how can I get over my bitterness at being laid off, saying no to a networking request, and more

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

1. How can I get over my bitterness at being laid off?

After a lot of uncertainty, my position at a nonprofit is being downsized and I’m being let go. I’m taking it pretty hard because it’s opening up a lot of painful uncertainties in my life and I feel like my dream job is being pulled out from under me. In short, I’m very bitter. Plus, my organization is very conscious of projecting a positive image so there’s pressure to hide my being let go under “We taking a hiatus for that project.” I have a month left and it’s hard to muster any energy for my final projects because it feels like “letting them get away with it.” I know I should be professional and end on a strong note. How can I overcome my bitterness without pretending that I’m okay what’s happening?

Well, this probably doesn’t help, but it’s not personal. When positions are eliminated, it’s because it no longer makes financial or strategic sense for the organization to fund that work. In the case of a nonprofit, it’s particularly important that they be rigorous about how they’re using money, and they may not be able to justify the expense for legitimate reasons. That might not help, but it sounds like this is feeling very personal to you, when it isn’t.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you’ll be hurting yourself if you let your work or attitude slip during this final month. You’ll be relying on the people there for references in the future, and going out on a low note is really damaging to references. Particularly you since you’re facing a job search right now, your reputation is really important. Don’t let hurt feelings sway you into compromising it.

2. Say no to a networking request from a friend of a friend

I am three months into a great job at a huge organization in my field. A friend and former manager who helped me get the job (my first out of college) just reached out to me with a friend of hers who is trying to set up informational interviews for when she’s in the city. Having just gone through 100 information interviews, of course I’m happy to meet with her and be on the other side of the table. However, they both asked if I would set up information interviews for her with some higher-ups in my organization. I felt really uncomfortable about this request, as I have never met this person and I am still brand new to this organization and developing my own relationships within it.

Am I rude for saying no? It just seemed like such a strange request.

Nope. It’s totally reasonable to say something like, “I’m still new here so don’t feel like I’m able to ask other people here for favors yet, but I’d be glad to meet with you myself and be as helpful as I can.”

3. My job significantly changed my schedule after I started

I am a psychiatric nurse and was solicited by a home health agency to do psychiatric evaluations with home based patients. Considering the job is somewhat stressful, I was told that the psych nurses did not work on weekends. This was actually advertised in the job description and it was one of the significant perks that attracted me to the job in the first place. After all, I have worked weekends all my life, not to mention every shift imaginable in the nursing capacity.

In any event, during my probationary period, they found out that I had worked in a previous home health agency doing medical surgical nursing, like wound care, and that my skills were more eclectic even though I am a psychiatric nurse by profession. Upon this revelation, they told me that I would be placed on their weekend rotation. What this involves is working every fifth weekend and basically a 12-day stretch without any break. The stress is unimaginable because I am 60 years old and this involves me getting up at 4:30 am every morning. Many of my patients are hospice and are actively dying and I am burning out and this is tearing me apart. I find these “bait and switch” tactics by this company unconscionable, yet it is hard to find a full time job with good benefits. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original job description as I thought I had this in writing. Do I have any recourse in this situation or is it their word against mine?

It’s not really a question of your word against theirs, because even if you had the original job description, an employer can change your job description at any time; job descriptions aren’t legally binding. Instead, I’d recommend just talking to them about it: Explain that the schedule was something that attracted you to the job originally and that while you’re willing to pitch in in a pinch, you’re not interested in the type of work or schedule that they’ve moved you to. Say that you’d like to go back to the original role and schedule that you accepted.

It’s possible that they’ll refuse, but then you’re no worse off than you are now (and can at that point decide if you want the job under these terms). But it’s possible that you’ll be able to able to get back to what you originally signed up for.

4. I showed up on schedule but was sent home without pay an hour later

Can an employer schedule you to come at, say 6 pm, and when you get there, he says it’s not busy enough, don’t clock in yet. So he makes you wait around for 45 minutes to an hour. Then he comes to you and says it doesn’t look like it’s going to pick up so he sends you home, never having clocked in. I’m in Washington state and work for a restaurant/bar. Is that legal?

Nope, you need to be paid for that time that you were there, on schedule, ready to work.

5. Will employers care that I’ve lived in a bunch of different places?

How do you not look like crap online to employers if you’ve lived a bunch of places in your life?

When I Googled myself, as I imagine an employer might, different “find this person” sites show my maiden name, my ex-husband’s last name (which I never changed so what the hell?), and my husband’s last name. Since they list your whole life for where you’ve lived, for me (I’m 39), that was 6 different states, 8 different places total. I probably look like a flight risk with romantic issues or something. I’ve been with my husband for almost 16 years and don’t regret any one of the moves. One of them was for my husband’s work, two were for my work, and the rest we just hadn’t found the right place. Now we’ve found our true home, bought our first house this past May. We don’t plan on moving away ever, we adore it. As you know, I can’t be putting all of that stuff into a cover letter to explain.

I know I need to get on LinkedIn, maybe that would help, but I dread it, not being the social media type. I had a Twitter account, it got hacked and I closed it. I keep being turned down for even an interview at the library system I’d love to get into. I’ve applied to similar sounding jobs with this county-wide system with no response whatsoever. I have years of professional experience, professional memberships, current continuing education and skills, the appropriate degree or above, volunteer experience in the field, yada yada yada.

I actually think you’re worrying about it too much. Employers don’t usually look too closely at those “find this person” sites (if at all). They look at whatever online presence you have (social media, blogs, articles, etc.), but those “find you” sites don’t generally have much that’s of interest to employers. So I wouldn’t worry about this.

Instead, I’d focus on making sure your resume and cover letter are truly awesome (read this). Go ahead and set up a LinkedIn profile — you don’t need to be a social media type to do that; you can be pretty damn inactive on LinkedIn and still have a presence there. But really, your cover letter and resume are the big things that are going to determine whether you get interviews or not.

{ 182 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Artemesia

    That last month is so critical to reputation. I have seen people get gossiped about as ‘short timers’ and ‘slackers’ when they were not in fact slacking off; every break they took or job they didn’t step up to even though it was not different than their usual reasonable behavior was viewed through the lens of ‘slacking off because she is leaving.’ It is important to shine and be easy to work with as projects are phased out. Maybe it IS personal; cutting the project was a way to cut you. Probably it isn’t; the project is not a priority given the resources available. Either was, being super professional and easy to work with this last month may be the difference between a future good job opportunity or being eliminated by your references.

    Reply
    1. Mister Pickle

      I have seen people get gossiped about as ‘short timers’ and ‘slackers’ …

      Seriously? Wow. That is scary f**king hard core. I believe that karma and hubris are real things. I would keep a minimum distance of 5m away from anyone who had the gall to make fun of someone who’d been laid off. 20m if it was starting to look like rain.

      Reply
      1. Artemesia

        The world is not always how one wishes it would be. Behaving unprofessionally sticks to the bottom of your shoe and the stink carries with you for a long time.

        Reply
        1. Mister Pickle

          I believe it. If I heard people gossiping and talking trash about someone who was being laid off – I’d probably remember that forever.

          Reply
      2. puddin

        People look to justify lay offs because if they are unjustifiable, then it could happen to them. The people being let go are assumed to be awful in way or another to assuage the guilt and fear of those not laid off. Pretty common behavioral response. Still crappy as it smacks of ‘blame the victim’.

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    2. HR Manager

      I would agree. When my last company acquired another big company, I ended up as the onsite HR for an existing team. The severance communication was handled completely by her original HR person (who worked remotely) so I had no info for her. In fact for those winding down, we were not told any info or given any responsibilities for them.

      This woman was extremely bitter, and I could only tell her I would forward her concerns to RemoteHR. RemoteHR wasn’t great at getting back to her, so I had angry stares from her every week. Unfortunately, I didn’t know their organization so I couldn’t even route the issues to someone above RemoteHR. That last month was not only bizarre for me, but she was openly bitter to all her coworkers (many not affected) and would go on rants, which turned her off from everyone. They were sympathetic, but it’s draining to listen to someone rant about this all day at work.

      Reply
  2. Chuchundra

    With respect to OP#3, does nobody learn how to say no anymore? When they wanted to put you in the weekend rotation, you should have spoken up right then and said that that’s not what you signed on for.

    What you do now is you walk into your boss’s office and tell her than you’ve tried to help out by covering some weekend shifts, but you’ve realized that at 60 years old you can’t work 12 days in a row anymore. Not that you don’t want to or you wouldn’t like to, you can’t and you won’t. Be courteous and polite, but firm.

    What’s the worst they can do? Fire you? That wouldn’t make much sense and even if they do, it’s better than getting burnt out and having to check into a hospital yourself.

    Reply
    1. beyonce pad thai

      “Should have” is always easy, though, while formulating a well-thought out response when your employer puts you on the spot is not.

      Reply
      1. Hlyssande

        For real. A lot of people (me included) have a very hard time coming up with a coherent answer when put on the spot unexpectedly.

        Reply
        1. Not an IT Guy

          Not to mention when employers have the legal right to do whatever they want to you and a firing nowadays can mean you’re permanently out of the workforce, then yes, saying no can be very difficult.

