Inc.com columnist Alison Green answers questions about workplace and management issues--everything from how to deal with a micromanaging boss to how to talk to someone on your team about body odor.

Here's a roundup of answers to five questions from readers.

1. How to quit a job you just started

How can I resign from my new job after a short time? I was able to get a new job with better pay and a really short commute, and I thought my skill set would transfer, but it is not at all what I thought it would be.

I worked for 17 years in my first job and 14 years in my second job. I was unhappy with my bad manager and mismanaged workload, so I found a new position three months ago, and it is not a good fit for me at all. My manager is so busy she's inaccessible (I've been able to meet with her exactly once, for about 10 minutes), there is no real training guide, the people training me are ineffective, and I just don't fit in. I've worked with enough people, departments, and responsibilities over the years to realize this. I've never felt this way, even when moving from department to department in my first long-term job.

My previous company left the door open for me to come back, and the problem manager is gone and, along with her, the workload issues. But what do I say to my current manager? To be honest, I'd rather be out of there this week, and I see no point in staying two weeks when I am just a trainee and have only one tiny responsibility. Can I do this? 

Green responds:

Yes, you can do this. And usually when someone resigns so soon after starting, the employer won't expect you to stay another two weeks (since it generally won't make sense on their side, either).

You'd just say something like this: "I'm so sorry, but I've come to realize that this isn't the right fit for me. I don't want you to continue investing time in me when I'm sure that it's not the right match. I'd be glad to stay for a few more days to wrap things up if you like, but I also understand if it makes more sense on your end for me to leave immediately."

Be prepared for your manager to ask why you don't think it's the right fit. One option is to just say you've decided to go back to your old company, which might be easier than explaining that you think they're sort of a mess.

One caveat: You've had two jobs in 30 years, which means you might find it hard to adjust to any new company (which is very different from changing departments within a company). Before you decide for sure, it might be worth doing some soul searching to make sure that you're confident that your discomfort is truly about this particular company, rather than about it just being really disorienting to start somewhere new after so long.

2. Employees are coming back from lunch drunk

I am writing to help a friend who is in a tough predicament at work. She and her colleagues work in an office environment in the same department. The manager works out of state and is hardly in the office. The newest employee is an alcoholic, and the other employee has battled alcoholism for years. Unfortunately, fate has brought these two together. My friend has witnessed both of them taking four-to-five-hour lunches, coming back drunk, speaking to clients with slurred speech, and remarking that they are on their way to pick up their kids while under the influence.

My friend has spoken to both of them individually and together to let them know their behavior has become obvious. She has come to me asking for advice. I told her that I would document all indiscretions and to continue to talk to them in hopes that she will break through to them. If, after a couple of months they continue with this behavior or it gets worse, she should go to HR with the documentation.

Green responds:

Oh, my goodness, no, she needs to speak up now. As in, immediately. She needs to call her manager today and tell her what she's observed. Her co-workers aren't just putting client relationships in jeopardy -- although that alone would be a reason to talk to her boss -- but they're also endangering other people and themselves. Their behavior is so far over the line that this is absolutely not a "wait a couple of months and see what happens" situation. It is a "call the boss today and speak up" situation. Please urge her to do it.

If it makes her feel better, you can point out that she's already done her co-workers the courtesy of talking to them directly about the problem. What they're doing is egregious enough that she wasn't even obligated to do that, but she's done it and they've ignored her warning. It's time -- past time, really -- to talk to her boss.

3. Skipping a team-building event that's during my notice period

I have recently given my three months notice, as I'm contractually obliged to do. During that time, we have a team-building event planned, in which the entire team will be present for a week to discuss strategy and priorities for the year. It always takes place in a mountain retreat, so that everyone spends all their waking hours with the entire group. These events are tiring and usually little progress is made.

I don't see the point in attending this during my notice period. Talking about strategy, priorities, and how best to tackle projects I won't be working on seems like a waste of time: My opinion is somewhat irrelevant at this point. Is there a professional way of saying I doubt my presence during the retreat would be beneficial to the company in light of my imminent departure?

Green responds:

The fact that you're leaving doesn't mean your input wouldn't be valuable, but if you want to try to get out of it, try saying this: "Since I'm leaving, I'd like to skip the retreat so I can focus on wrapping up my projects and documenting everything for my replacement. Would that be OK with you?"

If you get any pushback, then be more explicit: "To be totally transparent, my strong preference would be not to go since those events can be so intensive and draining, and I'm not in a role where I'll be offering a lot of input. Unless you feel strongly that I need to be there, I'd rather stay here and focus on wrapping things up."

Alternatively, if your sense of your manager is that she's likely to push you to go, you could skip all this and just have an unmovable conflict that week. While that might not normally fly, you're more likely to get away with it when you're already leaving.

4. I'm worried my old company will know I wrote a negative Glassdoor review

Recently I joined (and then left) a small, high-turnover workplace. Since Glassdoor has saved me numerous times from applying to a potential nightmare scenario job, I felt obligated to share my experiences regarding this company, if only to educate others of potential issues based on my experiences.

Until my review, there were zero reviews of the company. I was fair in sharing both the good and bad of the company, but the review (and my experience) was overall pretty negative, and I stated I couldn't recommend anyone else work there given my experience.

While I'm not relying on this company for recommendations, I'm concerned the office will figure out I left the review. What should I say if someone from there asks me if I left the review? Am I under any obligation to say it was me?

Green responds:

Nope, you're definitely not obligated to say it was you. The point of Glassdoor is to provide anonymous reviews. You're not obligated to give up that anonymity just because someone asks.

If it's a small company, it can sometimes be easy to figure out who wrote something, especially if you gave details specific to your job. But you mentioned that this company has had high turnover, so you probably won't be the obvious suspect.

5. Should I tutor my boss's son?

It's become known at my full-time place of employment that I have a second part-time job tutoring high school students. Recently, my boss at my full-time job asked me if I'd be willing to tutor his 17-year-old son in a make-up class that the boy has already failed. He has stated that he is willing to pay for my services if I agree.

I'm concerned about this for a couple of reasons. First, I'm not sure what this would do to the working relationship with my boss and how this could shift the power dynamic. Second, students who apply themselves at all shouldn't be failing at this level, even if they don't have as much talent as their peers, which makes me think it's more of a motivational issue than one of ability. If his son fails again after I work with him, I'm not sure what my boss will think. I'm willing to help, but I'm not sure what to do.

Green responds:

I wouldn't do it. There's too much potential for problems, like if you have to deliver bad news about your boss's kid and he's the sort of parent who doesn't take it well, or if he's dissatisfied with the results you get, or if you have a disagreement about your rates. Your boss is the person who controls your primary paycheck and your quality of life at work, and it doesn't make sense to risk messing with it. (To be clear, it's not that this will definitely be a disaster; it could work out beautifully, for all I know. But the risk doesn't make sense to take, particularly when the son presumably has other options for help.)

I'd tell your boss that you're full up on tutoring clients right now but that you'd be glad to refer him to another tutor.
 

Want to submit a question of your own? Send it to alison@askamanager.org.