my boss won’t accept my new married name, telling an interviewer that the job isn’t realistic, and more

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

1. My boss won’t accept my new married name

I am getting married in four months and changing my name to my married name. My boss asked me out of the blue last month if I planned on taking my husband’s last name. I said yes, that has been the plan all along. He paused and looked at me and very coldly said, “Don’t bank on your email or other corporate information to be changed over because I am not spending the money to have it done by our IT.: He then walked away like it was nothing and kept on with his day. I was blown away and so shocked that I didn’t say anything at the time.

Now that I am thinking about it, I am quite upset. I know to some it might seem like something so small, but not to me. I have tried to talk to him about it but he keeps just saying he won’t pay for me to change my name within the company and update my email address. I am heartbroken and not sure what to do from here. This is my identity and it will become confusing if everywhere else I am Person X but at work I am Person Y.

He won’t pay for it? It’s going to take someone about two minutes to change this. It’s barely going to register as an “expense,” so that’s a really bizarre argument for him to use. (Although even if it did cost something, it would still be a ludicrous thing to say. When someone’s name changes, you change stuff with their old name on it. That is how it works)

In any case, your boss is an ass. I suspect you already know that, since I bet this isn’t the first time he has revealed that.

As for what to say, you could try this: “Jane Warbleworth will no longer be my name as of July 10, legally or otherwise. So we will indeed need to have it changed to Jane Cumberbatch. I’ll let IT know.”

But if you’ve already talked to him several times about this (as it sounds like) … well, is there anyone else there you can talk to like HR or his boss? If so, do that. But if he’s the head guy, and this is a small business that he runs as King Ass, which seems likely, then unfortunately you might be at the limits of what you can try. He sucks — I’m sorry.

2. Telling an interviewer that the job expectations aren’t realistic

I have a doctorate and several years of experience in a medical field that is relatively rare and tends to be undervalued, and I am applying for a position at a large medical center where there is in general a high level of job satisfaction. The position is new and I have a suspicion that its integration into an existing department has not been planned with any input from someone with knowledge of my field. The mission of the department is admirable but the position I am applying for was created in a way that seems designed to fail. They are cramming 30 to 50% too many patients into a time and space that means the outcomes will not live up to their goals on any level. On top of that, it doesn’t pay very much.

I have interviewed well and believe I have a good chance of receiving an offer. If I do, I wonder if it is out of line to point out that their current expectations for the position might be unrealistic, but that I could guarantee them much better results for fewer patients vs. negligible results for the number they intend. Or should I have already mentioned this in an interview? They already gave me all of the details, so maybe it was a test to see if I would speak up sooner. I don’t want to burn any bridges because this is a company I’d love to work for, if not in this position, then to be considered for others down the line.

Ooof, this is tough. You might be 100% right, but they might not be at all receptive to hearing it.

What’s your sense of the people you’ve talked to so far? If they seem reasonable and open, and if they’ve talked about this new role as a work in progress as opposed to something with ironclad metrics attached to it, it’s possible that you could get some traction with this. On the other hand, if they don’t … well, it might be a way to lose the offer. Of course, if they’re wed to unrealistic metrics, you might be better off losing the offer anyway.

If you’re not sure where they fall on that spectrum, you could start out by asking how they came up with the patients numbers they have, and whether it’s something they’re going to revisit as they see how the work plays out once they hire someone.

I definitely would not assume that it’s a test, though. This kind of thing is virtually never a test — it would be a good way to scare off strong candidates, and employers just usually aren’t being that sneaky.

3. I accidentally charged personal expenses to the nonprofit I volunteer for

I volunteer for a nonprofit with a budget of less than $25,000/year. I got selected as the treasurer five years ago. I have NO experience. I apply for grants, run fundraising events, and help out. I’ve been doing okay with this until recently. Yearly I have an accountant do our taxes because I have no idea.

Recently I was asked to review deposits from a fundraiser that another volunteer was doing. We were way off on our record of donations. After researching the deposits, emails, and text messages, we discovered she was off by about $200. This was a record-keeping error on her part only. But while reviewing all this, I discovered four debit charges that actually were mine and not the nonprofit’s. I immediately informed our president and made restitution.

This bothered me so much that I decided to dig deeper through the bank account and found that during 2016, I used this debit card in error to the tune of $803. I’m scared and nervous. I want to tell the board now and also make immediate restitution. Most of the charges occured during the same time frame. I am sure I just pulled out their debit card in error. Do I talk with our accountant first? A lawyer? After the recent discovery, we decided a second person would have a look at all bills/debits as a precaution. Now I am embarrassed and ashamed. I look like a thief. I want to stay with this nonprofit. I’ve been with them for 20 years. Please help.

Go talk with the organization’s president with check in hand. Explain that you were so concerned by the incorrect debit charges you found earlier that you decided to do a complete check of the bank account for all of last year and you found more erroneous debits. Say that you’re horrified and embarrassed, that you’re making immediate repayment (hand over the check), say that you’ve taken immediate action to prevent this from happening again (like not carrying the debit card in your wallet anymore), and offer to give back the card back.

A small organization where you’ve worked for 20 years and that knows you to be trustworthy is very unlikely to think you were intentionally stealing, as long as you handle this openly and right away.

(I suspect some commenters are going to tell you that you need to talk to a lawyer, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do that. But this is a small organization that knows you, and I really think this will be fine if you’re open and transparent about it. Just don’t delay.)

And you absolutely must put better systems in place to ensure it can’t happen again.

4. Applying for a job where the posted salary range is too low

I am applying for jobs broadly in a specific sector where I have eight years of experience. I’m looking to shift into a new role in this field, but consider myself to be a competitive applicant. I’m looking at a job that seems great, but the posted salary range is quite low. Is it ethical to apply if my hope is that they will be willing to negotiate a higher salary? Or should I assume that if the top​ posted wage is too low that its just not the right job for me? I’m really interested to explore the role but I really can’t take that large of a pay cut and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

If the top of the posted range is too low for you, then yes, assume that it’s not the right job for you. (The only exception to this is if it’s very, very close to what you’d accept — like a few thousands dollars away.)

