Office coach: Acting boss wishes for raise

Marie G. McIntyre
Tribune News Service

Q. When my boss left for a three-month maternity leave, I was asked to become the acting director. However, this position has not been made official and my pay has remained the same. Would it be appropriate to ask management for a raise? And can I put this job on my resume?

A. Because “acting” appointments typically don’t involve a formal position change, your role was “made official” when management announced that you were temporarily assuming these responsibilities. A brief three-month assignment would not usually include a salary increase, but you might make a case for a one-time bonus.

Hopefully you realize that, even without tangible rewards, this temporary upgrade offers many potential benefits. You will not only gain higher-level experience, but also have opportunities to make valuable contacts and enhance your reputation. The increased knowledge and exposure could make future promotions more likely.

To document this period of additional responsibility, be sure that it’s included in your next performance review. Providing management with regular progress reports will help to confirm your activities and accomplishments. And yes, this assignment should definitely be mentioned on your resume.

Q. One of our retirees keeps showing up at employee social functions. “Gary” stopped working here three years ago, yet he still attends every gathering and is usually among the last to leave. He even won the grand prize at our big raffle drawing last year.

Our social events are planned by a committee and typically include annual spring and fall get-togethers, plus a holiday party. To cover the cost, everyone contributes to an employee activity fund. While Gary does have friends here, many of us hardly know him and feel he shouldn’t participate without paying. How should we handle this?

A. Certain situations seem to cry out for a policy, and this is definitely one. In reality, the cause of your problem is not gregarious Gary but the lack of attendance guidelines for retirees. Therefore, to resolve the issue, you will need to get management involved.

First, several concerned employees should schedule a meeting with the human relations director or another appropriate executive. Have a spokesperson concisely describe the problem and then suggest an initial action step.

For example: “There seems to be a lot of confusion about retirees attending social functions. Some people assume they aren’t invited, while others continue to attend for free. To clarify this, we would like to draft some guidelines for you to review. Would that be OK?”

If management gives the go-ahead, then it’s time to consider options. Retirees might be welcomed at no cost or excluded altogether. They could choose to maintain activity fund contributions or pay a fee for each event. When making a recommendation, carefully consider what will work best for your particular organization.

Once a policy has been written and approved, it must be shared with all current and retired employees well before the next event. And since Gary is such an avid partygoer, perhaps one of his friends should call to personally deliver the news.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”

Twitter: @officecoach