old coworkers who won the lottery want to come back to work, a credible company has a fake-seeming website, and more

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

1. Old coworkers who won the lottery now want to come back

I’m a divisional manager. I manage several smaller teams and report to the manager of our entire department. Several years ago (long before I worked here), one of the teams won the lottery as a group. The entire team played except for Mary. Mary was invited to play but chose not to. After the win, everyone quit, including the manager.

In the years since the win, Mary has moved up to team manager. The lottery money has been a problem for her former team members and manager. One died from an overdose and another is in prison (both events made the news).

Our department is expanding, and some of Mary’s former team have applied to work here, citing financial issues and the need for an income. The departmental manager, Jon, has said he wants all of them to work on Mary’s team. Mary and I both think this is a bad idea. Mary thinks her old team will be bitter about having to come back to work and to have her as manager (at the time they left, she was entry-level and the most junior person on the team). A few of Mary’s old team have publicly expressed bitterness and regret about spending all the money and needing to work again. There are spots on other teams where they would be qualified to work. The spots on all the teams are entry-level only. Jon said he doesn’t think that Mary managing some of her old team members will cause conflict, but Mary and I both disagree. Do you have any idea how I can approach Jon with these concerns?

Mary is a great employee and will follow Jon’s direction, but I want to support her. She is also worried her old team members will resent her because she chose not to play the lottery because she believed the money would bring nothing but trouble and no good would come from it.

Mary is the one who will have to manage them if they come back, and so Jon should be deferring to your and Mary’s judgment on this.

But I don’t think you should suggest that they be hired for those entry-level spots on other teams, if they’re not entry-level. The goal here isn’t to find them jobs at all costs; it’s to hire the best person for each opening you have. If that might be one or more of them, then great … but shoehorning them into entry-level jobs that they’re overqualified for (if indeed that’s the case) doesn’t meet that bar.

Why not suggest a compromise with Jon — that you and Mary will interview each of them who’s interested and will keep an open mind, but that if at the end of that process you continue to be concerned that they’re not the best hires you could make, you’ll select other people?

2. A seemingly credible company has a fake-seeming website

A friend recently interviewed at a company that, from her cursory “due diligence,” seemed on the up-and-up: credentials, mutual colleagues/alumni, and a nice office in a swank building. There was no sensitive personal information disclosed or anything unusual about the interview itself, and she even ran into a former, trusted colleague on the way to the interview itself.

However, when my friend happened to look on the company’s web site again, she found what appear to be fake/doctored/planted press clippings, fake or unverifiable examples of the company’s innovations, and many cases of contradictory information (board member names, phone numbers, locations, etc) within the web site itself. Some discrepancies were obvious; others were only apparent to those with some experience in the field.

My friend applied for this position through a leading job-site aggregator; this company contacted her shortly thereafter for an interview (if I recall, via their corporate recruiter in another state or country).

A cautious and retiring type (by her own description), she is sure she hasn’t unluckily stumbled onto some nefarious fraud or Madoffesque upstart–but is annoyed at the waste of her time and energy. She is also concerned about the impact of having her name linked with any public “asking around,” as she is just a few years into her relatively small, niche career.

I haven’t heard of such a scenario before and am simply out of my depth here. (My guess is it’s a bizarre, cutting-edge set-up for a new reality show or an elaborate, and awful, practical joke).

The piece of this that doesn’t fit is the mutual colleagues. If you’re saying that she knows people who have worked there (and she’s sure they really did, and it’s not that their names have been coopted by some nefarious company), that makes it a lot harder to write it off as a scam or a strange reality show. Or who knows, maybe everything is on the up-and-up but they have a really horrible web communications person and haven’t figured that out or dealt with it yet. Or, a third possibility — since she’s only a few years into her career, is it possible that she’s evaluating the stuff on their website incorrectly?

In any case, I wouldn’t worry that she’s somehow connected herself to them by asking around about them. If the people she asked had strongly negative impressions of this company, presumably they would have told her when she asked. And no one is going to hold it against her for trying to do some due diligence on a company, particularly if there’s something shady to be learned.

3. Working while grieving

My father died a few days before Christmas, and it was extremely traumatic for me — he was a single parent to me when I was growing up, and we were extraordinarily close. I’m also 31, which I know isn’t a child, but I also didn’t really expect to be dealing with this sort of thing for another decade at least. On top of that, he was unmarried and had no other children, so when it comes to the business of settling his affairs, it’s pretty much just on me — our home, for example, needs to be sold, and it’s in California and I’m in New York.

I do have help, and I’m lucky to work at a place where everyone is understanding and generous — I was out for two extra weeks and haven’t been docked any vacation or sick leave, for example. That being said, I’m having a really hard time back at work: things that would simply irritate or minorly stress me out before feel extra big now, and I generally feel more fragile and sensitive than I have before. So far I feel like my work performance hasn’t been TOO impacted, but I’m anxious about that happening at some point/how much energy I’m expending keeping myself together. I’ve just started seeing a grief counselor, which I’m hoping will help, but in the meantime would be so grateful for any advice on how to manage this at work, at least for now.

I’m so sorry about your dad.

Lower the pressure on yourself — you’re not going to be functioning in the same way that you were before this happened, just like you hopefully wouldn’t expect yourself to come back at full speed right after being out for a debilitating illness. It’s going to take some time for you to recover your equilibrium at work, and that’s okay.

One thing that will help is talking to your boss. Let her know that you’re dealing with a lot right now, that there are a lot of demands on your energy not only because of the grief but also because all the logistics are falling to you, and that you may not be yourself right away. She probably already assumes that, but you’ll feel better for having said it.

If you’ve been there a while, trust that you have enough of a track record built up that you’ll be given the space that you need. If you haven’t been there a while, trust that people will still be compassionate because they know what you’re going through.

Hang in there.

4. Taking a job with a manager who’s less experienced than me

I am now at the last stage of the interview process for a very interesting middle-level position. I have a doubt, though, and I would really like to hear your thoughts. My industry is very small, so I ran across the person I would be reporting to a few times in the past. They are a couple of years younger than me and less experienced. I’m saying that they are less experienced after doing my due diligence on this position, on the company, and on the tasks of this person, not out of jealousy or delusion. While the age factor is not an issue, I’m concerned that reporting to a person with less experience than me could be a recipe for trouble.

The selection process is happening in English, which is not my or this company’s native language, so I already had the doubt that they were looking for somebody more junior than me, but after reviewing carefully the vacancy I think there were no misunderstandings there. Am I overreacting or would you see this as a red flag, or something I should pay attention to? In consideration of how the selection process is going, I think I have good chances to get an offer.

If the person is great at what she does, it’s not likely to be a problem at all. If she’s not great at what she does, that would be a problem even if she had decades of experience more than you. So really, focus on what you know about her competence and achievements, and how she approaches her work and her management on the people on her team, not on her age or years in the industry.

Plus, in many roles, a manager really doesn’t need to know how to do the work of the people she’s managing; she just needs to know how to manage them effectively. More on that here.

(Also! If you literally mean “a couple of years” younger than you, that’s basically nothing that should even cross your radar — a few years of experience isn’t likely to make the kind of difference you’d notice, at least not in most fields.)

5. I was rejected after a manager looked at my LinkedIn profile

I recently applied for a job through an organization that I am really interested in becoming a team member of. I noticed on Monday that a senior manager in the department looked at my LinkedIn profile on Sunday. However, I was sent an automated rejection letter that morning. My profile is pretty similar to my resume and I am unsure if I am over analyzing it or should fix my profile and or resume for future references.

Nah, don’t read anything into it. I look at LinkedIn profiles of candidates who I end up rejecting for other reasons all the time. Very rarely, if ever, is what I saw on LinkedIn the reason. I’m just looking to get a better sense of them, or even sometimes because I’m curious about one particular fact, or all sorts of reasons. Assuming that your LinkedIn profile isn’t really messy or quite different from your resume and that you don’t have a wildly unprofessional photo up or something, I’d assume you were rejected for non-LinkedIn reasons.

{ 443 comments… read them below or add one }

    1. Lily in NYC

      Tale from the other side: our next door neighbor won the lottery and it has been nothing but wonderful for her. Maybe the difference is that she was already in a decent financial situation. So she didn’t go nuts and blow it on solid-gold toilet seats; she simply quit her job and now spends her time volunteering and gardening. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but if you are already a happy person, it sure does make life easier.

      Reply
      1. Lily in NYC

        Oops, I did mean to mention that my grandpa spent over $100 a week (which he could not afford) on lottery tickets and never won a dang thing. Planning to win the lottery is not a great retirement plan!

        Reply
        1. ThursdaysGeek

          I read about a winner in our paper, she won about $9K and was excited, because she’d be able to replace some appliances in her house that were worn out. The paper also said she’d been spending about $10/week for the last 5+ years. In other words, if she’d saved that money, she would have had more than twice that amount, and could have replaced the appliances years ago.

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          1. Lily in NYC

            People aren’t very logical I guess. My grandpa had a fantasy about winning big and being able to hand out money to his family – he just loved the idea.

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          2. Turanga Leela

            That doesn’t seem so bad to me. $10/week is a lot, but not crazy (many people spend that on drinks or snacks at work), and for that she got the fun of thinking about what she’d do if she hit the jackpot.

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            1. Elizabeth H.

              FWIW $10 per week for 6 years would be $3120. So 9k is still a little better ;) But it’s not like you are guaranteed a win for every 3000 bucks you spend on the lottery, so still would not recommend as a financial strategy.

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      2. Antilles

        Maybe the difference is that she was already in a decent financial situation.
        No ‘maybe’ about it. Handling wealth is a skill, no different than cooking, writing, or playing a sport. And like all skills, it’s something you need to learn and develop and/or pay someone else to do it for you. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that because if you’ve never had wealth, you’ve never had the opportunity or need to learn it.

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        1. JB (not in Houston)

          Yes, exactly.

          Plus, if you’ve never had much money, you haven’t had to deal with expectations of others that you will provide for them, or with having to say to no people who emerge from the woodwork with a tenuous connection to you and a sob story. It’s really hard to say no to people who need help when you have the ability to help them, and it’s hard to know where to draw the line.

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          1. Lily in NYC

            Yes, this is an important point. My neighbor’s family is full of working professionals and she didn’t have random relatives asking for a handout (but she did receive dozens of letters from strangers asking for money! You can’t be anonymous as a winner in our state).

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            1. JB (not in Houston)

              That right there is why I’d hate to win the lottery. I’d have to pay someone to open my mail to weed out those letters.

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            2. AMT

              I’m a social worker and have noticed that a lot of dysfunctional families tend to have one or two functional, employed family members who are always running around picking up Cousin Bob’s kids, bailing mom out of jail again, giving Cousin Joe his rent money, or making grandma’s doctor’s appointments. In a family that’s constantly in crisis, if you’re level-headed and have a non-zero bank account, you’re automatically the Family Mom. It can take a long time to unlearn these “rescuing” habits if you’re the first person in your family to go to college, have a steady job etc.

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              1. the gold digger

                Someone on AAM, I think, recommended the book Ruby Payne book, “A Framework for Understanding Poverty.” I think she touched on that issue – of the hopelessness of some kids who wanted to go to college and get good jobs but knew it would just mean a family member would have her hand out.

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              2. PlainJane

                My husband and I have been the “wealthy” (read: middle class) relatives who were expected to do this stuff. It took a few years for hubby to start telling them no. It took a few more years for them to stop asking. I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic. I’ve been poor, and it sucks. But being the family member who escapes poverty shouldn’t equal having to deal with everyone else’s financial needs and personal crises.

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          2. Allison

            My mom has mentioned this to me as well, your name has to be published and you’ll get a neverending stream of sob stories. I’m not sure I could handle all that guilt.

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        2. Squeeble

          This is why I always say that if I ever win the lottery, the first thing I’ll do is hire a financial manager. I don’t know anything and would definitely make some major screw-ups otherwise.

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          1. Artemesia

            Yeah, if the money is tied up in investments, it isn’t available for the moochers who come out of the woodwork. When we reached 70 we put our money into the hands of management because my FIL literally lost 8 million leaving him with a couple of million when he became unable to manage his wealth and yet unwilling to let go — it was the great crash and he rode losing stock into the ground and then when he died his widow allowed a bad stock broker to talk her into selling stock and paying huge capital gains on money that would have passed tax free in inheritance because he didn’t understand the concept of stepped up basis. The sad thing is that their kids didn’t get much (huge family) AND they didn’t enjoy the money themselves — it just got p’ed away.

            If you aren’t used to managing money, having it professionally managed puts a layer of protection between you and Uncle Fergus and your impulses and your money.

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            1. fposte

              This is what I mean by “hiring somebody to handle your money can screw you too.” Sounds like the real error on the stepped-up gains was with the tax preparer, though, not the broker.

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          2. fposte

            Unfortunately, that can be a great way to make a major screwup in itself. Most financial advisors aren’t required to put your financial welfare first.

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            1. Mabel

              Which really sucks. My ex had to pay $30k extra in taxes because her bankruptcy attorney made a mistake. I’m working with an attorney now on something, and I’m always trying to figure out if there’s anything I can do to protect my interests better, but I’m not the expert, which is why I hired them. It’s scary to be at the mercy of someone who will probably put their interests before mine. I know that many, many lawyers are honest and ethical, but how do I know if I’ve hired one of the good ones?

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              1. fposte

                With advisors, you can at least ask them if they operate under the fiduciary standard and if that’s a written policy. With lawyers? Much harder. (And sometimes, as might have happened in the above story, it’s taking the word of the wrong professional–sort of like believing the plumber about your house wiring.)

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            2. Viola Dace

              Wealth Management professional here. No, they are not required to put your financial welfare first. However, your own due diligence can ensure you don’t get ripped off. First, hire a fee only advisor. This person charges you for their time alone, based on hours or assets. Anyone who is making money on transactions and/or products is not doing you a service. Second, make sure your advisor is non-discretionary. This means that every action taken on your behalf in any account must be approved IN WRITING by you. Third, make sure your accounts are held by an independent custodian. Do not ever give your money to an advisor. Finally, find out if your advisor is a passive or active investor and if they believe in indexing. Expenses can eat away at your accounts and an active trader racks up a lot of expenses. Indexing with quarterly re-balancing is reasonable and prudent.
              And it doesn’t matter how you get your money. It matters who are you are WITH money. I’ve seen people blow through as much as $10 mil and not really be aware until it is too late. Despite numerous warnings, conversations, etc.

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              1. JessaB

                Which is one of the reasons if I ever won the lottery despite the fact that you can sometimes make more money taking the lump sum, I wouldn’t. So many, many people who win run through the winnings so quickly or get taken. If you take the annuity, at least next year you get another hit of money. I know what my money habits look like. Oh and I don’t care how great or how much recommended the law/accounting/tax team is, independent auditors are your friends. Too many people got taken by managers (Look up Billy Joel and Gordon Ramsay as examples.)

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            3. Anonymoose

              This is – legally – inaccurate. Anytime an advisor makes a decision for the account holder (I think it has to be $10K+), they must make sure you understand what they’re going to do and why, and then confirm that you agree with the change to your holdings. Lots of firms are sued because they don’t bother doing that last step – educating the client. I think this is why I appreciate wrap accounts: advisors will ensure their own paycheck (unless they like not eating). So by the client paying their advisors fee by a % of of account’s profit, it ensures that the clients financial needs are always (within reason) met.

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              1. Anonymoose

                Forgot to mention that with the wrap account: the more successful the client’s wrap account, the more $ their advisor’s % fee becomes. So both client and advisor are aligned in both their best interests. Highly recommend wrap accounts, if you have the capital.

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                1. fposte

                  It’d be an unusual wrap fee that’s calculated only on the profit–most are calculated on some variation of AUM. I like the idea of one where the advisor doesn’t take a percentage or gives money back if the portfolio loses value, but, as you say, advisors like eating, so that’s not likely to be popular.

                  And unfortunately, once you deduct that percentage, accounts in wrap fees aren’t usually competitive. If we’re going with a safe withdrawal rate of 4% in retirement, which some say is optimistic, and I’m also paying a wrap fee of 2%, I’m now living on a 2% withdrawal annually.

              2. fposte

                I don’t think it is legally inaccurate, and Viola Dace didn’t seem to think so either–can you expand? Unless you’re under the fiduciary standard, you’re only required to meet the suitability standard–you just have to believe what you’re doing is suitable for the client but not necessarily in the client’s best interest. What standard you’re held to will depend on what kind of financial professional you are. Rather than requiring people to learn who’s regulated by what (the SEC has a whole pamphlet that tries to guide consumers through it, and it’s not very successful), it’s easiest just to ask about the fiduciary rule, because they want somebody who agrees to put their interest first.

