my boss watches porn all day, salary and cost-of-living differences, and more

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

1. My coworker slacked off this weekend and no one said anything

My coworker and I are both new hires at a small tech firm. Our CEO and COO stated that we should all (including our team lead) rotate weekends watching the help desk to answer client tickets. Well, it was my fellow new hire’s turn this past weekend and he expressed that he was going to the mountains. I asked if he needed to switch weekends and he said no, he’d have cell service and connectivity.

Well, Sunday morning I took a look at our help desk and noticed that there was an outstanding ticket from Saturday (we’re supposed to reply within an hour). I informed our team lead and she said, “Thanks, glad you caught that” and I offered to take care of the ticket since we hadn’t heard from fellow new hire.

Now, it’s Monday and no one has said a thing. I personally feel as if he should take my shift (next weekend) or at least part of it since I spent a portion of my day answering a ticket that was his responsibility. But as of now there are crickets in the office and no one has brought it up. I firmly believe in team effort but it’s irritating when someone isn’t doing their part. What should I do?

Yes, it’s irritating. But so far, this seems to be a one-time thing. You can certainly say something to him if you want (like “Hey, since I took your ticket last weekend, do you want to cover this coming weekend?”), but I wouldn’t make a bigger deal out of it than that (with him or with your team lead) until/unless it happens again or there are other signs of a pattern.

2. Negotiating salary when major cost-of-living differences are in play

I currently work in marketing in Milwaukee, WI making $40,000/year. I have been job hunting and was recently offered a job in my chosen field the San Francisco bay area (Emeryville, CA). While interviewing, they asked for my salary history (firmly asking for a specific number when I tried to politely skirt the issue), and have offered me a salary of $40,000. My responsibilities would be growing from my current to future position (bigger audience, more responsibility, asking more creatively of me, etc.), and coupled with the cost of living increases, I’m going to need to ask for a higher salary.

Based on cost of living calculator/analysis and talking with my financial advisor, the minimum equivalent of $40,000 in Milwaukee is $54,000 in Oakland, CA (nearest big city), and $64,000 in San Francisco proper. How can I go about negotiating my salary given that they essentially ignored the cost of living discrepancies between the two cities?

Base it on the market rate for that type of work in that geographic area, totally independent of what you’re currently making (which means you need to do some research into market rates for your work). Just like they shouldn’t be basing their offer on your current salary, you shouldn’t be basing your salary request on it either; doing so only legitimizing their approach. However, if you get the sense that they’re determined to build your offer off of your current salary, then you can absolutely point out that there are significant cost of living differences, and can even point out that what they’re offering would in practical terms be a salary cut for you.

3. My boss watches porn all day, every day

I am a maintenance engineer for a food industry. I work second shift so when I clock in, all the major management leaves. After all of upper management leaves, my supervisor watches porn and surfs the net all day, every day for the past 2 years I’ve been there. I’m tired of seeing it. I’ve caught him watching it so much that he’s comfortable watching it in front of me. I work 10-hour shifts everyday and he’s in the office 8-9 hours of the day.

How do I tell management professionally that my supervisor is unfit for his job? Or how do I say it and not come out as a jerk who has something out for his supervisor? Which I don’t; I just don’t think he’s fit for the supervisor job getting paid $65k a year.

Well, you don’t tell them that he’s unfit for his job, because that’s their call. But you absolutely can and should report the porn-watching situation. I’d say something like this: “I haven’t reported this previously because I’ve been uncomfortable speaking up, but Bob watches porn on the computer in his office every night during our shift. I’ve caught him so many times that now he doesn’t try to hide it.”

And assuming it’s making you uncomfortable, you should mention that too, because making you work in an overly sexualized environment like that triggers harassment laws.

4. Can I apply for my own job at a higher rate of pay?

I currently work within a team of seven people who are all employed under the same job title. Our company is advertising externally, and I know whoever they hire in will have a salary 40-50% higher than mine. Can I apply for the job? It is the job I’m currently doing, just they will be paid more as I was promoted within the company off a low base salary.

No, you can’t just send in an application for your own job title when you’re already working there. That’s going to look really weird.

You can, however, make the case for a raise, pointing to the advertised position as clear evidence of what the market rate for the role now is. If you’re given some BS justification for paying external hires more, you should point that you should be based on your value in the role just like everyone else is, and point to what it would cost to replace you. And if that still doesn’t work, then you should consider whether you’d rather become a better-paid external hire yourself, somewhere else.

5. Professional certifications obtained through testing

What are your thoughts on professional certifications obtained through testing? I am a technical communicator/trainer. ASTD (a professional training organization) offers CPLP (certified professional in learning and performance) certification. The cost is $999 or $799 to members. Membership is $229. This cost seems absolutely outrageous! As a comparison, I looked up the HR certification (PHR) cost: $400 or $350 for members. So much more reasonable! My current company isn’t going to foot the bill, and I don’t want to spend my money on something that seems sooooo utterly overpriced. However, in my job hunt, I’ve seen at least one place list CPLP certification as a requirement. Do you think I should still apply for that position? I believe you have encouraged people to apply when they don’t meet 100% of the requirements, but I’m not sure if that includes certifications. Do you think I should mention that I am not certified in the cover letter? I’d gladly take the test if they pay, but that seems tacky to point out.

Do you think certification in software is helpful? For instance, Adobe Captivate certification costs $180. If I don’t have a portfolio which I can share, is certification the best way to prove I know the products? I’m not excited to spend that kind of money, but I would be willing if it was important to hiring managers.

Personally, I don’t care that much about certificates and would always strongly prefer to see real-world experience. If someone has a certificate in X but no actual work experience in X, I know nothing about how successful they are at applying their knowledge of X in real life.

The only times I’d say it makes sense to shell out for certifications are when you truly need the knowledge you’ll get from the process (without regard to the certification itself) or when your field generally does require (or strongly prefer) them. For you, it seems like the question is more about the latter — and the way to find out the answer is to look at what the majority of ads for jobs you’re interested in say, and to talk to people in your field.

{ 230 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl

    San Fran on 40k? Ouch! You need to push back.

    I’m kind of bothered that the HR department thinks it’s OK to come straight across salary wise, unless you were overcompensated in WI. It makes no sense. If the job does indeed mean greater responsibility then it should be a higher salary. Plus everyone knows that urban CA has a very high cost of living.

    I’d do what Alison suggests as far as finding out market rate and insisting on it. But I’d also take it as a huge red flag that they thing coming straight across is an OK thing. Someone is clueless/incompetent/unethical/cheap – something!

    1. Anonymous

      I totally agree with this and read this as a red flag too. They want you to move across the country for what’s essentially a pay cut? Moving is expensive enough, and that’s only the start.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, I almost got into the fact that the OP shouldn’t be moving across country for that salary, but it’s possible that the OP is actively seeking to move to that area (as opposed to the company seeking her out, in which case they would indeed need to do more to lure her there). When you want to move to a specific area and you don’t have especially in-demand skills and therefore are competing with highly qualified local candidates, there often isn’t a premium for moving.

        (That said, this salary sounds way too low. I’m only responding here to the idea that the salary should be linked to the fact that she’d be moving, because that’s not always the case.)

        1. De Minimis

          Yes, it’s not enough to make it in that area, and I can’t believe they are paying so little. Not saying they should pay 70k, but something in the 50s would be reasonable. Even then it would be pretty tight, and that would be more of an entry level salary depending on the field.

          I made the mistake of moving for a salary that has turned out not to be as great as I thought it would be, so it’s definitely something that is not to be taken lightly.

          1. Dan

            The thing is, I do think double the salary (or close to it) might be appropriate in this circumstance. On its face, the job alone requires more money over what the OP is making in WI. And the OP really does need a cost of living difference.

            I have family in Milwaukee, and they just bought a 4+ bedroom house for $300,000. Out here (DC), maybe I get a condo for that price.

            While it’s hard to say exactly what a COL premium should be, the OP does have leverage — a current job she doesn’t have to leave.

        2. OP2

          Thanks for all of your input — yes, I am actively seeking to move to the area but have been getting interviews for positions that are much higher (including more than double this offer). This is my first offer, and is an amazing job/company, but am hesitant to want to work with people who may be intentionally low balling me or trying to take advantage of the fact I’m eager to relocate.

          1. Anon

            Interesting tidbit: yesterday morning’s news radio mentioned that in the SF Bay area, the annual salary needed to buy & reasonably maintain a median-priced home is $151,000.

            1. fposte

              Though that’s a little misleading, same as it would be in any congested urban area–most non-rich people don’t purchase there, any more than they purchase in Manhattan. Rents aren’t low either, but they’re a lot more accessible.

              1. Anon

                True. They mentioned that the figure was an average over the price of all houses for sale (from multi-million dollar mansions down to just-above-condemned shacks) in a given area, with some vague amount added for maintenance and upkeep.

                The whole story focused on various values for cities across America, not specifically SF, but SF was the highest number they threw out. By comparison, most Midwest cities were in the $20,000-$30,000 per year range.

            2. Anonymous

              I moved to SF in my mid-20’s and eventually moved back to the east coast when I realized all of my single friends and co-workers in their 40’s still had to have roommates. Having said that, it is an amazing city and the weather is generally really nice. Go there while you’re young and have fun.

              My friends out there that have never lived anywhere else didn’t really get it when I tried to explain how much further their money would go in a city like Pittsburgh or Charlotte. They would complain about taking a (probably small) pay cut. When I moved to SF I got a 15% pay raise and my rent doubled for a much smaller place in an unsafe neighborhood. Back on the east coast (and 12 years later), I now own a really nice 3-bedroom house in a safe neighborhood with great schools for under $200K.

          2. Dan

            I wish people would strike the words “amazing”,”awesome”, and “dream” from their job search lexicon.

            First things first, the “company” is really the people that you see and deal with every day. I work for a 7000 person company that makes “Top 100” lists to work for. Now, my department is representative of that, but if my boss was a dick and my coworkers piss and moan all day, no survey is going to suddenly make my job happy.

            And the fact that you are dealing with people who might intentionally try to be low balling you pretty much by definition makes the job less than awesome. One of the things that makes me happy at work is believing I’m fairly compensated.

          3. JBeane

            OP2, I live in Oakland and you’re not going to have the same standard of living earning $54k here, compared to $40k in WI. Oakland has a 97% occupancy rate at the moment, which means studio apartments in most parts of the city go for over $1300. Every rental open house attracts a crowd of people, and public transportation is fairly expensive (although we have a great bike lane network!). I’d push back with this company for a higher salary, because they know very well you’re going to take a huge hit in lifestyle if you accept a $40k offer in Emeryville. I totally agree that you should view this lowball offer as an orange flag in terms of how they do business and treat their people.

            1. Meg

              I lived within the DC metro area for a year. One area, northwest of DC, we paid about $1200 for 1bd/bth apartment, plus utilities, and that was under a promotion. When I lived north of DC (a few blocks from the line), I was paying $1440 for 1bd/1bth apartment that included water and electric.

              NC? $600 for 2bd/2bth.

          4. Vicki

            Well, you can certainlly go back with the other interview information in hand and try to negotiate a higher salary.

            Is the company based in Emeryville? Are you working with a recruiter who is outside CA?

            Because, seriously, anyone who lives here knows that 40K in SF is not equivalent to 40K in Wisconsin.

            You have options. Use them.

    2. Sam

      I agree! I am really offended on this person’s behalf! I work in DC and make $43k and even though I am really good with my money, I also have a second job because DC is the third most expensive place to live in the nation, and San Fran is #1. There is absolutely no way in hell this person will be able to live off of that amount in SanFran. I’m not sure where she is in her career, but the increase in price would have to be double or at the very least 1/3 more for her to be able to LIVE there.

      That’s a really low move for the employer. THEY know how expensive housing is there!

  2. Anonover

    For the OP #1 — it’s nice that you want to be there for your customers…but be careful about causing your own problems. Do you normally check in on the weekend? Are you supposed to check in periodically? Or did you suspect that coworker would slack? If the answers are no, no and yes…then you can do that. But then don’t stew about it. Do it to provide great service for your customers. Or don’t check in when you don’t need to and let coworker hang himself. Otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy.

    1. majigail

      I agree, it’s better for you NOT to check. If you’re worried about the slacking, your supervisor will catch on fast.

    2. plain jane

      Plus you offered to take care of the ticket. I’m sure your manager noticed, and this gets you a +1 in the mental accounting. If you’re annoyed by losing part of your Sunday, bring it up with your co-worker directly.

      On another note, how do you know that nobody has brought it up with him privately?

      1. OP #1

        You’re right about the private thing which is why I’ve strayed away from bringing it up in the office. I guess I feel as if this isn’t the case because I haven’t gotten so much as a thank you or acknowledgment from Fellow New Hire.

        1. danr

          And you won’t get a thank you. That would be an admission that he shouldn’t have been away and out of range. Just let it ride.

