Should mental health be on your boss’s agenda?

Also make sure your references are willing to talk about their experience, highlighting their contributions over the years. Of course, the real challenge for him is to put himself in a position to defend his employability. You can highlight your experience in a cover letter and surely also in an interview. But also trust your network. Let people know you’re looking for high-level positions at organizations that value experience and are willing to consider someone without a college degree. Good luck!

I usually cross something off my to-do list if I’ve done my part and the other steps are left to someone else. This works fine until someone drops the ball and those extra steps aren’t done. A few times I have been left to put out a fire due to an incomplete task that was no longer on my radar.

Do you have any suggestions on how I should keep track of all this stuff, or if I should? Part of me thinks I should keep an up-to-date list to try to avoid disaster, but another part thinks it’s not my problem and I can’t figure out how to keep track of all these items.

—Lauren, Maine

I don’t know if you should keep track of other people’s responsibilities, but if you’re putting out fires, you probably should, just to make your life easier. It’s not your problem when other people drop the ball, but so is it. There are all kinds of systems and software that can help you with project and task management. I personally use Todoist and Trello so my team and I can keep track of multiple schedules, tasks, who has ownership of those tasks, etc. For the most part, it works great for being able to see what’s going on with each project.

Once you set up a system, be sure to familiarize everyone with the responsibilities on a given schedule with the system so they don’t have excuses for not complying. I would also think about accountability. What are the consequences when someone does not fulfill their responsibilities? How can you make your colleagues have to clean up their own messes?

I work at a small law firm run by a big personality with a bad habit of micromanaging. She recently imposed a “no gossip” rule on non-shareholder lawyers, apparently to discourage people from talking about her behind her back. To enforce this rule, he has asked attorneys not to go to lunch or happy hour with staff members and to avoid talking to them about anything other than work. And, when lawyers hear “gossip” at work, they’re supposed to stop it. Important to know: The staff does not work for these attorneys. They only work for partners.

She has also decided that she wants to be an activist for social justice. To do this, she required all BIPOC attorneys, and only these attorneys, none of whom are equity partners, to plan and execute diversity initiatives. All of this is pro bono. All of the firm’s attorneys are paid on a contingency basis, so this new pro bono requirement means they have to do unpaid work. These management decisions are fueling a toxic workplace, as she can imagine, and encouraging some people to consider working elsewhere. Is there a way to address them in a way that makes the workplace happy again?

– Anonymous

This is all ridiculous, as I’m sure you know. She cannot impose her will on how people spend their free time at work and what they talk about. Banning “gossip” is simply too broad and unenforceable, especially when the National Labor Relations Act protects employee discussion of managers and working conditions. You also can’t dictate who you share lunch with or socialize with after work. She is trying to control things that cannot be controlled. I’m surprised thatyou employees of a law firm are not rejecting behavior that is against the law.

Your manager’s demands that BIPOC attorneys create and execute diversity initiatives are even more egregious and, frankly, racist. It is not the responsibility of those lawyers to resolve the conditions of their own oppression. If you want to get involved in social justice activism, you should read a book or three and hire professionals to do this work. People of color are not magically gifted with the ability to do diversity, equity, and inclusion work because of their race or ethnicity. That’s not how any of this works. Of course, people are considering working elsewhere. If you have human resources, you should report this behavior. At a minimum, consult with an employment attorney. This behavior goes far beyond micromanagement.

roxanne gay he is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributor to an opinion writer. write to her

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