They’ve done applicants the courtesy of posting the salary range up-front. It would be inconsiderate to waste their time if you know you wouldn’t accept it.

5. Employee works shorter hours and then says she doesn’t have time to take on more

I supervise a very good employee. She is exempt and full-time. She is efficient, very efficient, but she rarely puts a full day in at the office. I haven’t had a problem with this because of her efficiency, and I don’t think hours worked is as important as productivity.

The issue is that lately she has been telling me that she does not have time to take on projects. But I know she can fit in more work because she isn’t working the full 40 hours she is supposed to. How do I approach this without making it seem as if my concern is that I don’t see her in the office from 8-5 every day?

Be direct! “I’m happy to give you the flexibility to work shorter work days when your workload allows it, because you’re so efficient. But when we have additional projects that I need to steer your way, I need you back to working full-time.”

If she still balks, say this: “From my perspective, it looks like you do have time to take on X and Y since you’re often able to leave early/come in late. Tell me more about what’s making you feel that you don’t the room for it.”

{ 634 comments… read them below or add one }

    1. Sherm

      I agree. And I would have serious side eye for this organization if they gave grief to a 20-year volunteer that admitted to an honest mistake and was immediately remediating it.

      Reply
      1. Newby

        It seems like if it is an amount that you can cover immediately (which you said it is), it won’t be that big a deal. It’s not good but it is an honest mistake that will be fixed. The most important part will be outlining what you are changing to make sure it never happens again.

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        1. Charlie

          And, not to dogpile, this can….never…..happen…..again. Put a giant sticker on the card. Carry it in a different wallet. Lock it in your desk. But it can’t be allowed to happen again.

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          1. Jesmlet

            Yep I was gonna suggest this. Giant sticker that says ‘Are ya sure?’ would always work for me if you absolutely can’t put it anywhere else.

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          2. Long-time Admin

            I wrap mine in a post-it – so I have an extra step to go through before I actually use it. It’s the same color as my personal card, I used it accidentally once and was mortified….the post-it wrapping has worked for 5 years now. Good luck!

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          3. Kelly L.

            They issue red sleeves with ours. So you have to take it out of this BRIGHT RED SLEEVE HEY THIS IS A RED FLAG DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS in order to use it.

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          4. JessaB

            I have two cards from the same bank, one is attached to a main account and one is attached to an account for Mr B. The card for Mr. B. I put a sticker on and put upside down and backwards in my wallet so it’s obvious it’s not the same as the main account card from which I’m bill paying. I make it extremely obvious. When I had a different wallet I stuck it behind something NOT spendy (our insurance card.)

            It’s really easy to grab for the wrong card. I also have a stop gap of putting our Paypal card in the most grabby spot (because it will automatically draw from the main account if I goof.)

            It’s hard when cards look similar to each other. Seconding advice that if you do get to keep the card, that you put it somewhere you really have to do an action to get to it and let the bosses know what you’re doing to make sure you’re not grabbing the wrong card.

            Also I have a bone to pick with your finance department. This should not be possible that you looked at a year of expenditures to find the issue. A proper accounting would require balancing each month, and balancing includes checking receipts, not just presuming every expenditure is legit.

            And obviously the finance rules of they who invoice, they who spend, do not pay nor audit, needs to be in big giant neon blinking letters (unless the finance person has photosensitivity, then no blinking.)

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            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              I think the difficulty is that there isn’t a finance department—OP is the finance department. And it sounds like there are few policies in place.

              Reply
      2. Noah

        I don’t particularly think she needs a lawyer, but the org would be nuts to trust her after this. She seems to be saying she made multiple charges on the card, seemingly over a somewhat extended period of time. It’s not so much that I don’t believe it was an accident–or that they shouldn’t believe her. It’s just that it’s not prudent to make this assumption. I would never donate to an organization that I knew kept on a volunteer who had made multiple improper charges to the org’s credit card, especially if they kept her in a finance position.

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        1. KellyK

          Certainly, they should check the records themselves and verify that there aren’t any improper charges that she *hasn’t* told them about. And it might be reasonable to take back the card. But if they investigate and have no reason to think it *wasn’t* an honest mistake, and they put controls in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again, I think getting rid of her would be excessive. If it were an organization I was donating to, I’d be satisfied as long as they took reasonable precautions to prevent it happening again.

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          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Yes, although to be fair, they should have been reviewing their billing statements the whole time! So this is a learning/growth opportunity for the NPO, as well.

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        2. DMD

          I disagree. I volunteer with a small nonprofit, and if someone came to me with this, check in hand, I’d be completely understanding. I’d just want to know what measures they were taking for this not to occur again. I did it myself once with the nonprofit debit card before I wised up and put a big mark on the card.

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        3. Biff

          We also don’t know if the employee is a little confused about these charges. For example, employee goes to the store and picks up a whole bunch of stuff for an office event/fundraiser. But, she used the same store as she usually shops, so she sees the records and PANICS thinking that “omg, I bought groceries with the company card?!” But, no she didn’t. Or maybe her boss told her “oh, and fill up your car when you get back from dropping me at the airport.” But she sees that she hit her local gas station and again panics.

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        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          In my experience, this could go either way depending on OP’s relationship with the organization. But this is a good reminder that OP should also be prepared for the worst-case scenario, which could include asking her to give up her role as Treasurer or asking her to transition out of volunteering. I think that likelihood is remote, but it’s probably helpful to think about the “worst case” so she can emotionally prepare.

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    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Agreed. This is an awful situation, OP#3, and I can imagine the stomach-knotting disappointment, fear, and guilt you’re going through right now. I’m truly sorry this happened, but I do think that going to the Board with Alison’s script and a tone that channels absolute honesty and sincere contrition will be critical.

