Q: I believe that I’m not being hired because of my last employment record. When I started that job, I was in college, so my supervisor gave me a schedule that was compatible with my classes. After she left, her replacement changed my hours, which made studying much more difficult.
Because my grades began slipping, I decided to stop working and concentrate on school. When I resigned, I told my boss that I would be leaving the same day. He warned me that quitting without notice could make it harder for me to find another job.
Since finishing school, I have applied for several positions, but I keep getting turned down. I think I’m being automatically rejected because my personnel record shows that I left without notice. Should I talk with someone in human resources?
A: Despite your boss’s parting comment, your abrupt exit may have no connection to your unsuccessful applications. Nevertheless, you have a right to know what’s in your record, so contact the HR department and ask to have a look at your file. If it contains troublesome comments, see if they can be removed or revised.
You should also ask whether company policy on references allows your aggravated boss to talk with potential employers. If so, explain your concerns, and then see if the HR manager will agree to serve as a replacement contact. Despite your lack of notice, the company should have no desire to interfere with your future employment.
At the same time, you should also consider the fact that job applicants tend to look for face-saving explanations for rejection. In reality, however, the true obstacle is often an inadequate resume or poor interviewing skills. Sadly, this shortsightedness can prevent them from correcting the actual problem.
But regardless of the reason for your extended job search, I hope these worries have taught you a valuable lesson. Barring a serious personal emergency, quitting a job without notice is rude, selfish and unprofessional.
Q: I work for a high-level executive who does everything at the last minute. This woman makes a lot of money, yet she takes no responsibility for getting things done in a timely manner. Yesterday, she handed me a project half an hour before I was supposed to leave. I had to stay late to finish it.
This has been going on for years, so talking to her about it would be pointless. Complaining to top management is too risky, because I can’t afford to lose this job.
A: If raising this issue could jeopardize a job you need to keep, then your only option is to find a way to tolerate your boss.
After “years and years” of dealing with her procrastination, you have undoubtedly developed a few coping strategies. When the frustration level gets too high, try venting to a trusted friend outside of work. And since some executives can be insulting and abusive, just be glad that her deficiencies are comparatively benign.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.