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          3. Elizabeth West

            Same here. Though I would take time to learn stuff so I can make sure my financial manager isn’t going to jerk me around.
            *pokes universe* Hey, I’d like to add that to my requests, please. LOL

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        3. Michele

          We do have a financial advisor. (Both my husband and I grew up poor, so once our savings hit a certain point, we didn’t really know what to do with it.) Our advisor says that he has clients who make mid-six figures but can’t set aside a dime yet still expect to retire before they are 60. On the other hand, he has one client who had scrimped and saved her entire life just to get by. She won the lottery and could have retired but she could never get past her sense of financial insecurity. He has to convince her that it is OK to buy a new appliance or other things that someone with millions of dollars would normally not even think about.

          Reply
            1. Michele

              I would be somewhere in between, but definitely on the more conservative end. Our advisor jokes that we are un-American because we don’t have debt and put so much money into savings. I have seen too many people work past the point where their health would allow, though, and I do not want to be in that position.

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              1. Anonymoose

                Just make sure your lawyer, will and beneficiaries are all squared away. I’ve seen stuff stuck in probate for yeeeeeears because folks always say ‘oh, I’ll do that next time’.

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          1. Another Staff Accountant (Public Practice)

            I’m always amazed by the huge variance in my clients’ financial well-being, regardless of their income.
            There are a few older gentlemen who look like anyone’s grandpa, but have millions in properties and their portfolio (while living in a tiny house that hasn’t been renovated since the 50’s). There are also the six-figure people who burn through any money they make. Accounting is a fascinating look into the human psyche. Not surprisingly, when accountants get together they hold “Who Did It More Frugally??” contests – my boss is the prince of thrifted, hand-me-down and Kijiji furniture.

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    2. Mina

      Having won a decent prize that allowed me to move home to another state, I can tell you that if you aren’t used to money, aren’t already responsible and disciplined, you will not magically become disciplined. And it all goes a lot faster than you think it will. I’m actually glad I didn’t win more, it really messed with my head as it was.

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        1. Dan

          Yeah. I have a background with corporate jets. Before that, I used to think that there was such thing as “enough” money. Now? Show me more money, and I’ll show you a bigger jet.

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      1. Lady Blerd

        Sadly, I have family members who’s parents died when the oldest was barely legal. His mother refused to make any arrangement so he was responsable for the 100k$ insurance payout and unsurprisingly it was all gone within a year.

        There are also the stories of NBA players who have to go to Europe during the summer break because of either they are living beyond their means or because they have very large entourage they have to take care of.

        One lesson I learned while watching those lottery winner shows is if I do get a windfall, take 5-10% for some foolish spending and put away the rest. With current cost of living I’d have to be close to mid seven figures before I’d consider quitting my job.

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    3. Adlib

      Yep. My parents had neighbors (a few miles away) that won twice! Ended up losing their home, and it now sits vacant. No idea where they are now. Weirdly, they were always having yard sales even after winning the lottery. It was bizarre.

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      1. Lance

        Replacing their things with something nicer/more extravagant, perhaps (which would in turn eat through that money)? That’s the first thing that would come to mind for me.

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      2. MechE31

        A now former coworker won a 9 figure lottery payout and still picks things from the curb to fix them.

        He was already very financially sound and has continued after his new-found wealth.

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    4. Parenthetically

      A relative of mine used to work for a state lottery. I once asked him what the best and worst parts of his job were. He said the best part was knowing people’s lives were going to change because of this win, and the worst part was knowing that the majority of those folks would blow most of the money either on more lottery tickets or on other worthless or ill-advised crap, and end up poorer than they were when they won. Pretty depressing all around really.

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    5. AMG

      This is all good advice, and good earnings to not go crazy. I’m at the beginning of this and want to savor it, make it last, and use it for security and for my kids someday. My BIL is the nicest, most honest and conservative person I know. We will be following his advice to the letter.

      But yeah, the people I barely know wanting me to help them retire immediately…unreal.

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      1. Not Yet Looking

        I don’t want you to help me retire, I’d just like you to help me go on more vacations. Airfare is expensive! *Grin*

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    6. HannahS

      My aunt’s nanny won a million in a lottery several years after she stopped looking after my cousins. She had come from the Philippines with nothing as part of an immigration plan for caregivers. After meeting with a financial adviser, she and her husband bought a modest house and invested the rest. They told their families that her husband had a distant relative who had died, leaving them juuust enough for the house.

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      1. Whats In A Name

        This is genius. All of it but especially not disclosing their winnings as to not get the barrage of “you owe me” guilt piled on.

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      2. Anonymoose

        So smart. Exactly what I would do. I’d also make sure I had a gently used foreign car sitting in the driveway, with maybe my splurge car in a private garage somewhere else to be taken out on weekend trips out of town. ;)

        Reply
  1. Mike C.

    Re #1:

    One thing that struck me here was this intense belief that these people would be bitter for having t come back to work or for having to work under someone that they only knew as a lower ranked employee. These are both irrational assumptions to make.

    First off, you can’t just write people off because something bad has happened in their lives. I mean sure if it clearly affects them during the interview it’s important to note, but at the same time they could be very glad and eager for a path out of their current predicament. Secondly, reasonable folks are going to understand that those who stuck around are likely going to be running the place over those who did not.

    I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that if they’re otherwise qualified candidates, they aren’t going to exhibit the issues you’re concerned about because such issues would have such huge red flags that it would immediately disqualify them in the first place – no one would ever find themselves accidentally hiring them only to find out later that there are these underlying issues.

    So don’t let these fears cloud your judgement and stick to the needs of the business, measurable metrics and so on.

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    1. Emmie

      Those are good points. Should youbinterview them, it may be helpful to disclose who the manager is and ask how they’d feel working for her.
      Most critically, these individuals may not be the most qualified for the position. The positions may have evolved in the many years since they were employed at the company.
      I would assess them against the qualifications today, and see if they completed any work or volunteer experience that would have allowed them to keep pace with the updated needs. (Even technology changes over five years and they may be very rusty.)

      Reply
      1. JB (not in Houston)

        Off topic, but I have to say, I was glad to see you type “youbinterview” because it means I am not the only person who hits the damn “b” key when I’m trying to hit the space key on my phone (or at least, I’m assuming you are on your phone). Half the things I type are two words run together with a b in the middle.

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    2. Stellaaaaa

      I agree with you generally, though the part about how the former employees have “cited financial issues” makes me wonder if certain conversations have already taken place.

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      1. Czhorat

        I was wondering the same thing. Did they leave nicely and professionally, or with hard feelings? Did they rub Mary’s nose in the fact that they received a windfall and she didn’t? If so, I can imagine her seeing this as their “comeuppance”, and the whole thing being an awkward and miserable situation.

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      2. Freya UK

        If I won the lottery I’d be escaping my workplace with such velocity that you wouldn’t be able to see my raised middle finger.

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        1. the gold digger

          Yeah, all those people who say they would keep working even if they won a gajillion dollars in the lottery?

          I am not one of them. I would be out the door – well, not tomorrow, but in two weeks. (But only because I like my boss and co-workers. If this were my old job, I, as have so many other people at OldJob, would quit on the spot.)

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          1. Temperance

            I would have happily walked out on my last job with my middle fingers in the air, yelling “f you, f you, f you, you’re cool, f you” … but I hated everyone that I worked for except our grandboss, so that would have felt amazing. I would stick it out here until they found someone to take over my job.

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            1. JessaB

              And not until you have the actual cash. It can take awhile to get the money especially for the multi state things, where they have to wait til all the states pool in the money to start paying out. Say absolutely nothing to anyone until you have that dough. Then give your two weeks.

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          2. Michele

            Yep. Considering the way the company I work for treated employees during recent layoffs, I don’t think I would even give two weeks notice. I would show up, gather my personal things, and disappear.

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          3. ThatGirl

            I’ve actually thought a little too pragmatically about this sort of thing, and for me it would depend on how much money I won. Honestly, a couple million might not be enough for me to quit working – just enough to make sure I was secure in my later years. I can definitely see instances where we decide that lottery winnings are for long-term financial security, and not “quit my job immediately”.

            (I would actually encourage my husband to leave his crappy job, though, and pursue something more in the “dream” category.)

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            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

              Yeah, this is me. Working in investments definitely makes ‘a couple million’ seem like a lot less than I used to think! That’s not “I can afford to retire four decades early” money, that’s “I can throw that in an account and let it accrue for four decades” money.

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              1. AthenaC

                Yep – it sounds like a lot, but taxes will take out a chunk.

                And then for me, I’d pay off my mortgage and put some aside for property taxes. Wouldn’t be a ton left after that, but whatever is left would go into my retirement savings.

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                1. fposte

                  @beetrootqueen–yup, taxed in the U.S. There are two states that don’t levy state taxes, but the state gets their cut in the other 48, and they’re federally taxable everywhere in the U.S. And neither states nor the feds are stupid, so a decent percentage of that is automatically withheld before you even get the money.

                2. Michele

                  We are so frugal that we have paid off our house. My husband’s car is 12 years old, so we would probably replace that. With what he have set aside, 2 million would be enough to get us by for the rest of our lives at our current standard of living. However, part of that frugality is that I almost never play the lottery or do any kind of gambling, so it is all hypothetical at best.

                3. swingbattabatta

                  My husband and I have discussed the “what if we won…” scenario multiple times. We’d kiss our student loans goodbye, buy our parents gifts, take about $10K out for fun, and put the rest towards educational savings for our kids. Our student loans are about $500K, so that would be such a huge, life changing, celebratory event.

              2. Kyrielle

                Agreed. If I win a small amount (and small here is measured in the single-digit millions, and if the universe wants to give me “just a small” win I’d be more than fine with that), it will (as much as possible after accounting for taxes, depending on how much it is!) clear my mortgage and any leftovers get invested. It may let me retire early, but not super-early.

                If I win enough that I could – without investing it – live off it at my current level for the rest of my life…and my husband could…then yeah, it gets invested and I give a few months’ notice. (I like my current job and coworkers a lot, and could happily work here until retirement. In the very very unlikely event of a major lottery win, I’m not about to give them short notice.)

                Reply
              3. SheLooksFamiliar

                A million dollars used to sound like a lot of money, but not anymore. I live in Illinois: the state isn’t broken, it’s fixed. Thanks to our more than typically stupid politicians, the cost of living is so high I don’t think I’ll be able to retire here. Besides that, I know people who retired a few years ago with ~$1 million in savings and investments who are now back at work. A serious illness for one or both spouses, unexpected expenses, plain bad planning…you get the idea. If I won $1 million, I couldn’t retire yet, but I’d be happy to have the funds in my portfolio.

                Reply
                1. Anxa

                  It really isn’t. I can’t pretend I don’t come from a wealthy area; I do. However my state had a pretty severe natural disaster situation some years back (people were out of their homes for years) and there was a lot of anger about “FEMA money going to million dollar beach houses.”

                  When, yes, that house may sell for a million dollars. And yes, it’s near the beach. But these were fairly modest single family homes. People may have been privileged to live there, but they were NOT swimming in cash. In fact, many were so cash strapped from living in an area with a high COL, especially families that had grown up there.

              4. Anonymoose

                This. When I worked in wealth management, regularly seeing $20m accounts – and the worst was when the clients were as young as I am – totally broke my meager middle class heart.

                Reply
            2. Amadeo

              Me too. I like the job I have now and would probably keep working it even if I didn’t *need* it because of lottery winnings. I mean, I’ve got hobbies and all, but I know if I just hung around the house all day every day I wouldn’t get much done after the first couple of months and I’d get bored.

              So I’d end up putting away most of it after paying some things off, but no, not quitting.

              Reply
            3. MsCHX

              I live in a state with a) fairly high income taxes and b) required to publicly name lotto winners.

              If I won a million or two I wouldn’t quit my job. I am really, really good at stating “no” as a complete sentence. I know that would be enough money to help live comfortably (pay off student loans, pay for my kids’ college educations – one is already in college, one going in a year, buy a modest house) for the duration.

              If I won the Powerball? I’m quitting, collecting my money and going underground for a period of time. Getting everything situated before reemerging.

              Reply
            4. Ann O'Nemity

              Yeah, I would need to win at least $8 million to quit working now. And even then I would have to continue my present lifestyle. Instead, I’d probably continue working and use the money to improve my standard of living a bit and have a comfy nest egg. I would hate to end up crawling back to my former job after a few years of reckless spending.

              Reply
            5. $$ anon

              I’ve thought about this a lot too. I am super pragmatic about money, and I would take $1M and put the after-tax amount into college funds for my kids, retirement savings, and a down payment on a house. And that would be the end of it – I’d continue to live my normal life with less worry about our financial future.

              Unfortunately, my husband’s family (his father in particular) would think we were all of a sudden super rich and expect us to share. Then they would immediately blow the money on stupid stuff and continue to complain about their financial troubles. The whole thing would practically be more trouble than it was worth for that kind of money.

              Reply
            1. KarenT

              Totally agree! A few women at my company won the lottery about five years ago. It wasn’t a jackpot, but there were six of them and they won $144,000 each. In Canada you don’t pay tax on lottery winnings, so it was a pretty nice windfall. They all kept working, of course, except for one woman who was 60. It was enough for her to declare herself retired.

              Reply
          4. Koko

            Same. I would still work if I won the lottery. But not at my current job. I do a little freelancing on the side now and would probably continue doing that, with decently long periods of not accepting work or only accepting small amounts of work, and busier periods for when I missed the work and the satisfaction of being rewarded for my product.

            I often enjoy my work, which is why I do more of it on the side. The only part I don’t enjoy is having to do it 40 hours a week every week of my life (minus vacations) – but, that’s the work that provides the bulk of my income as well as my benefits. If I no longer needed the income or benefits of the full-time job, I would jump in a heartbeat to set my own schedule, work terms, and compensation.

            Reply
            1. the gold digger

              I often enjoy my work, which is why I do more of it on the side. The only part I don’t enjoy is having to do it 40 hours a week every week of my life (minus vacations)

              Yes. I like working. I don’t like having to work.

              That said, if I won the lottery, given my age and our savings, I would be able to stop working for money. I would, however, spend time volunteering for causes I care about. (Although there is nothing I care about enough to get up at 6 a.m., so I would volunteer for things later in the day.)(And things that might not require me to take a shower. Or wear high heels.)

              Reply
            2. eplawyer

              I would just do more pro bono work. At this point, I take paying clients solely becasue I need to pay my bills. If even my student loans were paid off, I would be able to help so many more people.

              Reply
          5. Marillenbaum

            Yeah, I’m emphatically not that person: I’d probably keep working for a couple of months, but mostly because I’d want to hire a financial planner first. Then, I’d peace out, pay off my student loans, and go on a nice, long trip to visit my sister and my nephews.

            Reply
          6. This is She

            I saw a stand up comic once you said that anyone who wins the lottery and claims “it’s not going to change my life at all” should have to give the money back. If it won’t change your life at all, what do you need it for?! It should be won by someone whose life it WILL change!
            I laughed.

            Reply
        2. neverjaunty

          #1 is a cautionary tale about why that’s a very, very bad idea.

          An acquaintance of mine worked with a guy who THOUGHT he won the jackpot. Guy went around and told off his boss and walked out with raised middle fingers. Then he found out the source he was relying on for the winning numbers transposed a digit. Whoops.

          Reply
          1. Kelly L.

            Oh no!

            I remember once on Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, one of the women thought she won the lottery using her birthdate as her chosen number, and then the ticket got thrown away by accident and they had to search the dump for it, and then she remembered she’d lied about her age when picking the numbers and hadn’t won anyway.

            Reply
      3. Ann Furthermore

        I saw a comedian in Vegas once who was talking about winning the lottery. He said if he won, the first thing he’d do is rent a TV station for the day, and say, “All right. The following people can KISS MY A**!!”

        Reply
    3. Jeanne

      OP says they have publicly expressed bitterness about having to work again. While they may or may not direct that bitterness at Mary, I think it’s a valid concern when hiring them.

      Reply
      1. Allie

        That also stood out for me. If it weren’t for that, I would be more sympathetuc, but you never want to hire someone who has expressed resentment about being there, for whatever reason. It is not at all harsh to say you should hire people who actually want to be working there.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          I think there’s a pretty big difference between being resentful for having to work, and being resentful for working at a specific place.

          Reply
          1. BPT

            But I think either of those would be bad for them coming to this company. There are plenty of people who are resentful about having to work (or at least don’t like it), but ideally you don’t let that get around to people who might hire you. And I might be parsing language too much here, but someone who doesn’t love work and someone who is resentful about working are two different things.

