Ask Your Boss: Is It Okay to Bring My Spouse to a Work Conference?...

My company is sending me to a week long work conference which will be held in a large metropolitan city. I have the option of bringing my husband with me. What do you as a boss think about your employees who bring their spouses to work conferences? Is it frowned upon or it does not matter? Honestly, I personally don’t like when employees bring their spouses to work conferences. I suspect the worst in people. Really. This is why this blog is called What Your Boss Really Thinks But Never Tells You. I thrive to be as honest as humanly possible when I reply to my reader’s questions. So there you have it: I don’t like it when my employees bring their spouses to work conferences. Yet I would never say a word to my employees about this. I would frown to myself in the loneliness of my office when they tell me they are going with a spouse. People bring their families with them to work conferences all the time because they want to make a mini family vacation out of work trips. It sounds innocent. Sort of. Officially there is nothing wrong with it. Unofficially (and in my humble opinion) it is a little disturbing. To me. As I mentioned above I suspect the worst in people. I always question if an employee will start skipping work sessions at the conference because their spouse does not want to be alone all day. I am going to wonder if an employee is submitting his or hers spouse’s lunch receipts for reimbursement as his/her own. I would love for my employees to keep their work life separate from their personal life. Will I ever mention any of the above to my employees? No. They can bring their spouses. I cannot control what they do at the conference. Do I like it? No. Will I ever admit to it? No. Remember, this is my personal opinion. Every boss is different. Want to Ask Your Boss a question? There is a form on the top of the right sidebar. Submit it, and I will write a post in response. Or use my contact form. ...

Ask Your Boss: I Don’t Want to Look Like a Know-It-All Jerk...

“I am a new employee and was hired because of my experience working with so many different companies. I have a lot of good ideas to improve productivity and quality.  How can I give my input to my boss without seeming like a know it all jerk?” It is less tricky than you think, especially because you were hired due to your experience and knowledge. You are, probably, expected to give your input anyway. Just remember that it is all about your attitude, the right choice of words and your tone. A good, friendly attitude combined with the right approach can solve pretty much anything. You can start by saying something like this “I noticed you are doing this…and I was wondering what would you think about this approach instead?” God forbid you say something like “you should do this” to your boss. If you’d come to me and start your sentence with “you should…”, all I would be thinking “and you should go back to your cubicle.” I would not be hearing a single word you said after that. In other words, do not act that you know more than your boss. Do not say “I am an expert and this is what you should do.” Another approach that I can recommend is an assumption approach. Pose a question with a plan. You can throw an idea in a form of an assumption that implies that this idea was either discussed before or at least mentioned. Sometimes a simple question like “Is there a reason why you are not doing this?” helps to start a good discussion. Your tone also matters. As long as you maintain a friendly tone and not a condescending, know-it-all tone, your boss will listen. Make sure to show that you’ve considered the current process or procedure. You know what works well? Positioning your boss and yourself on one side, and a problem, you are tackling, on the another. Use “we” instead of “I” or “you.” In this case, you are in this together. You are a team. Good Luck! Let us know how it all worked out for you. Want to ask Your Boss a question? There is a form on the top of the right sidebar. Fill it in and submit it. I will write a post in response....

Ask Your Boss: How Do I Tell My Manager About a Job Offer?...

