can I ask for a raise at my 90-day review, how to greet a former employer who fired you, and more

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

1. Can I ask for a raise at my 90-day review?

A few months ago, I received a job offer, and I requested a salary 6% higher than what they were offering. They accepted, and I’ve been working there ever since.

My 90-day review is coming up. I have, in my opinion, done a really stellar job in 90 days. In fact, even though I was hired for a non-supervisory position, I am fully in charge of training new hires. I have also been verbally promised a promotion within the year.

At my review, I would like to ask for a raise. I’m afraid of coming across as greedy since they gave me the starting salary I asked for. But, I believe my performance merits a raise. Also, this is my first time having an official performance review so I’m not really sure what to expect. Can you help me navigate this professionally?

Well, you can’t really ask for a raise after 90 days, no matter how stellar a job you’re doing. They assumed you’d do a stellar job when they hired you — and they assumed you’d do it at the salary you agreed to. You generally need to wait about a year before asking for a raise — asking for it now would look wildly premature and would not reflect well on you! So don’t do that.

The idea behind the 90-day review is to to check in on how things are going and give you some formal feedback about what’s going well and where — if anywhere — they’d like to see you do better. I’d just plan to go in ready to listen to their feedback, and ask for any additional feedback or guidance you think would be helpful. But this isn’t a salary review; it’s a check-in on how your work is going.

2. My coworker said I’d get to go to conference because I’m “a young, cute guy”

In today’s mail, we received an advertisement for a trade show that my company is an exhibitor at every year. I mentioned to a coworker that the city where it is being held looks like fun and that I hope I get to attend again this year. She replied, “Of course they’ll let you go, you’re a young, cute guy and those conferences are full of old women.” I stammered out some response like “Thank you, but I don’t think that’s true,” and then ran back to my office.

It has been bugging me ever since. My current role could easily be part-time, but the company committed to me and created the role for me. Because of that and my general knowledge of the company and industry I often assist marketing with events or even periodic customer visits. I have been second guessing all of that now but don’t know if I should go to my manager and just ask if what was said is true or if I should just try to ignore it and move on.

I think I do an excellent job and work hard, but I’m worried that my reputation at the company is something different. Not sure how to approach it with either my coworkers or my manager.

This is the other side of the letter earlier this week where a guy told his female coworker — who had just made a mistake — that it was a good thing she was pretty. This is good example of why those comments are so damaging; you’re now wondering about your actual value to your company.

I wouldn’t let one dumb comment throw you off though. Is there other evidence that backs up what your coworker said? What do you know about her judgment in general? I’d take this as a stupid one-off from someone with bad judgment in this regard, unless you have other reasons to be concerned.

3. I’m going to grad school right when my boss goes on maternity leave

I found out several weeks ago that I have been admitted for a graduate program. This program would provide me with the training that I need to start a career in a field that I truly love. I plan on accepting the admissions offer.

Simultaneously, my boss announced to our office last week that she’s pregnant. Her due date is right around the date that my graduate program begins. This wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that she and I are the only two people on our team. If we both leave in August, as we’re currently scheduled to, there will be no one representing our team (and, equally importantly, the directors that we serve).

Is it possible in this situation to make a graceful exit? Should I give my two weeks notice now? I respect that someone new could be trained before my boss and I both leave, but I’m not sure how I can best honor the office’s needs and my own future plans.

Well, the choice isn’t between two weeks notice now and two weeks notice in August. If your employer is reasonable, you can tell them now that you’ll be leaving in August.

That said, does your employer have a history of pushing people out early when they give generous amounts of notice? If so, they’ve set things up so that you can’t really be safe giving more than a minimal amount of notice, unless you’re willing to be told to leave earlier than you planned. But assuming that that’s not the case, and that you have evidence that your employer is reasonable and appreciative of generous notice periods, yes, I’d let them know now what your plans are, so that they can plan accordingly. In addition to being obviously easier on them, it’s better for you too — because if you announce in August that you’re going to grad school, it’s going to be really obvious that you knew months beforehand and didn’t speak up, despite the situation with your boss, which is likely to sour the relationship.

4. How to greet a former employer who fired you

How should one communicate with a former employer who fired you, when you see them in public places? When I see them now, they are cold and or they hurry away. I have worked with them for over 20 years.

I’m guessing that they’re hurrying away out of discomfort — people sometimes don’t know how to behave in a situation like this. Which doesn’t make it okay, but it’s not an uncommon human flaw.

As for what to do, say hello and be pleasant, although of course if they’re hurrying away, you might not get to do more beyond a basic hello — but so be it if that’s their call. Their bad manners are no reason for you not to be civil, though — and you behaving civilly might demonstrate to them that indeed people can maintain cordial relations even after one has fired the other.

5. Am I entitled to copies of my time sheets?

I’m currently leaving my job and was wondering if my boss is obligated to give me my time sheets from the last year if I ask for them?

They’re not obligated to hand them over to you just because you ask. However, if you think you haven’t been paid for all the time you worked and you file a wage claim with the state, the state is likely to subpoena the time sheets.

{ 151 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. abankyteller

    3: Sometimes life events have timing like this. I bet you are more worried than your employer will be.

    4: You can never go wrong with being polite.

    Reply
  2. NomadTX

    For OP#1, does the AAM advice change at all if the job duties vary greatly from how the job was described? (in the direction of more responsibility) In that case, you wouldn’t be focusing so much on the quality of your work as deserving of a raise but the nature of it vs your title.

    Reply
    1. Katie

      I don’t thinks it does. Jobs tend to develop once you have a human being in position. I think if the OPs duty’s continue to grow towards a more senior position, it might make sense to talk about a promotion during the next performance review cycle.

      I just think that asking for raises this early signals you don’t know how the workplace functions. The right time to negotiate salary is before you take the job, when you have the most leverage. It sounds like the OP successfully negotiated an extra 6% – which is a pretty solid negotiation outcome IMO.

      Reply
      1. Jamie

        I agree – except in special circumstances where the job isn’t fleshed out when hired and compensation will be revisited at x time.

        Otherwise wait the year and make a strong case.

        Reply
    2. NylaW

      I think the job duties would have to so significantly change that it was more like completely changing jobs than getting a raise in a current job. I had a coworker who was hired as a Teapot Analyst but in about 4 months was basically our Teapot Project Manager. She got a raise and a title change at her 6 month review, but I am sure the raise was due more to the title/job change than the fact that she was doing different work.

      Reply
    3. PEBCAK

      Generally, no, but I can think of a few exceptions. For example, significantly more travel than advertised. I don’t even know that I’d ask for a raise in that situation, though…perhaps a short-term supplement or whatever might be the industry standard.

      Reply
    4. Ask a Manager Post author

      The job would have to be wildly different — a whole different job, really. It would the exception, not the norm. If you’re hired as, say, a communication assistant and then you’re asked to also assist with screening resumes because the HR assistant position is vacant, you’d look out of touch with how offices work if you asked for more money. If you’re asked to also take on some of the communication manager’s work because she’s on maternity leave or dealing with other priorities, you’d look out of touch. If you’re asked to actually serve as the communications manager — for real, not just a few pieces of her job — you could ask for more money, although even then you’re going to have a stronger case if you wait until you’ve done it for a couple of months and can point to a track record of actually doing it well.