          Reply
      2. Chuchundra

        Apologies, I didn’t mean to blame the OP. I phrased my reply inaccurately.

        What I meant to say was that the best thing to do would have been to decline the extra shifts when they were offered. Obviously it’s not always easy to thing of the right thing to say in the moment.

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    2. snowglobe

      I agree with most of this, but please do not use being 60 years old as an excuse. That’s the kind of thing that could lead managers into age discrimination down the road, because they have personal history with someone who claimed they couldn’t work as hard as someone younger.

      Reply
      1. baseballfan

        Yes, this. Either older people are as capable as younger people or they aren’t. It’s not possible to have it both ways.

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        1. mamram

          I’m not seeing the contradiction. Some people slow down a little as they get older, but that doesn’t mean that everyone does. When I went to grad school after some time in industry, I was surprised to find that the late nights and sleep deprivation that were little problem when I was twenty, were physically much more difficult to pull off at almost thirty. But that doesn’t mean that EVERYONE has that problem. In fact I’m sure at that point many people are as energetic as ever.

          I guess what I’m saying is, can’t a person acknowledge that, for them, certain abilities are related to age, without implying that it’s the case for everyone?

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          1. baseballfan

            Yes, they can. But that’s exactly my point – it is a legitimate concern for employers. You don’t have to assume it’s the case for everyone, but it is understandable to be concerned that it might be the case for someone.

            I definitely can’t pull all nighters like I used to do in my twenties. And I’m early forties now, hardly over the hill (unless you’re asking my teenage nieces).

            If someone is not able to keep up with a particular schedule, they should blame it on their own biology, not their age (or other factors that aren’t relevant to the issue at hand).

            Reply
            1. mamram

              Well, on the one hand, if I were asking my boss for an accommodation, I probably wouldn’t mention age having anything to do with it. But at the same time, as I see it, age is part of my biology, and if I were talking to a friend (or writing to an advice columnist) it’s likely I’d say something like, “this used to be easy, but I’m too old for it now!” If that’s going to cause someone to jump to conclusions about everyone my age…I feel like they’d have to be a little biased against older people already.

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            2. MK

              The best thing to do is to not “blame” it on anything; saying “this schedule is not good for me” should be enough for the employee to state their need and the employer to have the information they need.

              And in this case, it would be highly hypocritical of the employer to resort to age discrimination. The OP ackownledged to herself that her age played a role in her effectiveness for the more demanding aspect of her work and pursued a job where that would not be an issue.

              Reply
      2. Zillah

        But the OP didn’t indicate that she was planning to bring up her age when she talked to her manager – that was information that she included as context for us. Accusing her of using being 60 years old as an “excuse” is really rubbing me the wrong way – at no point did the OP indicate that she couldn’t work as hard as someone younger – she’s indicated that she can’t get up at 4:30 and work 12 days in a row anymore, which was not the job when it was offered to her.

        Like and equal are not the same thing – you can ask for reasonable accommodations based on your physical limitations without being a slacker. By your logic, people with disabilities shouldn’t ask for accommodations, either, because it could lead managers into ableism down the line.

        Reply
      3. Chuchundra

        I think that most people understand that, generally speaking, older workers aren’t able to work as long or as hard as younger ones. There’s no need to pretend that this isn’t true to avoid age discrimination in hiring, anymore than it’s necessary to pretend that someone with a disability doesn’t have their own, specific limitations.

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        1. Nerd Girl

          I disagree with you. I think, perhaps, an older person may have issues with working a 12 hour shift 5 days straight but I do not think that an older person doesn’t work as hard as a younger person. As much as it pains me to admit this, I’ve just entered the years known as “middle age” and I find myself unable (and unwilling) to put in long hours at work for a variety of reasons. As to how hard I work…I work as hard and many times harder than my younger co-workers. I’m aware that I’m unable/unwilling to work longer hours and I work harder to make sure that I’m producing the same level of work that my co-workers do with their longer hours.

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        2. Deedee

          “Generally speaking older workers aren’t able to work as long or as hard as younger workers”?? My experience is exactly the opposite. In my office the one in her fifties and the two in their sixties work rings around the two in their twenties who call in sick constantly. Their kids are sick. Their wife is sick. Their husband is sick. They are now sick from catching what their wife/husband and kids had. My favorite was the guy who needed a half day off because his wife had a dentist appointment. And the constant vacation requests. And the vet appointments. Sorry, I get peeved with this generalization because the only people in my office that actually work consistent 40 hour weeks and who can be relied upon to be there are the older workers.

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    3. Diet Coke Addict

      If everyone could come up with the correct on-the-spot response that was always tactful yet direct, Alison would be out of a job.

      Reply
    4. C Average

      I’m going to second everyone who’s pointed out that in the moment, this isn’t such an easy answer to formulate and deliver.

      Aside from that, if you’re at all conscientious about your job, it’s REALLY hard to decline to do something when you know it needs to be done (because the work isn’t going anywhere) and you know there isn’t someone other than you readily available to do it. You may know you need to preserve your own health and sanity by adjusting your workload, but you also know that your clients, patients, colleagues, etc., are relying on you to be there doing the work. Making a decision to step back can feel like you’re failing them as well as yourself. (Have I been there? Why yes, I have.)

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    5. Lily in NYC

      It sounds like OP has very marketable skills in her field so I think she has room to bargain about this. They obviously don’t want to lose her so she should make it clear this is not a feasible schedule for her going forward.

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      1. themmases

        I was thinking the same thing. More people are entering the nursing field now so maybe it’s competitive in entry level jobs– I honestly wouldn’t know– but it’s well-known that experienced nurses like the OP are in demand. I can’t believe a nurse with OP’s skills and experience, expertise outside their practice area, and willing to do home health care wouldn’t have room to bargain.

        I think it can be difficult as you gain experience in your career to let go of things you thought were just part of the job that turn out to be just part of *some* people’s job– especially in a helping profession where people do go into seriously difficult responsibilities with eyes wide open.

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      2. PEBCAK

        I also wonder if there is a middle ground. For example, can the OP pick up some weekend shifts, but have Friday/Monday off in those cases? If the real problem is the 12 days in a row, then focus on how to eliminate THAT problem, rather than not being available for weekends at all.

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        1. Judy

          Well, there is still the issue that she was hired as a psychiatric nurse yet is now being asked to do surgical wound care for hospice patients.

          Reply
    6. AW

      “What’s the worst they can do? Fire you?…even if they do, it’s better than getting burnt out”

      Since when is getting fired not a big deal? Did you miss the part where the LW said, “yet it is hard to find a full time job with good benefits”?

      Reply
    7. Suzanne

      I had a similar situation. I took a job, was told it was M-F. Weekend work was never mentioned, ever. I cannot work on Sunday mornings due to religious obligations, which I would have told them had it ever been mentioned during the hiring process. It wasn’t.

      Several months into the job, guess what?? Mandatory Sundays, 7:30-3:00. I met with my supervisor & the HR person and explained the situation. Nope. Mandatory meant mandatory. Either show up or face repercussions for missing work.

      So you can say “no” but I doubt the employer will care.

      Reply
  3. Mister Pickle

    #1: My company – a large IT firm – has done a number of layoffs in recent years. And it tends to be a “one-month notice” kind of situation (in theory, you get 30 days to find a new job inside of the company)(which actually happens sometimes, but I digress). What I’ve observed at my company has been that there’s not a lot of performance pressure placed on the person who’s going out the door. This may well be one of those things that varies from workplace to workplace. Having said all that, WRT the OP: if it was me, I’d talk to my manager and find out what kind of work they expected me to complete during this time, and then talk to the people that I’m counting on for references and get a feel for what kind of referral they’ll give me (and do my best to be professional about it and avoid showing bitterness, or, worse, accepting any kind of pity).

    I hope this helps some.

    Reply
    1. Ann Furthermore

      I worked for a large IT/software firm that handled layoffs the same way. They gave people their one month’s notice at the beginning of December, and gave them until after January 1 to find another position within the company. I thought they handled a difficult situation the best way they could — let people know that their position is being eliminated so they can curtail their holiday spending and so on. It still completely sucked for them, but it was better that just being cut loose with no advance warning at all right before Christmas.

      Reply
    2. MK

      I don’t think the OP’s problem is the work they have to complete or their performance, it’s the attitude they are expected to project. It sounds like this non-profit is afraid of the bad PR of appearing like heartless monsters who fire people because of money (would you donate to a charity that treats their workers badly?), so they want the OP to act like they are fine with being let go, that it’s all for the best, etc. Which might be pretty unreasonable; not badmouthing your soon-to-be-ex-employer is one thing, acting happy that you are let go is another.

      On the other hand, I do think that the OP’s bitterness could be misplaced. If the lay-offs were avoidable and/or unfair, that would be one thing; it’s reasonable to be bitter for lay-offs, if the company is spending money on non-neccesities or choosing to let you go and keep a less competent worker. But, if there aren’t other factors in play, don’t take it personally.

      Reply
      1. MissDisplaced

        I agree MK. It’s a difficult spot for the OP to be in. She’s supposed to lie and cover up the fact that they lost funding and act like she’s perfectly happy to be moving on to other things… when she isn’t.
        I realize one needs to have tact in these situations, but it’s still a hard place to be in when the inevetable questions arise from clients, etc. about why she will no longer be there.

