthiness, but a matter of your boss’s inability to handle these difficult economic times in a more professional and sensitive way. If, however, you are being singled out, then you need to request a one-on-one with your boss to determine if your job is in jeopardy. Be prepared to prove your indispensability, and to demonstrate that you are more than willing to accept criticism; explain/defend your performance; and to take on or volunteer to do additional work.
Set something straight for me. I have a problem with companies that have a background/criminal check form they want me to fill out at the same time I submit my resume and fill out their application form. I have a problem with it because the background check requires that I supply my date of birth in addition to a lot of other personal identifying information. I work in an industry where age matters and I know I look a lot younger than I am. So, I prefer not to reveal my age until I'm offered a job. I want to know if it's legal for a company to require me to give them that information before I've accepted a job offer. The jobs I'm looking at are in VA, but I'd like to know if the answer you give me applies to every state, or does it vary from state to state.
Dear Age matters:
Given the nature of your question, I conferred with an attorney who specializes in employment law, Gregory Giordano with the Virginia Beach, VA law office of Troutman Sanders, LLP. He provided the following information:
“From a federal law standpoint the answer I give is fairly uniform. Most, if not all, states have statutes which prohibit age discrimination. Of course, how these states interpret their statutes varies. There is no law in Virginia that prohibits an employer from asking a person’s age or birth date. Likewise, there is no federal prohibition under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. An employer who does ask this question, however, risks a discrimination claim if it can be shown that the employer does not hire older employees within a protected age group (over 40 under the ADEA). In other words, if it can be shown that the employer has very few employees in that protected age category, yet asks for a person’s age or birth date on an employment application, there is a strong inference of discrimination, especially when the applicant is qualified for the job in question.”
I’m fed up with a guy in my office that used to hold a high position in our company but stepped down voluntarily. He rarely handles criticism well; he has a high opinion of himself and of his opinions. He regularly praises people who don’t deserve it, thinking it’s a motivator, but it actually achieves the opposite. When I’m the recipient of his praise, it means nothing since it’s the same thing or even less than what he gives to those who do nothing. It amazes me that he doesn’t get it. I’d like to set him straight.
Fed up with empty praises
Dear Fed up with empty praises:
I understand your frustration, but given your description of this individual, it would most likely do more harm than good if you confronted him about his behavior. Most likely, your colleagues, even the recipients of the undeserved accolades, share your sentiments and know who is deserving of praise. Hang in there!
© 2011 Rozanne R. Worrell