            Reply
          2. neverjaunty

            Not BEING resentful, Mike, EXPRESSING that resentment in a way that gets back to the people trying to hire you.
            I mean, there’s nothing wrong with thinking the hiring manager is a jerk, but you wouldn’t tsk-tsk at the idea that maybe if you say that out loud they won’t hire you.

            Reply
          3. SheLooksFamiliar

            Maybe so, Mike C., but it’s all the same when you’re expressing your resentment. I’d think long and hard about rehiring someone who made it plain they resented having to work, period.

            Reply
      2. Mallory Janis Ian

        Well, how many of them are there, and have they all expressed bitterness, or is the company taking the statements of one or two people as representative of the whole group? I’d be wary of the vocally resentful ones but give benefit of the doubt to individuals until or unless they persuaded me otherwise.

        Reply
        1. Allie

          Although per OP’s update below, every single person quit without notice, which is enough to be suspicuous of every one of them (and silly given that it does take time for the money and taxes to be processed). It sounds like to a person they have made some pretty bad jugments.

          Reply
      3. Jwal

        I think this really depends on what they mean by “expressed bitterness”. If I’d won the lottery and retired, I’d not be over the moon to have to come back again. Nothing against the company, but I’d just prefer the circumstances weren’t the way that they were.

        Reply
        1. caryatis

          Yeah, a lot of people, lottery winners or not, have some bitterness over having to work (just look at this thread). Doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad employees.

          Reply
      4. Roscoe

        To me it depends on what “publicly expressed bitterness” really means. Were they just lamenting it on facebook, or were they telling anyone who would listen. I could see having a bit of a pity party on facebook, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t work hard at their job

        Reply
      5. Mike C.

        So what? I’d be bitter if my financial foundation suddenly disappeared as well. So would a whole lot of people.

        So long as they don’t express it at work, I don’t see the issue.

        Reply
        1. Lablizard

          But how would you feel managing more than one person who was bitter about their financial situation and had to return to work at entry level after walking out without notice. Personally, I could manage one person like that, but not more than one.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            So long as they were professional at work I wouldn’t care. Lots of people are unhappy about their financial situations yet somehow manage holding down a job in a productive an professional manner just fine.

            Reply
        2. Retail HR Guy

          Exactly. I’m bitter about having to work now, without ever having played the lottery. Why couldn’t I have been born rich?

          Reply
        3. Persephone Mulberry

          Frankly, I don’t think these people have anything to be bitter about. Their financial foundation didn’t “suddenly disappear.” It’s not like someone stole their winnings. They did it to themselves, apparently over a period of several years.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            Yeah, I think that’s a legitimate point. I suspect we might be looking at shame and regret converted to bitterness.

            Reply
      6. Artemesia

        I would think six times about rehiring people who have left en mass. One person who left for reasons like raising kids or helping parents or because their spouse was moving out of state I would re-hire if they were a great choice. But generally it is not good policy to hire back people who leave. Given that Mary is reluctant to manage people who were her superiors when they left, I’d let Mary make the decision. Hiring several back seems like a recipe for disaster. And having already expressed bitterness — well that sounds like a future delight for all in the workplace. They seem to feel entitled to move right back in; why is that in the interests of the company?

        Reply
        1. tigerStripes

          I know a number of people who have left a company on good terms and were later able to come back and did well. Then again, they didn’t do it a a group.

          Reply
      7. Sadsack

        Also, OP and company need to evaluate if they’d hire these people for the specific entry level positions that they have to fill, regardless of the individuals’ need for jobs.

        Reply
    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Very much agreed. I imagine there are also some coworkers who won, aren’t broke, but are extremely bored—some folks feel like their life lacks purpose if they aren’t working.

      I would do the same due diligence you do for any other hire, including asking specific questions about their interest/reasons for returning and/or applying to a job for which they are overqualified (there’s a post on overqualified candidates from last week).

      Reply
      1. Chinook

        “I imagine there are also some coworkers who won, aren’t broke, but are extremely bored—some folks feel like their life lacks purpose if they aren’t working.”

        And I could see these people being happy with an entry level job because a) they don’t need the money and b)they may want to work without the responsibility and time demands that come with the higher paying jobs.

        Sometimes, the best job, when you don’t have to worry about bulls, are the ones where just have to show up, work, and leave.

        Reply
        1. Blair Waldorf

          I agree with this.

          My best friend’s cousin married a very wealthy man (as in, “inherited an 8 figure sum and an impressive property portfolio on his 25th birthday” wealthy) who told her he was a student when they first met (not a lie, he just omitted the part where he was inheriting a fortune).

          She doesn’t need to work in the sense she needs the money.

          But she has a part time volunteer job that is ‘below’ her skill level with a charity she feels connected to for a personal reason. She works because she gets bored when she isn’t doing something productive (like work or study) and when she is bored, she gets depressed and unhappy and craves a sense of direction. She works a job that is “beneath” her education level because since the money is no issue for her, she doesn’t see the sense in being stressed out by responsibility and taking on a demanding position she wouldn’t enjoy. She works for the sense of purpose and to keep herself from falling into the ‘depressed because I’m bored’ cycle she has admitted she is prone to.

          Reply
      2. Helen

        OP said in a comment that all of the winners lost everything. OP doesn’t clarify how many people want to come back to the company but did say it wasn’t all of the winners (some are working other minimum wage jobs, and there was the overdose and the person in prison)

        Reply
    5. Myrin

      I mean, I agree with the sentiment in principle, however, there are two factors in this situation that make me think a bit differently:

      1. Mary knows these people. Now granted, this was “several years ago” and people can and do change, especially if some pretty fundamental stuff happened in their lives. It’s also possible as the youngest and most junior person to view those around you through a lens that isn’t 100% accurate. But still, she likely has a good inkling of those people’s personalities and feeling so strongly that they’d be bitter – which is something I honestly wouldn’t ever think about in such a situation; if anything, I’d think they’d assume that I’m bitter for not having played all those years ago – might well be based on something very concrete.

      2. “A few of Mary’s old team have publicly expressed bitterness and regret about spending all the money and needing to work again.” Granted, “a few” is not “all of them” by any means, but I don’t see why one shouldn’t expect regret and bitterness of someone who has already expressed… well, regret and bitterness.

      I don’t really think all of this changes the advice, though. Interview them like normal and you’ll find out soon enough if your fears are unfounded or not and whether these people are even still qualified to work there.

      Reply
      1. JMegan

        Also, 3. The fact that there are several people who want to come back all at once. It’s not clear how many, but the OP says “some” and “all” which suggests to me that we’re talking about at least 3-4 people here. That feels weird to me. I can understand if one person wanted to come back, but I’d be wary of a *whole group* of people who seem to have been hanging out together for several years and who all want to go back to the same jobs they had before. This doesn’t suggest to me that they are a group who is highly flexible and adaptable to change (see also: their response to the lottery winnings in the first place. No judgement there, but it doesn’t seem to me that they made a plan or put a lot of thought into what they were going to do with the money.)

        I also agree with the specific advice to interview them as usual and see what happens. But I’d be asking some pretty serious questions about their ability to adapt to the current situation, as well as their long-term and critical thinking skills.

        Reply
        1. The Southern Gothic

          “The fact that there are several people who want to come back all at once.”
          This brings up good point: Maybe these people feel entitled to have their old jobs back, regardless of how they feel about working again. Its not the OP’s problem that these people burned through their winnings, now need a job and think their former employer will just take them back. What if the employer hired replacements with the understanding that the winners would NOT be back ? What then, would these “winners” do for jobs?
          I predict that hiring even ONE of these people back will result in all of them expecting to be welcomed back.
          This is the exact wrong reason to hire even one of them, especially given the bitterness on the way out.

          Reply
    6. Annonymouse

      But have they kept themselves up to date and employable?

      I know with the economy many people aren’t working or not working in their chosen field or position but I bet they do stuff in their spare time to either gain new skills or keep existing ones.

      I.e working part time, volunteering or doing online courses.

      These things build skills or experience and make someone a more desirable candidate.

      Just because they used to do the job is no guarantee they can do it now – especially if it’s been years since they’ve done it and they haven’t done any work to keep their skills.

      Reply
      1. Purest Green

        Yes, exactly this. I agree with Mike C’s points, but I’d also be concerned about how a couple years of (assumed) leisure might affect their productivity and work ethic. It’s at least something to ask about in an interview.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          How would you even ask that? Why would someone’s work ethic suddenly disappear just because they haven’t been employed? Maybe they were doing charity work, or busy building a wooden boat. These are the sorts of things we should strive to avoid without concrete evidence.

          Reply
          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            It’s not uncommon to wonder how someone will adjust to full-time work after not having worked for years.

            You can’t hire without making some assumptions or at least factoring in concerns. Hiring managers aren’t required only to act on things they know with 100% certainty. They’re making the best decision they can with limited information, and as part of that, most people will make the best guesses they can. Those guesses won’t always be right. Sometimes they’re in the candidate’s favor and sometimes not.

            Reply
      2. Mike C.

        Right, but that’s why I’m saying to treat them like normal candidates. If they have the skills and qualifications then great if not then move on. I’m only objecting to these “gut feelings” and the conclusions being sourced from them.

        Reply
        1. I'm Not Phyllis

          I agree that they should be treated like normal candidates. They quit – they didn’t take a term leave of absence – so they don’t just get to decide to come back when it didn’t work out the way they had hoped. I would treat them as fairly as you would any other candidate (ie. take their behaviour at face value, but don’t allow what you’ve heard about them expressing bitterness come into play), but not give them preferential treatment because they’ve been employed there before (which already gives them a leg up, let’s face it). If they’re the best qualified people, and also don’t openly display any of the bitterness you’ve mentioned, then they should be hired. And if not, you should hire the best person(s) for the roles.

          Reply
          1. AD

            Agreed completely with (Not) Phyllis. They aren’t normal candidates – they walked out of the job en masse and now want to apply for entry-level jobs at the same company. What organization wouldn’t factor these into the hiring decisions?

            Reply
      3. Retail HR Guy

        Eh. Even if they forgot everything, if they learned to do the job once they can learn to do it again. OP said that they’d be starting at entry level.

        Reply
          1. Annonymouse

            Gah! Phone reception!
            If I have a choice of someone who used to do the job, hasn’t done it in a long time and needs training VS someone who can step right in with minimal training I’m going to pick the later.

            Reply
    7. zora

      I got the feeling this came from Mary’s experiences with them before they all left, that they didn’t have a great relationship with her to begin with. I agree with trying to keep an open mind, but I don’t think Mary should entirely throw her past experience with these people out the window, if they were difficult to work with in the first place, that should be taken into account here, as one part of the equation.

      Reply
    8. Ted Mosby

      You’re irrationally assuming she’s making an assumption. She worked with these people. It’s pretty safe to say she knows them better than we do and has a pretty good idea of how they might behave. OP wrote for advice on how to handle a situation. I wouldn’t expect her to feel the need to justify all of her opinions on her former coworkers, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion they were unjustified either. Just my .02c

      Reply
  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#4, I’m really puzzled—what specifically worries you about working for someone who has less (managerial?) experience than you do? That is, what makes it “a recipe for trouble” or a red flag?

    Reply
    1. Jeanne

      I thought it was less experience at the job, not the managing. It’s not completely clear. I think OP is trying to say she will be reporting to a boss who knows less than she does about how to perform the job she is interviewing for and is that a bad thing. (I could be wrong.)

      I think that’s actually pretty common. If you want the job, I don’t think this is a huge red flag. It would be worse in some industries than others. If you believe it is truly important that your boss knows more, you should decline the job.

      Reply
    2. NoMoreMrFixit

      I don’t expect my manager to know more about what I do. Rather, I expect them to know how to manage me. Most of my previous career was spent under managers much younger than me and it was never an issue. They had enough experience to know what my job was and the need/challenges therein so I got their support as needed but having more experience was actually expected as I was in a senior technical role. Best manager I ever had was young enough to be my son. Worst I had was a couple years older than me. The age gap doesn’t matter.

      Reply
      1. seejay

        Yep, I had a manager who was only slightly older at the same time we hired a senior software developer. When the sr engineer discovered that the engineering manager didn’t have *gasp* a degree in engineering, which the sr engineer did, he got a bug up his butt about how he knew more, should be the manager, not the other guy, and basically turned it into “well, wonder if I’ll get fired this week” game of chicken where he did the bare minimum of work, if that. Turns out our manager might not have a degree in software engineering, but he *does* have a pile of certifications so he’s actually competent and he’s a whiz at dealing with people, something the sr engineer sucked at.

        For the record, the sr engineer lost the game of chicken and did eventually get fired for being bad at his job.

        Reply
      2. Feathers McGraw

        This. My manager has four years’ less experience than me but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that she’s a good manager.

        Reply
      3. Mookie

        Exactly. Management is it own specialty. The OP is unlikely to be her potential new manager’s “peer” with respect to their individual strengths and experiences, irrespective of their similar ages.

        Reply
    3. Blossom

      I get it, actually. I had a manager a little younger than me, and with narrower experience (a very specific area, all at the same company). It was a time in my career when I was really hoping to stretch myself and grow. I found it hard working under someone who didn’t know much about the industry and wasn’t particularly engaged with it, especially in a somewhat dysfunctional company which had taught them fairly odd norms. The job was frustrating for several reasons and ultimately I left.

      Reply
      1. Blossom

        Just thought of another manager I had who had a bit more experience than me, but not a lot. Both managers were also a little insecure, and still finding their feet. Funny, I hadn’t considered them together before. It must come from working in an industry/line of work where career progression can be almost too fast. I have been happier working for managers who have been around a while, know their stuff and their own mind; I’ve generally found them to be more relaxed, more “solid”.

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Yeah, I would say that working for someone who’s new to managing is a legitimate concern. It takes a while for people to become good managers, and almost no one is good at it right off the bat.

          Reply
          1. OP #4

            Hi everybody, OP nr 4 here.
            Thank you all for your comments, maybe it’s useful if I clarify what I meant.
            As far as I understood, the person I would be reporting to is doing exactly my same job (me in my old company, they in the company where I would be working) but at a slightly more junior level than me. Then biggest difference is that the company where they work – and I would move to – is much bigger than my current one.
            Also, I would be the first report ever of this person, they never managed anyone yet.

            Reply
            1. Blossom

              Ok, so it sounds like you’d be working at a more junior level than you are now? How do you feel about that? Does moving to a big company appeal to you?
              Personally, I’d be wary, having made exactly that kind of move before. It might seem like a big company has more opportunity, but you will be effectively “behind” your manager, who is probably not looking to be moving any time soon. I also found that the big company I moved to was great at writing fancy job descriptions and marketing themselves to candidates, but not so great in reality. However, that’s just one experience and I don’t want to be too down on your situation; it may be totally different.

              Reply
              1. OP #4

                Thanks Blossom,
                well, according to the vacancy description and to what they explained to me no, I won’t be in a more junior position. Yet, the person who would manage me is not much senior to me, hence my confusion!
                Regarding to the dimensions of the company, well I imagine it’s going to be different, probably having less freedom and autonomy than now. I picture a big company much more structured and with more paperwork.
                Anyhow, even though the job description is very interesting, the thing that I find more appealing is the location. I am currently living abroad – in another European country – and this job would be in my own country.

                Reply
                1. Jessesgirl72

                  A bigger company having more structure and less paperwork isn’t necessarily true. My husband left his medium size company for a large Fortune 500 international behemoth of a company, to find less paperwork (not always a good thing, when we’re talking about documentation!) and no clear structure of who reports to whom- in some ways, they have to manage each other, only without any authority or power.

            2. AthenaC

              If you’ve met / get to meet this person through the hiring process, that will tell you a lot. A person in her position who is very rigid, rank-conscious, structure-conscious – I could see that presenting some problems. But that’s a function of the personality, not inherently the situation.

              A good manager would seek to leverage your experience wherever possible and mention your contributions. In some cases this might mean, “OP#4 actually has more experience in this area than I do, and she advised X.” Or “I took the liberty of asking OP#4 about their experience with this type of project and she said to watch out for L, M, and N common pitfalls.”

              If it helps to reframe, the one area where your potential maanger has more experience than you is with the general workings of the company you’re applying to; that’s not worthless knowledge.

              Good luck and hope you land a great position!

              Reply
              1. OP #4

                Thank you Athena!
                It makes sense… Also, during all my past interaction with this person – when I had no idea she could become my manager one day – she seemed always very nice and likable.

                Reply
              2. Michele

                I agree. I supervise someone who has more experience than me and is about 10 years older. She also had a reputation of being someone who was difficult to supervise. It turns out that we work really well together because I respect her judgment, which makes her a lot less defensive. She also knows that I will stick up for her, and that has made her more likely to stick her neck out and help other people.

