Dear JT and Dale: My company has announced that we have to be in the office three days a week. However, my boss didn’t show up. She was working remotely even though the rest of us had to come to the office. Nobody discussed this with her but we are all very upset. Can I tell her something? It doesn’t seem fair. – Bianca
JT: I agree, it doesn’t seem fair. And most importantly, it seems really strange that the manager wouldn’t explain himself. I don’t think I’d ask her specifically why she didn’t stick to the rules, but I think you could email her and tell her you were looking forward to seeing her in person and I was wondering when the next time she’ll be in the office. This way you will add a positive touch to your enquiry. It might also prompt her to explain why she didn’t come to the office. But, if you don’t give an answer, I think you just have to accept that on a management level you may have given different criteria than the rest of you. And always remember that you are an employee at will, which means that if you are not happy with your position, you can move out and find a different job that suits your needs.
Dale: I’m not one of those people who always believes in a conspiracy theory that there is something diabolical lurking behind every weird circumstance, but this situation does suggest to me some deeper intrigue. This is pure speculation, but here’s an interesting scenario: Your boss is unwilling to go back to in-office work and tells upper management that she’s quitting. Then senior management asks her to continue working remotely while she searches for a new job. If this scenario plays out, perhaps you can put yourself in a position to advance. There’s no downside, as you should implement these career advancement strategies anyway: increase visibility by volunteering for teams/initiatives on company issues outside of your department; obtaining an executive mentor within the company; trying to get assignments on important projects; And all the while, an informal study is taking place about who gets promoted in the company and how. In other words, change is coming; Change first.
The best professional resource
JT: It’s time for our review of useful career resources and this time it’s a book Dale caught my eye: “Summer Camp Jobs USA: Find Your Job, Get Your Job, Love Your Job” by Michael Pastore. The first surprises are the numbers involved: There are more than 16,000 campers serving 14 million campers, and get this, an estimated 1.5 million employees. Incidentally, when I think of summer camp, I think of days or weeks spent camping, but Pastore reports that 7,000 of the 16,000 summer camps are “day camps,” not sleep camps.
Dale: If you or your favorite teen would love to be one of their 1.5 million employees, now is the time to apply—this is their hiring season. The book details 10 “classic ways” to find a job along with a “super list” of 20 websites and search engines. For example, there is a site for the American Camp Association (acacamps.org) that has a job center where you can sign up for email alerts when new jobs are posted. But Pastore points out that only about 20% of campers are ACA members, so there are plenty of other places to look.
JT: I loved how accessible the information was, something any inexperienced job seeker could really learn from. A teen who follows the advice in the book can gain experience with a number of job search websites and tools, as well as practical advice on topics such as making a first impression and how to prepare for an interview.
DALE: Yes, while a lot of the book’s advice is specific to summer camps (such as the chapter on taking Red Cross lessons and other camp-related training), I kept thinking about what a great growth experience the book process would be for any young person—it could become an early inflection point. in that person’s profession.
Janine “JT” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional trainer and founder of the leading job site, www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten’s most recent book is “Experiments Never Fail: A Guide for the Bored, Unrecious and Underaided.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can email questions, or write to them sponsored by King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.