updates: the conference expenses, asking to move back to an old job, and more

Here are three updates from people whose letters were answered here in the past.

1. Should we let an employee pay their own way to a conference in an exciting location? (#2 at the link)

Thank you for answering my question and to all the commenters for their advice as well!

I dropped it on my end and what we ended up doing was telling the employee that they could attend on our company registration (which lowers the fees compared to registering as an individual) but they would have to cover their portion of the cost. We also do not ask staff to use PTO when they’re attending professional training or conferences so this was still paid work time (this was something that was expected by everyone here, but since there were a few passionate comments about policing vacation time I wanted to address that). They had been hoping the company would be able to cover more of the costs (they asked if the funds from the other events they are scheduled to attend this year could be used for this instead, but I need someone to attend those events so I can’t reallocate), but they still seemed excited to attend. Then something happened (and unfortunately I can’t elaborate more) and they have now backed out of attending so I’m working with the conference to get that portion of the registration refunded. Now we have a plan in place in case this happens again, though I think this is unlikely to come up again for us any time soon. Thanks again for your response!

2. How can I ask to move back to my old job? (#3 at the link)

I didn’t want to go around my boss, “Joe,” to talk to my director Ned directly, so I told Joe directly but professionally that I wasn’t happy in my new role and that I wanted to move back to my previous role, as Ned promised. He said he understood, and he promised that he’d bring it up to Ned the next time they met.

Well, long story short–Ned said that moving back to my old role was not going to happen. This was disappointing and frustrating, as they hadn’t even filled my old position yet. I started looking for a new job immediately, including internal jobs suggested by contacts/colleagues who had a high opinion of my work.

When I began applying for transfers Ned started trying to convince me that I’d “hate working in [that department]” and I “wouldn’t find the same flexibility elsewhere” and so on. I immediately recognized that he was being manipulative, and it really solidified for me that I needed to leave.

I did get a happy ending though! Five months after my letter I ended up getting a promotion in another department. It’s been really great. My team is amazing, and my work has been well-received. I’m less stressed, have a better title, and I make more money. Even though I didn’t get the outcome I originally wanted, I think I ended up where I needed to be! Thanks for your advice!

3. I might not have the skills for the job — should I point that out to my interviewer?

You answered my letter earlier this year about a job I was applying for that stated in the JD that the ideal candidate would have a “high level” of excel skills and I wasn’t sure what that meant, if I should pursue this job, and if I had that level of Excel skills.

Turns out I got the job! And I love it and I’m so happy I didn’t let the “high level” piece scare me off. So many of your commenters said something along the lines of, “there are so many different things you can do with Excel that asking for a “high level” of skill is so broad as to be almost meaningless.” Well, not entirely meaningless but you know what I mean. Don’t ask me to conditionally format anything but let me make some pivot tables and I’ll show you what’s up.

I would say that your answer and your commenters suggestions made me go for it and I’m so glad I did. Good companies are going to look for the right fit and experience and not just check skills off boxes to determine who to hire. I do have enough Excel skills to do what I need to do and I have also learned a lot in the few months I have been there because there are so many easy online ways to learn what you want to know. I was pretty upfront when I started, saying that I didn’t have a lot of experience with X, but I know Y and I’m good at figuring stuff out. I’m also taking some Excel courses early next year so I can get even more skills.

Hopefully someone else will read this and feel empowered to go for their dream job – I’m so happy I went for it. Thank you and thanks to the commentariat here. You’re all awesome.

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