                Reply
            3. Anon 2

              I think I would be more concerned about the fact that you would be this person’s first direct report. I would want to know why their boss thought they would be a good manager. What skills do they see? That might help alleviate concerns or amplify them depending on the answer.

              Reply
              1. EddieSherbert

                Agreed – I don’t know a good way to ask “why do you think this person would be a good manager?” but that would be a good conversation to have.

                My current manager is a first time manager and it took us about a year to find our stride – there were issues with my work that manager wasn’t addressing (“letting things slide” in her own words)… which meant I didn’t know anything was wrong and continued doing those things.

                Taking notes during meetings and updating our brand book has been good too – we’ve had a couple scenarios where manager’s directions contradicted previous directions (think marketing templates – logos, video intros, things that are supposed to be consistent), and I was able to point out those situations.

                Luckily, my manager IS a good manager, so she takes the feedback really well and we have a good relationship – she’s just inexperienced.

                Reply
            4. Lora

              Oh yikes. I mean, do what you think is best, but I personally have a Thing about working for new managers who never managed before (as in, I refuse to). You end up being someone’s guinea pig while they learn what works. The vast majority never take any classes about managing people and reckon that having done the job means they can manage the job, which, as Alison says, ain’t necessarily so. I’ve never had a good new manager, and I try not to work for anyone who hasn’t managed for at least 10 years before if I can possibly help it. That doesn’t necessarily mean younger than me, I’ve had managers on the verge of retirement who went into management for the last couple of years and they sucked, too.

              Currently dealing w/ the fallout from one of my colleagues making all the traditional New Manager mistakes. It’s not fun. If the person goes into management with the attitude that it is a steep learning curve and they are a lifelong learner who makes an effort to seek out guidance and information, then they will be OK. Not awesome, but OK, and the other managers won’t be annoyed. It’s best if they practice on interns and temps first, because temps will just ask their agency for a different assignment if the manager is horrible – more immediate feedback that they aren’t doing well.

              Reply
            5. MoinMoin

              I get how that can be a concern, then, but it could also be a bonus. It seems pretty reasonable to come into the conversation collaboratively asking how he plans to manage situations and the managing styles you’ve found most effective for yourself. Without sounding too Machiavellian, you might have a real opportunity to shape someone’s management style in a way that’s really effective for you as well as him.
              My current boss said she was new to leadership when I started on the team and we’re both pretty forward and accepting of criticism, so it’s been nice to be able to point things out without fear of retribution or throwing my hands up that that’s just how she is. I may just be lucky in this respect, though.

              Reply
    4. Nervous Accountant

      Maybe it’s industry specific–I cant’ fathom working for someone who knows *less* about taxes and accounting than I do (but then I consider myself to not be as knowledgeable) BUT, I’m not considering that more years and proper background/degrees comes in to play here. If I’m working for someone or reporting to someone, I want to make sure they know more than I do, I don’t care how they know or how long (or short) it took them to know it. And I think that’s exactly how it is in my team/my company, my bosses are more knowledgeable about the work itself even if that’s not what they’re doing most of the day.

      Reply
      1. AthenaC

        This type of thing comes up all the time for me – just with the nature of auditing, different people have experience with different things. I don’t see a situation where a partner needs to ask a staff’s advice, but I have been in the position where, as a senior associate, a partner asked me for advice. What’s more common, though, is for managers / senior associates / senior managers to ask each other for input, within that mix of seniority.

        Reply
    5. Artemesia

      Exactly. Some people as the old saw goes, have 25 years experience, others have one year’s experience 25 times. Plenty of people are more effective after 3 or 4 years on the job than others after 20. Experience is only important when it translates into competence and after a few years, the number of years is less and less important in gauging that.

      Reply
  3. Emmie

    3: I am so very sorry about your dad. Be gentle on yourself. You are grieving and settling an estate (a monumental task.). I second the advice to discuss this with your boss. Work may eventually become a much needed and welcome distraction.

    Reply
    1. Bibliovore

      I am so sorry about your dad. I was your age when my dad died. It sucks but everything you feel is normal/typical. It will be this way for a while. So get as much professional help as possible. See you can flex time work to take care of estate affairs. One day at a time.

      Reply
    2. Siberian

      I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost my father at 31. It was my first major loss. I was fortunate enough that I was a writer for a hospice at the time and coincidentally was working on an article on grief in the workplace. It was a big aha moment for me. I had all the symptoms, including things like difficulty concentrating that I didn’t realize were grief related. It was very helpful and I encourage you to do a little reading on the subject if you haven’t already. Also while preparing the article I read a lot of anecdotes about coworkers who really didn’t understand grief and loss and have seen some of that myself over time. Managers who expected workers to return to duty the afternoon of the funeral, etc. I’m glad your work has been supportive but it’s also good to be aware that some people won’t get it, and maybe be ready to reply or at least not be blindsided. My heart goes out to you, I know you’re going through so much right now.

      Reply
    3. Spelliste

      Seconding the above. Take good care of yourself, too. Pay attention to what may help you get through (the week, the day, the moment), and where possible avoid things that drain you. I lost my beloved dad a year ago, and fell too hard on the “soldier through” side, which really made it harder to cope. Grief counseling is a great choice.

      Wishing you happy memories and the easing of your pain.

      Reply
    4. Garrett

      My condolences too. Does your company have an EAP you can take advantage of? Talking to someone may help, especially a third party. It won’t magically cure anything, but it may help you deal with the issues you are having more productively.

      Reply
    5. Manders

      OP #3, I’m also so sorry about your dad. I’m in a similar-ish position with a parent who’s not dead yet but is dying of a really awful incurable disease, and the difficulty concentrating thing is real and it sucks. I hate feeling foggy and dumb, especially when I’m navigating something complicated like figuring out which therapists are covered under my insurance.

      Do you have a partner or a close friend in town? I’ve found it really useful to have loved ones who remind me to take breaks and take care of myself.

      Reply
    6. Juniper Green

      OP3, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad to hear you’re seeing a grief counselor – go easy on yourself, and try to do something nice for yourself too, you’re going through a lot.

      Reply
    7. On Fire

      OP#3, I echo these comments. I lost my dad a few months ago, and although I wasn’t alone in handling the business aspects like you are, I know it’s difficult. I’m so glad your job is being understanding – embrace that and lean on it.

      I have one specific colleague/friend who has been especially supportive – checking on me, occasionally sending a “hang in there/praying for you” text (this is appropriate in our relationship) – and that has been a huge help. If you have someone similar (work or personal) that you can lean on/vent to, especially during the early times, please do it.

      And give yourself time. I’m still in a bit of a fog, and if I could redo the first few months, I might have taken a few more personal days. You have to find what is the best balance FOR YOU, of time to grieve vs. distracting yourself through work.

      Best wishes and gentle mind-hugs as needed and wanted.

      Reply
    8. Julie

      OP #3 –
      So sorry for your loss. Grief is really hard – and it takes a long time. The other responses contain a lot of wisdom. Especially taking things one day at a time. I would add two more. First, be sure you are eating healthy – or even at all. Second, once all things that need to be done are done (this may take several months), seek out a therapist. When I lost my brother, I threw myself into work – and my mental health suffered. I experienced severe anxiety, but couldn’t see the connection to grief. While I have excellent friends, I wish someone had counseled me to have a mental-health professional supporting me to see these warning signs and develop constructive ways of processing. Like others have said, one day at a time.

      Reply
    9. TamiToo

      #3 My condolences. I lost my mother a couple of years ago. Everyone handles grief differently. It is wonderful that you are seeing a grief counselor. Feel free to also speak to you physician if you may be experiencing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. My father is a nurse. When I described some of the things I was experiencing, because I couldn’t made sense of how I was reacting to things, he looked at me and said, “that’s called anxiety, honey. It’s normal, and you should talk to your doctor.” Take advantage of resources around you, friends family, counselors, doctors, etc. People are more understanding and supportive than you think.

      One thing that surprised me is that grief is not linear. I thought, Ok, I completed this phase and now onto the next. You will bounce between difference phases of grief. That’s normal. You will make it through. It’s hard some days. It’s easier other days. Just remember that grief is a process, and you will make it through.

      Reply
  4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#5, definitely take Alison’s advice to heart. It’s common, now, for employers to Google you or check out your online presence, and looking at your profile doesn’t indicate interest or a lack of interest in your candidacy (especially if your resume is near identical to your profile—this can be different if your profile is wildly out there). Don’t torture yourself about it or read too closely!

    Reply
    1. Jeanne

      Am I the only one who doesn’t like that part of Linkedin? It’s not a good function to be notified every time someone glances at your profile. Maybe they’re trying to figure out if you’re the John Smith they knew 5 years ago and you’re not. You’re left wondering who Don Jones was and why he looked at your profile.

      Reply
      1. Sherm

        I don’t like it, either. I find it awkward and embarrassing. My settings are such that no one can tell that I looked at their profile, but the trade-off is that I can’t tell who looked at me. Fine by me.

        Reply
        1. Anna Pigeon

          +1 I find it incredibly creepy to have notifications zinging around as a result of looking at publicly available information.

          I recall FB instituted something like this quite a few years back, and had to roll it back almost immediately because people hated it.

          Reply
        2. EddieSherbert

          Oh, that’s good to know that you can set that… I purposefully don’t really look at people’s profiles (because I don’t want them getting notifications…).

          (PS I’m not a manager or involved in hiring at all! Haha)

          Reply
    2. Kate, short for Bob

      But speaking as a former recruiter, things which I kept seeing in photos which were an instant ‘no’:

      – glamour style shots
      – cats

      Why?

      Reply
          1. the gold digger

            There is a cat in mine but I have her head cropped out. Her white, black, gray, and brown fur (Siamese-tabby mix) blends into the background. If you know it’s a cat, you can see —

            WHOA! LinkedIn just updated their format! And my photo is now so closely cropped that you cannot in any way tell it’s a cat on my shoulder.

            Anyhow – the only reason I used that photo is because I hate having my photo taken and I didn’t have anything else. (I had that one only because Primo and I had a professional photographer come to our house to take some portraits for me to give to my mom in exchange for her promise to stop wanting to take my photo – me, unshowered for two days, still in PJs, etc – on the morning she leaves our house after her annual visit.)

            Reply
            1. Elizabeth West

              Thanks to a crop, no one can tell my pic was taken at my salon, after a beauty day, and I’m wearing not business clothes but a Doctor Who t-shirt with a glow-in-the-dark TARDIS on it. :)

              Reply
        1. Lily in NYC

          You don’t think it’s unprofessional to have a cat photo on linkedin? The glamour shot is more iffy but it would be a dealbreaker for me as well.

          Reply
          1. Artemesia

            I’d take a cat over a glamour shot any day. That would be an automatic no. Perhaps we don’t have the same definition of glamour shot.

            Reply
            1. Lily in NYC

              Oh, I think they are both awful! By iffy, I meant that I know photos on resumes are more common in europe so it might not be as odd as having a cat as a profile.

              Reply
        2. Kate, short for Bob

          Sorry, late back to this. Working in very corporate IT, so we needed people we could put in front of customers. If you can’t put on a suit jacket – or just a plain shirt – for a business networking site, that speaks to a lack of thought in my mind.

          And that goes for cuddling your fur baby too.

          I also got very tired of seeing fishing photos…

          Reply
        1. Michele

          If I see significant discrepancies between the LinkedIn profile and the resume, I assume they are trying to hide something. Also, if someone has too much personal information, I assume they are going to have boundary problems. Post your church activities and hobbies on Facebook or Instagram, not LinkedIn.

          Reply
          1. SometimesALurker

            How do you feel about church activities that have a bearing on one’s job interests, such as Finance Committee for a person looking for mid-level jobs in nonprofits? Church finances and nonprofit finances aren’t identical, but they’re similar.

            Reply
            1. Malibu Stacey

              I think in there are examples that make sense, but for me (not a hiring mgr anyway) I know that some religions/houses of worship make volunteering mandatory or practically mandatory so chaperoning the youth group camping trip for 2 years wouldn’t get as much weight with me as being on the PTA at your kid’s school.

              Reply
            2. hbc

              I think scope and relevance matter most here. I might put in that I coach a travel soccer team, but would never include that I’m the equipment mom, and certainly not that I just watch my kid play. Similarly, if you’re in a real leadership position at your church related to work you might do, go for it, but no one needs to know you regularly hand out bulletins or something.

              Reply
            3. Michele

              For me, it comes down to relevance and whether or not I think I might have to meet with HR because someone doesn’t understand boundaries. For example, if you have volunteered as your church’s treasurer while going to school for accounting and you are applying for an accounting position, that should be included. Or if you have done fundraising and are applying for a position with a nonprofit where you might have to fundraise, that should be included.

              However, if you are doing some 1950s-style value signaling that you are a fine, upstanding Christian, that is a red flag. I have had people come into my office complaining that someone is harassing them because the don’t go to church or told her that she was going to hell because she wasn’t submissive to her husband. I don’t want to deal with that, and neither does anyone else that I work with. It boils down to relevance and boundaries.

              Reply
          2. mousie housie

            So are you opposed to people putting any volunteer activities on their LinkedIn, or just religious ones with which you do not personally identify?

            Given that there’s specifically a section for this, it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Of course, there’s a difference between “Food Drive Coordinator – x Church – years of service” vs “Holy Sacred Goddess of LadidaLand” but community leadership is certainly something I’d want to know about in a candidate, and church activities can absolutely demonstrate these qualities.

            I do agree with you that hobbies are not particularly relevant.

            Reply
            1. Michele

              I work in a lab, so I really can’t think of any religious activities that would be relevant to the jobs I hire for. If you are on a committee that is relevant to a job, say you have been volunteering as your church’s treasurer while going to school for accounting and you are looking for an accounting job, that is relevant. Or if you have done fundraising work and are looking for a job with a non-profit, that would be relevant. However, if you are just telling me what a good, wholesome Christian you are, I will be concerned that one of the many non-Christians that I work with is going to come into my office and complain that you are harassing them to go to church or something similar (which has happened on more than one occasion).

              Reply
              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                I find this really confusing, because I like knowing that employees have lives or interests outside of their job. The skills they use in their volunteer-life don’t have to translate to their job-life for it to be interesting and relevant. I’d also be wary of assuming someone involved in their church is automatically going to try to proselytize. I guess maybe this is an industry thing.

                Reply
            2. Temperance

              FWIW, I would probably want to see that they did other activities, too, but this is probably my bias because I sometimes feel like half my job is telling people that volunteering with their church is *not* pro bono and they can’t bill their time for it.

              Reply
          3. Temperance

            I’ve seen a lot of resumes lately that have hobbies listed on them. I don’t really understand it, but I have a resume version with my “normal” hobbies (fan of Chelsea / member of the American Outlaws / craft beer) just in case it comes up. I’ve noticed that having traditionally male-oriented hobbies can be an “in” with male interviewers.

            Reply
          4. Michele

            It is a matter of relevance and being wary of someone who might result in a meeting with HR because they don’t understand boundaries. I only hire people for scientific positions, so I can’t think of how a religious activity would be relevant, but in some situations it would. For example, if you are the treasurer for your church while going to school for accounting and are looking for an accounting job, that is relevant. Or if you do fundraising for an organization and are applying for a position with a nonprofit where you might need to fundraise, that is relevant. If you went to a Catholic university, by all means put that on your resume/LinkedIn (I guess that one is relevant to the people I interview).

            However, if you are just doing some 1950s-style value signaling that you are a fine, upstanding Christian, that is a red flag. That makes me concerned that someone is going to come into my office complaining that you are harassing them about being atheist, or telling her that she is going to hell for not being submissive to her husband, both of which are things that have happened because people couldn’t separate work from their beliefs.

            Reply
            1. Michele

              OK. I don’t know what happened. My initial comment kept getting lost in cyberspace without any indication that it might ever be posted. I tried reposting a couple of times, and apparently everything came through at one. My apologies, and if I could delete the repeats, I would.

              Reply
            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              I find this approach really concerning and somewhat offensive—and frankly, it could get you sued if it became clear that you were consistently ruling out Christian applicants for listing their volunteer activities on their LinkedIn profile. It’s a huge jump to assume that listing your volunteer activities, including activities that are not inherently relevant to your profession, means you have problems with professional boundaries.

              Reply
              1. Michele

                It has nothing to do with whether or not they are Christian. It is about if I think they are going to try to impose their religion on their coworkers or if they understand boundaries. What religion someone is does not matter (we are not Hobby Lobby). As an manager, it is none of my business what religion someone is, so people need to stop making a point of telling me, especially when they are applying for a job. It is unprofessional. I can see something like a list of volunteer activities being OK, but what church you belong to is irrelevant to most job searches.

