It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My new coworker watches her nanny cam all day long

Our small company recently hired a new employee about three months ago. She has her phone open all the time and has live video of her son playing. When she first started, her son was at daycare so she had video of her son live while he was at daycare. There were issues with daycare, so now she watches the nanny cam all the time. Her phone is open and in her hand or propped on her desk so she can watch. ALL. THE. TIME. We both report to the executive director. Any advice? I know it wouldn’t be appropriate to mention to the ED. I don’t know if this is something I should ignore or address directly with her.

Is your sense that it’s distracting her or otherwise affecting her work? If it’s more or less the equivalent of having TV on in the background while she works — where she can look up if something interesting happens but otherwise can continue working as normal — I’d let it go, unless it’s making it hard for you to work. But if it’s negatively impacting her work, or if the nature of her job just doesn’t accommodate that well, that’s worth saying something about.

I think a lot of people would tell you to ignore it and that it’s none of your behavior. But it’s a small company, she’s a new hire who may not have picked up on office norms and expectations yet, it sounds like it’s annoying the crap out of you, and — most importantly — a lot of managers would want to know so they could judge for themselves if it was something they needed to intervene on. (If I were your boss, I’d want to know and decide for myself if it’s a problem or not.)

I’m curious why you don’t think you can mention it to your mutual boss, because I think she’s the correct person to speak to, not your coworker. In many/most cases, it does make sense to start with the person engaging in the problematic behavior. In this case, though, you really don’t have standing to tell your coworker to stop (assuming there’s no volume and it’s not distracting you). But you do have standing to give your boss a one-time, discreet heads-up that a new employee may need some additional guidance about your office norms/expectations, if you think it’s something she’d want to intervene on.

That doesn’t need to be a big scandalous report — it can just be, “I’ve noticed this happening and didn’t know if it was something you’d want to know about, so I figured I should mention it in case it’s something you’d be concerned by.” If it’s not a problem, your boss will tell you it’s not a problem. If it is a problem, then she’ll presumably appreciate knowing about it.

Of course, I’m assuming your boss doesn’t see this for herself. If she does, then she already knows and all the above is moot.)

2. Should I stop eating at my desk because of my vegan coworkers?

I’m working in my second job since graduating college. I was at my first job for a year, and I have been with my current company for about two months. Perhaps you can help me navigate some workplace etiquette that may be new to me.

I have noticed my coworkers eating lunch at their desks and reading books or reading articles on their personal phones. It seems people like to sit at their desks to have the comfort of the A/C. I am in a warm state and sometimes sitting in the outside break area is too hot. As such, I have also started to eat my lunch at my desk so that I can read the news on my work computer while listening to music on my phone (with earbuds, of course).

I have two vegan coworkers who sit fairly close to me. I know this because they bring it up a lot in casual conversation and always make a point to remind whoever is planning a team lunch/potluck/etc. to be sure to accommodate them.

Do you think I am bothering them by eating my lunch at my desk? Usually it is inoffensive, like a salad, but some days I will microwave things like my leftover barbecue chicken or spaghetti and meatballs. I realize the smell of microwaved food tends to spread. I always figured if it bothered them they would just tell me, but now I’m wondering if I’m being rude by assuming. Should I ask or leave it alone?

It’s very thoughtful of you to wonder about this, but you’re fine. They are well aware that meat-eating exists in the world around them, and it’s unlikely that they expect an office populated by at least some meat-eaters to be free of the sight and smell of meat. You can go on eating your lunch as you have been.

3. Is it a bad idea to leave a full-time job for a temporary one?

I’ve been looking for a new job for sometime, as I’ve been unhappy with my current one. I recently found a listing that honestly looks kind of perfect – it’s at a company I’ve wanted to work for but haven’t found a job there, it combines some of my current job’s skills with one of my hobbies, and it looks like it would be a near perfect fit based off of both my experience and long-term job interests.

The only problem, and the only reason I haven’t applied yet, is that this is a short-term position of about four months. Would it be a totally bad idea to leave my long-term, stable job (which I dislike, but does pay the bills / my insurance) to go after this one? What is the likelihood I could use this as a foot in the door at that organization, or that they’d figure out how to keep me around? Practically I know this isn’t the best move, but would the potential of this kickstarting a career change I want be worth it?

It’s very risky. I’d only do it if you’re fully comfortable with the idea of being unemployed at the end of the four months (and probably willing to spend much of that four months conducting a job search so that you’ve got a head start at the end of it). Beyond that, i you’d be doing it primarily to get a foot in the door at that organization, I wouldn’t do it — there’s too much chance that won’t pan out. If you’d be doing it primarily because you’re confident it would kickstart the career change you want to make … well, maybe. Four months isn’t much time, and while it could help a little, it’s probably not going to be so significant on your resume that it’s worth being unemployed for. All of which is to say … probably not.

4. Asking about tattoo policies before accepting a new position

I’m currently interviewing for a new role, and I believe an offer to be imminent. I’m very excited about the company, but it’s in a very traditional industry (health care).

In the last year, I added two large tattoos (one on each forearm, from my elbow crook to my wrist). They are not offensive in any way (one is the solar system, and one is flowers/birds), but I recognize that some workplaces will have policies explicitly banning visible tattoos. What is the best way to inquire about their policy before I accept the position?

Be direct! Once you have the offer and you’re discussing logistics associated with the offer, say this: “Do you have any policy banning visible tattoos? I have two that I can mostly cover, but wanted to know if you have requirements around that.”

5. How should I respond to post-interview ghosting?

About a month and a half ago, I interviewed in person (second round) for one job and over the phone for another (first round). Both companies told me they’d get back to me relatively quickly (the phone interview company gave me a specific timeline, while the in-person did not). I waited about two weeks and tried following up with both, with no response from either. Every two weeks since, I have tried following up with both, by phone and email, and I have not received any response. Today, I saw that the in-person company reposted the job I’d interviewed for, without giving me a rejection.

How do you recommend I proceed when being ghosted after an interview, and what’s your advice to ensure this doesn’t happen again with future interviews?

You can’t ensure it doesn’t happen again. It almost definitely will happen again. It’s just the reality of job-searching, and there’s nothing you can say or do on your end that will prevent it.

Here’s the thing: If they want to hire you, they’re going to get in touch. So there’s not a lot to be gained by repeatedly following up. It’s fine to follow up once after an interview, and then maybe a second time after some time passes — but at that point it’s better to let it go. They know you’re interested, and if they want to talk further or hire you, they’re going to get in touch. The best thing you can do is to assume you didn’t get the job, put it out of your mind, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do contact you.

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