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        1. MT

          I don’t think they should lie. Non-profits should be held accountable like any other business. If they are struggling financially to keep their current staff, then that is just part of business.

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          1. Lee

            I don’t think it’s lying. She’s being asked to say that the nonprofit is taking a hiatus in the project. Which means they would like to bring it back at some point. When they have the funds, presumably. It would be a lie, if they are planning to hire someone else for OP’s position at a cheaper rate.

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            1. MT

              They are not willingly taking a hiatus. It’s like me saying, I am taking a hiatus away from my vacation, so im going to start working.

              Reply
              1. MissDisplaced

                It’s whitewashing if not an outright lie. Like telling a vendor “the bill has been submitted to accounting for processing” when you know very well your employer won’t be able to send it for months due to financial difficulties. Of course you can’t say that. But it’s a terrible position to be in.
                Funding cuts seem to be the norm in the nonprofit world. I’m not sure why OP’s organization wants to keep this under wraps. Or at least it seems that way, which is what is causing the discord.

                Reply
                1. MK

                  Yes, I don’t think it makes all that much sense for a non-profit to want to hide financial difficulties. I understand that a for-profit company would want to preject an image of stability and success, so that their vednors will continue to supply them and their clients won’t be afraid they will be left in the lurch by some sudden closure. But I would think a non-profit would not have the same concerns, or at least not to the same extent.

        2. themmases

          I agree– I even think if it were me, this request would make a layoff more difficult to be positive about. The employer’s decision is harming OP, yet they’re asking OP to lie about that to help them. I think that would leave an especially bad taste in the mouth of a non-profit worker, where you work extra for a cause and want to think that the people you work with are good.

          Reply
          1. TheOtherLiz

            I’m in a very, very similar position, though I’m not being asked to lie about it.. I’ve been asked to keep the news internal before a unified response is drafted to external partners. I gently told my boss that, sure, but I’ve already been reaching out to my contacts (I work in coalitions, so my network that I need to activate to find my next job overlaps with the external partners my organization wants to carefully craft the news for).
            I’ve been explicit in telling people the organization wants to keep me, but can’t. My boss has offered to go above and beyond recommending me for new jobs. I would ask the same of anyone you have a good rapport with – they should support your next move.
            But I also hear the OP echoing what I feel. It SUCKS. It’s demoralizing. I am sad to walk away from my dream job, my calling. Allow yourself to be sad! Find people you can vent to, mentors to keep you focused on positive action, and outlets for the bitterness. Find people outside of work you can tell how bitter you are, how much you hate everything. And then go about your work day with your own interests in mind. Because if you get in the mindset I am starting to – why am I doing this for them, when they don’t have any loyalty to me? – it’s impossible to motivate yourself. If you can tell yourself that you’re building your final impression with those in your network who will see what you do in your last month on the job, if you’re doing this for YOU, it might help. I feel ya, though. Hugs from afar.

            Reply
  4. LOtheAdmin

    Op #1

    I got laid off from my job today. I’ve been through hell with my former employer and feel serious resentment for situations that happened during my tenure at my former company, but like Alison said, I understand that feeling angry and bitter about my situation will be a major distraction in finding another job. Being angry is a natural reaction to your situation, but being angry forever will only harm you in the end.

    Don’t be your own worst enemy, OP. I won’t say “get over it”, but allow yourself the opportunity to release the anger you feel. I’m lucky to have a spouse who cooked me a great dinner and helped me come up with a plan of action tonight.

    OP, you’re not alone! This is a situation you can overcome with the right mental attitude. Don’t focus on the place that let you go. Focus on what opportunities will come.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Ann Furthermore

      Ugh. Sorry to hear that! I hope the search for a new job isn’t too terrible.

      You’re right though, that you need to give yourself time to just be pissed off and feel sorry for yourself, but then you need to put it behind you and move on. I got let go from a job once…it was a really messed up situation all around. There was a big management change, the guy who hired me retired, and the guy put in charge of running the place and I did not see eye to eye on anything. Looking back now, I think most of it was a combination of my being young and inexperienced (it was my first management job) and the 2 of us being from completely different backgrounds (me as the back office person, him as the warehouse-type person). Anyway…I’d been there about 6 months, and I knew it was not working out. I planned to stay a year and then move on because I’d gotten the job through a colleague and I didn’t want to make her look bad. Then the company acquired a similar business in the same area, and they took the opportunity to eliminate some duplicate positions — mine being the first on the list.

      It was the one and only time I’ve ever gotten fired, so it really took the wind out of my sails. I took a few days to sulk and wallow at home, and then made myself update my resume, put on a happy face, register with some search firms, and go on some interviews. I had a new job within a few weeks, and I was much happier there so it all worked out for the best.

      OP, take some time to vent your disappointment and anger, but don’t let it consume you. Not only is that not good for you, it will come through to potential employers.

      Reply
      1. Agile Phalanges

        I’ve heard this recommendation for breakups, and since a layoff is similar to a breakup in a lot of ways, I think it applies here: Set yourself a specific time period in which to wallow.

        Do whatever it is that will make you feel “better” during that period–eat comfort foods, veg out and binge watch TV, rant to whoever will listen to you, don’t worry about job searching or updating your resume yet, etc. But then when the set time period ends, it’s time to change your behavior.

        You may not be able to change how you FEEL at the drop of a hat like that, but you can change your behavior–start the job search, reach out to potential references, shop for interview clothes, and rant only in private (like typing or writing it out then destroying it), and try your best to put on a positive attitude, even if it doesn’t match how you feel inside. Fake it till you make it. :-)

        Reply
        1. Anna

          That is great advice. Even though I wasn’t heartbroken or particularly demoralized when I was laid off, I still had to take some time to gather my thoughts, decide what I wanted to focus on now that I had a LOT of time to look for a job, and revel a bit in having some free time. My husband and I sorted out our finances and such and I was able to get in to the field I’d been trying to break in to professionally. But I did take some time for myself.

          Reply
  5. ZSD

    5. Moved a lot – Personally, were I a hiring manager, I’d be more interested in hiring someone who’s lived in a lot of places than someone who’s lived in the same place her whole life. Living in six states has given you the chance to learn about lots of different people in our country. You’ve probably lived in places with very different political bents, different ethnic and racial distributions, different religions constituting the local majority, etc. And you’ve had to learn how to get by in all those situations. To me, that would make you a more, not less, valuable employee. I’m not saying you need to specifically play your residence history up in your application materials or interviews, but I also don’t think you need to worry about hiding it.
    Of course, I’m a person who believes on principle that no one should spend their whole life living in the same state (assuming their economic situation allows them to move), so you might get different reactions from people who are more homebody-like.

    Reply
    1. MK

      Having lived in many places may give someone the chance to aquire more experience, but it doesn’t follow that they actually used the opportunity. Plus, living your whole life in a cultury diverse area accomplishes the same thing, without making the candidate seem a flight risk. I would focus on the skills one has (being able to deal with many different cultures), not how one got it.

      I think you are saying that you would appreciate an ambitious, adventurous attitude in a potential employee; that’s fine, as long as it makes sense to take it into consederation for the particular role.

      Reply
      1. ZSD

        Actually, I don’t agree that living your whole life in a culturally diverse area would accomplish the same thing. Somebody who’s always lived in a diverse area won’t have an understanding of the mindset of someone who’s only lived in a place like the town I grew up in, which was at least 95% white and probably 70% Catholic. If that person interacted with someone who’s used to being surrounded by lots of different kinds of people, the latter person might not understand why the former’s mind is being blown by something that they [the person from the diverse area] consider totally normal.
        I really think that living in different parts of the country makes you understand that people who all fall under the label “American” nonetheless have very different experiences and are basing their actions and opinions on very different assumptions.

        Reply
        1. Calacademic

          +1000. Just because you’ve lived in the city doesn’t mean you automatically know the “right” solution for rural folks, or understand where they’re coming from (or diverse area, or whatever it is). The moral of the story of city mouse country mouse was that neither of them instantly “got” the other situation.

          Reply
        2. MK

          I get your point that it’s not the same thing. But I question your assumption that living in different places automatically leads to understanding the different viewpoints of the people who live there; it can, but it’s not a given. It’s also highly debateable whether a perspective employer would consider this quality all that important.

          Reply
          1. ZSD

            Oh, I see. Yes, I agree that not everyone takes advantage of the opportunity to observe the different situations they land in.
            And I totally agree that prospective employers won’t consider this particularly important. It’s definitely going to be way down the list, like at desired quality rank #273, well below things like, you know, actual ability to do the job in question.

            Reply
    2. GrumpyBoss

      While I don’t think OP has anything to worry about, it would be a real stretch to call this an advantage. I’ve lived in several states. You know what the difference was between them? Sales tax. That’s it. its situations and interests that make people more rounded, not their mailing address.

      Unless OP has lived in 6 states in the past 6 years, I don’t think this is even going to register with a manager.

      Reply
      1. MT

        I don’t even think that’s an issue. I have lived in 8 states in the last 10 years, and I have never heard anything negative about the move. Usually people who are interviewing are more curious about the different regions that I have lived in. By 8 states, i mean i have moved from the mid west to the east coast, to the south, the west coast back to the east coast.