      That said, I would bring suggestions regarding internal controls to that meeting to help explain how you’re going to help the organization avoid future problems like this one. For example:

      * Is there a policy or protocol re: who can obtain a debit card?
      * Does obtaining a copy of the debit card require you to sign an agreement regarding its use or to obtain approval from the Exec Director/Board Chair?
      * Is there a limit on the amount that can be charged/applied within a given period or overall? (i.e., is the credit line low enough to limit the potential harm from misuse?)
      * Who reviews the bills, and does the Board receive monthly financial statements to review?
      * If the organization is particularly small, does the Board also receive a copy of monthly transactions?
      * What is the internal process for auditing expenditures, and how often does a reconciliation of the books happen—quarterly? annually?
      * Should the organization consider using a company credit card, instead? [Credit cards are usually a little easier to deal with when there are fraud/misappropriation issues, and are less likely to threaten the organization’s financial bottom line.]

      There are, of course, lots of other internal controls that can be helpful, but the questions above might give you a starting point for brainstorming ways to incorporate transparency and accountability. But you can do this, and hopefully the organization will understand that this was a fleeting mistake.

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      1. Hornswoggler

        Also, put a small red sticker on the company card. It won’t interfere with the working of the card but it will be a strong visual reminder to you that it is not your personal card.

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        1. Ex Bookkeeper

          OP#1, you have my sympathy. You might want to call the accountant and ask for some advice there. It’s possible that they have wanted to make suggestions – and may even have talked to the Board – and if so, now is a good time to overcome any inertia and get some changes implemented.

          I don’t know where you are, but when I was on a non-profit’s Finance Committee I found a couple of charities whose entire purpose was to advise other charities on proper financial record keeping and security, and quite a few professional accountants, auditors and bookkeepers who worked with non-profits and had blogs full of advice and resources.

          You can get general pronciples from anyone, but some of the more technical requirements will need to be tailored to your region’s laws, and also make sure it’s up-to-date, because new laws and new precedents set in case law will change the requirements frequently.

          When I had a card for a company, I wrapped the company card in paper and taped it, like a little envelope. I had it with me for emergencies and I could unwrap it for necessary expenses, but I couldn’t possibly confuse it for my cards.

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          1. emma

            Plus one to the idea of taping something to the company card, or literally putting it in its own separate holder. I have a company card and I keep it in a separate part of my wallet, but I think taping is genius!

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            1. Kathleen Adams

              I don’t have a company credit card, but I do have a card that is just for health care expenses. I keep it in a little card holder that is entirely separate from my wallet with my regular debit and credit cards. I haven’t mixed them up so far.

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              1. EmilyHG

                I used to have a work credit card, and I kept it in a card-holding envelope so I couldn’t use it by accident. I don’t think I’d notice a sticker, but having the extra step of removing it from a sleeve was enough.

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              2. Dust Bunny

                I have a card on my mother’s account so I can do grocery shopping for her. Annoyingly, it’s the same color as my own regular card and neither has any distinctive markings, so I keep Mom’s in an inconvenient pocket behind the photo/card insert in my wallet, where I have do a lot of extra work to get to it.

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            2. BananaPants

              I keep my company card in a desk drawer at work unless I’m traveling or would have other reason to use it. Mine is blue, just like my personal debit card, HSA debit card, AND a personal credit card and it’s so hard to tell them apart at a glance. Easier to just keep it safe unless there’s a chance I’ll need to actually use it.

              Also, if my wallet or purse was to be stolen I don’t want to have to deal with replacing my corporate card on top of my personal cards.

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          2. JessieBean

            As a nonprofit employee (I’m the only one!) my concern is for the general practices of the nonprofit. For a NP that size, $800 can be a lot, and it seems like there need to be more systems oversight and reconciling the books more frequently to catch this kind of thing earlier.

            I say this as a person who used her NP credit card on accident while Christmas shopping, had to admit to it and pay for it (right away) and am now very diligent about all my online purchases and the saved CC information. My treasurer wasn’t too worried about it (stuff happens), but now we go over each expense and have an accountant reconcile the transactions every month.

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            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

              That’s a good point — the biggest issue is actually that this wasn’t discovered until now. They should work on creating a simple system to track charges and reconcile their accounts on (at least) a monthly basis.

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        2. Not So NewReader

          Yeah, really. It sounds like the company card is in OP’s wallet right next to her own card. OP can find a way to separate the two.

          It might be wise to keep the debit card at work, so OP has to take the extra step of going to work to retrieve the card before she can use it to make a purchase. Conversely, keeping the card in a small envelop might be enough of an extra step to prevent errors in usage.

          You know, OP, you might want to check your own card to see if you put company purchases on your own card. This problem looks like it has the potential to go both ways.

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          1. Detective Amy Santiago

            Agreeing with everything in this thread, but especially the suggestion to check your own account for errors in reverse.

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          2. bloo

            Definitely, OP, check your own account for business charges. You might not owe $803!

            And obviously, I agree with the advice to put extra steps in place to ensure this doesn’t happen.

            Good on you for being proactive.

            Boo-Hiss to those who do try to gift themselves from their jobs and create such mistrust that honest people are afraid/worried about coming forward to fix mistakes.

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        3. Antilles

          Another alternative is to get a different design for your personal cards. Most debit/credit card companies will gladly issue you a new card with a different style (typically for free!) if you just ask.

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          1. hayling

            I have Wells Fargo and it was free to go online and design my own card. Of course I put my dog’s face on there! It’s fun when cashiers notice.

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        4. Justme

          I like that idea. There have been a few times where I have gone for my volunteer credit card because it’s the same color as my debit card.

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      2. k

        This is a good idea. Considering you discovered this mistake as a result of a separate mistake, it seems like now would be a good time to review the organizations policies and procedures.

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        1. KarenD

          OP did say that as a result of the first mistake, all charges will be reviewed by someone else. Now would probably also be a good time for the organization to start using one of the receipt-management tracking systems (there are some great free ones) that utilize smartphones.