      More here:
      http://www.askamanager.org/2013/04/asking-for-a-raise-when-your-job-changes-in-your-first-month.html

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    #3 – It’s good to be considerate, but you are taking things way too far for a co-worker.

    August is months away. There are so many things that could happen between now and then. Wait for a while, and if you want to give them between 1 to 3 months of notice, depending on how technical your job is. That should be ample notice to respond and make plans, but not 5 to 6 months notice. 5-6 months notice is crazy for any job, even highly technical or C-level ones. Any sane business should be able to handle your departure with much shorter notice.

    Also, your boss may not go on maternity leave at all, or may not take much time off, or may have the child earlier than expected, or may have to take time off considerably sooner than when the baby is due. Babies do not come on a nice schedule. Do not ever make your life plans revolve around someone else’s pregnancy plans, unless you are related/married to the pregnant woman in question. Be kind to pregnant people, but don’t put your life on hold for them.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      If you have a close relationship with your employer, I don’t think it’s crazy to give them a heads up 5-6 months out that you’ll be leaving, especially when it’s a pretty firm event like school starting. If for some reason plans fall through it’s unlikely they’re going to force you out (it’s not like you were leaving them for another job after all).

      If the relationship isn’t close, however, I don’t think you owe them anything more than the standard notice. It’s their job to make sure the business keeps running after you’re gone, not yours.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I had a great relationship with my boss when I went back to school, so I told her as soon as I was accepted what my plans were. She tortured me for MONTHS and it was horrible. Never again.

        Reply
      2. Chinook

        I would often give 3 or 4 months notice when my spouse was told he was going to be transferred (we just wouldn’t know to where) and my bosses were always appreciative of the notice as it meant they had time to hire someone and have me train them. In fact, it was one of those things that I would point out whenever interviewers would ask about my numerous moves (noticeable via jobs in various provinces). Then again, maybe those who weren’t open to long notices screened me out as a possible candidate based on my job history?

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      3. Kat A.

        By telling them so soon that you’re leaving, they might not bother to give you a raise at your next review or to consider you for a promotion. And you never know what’s going to happen in your life or in your colleague’s over this long period of time that may change either of your plans.

        I’d say give them 1 month notice.

        Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’ve worked places where people gave 5-6 months notice, particularly for things like grad school. It’s all about whether the employer makes it save for people to do so.

      I’d be pissed as hell if someone gave me one month notice for grad school, when they’d clearly known for months and months before that. (Assuming we were working in an environment where longer notice periods were safe to give, which we would be if they were working for me.)

      Reply
      1. Jerry

        Why would you expect more time simply because they were going to grad school? From your point of view there is no material difference between them leaving for grad school or leaving for another job.

        Even if there hasn’t been a pattern of kicking people out as soon as they give notice, there is still risk involved for the employee. Unless that risk is zero (as in a contract that runs until the time grad school starts), it’s not worth it for the employee. No difference between this situation and any other where you know well before you are leaving.

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        1. fposte

          Because you were absolutely committed to a known departure for considerably farther in advance. One reason for the norms of departure notification is how long in advance somebody’s likely to know about their other job–most office jobs aren’t going to hire you more than a few weeks out from the start date. Sure, there’s a risk involved for the employee in giving notice earlier; there’s also a risk involved for the employee in hiding a known departure from job for such an extended period.

          I’d be totally supportive of my staff leaving for graduate school (I’m working at a grad school, so it would be pretty sleazy of me not to be), but if they only gave me two weeks’ notice of their departure for it, I’d be seriously displeased with them.

          Reply
            1. Phyllis

              I rarely disagree with you Alison, but this is one of those times. I can’t remember ever telling a current employer exactly why I was leaving. It’s pretty much been ‘an opportunity has presented itself that I can’t turn down’. Why do you need to to know I confirmed the opportunity six weeks or six months ago, especially if I give the amount of notice typical for my industry/company?

              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                Many many people have left my organization on good terms, with lead times of one month to six months, where we know why they left.

                “Why do you need to to know I confirmed the opportunity six weeks or six months ago, especially if I give the amount of notice typical for my industry/company?”

                In my organizations we’re friends and very collegial. Someone left for another organization we might work with. Great. Someone wanted to go to business school. He got a recommendation from the CEO. Two people wants to leave just to travel? They gave us a lot of notice, so the timing worked for them and for us, and we’re still in touch.

                Long notice helps both the organization and the employee. If the relationship between the two isn’t good, sure, don’t give it. But if it is, that’s a great thing. If someone had an opportunity six months out, of course they’d tell the organization, because it would help the organization prepare as smoothly as possible. If there is no danger of the organization doing anything bad to the employee, why TF wouldn’t you tell them?

                Reply
            2. Kat A.

              But anything can happen in that time to cause a change in plans. It happened to me (but I’m not going to publicly post the details).

              There is nothing wrong with her giving a standard notice. After all, if they knew the company was closing down or having layoffs months out, they might not tell employees until much closer to the date.

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            3. Jerry

              Alison, what if I am firmly committed to a new job several months in advance? Should I give notice in that case also?

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            4. Joey

              Whoa. There’s a unwritten expectation to give more notice when you know you’re committed to leaving more than 2 weeks out. I agree that I’d be a bit perturbed tht they felt I didn’t deserve the courtesy of knowing sooner, but I wouldn’t think of holding it against anyone if they only gave 2 week notice. I can’t imagine saying someone left on bad terms because they only gave 1 month notice before grad school.

              Reply
              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Bad terms, no. But if I’d worked closely with this person, mentored them, invested in them, etc., and they knew for months they were leaving for grad school and didn’t tell me until just before? It would certainly change the relationship.

                Reply
      2. Anonymous

        I think expecting more than two weeks notice for any job is irrational, no matter the circumstances of the departure. That is the expected norm.

        If you want more notice, you have to make that extremely clear to all your hires and establish it as the local workplace norm. And you’ll still need to deal with less notice than you ask for on occasion, simply because there isn’t opportunity to give more.

        Just because an employee knows ahead of time what they are likely to do doesn’t obligate them to share that with management, even management that makes it easy to share such info. Especially since management is generally notorious for not sharing info in advance with employees that might influence their decision to stay or leave. Info like whether raises will be given out, whether layoffs will happen soon, whether promotions are available, whether the overall company is meeting goals, upcoming mergers, etc. is played close to the vest nearly everywhere.

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          There are many jobs, particularly at more senior levels, where two weeks definitely isn’t the norm — something more around a month is. It’s just a matter of knowing the norms for your workplace and type of job.

          Reply
          1. Sandrine (France)

            I would even add “knowing your boss” too, even though we got proof here that sometimes even knowing your boss isn’t enough.