          1. Emily K

            Exactly. He might not care that he dropped the ball, or he might be embarrassed. Either way, he’s probably not eager to make his screw-up the topic of conversation with anyone he doesn’t strictly have to (i.e. his manager).

    3. Colette

      IMO, if it’s not your weekend, stay off the network – that’s the point of having someone else covering. It’s better for your non-work life, and if they don’t do what they need to, it will become much more noticeable.

      If you log in and cover, you’re essentially putting yourself on call every weekend, and that will lead to resentment and burnout.

    4. OP #1

      Thanks for the reply! And I fully agree with just letting him hang himself but I’m having a hard time getting past the “team” aspect with that idea. We’re judged as a team and work as a team.

      This was a first ever rotation. And yes, periodically I check in on the help desk because sometimes client replies slip through the cracks or, since I’m a new hire, I review old and new tickets so that I better grasp the software and troubleshooting that I’m learning.

      1. Positivity Boy

        I’m with you in regards to covering for him – whether your new coworker is lazy or not, the customer shouldn’t be the one getting screwed. Letting him mess up seems beneficial from your perspective in terms of making it more apparent to management, but it’s unfair to the customer who shouldn’t have to be impacted by behind-the-scenes issues. Maybe don’t drive yourself crazy checking all weekend if you wouldn’t be otherwise, but I think it will be much better for your image and for the customers in the long run if you still chip in and cover for him, as long as you’re willing to speak up to your boss if it becomes a trend (because otherwise you will go crazy doing someone else’s job forever).

      2. myswtghst

        My advice would be to be wary of begrudging someone for something you decided to do. Yes, you suspected coworker would slack, and yes, coworker did, but they didn’t ask or expect you to cover – you decided to do that on your own.

        I’ve gotten fed up with coworkers for similar situations in the past, but I’ve also come to realize that I was partially to blame. Instead of letting my colleague trip up and learn from their mistake, I covered for them and they either learned that I’ll pick up the slack, or if they’re really not self-aware, they didn’t even realize a mistake was made.

        1. OP #1

          Thanks for the reply! I think staying completely out of it next time is going to be the right choice. Not just for me, but for our team as well.

  3. PRGal

    Regarding the Bay Area $40k offer, I work in PR in the area (comparable salary ranges). $40k is average for entry level positions (unfortunetely), but it sounds like you have experience and are not straight out of school. The $54-64k range you cite is about right for 2-5 years of experience. They’re definitely low-balling you! Also, be forewarned the cost of living is not $10k different between Oakland and SF, it’s all pretty high! I agree with getting some market validation for SF specifically, like from Glassdoor. I work at a global company and our Bay Area salaries are the highest of all US offices (even NYC); so this company is either clueless or trying to get you for really cheap…

    1. OP2

      Thanks for your input – based on my research and other interviews, I figured this was a very low offer. I have 3 years experience at this point and definitely want my salary to speak to that. What’s especially irksome — the position is for a company that works in real estate, who of all people should know the skyrocketing cost of rent in the Bay Area.

      1. Zillah

        Yeah, if I were you, I definitely wouldn’t want to work for this company. I get that in general, employers want to pay less and employees want to get paid more, but between pushing hard for your salary history (off-putting, but forgivable), offering you exactly what you make now once they hear it, and doing so regardless of the fact that they’re essentially offering you a massive paycut…

        No. Not unless you were very, very desperate. (IMO, obviously.)

  4. Brett

    #4 Based on the letter, I am almost certain this is a private sector situation. But I thought it would be worthwhile to note that in the public sector, especially local government, it would be common and not at all unusual to apply in this situation as long as the new position is under a different supervisor.

    1. Anonymous

      My sister is in private sector (finance) and she always applied for different positions – though generally it would be horizontal movements (to get slightly different responsibilities & to grow). This way she spirals up the later b/c after a few years of doing this, she knows pretty much how the whole department works. Personally, if the boss of the position is different, I would approach them in person and say you are very interested in it and with working with them, and just ask if you can apply.

  5. Ann Furthermore

    #3: I’m surprised that there isn’t anything on the employer’s network to block access to those sites. Many companies have them, and they’re not hard to set up.

    I had a situation once where one someone was being overly familiar/affectionate with one of my direct reports — patting her on the back, rubbing her shoulders, and even sometimes hugging her. Someone else on my staff made her come talk to me about it. It wasn’t anything like this situation — she said that she knew the person’s actions were meant in kind of a paternal way, not a creepy or gross way, but all the same it made her very uncomfortable. And based on what I knew about the person myself, I agreed with her. But all the same, I talked to his manager, as per the company policy.

    He was quite surprised, but I was too when it was brought to my attention, so that didn’t bother me. But what did ping my radar was that he [the guy’s manager] said he wanted to talk to my employee himself so he could hear directly from her what was going on. This manager was a sneaky, smarmy little weasel, and I suspected that he would try to brush it off and not do anything. So I said that yes, he could talk to her, but that I would have to be present too, because she would probably feel more comfortable discussing it if there was another woman present. But really, I wanted it to be an official conversation with a witness so he would be compelled to follow up. He talked to the guy behaving inappropriately, and the behavior stopped.

    So I would say, assuming the OP is a woman, is to have someone else present with you when you talk to your management about what your supervisor is doing. If the boss’s boss is a guy, he might be tempted to just brush it off as “boys will be boys” type of behavior and nothing will happen. Having someone else there for the conversation will make it more official. Hopefully, management will have enough sense to realize that there’s a real problem, but you never know. People generally don’t like confrontation and do whatever they can to avoid it, including me. I was cringing at the thought of having to talk to another manager about one of his direct reports behaving inappropriately, but after taking some time to screw up my nerve, I sucked it up and did what had to be done.

    1. Nina

      #3: I’m surprised that there isn’t anything on the employer’s network to block access to those sites. Many companies have them, and they’re not hard to set up.

      Maybe the boss has access to the security code to override the internet block? Or he just knows how to bypass it.

      I’m just amazed that he’s so casual about other people knowing he watches porn at work; casual enough to watch it in front of people, no less.

      1. TeaBQ

        It could also be a DVD. Old-fashioned in this day of internet, but suffice it to say there are those who think they can get away with it if it’s not on the network.

        1. danr

          There will still be traces on the computer. Any decent IT person, or even a knowledgeable PC user would be able to find them.

          1. De Minimis

            I’m wondering if maybe they don’t have any real IT and just have the computers set up there the way they would be at home. There are some places that do that.

            1. Ruffingit

              Agreed. Could also be that they don’t expect people to be surfing porn at work. People sometimes block the usual suspects – Facebook, Instagram, etc., but not porn sites because they just don’t think that someone would do this. And I’m thinking the majority of workers would not, although from other letters printed here, it seems to be more of an issue than one would think.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Yep, and some companies don’t use site blockers at all because they expect their employees to behave like responsible adults and aren’t going to micromanage whether someone checks Facebook for a few minutes.

                1. Ruffingit

                  Indeed. I worked for a company that blocked Facebook and other such sites. But then, they did a lot of micromanaging so that was just the tip of the iceberg in treating their employees as children.

                2. HR lady

                  My company doesn’t use site blockers except they do for porn… and I thought that was pretty standard. In addition to the harassment potential when someone is viewing porn, I thought I’d heard that porn sites are notorious for being dangerous (IT-wise — like allowing viruses or whatever — I don’t know the right words to use to say what I’m trying to say).

                  Like someone else on this thread said, we’d likely fire someone if they were caught looking at porn (because that’s how our computer usage policy is defined).

                  A non-porn related aspect of this whole question is that the manager spends so much time on it. If I were the company, I wouldn’t want that kind of time-wasting to happen. Similar to if the manager was playing WoW every day on his shift. What are they not getting done because they’re surfing online?

                3. De Minimis

                  One of my former employers seemed to not really have any reasoning as to what they blocked. All social media was okay, game playing was okay, almost all message boards…but The Onion was blocked…and I assume porn was blocked but I never attempted to access anything like that on my work laptop so I don’t really know. Anything that seemed related to IT/security was often blocked, especially if it was too closely related to hacking [for example, Kevin Mitnick’s website.]

              2. Liane

                But people still do it.
                A close friend of mine works as a claims analyst at a health insurer and has been with the company close to a decade. Two or 3 times, he has told me of incidents where he has been away for a few days & come back to find his work computer full of malware . Why? Because another employee was told to use his pc (or did so on their own, I’m not sure) and visited porn sites–during *daytime shifts* to boot.

              3. Ann Furthermore

                I would just be too paranoid to do that from work, if I were the type of person to peruse adult websites. And I really don’t care if anyone is or isn’t, but doing it from work has always baffled me. I’m always amazed at the gall and audacity (or maybe it’s just outright cluelessness) that it takes to do something like that.

                My husband called me one day after taking our bulldog to the vet to get fixed, and during the procedure they found that his tail was growing in backwards. We had wondered why he didn’t have a tail, but assumed (incorrectly as it turned out) that it had been clipped by the breeder or something.

                Anyway, I guess this is a pretty common thing in dogs, and it’s called a “screw tail.” I wanted to know more about it so got ready to look it up on Google. Then I stopped and thought for a minute and decided to do that from home, because I didn’t want “screw tail” to show up on my browsing history. Who knows what kind of results that would get? But when I did it from home, the first 4 or 5 pages were all dog related, so it probably would have been fine to do that from work.

                1. Momghoti

                  Heh, I could just imagine what hits you’d get on that one…
                  Once, many years ago when the internet was still pretty new, I was searching for a bit of lab equipment when I ran across a hidden link(you could find these links embedded in innocuous sites that would activate without being clicked) that kicked me into ‘porno hell’-the pages were set up so that when you tried to close the page, it would open a different one. I was all of 21, and was soooo embarrassed I could barely speak to ask the IT guy to get me out of it.
                  It happened again, but I just kept clicking ‘close’-and oddly, the sites eventually got to golf course ads.

    2. Mary

      I would report based on, if this was discovered, would they be able to trace it back to the supervisor? I am asking because you both have the same shift, whose to know who was actually on the computer.
      The same thing happened to me. My computer was used by one guy on the night shift and he was watching porn. I discovered it when I logged in one day and he forgot to erase the history. I reported based on the fact that I didn’t want to be accused of watching porn although in my case easy to prove by time stamps).
      I would approach the overall manager and say you are reporting it because you don’t want to be the one accused of looking at the porn.

  6. periwinkle

    #5 – If you’re otherwise qualified, I’d recommend applying for the position that requires the CPLP. Seems odd to require it for a training/tech comm position, though. If you think you really want certification, it’s ideal to find an employer willing to pay the initial fee (re-certification is much less expensive!).

    The PHR is cheaper, sure, but it’s *not* the same field. The fee might be a matter of volume – there are over 130,000 individuals certified as PHRs, but well under 2000 people have gotten CPLPs. Also, the CPLP certification process includes both a computerized exam and a work sample that must be evaluated by actual wage-earning humans at ASTD.

    I’ll probably pursue the CPLP as well as the CPT (my field is performance improvement) since they’re considered desirable in the field and my employer will cover the hefty fees. But they’re not essential.

    1. Chinook

      If an employer is asking for certification and you don’t haven’t, be prepared to have everything another way to prove you have the knowledge. I have been involved with the nursing certification (behind what you need to practice) in Canada and what it gives is proof of knowledge in a specialty as well as experience. Some employers pay for it, others will give a pay bump if you have it and others don’t care. The exams themselves are created by expert nurses and designed by people who know how to craft questions that test for knowledge. Honestly, when I see a nurse with that certification when they are working in that field, I have 100% confidence that they know their stuff.

  7. Beth

    This is for the San Fran low-ball offer. I work in the Bay Area and live on the West Side of the Bay. I make 80k in the tech industry. It does NOT go that far and I have a roomate. I’m building my savings, and I’m paying off my debt and still have a little fun money, but that’s it. Houses cost 700k+ for something decent, and there are loads and loads and loads of fixer uppers here. Gas is outrageous — always at least 50 cents above the west coast average and sometimes as much as a dollar more per gallon. Even Costco costs significantly more. Entertainment costs a bundle. 30 dollar cover charges aren’t uncommon, and if you want to go to some of the fun conventions/fairs in the area, anticipate 50 or even 75 dollars at the door. Even clothes are more expensive — the salt water air is inclement towards clothing and you’ll find that cheaper clothes simply melt away in the wash even when carefully treated.

    I wouldn’t want to try to live here on less than 70k. Not even in Oakland. While you might get lucky I think you are much more likely to end up shut up in your apartment with not a lot of options. And while for many people alone time isn’t so bad, I think if you come here for 40k and you end up living in Oakland, you are likely going to find that neighborhoods in your price range aren’t just sketchy — they are downright dangerous. Your apartment may very well be a very unfun place to be.