          I also agree with the suggestion upthread that OP go through her own bank statements to see if she can find charges that were unequivocally on behalf of charity. Even if she doesn’t ask for reimbursement (I wouldn’t) it definitely supports the truth — that the charges were inadvertent.

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          1. Candi

            I don’t see it as asking to be reimbursed.

            1) It strengthens the ‘crap, wrong card’ explanation.

            2) If she spent, grabbing a random figure, $63 dollars that were 100% definitely for the charity out of her personal account, she can ask to have the amount she owes reduced by that much. (And they can say no.)

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      3. Jerry Vandesic

        These are all great points. One outcome of this is that the board might want to do a complete audit of the financials. It would be a prudent thing to do. The OP has shown that the organization has lax controls and is unable to effectively manage expenses. The fact that the money is being repaid is nice, but doesn’t change the fact that the system allowed these things to happen, and might be allowing other bad things to continue to happen. This might turn out to be a much bigger deal than one series of inadvertent debit transactions.

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        1. LBK

          For what sounds like a pretty small organization, my gut says they wouldn’t have the bandwidth to handle that. I mean, they’ve got a volunteer with no prior experience as their treasurer; that doesn’t strike me as the kind of organization who’s got a ton of free resources to pull off of day-to-day operations to do an audit, and with an annual budget of $25k they’re sure as hell not paying an outside consultant to do it.

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          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Yeah, the organization is too small for an audit (and doing an audit would likely cost the entirety of the operational budget). I’ve worked with, and counseled, a lot of small nonprofits that are volunteer-led/driven like OP’s organization. They can often manage things well as long as they are given clear information on what “best practices” look like for an organization of their size—unfortunately, a lot of attorneys give them the same advice they’d give nonprofits with multi-million dollar budgets, and as a functional matter, the compliance issues and practices are not the same.

            That doesn’t mean the organization should shut down or merge. It means they need targeted advice/support, and they can probably get that support through a good referral to a pro bono program.

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      4. WerkingIt

        I agree. While this is an honest mistake, it’s still a very big deal. The organization has a budget of $25k and last year she spent over $800 on the card. And less than 3 months into this year she’s made 4 transactions in the card. It may be honest, but it’s also, frankly, careless. This about it. It’s over 3% of the organizations annual budget. Many people have personal and company cards and manage not to use them so regularly. Perhaps this hits a little close to home for me, but the OP needs to figure out a system that works. Like another commenter said, a simple post-it around that card or keeping it in a less accessible part of her wallet, or simply not carrying it with her all the time. But 20 years or not, as a board member I would find this unacceptable. And I would expect her to pay the money back and I’d look at previous years as well.

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    3. TootsNYC

      It is so much in your favor that you went proactively looking for this.

      That is not the action of someone who intends to skim little bonuses off their employer.

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    4. sstabeler

      It’s also worth remembering that this isn’t a case of an employee paying back personal expenses then again using the company debit card for personal expenses- this is a case of the employee rechecking their use of the card to ensure they hadn’t made the same mistake before, with the intent of repaying any amounts mistakenly charged to the nonprofit. If anything, that’s commendable, because it shows they are serious about ensuring the nonprofit isn’t out of pocket.

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    5. Elemeno P.

      Yeah, it’s an honest mistake.

      One of the senior admins was telling me about one she made that was similar to that. We have a program that all of our company charges go to (with a week or so of delay), and it sends out a notification when new charges are available. She got a notification in late December that she had new ones available, and thought, “That’s funny- I already did an expense report for the charges I made this month.”

      When she went into the program, she realized that Amazon had saved her company card information as the default, and she’d accidentally used it for a few hundred dollars of Christmas shopping. Luckily we have a protocol in place for personal expenses (in case people want to upgrade plane tickets and such on their own dime) so it was a quick fix, but she was really embarrassed…and annoyed that she missed out on all the reward points she would have gotten from her personal card!

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      1. Forever Anon

        Seconding the suggestion to keep the card at work tucked in an envelop in your desk drawer. I do this with my company AMEX and have never had a problem. When I travel out of state for the annual holiday party, and am allowed to use it for food/transportation expenses, I keep the card in the coin pouch in my wallet.

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      2. been there, done that

        I had the same problem with Amazon — I used the PTA debit card to buy books that teachers had requested, and didn’t realize that Amazon automatically makes a new card the default. And there’s not a way to give card nicknames, so it just shows you the last 4 digits of the card.

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      3. tigerlily

        This same kind of thing happened to me except it was an Amazon gift card. My company doesn’t have Amazon Prime, so we used my account in order to get our shipment faster and used a gift card. We didn’t use the whole balance of the card and just planned on making our next few purchases on my account to use it up. The gift card acts as your default payment option, but when making personal purchases I was always very diligent about checking to make sure I unchecked the gift card option and paid with my credit card. However, I had no idea that if you have a gift card on file, that’s the only way you can make digital purchases. I have an Amazon Fire Stick that’s attached to my account and HAD been hooked up to my debit card for movie rentals. But as soon as that gift card got added to my account, that became the only payment option. My husband and I rented/bought several digital purchases before we realized what was happening. As soon as I did, I just shot a quick email to our bookkeeper and ED and wrote out a check. It was no big deal, but then I couldn’t use my account for those type of things until my company finished using the gift card.

        I did complain to Amazon though. Not meanly or anything, just let them know it might be nice to always have options of how you pay for things.

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        1. Halpful

          it’s not just gift cards… my husband’s kindle started using our shared card instead of his personal card, and it took months for him to change it back successfully. (and I had to doublecheck the account just now to be sure!)

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    6. Synonymous

      One easy way to prevent yourself from using the wrong card would be to have personal cards that are obviously different colors. My work credit card is gray, but my personal is a bright emerald green. I know immediately which card I pull out because it is so visible.