            I’d follow my gut about whether the boss is likely to push the employee out the door immediately or not, actually. Sure, with a boss like you, Alison, I’d see no problem telling you I got into grad school… but some others… oh my, I wouldn’t dream of saying anything to them.

            Reply
          2. Sarahnova

            In the UK, the standard is four weeks’ notice, and for executive-level or highly-skilled jobs, it’s often three months.

            And FWIW, Alison, if I trusted my boss I’d give her several months’ notice of a plan like this, but if I had reason to believe it would be used against me, I’d protect myself first. Of course, some larger organisations here have a “career break” policy whereby you could take a year out, say, to do a postgraduate degree, and then return.

            Reply
    3. Sasha LeTour

      I generally agree that planning for something that’s 5 or 6 months away is considered excessive notice, and here, I think the OP might want to follow up on AAM’s recommendations and feel out the company culture. You and your supervisor may be the only workers representing your department, but from the way you’ve worded your question, I assume there are other departments. Do you have a co-worker you can confide in or someone who can help you feel out the company’s typical response to a resignation of the nature you are dealing with?

      If you learn that the company’s attitude is “the more notice, the better,” you might consider giving notice 3 or even months before your departure, particularly if yours is a senior or highly vital position. Conversely, if you learn that the company responds to resignations in a vindictive manner, one month’s notice might be all you can manage. Will it ‘screw over’ the company? Certainly, and there are pros and cons to resigning in this fashion, including burning a bridge or turning a favorable reference into an unfavorable one.

      But you must weigh these potential consequences with the consequences of losing up to six months’ worth of income. What can you afford to risk, and how can you balance that with the company’s history of responding to resignation notices?

      Reply
  4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    #2

    Ugh. I have this issue in my workplace. People are well aware enough that it’s not okay to say these things about women (on my watch at least) but issues crop up where I still have to beat people for saying them about men. I’ve had multiple issues, the most recent having to sit my direct report team women down and tell them it’s not okay to treat The New Guy (first man on the closest-to-me team) as an adorable stuffed teddy bear novelty.

    One of the responses, I kid you not was: “But he likes it. He smiles!”

    head/desk

    Hello! There are five of you and one of him. You are senior to him. He wants to keep his job. Of course he is going to smile. Now cut it out.

    Anyway, OP, you shouldn’t have to deal with that but I wouldn’t over think what happened. What you experienced was thoughtless speech (possibly partnered with a poor attempt at flirting) on the coworker level. In my early days of breaking into an all male industry I would have responded to something like that with a deadpan expression and “Hmmm, well I’d like to think I’d be chosen because of XYZ ability” and not break or deflect until the other person realized they had said something Really Inappropriate.

    If that comment had come from a boss, that would be another kettle of fish.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      Great job on backing up the new hire!

      OP, it really ticks me off when older people think they can get away with an off the cuff remark. No. That is not how it works. The older you are the more responsibility you have to being professional at all times. We are expected to learn from our mistakes in the past.
      You may want to consider documenting (date, time, location, nature of the remark). This might help you when you replay that tape of her inside your head. Or it could help you to decide that you want to let it go.
      Three is my magic number. I see something (that is reeeally bad) three times and I either say something or I start documenting. One of the side effects of documenting, is that it has helped me find words for what is going on. I almost never use the records but eventually I find a way of communicating my concerns. The written record helps to clear my thinking. (Keep the records at home!)
      I think what she said is wrong and you have every right to do or say something here. It’s just a matter of choosing a method that is comfortable/effective for you.

      Reply
      1. AF

        +1 – if it happens again, say something politely but firmly to the coworker. She might be caught off guard and defensive, but that isn’t your problem. It’s hers. And then, if she does it again, you go to your supervisor immediately, with the documentation that you’ve addressed it with her already. Because if she says stupid stuff like this once, she’s probably either done it before with others, or would probably do it again.

        Don’t ever feel bad about feeling offended.

        Reply
    2. Kit M.

      “But he likes it. He smiles!” makes me shudder. But even if he was pleased (and he is almost definitely not), it would be inappropriate.

      Reply
      1. Short Fuse

        Good for you for putting a stop to that. We so rarely hear about women behaving inappropriately towards men. The focus is always on women being treated badly. Maybe once in awhile we get an over-the-top example like with Jennifer Aniston’s character in Horrible Bosses (which was a hilarious movie) but other than that, this type of thing goes largely unnoticed.

        I had an intern work for me once, who was a guy finishing up a combined bacherlor’s/master’s program. Really nice guy, hard worker, wanted to learn all he could. I had to give him some kind of tedious stuff to do, because it was stuff that really had to be done and there was no one else to do it, but I also really tried to give him more interesting things to do too, and had him work with different people on my team to get some other exposure too. But there was one woman, who did not report to me, who just skirted the edge of the kind of behavior you talked about. I think she wanted to take him under her wing, and it was a maternal sort of a thing, and I never saw her say or do anything inappropriate where he was concerned, but she was always telling me how she thought he was just the nicest kid, and that he was so cute, and so sweet.

        Reply
        1. Arbynka

          Yes, inappropriate does not have gender border. One of my friend was promoted and co-worker told her : “You did spread your legs for the right person, didn’t you ?” This from one woman to another. After she pointed out she did not appreciate that sort of suggestion, she was told to “put her big girl panties on”. Aaaargh, some people. End of vent. And thumbs up for sticking up for the guy. I don’t care if it’s “done” to woman by man, to woman by woman, to man by woman, to man by man, to man by alien….It is not right.

          Reply
            1. Editor

              The point is, she kept her big girl panties on. She didn’t take them off to get the promotion. Her co-worker needs to stop with the assumptions and act like she’s wearing big girl panties, too.

              Reply
        2. Phyllis

          I’m showing my age here, but does anyone remember “One Day at a Time” when Ann Romano kissed her sub-ordinate male employee and he quit? I realize this wasn’t as serious, but still INAPPROPRIATE!!!

          Reply
          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

            I do indeed!

            I’ll wager that that ep likely helped form my early thinking on the subject — if women get power, what’s the right thing to do with it. (I just looked the ep up and it aired my freshman year of college.)

            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1102876/

            I don’t remember the actual plot, but I absolutely remember the situation being presented.

            Reply
        3. Sasha LeTour

          I agree, and add that I think there is not enough attention on women behaving badly or crossing gender lines generally. At my workplace, I have just finished the process of reporting and dealing with a half-year’s worth of documented misbehavior from a woman near retirement age. Common courtesy should be extended to workers regardless of their age, and whether the issue is a 34 y/o man telling a younger woman fresh from undergrad “It’s a good thing you’re pretty,” a 40-something woman telling a younger man that he’s going to be the ‘booth hunk’ because he’s so cuddly and cute – or, as in my case, a woman in her early sixties waging a campaign against a woman well into her 30s with 15 years’ experience in order to undermine her position of equal seniority – this behavior is not okay.