    1. OP2

      Thanks for your reply – it’s helpful to have more information about other people’s salaries in the area to formulate a response for the negotiation. Though I tend to live a more frugal lifestyle, the appeal of moving to the Bay Area is the variety of things to do, which I wouldn’t’ be able to experience on such a low salary.

    2. A non

      I live in oakland on 70k and many many of my coworkers do it on 40-50. I live alone in a spacious one bedroom and many of those who make less have roommates, but with plenty of space. We live in the safer, nicer areas of town. Events in the east bay cost less than in SF. Many of us commute to work for free on bicycles. It is possible and can be quite comfortable.

      1. Beth

        Anon — I get what you are saying, but there’s a significant difference between being settled for several years here at a lower salary and starting fresh here on that lower salary. I’ve lived here two years, and the apartments in my building are going for 300 dollars more a month than what I pay (thank goodness for rent control.)

        Events in the East Bay are decidedly cheaper, but there are fun events on this side, like Baycon and Maker’s Fair that I can see appealing to a wide range of people, and they are VERY expensive.

    3. Jamie

      I think Beth brings up some very good points, especially about making sure the options in your price range for housing are safe and in keeping with what you want.

      In the very early 90’s we lived in Novato because my ex was stationed at Alameda. Even living in military housing not directly paying rent or utilities it was really tight. I didn’t notice it as much at the time because we were so young and newly married everything was exciting, but I remember actual sticker shock at the grocery store.

      It’s a pretty area, but I would not want to do it on a budget.

    4. Mints

      OP it does sound like you’re being low balled. (Did you see the salary open thread, btw?)
      I think the most useful thing for you to figure out a predictive budget is to trawl through craigslist ads for apartments. Craigslist + Google street view can get you a pretty good picture of where/how you’d be living. Because I know that everything is more expensive, but $100 in groceries or something seems like a drop in the bucket when you’re looking at $900 rent versus $1800
      Also, it’s true that parts of Oakland are sketchy, but some of the pearl clutching is exaggerated and has racist undertones. Parts of Berkeley and SF are sketchy, too, but they don’t get called ghetto so much.
      Other things I feel like sharing: there’s more variety in transportation, meaning mass transit is pretty good for everyday commutes, and it’s bike friendly, and there are lots of motorcycles too, and zip car is a good option for day trips, and taxis to SF for a night out aren’t so bad.
      Another thing is that the East Bay values free and low cost entertainment. There’s always a festival or other happening, and there’s much more sense of community than SF.
      One last secret from a local: there are beaches in Alameda, and they are amazingly warm.

    5. CAA

      Without knowing anything about the profession she’s in, it’s hard to say if 40K is extremely low. There are jobs here that pay that much, and there are some professions where you really can earn more in Milwaukee than in San Francisco just because there’s a glut of certain skills in the Bay Area.

      Also, there’s more to cost-of-living than housing. You’ll heat/cool your apartment for less of the year; food is often cheaper (in the grocery, not in restaurants); you’ll wear most of your clothes year round and only need one warm jacket and and umbrella for winter; cars last longer and are cheaper to maintain; you can exercise outdoors instead of at a gym; etc. While all this doesn’t entirely make up for the higher rent you’ll pay here, it does help. All my friends who’ve moved to the mid-west were shocked for the first couple of years at how expensive it is to have cold winters and how much more stuff you need to live through them. A lot of people coming the other direction get hung up on housing prices and forget to look at all the other parts of their budgets too.

  8. ScaredyCat

    #1 You know, just because no one has specifically told you anything, it doesn’t mean that your colleague has not been “disciplined”.

    I’m assuming that if he/she had been warned not to let anything like this ever happen, it wouldn’t be in front of you, but rather in private.

    Also, it’s probably better for your mental health to focus on your own performance, rather than keep comparing it with someone else’s. It’ll just lead to frustrations, plus there’s a risk that you might not know some “extenuating” circumstances. I know it’s so tempting to let yourself feel victimized and quietly stew, but you’ll only harm yourself with that attitude.

    1. AdAgencyChick

      This is just what I was thinking. If it continues to happen, then you can talk to your boss (in the way AAM typically suggests, so that the focus is on you and what you need to get your work done, not your colleague — “I’ve had to cover several weekend tickets for Wakeen in the last month, so the rotation system doesn’t seem to be working — what should we do?”). But don’t assume that your coworker hasn’t been reprimanded. If your manager is any good, he has been — you just didn’t see it so that your coworker can save face.

      1. OP #1

        I fully agree with the both of you. I think I feel some type of way because I got hired through the old tried and true process and Fellow New Hire came on board from word of mouth (team lead’s friend knows his wife) and when I called Team Lead on Sunday part of her response was “Well my friend so and so is with them so I don’t think they’re back from the mountains yet”. Which didn’t seem like a viable excuse or reason for someone to not be doing their job.

        1. Elkay

          It sounds like the boss doesn’t care that your co-worker didn’t meet the requirements for replying within an hour. Drop this and don’t log in on someone else’s weekend again. If your boss wants to track why a ticket wasn’t dealt with they’ll dig into the records to see who was on call that weekend.

        2. danr

          Ok… the Team Lead knew that FNH was away and also knew that he was working remotely and missed picking up the ticket. The next time FNH is due to work on the weekend, don’t log in and let him do, or not do, his job. If anyone should be checking on new hire rotations, it’s your boss, not you.

          1. AdAgencyChick

            +1. With this additional information, I wouldn’t recommend putting yourself out there to help out. If you cover, the team lead will come to rely on you to do it, and won’t appreciate your pointing out problems with his friend’s spouse. But if you don’t, then team lead will have to deal with the fallout himself, which might motivate him to manage this person. Or it might not, but either way, it won’t be your problem (unless team lead tries to solve the problem by making everyone else pick up this person’s slack, of course).

  9. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    #1
    I firmly believe in team effort but it’s irritating when someone isn’t doing their part. What should I do?

    And *this* is the real reason, I suspect, that teachers/instructors assign those awful group projects when you were in school. There was always one guy, right? There’s often one in workplace also.

    Lookit, you did the right thing. You put the customer first. Your team lead knows that. Don’t spoil it by going all petty and counting after one experience. Cleaning up behind co-workers is a fact-of-life kinda thing. Nothing is ever even and fair.

    Good bosses love to find out who they can count on and you just made a great impression. If you continue to do a good job, over time the extra effort and attention to detail/customers should produce good results.

    If a pattern of “other people slacking off, you always picking up the slack” emerges, address the pattern with your boss. Not one incident.

    1. Zelos

      Yup, this. OP1, I’m pretty sure crappy school projects are just training you for the workplace and its coworkers. Yes, the workplace has more tools to get things moving (there’s an actual hierarchy, reporting process, the management usually has vested interest to keep the system moving whereas the instructor can just not care)…but the praise in public, criticize in private maxim means that you probably won’t see the results. And you shouldn’t.

      And also, going tit-for-tat over one incident will not earn you goodwill among your coworkers. This was a hard one for me to learn, but…let it go. Otherwise, your coworkers will be counting down to the minute the next time your internet breaks down or your bus runs late. They can throw you under the bus too.

      Let it go unless it becomes a pattern, OP1.

      1. Sunflower

        +1.

        You also don’t know the whole back-story. I know he said he would have service/connectivity but maybe his phone died or the service wasn’t strong enough to complete the ticket.

        Maybe you are new to the workforce but you will find out people make mistakes and things get forgotten. Coworkers will cover for other people because you’re a team. Considering you’re both new, I would definitely let this one slide. Gossip runs rampant in most offices and you don’t want to get the reputation as the ‘narc’ for something that isn’t that important at the end of the day

        Do what AAM said about asking him to take this weekend and then only address it if it becomes a problem

        1. Kelly

          I think this is amazing advice. People do make mistakes! And learning to navigate successful work relationships is an important skill. In my experience, focusing on your own behavior is more important than comparing yourself to others. People are complicated and that makes comparisons difficult. Everyone brings something different to the table, and that includes strengths *and* weaknesses.

          I know you’re frustrated. I am sure you’re talented, since you were hired without network connections. But I am worried about your attitude that your coworker’s network connections make him less qualified. Having a good network is highly encouraged, especially on this forum. Having previous contacts means they have a bigger set of experience data to work with.

          You’ve already spoken with management about it, and they were aware of the situation. They may have made reprimands in private that you don’t need to know about, or they may have let it slide. Either way, it is out of your hands and you need to make peace and let it go.

          I know you are judged as a team, but I highly recommend you focus on your own performance. You did your part by alerting management and they already knew. Let that sink in…….They *already* knew about the situation. Your management knows what’s going on and made a command decision. That means you can relax and focus on yourself because they keep tabs on everyone.

        2. Kelly

          I think this is amazing advice. People do make mistakes! And learning to navigate successful work relationships is an important skill. In my experience, focusing on your own behavior is more important than comparing yourself to others. People are complicated and that makes comparisons difficult. Everyone brings something different to the table, and that includes strengths *and* weaknesses.

          I know you’re frustrated. I am sure you’re talented, since you were hired without network connections. But I am worried about your attitude that your coworker’s network connections make him less qualified. Having a good network is highly encouraged, especially on this forum. Having previous contacts means the people hiring have a bigger set of experience data to work with.

          You’ve already spoken with management about it, and they were aware of the situation. They may have made reprimands in private that you don’t know about, or they may have let it slide. Either way, it is out of your hands and you need to make peace and let it go.

          I know you are judged as a team, but I highly recommend you focus on your own performance. You did your part by alerting management and they already knew. Let that sink in…….They *already* knew about the situation. Your management knows what’s going on and made a command decision. That means you can relax and focus on yourself because they keep tabs on everyone. Stay positive.

    2. Jess

      Of course, this is also why we hated them a lot less when the teacher had the good sense to actually give individual grades and pay attention to who did want. None of us wanted our grades dragged down because of the slacker, especially if we did as much extra work as we reasonably could.

    3. Poe

      I still get terrible flashbacks to 2am the day a 40% of my mark project was due, with my group of deadbeats locked inside a departmental library building (in the lobby, the actual stacks closed at midnight) shouting “NO MORE CHICKEN WINGS!” My group had already ordered delivery twice, and the delay for calling, sorting payment, then eating was driving me insane. I still have a strange aversion to chicken wings, though that may be unrelated.

  10. CK

    For #3 with the porn watching boss: this is definitely WAY wrong, and I’m surprised there’s no filter in place to prevent that sort of thing.

    I would hope that there are others at your job that have a problem with this as well; perhaps you could all approach upper management together?

    I’d be really tempted to find some way of not just “telling” his boss, but since it’s something out in the open, I’m sure it would be very easy to get a few pictures (cellphone or otherwise) and “show” the problem.

  11. Puffle

    #3 I am so baffled that someone would do this at work that I have no idea what to say. The terrifying part is that this isn’t the first time that this topic has appeared on AaM. Why the fudge do people do this??? What could possibly be wrong with the LW’s supervisor that they’d think this is acceptable? Whenever a question like this appears, I always wonder if the culprit has some kind of psychological issue, or was perhaps raised by wild dinosaurs or something.

    No offence to wild dinosaurs.

    1. anon previous op

      Some companies have faith that their IT knows what they are doing and will take their word as truth. Sometimes telling your boss that IT is incompetent just isn’t an option and makes you looks like an ass waiting to be fired. Just throwing that out there…

    2. TK

      I feel the same way. It’s hard to believe that so many people apparently have no problem doing this at work. Every day, for two years? That’s incredible.

    3. hilde

      Along these lines about being mystified how people can do this so boldly: One time I was training at a hotel and we took a break mid-morning around 10am. We were in a section of the hotel that was mostly the conference center–meeting rooms, banks of computers, etc. It happened that we were the only people in that wing of the hotel that day. EXCEPT for this one guy sitting at the bank of computers (and he wasn’t one of our guys). I walked out the door and had to pass right by the computers. I absentmindedly looked over and this guy was watching porn. Right in the open, not giving a crap who was around. I must have made a shocked face and did a double take because I heard some snickering as I walked by. When break was over I found out that a group of my guys from class were standing near this guy and watched my reaction. They were just as grossed out and baffled as I was. I think we were all so shocked we didn’t really confront him ({shrugs} what would we say anyway?).

      I can see how people get really lax and comfortable enough to do that in their workplace (totally not condoning it, but I can see how it happens). But I was really shocked that a guy would sit out amongst strangers and just blatantly watch it. I think I’m rather innocent and naive, though. haha

    4. some1

      I think people do this at work when they know other people know about because they think they can’t help themselves, it’s a sexual harassment power play or they think they deserve to do whatever they want.

  12. Stephanie

    Um, $40k in the Bay Area? Would commuting from Stockton or Modesto be an option?

    I’m being facetious, but push back, OP! I’ve heard too many housing horror stories from friends who make (what I’d consider) really good salaries.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit

        Not disputing your main point, but…. having lived on much less than $40,000 in Minneapolis (slightly more expensive COL than Milwaukee), I assure you it can be done. Without much difficulty: I didn’t have roommates, lived in a nice neighborhood, saved money. I think the only thing I didn’t feel I could afford to do was travel much.