        Reply
        1. Nerd Girl

          My husband and I have been together for 13 years. We’ve moved 8 times. I have more addresses on my applications for background checks than I do for jobs. :) It’s never been an issue. I’ve been asked why I’ve moved during job interviews but my reasons are valid – moved for my husband’s job, cost of living, upgraded to a larger place due to a growing family and moved closer to aging parents among others. It’s never been something that I’ve encountered negativity about.

          Reply
      2. ZSD

        I agree that it wouldn’t actually be an advantage in getting hired; that’s why I said I wouldn’t emphasize it in the hiring materials. I’m not saying a hiring manager would use this as a factor in choosing to hire someone. I just think it could be considered a small plus, or at least something neutral but interesting about the person. I guess I was mostly trying to say that the OP shouldn’t be worried that this will be viewed as a *negative*.

        Reply
      3. Pennalynn Lott

        I once made the following moves in an 8 year period: Dallas, TX; Orlando, FL; Pocatello, ID; Dallas, TX; Denton, TX; San Francisco, CA; Walnut Creek, CA; Dallas, TX; Irving,TX; Dallas, TX; East Dallas, TX. Not one single potential employer ever asked me about it.

        Reply
      4. Just Visiting

        I’ve lived in three different states in three different areas of the country, as well as a mix of small town, suburban, and city living. I’ve felt a cultural shift every time, and I do think the experiences have made me more well-rounded. (For instance, communication styles are quite different between the East and West Coast.) Although suburbs tend to be the same everywhere. I guess if you’re just going from office to SUV to mini-mansion, there wouldn’t be much of a cultural shift.

        Reply
    3. Revanche

      I’m a complete homebody but agree that a candidate having lived in many locations wouldn’t bother me in the least and could be a plus. I wouldn’t assume either way, in any case, til we spoke and/or met.

      Reply
  6. Mister Pickle

    #2: I think that Alison nailed it. The tricky part here (as I see it) is that one of the people asking for the favor helped to get OP the job – so natch you want to be accommodating. I think I’d try to focus on the notions that a) this person doesn’t really understand the difficulty of what they’re asking, and b) having helped you get this job, they very likely don’t want you to fail at it.

    Reply
    1. OP #2

      “this person doesn’t really understand the difficulty of what they’re asking”

      That’s sort of the problem with my old manager/current friend. She is bold and aggressively confident which gets her a lot of success in her field, but when it comes to a more structured, professional environment she doesn’t understand the niceties. She’s one of those people that would find and introduce herself to a President/CEO on her first day someplace.

      Anyway, I’m not sure either of them really got where I was coming from, though they seemed to understand my reasons for saying no. I’m just curious if they’re bugging anyone else this way!

      Reply
      1. PEBCAK

        Would you be willing to let her namedrop you in a contact to the higher-up? Not “OP told me to contact you,” but, “I’ve been interested in your company, and my contact OP now works there and really enjoys it” or something. That doesn’t spend much capital, for you, but could make it look to the higher up like she has a specific interest in THIS company and has done her homework, rather than mass-mailing higher-ups everywhere.

        Reply
        1. OP #2

          Maybe if I had met her first, but she wanted to skip that part and have me hand out their contact info. That was the part that seemed weird and made me feel like they were just using me as an “in.”

          Reply
        2. Lamb

          Not knowing this individual personally, I wouldn’t feel safe doing that in the OP’s position. The networker (as I shall call this friend of a friend) could easily, with the best of intentions, misunderstand OP’s exact name-dropping limit or miscommunicate to that higher-up how well OP (doesn’t) knows them or how strongly OP endorses their contact, and that’s assuming that the networker tries to respect OP’s limits and looks out for OP’s best interests. (If the networker were willing to risk burning OP for her own potential benefit, there’s no telling where this would go, but even if the networker turns out to be a good egg, it’s tough for her and OP to walk that line)

          Reply
  7. Jeanne

    I agree with #3. It is unconscionable when employers do the bait and switch thing. However, I don’t think it’s because they “learned” about your skills. I believe employers who do this always intended to have you work weekends and just didn’t tell you. Otherwise, they would have said they really love your skill set and want you to please help out. The arbitrary change coming as an order not as a request or even a discussion shows a lack of respect. I would call them out on it. Remind them you asked specifically about weekends and you are very disappointed they are going back on their word.

    I say go to them and say you were hired as a psychiatric nurse and that’s what you are going to concentrate on. If you don’t stick up for yourself now, in a few months all you will be doing is the 12 hour shifts in people’s homes. I know from personal experience how agencies try to get more and more shifts out of home care nurses. (My niece had nurses and they were constantly called to take other shifts at other cases.)

    Good luck! Your well being comes first.

    Reply
    1. Graciosa

      I don’t think this was a “bait and switch” situation, and it seems rather unfair to characterize it that way (understanding that the OP did it first). Bait and switch is a tactic swindlers use to lure you into a deal with the promise of an offer that is not really available but only used as a hook for the scam.

      In this case it appears that the employer found out that the OP had additional skills and thought of a way to make use of them. There is no indication this was done maliciously (these types of shifts are perfectly normal in this profession and lots of employees love the extra hours) or that the employer knew this in advance and never had any intention of offering the advertised schedule. All indications are that they did offer just that – until finding out the individual was capable of more.

      Adjusting schedules to meet demand and trying to make the best use of available resources is totally normal. This is what managers do.

      And yes, that does include issuing orders. I prefer them to be polite, but the boss is in charge. There is nothing improper about setting schedules, providing clear work assignments, and managing resources. This is the job. I don’t think we can conclude that there are magic words the manager should use “really love your skill set” and “please help out” to avoid showing a lack of respect.

      The overall theme is that there is no reason to impute evil intent here, and I think it would be a mistake to encourage the OP in that attitude. To my mind, this is one of the many, many workplace issues that can be addressed by simple (non-adversarial) conversation. I will normally work with employees where I can (noting that business needs can and do change and my job is to make sure that they are met) but one who suddenly attacked me for changing a schedule would be a cause for concern. Even if the OP is planning to leave if the schedule change remains intact, there is still no reason to treat the employer as an enemy.

      Reply
      1. Colette

        I completely agree with this.

        There’s nothing wrong with the employer moving people around to cover the shifts they need covered, and there’s also nothing wrong with the OP saying “actually, this isn’t want I want”. A reasonable manager will listen and try to see the OP’s point of view, even if they can’t accommodate what she wants.

        However, going in forcefully (i.e. “go to them and say you were hired as a psychiatric nurse and that’s what you are going to concentrate on”) is not likely to get the response the OP wants.

        Reply
      2. Mike C.

        There’s a great deal that’s improper when the job clearly says “no weekends” and guess what? You’re working weekends anyway because “Screw you, I said so”.

        Reply
        1. Colette

          Let’s say someone who normally works weekends quits or gets sick and can no longer cover weekends.

          Do you:
          A) try to hire someone else,
          B) look at the skills of your employees who don’t normally work weekends and, if they have the right skills, schedule them to cover the weekend shift, or
          C) shrug your shoulders and decide to leave the nursing position unstaffed?

          It’s entirely possible that the employer is doing B while trying to do A, but C isn’t really an option.

          I don’t actually see any indication that the OP has pointed out that weekend work is not OK with her , nor do I see any indication that the company’s response would be “screw you, I said so”.

          Reply
          1. Liane

            No. B should be “look at the skills of your employees who don’t normally work weekends and, if they have the right skills, *Ask Them Very, Very Nicely If They Could* cover the weekend shift *For This Set Time For These Extras And Take ‘No, thanks’ For An Answer*”

            Reply
            1. Colette

              They may not have the option of taking “no, thanks” as an answer, though – they need that shift covered, and they may not want an employee who won’t help out.

              This isn’t a case of having two cashes open or three – it’s (presumably) critical nursing care.

              Reply
              1. Judy

                But it’s one weekend out of 5. So there are presumably 4 other “day” nurses who are doing this work. I guess I could see it as vacation fill in or whatever, but they’ve added her to the rotation.

                Reply
          2. Zillah

            Sure, but in that situation, there needs to communication about what’s going on. The OP’s employers emphasized ‘no weekends’ in the job description and in the hiring process. Changing that is a big deal, and they need to acknowledge it.

            Reply
            1. Artemesia

              There may be no upside in framing this as an intentionally evil act but I suspect it is. They advertise no weekends and then as soon as the person is hired are assigning her to weekends? I would assume her skills are in demand, so she should let her employer know that the ‘no weekend’ ad was what attracted her to the job and that she wants to return to that schedule. Be scanning for other opportunities in the area so that if the boss gets aggressive about scheduling she can move on.

              Reply
      3. Jeanne

        I don’t understand “found out”. Didn’t she have a resume? Didn’t they check references? They knew about her work history. There might even be another way to check what nurses have done since there is a license and professional certification. I don’t see how they didn’t know she had a history of doing nursing work.

        Reply
    1. Monodon monoceros

      I can’t say I know all the details, but from what I understand, this decision sucks. What’s to stop employers from adding all sorts of other crap that the employees have to do off the clock?