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    7. candycorn

      Agreed with everyone. With a great big black sharpie, write on the card! I had to do that with my own personal cards–why do they all look exactly.the.same?!–and it’s helpful. It’s a tip I picked up from my dad, who worked for the bank where he was also a customer…making sure he kept the work lunches apart from the mulch at home depot was important. Nail polish dots can also be your friend.

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    8. Kathy

      My only suggestion would be to write everything down. When you meet, state your error, and hand over the check; follow up with an email. Later on down the road, you don’t want someone to misinterpret your payment as after the fact. That they found the error and you paid.

      Reply
  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#1, wow. Just wow. I’m hoping your organization is large enough that your boss isn’t the final word on this, because he’s being a grade A-you-know-what-else-ends-with-“hole.” What reasonable human asks about a name change and then starts channeling cold fury when their employee indicates that yes, a change is coming? (Don’t feel pressured to answer, because the answer is “no one.”)

    But yeah, this is going to be a negligible “cost” for him beyond printing new business cards. And even if it weren’t, it’s within the normal costs of doing business. His reaction is super strange, which makes me wonder what other bizarre skinflinty things he subjects his employees to in his free time. I’d ignore him and assert your new name whenever and as often as you’d like. If he brings it up again, you can always respond with a breezy, “Oh, were you serious? I thought you were joking because that’s such a strange thing to say.”

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    1. Mike C.

      Seriously. Even if the master email address has to remain the same because they are tied to account authorizations, there are things called aliases. It’s not that hard to do!

      It’s almost as if the OP isn’t the first person to change their name and software in the Year of Our Lord 2017 can adapt in these troubling and uncertain times!

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      1. Justme

        Where I work (state university) your actual user name is almost never changed, but your alias always is unless you request otherwise.

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        1. MashaKasha

          OldJob didn’t change my username or email address, either. As long as they had my correct name on things like direct deposits and W2s, I was fine with that.

          OP1’s boss is out of his mind. It costs so much for their IT to change a name that the company cannot afford it? Seems that I’ve been working in the wrong IT all my life.

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        2. Lia

          State university here and that is our policy too. They can easily change your display name to read “Jane Doe” but the email address will stay as jane.smith at university name.

          We had one staffer go through three names in two years (birth name, married, divorced, re-married) and though her email stayed the same, the display changed each time.

          Reply
          1. Justme

            You *can* get your email address changed, but University-wide IT doesn’t like to do it. My email is just my last name. I work with graduate and professional students many have multiple name changes in our system stemming back from when they were undergrads many moons ago but (most of the time) their display name is accurate. There are a few where the system doesn’t like the new name and it goes bonkers.

            Reply
            1. Bigglesworth

              I work at a private university workign with PGS students and we have the same thing. Sometimes there are issues with the display name not being correct, but that’s rare. However, the email will never change from when you first set it up.

              Reply
            2. Eh? Non Y. Mouse

              I was wondering when academia would appear in here. Many of my colleagues still have the same email with their old name in it and whenever someone gets married the jokes about the act of god it would take to get their email changed start. (as well as the resurgence of legends of the one person who managed to do it once at some fabled time).

              Reply
        3. KL

          That’s how mine is. It’s too much trouble to change the actual email address, but the I changed alias. Now, all anyone sees is “KL”.

          Reply
        4. Amber T

          IT noob here – what does changing your alias mean (compared to changing your username)? If you started work as Jane Doe and your initial email was doe at teapots, then you get married so your legal name is Jane Smith, what happens?

          No one has changed there name while working here since I’ve started, but we’ve had two instances where there were two people with a common last name employed, and when one of them left the emails were changed, but the pathways (?) remained the same. So emails were ajones at teapots and bjones at teapots, and when A Jones left, B Jones had his email changed to jones at teapot, but any email sent to bjones at teapots would be automatically sent to him.

          Did that make any sense? In any case, IT handled it in all of about 5 seconds.

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            In this context its basically just a forwarding address. At my last company, we had changed domain names so they aliased our old email addresses to the new, plus I was able to drop the number in mine. So NLastname@old, NLastname2@old, and NLastname2@new all forwarded to my actual email address, NLastname@new

            Reply
            1. Pwyll

              Technically, depending on the system, an alias doesn’t so much forward the message as deliver it to the same place. An alias is like adding “and 2” to “Mailbox 1” so it reads “Mailbox 1 and 2” on the same mailbox. Your name used to be 1, but now it is 2, but anything sent to either 1 or 2 is delivered to the exact same box. I’ve usually preferred to do this for name changes.

              There are situations where it makes more sense to setup a forwarding box. That’s where boxes 1 and 2 are entirely different different, but anything sent to 1 is copied to 2. We’ve done this for archival purposes in the past.

              Reply
              1. Natalie

                I was actually thinking of physical forwarding addresses, which work as you describe – two bits of information get an item delivered to one place. They don’t leave a copy of your mail at your old address, too. :)

                Reply
          2. Daffodil

            It’s like a business that is ‘doing business as’ (DBA) another name. You can have a business that is legally registered Johnson Technical, but the name they use on their signage and marketing is Johnson Teapots and Mugs. Email accounts can do the same thing, it’s usually called an alias. The actual email address can be Oldname@teapots.org and then they add an alias newname@teapots.org, and all the email sent to either address ends up in the same box. The user still signs in to their email account with oldname@teapots.org.

            Depending on how the business’s email system is set up, they might prefer to change the actual email address, and then add oldname@teapots.org as an alias instead. Or create two separate email addresses, but forward mail from one to the other, which is more like what the post office does when you move. It all has the same end result, and for a competent IT department it takes less than five minutes. It can get more complicated if you’re changing the name on the computer login too, or if there are other systems involved. But that’s going to be very individual to the company. Still, people change names, and companies need to have processes in place to handle that without it being a big deal.

            Reply
      2. SpaceySteph

        I had SO MUCH trouble changing my name at work. Not because they wouldn’t let me but because all the computer systems don’t talk to each other and had their own special quirks. You *would* think that since married women changing their names and existing in the workforce predates computer systems by several (or several hundred) years, that the systems would be able to do such a simple thing but sadly, no.