        1. some1

          Yeah, my friend just bought a house in Mpls in a decent neighborhood on her own and she makes 40k.

          I have friends who live in Milwaukee, maybe Gold Digger meant actually living *in* the city of Milwaukee? I remember my friend telling me that it can be hard to get an affordable house because in order to work for the City of Milwaukee you have to *live* in the city, so there are neighborhoods that are all city employees that are hard to get in to.

          1. the gold digger

            I guess I mean it’s enough to get by, but it’s not going to let you live the high life. The taxes here are high and it’s expensive to heat a house. It’s definitely not enough for SF!

            Our house here would easily cost four times as much in the Bay Area. And we are not in a fancy, big house. Just a normal old three-bedroom that costs an arm and a leg to heat and needed a new roof and a new driveway and all the things that are hard to do on $40K.

            1. Jamie

              I know what you mean. When people talk about whether X is enough to “live” somewhere most of us are thinking about whether we could afford to live somewhere with out current lives.

              When I wonder if I can afford to live somewhere I’m wondering what a 4 bedroom house in a good neighborhood would cost, I’m not thinking apartments because the idea of my family in any closer quarters makes my brain itchy.

              It’s just shorthand for picking up your life and plunking it down somewhere else without up or down grading anything and seeing how the numbers shake out.

              1. Ed

                I have had this conversation often with friends in expensive cities like SF and DC. It’s hard to say it without sounding like an insult but I couldn’t lower my standard of living enough to actually compare our COLs apples-to-apples. The problem is it’s almost impossible to put a value on how much people love living in certain cities and that is often the biggest factor. DC holds no allure for me but my friends there are literally obsessed with how amazing they think DC is.

                1. BB

                  This exactly. I love Manhattan and that is where I want to move. I would give up luxuries I have here to do that. However, I don’t care for DC and would definitely not give up the same things to move there.

                  I also live inside the city and people often tell me if I move to the suburbs I can save a lot of money. 1. Duh and 2. I like living IN the city. If i had to move to the suburbs in order to live in a certain city, I wouldn’t want to move there!

            2. Stephanie

              I get your point. I think it’s really easy to compare COLs by just looking at housing prices and failing to consider things like utilities, transportation, or taxes.

          2. Stephanie

            City residency requirements kind of baffle me. I can understand why a first responder or the mayor (bad PR) would need to reside within the city limits, but the IT guy?

            1. Eric

              Because it can be bad PR. “We have 1,000’s of unemployed people right here in River City and you hire people on our tax dollars who don’t even live here!!!”

              1. Stephanie

                Ok, that makes sense. I could see it being bad PR for the city as well. “Even Teapot City employees don’t want to live in Teapot City!”

                I do remember controversy about DC firefighters not actually living in DC.

      2. LMW

        Yeah, but for an entry-level or almost entry level job in marketing, it’s actually pretty decent for Milwaukee.
        When I was looking for lower level marketing and communications jobs, one thing I noticed is that there really wasn’t that much discrepancy between Milwaukee and New York or San Francisco. In fact, I was a finalist for a job in Boston that paid the same as the job I took in Milwaukee, and it’s part of the reason I’ve stayed here. If I was scraping by on two jobs in Milwaukee, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like in Boston. And with this horrible winter, I’ve actually looked at a few jobs in California too…and they all pay less than what I currently make! While salaries do tend to be a bit higher to make up for the high cost of living in the large coastal cities (or Chicago), it’s usually not that big a difference. That’s the advantage of living in a lower cost of living city in the Midwest — you get a lot more for basically the same salary.

        1. SNK

          I have been working in marketing at a major retail joint in the MKE area for 2 years and still make 22k, no benefits, so I’d be ecstatic for 40k, haha.

      3. Rachel

        Considering I live on that in Manhattan, and know plenty of folks living on similar salaries in San Francisco – disagree.

        The median per capita income in SF is just under $47k. The median household income is just under $73k. Those numbers come from Wikipedia, “California Locations by Income,” sources are all US Census data. Not linking because it’ll go straight to moderation if I do.

        Certainly, the OP should be paid appropriately for his or her experience, and cost of living should mean higher salaries in San Francisco than in Milwaukee, but that doesn’t make $40k “unlivable” for San Francisco or Milwaukee. In fact, especially Milwaukee. The gold digger characterizes $40k as not enough for Milwaukee, where the median per capita income (same sources) is just under $24k and the median household income is just over $43k. Something tells me an individual making $40k in Milwaukee could be quite comfortable.

        1. Beth

          Those figures sound out of date — in the last 6-8 months there’s been a humongous exodus of the middle-class from SF proper, and quite a few affordable apartments have been torn down to make way for luxe condos. It’s all over our news and it’s a big deal.

          1. Rachel

            It’s 2011 census data. I searched and found some 2012 data, and the increases in per capita and household median income are about 1.5% and just under 2% respectively. 2013 data won’t be available for a while.

            1. Beth

              Yeah, given what the newspaper is saying, I just don’t think that’s inline with reality in this area anymore. But like I said above, it’s a totally different thing to live somewhere for a long time at a lower wage, than to start fresh for that same lower wage.

              Of course, if there’s a will, there’s probably a way….

        2. Jamie

          You have to remember that those numbers include everyone – including retirees who may have a lot of money and own their homes but their “income” is low so it skews the average…a lot of rentals tend to skew it low as well.

          Per capita income also includes the unemployed. So if someone is making $150 K and another $0 their average is $75K…that doesn’t mean you could necessarily live comfortably or buy a home for that.

          1. Jamie

            Just to add – you need to look at housing averages to get a better feel for the COL in an area. My town the average household income is around $75 K but the average single family detatched house if 400k+.

            In contrast according to city data for 2011 SF has a household income average of almost $70K but their average detached single family home is $832k +.

            You are probably not buying a house in my suburb with a household income of $70-75 K, but you sure as heck will never do it in SF with that income.

            You just can’t go on the income averages in a vacuum – too many variables. You have to really look at housing and other COL factors to see if something is livable.

            1. Rachel

              Median =/= average. Averages are strongly weighted by the extremes, and medians don’t have that same problem.

              Additionally, when you’re talking about big cities, home ownership is a nearly irrelevant factor. You don’t buy in SF or NYC unless you’re truly rich. City living means renting. Now, SF apartments are still expensive, and so are NYC apartments, but the cost of a single family detached home really doesn’t matter when you’re considering COL for most SF or NY residents. That’s just not how we live.

              Sometimes I think that people on AAM assume that we’re all looking for home ownership, cars, etc – the tenants of suburban white collar lifestyles. And if the OP is a young person looking to move to SF (elsewhere she mentions having 3 years experience, so I assume she’s mid-20s like me) then most of those factors are absolutely irrelevant to COL for her. She needs to be able to afford rent somewhere commutable to her job. She doesn’t need to able to buy a single family detached home in San Francisco.

              1. OP2

                Hi Rachel,

                Thanks for your input to the conversation — buying is certainly not in the foreseable future for me. I’m 25 and am simply looking to live in the city (renting) and being able to afford an everyday lifestyle.

                1. Stephanie

                  OP, there might be a first-time homebuyers program (if you decide you want to stay in the area). DC had one (probably because the city realized it was losing a lot of middle-class residents…).

                  The programs come with eleventy-billion strings attached (must be primary residence, can’t collect profit from sale, etc.), but you can usually get into a place you otherwise wouldn’t qualify for.

                2. Rachel

                  Yay for the 20somes for whom home ownership is just completely out of the picture right now! As I said earlier – I live in Manhattan. The only way I’m ever going to own in NYC is if I win the lottery, and I since I budget pretty carefully, I’d rather save the money I’d spend on lottery tickets for happy hours with my friends. And that’s just fine with me, because if anything is wrong my apartment I can just call the super and someone else fixes it!

              2. Jamie

                City living means renting.

                People own in Chicago so that’s not always the case.

                And median is an average – mean, mode, and median are the three most generally used types of average.

                1. Stephanie

                  Yeah, I have friends who live in Chicago and own. An actual house even, not a postage stamp-sized condo. A few friends managed to buy in DC (or near-in suburbs) as well (most did take advantage of first-time homebuyers credits through the city/county or federal government).

                  I vacillate about home ownership (I’m in my late 20s, btw). A couple of truly terrible landlords made home ownership sound way more appealing since I was paying $1,000+/month and not getting much benefit (aside from mobility). And I found myself getting increasingly priced out of DC (there is rent control there, but there are pretty broad exceptions), so having a steady mortgage payment sounded way more appealing than rent that changed based on how trendy an area became.

                  Of course, I know a lot of places it’s expensive to buy. Plus, you get mobility.

              3. BB

                Amen to this! As a twenty-something who is looking to move to Manhattan, I can’t tell you how much varied information I have gotten. People make it sound like no one can afford to live in these cities when in reality, millions of people do obviously. And they aren’t all making $200,000 a year.

                I live in Philadelphia now and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would tell me it’s impossible to live in Center City on what I make.

                1. Beth

                  I tried to gear my response on how much you can *do* on 40k — I don’t think you can do a lot of the interesting stuff for that kind of money unless you are willing to NOT save some months. That doesn’t seem advisable.

                  Example — roommate and I keep wanting to see the Shen Ballet (it comes to town every year) but at almost 200 dollars a seat for the kind of seats I think are worth the aggravation of driving/parking in the theater district, it’s not happening. It’s not, IMO, worth all that much to only ever have the money for the cheap seats, especially if you are going to see a play or a dance. And at 40k I think there’d be a lot of making do or doing without. It’s like thirsting in a lake or starving in a vegetable garden — a terrible feeling.

                2. Rachel

                  Beth, the thing is that I manage to do a lot of the kind of things you’re talking about while living in Manhattan on about 40k – I just never do them full price. I see Broadway shows every 6-8 weeks, but I don’t pay more than $50 a ticket thanks to all the discounted ticket offers that are available. I shop at fun stores, but I shop sales. I’ve never had to turn down a happy hour with friends because I couldn’t afford it, but I only go to happy hour when I know the people I want to see will be there. I’m on all kinds of mailings lists for free/cheap stuff happening around the city, and I’ve never felt like I’m missing out because of money. And I’m still saving, every month, both retirement and short-term.

                  Big cities are wonderful because there’s so much to do that doesn’t have to cost a lot, and because of all the free/inexpensive stuff going on. I suppose if you think that sitting in the mezzanine, or preferring cheaper/divier bars, is going to be “doing without,” then I’m doing without. But I think that I get to do some pretty incredible things on my budget.

                  (And obviously this is a personal opinion thing, but ballet is wonderful from further up! You can’t see how all the dancers fit together in formation from the orchestra)

                3. Zillah

                  I agree with you on that, Rachel. NYC is very expensive, but there are also a lot of cheap/free entertainment options if you look for them.

                4. Stephanie

                  OP, I would definitely really do your research and make a mock budget. You can totally live in the Bay Area on $40k, you just need to figure out if you’d like the lifestyle that that’d provide. Plus, occupancy rates in the Bay Area are insanely high right now, so competition for rentals is fierce.

                  I’m guessing a lot of people’s objections here are less that you should be aiming for a suburban lifestyle with a McMansion and more that you’d be living in pretty decrepit conditions that would dishearten most people.

              4. Zillah

                You don’t buy in SF or NYC unless you’re truly rich.

                That’s… not really true. My family is not anything approaching “truly rich,” and we own a house in NYC. Granted, we bought it 15 years ago, but even so. My mother’s friend is looking into buying, and she is also not “truly rich.” I also have a cousin (in her 20s) who bought an apartment a few years ago, and she is definitely not “truly rich.” It’s a small place, but it’s in a very nice area, and is quite nice.

                It depends on a lot of things, including your location, the economy at the time, and the size of your household. I agree that most young people couldn’t afford it, and the COL in NYC is part of why I want to leave, but this is a misrepresentation.

                1. Emma

                  And when folks say “I live in the city” (i.e., NYC), they can live anywhere from Manhattan to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Woodlawn, the Bronx to Breezy Point, Queens. So home ownership is possible in any of these areas on a more moderate income…but not if you’re living in Park Slope or mid-town Manhattan.

      4. TL

        I live on less than $40K in the (expensive part of the) Boston area and I’m doing all right. (And if I didn’t have student loans, I’d be doing a lot better!)

        Mind you, I can’t buy a home and I have roommates. But it does all depend on what your standards of living are, like others have said. I don’t think it does any good to say “you can’t live on X” for any city. It’s a lot more helpful to say “you can’t have the American suburban decent-house, 2-car life on X.” (or whatever your lifestyle is.)

      5. SNK

        I wish employers saw it that way. I make $22k with no benefits (in a professional field) and have to make it work. It sucks, but I can survive.