One of my readers submitted a question. Please read the question below carefully before reading my answer. Have something to add? Please do so in the comment section. I was recently asked by a friend/mentor in my network to lunch. We have had lunch once a month or so over the past 6-8 months so this was nothing out of the ordinary. Our discussions typically had a focus on business with regards to anything from analytics to operations to development. So this conversation was not out of the ordinary until the end. I was asked if I would come meet her team at the company she works for and that she would like to offer me position X, at a salary noticeably greater than my current salary.  I am not unhappy with my current employer and salary and am in fact very happy with them. I would like to bring this up to my manager though. How does it make sense to approach this? Will my manager likely think I am only motivated by money and lose interest in keeping me? Let’s be honest, you are going to tell your manager about this job offer because you want a counteroffer, some sort of monetary acknowledgment of your value to the company. You like your job, you just want more money, right? So to answer your last question, I am going to say “yes.” There is a very strong possibility that your manager will think that you are trying to extort a raise by threatening to leave. For the sake of this post discussion, and not knowing anything else, I will assume that your company is doing well financially, not going through lay offs, and is able to give raises. I can see two possibilities that can take place. First, you might not get a counteroffer. That would be the case if I were your boss. I would wish you good luck, and you would be on your way to your new job before you could blink twice. Luckily for you, I am not your boss. This brings us to the second possibility. Your manager might consider keeping you for whatever reason, and as a result of this consideration you will get what you want, i.e. a counteroffer. No matter what happens, I can promise you that it is going to be a very uncomfortable conversation for both of you. You already are worried about coming across as greedy, and legitimately so. If you decide to talk to your manager, go into this conversation with confidence because let’s admit it, you can negotiate from the position of strength. You do have a job offer. So, assuming, you have enough leverage to rely on, this is what I recommend: Do not go into the conversation with an attitude that you have the world at your feet. You don’t. Do not use your new job offer as a threat to negotiate a raise. In fact, the raise you get this way might be used against your next raise. Preparation is key. Take your time planning, structuring, rehearsing. Listen to yourself, and make sure you don’t sound like a greedy jerk. It sounds odd, but you might be surprised what comes out of your mouth when you are nervous. Be honest. Tell your manager what happened, and how you feel about it. Explain why you are having this conversation. Make sure to tell your manager why you love your current job. Rehearse in...

Boss Cannot Make Everyone Happy

I upset people. Most of the time not intentionally but nonetheless. I try my best not to, but simply being who I am, a boss, I set people off. This, I view, as unavoidable, expected and certainly not unusual in the work environment. This is real life, so suck it up, people. As a boss (or a human being), I will never try to please everyone because it is impossible. The other day I needed a small storage space cleaned: office supplies needed to be moved around, shelves dusted, old archived paperwork destroyed, and some other stuff moved around and organized. Almost all of our employees use this storage for their needs. However, some of them use it more than others. Some of them have more time on their hands.It happens to be that those with the most time on their hands use this storage on a daily basis. So I asked them to clean up the storage, and explained that if they need any help or have questions, let the rest of us know. Obviously, when people have a lot of time on their hands, they like to spend that time doing something of their liking, i.e. browsing the Internet or talking on the phone. People, in general, do not like working on something tedious, something that requires dusting, cleaning and moving things around. Therefore, I was not surprised when two employees got upset and started to complain to other people. Since I like to think that I do not need everyone’s validation, approval and eternal love, I insisted politely but firmly to stop wasting everyone’s time, including mine, and get to work. Ever felt that your boss is picking on you? Ever felt that your boss is not being fair? Put yourself in my shoes then, and think about this: – Priorities and deadlines always take over. Especially when you are the boss. Consequently, I put breaks on something that is non-essential such as trying to please my employees by cleaning the storage space myself. – Fairness should rule any office. I always make sure that my decisions are based on impartial assessment of the situation. – Popularity contest is good when it relates to books, TV shows, blogs and fashion. In the office, getting work done correctly and in a timely manner matters. Nothing else. – The big picture matters the most. The annoying and tedious marshmallow administrative stuff does not matter much. However, it needs to be done. – Confronting the few in order to motivate the majority is worthy of my time and my effort. – Listening is worthy of my time if it is tied into overall goals. Complaints that do not make sense are … senseless. – Responsibility to understand the workplace climate lies on my shoulders. If I ask someone who is working on an approaching deadline to clean storage space, and someone else is sitting around babbling on the phone, what does it make me? Useless. Most of the time my ultimate goal as a manager is to craft a solution that is fair and makes sense. If that does not work, however, I am more than capable (and so is your boss) of playing hard ball. It is never my preferred method, but if that is the only option that I am left with, I might choose that route, and very effectively. Remember, just like in real life, in the office nobody can make everyone happy. It’s called office...