          While some of my co-worker’s comments are not relevant to this discussion, an example that is was the time she demanded to know why I chose to wear a business formal dress-and-heels combo to a client meeting held on a chilly day, found my “I felt like it, now let’s focus on the meeting” response dissatisfactory, and whacked me across the thigh near my buttocks while demanding an answer more to her liking, after which, she launched into a tirade about the frivolities of fashion and women choosing to wear suit dresses with heels in order to “kiss up” to the clients. Touching me while needling me about choosing to present myself in a work-appropriate businesslike fashion is not okay, and you can bet that I began documenting when this behavior cropped up over and over again.

          (The greatest irony here is that it was HER dress that was far too casual. Clients in the global finance industry do not care to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on mobile apps and campaigns only to see their team leads pitch them in rumpled jeans and t-shirts that could be worn to mow the lawn.)

          Reply
      2. Chinook

        I agree. There was a time when a male coworker could defend sexist comments by saying “she giggled a day thought it was funny” not realizing that this was a stress response. The poor man’s smile was more than likely masking the unkind words he was thinking of his coworkers. Kudos for sticking up for him.

        Reply
            1. Fiona

              I can raise my right one but not my left. My husband is eyebrow-ambidextrous to the point that he make them do the wave.

              Reply
      3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        He might like it. The women are near age peers. The attention is “positive” if a bit novelty-in-a-zoo from my perspective. It’s not sexualized and it’s not creepy. Maybe he’s fist pumping “what a great job!”

        Or, he might not like it. He might hate it but feel impelled to respond positively outwardly because he’s freakin’ outnumbered which….

        is the point.

        How he is actually, personally, reacting is immaterial. If he was asked and gave a truthful answer that he loves the dynamic, I don’t care, cut it out.

        The OP’s coworker might have said the same thing to a guy who was flattered by being described as young and good looking and good trade show bait. Neither the reaction nor the gender make a whit of difference in my book, and none of it belongs in a place of business.

        (Not preaching at you, giving the sermon I gave the women on my staff about why this is: Just Wrong.)

        Reply
        1. KrisL

          The way I think of it is, he might like it or not, but either way, it’s not appropriate and could get the co-worker and the company into legal trouble, so why do it?

          Reply
    3. Saturn9

      #2
      Thoughtless Coworker was clearly thoughtless but what if Thoughtless Coworker was commenting on a known issue within the company?

      Does the company have a habit of sending “cute young men” to the trade show in an attempt to appeal to potential clients? This is an entirely separate problem but one worth considering.

      And she didn’t say he got hired/promoted/given a raise/was allowed to make mistakes because of his looks, she was referring specifically to him being chosen to represent the company at a trade show, where one’s ability to draw in clients does tend to be important.

      Reply
      1. OP #2

        FWIW, that’s not an issue I’ve noticed. Since I started, most trade shows where we are exhibitors are attended by the director of marketing, myself, and two or three members of staff from various departments who have shown interest and will actually be useful there. Most smaller events are staffed by either the director of marketing or myself, and one or two local staff members.

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      2. Observer

        It doesn’t really make a difference. If there is an issue of this sort the person to bring it up with is in HR.

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      3. KrisL

        I also wondered if the co-worker was commenting on something the company actually did. That would feel weird though, if they actually did that.

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    4. OP #2

      Thanks, I agree that I was probably overthinking things. I emailed Alison the question on Wednesday (WTF?) within hours of it occurring.

      Part of the reason for my overreaction, at least I think, is because I’ve only been with the company about a year and I’m also the youngest person there by about a decade. I was in a similar situation at my old company but I started there while in college and basically grew up there, so I was comfortable and confident. Learning and adapting to the culture at the new company has been interesting, but like I said overall it has gone really well and I have no reason to doubt that my manager thinks I do a good job.

      If it comes up again I’ll probably say something to her about it. I didn’t say anything to my manager because I don’t want to get a coworker in trouble over a single comment when she might have just been venting her own frustrations.

      Reply
      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        I don’t think you over reacted. The comment was not appropriate and nobody should have to just roll with inappropriate comments, especially of a sexual nature, in the work place.

        What you shouldn’t do is over think and make the comment somehow undermine your confidence in your own abilities or what you think the perception is of your abilities in general.

        If something occurs with this co-worker again, you’re better prepared to shut her down yourself without having to involve management. I’m a big fan of an icy stare, a slightly arched eyebrow and a flat, factual retort that leaves the original speaker twisting in the wind…but ya know, whatever works for you.

        Reply
        1. IronMaiden

          I don’t see the comment as being necessarily sexual in nature. The co-worker might have been trying, in a clumsy way, to cue the OP into the company/field culture. She stated that the conferences were attended by “old women” (a problematic comment in itself) and therefore the OP was good, as one PP put it, “trade show bait”. Now, the old women frequenting the trade shows are not necessarily looking for a Magic Mike type. They might simply be better influenced by someone who reminds them of their son/nephew/grandson etc. Then again, the whole thing might be BS and the trade shows are attended by a wide representation from the industry.

          Reply
          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

            I’m smiling at this comment because now I have to take a completely different angle in the conversation.

            I’m 52, I’m not dead! I don’t look at Benedict Cumberbatch and go “ohhhh, I wish he was my grandson”. (or Jason Dohring #veronicamarsmovie).

            I assure you that I am behaved and appropriate and as genderless as possible in a business context, but please don’t assume “old women” are wired differently than “old men”. If you reversed the genders in the comment made to the OP, I don’t think the assumption would be that the old men would be looking at an attractive young woman as a substitute granddaughter.

            Reply
            1. Aimee

              Off topic from the original question, but not your comment – I saw the Veronica Mars Movie tonight, and Jason Dohring was there! He seemed to be so genuinely grateful to everyone telling him how much they enjoyed it afterward.

              Reply
              1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

                OMG. And me at home in my VM shirt running my Flixster download (on Roku, very handy) on continuous loop.

                Curse the lack of open thread Sunday. I could start a post in Friday’s thread but everything I have to say is *SPOILERS* .

                Anyway, if Jason Dohring doesn’t get some major leading man roles after that movie, I’ll eat my (white!) hat.

                Interest in conversation on the topic, we can all meet in Friday’s open thread.

                Reply
                1. Anonymous

                  I will hopefully have time to log in! :)

                  When I preordered the dvd, I thought it had the same release date as the theater, but no. It’s not until May (maybe). Sigh.

  5. Katie

    #1: Sounds like you successfully negotiated salary when you started (good for you). Asking for a raise now would indicate you don’t know how the world of work functions. In my experience, all my raises have come after performance reviews; when I joined organizations right before the performance review cycle I either forwent a raise, or got something small and prorated. You next performance review cycle would be the right time to ask for a raise.

    Reply
    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      Asking for a raise now would indicate you don’t know how the world of work functions.

      Absolutely. Additionally it signals that your greenness could turn into a management problem. Whenever I turn somebody down for a requested raise, they have a mental tick mark next to their name to watch out for anything bad that happens next.

      The longer I have known somebody, the less that’s an issue. A long term person asks for 10% , gets 5%, I don’t worry too much. A new person asks, gets nothing, and I’m already mentally preparing for what to do/how to fill the position should things go sour.

