should a successful gamer put it on their resume, “free” company gifts that aren’t free, ad more — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. If you’re a successful gamer, should it go on your resume?

My son is in college and needs to find a job while he’s home for the summer. He hasn’t had much luck so far, and his experience is limited to stocking shelves at a grocery store for two years, and some volunteer work. He didn’t work at all last summer — I had surgery and was out of commission for quite a few weeks, so he took care of me, the yard, the laundry, shopping, etc. (It’s just the two of us.)

This spring break, he went on a trip that i didn’t know he could afford so I asked him where the money was coming from, and he told me that he had earned it through online gaming. I knew he had done this once in the past, but I didn’t understand he was still doing it, and that it had added up to thousands of dollars. Through skill or luck, you can earn things like weapons for playing, and the ownership of them is transferable, so they can be sold. As best I can tell, it’s legal.

Should this go on his resume? Would it help him find a job, or turn people off? It’s unusual, but would maybe be looked at as entrepreneurial? If he should add it, how should he list it?

Leave it off. Most people seeing that on a resume are going to think “how is this relevant to the job you’re applying for?” and a lot of them will judge him for including it, unless he can really spell out in concrete and credible terms how the skills transfer … and even then he’d encounter a lot of skepticism.

can I put World of Warcraft leadership experience on my resume?

2. Complaining to a manager after an employee corrects you about her gender

Was my sister-in-law wrong to complain to someone’s manager?

While I was visiting my sister-in-law, she asked my opinion on a situation she recently encountered. She was calling a customer service line and the person on the phone sounded male so when they asked if they could put my SIL on hold, she responded, “Yes sir” (she’s southern) The rep responded with, “I identify as female, please address me as such,” then placed my SIL on hold.

My SIL was incensed by this and send a nasty email to the customer service manager about how the behavior was rude and the rep made my SIL feel as if she had committed a cardinal sin, but my SIL had no way of knowing their gender other than by their voice because they were on the phone.

My response was that if the rep had said “my name is X,” then you should address them as X and not use sir or ma’am. Am I missing something?

Whether to address someone by their name or by ma’am/sir or by nothing at all is deeply cultural/regional.

But if you use gendered greetings like “ma’am” and “sir” (like much of the American south does reflexively), then occasionally you might get someone’s gender wrong and you should handle a correction politely. Sending an angry email to complain was out-of-line; even if the rep sounded irritated, it didn’t warrant a complaint to the manager. Any chance your sister-in-law is responding to something other than what happened … like is she affronted by issues around gender identity more broadly?

3. Our director left while my coworker was on vacation

I have a colleague who left for a long vacation in their home country (five weeks). In the middle of her vacation, my former director announced that he would be leaving, did his two weeks, and has now left. I was previously a peer to the colleague and now I am the acting director. My colleague is a very anxious person and I think she will feel really troubled by coming back to him having left and me being in charge. My former director has an office in town near the colleagues house in a workspace/coffeeshop-type place. Do you think we should aim for her first day back to meet there so he can break the news himself?

I really want her to have a smooth transition back after such a long time away and I don’t want her to be overwhelmed by the changes. She really likes and trusts our old director and I think she would ultimately be okay with me being the acting director, but I think the whole thing will come as a shock! She is back on Monday. Any advice?

I think asking her to meet at a coffeeshop before coming in risks setting off her anxiety on its own. And it’s too much to ask your former director, who doesn’t work there anymore, to do a Monday morning meeting at his old job just to break the news to someone delicately. That’s just … a lot of handling of someone else’s feelings for them.

I’d just share the news with her once she’s back and figure she’ll be surprised and need some time to process, and she’ll handle that however she handles it. Otherwise I would worry about (a) signaling to her that it’s a bigger deal than it is by setting up a special off-site meeting just for her, and (b) the precedent you’d set by trying to manage her feelings to that extent about a fairly normal workplace change.

4. “Free” company gifts that aren’t free

This is a very low-stakes, probably no-stakes question that seems unlikely to come up, but I’d like to get your take.

I started a fully remote job this week. One of my orientation tasks was to pick some standard starter items (branded notebook, water bottle, etc.) from the company’s online store, which are free and will be shipped to me for free.

New employees also get a $20 credit toward anything else in the company store. It’s a very expansive store with everything from golf tees and fridge magnets to high-end jackets and camping gear, all covered in the company logo. We also “partner” with an NFL team, so there’s some pretty cool co-branded stuff too.

However, with the exception of, like, some stickers, nothing in the store is under $20. AND shipping is $8, minimum. AND you can’t bundle your “gift” with the mandatory items. So unless you’re so into free stuff that you want $12 of bland logo stickers, this “gift” is effectively a way for employees to pay to advertise for their employer.

I realize this is pretty common practice and barely even registers on the scale of corporate grossness, so my solution is to just not buy anything and forget about it. But if someone (my boss, who probably has to promote this “perk,” or the marketing department, who almost certainly has to budget for it) asks why I haven’t used my credit, is there a tactful, professional way to say “This is icky” or should I stick to some fluff about not needing another t-shirt?

Yeah, that’s poorly thought-out!

I doubt your boss will even notice, let alone ask you about it if you don’t order anything. But if it does come up, as a new employee I wouldn’t get into it; just go with, “Oh, I’m trying to have less stuff around” or something similarly bland. However, once you’ve been there longer and have accumulated more capital, feel free to point out to whoever manages this stuff that there’s no way to use the credit without dropping a bunch of cash along with it. They might be well aware of that and fine with it — who knows, maybe a bunch of employees love the company-branded hoodies and so the credit is super popular — but it’s reasonable to point out once you’ve been there longer.

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