Ask Sue


Find Jobs, Post Resumes

Ask Sue 

Choosing Careers 

Job Search Strategies

Interview Tips 

Resume Tool Kit 

Cover Letters 

Sample Resumes 


Home Business  

Human Resources & Management  




Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Schedule Conflicts and
Unemployment Woes

Q: My boss makes appointments for me without checking my schedule, and then if I have other commitments, she expects me to cancel my plans.

The other day I had lunch plans, which happened to be with a client. "Mary," my supervisor, made lunch plans for me, too, which was with an important client.

When she told me about the date, I told her I had other plans. She said the client she scheduled lunch with was more important and told me to cancel my previous plans. This is not the first time she has done something like this to me. What if I had plans with a friend - or a doctor's appointment? Shouldn't my lunch hour be my time to do whatever I want?

I am sick of her acting as if she owns me. What can I do?

- Upset

Sue Says: Let your supervisor know that you want to be as accommodating as possible, but you fear your relationships with your clients will be hurt if you are unable to keep the commitments you make with them.

Provide her with a monthly schedule, and update it weekly. And ask her to please check with you before making any firm commitments for you in the future.

Q: Three years ago I was terminated from my job, and ever since my then the company that I worked for has been telephoning me at home, asking questions about my former duties. "How did you do this?" "Where is the file on the XYZ merger?" "How do you format a diskette?" "How do you put a new ribbon in the typewriter?"

Initially I answered the questions because I didn't want to ruin an employment reference. But now I am getting irritated with them telephoning at all hours to ask me something.

I have always been polite to them on the telephone and have said, "I am sorry, I don't work for you anymore," but the telephone calls continue.

Several friends have told me to send the company a bill each time they ask a question on the telephone or just hang up on them. I have no intention of ever returning to the company, but I am concerned for the people there who were my friends. I do not want them to be punished for my actions.

What exactly is my obligation to a company who fired me on the day of the Christmas party three years ago?

----Working without pay

Sue Says: As far as I am concerned, you have no obligation at all. The next time you get a call from the freeloaders, you need to make it clear that you have no intention of spending any more time answering questions they can figure out for themselves and that you don't want to hear from them again. It's time to let go of your feelings of obligation and it's time for the people who keep calling to stop imposing on you.

Q: I work for a nonprofit association. Our general manager left and the member companies have not decided if they will replace him or relocate the company. If the company closes, how much notice are we entitled to? Are we entitled by law to get severance pay? Are we entitled to unemployment compensation? Thank you in advance for you assistance.

--- Worried About My Future

Sue Says: The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act governs whether and how much advance notice a company must give its employees of an intended plant closing.

The law generally only applies to companies with 100 or more full-time employees when at least 50 of those employees will lose their jobs, said Mary Krakow, an employment and labor law attorney with the Fredrickson & Byron law firm in Minneapolis. If your company meets these limits, then it generally must give at least 60 days advance notice of an intended closing.

State laws sometimes have lower threshold limits; in addition, check out your employment contract or company policy handbook that may require advance notice of termination.

No law requires employers to pay severance pay upon termination. If your company has a written policy on severance, the terms of the policy will control whether you receive it and how much severance you are entitled to.

Unemployment compensation generally is available to employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Terminated employees should contact the nearest Department of Economic Security or Job Training office to apply for benefits.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
For more Ask Sue articles, click here.

Share This Page




Source of images:

Privacy Statement

The information compiled on this site is Copyright 1999-2016 by Attard Communications, Inc. and by the individual authors.
Career Know-How is a service mark of Attard Communications, Inc.