      There’s an exception: low paid, hourly work reads differently to me. We have entry level warehouse positions and if somebody hired at $14 an hour came on gangbusters and asked for $15 an hour after 90 days, I’d consider it to ensure retaining them. We up the payscale on hourly much more frequently than we do on salaried positions which are assumed negotiated for at least the year that somebody starts.

      * I believe strongly in employees acting as their own free agents and I don’t want to discourage anybody from negotiating for what they want because they are afraid of how the other person is going react. My only point is that doing it at 90 days carries a real risk with it, is likely to be unsuccessful and will also likely harm the request again at the year mark “that one is always asking for raises”.

      More people should negotiate, not fewer, just pick your time better.

      Reply
      1. NylaW

        Agreed. I think when you accept an offer and a pay rate or salary, you should only do so if you are really okay with being paid that for at least a year. I know a few people who accepted an offer lower than what they wanted or needed to be paid and then thought they could just renegotiate in a few months.

        Reply
        1. Chinook

          I agree – the salary you negotiate when you start is your salary for the next year or more unless your job involves significantly more responsibility than when you started (and even then, you have to ask yourself if it is worth it in the long run). My job went from “we know we need someone to help with paperwork but are not sure of there is enough work” to becoming a database manager/designer (working with IT) and monitored of vendor requirements, so responsibilities can change but even if couldn’t justify to myself asking for a raise until after the first year (10%, thank you very much.)

          Reply
          1. Chinook

            I should also add that my boss, and hers, wanted to give me the raise earlier but there was no way to do it outside of the regular cycle or my changing position. Keep that in mind – larger companies have procedures in place for raises that are very difficult to work outside of. In other words, even if your manager agreed, there still may be no way for her to get it for you.

            Reply
          2. AVP

            Agreed. I got a small raise once after 6 months, but it was because the person above me left and they gave me her position and title and all responsibilities – and even then my manager was taken off guard because I didn’t wait for a year. If I had to do it again I might have waited longer, but I was new to the working world.

            Reply
        2. tcookson

          I don’t know about private industry, but at my state university, salaries are changed only after a year, and only at the end of the fiscal year budget cycle (unless someone is moved into a completely new position in the meantime).

          Reply
    2. fposte

      Totally agreed. To me, asking after 90 days is really a belated renegotiation of the initial offer, not a raise. I’d therefore be particularly irritated to get this from somebody who did receive what she asked for at hire–you told us what we wanted and we gave it to you, so why are you asking for more and is this going to happen every three months?

      Reply
      1. Jessa

        Exactly. Unless the position has some kind of training wage, 90 days is way too soon to ask for more. Unless it’s an entirely different job (permanently, not being asked to fill in,) in a major enough way to make it a completely new negotiation. And that’s kind of rare.

        Reply
    3. danr

      And, you might offered a small raise during the review. It happened to me. But the others are right, don’t ask for one. During your ninety day review, you’ll find out how your perception of your work stands in comparison to your manager’s.

      Reply
  6. TychaBrahe

    Regarding #2,

    Is there any way to tell an employee that they will probably be selected for a role specifically for their looks? Because the fact is when a company is very large, they hire booth babes/buffs to represent their products at such shows. And when they don’t have that kind of budget, the young attractive people on staff will often be the ones sent.

    Reply
    1. Juli G.

      My guess is this coworker just voiced the unsaid truth (which is inappropriate). But yes, my company clearly sends the young, attractive people to front our booth. Trade shows are a place where you need an attractive front.

      For you OP3, I would say that no company is keeping you around to be pretty at a trade show. You have other talents they value.

      Reply
      1. Elysian

        “For you OP3, I would say that no company is keeping you around to be pretty at a trade show. You have other talents they value.”

        I think that’s what makes this comment slightly less egregious than the one made to the woman earlier this week, even though they’re in the same vein. Here the OP’s primary job isn’t booth-manning. The trade show would be an extra, and it is IS an unspoken truth that young, good looking people are sent to those. That’s not appropriate, but (like photoshopping fashion models) it is what happens.

        OP, even if you do get picked to be the booth’s eye candy, that isn’t why they hired you and its not why they’re keeping you around.

        Reply
        1. Jessa

          Which is funny because someone did a small experiment at a large convention where they had booth babes at one end and older women at the other. People looked at the booth babes but bought from the older looking women. The babes were pretty but the other women appeared and were KNOWLEDEABLE. And made seriously more sales. Anecdotally at least for one company it didn’t work to drive actual business. You really want someone who looks like they know your product rather than looks decorative if you want to make contacts/sales, etc. Especially since most babes are hired from agencies and not actual employees with product info.

          Reply
        2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          I’ll disagree that it’s slightly less egregious because the co-worker added the part about the customers being “old women” which sexualizes the appearance part + alludes to a gigolo type dynamic.

          Switch the genders and see how that’s creepy, telling a young woman that she would be selected because she’s young and pretty and the customers are old men.

          Selecting attractive, well presented employees to represent the company at trade shows is not the same thing as selecting employees as sexual bait.

          Reply
          1. Elysian

            I mean, people have been calling them “booth babes” and “show hos” so I’m pretty sure its clear from the start they’re supposed to be sexual bait (at least for the eye).

            Reply
            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

              Those terms (please don’t get me started on “show hos” because there’s not enough ink in my laptop for my thoughts on that expression), those terms are typically used to refer to professional trade show models who are contract hired to staff booths/draw attention only at trade show.

              It’s a contract job. There are agencies in trade show cities and a company would contract with an agency to provide um, talent, “I’ll take five” to be at the booth.

              I can’t say that there’s no company who doesn’t have a “booth babe/sexual bait” set of full time jobs available, but it is typically contract modeling agency work and not the same thing as selecting employees who present well as trade show staff.

              Reply
      1. Saturn9

        I would hope the goal would be full disclosure.

        If I was hired ostensibly to do a job and later found out that I’d actually been hired to do the job but! also! to regularly represent the company in some capacity because clients may respond positively to my looks, I’d like to know that. It’s not a comment on me, it’s a facet of the company culture that I’d hope would have been disclosed so I could self-select out if it was one I wasn’t comfortable with.

        Reply
        1. Colette

          You could say something impersonally before they started, maybe (although I can’t think of any way to do so that doesn’t sound sleazy), but there is no constructive reason to tell someone that they personally were picked for a task because of their appearance (unless it’s about something like “you always dress so professionally that we knew we could pull you in to a client meeting at the last moment).

          Reply
    2. Sigrid

      My husband and I were actually discussing this last week, because he had just returned from a conference in which the young, attractive associates at his company were definitely pushed to the front when it came to working the room. He thinks it’s good fun, and the women at his company I’ve talked to who are in that position also think it’s good fun. (They’re also all extroverts who *like* working the room, which I personally find baffling, but each to her own.)