                Reply
                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  That’s not what you said, though. You said if they indicated they volunteered for their church on their LinkedIn page that you would assume they did not have professional boundaries and would attempt to prosletyze or otherwise condescend to their coworkers. You did not note similar concerns with folks from other religious backgrounds (or atheists) who may volunteer with an organization related to their belief system.

                  That’s an enormous logical leap that isn’t rationally related to or supported by the behavior you’ve identified as problematic (listing where you volunteer even when that volunteerism isn’t related to a specific job posting). What you view as unprofessional is not seen as unprofessional by many employers, which indicates that you may have adopted a standard that’s not widely shared or agreed upon, which also means that you may be dinging candidates who are behaving within the normal boundaries of behavior. And if you’re cutting someone’s application because they’ve said they volunteer with a religious entity, then you’re opening yourself and your employer up to liability because you’re making a decision based on your perception of their religiosity.

          5. JobSeeker017

            Michele:

            Wow, you are making an awful lot of assumptions based on a single social media profile!

            Just curious, how many people have you declined to interview or move further along in the hiring process because of their respective LinkedIn profiles?

            Reply
            1. Michele

              I do base it off a single media profile. I don’t look at Facebook or anything else because I consider that to be personal. I know people who are a lot more judgmental than I am. I used to have a boss that would discard any resume that had hobbies listed because he thought the resume was unprofessional, for example.
              There haven’t been too many people whose LinkedIn accounts have chased me away, but I would guess that I get between 200-300 resumes for every position that I have hired someone for, so I look for reasons to weed people out. The vast majority of resumes are simply unqualified or unprofessional. I pick about half a dozen for phone interviews. Only if I consider someone for a phone interview do I bother to look at LinkedIn.

              Reply
    3. Czhorat

      The only thing you I might want to check is to make sure that the LinkedIn profile matches with your resume; if you filled out one a bit carelessly or aren’t up to date it might raise an eyebrow. Probably no more than that, as LinkedIn isn’t really a legal document, but you don’t really want to raise eyebrows.

      That said, I don’ t think I’ve gotten past the “send a resume” phase and not seen that someone looked at my profile.

      Reply
      1. JobSeeker017

        Czhorat:

        I don’t know that a job applicant has an obligation to keep his/her LinkedIn profile in lockstep with the resume submitted for a specific job.

        I have several versions of my resume, and my LinkedIn profile only covers the basics. I don’t have a great deal of details because it’s honestly not terribly relevant to most of my contacts.

        LinkedIn is not a substitute for an achievement-centered resume. It’s a social media profile designed to promote professional connections.

        Reply
        1. Michele

          It doesn’t have to be lock-step (and you should tailor your resume for each job you apply for), but major discrepancies are a red flag.

          Reply
          1. Czhorat

            Yes, that’s what I meant.

            If you said you worked at Teapots Unlimited for four years as a Senior Teapot Consultant and your resume says two years as a Junior Tempest Containment Specialist it might at least raise an eyebrow.

            Reply
            1. Michele

              Yep. I can remember one where LinkedIn said the person’s title was department director, but the resume said it was something much more junior. A different emphasis on duties is completely understandable. Lying about a title (by several steps) is not.

              Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        This is how I use it, too—to compare major resume discrepancies (i.e., not dinging someone for being outdated, but rather, noticing if the dates are way off or their title/job description doesn’t seem to match).

        But I think there’s another flag I have now seen for the first time on LinkedIn. A friend has started writing articles that she publishes on LinkedIn (apparently Facebook blocked her account for abusive postings, so now she’s posting her essay-length rants on LinkedIn, instead?), and based on those articles I would never hire her. Her articles overwhelmingly demonstrate a lack of professionalism and a lack of understanding of reasonable, work-related content. So I guess in rare cases, LinkedIn could also give you a sense of what someone thinks is appropriate professional communications/statements.

        Reply
    4. BPT

      The only thing I’d suggest is that if they were looking at your LinkedIn, they might have been just doing a Google search of you in general. I’d just make sure that all of your public information (Facebook profile, etc) is something you’d be ok with employers seeing. It’s probably all fine and probably doesn’t mean anything at all that you got a rejection after they looked at your LinkedIn, but it’s good to check this occasionally anyway.

      Reply
        1. Lablizard

          Unless you share a name with someone with a bigger web presence. My name is the same as a pretty prolific musical arranger for film and TV. Unless you include my degree, I am on page 200 something if you search by name.

          Reply
  5. Purple Dragon

    # 3 – I’m so sorry about your Dad.
    I know it’s not the same as depression but when I was going through big-life-stuff like you are I found some of the tips from this Captain Awkward blog very helpful (https://captainawkward.com/2013/02/16/450-how-to-tighten-up-your-game-at-work-when-youre-depressed/)

    Maybe there’s something in there that could help you too. I’m glad you’re seeing a grief counselor, they can be really helpful. I really hope things improve for you soon. Jedi hugs if you want them.

    Reply
    1. Marillenbaum

      Seconding this advice. Honestly, that particular column saved my bacon when I was struggling with serious depression at work and I couldn’t afford to let my bosses know (they were…not nice people). Good luck, LW, and be gentle with yourself.

      Reply
  6. Karenina

    #3: I am so sorry that you lost your father. I’m glad you sound like you have a pretty supportive workplace, especially since you’re handling so much of this on your own.

    If you hadn’t said in your letter that you were already seeing a grief counselor, that is exactly what I’d suggest, and I think you should be proud of yourself for making that decision.

    I agree with Allison about talking to your boss. It doesn’t have to be in depth, but they will probably feel more at ease knowing what to expect (and what they shouldn’t expect) from you for a while.

    Give yourself lots of brief breaks throughout the day, preferably outside of your office (walks are great if they’re a reasonable and safe option). Feeling fragile or sensitive right now is completely warranted. You might need a little space away from your work and your coworkers to recalibrate before trying to deal with the things that are stressing you out and upsetting you.

    One thing I got from my own therapy: when you start to get overwhelmed, what is one thing you can hang onto until you can get out of that upsetting moment? Sometimes it’s as small as “I’m going to make brownies tonight, I like baking, I’m really looking forward to those brownies” and sometimes it’s something profound, like remembering: “I am a person outside of my job. This is not the most important thing in the world. I just lost someone I love and I am allowed to not be at my best.”

    And that really is true.

    Reply
    1. mousie housie

      Amazing advice. Space is a rarity in our always online, open concept workplaces. Physically and mentally escaping can be so restorative.

      Reply
  7. littleandsmall

    Re: #2, I’m wondering if whoever designed their website just put in some filler content intending to go back and fill in the articles, names, etc. with legitimate information at some point and it slipped their mind.

    Reply
    1. FD

      That’s what I’m thinking. The company I work for has a few places with placeholder content that no one ever replaced.

      Reply
    2. Morning Glory

      Yeah, I think this is far more likely than an elaborate reality show setup or practical joke (!). Some tech-illiterate person may not even realize it’s been published, they may think it’s a draft to be updated.

      Reply
    3. Manders

      I can definitely see that happening. I’ve had times when I filled in fake names or jokey details on a template because there had to be some kind of text there but I didn’t have it yet. And it’s pretty easy for someone who’s not tech savvy to accidentally publish a site that shouldn’t be live.

      Did you see any “Lorem ipsum” type text on the site, or obviously fake names like H. Potter and M. Mouse? That’s a clear sign that they accidentally published a draft that shouldn’t be live.

      Reply
    4. Taylor Swift

      This would still be a kind-of-red flag, though. If they’re not with it enough to update their website or to let stuff like this fall through the cracks, then who knows what other problems they have.

      Reply
      1. Manders

        I think this is industry-dependent, though. It would be a giant red flag for me, because I work in SEO. It might not be a big deal in the kind of industry where smallish companies are still at the “We should have a website, let’s get the CEO’s nephew to make something” stage of internet marketing.

        Reply
    5. Juniper Green

      I was wondering if it was placeholder content too… but why not just ask the mutual colleagues to clear it up for you?

      Reply
  8. Drew

    Dear OP3, I’m so very sorry to hear about your dad. Your letter sounds like you’re very lonely, understandably, and I’m glad that you’re reaching out and not letting that consume you.

    Please do talk to your boss about what’s going on. You can also ask her about your EAP (employee assistance program), which is absolutely designed for times such as this when you need some extra support at your job.

    As Alison said, everyone will understand that you aren’t 100% right now, and that would be true even if you had a large family and suffered a loss. In your situation, even more so.

    Please take care of yourself and come back in a few months with an update to let us know how you’re doing. Everyone here is sending you our very best wishes in this difficult time.

    Reply
  9. MinnieMe

    3. I am so sorry for your loss. I am in a similar situation. My father was a single dad and died just after Christmas and we were very close also. I am a year older than you. I am stressed to the max with everything going on and this is after just coming out of a long term traumatic experience which I was recovering from.

    Unfortunately I work for a mental health charity who have not been very supportive (I’ve been there 6 months) I was only allowed 2 days compassionate leave and was forced to take sick leave as I had only 2 days of annual leave left, but that’s for another time. I wish I knew what to say to you but I guess I just wanted to post because I was struck by how similar the cirumstances are. I wish you all the best.

    Reply
      1. MinnieMe

        I had to use both. I would rather have unpaid leave than sick leave because now I have a poor sick record when I have worked there a short amount of time. I also need the annual leave because I am still trying to sort things out and deal with the grief and stress so will need time off. Unpaid leave wasn’t even offered to me however I now know it should’ve been after reading the policy (we have to jump through hoops even just to access the policies – they are not easily or readily available!).

        Reply
  10. Feathers McGraw

    #3 I’m so sorry for your loss.

    “things that would simply irritate or minorly stress me out before feel extra big now, and I generally feel more fragile and sensitive than I have before.”

    This is completely understandable. I don’t have much advice but just wanted to say how sorry I am that you’re going through this.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, that quoted part is so, so normal. Your immunity to anything even a little hard is very low right now, because your energy has all been used up on this big awful thing. So you’re going to feel less equipped to deal with stuff that you might have been able to take in stride before, and that’ll go on for a while. It’s okay and it’s normal!

      Reply
      1. Case of the Mondays

        “Your immunity to anything even a little hard is very low right now, because your energy has all been used up on this big awful thing.”

        This is such a perfect quote and I wish there was more awareness in society of this issue. It doesn’t just have to be grief causing it either. We just get to a point where our bodies have taken all that they can take. I’m not a big fan of the dentist. I usually am very tense during the gum cleansing/tooth scraping waiting for that one zing of pain when they find a sensitive spot. The zing isn’t even that much pain, it’s just the anticipation of it.

        Right before my last dentist appointment I had a lot of negative stuff going on in my life. Our 11 year old dog passed away, I was struggling to conceive and dealing with some hard stuff at work. I just couldn’t handle the stress of the dentist chair and started crying during the exam. I was trying to explain to the hygienist that she wasn’t hurting me but I just had too much on my plate and was just having trouble dealing with the dental cleaning at the moment. I’m sure it sounded crazy at the time but Allison’s explanation is so so so spot on.

        Reply
    2. VioletEMT

      This is so normal, yes. My dad died somewhat suddenly when I was 26. I work in tech everyone was young. Nobody on my team had any clue what it was like to lose anyone other than maybe a grandparent. My manager called me at the hospital before the body was even cold to ask who should be covering my work. I only got four days leave, one of which I had to take unpaid (couldn’t afford to take more). When I got back, I did a lot of staring at the wall and sobbing. Thank god for a NON-open floor plan office; I had a door I could close. I was snippy and irritable and off my game for months. Fortunately I had understanding coworkers and clients. I also asked to be moved to a new manager’s team after my return, which helped.

      I guess what I’m saying is that what you are feeling is completely normal. 100%. We do not allow people to grieve in our society, to our detriment. I don’t mean to startle you, but give it months. It’ll be 10 years for me in November and every once in a while the grief still sneaks up and bites me.

      My recommendations would be to seek counseling and to talk to your boss about this, like Alison says. I second the various recommendations above to make lists and break down tasks into small steps, take lots of breaks and plan rewards for yourself. The Captain Awkward post someone linked has many good tips. If you have to cry in the bathroom, do it. If a coworker looks at you funny, just say that your dad died at Christmas and you still get really sad sometimes. If they don’t understand already, life will teach them soon enough.

      Wishing you peace.

      Reply
  11. Czhorat

    OP #2 – even if it isn’t fake [and that would cross the line into the truly bizarre] an odd and unprofessional web-presence does not say good things about the company. It’s a case in which I’d not rule them out, but it would be – for me – a point against them if I found myself with multiple potential offers to weigh.

    Reply
  12. Joanna

    #3, Sorry to hear of your loss. Such a terrible situation to be in.

    This may or may not suit you depending on how you work, but something I’ve found helpful at work when I’m under emotional strain is to make lists of EVERYTHING I need to do or remember. Putting things in writing frees up limited mental space and helps calm the anxiety that in the midst of the chaos I’m missing something important.

    Reply
  13. Mirax

    Re OP#1, what I got from this

    > “Our department is expanding, and some of Mary’s former team have applied to work here, citing financial issues and the need for an income….There are spots on other teams where they would be qualified to work. The spots on all the teams are entry-level only.”

    is that the open spots on 8all teams including Mary’s* are going to be entry-level ones, so the returning coworkers would be hired on at a lower level than what they left behind. I think it’s valid to be concerned that these coworkers would be resentful about being managed by their former junior colleague in combination with the idea that they are returning to entry-level work. That’s a pretty big reversal, and given that the coworkers have already expressed bitterness about going back to the office, sets up a very tense situation.

    Reply
    1. AcademiaNut

      It’s the combination of things that spells disaster to me. A single employee, who had left on good terms, decided to return, and was working under someone formerly junior to them could work out, on an individual basis. But sounds like the employees have expressed bitterness at what has happened and the need to return to work. They will be starting at an entry level job, a move back from where they were when they left the job. They’re returning to an old employer, and will be working directly under someone who had been junior to them when they left. *And* Mary has been asked to take the whole group under her management. I can’t see any way that will end well.

      If all the positions are entry level, the best thing they could do is to let them interview for the positions in general, and give the managers final say in who they want to hire.

      Reply
      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        Yeah, they will be a cohort of people all experiencing the same setback, so they’ll always have each other to complain to. An individual returning under these circumstances might blend into to the fold more easily, but a group of them may keep themselves stirred up with discontent.

        Reply
      2. Nolan

        The fact that her former manager is pushing to bring the whole team back under Mary seems suspicious to me. Obviously I don’t know these people, but Jon trying to sell the idea of everyone working under Mary, and trying to minimize the legitimate concerns with that just sounds fishy. Sabotaging Mary might sound like an easy way for Jon to get back into management, and having his crew there to help would make it easier.

        I’d definitely treat them the same way I’d treat any other staff who walked out without notice. If they’re eligible for rehire, they can interview like everybody else and maybe get a job on a different team. Maybe.

        Reply
          1. Nolan

            Oh, yep, totally read that wrong. I saw that the previous manager was one of the folks who walked out and somehow confused Jon for that manager.

            Jon (now that I know who he is) actually being okay with this crazy plan is kind of surprising then. No part of this sounds like a good idea!

            Reply
  14. Liane

    I also read it this way.
    And I agree with you that hiring them back to work under Mary is probably not going to work out well. There are the 2 factors you mentioned plus, I don’t see forcing Mary to take on multiple reports that she believes would have problems is going to end well.
    It is the company’s prerogative to decide that they want to hire these people back even if the positions aren’t a good fit though. But it needs to be for other teams.

    Perhaps the OP could take a What If approach in talking further with Jon: Take the lottery out. Suppose the former employees were people Mary had worked with at a previous job? Or they had left OP’s company to work elsewhere and wanted to come back? Would Jon still discount Mary and the OP’s concerns? Would Jon still feel they Had To be given places on Mary’s team or hired at all?

    Reply
  15. OP 1

    Thank-you for answering my letter Alison.

    All of the former employees who won the lottery have lost the winnings. Only a few have applied to work here, a couple are working elsewhere in minimum wage jobs (and as mentioned one died from an overdose and the other is in prison). We only have entry level positions and given that none of them have worked for years and they all quit without giving any notice after winning it’s all we would consider hiring them for. Mary would never rub it in about her being right but she is concerned since some of them have expressed bitterness about having to work again. No one is objecting to hiring them but there are entry level positions on other teams with other managers.

    Reply
    1. Czhorat

      They they let without notice is another point against. I get that they didn’t think they’d turn to the workforce, but failing to leave in a professional manner because there was no gain from it does not speak well of their character.

      If I were in your shoes, I’d be more comfortable hiring somebody else.