    1. De Minimis

      I had a co-worker at my job in Silicon Valley who commuted from Tracy. Think he had a family member in town he could stay with sometimes, but he normally made the trip each day.

      1. K Too

        OP#2 definitely reconsider taking a low-balled offer especially considering the cost of living in SF and/or Oakland. You will most likely need several roommates to survive. I have a friend currently in SF that’s paying at least $2K for a 1-bedroom apartment. He loves the city so much that he’s willing to shell out that much money.

        Take the offer as a warning. I made the mistake in the past of accepting a low-balled offer after numerous requests to go higher because of my experience. I had 7 years under my belt, but the market was extremely competitive and I was unemployed for nearly a year and half. Out of guilt and fear of the unknown I took the gig and regretted it. I quit that job 4 months later due to a toxic work environment, but luckily I had another one lined up that paid more than what I was getting.

        What I’m getting now is still not enough for LA and my experience so I’ve become very keen on how to handle salary negotiations the next time around.

        Good luck and keep us posted!

  13. Not So NewReader

    OP 3. I am surprised that this has been going on for two years. Where is the tech department in this story?
    Oh, wait. I have seen offices that throw down a bunch of computers and the next step is “There. Done thinking about that.”
    Is there a computer use policy? If yes, that would be helpful in opening the conversation.

    You don’t need to say that the boss is a slacker. If you just report the facts as you see it, the facts will convey that message much better than if you say “The boss is soaking you for $65k per year.”

    This is a problem that has many aspects.. it goes into computer usage, computer monitoring, company security, supervision of middle management, could be even problems with upper management that is snoozing at the wheel.

    Recently, an individual was caught with porn on their computer. That person was immediately shown the door.

    My point is be prepared for anything and everything here. It could be that no one responds to your complaint. (Doubtful, but it is a possibility.) Or on the other extreme, the response results in a big shake up at work.

    Be ready with a reason WHY you have been watching this go on for two years and are just now reporting it. It could be you felt it would stop soon. Or it could be that you were worried about losing your job. Maybe the whole topic is just not comfortable for you.

    I know for myself time flies by on me because I am concentrating on my own work. It’s only if I deliberately stop and think about it that I realize stuff such as “Gee. Jane arrives a half hour late every single day. This has been going on a while…” Then I realize that the first time I noticed it was two Thanksgivings ago! It’s not until I actually think about the situation that I realize how long it has been going on.

  14. Hugo

    #5 – those paid-for certificates are a massive racket market and ironically seemed to grow during the recession when people desperate for employment plunked down a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars to obtain a certificate that “set them apart.” And it’s getting worse, namely with the “mini-MBA” racket where top-tier schools will give you the “honor” of a mini-MBA in exchange for giving them a few thousand dollars so you can sit your butt in a seat for a few days and listen to a bunch of lectures. What a joke.

  15. Anon

    “Personally, I don’t care that much about certificates and would always strongly prefer to see real-world experience.”

    And this is why I can’t even get a job as a bookkeeper with a BS in Accounting and having completed a 9 hour course in QuickBooks.

    PLEASE tell me…how do I get out of the “can’t get real world experience because no one will hire me without real world experience” trap? I’m circling the drain.

    1. Elysian

      I mean… given the nature of this website, that is a real question you could Ask the Manager. But with only the info you’ve written, I would guess you’re either applying to the wrong jobs, or something-is-wrong-with/nothing-is-special-about your cover letter, resume, or interview.

      I don’t know anything about accounting or Quickbooks certifications (perhaps someone else can chime in), but I know that sometimes those kinds of certifications are looked on really poorly. In other fields that I do know about, listing those kinds of things on your resume just makes you look like a gullible or easily deceived person. Some certifications are worth the effort and are highly regarding in certain fields; some are a waste of time and money, and everyone knows it.

      1. Kelly L.

        Ugh, flashbacks to the Microsoft Office “course” I went to years ago because my boss and I thought it might teach me some new tricks…I learned exactly one useful piece of information, and the rest of it was an in-person infomercial for the company’s other, more expensive classes. An infomercial my department had paid for. On top of that they’d picked the most run-down hotel in town and the room smelled of car exhaust the whole time. We chucked their flyers in the recycling bin after that…

        1. Elysian

          Exactly. My mom lists a Microsoft Office course she took at the library on her resume, but when you look at her resume it is shockingly clear she doesn’t know anything about Office. She definitely talked it up to me, telling me how it was improving her marketability… oh mom. It just made her look foolish, I think.

      2. De Minimis

        I think the problem isn’t the QuickBooks certification but probably the BS degree. Someone with a bachelor’s in accounting is way overqualified for bookkeeping work. I’ve been there myself and know what it’s like.

        Accounting is very tricky, you have this brief period of marketability if you’re recruited on campus, but after you graduate things can get tough.

        1. Anon

          That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. I graduated in 2012. I had completed a tax internship the year before, and was looking for something else for my last semester. Couldn’t find ANYTHING. The well-respected CPA firm that recruits from my school wasn’t hiring an intern at all that year. I ended up taking a job in purchasing, and it went full time after I graduated. It was something, but I found it extremely repetitive and boring, and I was afraid of getting pigeonholed. That, coupled with some pretty crazy happenings at work (my coworker constantly falling asleep at his desk, in a shared cube mind you…drugs are bad, kids!) led me to quit…on good terms though. I’m having a hell of a time.

          1. taxLady

            The quickbooks cert is definitely worthwhile. I’m an accountant, quickbooks certified, and it gets me clients all the time. People come in my office specifically to see me and walk past all the other non-QB certified accountants to talk to me, the pro advisor. They find me online via Quickbooks or they’re referred to me directly by Quickbooks. Try applying with tax companies. Work seasonally and prove you’re worth keeping around for the rest of the year. I started at “major tax company who likes green” in a regular retail tax office making $9/hr, working only Jan through April 15th. After year one, they saw my value because I am an accounting professional and not just a taxpro. I’ve been there for 5 years, have a full time year round position in a tax and business services office with a team of bookkeepers under me and I make $70k+/year. I paid my dues that first year working only part time, coming in only as needed until they realized that they needed me everyday. Tax companies like that hire thousands of people every year. If you know accounting and you know tax, give them a shot. I can almost guarantee that they’ll hire you.

      3. Anon

        I don’t apply to everything I see, if that’s what you’re suggesting. I think I could improve my resume in one area – listing accomplishments instead of duties, but I find this difficult given the nature of my job in purchasing, for instance. (Repetitive work, not project-based whatsoever; dead end, high turnover job…) Oh, and the QuickBooks thing is just a continuing ed/non credit thing. I looked into getting “certified” – no way am I spending that kind of money. We’ll see. Actually waiting to hear back on an interview I had last week. They’ve checked my references…

        1. Elysian

          Not that you’re applying to everything in sight, just that whatever you’re applying to isn’t in line with your qualifications. Like De Minimis mentioned, one option is that you’re overqualified for the types of positions you’re applying for. Depending on what you’re applying for, you might be not qualified enough – either way, you may not have found the right “fit” between your qualifications and the types of jobs you ought to be applying for.

          Best of luck with your recent interview!

    2. Apple22Over7

      Volunteering/internships can give you that experience – it doesn’t have to be paid experience, you just need to show that you can use the theory you’ve learned in real-world settings.

      Networking and using your contacts can also be really useful for finding that elusive first job – people are much more likely to take a chance on someone they know than a random stranger.

      Of course, these aren’t guaranteed ways of finding a job but they’ll help your chances more than hinder them. And all this assumes your resume/cover letters aren’t the problem, which would be a first sensible step.

      1. Anon

        Internships are for people still in school, and volunteering is for people who don’t have a mortgage to pay.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          They are also for people who are having trouble finding work because they lack experience.

          Wishing someone will hire you with no experience is for people who don’t actually need to ever get hired.

          It’s all well and good to take a hard line stance against volunteering and interning if you’re finding you don’t need them. But that doesn’t sound like the case here.

          1. Anonymous

            I would definitely take an intership, I’m not too “good” – I didn’t mean it to sound like that. Sigh, internet comments. I really can’t take anything unpaid though….

            I do volunteer. I mentor for BBBS, and manage my local farmer’s market. I’ve also had a small side farm business for th ast 5 years that’s done quite well considering my limited resources…what to do?

          2. Anonymous

            Not to mention that the “entry level” job seems to be an endangered species, if not outright extinct. Do you know how many accounts payable/payroll/accounting assistant jobs I’ve seen that REQUIRE 2-3 years experience?

            I don’t know, maybe I’m just not hungry enough yet.

        2. Apple22Over7

          Volunteering/internships – they don’t need to be full-time gigs. Plenty of internships are part-time, and many organisations appreciate any volunteer time you can give, even if it’s only 4 hours per week on a Saturday afternoon. Both are possible to fit around current work commitments if you need to.

          If you can’t get the job you want without the experience, you’ll either need to give up on the idea of getting that type work, or get that experience in some way – paid or unpaid. Waiting and hoping for someone to take you on isn’t working from what you’ve said – so you need to look at other options.

          1. Jen S. 2.0

            +1. While I also wouldn’t be thrilled AT ALL about volunteering and interning, because they do not put food on my table, work experience is work experience, whether you get paid for it or not. There comes a point where being picky about the type of work experience you CAN get is counterproductive. If part of your issue is that you can’t get work experience, well…

            In addition, be aware that someone else in your exact same position could well be willing to intern or volunteer when you are not, and will be able to package that as experience in the field. When you apply against that person for the exact same position, who’ll be the better candidate?

            Like so many other elements of work, sometimes you have to do things that aren’t 100% ideal to get what you need to move ahead. This is a prime example. Ruling it out because you’re past that point is fine for your pride, but not always great for your resume.

            **I was laid off from a job, and it took me 2 years to get a new one. I went back to grad school partly to cover the gap on my resume, and as a result was able to get a paid student internship that eventually led to a job. It sucked…but it worked. I also have a job, but I do volunteer work to serve my community, and I make plenty of contacts that way; if I needed a job, I’d be quick to call those people.

  16. BCW

    #1 This sounds petty to me. He missed a ticket for whatever reason. I’ve been in the office and missed emails, or just gotten back to them later than I planned (maybe other things were more important at the time, maybe I had something else to deal with and forgot, who knows). However you felt the need to check up on this guy, because why? Oh, you decided you needed to make sure your peer was doing his work. Then you felt the need to tattle on him to your boss (yes, I purposely used that word in a work situation, because thats what it is). If you were really just concerned about the customer, you could have just followed up yourself, and sent your co-worker a text saying “I handled this, you owe me one”. But nope, you also needed to make sure your manager knew. Now you are mad because, as far as you know, he wasn’t disciplined. You are like that kid in school who would keep a log of who did what when they had a substitute teacher and then give it to your teacher when they returned. As someone who taught, I can say that those kids, while they may have been great students, were more annoying then some of the misbehaving kids. Also, the other kids didn’t like them too much. I’d watch it, or you may start looking like that to your boss, and you probably already now have that reputation with your co-worker. Sometimes on a team, you need to have each others back and not throw each other under the bus. You may need something one day, or, heaven forbid, make a mistake, then find yourself in a position where no one has yours.

    1. Cat

      This isn’t junior high. Talking to your boss about workflow is not tattling. And checking your email on a Sunday is something some large percentage of professional adults just do, not trying to get your coworker in trouble.

      If the coworker just missed the ticket because of an honest mistake and the manager is a reasonable person, it will be fine. Nobody w get detention which would be a total bummer because like all the cool kids are going to the arcade. If it’s a systemic issue, the manager is now better equipped to address it.

      And yeah, in the workplace, that guy who never pulls his weight does actually suck just like he did on group projects in seventh grade.

      1. BCW

        But its not talking about workflow, its taking one mistake and going to your boss about it, then being irritated that they weren’t made aware of their punishment. As Alison said, it may have just been a one time incident (and should be treated that way). Do you feel the need to go to your boss anytime a co-worker makes a mistake? Again, if this was an ongoing issue, that would be one thing, but it sounds like something happened once. Based on this, its hard to say he doesn’t pull his weight. Its more that he screwed up once.

        1. Cat

          But “going to your boss” is different than a new co-worker saying to the boss “wait, this didn’t seem to be done, should I do it?” When you’re new you don’t always know all the systems – like whether someone else was already addressing it in a non-visible way. And yeah, at this point he should do what Alison said and move on, but that has nothing to do with asking the boss about it in the first place.

          And it definitely has nothing to do with the bizarre suggestion that he should emulate the cool kids in junior high and just be chill, good lord.

          1. BCW

            Lets say that the OP really just happened to come across it while checking email on Sunday (personally I think she was looking to see if it got done since she knew he wouldn’t be in the office, but maybe not). Once you saw it wasn’t done you had 3 options. Do nothing and let the chips fall where they may. Mention to the boss that it hadn’t gotten done and just leave it there. Mention to the boss that it hadn’t gotten done and offer to do it. OP chose number 3. No one MADE her spend half her Sunday doing that, she offered to. She was probably trying to get brownie points, which is fine. But as I said, what makes it the most petty to me, is her expectation of knowing what his punishment was. That to me makes it seem that yes, she does want him to get in trouble, and that was the purpose in telling the boss in the first place, not some altruistic desire of helping the customer.

