It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, where all month I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.
I didn’t hire the guy, in the end. Partly due to your advice – I think I knew at a gut level that it was the right decision, but it was super helpful to have you validate that given that I was feeling a lot of pressure from my colleagues and starting to question my judgment. And, not hiring him turned out fine. My team and I were able to figure out the issues without his help, and there were no material continuity problems, despite all the dark threats about him being the only person who knew where the bodies were buried.
Interestingly, I ended up leaving that job only a year later – the situation with my colleagues made me realize that despite the fact that I’m highly experienced in my field and have a fantastic track record, the place was really a boys club (I’m female) and I was constantly fighting being ignored, have the quality of my work and my professional judgment questioned, etc in a way that made it really hard to be successful or effective. I think at first I hoped that it was just a matter of “proving” myself by working hard and getting results, but over time it became pretty obvious that it was less about proving myself and more about not being welcome.
It’s been three years since I wrote in to AAM, and I thought I’d give an update on what’s happened since. When I wrote in, I was thoroughly freaked out that two of my managers had asked me about my former intern within a short time frame. I had never had my opinion and judgements carry so much weight before!
As some commenters guessed, I am in the nonprofit industry, where unpaid internships and copious volunteer work is the rule rather than the exception. Unfortunately, there was no way to bring on any other staff members, especially when at each board meeting I had to hear about how much my (part time, 2 day a week) salary was costing the organization.
In the years since, I’ve moved into a leadership role at a new organization, and I now have my first direct report! I took all the lessons I learned from managing interns and volunteers, and I’ve managed to draw firm boundaries that keep me warm and friendly, without blurring any lines. I’ve also been put in control of our volunteer department, and I’ve made it my mission to change the way the organization utilizes volunteers, by creating projects that are at an appropriate level and don’t attempt to cut down staffing costs by getting volunteers to do the same work for free.
As for my former intern, she did add me on Linkedin about a year ago. I haven’t had any contact with her, but from what I gather she is in an entirely new industry across the country. While I’m sad she didn’t end up staying in our shared industry, I hope she is doing well, and has found happiness on her new path.
3. When’s the right time to ask about a permanent work-from-home schedule? (#5 at the link) (first update here)
I’ve been at my so-far fully remote position for almost five months now and I love it. We’re tentatively heading back to the office in July, but everyone will be some sort of hybrid schedule (TBD) and I may even end up working from home more than I negotiated at the beginning. I’m still really glad that I made sure to negotiate upfront. Even if I hadn’t, because of how our work has shifted, we’re all going to have some WFH flexibility– but it’s been a constant discussion of what that looks like for most over the past few months. Because I negotiated, I was never in doubt of whether I’d get to be home the minimum amount that I wanted. Now I’m just waiting to see if I’ll be working from home 3 days instead of 2!
I wanted to provide an update after two months of working. First off, thank you everyone for responding, and thank you Alison for your words. I have since learned that for both of my interviewers at the time, this was really their first hiring experience, which actually explains quite well some of what I felt were awkward question formats and the poor wording of the original question my post was about. Plus, I would like to clarify that both of my interviewers have been working since they were in their teens, so I can understand how someone like me can be considered a newbie in the work world.
Overall though, everything’s been a learning experience and enjoyable, for the most part. Despite the conversations in my original post about the differences between real world and school experience, I have not found much of a difference yet, but I’ve discovered many of my habits and processes I’ve developed in/through my schooling years transfers well. Its been a whirlwind though. I can’t believe two months have already passed since I was hired!
If anything, having to readjust to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day is my biggest struggle! If anyone has tips, tricks, or products they use to help with posture and the health of my butt and spine, please advise!
5. My manager told me I don’t seem passionate about my work anymore (#4 at the link) (first update here)
One more update to close this out — my bonus amount came out even higher than the starting percentage, I’m up for an internal promotion, and my last performance review was great. All is well over here!