      Reply
      1. Rebecca

        We had this very discussion last week when the Powerball lottery was over $400 Million. 20 of us bought tickets, and everyone said “when we win tonight, no more working! I won’t even show up tomorrow”. I was one of the few people who said I’d return to work and train new coworkers until they were on their feet, then I’d resign. Many of my coworkers thought this was silly, and I’m sure they think I’ve lost my mind, but it’s the right thing to do.

        **no, we didn’t win!

        Reply
        1. Czhorat

          Lots of people have the fantasy of just walking out the door and not coming back. It isn’t a good one.

          At the very least, it’s immature. If you think you have your whole life ahead of you to retire, a couple of weeks for a smooth transition is a small price to pay. It also speaks to morality; if you won’t give notice after winning the lottery, your sole reason to do the right thing is what YOU can get out of it, not the harm you might be doing to those you left behind. At best, you should make choices that you could defend to yourself if nobody else; in this case, it appears that they walked out not because they were being abused or asked to do something wrong, but simply because they could. That’s a bad reason.

          Reply
            1. AD

              At the least, it’s the actions of someone (or more than one person in this case) who has little to no consideration for others, and by others I mean both their employer and their colleagues. And it’s the textbook definition of burning a bridge (which they now want to return to).

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                No, it is not “the actions of someone who has little to no consideration for others”. It is nothing more than a business decision. Please stop adding fake morality to a business relationship that is already fraught with power imbalances.

                Reply
                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  Just as you’re allowed to see it as not a moral decision, other people are allowed to feel that it is. Calling other people’s opinions “fake morality” isn’t cool.

                2. Mike C.

                  Then substitute fake with arbitrary. I’m getting sick and tired of being held to one standard as an employee while it’s accepted that owners and managers can simply site “business conditions”, “the market” and so on while doing the exact same thing.

                  It’s a double standard. Employment is supposed to be a mutually beneficial business arrangement between the employer and the employee. This idea that the employee must bear extra moral responsibilities that the employer does not is maddening to say the least.

                3. Myrin

                  I’m not following – owners/employers “doing the exact same thing” in this scenario would mean them leaving because of a lottery win, so, immediately and effectively shutting their company down and resulting in all of their employees now being unemployed. I’d guess that most people would have a (moral) problem with that as well.

                4. Morning Glory

                  If a company fired you without warning though, and then wanted to hire you back years later after you’d moved on – would you accept? Especially if you’d heard your company publicly talk about being bitter about having to hire someone for this position?

                  I have a feeling you would be fine considering the relationship to be a burned bridge in that scenario.

                5. BPT

                  There are expectations on both sides though. If a company lets an employee go, many times it’s with severance or they set a date a few weeks out for the employee’s last day (unless there’s a strong reason not to). An employee is certainly allowed to leave without notice, and a company is allowed to let someone go without any help. But it doesn’t look good on either side when that happens.

                6. neverjaunty

                  Mike, you work in a job where if you walked out right now, all that would have to happen is that somebody would need to cover your production.

                  Kindly keep in mind that not everybody has that kind of job, and that walking off the job without notice can badly screw your co-workers, not just management.

                7. I'm Not Phyllis

                  I disagree. Employment is a relationship where you’re both supposed to operate with each other’s best interests in mind. Leaving without notice absolutely speaks to their character – and I don’t think it’s unfair for that to be a consideration now that they’re asking to return.

            2. Czhorat

              The moral issue is how you act after your winnings. Do you still act professionally even if there’s no reward, or do you walk away from your responsibilities simply because you can?

              That is, at the very least, an ethical question.

              Reply
              1. Maximus Minimus

                I agree that it speaks to their character. Most people work on teams, and when you leave without notice, you have a negative impact on the rest of your team. So, yes, it’s an ethical and moral issue.

                Reply
                1. Mike C.

                  So under that sort of paradigm, someone can never leave a job while the company is under a hiring freeze, or perform any other action that will somehow lead to the “team” being inconvenienced. Why is this concern over “the team” applied only one way? What about the inconvenience of a plant shutting down or work being outsourced? People keep telling me that those are simply “business decisions in response to the market” but when an employee does the same it’s now a strike against their personal character?

                  How is that even consistent?

                2. Mike C.

                  I see a great deal of praise for companies that lower their costs through sudden reductions of headcount, benefits and movement of labor overseas within the business media. There are never attacks on the character of the folks making these decisions and often high praise from those who stand to gain in the short term.

                3. Uzumaki Naruto

                  No one on this site has ever praised a company for conducting sudden mass layoffs with no severance, Mike.

              2. Mike C.

                What “responsibilities” are you even talking about? This isn’t a mother who is abandoning her child in a ditch or someone driving drunk, this is a job. A job that takes the form of a partnership that can be ended at any time by any party for nearly any reason, including no reason at all. An employee is not “responsible” for their workplace in this manner. The owners and management of a business are responsible for it’s operation, not the employees.

                Reply
                1. Czhorat

                  Yes, and a job is a two-way street in which your employers and co-workers have responsibilities to you and you have responsibilities towards them. So long as they’ve lived up to their side of the bargain, I see the right thing to do as behaving professionally – and that includes not walking out without notice. A reasonable transition period is – in my opinion – something I owe my employer so long as they’ve treated me reasonably.

                  And yes, I understand that the prevalence of at-will employment has damaged this part of the social contract somewhat. *I* still choose to behave in a manner in which I’m comfortable so long as I am treated fairly.

                2. Temperance

                  I’m not sure I agree with this. I work at a law firm, and we have a duty to our clients. While yes, the firm is probably ultimately responsible, we also can’t just leave people or orgs that depend on us in the lurch.

                  Part of my job involves reassigning pro bono cases after an attorney has left the firm. It’s very frustrating when someone takes an extended leave and doesn’t notify me ahead of time.

                3. Czhorat

                  I’ll add that you said,

                  “”I see a great deal of praise for companies that lower their costs through sudden reductions of headcount, benefits and movement of labor overseas within the business media. There are never attacks on the character of the folks making these decisions and often high praise from those who stand to gain in the short term.””

                  You’ve not seen that from me, nor from most here. I’m more harsh in my judgements towards those with the greater power in the situation than those without it. That doesn’t mean that I see a worker as having no responsibilities so long as they are treated reasonably.

                  I think you’re taking your [justifiable] frustration at large scale power imbalances and societal values and assigning them to those of us who disagree in this situation but might agree with you on the larger picture.

            3. Uzumaki Naruto

              Of course declining to do the professional thing by failing to show up and offer a reasonable notice period (two weeks, depending on your industry norms) is… well, if not a moral issue, certainly something other than just a “business decision.” It’s a middle finger on the way out, for no reason.

              Reply
          1. Freya UK

            Eh, when I was genuinely happy at OldJob I always said I’d still keep working there if I won the lottery, the joke being that I’d sit there in a massive (faux!) fur coat, sunglasses, a staff, and hands so laden with diamonds that I couldn’t actually type – but I did mean I’d stay, even just for a while, because it was a lovely enviroment and everyone got along, felt valued etc.

            OldJob in the latter months? NewJob? Any previous jobs? Nope, I’d be gone as fast as my legs could carry me. There is no moral defecit in leaving a situation that doesn’t support the life you want to live the moment you are able. Work is work – as many people are happy to keep repeating, everyone (especially those of us on the lower half of the pay-ladder) is replaceable, the cogs would keep turning quite merrily without me, I don’t owe someone elses business anything, and I’d only work notice to support colleagues if I actually felt they were friends.

            Reply
            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              I agree with that — but there’s something off, character-wise, in leaving without notice and then asking to come back when you develop a new need for work later.

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                I think you can ask about this in an interview, and if there are policies about not hiring people who don’t give notice, I don’t see an issue enforcing it.

                I just think it’s important to consider that extraordinary events cause people to do weird things and that simply leaving a job doesn’t mean that someone is morally deficient.

                Reply
                1. Allie

                  But it does send a clear message that they aren’t committed to the job at all and, if they had a reason to leave in the drop of a hat, they would.

                  It’s been hardcore ingrained in me, but even when leaving my crappy fast food job that I never, ever wanted to do again, I gave full notice. It is just plain stupid to peace out like that without a darn good reason and asking to come back after you and others left en masse, probably creating a headache for the other team members, demonstrates a lack of professionalism.

                2. neverjaunty

                  It means they’ll willing to burn bridges they don’t think they need, and then ask for the bridge back when it’s convenient.

                  Look, there’s nothing inherently immoral about dumping your SO like a sack of potatoes when someone prettier comes along. But if the dumper then came back saying “uh, it didn’t work out, wanna get back together?” you wouldn’t scold the dump-ee to act like nothing happened and treat them like any other date.

                3. Marillenbaum

                  In my opinion, it isn’t that they left. It’s work, and people leave jobs all the time, for all sorts of reasons. I do look askance at a group of people leaving without notice en masse in the absence of a more mitigating circumstance (like a genuinely terrible work environment, expectations of unethical behavior, that sort of thing). In that case, I would be wary of hiring them back, because that past behavior was revealing, and while they aren’t necessarily going to win the lottery and quit without notice a second time, I do think it reveals some causes for concern.

                4. Rusty Shackelford

                  It means they’ll willing to burn bridges they don’t think they need, and then ask for the bridge back when it’s convenient.

                  This. I don’t have a problem with someone leaving a horrible job as soon as they have the option. But these people didn’t have a problem with the job. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

                5. AD

                  That’s not really the argument that people are making, and I think you’re missing the point that this is not the company’s problem at all.
                  These are grown adults who left their org on bad terms, spent all their money, and are now coming back hat in hand to their old place of business (although not even hat in hand, as it sounds like their discontent is known far and wide).
                  This company is not their family and is under no obligation to re-hire them. Plus, this company can’t be the only game in town – they can apply to other jobs, and take their chances. Neither Jon, Mary, nor anyone else should be wringing their hands or clutching their pearls worrying about how to help their former (thoughtless) co-workers. As Alison said the goal here isn’t to find them jobs at all costs; it’s to hire the best person for each opening you have.

                6. tigerStripes

                  Leaving a job with notice is normal. Leaving a job with no notice because you won a lot of money isn’t particularly thoughtful to co-workers, especially when a bunch of people leave at once because of winning a lot of money. Leaving with no notice would be OK if the person needed to flee an abusive ex or a stalker or if the boss is abusive.

              2. I'm Not Phyllis

                I agree with you. In fact, I’m not sure I would ever considering rehiring someone who left without notice. I’m sure there are circumstances where I would but I’m having trouble coming up with any.

                Reply
                1. yasmara

                  That’s where I keep landing, @I’mNotPhyllis. Forget all the lottery stuff, they quit without notice. Why would you want them back? If there’s any of them who are truly the best candidate for the job, maybe I could consider that person, but I find it hard to believe you couldn’t fill an entry-level position with someone who doesn’t have all this baggage.

              3. Freya UK

                I agree, in this context I think it’s really odd and inappropriate that they’re wanting to return to the same place.

                Reply
          2. Antilles

            In fact, if your fantasy and plan is to just walk out the door while flipping the bird and never coming back, I’d guess you’re very likely to be part of that 70% of lottery winners who waste it all within 10 years. Why? Because (a) it shows a lot of impulsiveness which will get you into trouble when that money is burning a hole in your pocket and (b) you apparently haven’t thought through the actual practicalities of dealing with the wealth.
            From a practical perspective, even if you *don’t* care at all about your co-workers, you’re probably *still* far better served waiting a couple weeks or a month to set up your own life properly to transition to your retirement, talk to accountant/lawyer/financial planner/etc, think through what’s important in your retirement, and so on.

            Reply
            1. Just Jess

              Your comment just feels right to me, but I’m sure there are going to be people who object to the idea that they are impulsive with money just because they’d happily burn bridges after winning the lottery.

              Anyway, I’d stick around for at least a few months because wealthy people who live (not just spend, but actually live) below their means are in an excellent situation to compare downwards in terms of wealth. It’d be like having the biggest and nicest house in a neighborhood that’s at the bottom of your price range instead of being envious of your neighbors. Why be in a rush to find out that your eight million is nothing compared to 80 million?

              Reply
              1. fposte

                I swear, the main reason I’m in decent shape for retirement is being in an LCOL area in a field where nobody gives a damn what you wear or drive. The Joneses keep an easy pace around here.

                Reply
        2. Chinook

          “I was one of the few people who said I’d return to work and train new coworkers until they were on their feet, then I’d resign”

          There is a compromise – create an “I won the lottery” handbook for your job. It is so much more positive than a “Hit by a car” handbook but gives the same result – a way for someone to take over your job if you are no longer able or willing to work there.

          That being said, I would give two weeks notice if I had any responsibilities (like I do now) but would call in and quit if I didn’t (like some of the jobs I had where I was treated poorly and given no training or support).

          Reply
          1. Marillenbaum

            That’s entirely reasonable. If I won the lottery, I think I would stay on for a month–a bit of time to transition out of the role, but also enough time to start my transition into my dream job as a Lady of Leisure (hiring a financial manager, paying off my student loans, buying the really nice watch of my dreams).

            Reply
    2. Allie

      I really sympathize with Mary here, that just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Given the lack of notice when they quit and the publicly-articulated bitterness, I am not even sure it is a good idea that company give them a chance at all, particularly if the bitter comments were recent. I think it would likely be psychologically healthier to go somewhere else (if they can, is there a reason some ended up working minimum wage?). One risky person on a team is one thing, a fill just onto Mary’s team makes it seem like she is being set up for disaster.

      Reply
    3. annnnon

      What do you mean about Mary being “right”? Was she smug about not participating in the lottery? Was there a bit of judgment about people who don’t play the lottery somehow being better than these people who did?

      I don’t mean to question, but I do think that if that’s something else at play — and if your company is going to welcome them but judge them for simply being lucky for a few years — maybe it really is better to encourage them to go somewhere else for work.

      It seems weird that they would all lose the money, and that more than one would be interested in returning to the same employer at the same time.

      Reply
      1. Maximus Minimus

        Interesting articles about lottery winners:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/lottery-winners-research/423543/
        “A 2004 study found that 85.5 percent of American winners continued to work after winning the lottery (with 63 percent working for the same employer as before), and that the more important work was to a person, the more likely they were to keep working.”

        http://time.com/4176128/powerball-jackpot-lottery-winners/
        “About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.”

        Reply
          1. Rusty Shackelford

            Maybe it seems like they simultaneously found themselves broke because it’s in response to their former employer announcing openings. Maybe some of them have been broke for a year and some of them aren’t quite there yet but they can see it coming.

            Reply
      2. Sunflower

        I hate reading into things but I got this impression that there was some judgement- primarily from the OP’s line ‘she chose not to play the lottery because she believed the money would bring nothing but trouble and no good would come from it.’

        That just read as very odd to me. I know some people don’t play the lottery/gamble for personal beliefs/reasons but there seems to be a very black and white thinking about the lottery here. LOTS of people win and go on to lead happy, successful lives that have only been enhanced by the money. The question might really be ‘Is Mary OK with managing these people’ as opposed to ‘Will they be okay with Mary managing her’

        Reply
        1. Helen

          Since they are the ones who want to come back, they are in no position to be picky or to have any say about who their manager is. Mary is OP’s employee and OP is rightly concerned about the impact on her as opposed to how the former employee’s are feeling. Mary’s feelings about the lottery are a perfectly valid reason for not playing and in this case she was right. Someone posted a statistic above that most people who win the lottery lose it all, so when Mary said the money would bring nothing but trouble had a point. It shouldn’t even matter why Mary didn’t play with the others, she was well within her rights to do so and the letter isn’t even about that.

          Reply
          1. Sunflower

            The letter is about whether Mary should be managing these people. It’s not about the former employees getting get a say in anything- it’s that it’s probably not the best decision to hire someone when you know their manager doesn’t want to manage them. Mary seems overly focused on how the former employees view her as opposed to the perfectly valid reasons why they shouldn’t be on the team(only entry level spots, bad decision makers, etc). Mary may have a lot more traction if she said ‘I don’t want to hire them because they are bad decision makers’ instead of assuming what these employees feelings are (esp since Jon’s opinion on that differs and doesn’t appear to be changing)

            Reply
            1. BPT

              I think it’s important to take into account how your employees would view you as a manager. That’s a huge part of it. If I’ve worked with someone before who made comments about not wanting to be managed by someone younger than them, or who was resentful for working with/for me, or I had any reason to think they wouldn’t react well to being managed by me, you’d bet I’d be wary about hiring them.

              Reply
              1. Sunflower

                But Jon(who seems to be the decision maker) has different views than Mary on this and doesn’t think how the employees view her is an issue. It sounds like her and OP have tried to make their case to him and he’s not budging so she’s going to have to go down a different route.