      Reply
    2. Elysian

      Yeah, this letter plus this decision combined to make me sad this morning.

      Though to be fair, let’s not blame the Supreme Court for all of it. Congress could also change the law.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        They’re far too busy conducting another investigation of Benghazi. 0-8 so far on finding any evidence of wrongdoing, but maybe the 9th time’s the charm.

        Reply
    3. Artemesia

      I was stunned by this decision that employers can essentially force you to spend time at work but not pay for it. Although the SC is now frankly a political arm of the oligarchy. It wasn’t so much the decision as the unanimity of it that astounded me.

      Reply
      1. Clever Name

        In a weird way, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I find myself saying things like, “We are not a democracy; we are a corporate oligarchy” in all seriousness. This makes me really, really sad for the country.

        Reply
        1. Mister Pickle

          Outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us, perched on top of us, from birth to death, are our owners! Our owners! They have us. They control us! They are our masters! Wake up! They’re all about you! All around you!

          Reply
      2. Student

        As far as I understood it, the reason the justices decided this unanimously was because Congress wrote a very clear, but also very crappy-to-workers, rule. The law is not ambiguous, so the Supreme Court is supposed to say “this is the law” even if they don’t like it. If the law was ambiguous, then you get the division along party lines and you blame the Supreme Court for the outcome. If the decision is unanimous, you blame Congress for the outcome.

        It is a very unfortunate decision that gives employers lots of opportunity to abuse their workers, but the blame properly rests with Congress as far as I’m concerned.

        Reply
          1. Elysian

            Because the law isn’t unconstitutional, its just stupid. They have to read the law and apply it, even when its a stupid law.

            Reply
    4. Evan Þ

      I was horrified at this too, until I read the decision just now. The court’s actually just enforcing a horrible law as written. Back around 1950, Congress said clearly that “activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to said principal activity or activities” don’t need to be paid if they occur after the close of the workday.

      So let’s direct our sighs to Congress.

      Reply
  8. Observer

    To OP #1 – losing a job. That is really, really rough. But, I don’t really understand what you are asking.

    What exactly do you think your organization is “getting away with”? Laying you off is very bad for you, and I hope that whoever made that decision didn’t have an easy time making that decision, because this is never the kind of thing that should be done lightly. But, it’s not a wrong thing they are doing, if they are having financial difficulties.

    If you think that by slacking off you would be “punishing” anyone, I highly doubt it. On the other hand, if you go out on a strong note, there will certainly be people who will be thinking “It’s suuuuch a shame we had to let her go” rather than “Good riddance, we did the right thing.”

    I’m having an even harder time understanding why you would think that being professional would require pretending that you are ok with what’s happening. Of course you are not ok with it – you ARE losing your job. The thing is that there is a big different between not being ok with it and being bitter. There is also a big difference between not being ok and not being willing / able to do your work because of that.

    Lots of luck in finding a new job, by the way!

    Reply
    1. AnonyMouse

      I kind of got the sense that by “letting them get away with it” the OP was referring to the pressure to hide being let go under “taking a hiatus” on the project. I can see how it would be really hard/feel unfair to act like everything was fine (if that’s really what’s going on), but your point about people’s perceptions in that last month is really important either way.

      Reply
    2. Colette

      Yeah, if your goal is to show them that they’re making a mistake, the best way to do that is to go in every day and do a really good job – that way they’ll miss you when you’re gone.

      It’s important to remember that this isn’t personal, anymore than you deciding to find a new job would be personal.

      Let’s say you hired someone to clean your house, and then your financial situation changed and you had to let them go – that would have nothing to do with how good their work was or how much you liked them personally, it would be a business decision.

      The same thing applies here. You can go in, slack off, and be bitter – and your coworkers will say “I guess I understand why it was OP #1”, or you can go in, do a great job, and be upbeat, and your coworkers will say “Wow, it’s really too bad we had to lose OP #1”.

      Which would you prefer?

      Reply
  9. Mister Pickle

    #5: Nobody trusts any of those “find a person” websites; they’re notoriously unreliable and something of a joke. Which some privacy advocates consider a goodness, as they make it rather more difficult to track down a given individual*. If you don’t have any ‘social media history’ out on the ‘net, you’ve actually got something of an advantage over all those people who forgot about those embarrassing pictures they put on Facebook 4 years ago. Revel in your good judgement! :)

    * Years ago there was a writer named Vernor Vinge who speculated that someday people might purposefully generate large numbers of random fake identities, just to protect people’s privacy. These days it looks like something similar is actually happening “naturally” as a consequence of technology and market forces.

    Reply
    1. K

      I looked myself up some years back and they had all the wrong information. Wrong birthday, address, they made me twice as old for some reason, etc. I don’t mind it because I don’t want some random website to have all my real information.

      Reply
      1. Kelly L.

        This! I remember one of those went hugely viral about 5 years ago and everybody was scrambling around trying to fix the wrong info on it. I always kind of suspected they populated it with wrong info as a strategy–it got people signing up, logging in, and giving them all kinds of correct info. Yuck! I don’t think I know anyone who’s ever actually consulted those sites for anything.

        Reply
      2. Liane

        Replies by K, Kelly L. , et al. make me think this could be the next (non-work-related) party amusement: Compare everyone’s profiles to see who “wins” categories like Most Places They Never Lived or Oddest Job No One Ever Had

        Reply
      3. AW

        That looks more like someone else has the exact same name than them getting your info wrong or maybe a combination of both. My spouse has a very common name apparently. There are tons of people with his exact name.

        Reply
    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      I have married twice but never changed my name. And I’ve lived in the same house for almost 20 years.

      In the listings, I look like an international criminal trying to avoid Interpol. I’m listed with SIX different names, combinations of my real last name, my husbands’ last names, my correct middle initial and incorrect middle initials. I’m listed at addresses I lived at briefly very many years ago. The only thing they seem to get right consistently is my age.

      So yeah, I don’t think anybody takes those seriously.

      Reply
      1. Apostrophina

        The misspelled version of my mother’s name that occasionally appears on junk mail was listed on one of those sites. I think it’s hilarious that she spontaneously grew an alias with no effort at all.

        Reply
      2. themmases

        Yeah, some of those databases seem to automatically generate guesses at people’s names or aliases. I live with my partner and he will sometimes get mail addressed to his first name, my last name. Or we will get mail addressed to “the themmases household/family”. For some reason, the one thing we rarely get is “Emma Hislastname”. The one time I did, I tossed it with extreme prejudice.

        Reply
    3. AnonAnalyst

      Was coming to say this. I’ve moved about 6 times in the last 10 years (twice to new apartments that were within 2 miles of the old one), and have never changed my name. I’ve seen listings for myself that have me living in several states I’ve never lived in, addresses in cities I’ve lived in that I never lived at, different last names, and the wrong age (they all seem to think I’m about 40 years older than I am….I have no idea why, but perhaps I should be behaving differently somewhere in my life?) Some have records indicating I live(d) with my parents at addresses neither of us have ever lived at, or with relatives I’ve never lived with. Due to some personal safety concerns I’m not about to correct their errors (although they’re always kind enough to have links on the pages for me to do so!), but I’ve never actually seen one that was even 50% right.

      I wouldn’t be too concerned about a hiring manager looking at those records. Seriously.

      Reply
    4. C Average

      I get my LinkedIn profile, my Google+ profile (remember that?), and then about six pages of race results and comments on various blogs. Some of the race results are pretty good, and the blog comments are innocuous and (I think) well written, so I’m OK with my online presence.

      I have a VERY unusual name–I’m literally the only person in the world with my name. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked (yes, in interviews, even) if my parents were hippies. (They were.)

      Reply
      1. AW

        I also have a unique first name (no hippies though) but they still manage to get things wrong. My last name is common and a lot of those sites seem to think that everyone in the city with the same last name is related.

        All kinds of misspellings by various companies are considered “aliases”. They mess up my middle name and last name. They get my age wrong.

        I don’t find anything bad from my name though so it’s not a big deal.

        Reply
    5. INTP

      Agreed, when I recruited I never even clicked on those. You get a page with a thousand annoying ads and dubious information. Waste of time. Also, unless you have an extremely unusual name, people probably won’t even assume a given search result is you unless there’s other identifying information involved, like an address that matches your resume or a mention of your job/industry. There’s another girl my age with my name (which is not even common) and a very embarrassing video (think girls gone wild) under my search results, and I still get job offers.

      Reply
  10. Reidi

    Re #1, it helps me in these types of situations to focus on future me. Present me is bummed about the lay off and understandably struggling to find motivation. But future me will be so proud of myself for ending on a high note. Best of luck to you on your job search!

    Reply
  11. RishaBree

    Six states doesn’t seem like all that many to me anyway? Not these days. I’ve lived in four, and I’m pretty much a homebody who hates job hunting. My brother has lived in every state except Alaska.

    Reply
  12. beyonce pad thai

    #2 I’m wondering if “100 informational interviews” is hyperbole or if you really did that? If so, was there added value to doing so many?

    Reply
    1. OP #2

      It wasn’t 100… but it did feel like it! Everyone wanted to talk to me, but no one had a job to offer or even a lead. I found my fantastic job off the organization’s website. I can see why they might be helpful to learn about a field, but I already knew what field I wanted to be in. I just needed a job.

