Dale Dauten: Speaker, Author, Innovation Consultant [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Flip-Flopping at Work

Dear J.T. & Dale:

My office manager just instituted a new policy in our office.  She says that the sound flip-flops make on a person’s foot is distracting.  I love my flip-flops for work and can’t believe they are dictating how I dress.  But it gets worse: she wears these high-heels every day that are even louder!  How can I tell her the rule should include her own shoes?

-- Mary

Dale: OK, yes, it’s a stupid policy.  However, for you to go bureaucratallistic (throwing policy bombs) and try to impose even stricter shoe-noise standards, well… let’s just say that you should take that energy and go buy yourself some clogs, Crocs, sneakers, Birenstocks or whatever.  And do so cheerfully, grateful for all those choices.

JT: You’re looking at the issue narrowly.  I find most people just don’t like policies that make them feel they are being treated like children.  On the other hand, Mary, every job, every manager, and every company you work for will have things you don’t like. 

Dale: That reminds me -- we once heard from an employee whose manager objected to “toe cleavage” on her high heels.

JT: Perfect example.  So the real questions for Mary are these:  Do you find satisfaction in the work you do?  Are you building your skills while getting the things you NEED from a job (that is, good pay, benefits and perks)?  If so, then it’s a job worth keeping.  If this is your situation, don’t rock the boat with your flip-flop clad feet!

Dale: Pass me the anti-nausea pills along with the next question.

Dear J.T. & Dale:

I interviewed with a great organization on two occasions.  The first interview lasted two hours and then I returned for a half-day of interviews with several top executives.  I did all the proper candidate etiquette on my-end, including handwritten thank-you notes.  After the last interview, I waited two weeks to send an e-mail follow-up, and then waited two additional weeks to send a courteous e-mail asking for the status of the recruitment process.  I still have not heard boo.  What gives?

-- Frustrated Flo

JT: As a former HR Manager who has seen it all, I can give you a host of possible explanations:
•    The position has been changed and/or put on hold due to some unexpected company developments.
•    A late-runner job candidate was referred in by someone in the organization and is now being put through the interview process.
•    A different candidate was selected, but the negotiations are taking time and HR doesn’t want to tell you anything in the event it falls through and you are next-in-line.
•    The HR Manager doesn’t want to hear your disappointment and is avoiding your call.
•    The HR Manager honestly doesn’t have an answer from the hiring manager and doesn’t want to call you until he/she knows either way.
•    The HR Manager is on vacation, left the company and/or is swamped.
Does hearing those make you less frustrated?  Probably not. 

Dale: Still, Flo, you can’t give into resentments.  You’re a salesperson contacting a prospect.  If you let yourself get frustrated, you get resentful, and then you’re sunk – underlying feelings inevitably sneak into your communications.  OK, you’re probably thinking “I’m sunk anyway,” but you can’t give into that logic either.  Every good job is a long shot, and you need to keep working to improve the odds.  So make a phone call and offer to assist them in their decision.  Don’t just send a note, send some ideas, an article, something – let them know you’re not just wanting to hear, but wanting to help.

JT: Then, in the future, at the end of every interview, always ask, “What are the next steps in the process?”  Followed by, “And what’s the best way to touch base with you on the status of my candidacy?”  This line of questioning not only commits the HR Manager to an action but gives you the permission and protocol for checking in.   While it doesn’t always work, it helps hold an HR contact accountable for providing you with closure.

Copyright © 2007, King Features Syndicate

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