                Reply
      3. TL -

        Most lottery winners end up broke, actually. Responsibly managing that much money is a skill set that most people don’t have/aren’t prepared for developing. (Same for professional athletes, actually.)

        Reply
          1. Helen

            OP didn’t say they all went broke at the same time or when, just that some of them applied when there were openings because the company is expanding.

            Reply
            1. Emilia Bedelia

              I think it’s likely that they’re all talking to each other and have encouraged each other to apply for their jobs back- “I decided to apply to Old Job Co, need some more cash” “oh, they’re hiring? That’s a good idea, I should do that”.

              The fact that they’re all applying at the same time doesn’t seem strange at all to me.

              Reply
        1. Allison

          Yup. I tell myself if I win a crapload of money, I’d save half, spend some money on sensible lifestyle upgrades, invest the rest, and keep working to keep up with ongoing living expenses so I’m not just burning through the winnings, taking comfort in knowing I don’t necessarily need to stay in the job if it starts making me miserable, but that’s all easier said than done.

          Reply
        2. Mike C.

          There’s a long write-up on reddit about what to do if you happen to receive a huge amount of money that basically involved getting a lawyer to set up a bunch of trusts so that you could protect yourself and your family.

          Reply
    4. AnotherAlison

      My husband’s aunt didn’t win the lottery, but she got a large medical malpractice lawsuit settlement from her toddler son’s death. This was over 30 years ago, before I knew her, but my husband’s aunt is just a simple person in a rural community with no education. She spent the money on a house and a semi for her (now ex) husband, and otherwise just generally blew it. She lost the house, the truck, and all the money eventually. She had to go back to work, and finally worked her way up to a McDonald’s store manager position this year. She lives in a trailer. Despite losing a son and everything she owned, she has a very positive attitude and is a hard worker. She had a different job before she was temporarily rich, so it’s not quite the same, but I don’t think I would assume the rehires would be bad. I’d interview them like anyone else and hire them if they were qualified and I felt comfortable putting them in the jobs now, but I wouldn’t hold the past against them. People who haven’t had money do very dumb things when they suddenly have money.

      Reply
      1. Anon 2

        My mother is a similar situation, without the positive attitude. She received a million dollar settlement about 20 years ago. She kept her job, and the money was still gone in 10 years. The worst part is, I don’t even know what she bought with all that money, aside from some plastic surgery.

        Reply
    5. Artemesia

      They left without notice; they are not eligible for re-hire. Save the agony. Let them find minimum wage or entry level jobs elsewhere. If they are hired back, it should not be under Mary.

      Reply
  16. AMD

    I feel bad to admit it, but it took me a bit of reading through OP1’s question to be sure it wasn’t poaching plot from The Office…

    Reply
    1. Mallory Janis Ian

      Ha, I immediately thought of The Office, as well, when all the warehouse guys quit when they won the lottery from playing Darryl’s birthday.

      Reply
    2. Mallory Janis Ian

      I also thought of the husband-and-wife team in those Mary Higgins Clark books who won big in the lottery and now they mentor other lottery winners on how to live so as to preserve the money. Those workers needed someone like Alvirah and Willie in their lives.

      Reply
      1. Heather

        I’ve been forcing myself to lurk so I can get some work done – but I can’t not say how much I love Alvirah and Willie :)

        Reply
      1. Czhorat

        It’s familiar. There’s comfort in that.

        If they had any skills, then it’s better to at least have a chance of getting back to them then going to, say, a retail job.

        It also can feel like a “shortcut”. They’d be going someplace they are known, and might think they can bank on their old reputation to move up.

        It’s also, of course, possible that they’ve quietly looked elsewhere and nobody else wants them.

        Reply
          1. Czhorat

            What we’re perhaps forgetting in our focus on Mary is how hard this must be for them; to stride out with ones winnings only to have to come crawling back again must be humiliating.

            It’s a bad situation for everyone.

            Reply
        1. Temperance

          That’s what I find so strange, though. They collectively quit without notice. An entire department, except Mary. Shouldn’t that have destroyed their reputation?

          Reply
        1. fposte

          And they might know that because they’ve tried getting fresh-hired and it hasn’t been happening.

          As a boss, I might actually cut them some slack for walking off the job in the face of an extraordinary event. That doesn’t mean I’d pretend it didn’t happen, but I wouldn’t rule out hiring them because of it. However, I wouldn’t hire them as a cohort and make a manager who’s opposed to their rehire supervise them. Pick and choose and spread them around, and hire them only if they’re better than your other applicants.

          Reply
          1. Retail HR Guy

            There’s a lot to be said for hiring a known quantity, and the odds of them winning the lottery again are somewhat slim.

            Reply
  17. Temperance

    LW1: I personally wouldn’t rehire any of these people, since they all apparently walked off the job together after winning. It’s incredibly strange to me that they would blame Mary for their failures in life, considering that she was the only person who didn’t get a windfall and she has had to work her way up from an entry-level job.

    I don’t see any benefit to hiring a group of angry, bitter people who are undoubtedly going to bring down morale. The information we have so far is that a.) they’re angry because they blew their lottery winnings, b.) they somehow might be blaming Mary for all their failures in life, and c.) they seem to feel entitled to a job at the org that they all walked out on, together. Are you in such a bind that you can’t find qualified people elsewhere?

    Reply
    1. Mike C.

      You don’t actually know that they’d be angry and/or bitter in the workplace. The emotions they’re feeling are perfectly normal and natural and any one of us commenting would react in similar ways. We can’t punish otherwise normal candidates for normal reactions to rare and significant events.

      Reply
      1. Myrin

        The thing is that at least some of them are expressing those emotions, though, and not just to friends and family but in such a way that the people at their old/prospective new place of employment have heard about it. We talk here all the time about how it’s completely normal to feel X but that it might be inappropriate to actually express X in the workplace.

        (And they might of course not talk about or show that bitterness once they’re actually working but that cat is kind of out of the bag now.)

        Reply
      2. Temperance

        I would argue that these people aren’t normal candidates, though. Of course I would be very unhappy and angry if I squandered and lost a fortune – that’s normal! They technically shouldn’t be eligible for rehire since they all collectively abandoned their jobs.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          If that sort of policy is already in place then yeah, that’s totally fine. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

          Reply
          1. Morning Glory

            If there isn’t a company-wide policy in place though, don’t you think it should be up to the person who will be managing them (and who worked with them in the past) to decide?

            Reply
            1. Temperance

              This is a really good point. I would probably not be excited to work with people who royally screwed me over in the past if I was in Mary’s shoes.

              Reply
      3. Allison

        You might not know for sure, but it’s still a valid concern to have. There’s a difference between a concern and an assumption.

        Reply
      4. PK

        They can be punished for leaving without notice though. Most people wouldn’t expect that they’d be able to return to a job under those circumstances.

        Reply
  18. Rusty Shackelford

    LW1, are other former employees who quit without notice eligible for rehire? If not, why should this group be special?

    Reply
  19. Delta Delta

    #1 – It seems like the thing to do would be to treat the applicants like any other applicants. Interview them and if some work out then they do, and if some don’t, they don’t. It also seems like enough stuff has happened and enough time has passed that the former co-workers would certainly remember Mary, and may like having a familiar face even though they’re in what seems like a bad situation. I don’t know how big this group is, but there also doesn’t seem to be any requirement to hire all of the people. Hire one or some or none, depending on how it goes in the interviews.

    Reply
    1. Former Employee

      As I see it, the problem with that approach is that they would be ignoring the fact that these people walked out and left their jobs without giving reasonable notice.

      To me, that would be somewhat similar to a candidate whose manager from a prior job saying that they had a bad attitude.

      Reply
  20. Bibliovore

    This may not be true but if Mary was most Jr at the time if the lottery buy, there may have been pressure to “join in”

    Reply
  21. paul

    I’ve seen plenty of companies and NGOs with *really* bad website design (including, until recently, my own employer). So I wouldn’t write it off entirely based on that if there’s other mutual colleagues that she’s worked with that are now there, and everything else checks out

    Reply
  22. B

    #1 If they are qualified for the position I think you should give them a regular interview. Then in that interview raise the questions and concerns about bitterness, working for Mary, entry-level, etc. Yes, they all quit without notice, which you should talk to them about and see if they are remorseful as it could have been the spur of the moment joy, so that should be taken into account. But if you received their resume blindly and would call them for an interview, you should do so knowing who they are. A few bad apples should not spoil for all.

    Reply
  23. Not Karen

    #1: Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it sounds like one or more people involved in the hiring process are going easy on these previous employees because they feel bad for them for losing all their lottery winnings. Don’t. Treat them like you would any other candidate – their need for an income is not part of the picture. If they’re not the best qualified for the position, you don’t need to hire them at all. I’m sure all the other candidates need income, too.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      I agree, it seemed odd to me that they were “citing” financial need in applying for the job. Presumably almost everyone who applies for jobs (especially entry level ones) does so because they need the income! Having once had a bunch of lottery winnings doesn’t change that equation. They should be making the case for why they want to work for this particular company and feel their skills are an excellent match for the posted position(s), not arguing that they deserve the job because they need the money.

      I think you should try to assess their resumes and cover letters as neutrally as possible — for example, if you’d look side eye at a generic candidate for putting “I am applying for this job only because I need the money” in their cover letter, then that’s a reasonable reason to not interview these folks (if they did that — I’m unclear how OP knows all the relevant info here). Or if their applications look good, go ahead and interview them and ask how they would feel about being under Mary’s management and if they feel it would interfere with their work, whether they would comply with notice procedures in the future, etc.

      Reply
    2. e271828

      It sounds to me as though there may be some old-boys’-network feeling influencing Mary’s boss’s thinking about rehiring them, in addition to the sympathy for their coming back down in the world. Neither of those are good reasons to hire them.

      Citing those feelings openly in discussing these applications may help neutralize their effect. “Of course we can’t hire people whom we are sorry for, even though they used to work here before they quit without notice. We have to bring in the best people for the job.”

      Reply
  24. eplawyer

    #1 – as noted, treat them like any other applicant. Are they qualified? Will they fit the office culture (yeah I know loaded word)? Will they work well under the manager’s style? If not, then don’t hire them. Their being broke is no more a sob story than any other applicant who needs to work to pay the bills.

    #2 — Your friend should talk to the colleagues to see what they think of the company. A messed up website can have a bunch of innocent explanations. It’s a datapoint, not the whole dataset.

    #3 — I’m very sorry about your dad. Normally I am a “you were hired to do a job, not deal with your personal life” kind of person. But I am also a human being. Talk to your boss. If I were your boss, I would see what I could do to lessen the strain on you for a while until you were ready to go full bore again. Don’t rush yourself back to full load, but be honest with your boss when you are really start ramping back up.

    As for the person who commented they work for a mental health charity and are getting no support – did not they not read their own darn mission statement?

    Reply
  25. Allison

    #5 When I screen applicants, I often cross reference their LinkedIn profiles for a variety of reasons. First, if they leave off their location, I check to see if they’re local to where the job is. If they leave off a required job skill, I may check their LinkedIn to see if it’s mentioned there. If they applied a while ago, I may want to see if they got a job recently. Sometimes a job seeker’s LinkedIn profile will have more information than their resume (mine usually does), and sometimes the LinkedIn profile is just easier to read if the resume is heavily formatted. Sometimes something just looks a little . . . off, and I wonder if the LinkedIn will help tell the whole story.

    Reply
    1. JobSeeker017

      Allison:

      While I appreciate your taking initiative and using LinkedIn as an investigation tool, I am concerned that you may be relying on it too much.

      If you are concerned about something looking “a little. . . off” with a resume, might you consider contacting the applicant directly via email for direct clarification? I suggest this because sometimes LinkedIn profiles are not updated or the information is abbreviated. Also, direct contact with a prospective interviewee can clearly address your questions and assure you that you’ve not misunderstood something and potentially lost out on interviewing a qualified individual.

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I think you’re misinterpreting what Allison means by a little off. Sometimes someone has a title that doesn’t make sense for their level of experience, or dates seem weird, or something just isn’t reading right, and sometimes LinkedIn has more information that will make things make sense. Not all of those are questions you’d take to an applicant who you hadn’t even decided if you were interested in yet, especially if someone is already borderline/heading toward your “no” pile.

        Reply
        1. RejectTheLiar

          I did something similar. We had an applicant whose resume dates were weird. He kept talking about a lay off that was not on his resume. He then sent a connection request to everyone in the interview… I rejected but looked at his profile.

          According to LinkedIn he was still a sr manager. According to his resume he was a sr manager after a demotion to line manager with no gap. According to the interview he was laid off.

          That was enough of a flag for me. He was either intentionally lying on LinkedIn or was so thoughtless about appearances that he did not think to update LinkedIn before sending out requests. Neither spoke well to me so I advocated strongly against him.

          He was also incredibly disheveled.

          Reply
          1. JobSeeker017

            RejectTheLiar:

            Forgive my ignorance, but do you actually expect people to put the phrase “lay off” on their resumes?

            I was under the impression such language belonged in a cover letter or as a discussion point for phone screenings/interviews.

            Am I misunderstanding you?

            Reply
            1. Morning Glory

              I think from what RejectTheLiar wrote that the candidate’s resume showed that he was currently employed by the company, just in a lower position.

              So he had either sent an outdated resume, or else was deliberately making it look like he was still with the company that had laid him off .

              Reply
              1. RejectTheLiar

                Actually it was even weirder. He mentioned being laid off in the interview. His resume had no gaps and showed continuos employment at the same company he claimed to be laid off from but with a demotion … but his LinkedIn showed continuous employment at the same company with no demotion.

                Reply
      2. Allison

        I don’t phone screen people though, that’s the recruiter’s job. What I do sometimes do is help out with the applications, if we have a ton of them and the recruiter is too busy to go through all of them. Normally I just weed out the super unqualified from the possibly/probably qualified. I don’t “rely” on LinkedIn as you seem to assume, but if something is unclear, I may use it to get more information, and even then I wouldn’t necessarily weed the person out, I’d just put a note on the application with additional info found on LinkedIn.

        Reply
        1. JobSeeker017

          Allison:

          Thanks for your response.

          I didn’t realize in your initial comment that you don’t conduct the phone screenings, and your role is more behind the scenes of screening out unqualified applicants. It puts your comment in perspective.

          Reply
  26. Billy

    It seems very common for lottery winners to end up bankrupt and having to go back to work — and even the commentors on this site seem to think immediately quitting is a sensible response to winning the lottery.

    I urge people to think of the lottery in terms of how much money they can spend per year and not run out. You can get a ballpark feel for this by using an annuity calculator (you can do slightly better since the company issuing the annuity makes a profit —- assuming you do not donate a chunk of your winning to charity).

    http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/investment/annuities/income_annuity/fixed_income_annuity_calculator

    shows that a 30-year old wishing to stop work based on a $2,000,000 winning lottery ticket should spend no more than $76,000 per year. Now this is not a small salary – it is plenty to support a modest house, a sensible car, no worries about grocery money and enough for occasional vacations. But it is absolutely not going to support a huge mansion, luxury cars, or continual vacation. And if the first things spent are a large donation to charity and purchase of a lavish home, knock the remaining annuity down to $50,000 or so per year.

    Reply
    1. Czhorat

      It depends on where you are in the country.

      If you have a family and live around these parts? $76K/year will help, but you’ll still need another source of income.

      Reply
      1. Morning Glory

        It really depends on the cuts you are willing to take to standard of living. It also depends if you already own a house/condo.

        It would be certainly be a cut in pay for my husband and I – I’d probably choose to keep working for self-worth reasons anyway. But our expenses are less than our income, and we could probably get by with minimal lifestyle adjustments (in the DC Metro area) if it were a priority to us.

        And without jobs to tie us to the city, we could also move to a lower-living cost area if we wanted to.

        Reply
      2. caryatis

        It’s pretty hard to believe that anyone _needs_ more than $76k to live. Why? The two of us live in the one of the most expensive areas, very comfortably spending about $40k. Cut that down to necessities, and it’s $26k. Now admittedly kids cost money, but it’s hard to imagine that they would actually triple your spending.

        Plus, if you’re not working, you can always move to Iowa or Cleveland or Arizona or any other low cost of living place.

        Reply
        1. KiteFlier

          There are so many factors at play regarding the level of income needed to live – medical expenses, COL, student loans, pet care, car maintenance, etc .. What works for you is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

          Not everyone has the means to move where and when they want to.

          Reply
        2. Czhorat

          It depends on what “live” means to you.

          If you want a house with space for a family around here, you need more. If you want to be closer to the city than I am, it’s again more.