      Reply
    2. AVP

      To be fair, AAM’s said in the past that you should only use them if you truly want to learn about a field, not if you’re trying to get in the door or find a job (I hope I’m not putting words in Alison’s mouth here).

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, they’re too often used as a way to try to get a job or job leads, when they’re typically presenter to the other person as a way to learn about the field, which ends up being disingenuous and unhelpful. (Not saying you did it that way, OP.)

        Reply
  13. Not So NewReader

    OP1. It can feel like they are “getting away” with something. You can turn the tables. Do your best and be your sharpest- this will turn it into “they are fools for letting go of a good worker like OP”.

    I get how losing a job can open up a lot of self-examination that is painful and at the same time throw the finances into a nightmare. For me, I lost a job that I totally loved, decades ago. I knew when I lost it that I would never find another job that I would be so happy at. I had a migraine that lasted for nine weeks, my upset was bad.

    Two things came out of that. One was the thought that I had sunk too much of myself into the job- way too much. I set myself up to be pretty vulnerable. I needed to learn boundaries. I am not saying this is you, but I am pointing out that this can happen sometimes.

    The other thing I learned (and this took a lot of time to play out) is that although I actually never have loved a job so much, I have had years of experiences that have enriched my life, my thinking and my abilities. I have worked with people that I can only describe as a privilege to work with. Just because it’s not the same as the old job does not automatically mean it’s worthless/useless.

    In short, I lost the old job and felt like I lost a part of me, my identity. And that was totally untrue. In reality, I became more. People do watch how we handle crisis, OP. Handle it with finesse and dignity and then wait. It will take time, but at some point you will probably find out that someone was very impressed how you handled that and you will end up in a good spot because of being a class act.

    Reply
  14. Cheesecake

    OP 1: I am sorry to hear it. Losing job sucks! Is there an easy way to act like nothing happened? No. But you don’t have to pretend everything is fine and you have 100 better jobs lined up. What you have to do is keep going. But please, while doing so, get rid of the “letting them get away with it” thought. I this is really personal and the company did not tell you, do you really want to work for such company anyway?
    Better opportunities are waiting for you. It might not seem like this now, but i am a strong believer in “everything happens for a reason”

    Reply
    1. Jean

      Yes to this. Being angry about being laid off is a reasonable human reaction to a horrible turn of events, but if you let your anger cool into bitterness you’ll be hurting yourself far more than anyone else. Bitterness announces itself from a mile away. Most people react by retreating. Why risk poisoning future professional or present personal relationships, especially at a time when you will need to form new workplace ties while leaning on the folks in your support network? It may feel like you’re being wrongly evicted from your dream job, but if your employer cannot continue to fund your position, the dream is already starting to evaporate.

      But enough with the “think positive!” lecture. As others have said, take some private time (at home) to vent, rage, fume, and stomp around. It may or may help you to compose a few nasty letters (do this in Word, not in Outlook, not even without a recipient in the “to” field…) and then shred them, or burn them in the kitchen sink. After that, it’s time to accept your new reality. You don’t have to like it; you just have to be able to respond to it positively instead of negatively.

      As Cheesecake said, “Better opportunities are waiting for you” and “everything happens for a reason.” This does not necessarily mean that every detail of your life is being shaped by an all-powerful deity. (No offense intended, Cheesecake.) It does mean that all of your experiences add up to the life that you have now or will have later. If you slide into bitterness, or neglect your last-month-of-job responsibilities, you’ll just be adding a bad-tasting ingredient to the stew.

      I’m sure you can do this, even if it means calling on every bit of your willpower and discipline. You’ve already proved–by reading AAM and asking your question here–that you are not an ordinary working schlub. The fact that you asked also shows that you sense that there’s an alternative to bitterness and sulking! (If you were totally convinced that this was the correct course of action, you would not have written to Alison.) So, see, you’re already several steps further away from being stuck with bitterness, and closer to finding another solution. Good luck! Please write back later to share your update. I hope you have a good journey to another interesting position.

      Reply
      1. Cheesecake

        None taken :) I certainly did not mean “everything happens for a reason, now hand over your projects and just read AAM for next 4 weeks”. I use the phrase for exactly this: you had a dream job,gave your best and… boom…it sucks, keep going, because there is definitely something better around the corner.

        I agree, OP absolutely must find outside-of-office ears to complain , write nasty letters and burn them, or do boxing – whatever to calm down and not let normal sad feelings turn into bitter. This “bitterness” is also stipulated by “hide behind positive image”. Well, it does not mean you have to come to the office bright and breezy, but chin up and do stuff.

        It is trivial, but there is nothing better than live this through and believe there is something better around the corner.

        Reply
      2. Steve G

        You could be giving me this speech. My company is going through a takeover/restructure. I was bitter for a long-time, then started being positive. The problem was, that the people at the new company aren’t interested in taking over my work or doing it properly. They don’t even respond to VMs or email 1/2 the times. We are talking about real item that impact lost of money, so their lack of action really made me angry. I ended up asking to have my end date come sooner, because yeah, the negative feelings are very hard to control…especially when you cared a lot about your job when you had it.

        Reply
  15. BRR

    #1 Don’t take it personally. I’m sure it was difficult for whoever had to make the decision but part of being a manager is making those tough calls. Many nonprofits don’t have room in the budget for extra positions. You should use this time to start job hunting because if you’ve done a good job your current coworkers will be willing to help you network, start trying to save as much as possible, and look into what you need to do to file for unemployment as something that can take time. I was fired from my first job which was a “dream job” and I eventually got over it (mostly), so it does happen.

    #5 I wouldn’t be concerned about your city hoping as long as you’ve had some decent-length tenures on your resume.

    Reply
  16. NurseB

    Letter #1 – I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have been there in the past and know many that are going through it now. It was hard to keep my bitterness at bay at work but I did try to separate the two when I was laid off a few years ago. I had a multiple weeks notice so I vented at home and worked my hardest at the office to deserve and keep the great reference I had built in the past.

    Please do be careful because there is still a chance you can burn bridges, even though you’re the one losing your. A company I used to work for is laying off people come Jan 1st. They were given a large notice and many are taking other jobs early. A position came open at my current employer so I told a select few that I would recommend about the opening. After telling them about the job I began seeing things on Facebook and hearing things from other former co-workers (no one that was also being laid off, people that had nothing to do with the job issues) about how they were talking about my company and the job and being really unprofessional. Suddenly I didn’t feel comfortable recommending them anymore due to this behavior and none of them were offered the job.

    I’m not saying that could happen or that you’re going to behave that way, I just want to say that staying professional and showing that you care about that even in the face of job loss is going to do you much more good in the long run. I wish you the very best of luck and, again, I’m very sorry you’re going through this.

    Reply
  17. Mal

    #5 As someone who DOES Google potential employees(my employer would hire anyone who walked in the door without stopping to consider a background check, so Google is my background check) I would say that I would not particularly care if you’d lived in 6 different states, but I’d also assume that your resume would corroborate you living in different states. People move around, I find the ones that list the same small city over and over again stranger than listing multiple cities. I myself have two different states listed(soon to be adding a third) and it tends to be a talking point in an interview, not a detriment.
    In fact, I remember interviewing two girls for an admin position, one who had moved around a bit(her husband was military) and another who was a hometown girl. They were the same age, had the same education level and same likability. I recommended them both as excellent candidates and let upper management make the final decision. They chose the military wife who had moved around, DESPITE the fact that as a military wife upper management considered her a “flight risk” and the other girl flat out said she had zero intentions of ever leaving the area.
    Good luck in your job search and don’t worry about prospective employers Google-ing you. Most will not!

    Reply
    1. cv

      I’ve had 10 addresses in 4 states (one I lived in twice with a 4-year gap in between) since college, and I was also a little surprised that neither the OP or Alison talked about how the multiple states show up on a resume. Given my post-college jobs, grad school situation, etc., it’s not a big deal at all in my case, but I’d spend much more time thinking about how all the moves come across on your resume than how you show up on “find a person” sites.

      Reply
  18. Jess

    “Employers don’t usually look too closely at those “find this person” sites (if at all). They look at whatever online presence you have (social media, blogs, articles, etc.), but those “find you” sites don’t generally have much that’s of interest to employers.”

    Oh, yikes. After reading this, I googled my name out of curiosity. Facebook is my only social media and I have mine locked down tight. I was surprised to see when I googled myself that the first three pages of results are for people with my name who aren’t me, and all of them seem…very odd. There’s a woman who claims she can cure cancer with Reiki, a woman who went to prison for driving drunk and hitting a guy, a woman who has her resume posted on her website with lots of spelling errors, and a teen girl who really likes cat videos. If an employer googled me, would they think I’m the Reiki practitioner or the felon? They both live in different states from mine, but now I feel kind of nervous about it.

    Reply
    1. the_scientist

      I think this happens to everyone, unless their name is so unique that there is only one of them on the internet. I also have my facebook locked down pretty tight- if you google me you can’t see any photos of me from facebook. However, I do have a linkedIn account with a photo attached to it. If a prospective employer googles me, they will find my linkedin profile and the information in my linkedin corroborates what is on my resume. So that’s a potential way to make yourself visible, in a good way!