      But here’s the thing — while it is openly acknowledged that in certain circumstances, the young, attractive employees will be the face of the company because their attractiveness is an asset, it is *ALSO* made very clear that these employees are employees because they are good at their job. Their attractiveness is an added bonus that can be useful to the company, but it is explicit that it is only that, a bonus, not a determining factor in their value to the company. That’s the only way in which such things are acceptable, in my book.

      Reply
      1. Liz

        Juli G: this is true for me. I know my company values the work I do and how easily I’m able to speak to C level executives at events while being a younger, attractive woman. They consistently praise how adept I am at high level business conversations but frankly, having an attractive presence at the booth is helpful. I don’t mean solely my looks (which are average but still 20something woman) but I also mean dressing professionally, being attractively groomed, etc. A big part of my role is planning and executing events, and bringing people into the booth to start business conversations, so it is no way offensive when it is acknowledged as part of my value. It is just natural that a well groomed, attractive male OR female, with a friendly outgoing demeanor is going to do better at this. Especially compared to a slumping, sloppily dressed person who naturally is more of an introvert. Which is fine, we all have roles to play, some of my more technical coworkers have the job of learning valuable skills at conferences and not business development. They tend to show up more casual, less groomed, etc. because they don’t have the same role as me.

        With all of that being said, my coworkers never make these sort of comments like the OP’s as in “that’s why you got this job” or “that’s the only reason you’re going” which is completely inappropriate. It’s always acknowledging my overall value. And a piece of my value includes bringing a professional, approachable, and attractive face to marketing efforts at industry events.

        Perhaps I should be offended, but I’m just not. I work hard at having a very polished look because I know it benefits me in doing a good job in my role.

        Reply
        1. Sasha LeTour

          Liz, I agree. A similar approach helped me advance in my field earlier in my career. In fact, one of the highest compliments I received at that age was from the CFO at a former agency, who said, “The reason we would like you to lead a pitch is because you are extremely well-spoken and professionally dressed. I trust you to speak to the client without saying ‘umm,’ ‘like,” and ‘you know’ to fill silence.”

          Reply
    3. Elizabeth West

      Booth babes are like models, though; they’re hired specifically to look pretty. It’s their job to look pretty and that’s basically it. If I sent an employee to a booth, I would send someone who can answer everyone’s questions about the product/service no matter what they look like. *Unless they had stains on their tie, etc., of course.

      Reply
    4. Joey

      #2. You know I read an article on show ho’s about a company that ended up testing wether that was the best way to sell. They normally sent their inexperienced hotties, but were in a bind for a show and could only find people who retired from the industry. Guess what happened? The show ho’s attracted a lot more passerbys, but the retired people generated 5x the leads.

      Reply
        1. QualityControlFreak

          Thank you. I found that really distasteful. “Babes” or “buffs” may sound dismissive, but they are describing physical appearance. A “ho” is someone who performs a sexual activity for money. I don’t believe it is applicable here, and it is unnecessarily demeaning in this context.

          Reply
  7. Not So NewReader

    #1. I had always heard that the salary you agree to at hire is something that you need to live with for at least a year. It’s an unspoken rule of thumb. The way it was explained to me is that any one can do a great job for 90 days. But 12 months out are they able to sustain that excellent level? The boss also wants to learn how the new hire handles tough situations, gets along with others, etc. These are the things that separate the regular employee from the super star employee.

    I did have one job that gave me a raise after 90 days. But they told me that this BEFORE I agreed to the job. This allowed me to put that into consideration along with everything else the company offered.
    I thought it was fair. There was a lot of OJT to that job.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    #5 – If you’re a member of a union at your job, you might have a right to ask for your timesheets under your union contract, or, your union would have a legal right to ask for them if you don’t.

    Reply
    1. Jessa

      And this is why (hindsight is 20/20) you get copies as you go. Even if you have to screen shot them. But most companies I’ve worked at that had electronic timesheets you could print them out.

      Reply
      1. Elysian

        I’ve never worked at a company with an electronic timesheet. Paystubs, yes, but my timesheets have always gone into the great abyss.

        Reply
    2. AVP

      I was a little surprised to hear that people don’t get regular copies – mine have carbon copies that you can take after you fill them out. They come in really handy when if you need to prove work dates for health insurance, taxes, etc.

      Reply
  9. NylaW

    #5 depends on the state. There are states where it is required for your employer to provide you access to your timesheets at your request.

    Honestly I just think it’s good practice to let your employees see their pay information so mistakes can be caught sooner and no one feels like things are being kept from them for possible shady reasons.

    Reply
    1. Editor

      At the last place I worked, we didn’t have access to our timesheets online, but all our paystubs were online. If you are leaving and don’t have printouts of paystubs, now is the time to obtain them. Some companies ask for a copy of a paystub when they hire as part of salary verification, and paystubs are also useful when filing taxes.

      Reply
      1. NylaW

        I would definitely recommend printing or keeping at least your last pay stub from a job. It’s good to have to compare to your W2 and make sure it’s all correct.

        Reply
      2. Elizabeth West

        We do that too, and so did Exjob (after the buyout). I download mine and save them in two places so I have them if I ever get audited or anything. As for Exjob, I worked there for six years and it was only the last one where we had online stubs, so I have MILLIONS of sheets of paper filed away. Ugh.

        Reply
    2. Chinook

      In Canada, you hours/dollars earned for the tax year you left and/or your last 52 weeks (I can’t remember which) are on the record of employment government form that can be used for employment insurance purposes (which you are required to get a copy of regardless of why you left the position). Is there an American equivalent?

      Reply
      1. Saturn9

        W2′s.

        If a future potential employer asks for proof of employment and their background check company is incompetent or otherwise can’t verify work history, the employer requests you provide copies of W2′s (which we should all keep for tax purposes in theory but in practice… uhhh yeah no, not so much).

        Reply
  10. JMegan

    #3 – congratulations on getting into grad school!

    At a previous job, I was one of a team of three – myself, my colleague, and our manager. And we all got pregnant within a few months of each other. We’re in Canada, which means we get a year for mat leave, which means the employer needs to do quite a lot of planning in that situation. And it was very much Not A Big Deal.

    Most reasonable employers would see it that way – a situation that needs some planning, but not one that is impossible. I can’t imagine anyone is going to be mad at you for going to grad school!

    Reply
  11. Jay

    #5 When I was part of a large lay-off at my former company I went to the unemployment center while I was looking and made sure to sign up for benefits, this was at the beginning of the downturn and I wasn’t sure what the employment landscape looked like.

    I found another job a few months later, but UI started an audit of of my benefits and demanded (from me) my timeslips from my last company. My last company wasn’t willing to to give them to me until they spoke with their attorney and almost made me miss the deadline.

    My lesson from this was to always keep a digital copy of my timesheets on my personal computer in case I ever needed them again.

    Reply
  12. Kit M.

    For OP #2, I don’t think you have any reason to doubt the your value to the company based on your co-worker’s statement. I don’t think it really even matters if it’s true or not. Unless your company is dysfunctional, good work will out. If you feel you do good work and people are responding as if you are doing the work you think you’re doing, that’s a more convincing body of evidence than one undermining, jerky comment.

