updates: I got Covid at work and my company won’t cover my sick time, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

1. I got Covid at work and my company won’t cover my sick time (first update here)

I know it’s been a while but man I finally have a good update and figured I would share it if anyone was interested.

I ended up leaving the super villain company, and somehow ended up in an even worse one it was wild! They were kind when I required surgery, but it got to the point that within the 7 months I worked there I missed over a month of work from my inability to stay healthy. The company refused to hire cleaning staff and required staff to do it but also complained about overtime, it was pretty crazy. I finally woke up one day and decided clearly that field was never going to be what I wanted it to be, and I wouldn’t be the person who would change it even if that was devastating — I was in grad school for it, it’s my passion! But I ended up in a totally different field, working from home but still helping people and it’s been such a relief to not have to miss work constantly or be terrified I’ll get sick and be incapacitated again.

I would never have had the courage to explore my options if it wasn’t for your blog and insight, I tell coworkers all the time that we are helping professionals, not martyrs. Oh, totally tried to get on the grassroots movement for a union, but it is clearly not going anywhere, which is frustrating. For the love of god, people, please ask about cancellation policies and how employees are treated when you are choosing a provider for behavioral therapy, the people who work one on one with your kids have a lot of influence on the quality of services and we are treated terribly so frequently that is is almost impossible to provide the services I desperately wanted to provide.

Thanks for all of the advice. My work life is finally in a much better spot years later.

2. New employee refuses to learn technology

I’m not quite sure how to explain what’s happening. Short answer: the employee dodged my attempt at an ultimatum. She has made very gradual, incremental progress on technology but still underperforms in this area. I don’t mean to make excuses, but it’s a complicated situation. While she isn’t performing well in portions of her work (those that require technology and project management), she’s good at another element of it. She’s in a very rural community with a limited labor pool, as we know from previous hiring attempts — and it’s not a matter of how much we pay, just that there aren’t a lot of qualified people to choose from.

We are struggling with whether it’d be better to continue with someone problematic who we know already vs trying to find someone better who may not exist vs modifying this position entirely. A colleague and I are delivering her performance review this week and wondering how to frame up a three-month improvement plan… we shall see. It’s not something our organization has ever had to do before; we have very high performers across the board, so dealing with this person has been especially challenging. If you have any advice for the current situation with her, I’d love to hear it.

3. My trainer says I need to shadow her for a year before I can do my job

I’m still not sure what was up with June. I think she struggled to learn the job and didn’t have much faith in me as a result, but there was also some territorialism at play. I did raise my concerns with my boss, but he was very hands-off about it. I eventually refused to shadow June at all, and I was able to carve out some duties to do myself. June kept doing other parts of the job, and I honestly decided I wasn’t invested enough to fight it. Maybe that wasn’t very mature but I was very frustrated with the whole dynamic.

I decided to give the job a year and then I started looking within the organization for other positions. I wasn’t desperate, so I was able to be very choosy. I got the first thing I applied to – permanently remote, 30% pay raise and much more interesting work that actually utilizes my education. This experience with June led me to ask very explicit questions about training and communication during the interview, and I also asked my boss to set up a standing bi-weekly check-in meeting with me. In retrospect, the problem wasn’t June herself but the fact that I had a boss who I barely knew and who I didn’t feel comfortable contacting.

June is still in her job, and they didn’t bother to find a replacement for me.

4. Should I lie on my resume? (#2 at the link; first update here)

I thought I would drop one last update. I eventually ended up quitting the job I was working at when I last emailed you.

After some soul searching and figure out what I really wanted in life. I decided to pick up a contracting job landscaping just to earn a bit of cash while I decided what my next big move was going to be.

1. I had decided to return to university as a distance mature aged student. So I applied, and got accepted. I will be commencing I Bachelor of Science in the new year. Hooray!!!

2. I went to a recruitment agency and asked for a bit of refinement and polishing on my interview skills. They even gave me a list of commonly asked questions asked at interviews so I could rehearse answers for further job prospects I may look into.

Finally, a bit of interesting news. A few weeks after leaving the previously mentioned job, I received a phone call from my previous employer. They basically said they were losing too many sales a competitor. They offered me my job back and asked what I wanted to return to my previous sales/account manager role. I declined to tell them as I had no interest in returning. Instead, if they were really keen, they could make an offer. I know some people may say this is burning my bridges, but this is a company and industry I definitely will never be returning to.

Thanks again for all the help.