        Honestly, I wish my work had given me the option to keep my old name at work after I legally changed it. OP1’s boss is still an ass, but she might consider this one a blessing in disguise.

        Reply
        1. Arjay

          Yes, all I wanted changed was my name in HR – payroll, health insurance – and a new email address. They changed my userid as well, and fouled up my access to all sorts of things. I’d definitely push back on the email alias though.

          Reply
        2. BananaPants

          My computer login on most of our systems is still based on my maiden name. So my user ID and login is ParachutePants rather than BananaPants, even though my name in our HR systems and in certain computer systems is clearly “Banana Pants”.

          Causes some annoyance when I call the computer help desk; given our standard ID convention they often assume that my user ID is BananaPants but it’s actually ParachutePants. By now I know to spell it out from the start.

          Reply
      3. ThatGirl

        Yeah, at my old job we had six-letter usernames (SMITHR) that were permanent/used as a login, but your email address/name display could be easily changed – so Rebecca Smith/rsmith@company.com could be used, or Rebecca Jones, rjones@company.com, or whatever.

        Reply
    2. NoMoreMrFixit

      Changing a user’s name takes seconds. I encouraged people to email name change requests directly to me rather than go thru the helpdesk simply because it was faster and easier to do it directly. I just tracked my time and kept my boss in the loop and he was fine with that approach.

      Your boss is being disrespectful to be polite about it.

      Reply
      1. Zombii

        Weird. I can’t believe it’s really that easy. It was Simply Not Done to change one’s name in any of the systems at ExJob, regardless of circumstance—marriage, transitioning, divorce, trying to separate/hide from an abusive family, none were acceptable reasons. The only person I know of who ever managed it was a woman who worked in HR and was sleeping with a(n also married) team lead. She got a new email address after the divorce, and then again when she married the (now also divorced) team lead.

        Reply
        1. Helpdesk lady

          In Windows it is that easy. However if you have many systems that you logon to, it can take much longer. In one of our systems here, the name of the account may change, but the mnemonic has to stay the same for auditing purposes. Also, if you have a professional license it has to be changed before we can change it. So, it really depends on where you work.

          Reply
          1. Antilles

            That might be true, but based on Zombii’s description, I don’t think it’s based on any true difficulty with the system and it’s more the company being screwy – if it was really that difficult to change, they wouldn’t have done it for the HR person and if it was really based on “we need paperwork”, presumably at least *some* people would have been able to put together a combination of Social Security card, passport, driver’s license, marriage certificate, etc to make it work.

            Reply
        2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

          At ExJob, they changed the name attached to my company email without changing the email itself — I’m not actually certain that was an improvement. Sure, it was confusing having to email “Jane Whatsis” in order to reach Boochie Flagrante, but it was also hella confusing having “From: Boochie Flagrante (jane.whatsis@company.com)” in outbound emails. They were willing to change the address itself when it was initially jaen.whatsis@company.com, but apparently beyond the typo, they weren’t willing! It was weird. (It also took me 3 years with the company to get it changed at all.)

          Reply
        3. Antilles

          No offense, but your ExJob is the weird one here. Everywhere I’ve ever worked or heard of, it’s easy to let you change your last name* as long as there’s a reason behind it. Offices might require some official paperwork from a divorce court or a notarized marriage license or whatever, but that’s usually more of a formality intended to keep everything in order.
          *First names are usually just treated like a nickname, where your formal email address might still say Jennifer.Doe regardless if you go by Jen, Jenny or your middle name.

          Reply
          1. Some Sort of Management Consultant

            You’re so right!

            And even it was very complicated, it just… needs to be done. It’s not the employees’ fault that the IT structure is bad and makes it hard to do something simple like changing a name.

            Reply
          2. Czhorat

            Yes. When I changed to my married name, my then-current job even changed the email *before* the paperwork was through. They didn’t want to print business cards until it was official, but it’s an exceedingly easy thing to do.

            I think I have one login ID for a trade organization that is still FirstName@MaidenName because I never bothered to update it with them; they still list my actual name as the current one. You REALLY shouldnt’ need to fight for this.

            Reply
          3. Princess Carolyn

            Yes, and requiring official paperwork in order to change someone’s name in the system is really an unnecessary formality at that. It’s something you really should just take someone’s word on.

            Reply
            1. Bethlam

              At my company, a newly married woman has to bring me proof that she applied to SS for a name change before I am allowed to change it in our HR system.

              Reply
            2. JessaB

              Not really, if there are licences involved, for instance if Margot Smith PhD, CRNP, etc. changes her name to Margot Jones, her nursing licence and her hospital stuff would need to be the same for tracking. If you complain about a Margot Jones to the nursing board and they don’t know who she is, there’s a huge problem there. So no, the hospital would not change the ID card, or the email or anything else, until Nurse Jones brought in her new licence with the proper name on it.

              Same in some places with finances and payroll because if your SSN doesn’t match the name you’re being paid under it can trigger a fraud alert. I’m not talking the difference between Meg and Margot Smith, but the difference between Jones and Smith.

              There are plenty of legit reasons to want paperwork to change things (if the name was changed due to divorce is Margot required on the paperwork to provide insurance for her kids and her ex? Or is she removing the ex which requires a life change and proof of one.)

              Reply
              1. JessaB

                Oh and eta re the divorce, even if the employee is a good one, the office might want proof of whether she is or is NOT to keep insurance on the ex. Because you don’t want a lawsuit from ex if she lied and said no insurance but she’s required to carry. If the company had been burnt before, they might be leery in the future

                Reply
          4. Koko

            I have a coworker who misunderstood when her new hire paperwork had a line for “nickname.” So, she wrote the shortened version of her name (think Liz for Elizabeth).

            The thing is, she goes by Elizabeth. Some friends or her husband may call her Liz out of affection, but it’s not how she generally introduces herself.