          2. OP #1

            Cat,

            I am a She. Lol. But thanks for sticking up for my view of this. I wasn’t trying to tattle. I was trying to get the work down how we planned to get it done. We are a new team in this environment and this is a new procedure (it was our first rotation). I ‘m primarily irritated because we discussed switching weekends multiple and he insisted it wouldn’t be an issue when clearly it ended up being one.

          3. Cat

            People can’t only have one motivation for things. She can want to help the customer and also want to know why the person who wasn’t pulling their weight – I sure would (even though, yeah, I’ve been in the workplace long enough at this point that I wouldn’t ask). If you’re working on something as a team, you don’t just ignore something that hasn’t gotten done because it might ultimately end up getting someone in trouble.

      2. Anonymous

        Cat, I am with BCW, I read it that way too…OP is overly concerned with what the other techs are doing. Just do your job, it will all work out. There is a 50% chances that your supervisors are above average in intelligence (same as you!). They probably have it figured out. They’ve probably seen it before.

        1. Cat

          I’m not really sure what you’re saying here – I’m not disagreeing with anyone that the OP should let it lie at this point; I’m disagreeing that the OP deserves to be harangued as a rat for checking with their manager about a piece of work that hadn’t been done in a timely manner.

    2. Jen RO

      I agree with both BCW and with Cat. OP might have been checking email just because – lots of people want to be “on top of things” even on weekends.

      But since both people are new hires, I don’t think OP should treat this as such a big deal. If it becomes a pattern, yes, tell the boss… but this is one mistake. I would have helped and just mentioned it to the coworker in passing, not like it was a super big deal.

      1. OP #1

        Since we’re new hires I often check the help desk and tickets outside of work hours since we’re the software we’re working with is new to me and I’m trying my best to learn its ins and outs. I just read up on tickets when I have down time to better help me with future tickets.

        1. BCW

          Hi OP #1. I read some of your responses, and thanks for chiming in, its always good to get more background. But it does seem like you already have a bit on an issue with your co-worker because he got the job through connections and you went through the whole process. And you also weren’t happy with how your boss responded when you told her. Now you say you talked about switching, but he thought he had it covered. Maybe his phone died, who knows. But it was only one ticket, not like there were 20 piled up. I don’t know if that means he answered most of them, or that was the only one to come in. But if in 2 days, there was only one ticket, then yeah, I get not wanting to be stuck in the office all weekend. And if he answered a bunch of others, sometimes mistakes happen and you miss one. I mean you even said sometimes they fall through the cracks, so not much different than it may have been on a normal day.

          May I ask though what your motivation was for telling your boss and offering to do it? If you could handle it, why didn’t you just handle it? If you didn’t have time to handle it, why did you offer? Thats why I think it comes off a bit like tattling, and as I mentioned, that you seem to want to know his punishment.

          1. Cat

            But if in 2 days, there was only one ticket, then yeah, I get not wanting to be stuck in the office all weekend.

            Wait a minute, here – if his phone died, that’s one thing (though that’s a situation where you mention it with a quick apology to the person who covers for you). But if you’re on call, you need to be able to get a computer within a given amount of time; you don’t need to be stuck in the office all weekend, but you don’t get to just blow it off because you’re not going to have a heavy workload. That’s the whole point of having an on-call system.

          2. OP #1

            Thanks for chiming in!

            I called the boss to make sure that 1) It was ok for me to jump in when it wasn’t my weekend and 2) To make certain that my reply was correct. (We’re new hires so we usually run our responses by our boss if something is more complex).

            It’s really our initial response that has to be in under an hour but follow ups can sometimes take days if we have to contact the development team.

            And yeah, it can be frustrating if someone doesn’t get hired by the same “perceived” merits as you but I’ve let that go. I included that info to better explain why Team Lead would respond that way.

          3. some1

            “But it does seem like you already have a bit on an issue with your co-worker because he got the job through connections and you went through the whole process.”

            I think she mentioned this to point out that her coworker may be getting special treatment from the boss.

            1. some1

              ETA: & you don’t know that the coworker didn’t go “through the whole process”. Plenty of people recruit their friend and acquaintances, it doesn’t always mean they just get the job without interviewing and proving they are qualified.

      2. OP #1

        Also, our CEO and COO have seriously gotten onto us about not responding to tickets within an hour. It’s a big no no for our team and if they would’ve have seen that before us we would have been in hot water.

        1. Judy

          Except now they can look and see that there’s a ticket that had a X hour response time that you handled. They probably don’t know that your co-worker was the one on call.

      3. OP #1

        I guess my annoyances with said co-worker don’t seem like 1 time incidences. Such as this morning:

        Team Lead gives us tasks. I suggest a way to break down the work as a team and accomplish them and Fellow New Hire replies with “Oh but I had a different approach”. (Fine by me) But 10 min later when Team Lead is gone Fellow New Hire is asking for my ideas on how to accomplish the tasks and we’re doing it together again. I feel this is a definite pattern but not one that affects the company (just me) so how can I really complain? It’s just downright annoying. Like, if we would have gone by what I said 10 min ago we wouldn’t have wasted time on you figuring out that your approach wouldn’t work.
        It’s a huge task in Excel which I know will take the both of us to do.

        And Fellow New Hire is one to also pass off my ideas as his own which I could write a book on…

        1. Jamie

          It’s just downright annoying. Like, if we would have gone by what I said 10 min ago we wouldn’t have wasted time on you figuring out that your approach wouldn’t work.

          I’d rather work with people who took 10 minutes before large tasks to think about different ways – and then going with the most efficient, which it seems was yours in this case.

          Not every idea is workable, it doesn’t make for a cooperative environment if people can’t toss a couple of ideas around without people resenting that.

          This feels personal – and personal feelings can make work stuff seem much bigger than they are.

          1. OP #1

            Our Team Lead had already given the layout of how to accomplish the task. My idea was how to break down the work. He wasted time and energy (on an Excel file) when we already had a game plan of how to get things done.

            I wouldn’t have minded if he had tried his way, didn’t work out and kept on truckin. But his idea didn’t work and then he pulled me away from something else I had already moved on to.

        2. Elsajeni

          It sounds to me like you’re reaching a point with this guy where you just dislike him so much and find him so annoying that everything he does becomes part of the story of How Much He Sucks, and things that wouldn’t seem like a big deal if he hadn’t already gotten in your nerves in some unrelated way become “UGH, HE’S DOING IT AGAIN.” I would encourage you to try to separate the issues you have with him into individual problems (1. Takes credit for my ideas, 2. Doesn’t cover his share of weekends, etc.) and then deal with them each separately — if nothing else, I think any complaint you end up making to management about him will be taken more seriously if it’s focused on one specific problem than if it includes every annoying thing he’s done in the last two months.

          1. OP #1

            Thanks for the advice! I’ve been keeping my “annoyances” to myself and the only one I’ve actually pointed out to our team lead was with the ticket desk situation this past weekend. And I even tried to do that with an upbeat, can-do attitude and not try to come across as expressing my grievances. I guess on here I feel is if I can be a bit more candid about what I see on a daily basis and how I truly feel about the individual.

    3. themmases

      I kind of agree, it sounds like the OP has some other problem with this coworker. It just comes off as kind of petty to me.

      My partner also does support and covers tickets on rotating weekends (with the same expected response time, even!). He is senior to most of the other people rotating and he does not check up on them the way the OP seems to think it is OK to do as a new hire. If he logs in to do some of his own work on the weekend and sees a missed ticket, he just handles it.

      In general, I think it’s a good idea not to log into work stuff on the weekend unless you’re prepared to spend time on whatever you find there. Don’t offer to do things you can’t or don’t want to actually do. And don’t go to your boss about your coworkers unless you’re seeing a pattern or were caused a serious problem. (Doing something you offered to do does not count as a serious problem.)

      1. OP #1

        I’ve mentioned previously that I look into tickets on our help desk outside of work hours for practice. We’re not working with run of the mill software and our company is small so going back and looking over old tickets is helpful. Even if I have to do it on my own time. And because of our small team and large client list I often have nightmares about the ticket desk and look in to make sure everything is running smoothly.

        We don’t have a hierarchy at our company so ultimately it is our team’s responsibility to keep the help desk updated accurately and in a timely manner.

        1. themmases

          Yes, but that doesn’t really contradict my point that you shouldn’t be logging into work if you’re not prepared to deal with what you find there. By your own admission, you were planning to spend part of your Sunday on work by choice. If you feel the need to review old tickets to learn your job, there are plenty of better ways to do that, such as staying late (where helping with extra tickets will probably feel like less of an imposition if it comes up). My partner also supports niche software that you can’t really learn about outside of the company, also for a department that should be hiring faster than it is, and I can assure you that constantly volunteering to work from home is not the only way to learn.

          Your comments here have actually made it pretty clear that you have a personal problem with your coworker that is encouraging you to blow this out of proportion. You really need to let this desire to see him punished go, because if it’s evident to strangers on the internet it’s probably evident to people who work directly with you as well.

          1. OP #1

            It’s not really being blown out of proportion. I simply asked AAM’s advice on how I should or should not proceed and have used this forum to gather feedback. I have no qualms about giving backstory or internal feelings about the issue as that would help in mulling out what to do now or in the future.

            Yes, I chose to do work on Sunday. MY work. I didn’t sign up for anybody else’s. I didn’t log in with the expectation of seeing open tickets. I logged in for my benefit, on my time and saw an issue and handled it as such.

            1. Zillah

              But you didn’t have to do anyone else’s work!

              I can understand why you don’t want to cover for your coworker when it’s his weekend, but at the same time, I feel like if you’re logging on to do work over the weekend, you’re volunteering to deal with something like this when it comes up, especially if you can’t just back away. Additionally, when you make a habit of working during your weekend, people will expect you to do so.

              Why can’t you review tickets while you’re in the office on your weekends, or stay late on other days? Why do you have to do this at home?

    4. OP #1

      With a technical help desk supporting niche software, missing tickets/emails isn’t an option. It isn’t acceptable for our CEO or our clients. Heck, someone will poke their head out of their office if they noticed you haven’t read the email they just sent.

      We’re also quite transparent and everyone can see when someone has responded to something or even if someone is just looking at a ticket. It’s how the help desk functions.

      Point is: Fellow New Hire was responsible for the help desk over the weekend. It was noticed that the ticket went unanswered and I took care of it. I have the right to be annoyed as I would expect someone else to be annoyed with me in a similar occurrence.

      Now, the real question was how or not to proceed with my coworker’s slacking not let’s judge OP because she did what would have been expected of her.

      1. BCW

        I think what you are missing is that, by your own statements, you do seem to have an issue with this guy. Some of it may be personal, so may be conflicting work styles, some may be laziness. I can understand your being annoyed that you had to cover for him. But I still don’t understand why you are upset that you weren’t made aware of how he was punished. That statement, in my opinion, moves it away from “just trying to make sure things are done right” to wanting him to be in trouble for something, which seems a bit unreasonable.

        1. OP #1

          I do have previous issues with this guy. I won’t deny that. And this isn’t about me being made privy to any disciplinary action. My initial thoughts were that I should go to our COO (who gives our team direction from time to time) but wanted advice on whether or not that should be done at this point.

          After I’ve expressed myself to people who I know will take care of the situation I could care less. It was just seemed obvious by Team Leads reaction that it wasn’t a big deal to her.

      2. A Bug!

        Now, the real question was how or not to proceed with my coworker’s slacking not let’s judge OP because she did what would have been expected of her.

        Okay, here is my advice for “how to proceed”, judgment-free: Stop logging into the help desk when you aren’t required to be monitoring it, because it’s not worth the stress. Familiarize yourself with the system on your own on-call weekends.

        You’ve already said that it’s easy to track who is dropping the ball. So let your coworker make his own bed.

        When the target handle time is one hour, a ticket left open for 24 hours is not meaningfully different from a ticket left open for 48 hours. When you get in on Monday you can address any tickets that still haven’t been dealt with, regardless of whose weekend it was. If there is a pattern of you or others having to clean up after his weekends on call (or anyone else’s), then tell your team lead and let her deal with it as she sees fit.

        And if it becomes clear to you that management is uninterested in dealing with such problems within the team? That’s them telling you “this is the job, and we’re not changing it. Take it or leave it.”

  17. Katie the Fed

    #1 – I think you misstepped by 1) checking on the status of the work on Sunday and 2) volunteering to take the outstanding ticket. Don’t volunteer to take work that isn’t your own. If you boss wants you to do it, she’ll ask you to. What you did comes across as you not trusting either your coworker or your boss to do their jobs. Worry about yourself. Also, you have no idea if he got in trouble for it or not, so don’t assume anything.