    Reply
  13. Ann Furthermore

    #1: Getting a raise after 90 days is more common in things like retail or fast food, where the turnover is high. The first 90 days is like a probationary period, and if you make it that long then your manager figures you’re a keeper and gives you an incentive to stay.

    Corporate/office jobs are different. Companies spend time looking for someone who is the right fit for what they need, with the intent of investing a considerable amount of time and money in training and developing the person that they hire, and with the expectation that the person they hire wants to make a similar investment in their career. It’s not the same thing as just looking for a warm body to fill a spot, and then throwing a little more money at you hoping that you’ll stay instead of moving on so they have to start all over again.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      Oh, there’s interesting information–I hadn’t realized that this might make sense in some industries, so that might be what’s creating context for the OP.

      Reply
  14. Seal

    #4 – I left my previous job in large part because I was passed over for a promotion I felt I deserved. Not so ironically, my new job was nearly identical to the one I didn’t get at my previous institution. Within 2 years everything at my old job imploded spectacularly: the person they hired instead of me was transferred after she fired her assistant for made-up reasons, and my former boss was fired for stealing. Meanwhile, I was flourishing in my new job, with a major promotion a year after I arrived.

    While the dust was still settling in the aftermath of all this at my old job, I ran into my old boss’s boss – the woman who refused to sign off on my promotion – at the airport. Turns out we had been on the same plane coming back from the same conference. So we proceeded to have a delightfully awkward, stilted conversation where I told her how well my new job was going and discussed the conference while she wouldn’t quite look me in the eye and changed the subject when I asked how things were going at her job. The fact that my mere presence made her uncomfortable was strangely validating.

    Reply
    1. anon

      i saw the manager that laid me off a couple of years ago at a restaurant and i wish i could have gracious and cool as a cucumber, but no it just made me mad. She put a huge fake smile and say: “hi anon, how are you?” I just glanced at her snd told her: “excuse me, im hungry” and left her there. Just looking at her remind me of she telling me it was the worst day of her life when she laid us off.

      Reply
  15. Legal jobs

    Re 4

    I don’t understand the desire to communicate with former employers or the need for validation from them. I don’t see how it can be personally productive.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      I think it would be different if it were somebody asking about reaching out to a former employer, but that’s not the case here. This is somebody who is running into her former employer whether she likes it or not and wants to know how to manage the situation.

      That’s not uncommon in a lot of fields–conferences can be minefields for that kind of thing.

      Reply
      1. tcookson

        Also if you live in a small town — you will see everybody and their dog (literally) at the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, and the town square is only one block around. It’s helpful to have something non-awkward and pleasant to say to a person when you round the corner and practically everybody in town will notice if there’s an awkward encounter.

        Reply
        1. Ruffingit

          This. I’ve done the small town living thing and you are guaranteed to have multiple encounters with everyone in the town. Definitely a good idea to have something to say at the ready.

          Reply
        2. fposte

          Oh, good point–that happens here too (and that is why I do not like to go out in public in gardening clothes). I’m fortunate that my awkward people are farther away :-).

          Reply
          1. tcookson

            Ha! The one time I decided to go to Wal Mart in scroungy-looking clothing, no make-up, and hair that had seen no comb (only fingers run through) — thinking that I wouldn’t see anybody I knew, anyway — I ran into a former co-worker that I hadn’t seen in 15 years. I was just, like, “Yep. This is how I am now.”

            Reply
            1. Cath@VWXYNot?

              I once ran into a male coworker as we were both walking down the steps that lead to Vancouver’s famous clothing-optional beach. Clothing was most definitely NOT optional on that visit, and I haven’t been back since…

              (NB everyone wears clothes on the steps!)

              Reply
        3. Legal jobs

          That makes sense on both counts. I live in a big city and work in tech. personality wise, I am good with awkward or just ignoring them,, but that could be a byproduct of city life. In the city its a survival skill to not let noise overwhelm

          Reply
    2. Tinker

      Meaning former employers where the employment relationship didn’t go well? Because if it did go well then there’s the matter of references, etc.

      I’ve talked with my former employer where things didn’t go so well a handful of times, and actually need to call them back again. First time was after finishing grad school mostly to let them know that I’d gotten back on my feet (they felt really bad there about the poor match, and were glad to hear about it). Since then I’ve called them a couple times over retirement account stuff, which has generally turned into a chat, and I’ve run into some employees of the company that I didn’t know (they’re an electrical design company, so they work in a lot of office spaces around here) and sent my regards. Thing I need to call them about now is that the company president is a rancher (!) in her spare time (!!) and sells organic beef in fractional cow increments, and I now know a lot of paleo people and might have room for a deep freeze.

      So it varies from just relationship between humans who are kind of acquainted, to dealing with little bits and pieces of formalities, and then sometimes there are ways (related to the primary business or not) where you can be useful to one another in some way. It’s not all burned bridges and lasting bitterness.

      Reply
      1. Legal jobs

        “Burning bridges” is also not something that enters into mind. I would describe my position as neutral

        Reply
  16. JH

    To be frank, #1, you won’t sound greedy if you ask for a raise now, you will sound presumptuous. The 90 day mark is not the time to tell your employer you deserve a raise for doing your job. You’ve been verbally promised a promotion in one year. Why on earth can’t you wait until then to discuss a raise?

    I must note there are a few odd exceptions to this. For instance, if you had a skill set so unique virtually no one could replace you, you might be in a position to demand as much money as you wanted whenever you wanted. But as a general rule, you should wait a year before discussing a raise.

    Reply
  17. Ruffingit

    Speaking of inappropriate remarks made in the workplace based on gender or other things, anyone ever experience the “motherly” type? This makes me want to scream. I was in my early 30s and there was a woman in my office who would try to give me advice and/or tell me what I needed to be doing with my life and when I would politely (she was senior to me) tell her to back off, she’d say in this sweet voice “Well, I’m a mom, and I just worry…” I told her once that I have a mother and I’m not in need of another one.

    So irritating when you’re young (though I was in my 30s so not that young) and people try to do this kind of crap. It’s a business, not a daycare. I think this is as insulting as sexist comments. It implies you’re just too young to know anything so you must be parented. So ridiculous and unprofessional.

    Reply
    1. JH

      I have older men in my office who make fatherly remarks sometimes. I have experienced the same with women. I make a habit of not saying much about my personal life to types like that, because that would be giving them an open invitation to give me unwanted advice on how I should run my life. Another good way to deal with these types is to shift the topic of conversation to them and their family life as much as possible. People like that typically love to talk about themselves.

      Otherwise, I just ignore such “well-meaning” remarks and let them roll off my back. It’s not worth wasting emotional energy stewing about them. They are old, they will retire soon enough.

      Reply
      1. Ruffingit

        I never did say much about my personal life to this woman either, she just made comments anyway about what she felt I should be doing/advising me on things I never asked about and for which she had no details. It was random and odd, it was like she felt I needed to be parented.

