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Internal job search with issues

Q. I am looking for a new job with my present company. I’ve missed a lot of work due to chronic illnesses in the last year and I’ve received a written warning. In the last two months, I have been on new treatments and have been progressively better, and have not missed one day of work. But all a prospective hiring manager will see is my past history and my written warning. How can I handle this when applying for a job internally? If my good attendance continues, the warning will still be on my record, and no one gives a citation for improved attendance.

A. It’s great to hear that your health is getting better, your new treatments are helping, and that your attendance at work is improving. Two months is a good start, and I think your manager would like to see an even longer track record before he or she would be willing to recommend you for an internal transfer.

It is important to know how the organization views you as an employee. Are you a long term employee? Are you someone newer to the company? How has your performance been evaluated other than the attendance issue? You need to be aware of how your entire performance is viewed so that you can strengthen your reputation in the right areas.


You don’t say how long you have been at the firm, and this will have an impact. If you have years of solid performance behind you with no absenteeism issues until your health situation came up, other internal managers would be more willing to take a risk on hiring you. If you started recently – within the last year or so, and have had issues in addition to attendance you will most likely need to improve those aspects of your performance, not just attendance.
Information on employees travels in many ways throughout an organization. Your performance file will carry specific review information including the written warning. You can impact the contents of this file by asking your manager to make note of the improved attendance and to note that the previous attendance issues were health related. I would wait for at least 3 months of solid attendance to ask for this, and potentially longer if you need to show other areas of increased performance.
Managers also communicate informally about employees. They need people who can help them get the job done, and if you have the skills, attitude, and track record to make that happen, they will look at internal transfers opportunities for you. Managers want an employee who will be there, and perform. They are not interested in employees they can’t count on – even if it is for a very valid reason.
Build your track record. Attendance is a good start – build performance from there, and a good internal opportunity may be in your future.

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