            But the “nickname” field on our paperwork is intended for people who don’t go by their full name or first name, like a John who goes by Jack or a Timothy who goes by Tim.

            So imagine her surprise on her first day of work when her name in all the HR systems is “Liz” and strangers are calling her Liz! She couldn’t figure out why they would’ve taken it upon themselves to shorten her name until she realized that had been the purpose of the nickname field. It’s not meant to be a “getting to know you” question but rather a “what should we call you” question.

            Reply
            1. Breda

              Hah, a similar thing happened to me in school! My legal name is Bridget, but my family all calls me Breda. So when my mom was signing me up for kindergarten, she put both names down. Ever thereafter, my name on all the attendance lists was Bridget, but all my report cards said Breda, and since this is an uncommon name (it’s Irish), my teachers were BAFFLED.

              The side effect of this is that while I know I’m Bridget at work and Breda with my family, I could not tell you what name most people use for me.

              Reply
          5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Yes. The only places where I’ve worked that couldn’t change your account name (but could easily change your alias) were state and federal government.

            Reply
        4. Solidus Pilcrow

          Urban legend around the Giant Mega Corp I worked for was that an employee’s name was entered into the Oracle enterprise database wrong and he ended up legally changing his name to match Giant Mega Corp’s version of the name because that was easier than correcting Oracle.

          In this case, it wasn’t so much an issue with Oracle as it was Giant Mega Corp’s *bureaucracy* that made it difficult.

          Reply
          1. RachelR

            My grandpa actually did something like this. My grandma filled out his military papers for him and put his name down wrong. It was easier for him to just change his name than to change what the military had.

            Reply
            1. BananaPants

              My grandpa’s name at birth was “Robert John” but like several of the men in his family he chose to switch the order of his first and middle names at some point during childhood (and his family always called him John). His Army enlistment paperwork in the 1930s was “John Robert”, as was his application for an SSN, my grandparents’ marriage certificate, all legal documents, etc. To our knowledge he never legally changed it the way one would today, he just enlisted as “John Robert” and that became his legal name.

              I get the feeling that things were more fast-and-loose in that regard 80-odd years ago. Made it fun when doing genealogy!

              Reply
              1. Fiennes

                At least in a few states, legally changing your name *can* be as easy as using/asserting the new name for a period of years, then petitioning the state to accept the new one. With proof that this is what you’re now having people call you – boom, you’re done.

                (At least this was true about 7 years ago, when I briefly considered a name change and was living in one of these states. IDK what modifications/amendments to law may have happened since.)

                Reply
                1. JessaB

                  I had that issue. It was changed by use in NY. It was correct in the US Army and after. I moved to blitzing Florida and they wanted proof of a legal name change from a court. I had to spend 250 bucks to prove a name that even Social Security had right because birth certificate.

            2. Chinook

              That also happens with birthdates. My grandfather lied about his age to join WWII without his parent’s approval. He then demobbed and re-enlisted a few years later as a career and no one would allow him to change his date of birth to reflect his actual birth certificate, even though it was only a change of one year. As a result, every single piece of military paperwork, including his pension, had him a year older than he actually was.

              Reply
            3. Red Reader

              I did it too. I stopped going by the name on my birth certificate when I was 12, and by the time I was an adult a lot of people didn’t even know that (nickname) wasn’t my legal name. I kept saying I was going to change it someday and not getting around to it.

              So when I was 24 and my SO’s parents bought us international plane tickets for a Christmas gift (the trip was planned, with them, we just didn’t expect them to buy our tickets for us), and mine had my nickname on it, I did some research and discovered that since I hadn’t submitted my passport application yet, it was actually cheaper by half to change my name than to revise the plane ticket.

              Reply
      2. Judy

        This was from 20 years ago, so hopefully things are better now, but it took most of 3 months to have everything working for me at a large automotive manufacturer. Change the email address. Didn’t add me to the Lotus Notes groups. Added me to LN groups, but the ones I managed, didn’t add me as manager. Changed my name in system X. System X access OK, but didn’t add my name to the table that let me access program Y. Have access to program Y, can’t edit anything that is mine, because users can only edit things in their own name. Updated the travel approval system. Oh, wait that doesn’t update the expense processing system. Need to access the vacation approval system, I thought that was the same as the time tracking system.

        It went on and on and on. I was on the phone with IT every day at the beginning, tapering down over 3 months.

        Reply
    3. Cambridge Comma

      OP could perhaps also ask the IT department if there is any cost to her department for the e-mail name change, and, if not, go ahead. The boss aid h wouldn’t pay for it, not that she shoukdn’t do it.

      Reply
      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        That’s kind of what I was thinking. The boss has already shown that he’s crazypants, so I wouldn’t ask him any more about it until after I’d talked with IT. And yes, Zombii, it *should* be incredibly easy, because with something like Active Directory, you change it in one place and that’s where everything *should* pull your user name and email from.

        Reply
      2. Jake

        If I were working IT at that company and someone came to me with a story like this, especially if I knew the boss was an ass, I would just do the change for them. If the boss challenged me I would say it didn’t cost anything because I did it on my own time. Which, if I ever stayed five minutes late without pay (which, if I’m IT, I certainly have) would even be true.

        Reply
      3. Person of Interest

        My suspicion is that the company has an external IT company on contract, not in-house IT, in which case there is a cost incurred every time IT is asked for anything, no matter how small. My company has this, so we just have to be careful about batching the small, non-urgent requests. Not that the boss’s response here isn’t weirdly hostile. But there may actually be a cost.

        Reply
        1. Detective Amy Santiago

          The outside contractor was my thought as well. I worked for a small non-profit years ago that outsourced IT. I ended up being trained as the onsite administrator (creating new accounts, fixing minor errors, etc) and determining when we needed to bring in the big guns.

          Even still, it should be easy enough to slip that change into other routine work at some point. It may not be able to be immediately after the OP’s wedding though.