        Reply
      2. tcookson

        Yes! to them loving to talk about themselves (sometimes thinking that by doing so they’re favoring you with life instruction. But hey– if it gets the subject off your personal business, that’s fine).

        I had a subversive-motherly type at work (she really wanted to be everyone’s go-to confidante, but she was not benign) who once told me that I should let her sit in on my evaluation with my supervisor, because I “have a very emotional face” and she could “go to bat for me” if my boss was too hard on me. I told her, “No thank you; I don’t need an intermediary between me and [my boss].” She continued to push to be allowed to sit in, and I continued to resist.

        It turns out that her thing was wanting to seem very important, above and beyond everyone else in the office, and she would try to get people to trust her so she could undermine them while boosting herself.

        Weird, weird, weird.

        Reply
        1. Ruffingit

          It is bizarre for anyone to suggest that they sit in on your evaluation so they can go to bat for you. Even if they really cared about you and were not trying to undermine you as this woman turned out to be doing, it’s still totally inappropriate. What that person is saying to you is that you are unable to handle very basic job situations and you need help. Extremely insulting on its face.

          Reply
          1. tcookson

            Yes, it was incredibly insulting. And my evaluations from my boss have always been very good; we have a good relationship and work well together.

            I think her angle with the evaluation was to supplant me as my boss’s confidant. She did the same thing with the other department heads’ assistants. It drove her crazy that the assistants’ relationships with our bosses might make us privy to information that — to her mind — she should be able to a) withhold from us and b) wield against us to reinforce her higher level on the hierarchy.

            Reply
        2. fposte

          Oh, that makes me think of the boss who insisted her employee, the OP’s mother, was dying and made herself the heroine of the situation.

          It’s kind of an emotional Munchausen’s by proxy, isn’t it?

          Reply
    2. Ollie

      There was a slightly motherly-type supervisor at one of my internships that always referred to me as things like “sweetheart” or “honey.” I didn’t mind it too much because she was super nice and supportive. At the same internship, an older gentleman (in his 60′s) wanted me to go on trips with him (a few hours away from where I live) that were indirectly related to the internship. I told him I couldn’t go because I was busy catching up on school stuff on the weekends (which was true, but I also thought it was creepy I was the only intern who was invited, and I happened to be the only female). Found out later that he had an argument with the motherly-type over me not wanting to go because he thought I needed to go out of my comfort-zone and stop worrying about school.

      A fatherly-type at another internship once told me I needed to stop being shy or I’d never find a husband, and didn’t I want to get married some day?

      Reply
        1. tcookson

          I’m in my forties, and the “motherly” snake-in-the-grass who wanted to “adopt” me was probably 20 years older. I think as long as there’s enough of an age difference, the dynamic can still occur even when you think you’re past it. I certainly didn’t expect, at 40-some years old, to have someone offering unsolicited life advice to me as if I were 12.

          Reply
          1. Ruffingit

            I’ve found that now that I’m closer to 40, it hasn’t happened for a few years, but I agree that it can happen if there’s a wide enough age gap despite your age.

            Reply
      1. Anon from Oz

        “…I’d never find a husband, and didn’t I want to get married some day?”

        Ugg ! I’m so over this attitude in the workplace. I’m a rather extreme introvert with a touch of agoraphobia. I often half-joke that my life’s dream is to find a nice cave with hot water and fast wi-fi and become a hermit. I still get questioned about whether I want to get married, why don’t I have children and whether I get lonely. They are inappropriate in the workplace, especially when they are ongoing by the parental types. Also – I’m way past the age of workplace adoption but for some it doesn’t seem to matter.

        I’m really wondering if men also get these questions.

        Reply
        1. Ruffingit

          Well I mean come on now…every woman wants to get married and have kids and stay home with them. (sarcasm off).

          It’s totally my dream to become a hermit in a cave with wi-fi and a bathtub too by the way. You’re not alone there (pardon the pun).

          Reply
      2. Sarahnova

        Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but I’ve too often found that “fatherly types” who want to “advise” me actually want a little more than that. I try to steer clear of anyone who seems a little too invested and/0r bad at boundaries.

        Reply
    3. VintageLydia USA

      And the advice is always just awful. Sometimes its because they don’t know the particulars of any given situation so the advice may be good or at least passable based on what little info they’ve dug up, but often its just plain terrible advice all around! Like that bad advice blog minus the parody.

      Reply
  18. Michigander

    #4 A number of years ago I let myself get talked into a job that was a terrible fit. Surprising no one, I was fired from it. It was a local company, and for a long time after that I’d often see my boss and his wife around town, at the grocery store, at restaurants, etc. I was always polite to them, I had nothing to be mad about – yes, the guy had fired me, 2 weeks after that I landed a great job. It was always so funny to me, that it was my ex-boss who was always awkward to me when I saw him around town.

    Reply
    1. tcookson

      One of my coworkers told me the other day that her now-best friend is someone whom she had fired from a previous job. She later left that job, and the person she had fired was working at the next job she took; they became friends there.

      Reply
    2. anon-2

      I was laid-off – not “fired” – from a job way back in 1990. There were cuts, my function was being eliminated, there were certain other complications that took place, but it was not a nasty thing.

      I had not seen him since I left – until the summer of 2013 at a trade show. He seemed very uneasy, nervous, and so forth.

      Reply
  19. Another Anon

    #2 I know there’s more to it than that, but I don’t understand all the fuss about complimenting another person’s appearance here in the U.S. I know that in some other countries, this is taken exactly as it should be taken — as a compliment, even in the workplace. In (most of?) America, it’s regarded as creepy and offensive.

    Following American logic, saying “you’re a nice guy” would also be offensive. I think we’d be happier and have more self-esteem if this characteristic of our culture vanished without a trace.

    Reply
    1. KrisL

      I think the comment could be taken as “You are useful to the company because you’re cute, not because you’re good at your job.” I don’t think anyone really wants to hear that.

      Reply
      1. Another Anon

        I completely agree with you here. I probably should have written “I know there’s a lot more to it than that, but…” for the first sentence.

        Reply
  20. k

    #2 – I kind of got the feeling that the previous post (male making a comment about a female’s appearance) about this got a much harsher response than the one from the other way around. This was more of a “brush it off, it was a dumb comment” and the other was a much, much more drastic response. I don’t know why, but that’s just the vibe I got.

    Reply
    1. Lore

      I agree, but I think there’s two reasons for that: first, the previous poster was the maker of the comment and this OP was the recipient of it. And second, the other one was said as a criticism and this one as a compliment. Which doesn’t make it okay, but removes any sense that the recipient of the comment feels like their job is in danger in addition to the feelings raised by the comment.

      Reply
  21. Rachel

    m the author of #1) I was under the impression that the 90 day review was a perfectly legitimate time to discuss a raise, so I’m glad I asked! I appreciate the advice.

    Reply
  22. Just Me

    #1. Just take it at face value. You’re attractive. It’s mainly older ladies at your show. Your knowledge and value as an employee are simply enhanced because potential customers may be more apt to stop and talk to you. That’s it! :)

    Reply

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