A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Schedule Conflicts and
Q: My boss makes appointments for me without checking my schedule, and then if I have other commitments, she expects me to cancel my plans.
The other day I had lunch plans, which happened to be with a client. "Mary," my supervisor, made lunch plans for me, too, which was with an important client.
When she told me about the date, I told her I had other plans. She said the client she scheduled lunch with was more important and told me to cancel my previous plans. This is not the first
time she has done something like this to me. What if I had plans with a friend - or a doctor's appointment? Shouldn't my lunch hour be my time to do whatever I want?
I am sick of her acting as if she owns me. What can I do?
Sue Says: Let your supervisor know that you want to be as accommodating as possible, but you fear your relationships with your clients will be hurt if you are unable to keep the
commitments you make with them.
Provide her with a monthly schedule, and update it weekly. And ask her to please check with you before making any firm commitments for you in the future.
Q: Three years ago I was terminated from my job, and ever since my then the company that I worked for has been telephoning me at home, asking questions about my former duties.
"How did you do this?" "Where is the file on the XYZ merger?" "How do you format a diskette?" "How do you put a new ribbon in the typewriter?"
Initially I answered the questions because I didn't want to ruin an employment reference. But now I am getting irritated with them telephoning at all hours to ask me something.
I have always been polite to them on the telephone and have said, "I am sorry, I don't work for you anymore," but the telephone calls continue.
Several friends have told me to send the company a bill each time they ask a question on the telephone or just hang up on them. I have no intention of ever returning to the company, but I am
concerned for the people there who were my friends. I do not want them to be punished for my actions.
What exactly is my obligation to a company who fired me on the day of the Christmas party three years ago?
----Working without pay
Sue Says: As far as I am concerned, you have no obligation at all. The next time you get a call from the freeloaders, you need to make it clear that you have no intention of spending
any more time answering questions they can figure out for themselves and that you don't want to hear from them again. It's time to let go of your feelings of obligation and it's time for the
people who keep calling to stop imposing on you.
Q: I work for a nonprofit association. Our general manager left and the member companies have not decided if they will replace him or relocate the company. If the company closes, how
much notice are we entitled to? Are we entitled by law to get severance pay? Are we entitled to unemployment compensation? Thank you in advance for you assistance.
--- Worried About My Future
Sue Says: The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act governs whether and how much advance notice a company must give its employees of an intended plant closing.
The law generally only applies to companies with 100 or more full-time employees when at least 50 of those employees will lose their jobs, said Mary Krakow, an employment and labor law
attorney with the Fredrickson & Byron law firm in Minneapolis. If your company meets these limits, then it generally must give at least 60 days advance notice of an intended closing.
State laws sometimes have lower threshold limits; in addition, check out your employment contract or company policy handbook that may require advance notice of termination.
No law requires employers to pay severance pay upon termination. If your company has a written policy on severance, the terms of the policy will control whether you receive it and how much
severance you are entitled to.
Unemployment compensation generally is available to employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Terminated employees should contact the nearest Department of Economic
Security or Job Training office to apply for benefits.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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