Q. One of our sales representatives is driving me crazy. “Dave” often gives customers special discounts and then forgets to enter them into our sales reporting system. As the accounting manager, I’m the one who has to clean up the mess created by his negligence.
Because incorrect information produces inaccurate invoices, we frequently receive calls from irate customers who didn’t receive their promised discounts. We then have to track Dave down so that we can send a corrected bill. I’ve complained to the sales manager, but he’s been no help at all. What else can I do?
A. The simplest solution is to check with this absentminded sales rep before billing his customers. However, you must implement this step in a way that does not allow him to continue escaping responsibility. Here’s one possible approach:
Before preparing invoices, send Dave an email request and copy his boss. For example: “Next week, invoices will be sent to customers on the attached list. If any of them should receive a discount, please let me know by Monday.” If Dave responds to your prompting, that will resolve the issue and eliminate redundant work.
But if Dave fails to answer, send the invoices anyway. When irritated customers complain, simply pass the ball to him with another email: “Mr. Smith has informed us that you promised him a discount that was not reflected on his invoice. Since we have no record of this transaction, we are advising him to contact you directly.”
Because dissatisfied customers are a sales manager’s nightmare, you should copy Dave’s boss on every one of these emails. Once he understands that sloppy sales records are a customer problem, not an accounting problem, the discount documentation may quickly improve.
Q. I’m not sure how to explain my recent employment history. After working as a clinical scientist in a local hospital for 14 years, I was offered a different job in a large medical center. Since this looked like an opportunity to expand my skills, I decided to accept.
Unfortunately, this proved to be a poor decision. I soon learned that my new boss had been forced to hire me and was not happy about it. Because I was never able to please him, I chose to return to my former employer in a part-time position.
I am now looking for a full-time job in my original field. On my resume, how should I describe my reasons for leaving the medical center and going back to the hospital?
A. Your resume is not the place to explain or justify your employment decisions. Resumes are typically used to provide a concise summary of qualifications, so a narrative explanation might seem odd to some employers. However, you should definitely be prepared to answer these questions during interviews.
Since any discussion of your unhappy boss might raise a red flag, keep the focus on your desire to return to clinical science. Fortunately, your previously stable work history should eliminate any job-hopper concerns, and your need for full-time work requires little explanation.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”