    1. Jen RO

      I actually think it’s a plus to the OP that s/he took care of the ticket, since leaving it until the boss saw would have meant one more day of waiting for the customer.

      1. Cat

        And from the perspective of someone who sometimes submits help requests for time sensitive issues on the weekend – I don’t know who’s on call; that part of the system is invisible to me. All I know is whether or not someone got back to me in a timely manner. On some level maybe that doesn’t matter – I’m certainly not responsible for managing or disciplining people who don’t – but I’m sure it does generally affect my feelings about the staff involved (for the record, someone from ours always responds in a timely manner) even though maybe only one person is responsible technically for whether or not I get a response.

        1. Positivity Boy

          Agreed completely, I said this above as well but OP definitely did the right thing by replying so that the customer doesn’t continue to get a bad experience. As a boss, I would see “I noticed this wasn’t done correctly, I fixed it already but I wanted to let you know” as a vastly superior response to the situation than “I noticed this wasn’t done correctly so I just let it sit there so you’d get more upset when you caught it on your own a day later.” One of those is a great customer-centric action and one of those is a petty and self-centered action. And I’m not saying the OP necessarily would have said something in the second scenario, but there’s always a chance the boss has a way to track who was in the system or viewed the ticket or whatever, and it would look really bad if he could see that OP viewed the ticket and ignored it.

        2. fposte

          Agreed. And the OP has said they’re treated as a team rather than individually. I’m curious if there’s any in-house standard for ticket response on the weekends? If not, maybe there should be–it would help clarify when you can go hiking in the mountains and be away for a few hours and when you can’t.

          I mean, I do think the OP seems a little over invested in the co-worker getting consequences for this, but I also think the co-worker blew it and seems likely to blow it again, and the former doesn’t nullify the latter.

          1. OP #1

            This is a new system. There are three of us in the rotation. During your weekend, you watch the ticket desk till 7 and answer tickets within an hour. Fellow New Hire signed up for last weekend (we had a choice) but didn’t deliver…after Fellow New Hire first asked if I would switch his mountain weekend I said yes. Then when we were in the office with Team Lead he said not to worry about it. And before leaving the office on Friday I offered and he insisted it wouldn’t be an issue.

            I also clarified with Team Lead on our weekend procedures when her and I had a moment alone on Monday. I simply asked if ticket protocol was still the same for the weekend as it was with the weekdays and she replied yes.

            1. fposte

              Okay, so the goal is one hour.

              What do you want to do if nothing changes here? Because I think that’s quite likely.

              1. OP #1

                I wouldn’t ever ignore a client’s request if I happen to see it when it isn’t my weekend and it’s clear that the whoever is supposed to be responsible, isn’t.

                I would then have to bring the issue up with Team Lead and hope that she handles it properly…and if not, I’d have to go to the COO or Principal of the company. Since I guess that’s who’s technically “above” us. Again, we’re small and don’t have a hierarchy. But I would actually loathe having to bother them with issues such as this since we all have full plates.

                Texting or emailing Fellow New Hire if I see a missed ticket might be an option but I don’t want to be his secretary or come off as watching his steps also.

                1. Elkay

                  I think you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustrations and a team who know you’ll clean up their mess for them. You mention it being handled “properly” but bear in mind their definition may differ from yours. For your sanity I recommend not looking at tickets when you’re not on call.

                2. Positivity Boy

                  I think there’s a place for a discussion with a manager if this becomes a trend, though – if this becomes so common that OP is going crazy covering for her coworker, at that point it would be worth saying to the manager, “I’ve noticed that I’ve been picking up a lot of tickets for Bob on what are supposed to be his weekends because I want to make sure our customers are still getting a good experience. It’s getting to the point now where I am working every weekend instead of alternating weekends the way the system is supposed to be going. I am concerned about tickets getting missed and our customers suffering as a result, but at this point it’s impacting my work/life balance and my overall productivity, so I don’t think I will be able to cover these items when it’s not my designated weekend anymore. I wanted to make you aware of this going forward.”

                  This makes it clear that you’re not just pointing fingers or complaining without having tried to rectifying the situation, it reminds the manager of the end result of the situation for the customer, and it prepares the manager for things to start falling through the cracks if they don’t address it with the coworker because the OP isn’t covering anymore.

                3. fposte

                  Okay, that’s good for you to have thought about. And if you complain to people and nothing happens, what will you do then? I think you’re still thinking in terms of making your co-worker do what he’s supposed to do, dammit, and I suspect you’re going to want to look behind that to finding a way to coexist even if he doesn’t.

                  Just to be clear–you didn’t yet mention to the Team Lead yet that you had to pick up the ticket? (I’m presuming it had waited for the full hour before you picked it up, yes?) Then I think if it happens again it’s kosher to go to the team lead and discuss not How Bad Bob Is but how to make sure the ticketing system is more reliably handled on the weekends.

                4. Jamie

                  @OP

                  Again, we’re small and don’t have a hierarchy.

                  Of course you do. You have people above you and they have people above them – that’s a hierarchy.

                  I have to say that you’re coming off frustrated that you don’t have managerial authority over your peers…and while there are certainly some things worth going over one’s bosses head about…they are few and far between.

                  I get it – I’m a rule follower and I get the mindset that if tptb knew the rules weren’t being followed they’d want to do something about that right now! And it can be frustrating when people to whom you report don’t have as great a sense of urgency about things as you do. But you’ll be a lot happier if you let them do their jobs while you focus on yours.

                  You can’t wrest control from your manager – and being as new as you are this can really hurt you. Wanting to step up is great, but not when you have to step on other people to do it and that’s how this reads to me.

        3. Jamie

          Yep – if I have an urgent tech request I’m grateful for a prompt response however they make that happen. I think it’s good she stepped in for the customer.

          I don’t think she’s obligated to check in to make sure stuff is getting done if it’s not her weekend – but if she’s in anyway and see it there…I wouldn’t be able to ignore it either.

          I just think the resentment is disproportionate to the incident.

    2. A Bug!

      Very much this.

      It’s not “pitching in” when you check in on a weekend when you’re not scheduled to work, and take it upon yourself to do work for which someone else is responsible*. It’s not pitching in to monitor your coworker for mistakes when you haven’t been asked to.

      Pitching in is noticing, during the course of your actual work, that there is a problem or potential problem, and offering your assistance as appropriate for the circumstances.

      So, yeah, once you knew of the problem, it would have been very hard to just let it lie. But you shouldn’t have known there was a problem at all; it wasn’t your place to be checking in and you overstepped your bounds.

      You need to understand what your place is as a member of your team, because it sounds like you feel more responsible for the performance of your coworkers than you should. And I understand that it’s frustrating when a coworker’s incompetence harms the whole team, I really do. But you have to trust that your manager is managing, and you have to accept that you’re not entitled to be kept in that loop.

      *If you’re non-exempt, it’s especially problematic to do unauthorized work for your employer.

      1. OP #1

        @fposte I phoned Team Lead the same day to make sure that it was ok to answer the ticket and to run my client response by her (which is pretty common with complex issues).

        @A Bug! This was something that I noticed during the course of my work – which was reviewing older tickets to better learn our software. We have an app for the help desk we use so often times I’m on my iPad or iPhone and just open it to see anything that may be helpful.

        Also, the ticket was outstanding for 24 hours. Which goes way beyond our 1 hour deadline.

  18. Elysian

    #4 – Ugh that is so frustrating. I can totally imagine feeling undervalued, and mentioning that to my manager, like AAM suggested. But applying to your own position could come across as passive aggressive, even if it isn’t your intention, and that’s an unhelpful message to send.

    1. Jen RO

      A friend of mine has been working as a team lead for 2 years, but classified as a P2 (P1 is entry level) and being paid accordingly. A month ago, they made an offer to a P2 candidate – 25% more than my friend is making. The candidate ended up refusing, but my friend said she will hand in her resignation the day someone new gets hired for significantly more money than her. The raises in the company are 10% tops, so the cruel reality is that she won’t ever get a raise to market level if she stays.

      1. Jubilance

        At my first company I started out as an L2 – fresh out of school but with a Master’s degree. For the next 2 years, every 6 months I got a bump in my salary to keep my salary above the new grads who were joining the company at my same level. I really liked that system, it kept folks from feeling like they were underpaid compared to the new people.

  19. NewEnglandNonprofit

    #5 and all — not to hijack, but I have a related question. I have a certification in my field (CFRE) that requires professional development hours for renewal. My current employer doesn’t have a culture of paying for professional development unless necessary. I have pushed back so I can keep my certification and they are ponying up some small fees for workshops. But my employer views it as a double cost due to my work time lost as well. This certification goes with me when I leave so I’m not sure how much I should push my employer to foot the bill on this. My previous employer was much larger and had a budget for this so it wasn’t an issue. I’d love to hear others’ thoughts/experiences.

    1. KJR

      I received an HR certification (SPHR) about a year and a half ago. My experience may not be the norm, but my company paid for the 8 week prep course, the exam itself, as well as all of the classes I need to take to re-certify over a 3 year period. I realize this is extremely generous, but they feel that the knowledge I gained from this experience (which was a LOT) will benefit the company. I will also note that while I was a loyal employee before this opportunity, I am a hundred times more so now that they’ve invested this time and money in me. It really meant a lot. I am also curious to hear what others’ experiences are.

    2. Aimee

      My employer is still setting their standards for this (we came from a larger corporation that had it’s own in-house training organization where you could pick from classes on many professional development topics. Some of them still cost money, so your director had to approve the cost, but you were never expected to pay yourself if you went through the in house training. Now that we are an independent company, and much smaller, they are figuring out what we are going to do. But it looks like professional development is going to be part of our culture).

      My employer just paid for me to take a project management course to fulfill my education requirements for my project management certification. They also paid for my membership in the professional organization and for my certification fee. I don’t know what they’ll cover as far as ongoing education to keep up the certification though, or if they will be able to offer anything through the in house training – we do have a lot of project managers, so it’s probably something I will suggest.

  20. Anonymous

    I just want to say these were unbelievably amazing questions. Reading this blog is becoming a guilty pleasure/wtf-are-they-thinking for me. It’s a bit like Maury Povich, though AAM has better hair.

  21. Abby

    As far as certifications go, I agree that I don’t hold that much stock in them but in the midwestern city where I live the competition is so tight for HR positions that employers require PHR if not SPHR and get it. In a situation like that it is worth it. There is a legitimate question as to whether that certification proves anything, but in this location it doesn’t matter because employers are requiring it.

    1. KJR

      This is exactly why I got the SPHR. Almost all of the job postings require it or the PHR. Most say either is acceptable.

  22. Jamie

    Just a word on certifications when it comes to IT/Software. I’m not saying they are without value or that there aren’t some IT hiring managers that care deeply about them…but I’ve never met one.

    Very often cert requirements in an ad is because a lot of ads are written by HR and not a technical hiring manager – who doesn’t know how to vet candidates without documentation.

    The job I have no required experience in software this company has never used, because the person who wrote the ad didn’t realize it was a specific software and thought it was a buzzword. I’m not kidding.

    If I was hiring someone for IT certificates are fine – they tell me you took the time to study and take the tests. They tell me nothing about whether or not you can apply that knowledge in a live environment. Nothing in IT goes by the book – so they can help you get your foot in the door as a first job I truly don’t know one IT in the position of hiring that doesn’t rely on real world experience and actual testing for anything above entry level positions.

    And even entry level – I personally care a lot more about aptitude and the way you think and approach problems than what you happen to know today. Because if you have the aptitude and temperament for the job you can learn what you need – but if you don’t it doesn’t matter what you know in theory, because what you need to know will change frequently.

    I think a lot of it is that people in IT get that it’s ridiculously easy to brain dump and get certified in things you’ve never used and being able to test well means nothing if you can’t apply it in a live environment.

    A micro version of this is when I was temping I had to test in Office. I had never used Office, my only experience with the software was the tutorials and the demo version you use online to go through the free training. I tested as expert in Excel, Word, and Outlook and advanced in Access.

    I’d have been a huge fraud if I tried to get a job on my Access skills at that point – advanced my butt – I’d never even seen the back end.

    1. Windchime

      Yes, this. There are so many certifications in IT that we pretty much disregard most of them when we are hiring. After all, I passed a complicated test in Networking that indicates that I should easily be able to create subnets and …other stuff that I don’t remember, because I crammed for days to take it and then immediately let the information go from my brain once it was over.

      I realize that there are other certifications in other fields that are more meaningful. But for IT, it’s a common thing for people to cram and study and pass the test, but still not have a clue what they are doing.

      1. Jamie

        Yep – brain dump. If someone could figure out a way I could take tests for a living and never have to apply what I learned I’d join that field today.

        1. Aimee

          Me too! I’m a good (and speedy) test taker, and I actually like taking them. Surely there’s a career for a test beta tester right?