      Reply
      1. AVP

        I’m one of those people with a unique name and I think it’s worse. You get my linked in and imdb accounts, which are good, but also school newspaper articles I wrote in high school and college, my goodreads and spotify accounts, and all of the images that come up are my friend’s Facebook profile pics for some reason.

        Reply
        1. Zillah

          It totally is. I was really happy when one or two people with my name surfaced a few years ago and became super active on the internet, bc it makes me feel a lot less tense.

          Reply
    2. BRR

      The way it sounds I wouldn’t worry. I research people for a living and it sounds like those other people are clearly not you.

      Reply
    3. GrumpyBoss

      Yeah, I won’t Google myself. I’m scared to. I also have an extremely common name and am afraid of what other crap not related to me would come up. My brother (also super common name) got served once because someone found him on Google, and was looking for one of a couple hundred people in Chicago with the exact name. It’s very scary.

      As a manager, I usually Google. But if you have a common name, I won’t even try it. Too many crazy people out there!

      Reply
    4. JC

      Yes, same for me! Except my name isn’t all that common, and there is ONE other girl with my same name. This other girl’s social media shows up first in a google search, and she is definitely odd. Not a felon or anything, but a gamer, and there are pictures of her in costume in the first few links. Oh well. I guess if I were job searching again, I would make my linkedin profile and picture google-able (they currently are not) so that it would be obvious that it is not me in the costume pictures.

      Reply
    5. VintageLydia USA

      I am apparently a veterinarian, a restaurant manager, a real estate agent in Virginia AND somewhere in rural Canada (specializing in horse and farm properties!) and a social media expert.

      Reply
    6. Revanche

      I Google myself so I can remove all the real info about me (hometown, relatives). On one of my searches, I discovered the one person who apparently shares my name and/or uses it as an alias for her business…. As a Dom. So hey. Could be weirder.

      In these cases I’m sort of glad I left a few professional cookie crumbs to show that Dom-Me is not Me-me. No judgment, just not sure I want that job offer!

      Reply
  19. OhNo

    Re: #5 – If you’re looking for work in libraries, I’m going to guess that the field is the problem, not the fact that you’ve moved around a lot. I’m an LIS student right now, with a lot of friends in libraries across the country, and the universal truth seems to be that libraries, especially big county systems, can be very insular. They tend to hire from within whenever possible.

    While some positive online presence (LinkedIn, maybe a professional Twitter, that sort of thing) might help, you probably want to focus more on networking in the field where you currently live. You mention professional experience and volunteer experience – is any of it in the area you currently live? If not, getting some in that area ASAP will probably help quite a bit.

    Reply
    1. Meg P

      I would also add that library jobs tend to be more competitive than you’d think (at least in my area). In my understanding, there are so many people with various Library degrees who want to work at libraries, even in non-Librarian positions, to get an in if Librarian jobs open up.

      Reply
  20. JC

    Just a thought, OP5, but if I looked up a stranger on one of those people search sites and found a ton of different towns and multiple last names, my first thought might be that your entry combined your information with a relative’s or something. This isn’t the same thing, but my husband and his father have the same first name, which has led to crossed credit reports and all that jazz, and usually every town my husband and either of his parents have lived in show up as towns my husband has lived in on those websites, his mother’s name and my name show up as his spouse’s name, etc. I have never put much stock in their accuracy, and I’d be surprised if others made judgments from them.

    Reply
  21. Frances

    OP#5 – I wouldn’t worry about Google searches unless some crazy racy photos of you come up. You should build a robust LinkedIn profile including brief references from past supervisors, colleagues, and patrons (are you in public services or more back of the house tech services?). The LinkedIn profiles are looked at.

    I’ve been on a number of search committees and I do look at the number of places folks have worked and for how long. It’s not a deal breaker to have a larger number of jobs, however potential red flags I might see include could be someone isn’t easy to work with or doesn’t follow through with projects. So in your cover letter, I suggest you demonstrate how you are able to effectively work with people and highlight your accomplishments. It is ok if a candidate has a larger number of jobs so long as I see some sort of career progression and that this next career move makes sense. Personally, I would rather hire an excellent librarian who will only stick around for 2 years than a horrible one that will stick around forever :)

    Reply
  22. Katie the Fed

    On #2 – can someone explain to me exactly what information interviews are? They seem kind of like informal applications – an attempt to get your foot in the door. What does one discuss in them? How do they work?

    Reply
    1. C Average

      Second this! I think I know what they mean in my narrow, narrow slice of the world, but sometimes get the sense they mean different things to different people.

      In my world, asking for an informational interview generally means one of the following things:

      –I’m intrigued by what you do and would like to learn more about it. It’s possible I may one day consider a similar career, and for that reason I’ll likely have some specific questions about the career path you took, but for the moment I just want to pick your brain and have no further ulterior motives.
      –I want to work for your company and am trying to network and get some contacts there. I am not interested in your job specifically; I just want to learn about your company, and you just happen to be part of my network.
      –I already have a job at your company and I’m not looking for a change. But our roles and functions may overlap or be complementary, and I’d like to know more about what you do because I could envision a useful collaboration between us and/or our teams.

      Reply
      1. C Average

        . . . and also, everyone knows you do not get a job through an informational. At best, you might get a referral which might help you get a job. If you’re taking a long view, an informational might also help you know which skills you’ll need to pursue a certain job in the future. I’ve seen this happen.

        Reply
      2. Elysian

        As I understand them, they’re supposed to be your first explanation (I’m intrigued by what you do and would like to learn more about your job and how you got there). In my experience though that’s almost always a pre-text, and it turns into a show of asking questions about their job out of “interest” when what you really want is for them to let you know of any open opportunities. but you’ll never ask that because that’s not what ‘informational interviews’ are for. My law school career services department though informational interviews were the best networking tools ever, and maybe they can be, but I hated the way the career people wanted me to work it.

        Me: “I don’t have a job. I’m applying everywhere that makes sense. What else should I be doing?”
        CS: “Have you tried informational interviews? They’re very helpful.”
        Me: “I know the kind of job I want, I really don’t need more information about it.”
        CS: “Well you should talk to them anyway. Don’t ask for a job, but maybe someone will remember you when one opens up. Also, you should try applying places that don’t make sense.”

        So basically its trying to find people who might know about jobs without ever asking people for help finding a job. I don’t like ulterior motives, so I never did any unless I was honestly interested in what the person was working on and wanted to learn more.

        Reply
        1. Katie the Fed

          “In my experience though that’s almost always a pre-text, and it turns into a show of asking questions about their job out of “interest” when what you really want is for them to let you know of any open opportunities. but you’ll never ask that because that’s not what ‘informational interviews’ are for.”

          OK – that’s exactly what they sounded like to me.

          Reply
          1. Colette

            There definitely are people who do that, but that’s not likely to work out well for them (who wants to hire someone who lies to set up a meeting?)

            I think they can be useful if you go in genuinely interested in learning something (e.g. pros and cons of working for a small company instead of a large company, what skills are valuable in teapot design, etc.) and if you keep the conversation focused to avoid wasting the other person’s time.

            Reply
            1. Katie the Fed

              Oh ok. I usually answer those kinds of queries by email, but I recently got a request from a student wanting to skype to get more information about my field. Sounds like the same thing.

              Reply
    2. Colette

      I’ve done informational interviews with previous colleagues to find out what they were doing now or to find out more about the company they worked for (in a general “getting information about the industry” way, not in an attempt to get hired there). It was helpful to get more info on the job market since I’d been out of it for a while, and it was also good to talk to people who knew me and had a good opinion of my skills when I was getting depressed about not having a job.

      Reply
    3. Judy

      I’ve never requested one, but I’ve been requested to give several. All of them have been high school or early college students who were interested in what I do and how I got there. All were people with loose network contacts with me, church member’s neighbors, mom’s friend’s grand kids. I guess technically I had an informational interview the weekend before I interviewed here, one of my husband’s co-worker’s sons works here, and I talked with him about 30 minutes on the phone about the culture and work, to get some background.

      I would think that if I were trying to switch to a different type of job, I’d want to figure out what paths there are to get there.

      Reply
    4. esra

      I’ve given a couple informational interviews. The people I met with wanted to know more about the graphic design field, what the nitty gritty/day-to-day stuff included. They were interested in the industry, but wanted to know more about what a position would actually look like.

      Reply
    5. HR Manager

      I’ve used them as general interviews, not with a specific job in mind. Part of it , for me, is to get a sense of the candidate’s skills, interests – certainly not with the mentality that I am tasked with finding a place for this person in the organization. I do take time to tell them about our company and what we do, if relevant, the interview process. I try to keep it open to what information the interviewee wants. Part of this is experience interviewing, if it’s a junior candidate, or an introduction to our company/business/industry/types of work for a seasoned one. If there so happens to be a fit for a current opening, I am happy to direct them to that opening.

      Funny that you ask, because I do think not enough people ask this question, candidates included. I’ve had some interviewees pursue a hard follow-up path, as if this was a path to ask me to place them into any opening at the company which was a huge turnoff (constant follow-up, inquiring after positions that they are in no way qualified for). I’ve had to turn down many requests because of this, and now only do this for a close circle of contact or if there are highly unusual circumstances.