          [this is assuming you don’t have the cash to buy a home and have no mortgage. Even rent for a 2 bedroom apartment nearish to Manhattan is going to be more than your 40K[.

          Reply
          1. Morning Glory

            Czhorat
            Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way, but you really seem to be dismissive of a lot of very real families living in high COL areas that live on less than $76K – often a great deal less. Sure, some of them are only surviving, but a lot of families who are sensible with their money are able to make it work just fine for them. I get that you wouldn’t leave your job, preferring to have the additional income, and I agree with you, I would choose the same thing. But your implication that it would be impossible, or that life is unlivable on a smaller income does not reflect reality.

            Also, my sister lives in a safe, nice part of NYC: she and her roommate each pay $950/month for their 2 bedroom, so I’m not sure where you got over $40K from.

            Reply
        3. CM

          I live in Boston. Let’s see:
          $38K/year = mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs on home
          $19K/year = daycare for one kid
          $7K/year = childcare expenses for school-age kid
          $8K/year = food
          $8K/year = utilities and other recurring household expenses (heat, water, electricity, cable, phone, Internet)
          $4K/year = car expenses including registration, insurance, maintenance, gas, tolls

          That’s already more than $76K without any discretionary spending or things like clothes, school supplies, medical expenses, etc. $38K on housing might sound high but housing stock around here is old and we need to do a major repair on our century-old house about once a year. $8K on utilities also might sound high but heating our old drafty house is expensive in the winter. $4K on car assumes nothing goes wrong.

          Reply
      3. Rusty Shackelford

        I live in a very low COL area, and I still couldn’t live comfortably on $76K/year. (And I drive a 10-year-old Honda, so it’s not like I’m supporting a lavish lifestyle.)

        Reply
        1. fposte

          For me it’s medical costs that are the big question mark. House, utilities, food, etc. are easy in my area to keep well below that, but if I’m not working, insurance is going to cost me, and heaven knows what it’ll cover–I’ve got prescription medications that would eat that amount up pretty quick if they weren’t covered.

          Reply
          1. Circles

            Same here. My husband is diabetic and requires 4 maintenance medications. One of the newer medications the doctor prescribed cost approximately $1,000 for a 30 day supply. I almost passed out when the pharmacy technician told me how much it was. My husband called the doctor and told him we could not afford that cost and he would have to prescribe another medication. Luckily, the doctor had one of those prescription packets with a card so if you qualify you can get the medicine at a huge discount or for free, depending on your income.

            I also have a son who requires 6 (6!) maintenance medications. (Acid reflux, IBS, thyroid, chronic pain and 2 for anxiety).

            Reply
          2. Rusty Shackelford

            Yeah, I’d have to win a lot more than $2 million to feel comfortable leaving my job and the insurance it provides.

            Reply
    2. I'm a tailor's apprentice.

      My husband’s uncle – a truck driver at the time – won $2,000,000 on a scratch ticket back in the late 80’s. He used some of his winnings to buy a small restaurant (a dream he’d had since he was a kid) and invested the rest. Currently he’s retired and living comfortably. His restaurant was only open for a few years but he sold it for a nice profit, used the money he got from the sale of his restaurant towards paying off his mortgage and the purchase of a vacation home. He rents the vacation home out when he’s not using it and lives a very nice life as a retiree. His wife didn’t want to stop working – she was a teacher and loved her job – but I think the pressure was lifted from her shoulders by knowing that there was money for their futures and they lived modestly the whole time.

      My in-laws are the total opposite. In the late 80’s they got a big settlement from a legal issue. They bought a house, a few cars, a restaurant (which failed and was seized by the bank), and took some vacations. My MIL redecorated her house at least once a year, my FIL spent a small fortune on lottery tickets and gambling trips. The money was gone in no time. They just sold their house and are living in a family member’s home (not mine!) – they have a myriad of health issues that prevent them from working now and nothing for retirement because they both stopped working when they got the money.

      Reply
        1. Delta Delta

          And does this person plan to join the rebellion because he or she knows it’s a chance to socially advance, instead of sewing some pants?

          Reply
  27. teresajs

    Re #1: Part of the problem is that all of the former employees are being lumped in one group, while they are separate applicants with different skills and personalities. Secondly, the departmental manager is automatically assuming, not only that these former employees should join Mary’s team but that they should be hired at all. There doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason to neglect a thorough hiring process, including interviewing competing candidates, while filling these positions.

    Reply
    1. Judy

      To me, it would seem like a potential problem if a tight knit group were added to one team, anyway. It just seems like the team would become fractured, with two camps. If these people have the skills needed, then add them to different teams, not one team.

      Reply
      1. JMegan

        Particularly if it’s a tight-knit group with both a previous history with the organization, and a certain amount of resentment at their current circumstances. It just seems like a bad idea to bring all of that into the workplace at once, if there are any other options available.

        Reply
  28. BadPlanning

    OP #3 — I am very sorry for the loss of your father. Your story is eerily similar to mine — in age and circumstance. I applaud you for being ahead of me in that you’ve already started grief counselling (it took me nearly a year before I realized “suck it up” was not working for me).

    I will offer a few things. Your work probably hasn’t taken as big of a hit as you think. If it has, you probably have enough good will to ride it out for awhile. Also, it does get better. It doesn’t feel like it will, but it does (and that’s okay — most parents would want their children to be happy, not eternally grieved). And if you have to cry in the bathroom and in your car sometimes, that’s okay too.

    Reply
  29. PK

    #1. They left without notice. Financial bitterness and possible managerial issues aside, I don’t expect that most companies would allow an ex-employee to return under those circumstances. The company shouldn’t be making hiring decisions based on their financial hardships now.

    Reply
  30. Circles

    I agree with the previous comments that the former coworkers in letter #1 should be treated like all people who had applied. IF they make it through to the interview stage, you could ask how they would feel working under Mary and maybe get a sense if it would work. I would say if all, or most, of them get rehired I don’t think putting them all on Mary’s team is the right decision. Mary has worked with them before. I think Jon should take Mary’s concerns a little more seriously.

    Putting myself in Mary’s place, I can see why she is hesitant to have the rehires all on her team. Even if one of them is resentful, and it festers and spreads, it might set up a Us vs. Mary dynamic. Or, that one person could be extra difficult, resulting in a PIP or even termination and then the other rehires might be fearful they will also be let go.

    I just don’t know. We would hope that the possible rehires would act professionally and like adults but that’s not always the case.

    Reply
  31. I'm Not Phyllis

    OP3 I lost my mom when I was around your age (she was a single parent to me as well) so I have an idea of what you’re dealing with. And what you’re feeling is completely normal. I’ll echo what Alison said – talk to your boss. I felt this strange pressure on myself, that I was “supposed to be” ok and back to normal after the funeral, but quickly learned that nobody expected that – it was just what I thought people expected. Anyone who has dealt with grief of that magnitude knows it’s not something that you just get over, and that it takes some time before even basic functions don’t feel like they’re taking up all of your energy. Hang in there, and if you need it seek some support to deal with your grief.

    Reply
  32. Mena

    4. You are wise to consider this concern carefully. Age is not the issue but experience (and as Alison notes, competence) AND emotion and professional maturity play in strongly. I was an employee of a company and reporting changed and I ended up in a difficult situation with an professionally, emotionally, and technically immature boss. My new manager’s lack of experience with what I do led to her mistakenly undervaluing the skills and experience I brought (she thought she could do what I do and very publicly failed in her attempts). I could have easily waited out her departure (she was fired eventually) but was I lured away from the company by a very interesting opportunity.

    Reply
    1. OP #4

      Thank you Mena!
      Another thing I thought about is the different level of experience/competence (or lack of it). I mean: if the level of this person is so close to mine, would she somehow block my professional growth? Intentionally or not…

      Reply
      1. Kyrielle

        On the other hand, maybe she’d prepare you to move into her position, or help you get ready for whatever next step you want if it’s not that, while working on moving up again herself…. It sounds like she’s had no problem moving up, so I’m not sure why she’d feel threatened or want to block anyone else.

        Reply
        1. Mena

          Good point – in my situation, my manager wasn’t moving up and she was in my way of progressing; her stagnation was blocking me.

          Reply
        1. OP #4

          I think the best way to go is for me to ask her more info on her managerial style-to-be. Also, another details I didn’t share yet: we would be located in two different countries here in Europe. I imagine that she would have to give me a good autonomy

          Reply
  33. animaniactoo

    OP1 – Forget about bringing everybody back under Mary. That’s not actually the biggest issue with what Jon is proposing. From a group psychology standpoint, bringing everybody back into one department is the major issue.

    They could all go in under a new manager and it would still be a problem. When you have a group with that much familiarity, (who are not a cohesive team that you are bringing in as a working setup) you need to break them up in order to integrate them with the best chance of success into their current roles, in the current company structure.

    They could be the best intentioned employees in the world – but what Jon is leaving them open to here is questioning the authority/mindset/etc. of a single manager because they are more likely to trust each other about things – including impressions of what’s “necessary” or “idiotic” than the unknown factor. And even Mary – as the most junior person and one who did not share the lottery experience the same way they did – will be the unknown factor to them. They don’t really know or have any experience of her in her current incarnation.

    It leaves open a bunch of employees who are much more likely to support each other even when one becomes problematic instead of addressing the issue. More likely to cover for each other for stuff that there should be little to no leeway on as “kinda new” employees of the company. It creates worse power dynamics and resentment if somebody isn’t working out in the new situation and has to be let go, in terms of how the others will likely react to it.

    I get it – the company is likely one that wants to be known as somebody who takes care of their employees, even when the employees have burned them, they’re forgiving, etc. Maybe they’re the big employer in the area. Whatever the factors, there are situations in which it makes sense to take them back and find ways to put them in those entry level positions. But they’ve got to do it smart, and that means distributing them throughout the company, creating a *new* experience for them; NOT an attempt to return to what worked before or what they (company or employees) are familiar with/find comfortable.

    Reply
  34. Jbern

    Hi OP #4:

    I’ve run into this a couple of times where the supervisor, while experienced and knowledgeable, is only a few steps in front of me, knowledge-wise, or has limited experience outside of his area of responsibility. In my experience, this creates an artificial ceiling that inhibits your growth – depending on the work you’re supposed to be doing! If what you do is data entry or similar work, this won’t be a problem. If it involves design, or conceptualizing or framing a program in a new way, or incorporating methods from other disciplines, or even producing work that is slightly outside the typical format, you’ll soon find that you’re better off elsewhere. This isn’t to say that the current manager isn’t capable. It is more to say that you will ultimately be limited in how far you can grow, unless the manager is growing as well – and even then, you likely won’t be getting the feedback you need.

    Reply
    1. OP #4

      Thank you.
      No the job would be indeed about developing something and having frequent interactions with third parties. So the impact of the “artificial ceiling” could count.
      On the other hand we would be located in two different countries – taking care of two different areas, maybe that could help?

      Reply
  35. mehkitty84

    Number 3 OP I also lost my father in 2015 at the age of 31. My company was also very understanding, but I see a lot of what you’re saying about performance of what I felt as well. You may want to look at using intermittent FMLA time if you are eligible to safeguard your position if you need to schedule counseling appointments. I also think a counselor is a great step because it is someone to talk through your grieving process. I have tried talking to friends or my spouse, but they never seem to quite understand, to no fault of their own, as they haven’t had a loss of a parent. It feels like a morbid club that you’re now a part of. I wish you strength while you going through this and just know that it is okay to be sad no matter what time frame. That has helped me through it at least.

    Reply
  36. Noah

    Dear OP3,

    My dad died when I was 30 and he was 60. We, too, were close. I came back to work much too soon — it was a busy time at work and I was having trouble not being there. After two days, it was clear I couldn’t do my job to anywhere near the best of my ability because I was too distracted. I talked to the people I worked for and they let me take additional time off — some using vacation time and some not. It sounds like you also have a supportive and reasonable employer. Ask. It’s worth it.

    Reply
    1. SJ

      One of my mother’s friends is incredibly lucky when it comes to winning money. She’s won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket, $20,000 on a different scratch-off ticket, and several winnings around $5,000 to $8,000 at the casino on those quarter machines. She only goes to the casino once a year, brings a sack of maybe $25 in quarters, and just plays those cheap machines, and when the sack is empty, she leaves. She and her husband are great with their money, and they both retired with nice retirement packages too, so the extra money has just been a nice added bonus.

      Reply
    2. Kathleen Adams

      A guy I went to high school with (and who married a girl who graduated a year behind us) won $1 million in one of the first California lotteries. And he did just fine. He invested part of the money in a business and did well, he’s still married to wife #1, and as far as I know, he’s doing just fine. It seems to me that he used his winnings to make his life a little easier, and that’s probably a good way to go.

      Reply
    3. Aietra

      Someone in my graduating class from high school was quite proud of the fact she had no intention of going to college or getting a job – she seemed to be of the attitude that we others were suckers for doing so, when she’d found an easier way through life: namely, a rich boyfriend. First semester, she lost quite a few friends on social media by apparently (I wasn’t friends with her) posting smug comments to that effect on people’s posts about assignments, exams or bad bosses, and her own page was filled with selfies of parties and expensive gifts from Rich Boyfriend.

      Second semester, she won the lottery. I haven’t heard from her in years, but rumour has it she blew it all on cocaine and alcohol.

      Still salty…

      Reply
  37. Audiophile

    #1 I’ve never spent more than $10-$20 on the lottery and I’ve never won more than that. If at some point I’m lucky enough to win a decent amount, I think I would still give some notice.
    This is largely because I liked my co-workers or my direct supervisor, but also because you never know what the future may hold.

    I’ve had a few employers exercise the option to end my employment immediately and while it was no picnic, the door was usually left open to return at some point in the future.

    Let’s say they don’t bring these employees back, as these employees are applying for jobs at other companies, and using their former employer as a reference, you know it will come out that they left without giving notice. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always conscious of that when a resigning or dealing with a layoff.

    Reply
  38. CBH

    OP1 I haven’t had time to read through all the comments so this may have been said previously… It sounds like Mary is being as professional as can be and seems to be a team player.

    What would concern me is that the former coworkers almost seem to be resentful of having to work again; maybe even entitled thinking this will be an easy job since I won the lottery yet I still have to work. My guess is that they are expecting to pickup right where they left off with “seniority” and their position has been “re titled” as entry level. I’d be concerned that while they may like Mary, the former coworkers are going to take out their current financial situation frustrations on her. Think about it, if these former coworkers stayed they would have been in upper level management by now. Now they would be reporting to their former trainee.

    Reply
  39. Claudia M.

    #3 you got me crying.

    So, havc similar lives. I lost my dad, who lived with me and was really close, just before Christmas in 2015. I was also 31.

    I made it more than a year, somehow. Still not sure how that worked.

    I took 3 months off of work, and to this day, I have no memory from April until around August of 2016.

    Counseling will help – it helped me. A few other things, in case no one has said them:
    – You are not expected to be okay. You do not have to “be strong” to survive grief.
    – Be patient with yourself. Like, the most patience you have ever had ever.
    – Forgive yourself when you can’t be patient or when you make a mistake.
    – You are amazing for even attempting to be functional.
    – Most people will judge how “well” you’re doing based on your standard behavior. They have no idea how much you may be struggling.
    – Grief doesn’t make sense, and will ebb and flow in crazy in unpredictable ways.

    I do recommend searching for blogs or posts about grief, study it like you would a subject in school. It helps me to this day to know that a good friend of mine who lost her dad 18 years ago still gets teary-eyed when we talk about dads.

    It isn’t something to get over, but as long as you keep moving, I hope you find your way. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Remember also, there are lots of us out there who would love to talk about dads, who are hurting and
    grieving still. We’ve hidden it away because it makes people uncomfortable after while, but you can still find us in blogs, forums, chat rooms, even Pinterest boards (SO MANY boards).

    Reply
  40. SandrineSmiles (France)

    I’m late to the part, but about OP 4, there’s that point coming up again that a manager doesn’t necessarily have to know how to do her team’s work in order to manage them.

    I strongly disagree with this even if right now I can’t be picky since I need a job. But really… if my boss/manager doesn’t know how to do my job, then how does she determine what I’m doing wrong ? I’m not saying the manager should be as good at it as I can get, but really, the manager should have an idea.

    This might sound silly but I just cannot trust someone who has litterally no idea what my job entails. Managers shouldn’t become managers by magic, and I’d hope a decent manager would take some time to learn the ropes to be able to assess things accordingly.

    (I woke up an hour ago so my English isn’t at its best today but I suppose this will do ^^;;)

    Reply
    1. OP #4

      Merci Sandrine!
      What you say is exactly what I was doubting when I wrote the letter.
      (BTW, thanks a lot, Alison, for publishing it!)

      Reply

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