          My back up dream career would be to be paid lots of money to assemble furniture from Ikea all day (which is a kind of test of its own!).

          1. Jamie

            I like that back up career. We could start our own business – I’m sure there is a niche for test takers/furniture assemblers.

            That really does sound awesome though – and makes me want to go to Ikea.

            1. Aimee

              I have to buy a new piece every six months or so, or I start having withdrawls! Thankfully, we’re slowly transitioning from hand me down furniture to new pieces, so I have at least 3 or 4 more pieces to buy before we’ve replaced everything.

    2. hamster

      I know some.
      Actually learning for my two certifications was both incredibly rewarding and useful when job hunting. And i’m in it. I am in charge of some very big and important datawarehouses, most specific of the data integrity and accuracy. We test tehnically, but
      certifications are a plus. And there’s just too much to do even for entry level , to have time to hire someone who doesn’t know the basiss. And some certifications are quite difficult to get by braindumps alone. We’re all expected to do a similar amount of work so there’s no, i’m junior and i’ll take it easy.
      And yes, i want someone in the office i can give a big chunk of code a documentation and make him integrate that in our systems. And pick up the problems when it’s not possible. A certification means at least he heard about stuff.

  23. OP#5

    Thanks for everyone’s insights regarding certification! You all have made me feel better about not paying for a certification, when my experience really speaks to my qualifications. (And at this point, I have still only seen one ad mentioning CPLP) If I can’t learn a lot from getting certified, I don’t want to shell out my hard-earned money.

    Just today I found an ASTD article about a Census Bureau study on licenses and certifications (of all types: education, nursing, cosmetology, etc). This blurb intrigued me “”For people with at least a bachelor’s degree, earnings didn’t really differ between those with an alternative educational credential and those without”. (With lower levels of education, the certificates do seem to increase earnings). I’d link the article, but I think you need to be a member of ASTD to view it.

  24. OP #1

    I definitely want to thank everyone for their commentary regardless of whether they thought I was right or wrong. This is something that I’m just going to have to let go.

    Part of my resentment comes from me doing his task on his weekend and him coming to work talking about how much fun he had in the mountains without so much as a thank you. But it was my decision to take the ticket and I’ll leave it at that. Time will tell if this is an area of concern or just a fluke.

    1. Laura

      I think it’s admirable that you’re so customer focused and willing to pick up slack when you notice it happening. I’m a big stickler for service too. Thing is, I quickly found myself becoming frustrated and resentful because I wasn’t able to let go of the idea that either my coworkers, teammates, or managers didn’t seem to care as much as I did. It definitely led to feeling taken advantage of and eventually burn out. I’m not a “do the bare minimum and let the chips fall where they may” type, but I’ve learned that once I realize I’m working with those types I have to be very careful not to take it personally else it torpedo my career opportunities. Good luck, OP #1. It sounds weird, but I think learning to be more selfish rather than selfless might do some good.

      1. hilde

        I totally agree with what you said and your overall point about being more selfish and less selfless, however I have a quibble and devil’s advocate perspective on that: It could be argued that the trait of working harder than everyone else, going above and beyond, making yourself the go-to person (and then getting resentful/frustrated that just do the minimum required) etc. is a form of selfishness. The person that has much higher standards than everyone else (and holds others to these high standards when it’s not really their role to do so) is getting something from this behavior. I’d suggest there’s an emotional/psychological payoff of being needed, necessary, and sometimes I think people that really carry this trait to an extreme are smug about it. Which left unchecked I think can be very selfish to expect others to hold the same standards of excellence.

        I am not trying to pin this to you specifically (and I definitely think there are levels of this type of behavior), but your comment just made me think of some people I know that are this way and I actually see them as more selfish than selfless when they are the type of person that must excel but hold everyone else to their standard when my standard (that is acceptable to mgmt) is just fine with me. So I’m not trying to make you feel bad! :)

        1. Ruffingit

          There’s absolutely merit to this idea and it’s one I think is ignored more often than it should be. Bottom line is that if you are not the owner of the company or the manager of the employee, you don’t get to set the acceptable standards of work. It may be that you have a slacker of a co-worker and that stinks, but unless it’s actually impacting you in some way, leave it alone. If it is impacting you, you can discuss it with slacker, their manager, or both, but if nothing changes, your options are to deal with it or leave.

          So yeah, there’s a lot wrapped up in this idea of differing standards. Bottom line is that if management is OK with it, then it’s OK. If someone dislikes that, doesn’t believe it’s a high enough standard, etc. then they need to become a manager themselves, own their own business or vote with their feet and leave.

    2. Ruffingit

      I think this is more a lesson in not doing someone else’s work and letting the chips fall where they may. Sure, you don’t want the clients to suffer, but if the clients suffer that is your colleague and the team lead who knows he’s in the mountains and doesn’t care. Unless and until you’re explicitly instructed to check on tickets when you’re not on that weekend rotation, don’t do it. Enjoy your weekend too!

      1. Not So NewReader

        This.
        Again, this is one of those conversations where it might feel like every is picking on OP. BUT- everyone has the same thinking going on- “OP, if you stay on this road, you will be out a job and your cohort will still be employed.”

        I think we all have had a coworker that got under our skin and just irritated us to no end. This road goes no where. FAST. Decide early in the story “Nope, I see what this pit is and I am not going to fall in it.” Because left unchecked it will be impossible later on to stop counting the failures (real or imagined) of this guy. The next step after that is it becomes real easy to quit a job.

        The underlying message is for you to keep your job, OP, and flourish in your field. I hope you can see that as you mull things over.

        1. Ruffingit

          Exactly. It’s funny how these situations turn so that the hard worker becomes the annoying one sometimes. If you find yourself falling into the pit NSNR describes, then you end up being seen as the troublemaker who can’t get along with people rather than the slacker being seen as someone not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

          One of the best work lessons I ever learned – if it doesn’t impact me personally, I cannot care. If someone is slacking all day, playing on Facebook, etc. that is not my problem. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t report things to management because you should do that (see boss surfs porn letter) in some cases, but there are times where you just need to focus on YOUR stuff. Don’t check the tickets of your co-worker or do anything else that is his work. Leave it be. Do your work to the standards acceptable to your manager (or better) and move on.

      2. Editor

        Ruffingit says “I think this is more a lesson in not doing someone else’s work…”

        I agree. One time a woman in business spoke at the MBA program in the college town where I lived. She said many women interpret being a team player as everyone helping everyone else to meet the team goals. She said she’d learned, working with men, that being a team player was like being on a baseball team — there’s only one person in each position and each position does its own job as part of the team. That is, if OP was the second baseman, trying to pitch or catch or play third base isn’t required because other team members have to pull their own weight.

        The problem with grade-school group projects is that very few teachers lead discussions of different approaches to teamwork and then point out that after the work is divided up, each person gets graded on their own work. This is why baseball players have individual stats in addition to team stats, and the team member who is 0 for 0 may get a flashy ring for being on a winning team, but no one will ever mistake that team member for the pitcher who won the game or the hitter who drove in five runs by hitting two home runs.

        The “there is no I in team” cliche is misleading, because it makes every person on the team responsible for the entire team’s performance. What people miss about this hoary old chestnut is that the team does not achieve excellence unless everyone does their best, so in the end, team performance always comes back to the individual. We need a new slogan for teamwork.

  25. Ed

    For #4, wasn’t there something in one of the famous career-related books (Parachute?) about that. I think it said if you’re really confident you’re undervalued, quit and then reapply for your own job at a higher salary.

    1. Laufey

      I would have to advise against this. I’d approach your manager about a raise and/or leave for a bump in pay at another location, but quitting, prompting your company to do a job search, and expecting to get rehired at higher pay as a reward seems like a bad idea. What if they hire someone with more experience instead, or are just generally confused about why you’d leave and re-apply?

  26. Anonymous

    Ugh, #3… Pornography has absolutely no place at work. That is a gross overstepping of boundaries and is a Big Deal. Watching pornography is such a trigger of harassment laws, I’m surprised he has been able to watch it so consistently over the past 2 years. You don’t even have to see it directly to file a claim for a hostile work environment. This is a hot water situation for everybody…

    1. Ruffingit

      I can see how he’s been able to get away with it. It’s second shift so everyone else is gone. OP seems to be the only one who knows and she’s not said anything. It’s actually easy to get away with stuff like this when the office is quiet, people are away and those in the know won’t say anything. This is why I’d say it’s super important to speak up about this stuff. Nothing will be done if nothing is said.

  27. Katie

    I feel like I should add to the certification discussion. I work in IT/IA (Information Security) and have several certifications. When I first got them, it was helpful for me since I didn’t have a college degree, but if you have one, I wouldn’t recommend getting them, except maybe the higher level one(s), like CISSP. On the other hand, for the OP, I would check (or you may already know) whether the certifications are a requirement. I work with the government now, and they require certain certifications to do what I do, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    For the commenter who was asking about whether your company should pay for CPEs, I would say it depends on the situation. I have a couple certifications that are required for my job, and others that are optional. If the certification is required, then I would think they should pay for CPEs, and that’s been my general experience. If the certification is optional, then in my experience it’s been about 50/50 whether the company would pay for CPEs.

    1. NewEnglandNonprofit

      Thanks, Katie! My certification is definitely optional for the job, but my employer likes that I have it.

  28. A Jane

    #3 – This reminds me of the web comic, The Oatmeal. I would post the direct link, but it probably crosses the NSFW line.

  29. Nick

    Certificates are different from certifications. Individual was talking about certifications for which you have to take exam by a centralized body.

    Unlike certificates, professional certifications such as PHR/SPHR/PMP have experience requirements, like 7 years exempt-level experience in HR and some education.

    Better workers have combinations of experience and education. Whereas, you may like to see a person with X years of experience in Y but what counts is learning from X years of experience not experience per se. Therefore, experience in combination will some education or training will make a sharp learning curve compared to experience only where learning curve is slow and upward moving.

  30. Kate

    On certifications:

    I work in a large IT company that offers training and certification in a range of its products as well as general IT areas. The process can be fairly costly (certification exams by themselves cost a couple hundred, not to mention the courses). But I do know that the certs that we offer are really important in the industry, and indicate that you have proficiency in a particular area, which for entry level people can be as good as hands-on experience.

    I would say, if you’re thinking of getting a certification, first look at how it’s done. Do they offer training? Is it just an exam you can take over and over again until you get it right? Look at the people in your field, or search for similar career level people on LinkedIn–do they have this certification? You mention an Adobe cert–is the certified skill one that’s crucial to your job? If not, skip it. There are plenty of worthless certs out there.

    Last, try checking Quora. Here’s an example of a thread on the calue of the CFA cert: http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-value-of-a-CFA-certification

    1. Anonymous

      I really think it depends on your field as well. IT fields tend to value them more than some other fields.

  31. Anonymous

    #3
    My understanding is watching adult films at work falls under sexual harassment. I can’t imagine HR would ignore it.

  32. anon-2

    40k in SF – well, they are engaging in what is commonly called “low-balling”. Refuse it – justify your increase on the higher living expenses in California, the relocation, and the fact that you’re leaving a comfortable position, there must be incentive to get you to go there. And that you want $60k (or whatever).

    Lowballing is often done if the new company suspects that you’re desperate to get out of your current situation, or that you’re about to be fired, etc. Don’t fall prey to it.

    One of three things is gonna happen.

    1) Nothing. And if they don’t budge, tell them it isn’t going to work, too bad, it looked like a good fit. Move on.

    2) They’re going to try to use different manuvers – “once you’re in here, you can write your own ticket”; “we’re the greatest people”; etc. etc. etc. Don’t fall for that crap. They’re trying to lowball you.

    3) They may go back into a meeting, and report “we can’t lowball him… what do we do now?” and listen. They may just turn around and say “all right, all right, umm, ok, well, we may be prepared to offer you x dollars” — STAND FIRM ON WHAT YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE.

    And finally – take note that companies that do this stuff, you usually have to play hardball with them to get that promotion or raise, or whatever. Not a red flag, but a big yellow one…

  33. EvilQueenRegina

    #1 – I did wonder the same thing as someone else had said, maybe Coworker had genuinely believed he’d be able to do the work but found that he had technology issues when he got to the mountains and couldn’t. It is also possible that your manager did speak to him alone and you didn’t know, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing that he wasn’t told off in public.

    I would let it go this one time and only make more of it if a pattern does develop. Thing is, there’s bound to be a time when there’s a reason why you’re unable to cover for things like that at weekends, if for example you’re away yourself and have no access to the system. If you check into it too much, the company will come to expect it and Coworker might think “Oh, it’s okay if I don’t do it because OP will cover,” management will expect likewise and then the tickets will slip through the cracks.

  34. SNK

    Hello, marketing pro from Milwaukee! I am also hoping to find a job in a warmer area, so congratulations on making the leap and good luck with negotiations. :)

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