      Reply
  23. chewbecca

    #5 – The only time I’ve had a potential employer bring up my multiple moves was one that seemed like he was trying to find reasons to discredit/not hire me. It was actually the one time that I was able to think well on my feet and I just acknowledged my three two-year stints in different areas, but emphasized how much I love where I am now, and that I plan on staying here for a long time.

    Reply
    1. GrumpyBoss

      You dodged a bullet then. A couple of years ago, I went through a lengthy interview process like this, where the entire process was setup to seek out negative responses. And yeah, the moves were brought up there too (“what makes you think you’ll like living here? You obviously didn’t like living in these other places or you wouldn’t have moved”).

      I finally withdrew. Could you imagine working for a place that is constantly looking for only the worst in people?

      Reply
      1. chewbecca

        It would be a nightmare! He also got weirdly accusatory that I listed a current coworker as a reference when I had checked the box on my application to not contact my current employer. It felt like he was trying to catch me in a lie.

        Reply
  24. JMW

    OP#1 In every challenge there is opportunity to grow. You are facing a pretty tough challenge right now and a major disappointment, but I would suggest you look for ways to grow in your last month with this organization. Developing the grace to handle disappointments is an important leadership skill, for example, so in your last month you could pretend you are the captain of a sinking ship and demonstrate to others how one does this standing tall. If your boss had been laid off instead of you, how would you want her to act? If the whole organization was shutting down, how would you want your director to act? This is an opportunity to raise yourself to a new level of leadership, and that’s a skill you can take with you.

    This is also an opportunity for you to develop networking skills, because someone in your circle of circles may be the key to your next better job.

    Reply
  25. LJL

    OP #1: I have been there myself. I was very angry and bitter as I had picked up and moved for the job, just to be let go (and move again) a year later. What helped me was realizing that, while I had no control over my continued employment, I did have control over my legacy. I wanted them to be sorry they had let me go, so I made the transition as easy on them as possible, figuring out how to transition my remaining projects and the like, so that my reputation would be intact. It was not at all easy, but it was worth it as my professional network from that job is largely intact and my reputation has grown.

    Best of luck as you find your next opportunity.

    Reply
  26. Fabulously Anonymous

    #5 – I think the problem is less the find a person sites than the extremely competitive library job market. I have known recent MLIS grads that searched for two years before finding a professional position in a system close to home.

    Reply
  27. Ed

    #1 – I work for a large company that makes a lot of acquisitions. Sometimes it’s hard to even keep up with all of the new companies we acquire. While we never “clean house”, there are almost always some layoffs or at least major changes to some roles. The people who keep their jobs but their duties, hours, manager, etc. change are usually more bitter than the ones who are laid off. They had a “dream job” and we converted that to a standard crappy job. I think it’s worse because now they need to decide if they stay or leave while they get madder and madder over months/years. At least the laid off person had the decision made for them and could move on.

    I can understand some of the bitterness but it’s just business. What is a company supposed to do when they determine a role should changed or eliminated to improve the company? Keep things the same just because you’re a nice person? The “letting them get away with it” comment is particularly concerning to me. OP is taking this way too personally. Companies rarely announce to the public when they lay people off because it makes them look weak. The only information they really need to disclose if they aren’t doing X project anymore.

    I took a job once and was laid off on the 3rd day of the 1st week. They didn’t tell any hiring managers in advance because they knew a hiring freeze would tip off employees that lay offs were probably coming. I wasn’t there long enough to get a reference and my previous manager was mad at me for leaving. I was a little freaked out but I moved on and found something better.

    Reply
    1. Ed

      I should add that the first few interviews I did after being laid off went horribly because I was initially bitter. Interviewers can pick up on that a mile away and don’t want to bring a bitter person into their organization. I eventually changed my tune to “I was very disappointed because I loved that job but I’m ready for my next challenge.” Once I made peace with the situation, I got multiple offers. Of course, the open jobs that matched my skills the closest were the interviews I blew in the beginning.

      Reply
  28. TOC

    OP #1, I was laid off from my nonprofit job this summer. I had several months’ warning that they were probably going to lose the funding for my program/position. I was bitter. I really believed, as you do, that our leadership could have handled the situation in a better and more truthful way.

    I knew that my anger wouldn’t accomplish anything, so I worked hard to move past it. I talked it over with my therapist, friends, and family. I tried to remember that I was only really mad at 1-2 leaders in the organization, and that none of my other colleagues or clients were to blame. I tried to feel and show gratitude for the experience I’d had and all of those great blameless people I had worked with. And when that failed, I acted. I showed kindness, gratitude, and positivity at work even when I was faking it. It got me through and it helped me leave on gracious terms. I will cross paths with these folks again, there’s no avoiding that, so I worked really hard to keep my reputation intact.

    (And I had a lot of success in my job search and landed an awesome new role with a 57% raise, thanks to AAM’s wisdom. You will land on your feet!)

    Reply
  29. Cheryl

    OP#1 – I too worked at a non-profit and was laid off, along with ten other colleagues, when our contract ended. We had a month left to work. At the end of it, they “found” money to keep 5 of us on staff. You can bet it was none of the people who were angry and bitter. Money ebbs and flows in non-profits; if this truly is a dream job, it is to your benefit to remain positive and let people know that you’d love to come back and work with them in the future. And yes, perhaps you will never work at that institution again, but if you remain in non-profits in the same field, you will run across your former co-workers again. Be smart, don’t burn this bridge. Good luck!

    Reply
  30. AW

    #3 – You’ve probably already done this but if you haven’t you should look into whether or not you can afford to pay for the benefits you’d normally get from a job out of pocket. Health insurance through an exchange, an IRA from your bank, etc. If you can actually cover the benefits you need yourself it could make it easier to find a job with the scheduling you actually want.

    #5 – Aside from those sites being notoriously inaccurate, it is not at all weird for an adult to have lived in multiple places or have had multiple marriages. Believe me, you don’t want to work someplace where they’re going to get judgy over you having been previously married anyway but 99.95% of people aren’t even going to bat an eye over it. Unless your 8 moves have all happened in the past year you don’t look like a flight risk.

    As for LinkedIn, unless you join active groups or comment on articles on that site it’s not really a very “chatty” place, if you know what I mean. I don’t understand the constant comparisons to Facebook; they don’t work the same way at all. LinkedIn is good for managing a public, online resume and managing your network. You can connect to people and also follow companies. You can even apply to jobs there (in some cases they’ll even let you send the LinkedIn version of your resume instead of re-typing it.) But once you have everything set up you don’t really have to add something or check it daily. You aren’t hit with a constant stream of conversation like Twitter.

    Reply
  31. Rebe

    It’s probably too late to add to this but just in case, OP#1:

    I was given notice of my lay-off on my birthday (it happened to be a Friday that year) and the school had sent letters to the parents that the teachers were being laid off. Those letters arrived at family homes before we received notice so even though the writing was on the wall (our school was closing due to new district lines and low enrollment), the parents of my kids knew I was out of a job before I did.

    Needless to say we had a lot we could have been bitter about. But that’s not the way to get through life. We finished out the school year with smiles on our faces, thankful for all we were able to do, knowledgeable that we still provided outstanding work and we’d get raving reviews because of it. Please, please, please put a glass half full spin on it. Yes, it sucks. Yes, you have more you could offer but I guarantee you that unless you are a terrible employee, this does not feel good for any of your management/coworkers either. Give them good to remember you by and you will reap your rewards. It’s so hard to be in that spot – I know it well. Good luck!

    Reply
  32. I live to serve

    #5
    I wouldn’t worry about those personal information sites.
    I do have a concern that you want to work in a public library and seem to be a bit phobic about social media. The hiring team is going to look at your online presence. Be and advocate and ally for public library service. Create a Facebook page and simply post pictures and links to library related things like teen read week and summer reading and book week or a quote a day or cool local history trivia. Anything that screams, I am engaged human in this community and have something to offer the institution.

    Reply
  33. Lamb

    I know I’m a day late, but
    Re: OP 1
    “Putting the project on hiatus” from a non-profit to me sounds *exactly* like “this project doesn’t have the needed funds”, so I don’t know that they actually are getting away with anything by phrasing it that way to your regular contacts.
    As for not feeling like putting in the effort for your final weeks, this was your “dream job”? So you want to stay in this industry, whether you would ever work for this organization again or not. That means that you are likely to run in to your soon-to-be-former coworkers and managers throughout your career. You want them to remember the “OP working Dream Job” version of you, not the “bitter, discouraged OP” that you feel like currently. If you can turn it around before your time runs out, it could be filed under “the lay-off knocked OP for a loop” and down the line they’ll see you and think “There’s OP; she’s great, did her best even after being laid off” as opposed to “there’s OP, who mentally checked out as soon as her project was canceled”. That is a huge difference in perception and will matter when they have the choice of whether to work with you again.

    Reply
  34. Sunny

    Librarian here; it’s a very competitive field, surprisingly. I have seen many entitled people who think they will just walk away with a job when there are so many people that apply. Good luck to you though!

    Reply

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