          Reply
        2. AnonAnalyst

          This was my thought as well. My last employer was like this and similarly batched up small, non-urgent issues. They would never tell someone they wouldn’t pay to change their name, but they might say that it could take awhile as they waited for more non-urgent issues to come through to justify paying for the IT time (if I remember correctly, the IT company charged by the hour which was part of the issue – it didn’t make sense for the company to pay $XX per hour each time they sent over something that would be a 2 minute IT fix, especially if the fix wasn’t urgent).

          Reply
        3. Nolan

          This was my thought as well. My company has a lot of clients who are small businesses and use these outside IT firms and some of them really balk at the idea of having to bring them in to work on something (sorry dude, but if your computer won’t let you uninstall/reinstall programs, that’s a problem for your IT, not me).

          OP, if your office uses outside IT, maybe wait until you know he’s going to call them about something else and then try asking to add the name change to that transaction.

          Reply
        4. Observer

          If they are paying more than $50 for this request, heads should be rolling. And that is high, by the way, and indicates a contract that needs to be rethought. But, even $50 is a joke when you look at all of the normal costs of even a minimum wage worker.

          Reply
      4. Rachael

        I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a cost to the cost center of the department for the IT services. I work in a company where they charge fees to the cost centers for tickets that are entered through the help desk.

        Reply
        1. Rachael

          I forgot to add that even if they are charged it is crazy that he is saying no. I mean, how much could it be?

          Reply
          1. Jake

            If IT is outsourced, they likely have a minimum service charge. It could easily be $100 – $200 for a single small thing. But it would be that same amount for 15 small things, which is why people are talking about batching small, non-urgent jobs. Refusing to do it at all is ridiculous.

            Reply
        2. TootsNYC

          If it’s that involved of a company, there’s probably an HR, and I’d take my request to them and not my boss.

          Reply
    4. Engineer Woman

      That last line IS excellent. I think I recall a script somewhere here on AAM that also used the “oh, that’s such a strange thing to say” phrase, which I loved and knew I wouldn’t remember it when the opportunity comes where I can or should use such a gem.

      To add onto Princess Consuela Banana Hammock, not only assert your name whenever and often, I’d go to IT myself and get your email address changed as necessary as well as ordering of any business cards or whatever – and use her line if/when your boss comes back angry.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        That’s what I would do – just go directly to IT/HR etc and put in the requests. If you hear anything else from King Ass about it then it’s a perfect time for the “I assumed you were joking” part.

        Reply
    5. Jessesgirl72

      My husband had to pay for his own business cards, so not even the expense of that, for sure!

      Changing her email address will take 2 minutes! One minute to make the request to IT and one minute for IT to do it…

      Reply
    6. Gadget Hackwrench

      I can do this in about .5 seconds for display values. Changing the actual e-mail address is slightly more complex, and not done at our organization, however the email addresses are not full names anyway. For example mine would be hackwrg@org.com. But when I send an email the name attached is Gadget Hackwrench, and when I log into programs that use the windows login, it says user Gadget Hackwrench is using it…

      So OP #1 aught to at the least be able to, even if still using a login of say, origname1@org.com have the DISPLAYED name on their emails changed to OP Newname. We don’t even need a work request to do that. Literally. They call and ask, I crosscheck with the HR database to see that the name change was made with them (otherwise I’d advise them to get their new W2s and such in first) and then type over two fields with the new name.

      This is not an issue, and not a money thing.

      Reply
    7. Marzipan

      The other thing OP #1 could potentially say in response to the boss is some variant of “Well, that will be rather confusing for clients since my name will be Jane Warblesworth, not Jane Smith.” On some level it sounds a bit like he’s saying OP can change her name elsewhere but not at work; holding the line on what her actual name will actually be might help to overcome this nonsense.

      Reply
      1. MWKate

        Right. Presumably she is not going to be introducing herself as Jane Smith. So if/when she talks to people and provides contact information, she’s going to need to explain that her email address last name is different than her actual last name. That could end up reflecting poorly on the organization as being disorganized if it goes on for too long.

        Reply
      2. Physician

        Right. One of my colleagues got married and changed her name, which took about a year between email, payroll, insurance, etc, but she could never get the scheduling system to accept her married name. So patients would get a letter/email saying, “You have an appointment on April 1 with Dr. Smith” and then she’d walk in the room with her name badge saying “Dr. Jones” and the patients would be so confused. I think most assumed that she was a newlywed, which must have made for great conversations when she was 8.5 months pregnant in that very rural, conservative Southern town.

        Reply
    8. paul

      I used to change user’s names (before we blessedly got real IT support). If I can do it–and I am basically a trained monkey that got trained via youtube and google–then surely any IT they have can do it in seconds right? This is so weird

      Reply
    9. Important Moi

      OP#1: Could it be that King Boss is not technically savvy enough to
      1- know that this is an easy fix
      2- this is not expensive
      3-would never tell OP about his lack of technical savvy?

      None of this changes anything, but I work with people who inflate their savvy until it becomes obvious they overstated what they are able to do. It can be frustrating.

      Good luck.

      Reply
    10. k

      Love that line :)

      You’re going to have to change your name on your paycheck and other official paperwork, there’s no way around that. When you’re speaking with HR/office manager/whoever handles that, you could use that conversation to ask them what else you need to do to get your name updated on all work related things. Presumably they’ve dealt with name changes before and will know exactly where to direct you. Then if boss gives you any push back about going around him, you can say you were just following the standard procedure (and include PCBH’s wonderful line).

      Reply
    11. 2horseygirls

      I worked for a community college, and never bothered changing my name when I got married. It would have taken 5 years for all the employees to make the connection from Jane Smith to Jane Jones, and it just was not worth the effort involved.

      Honestly, it took me a couple of years to get around to changing my driver’s license and social security card. :)

      When I left, I started using my married name for everything. My legal, hyphenated full name is on applications and my resume, so the college’s HR department should (theoretically) be able to provide an employment verification, but they’ve been going through staff like tissues for the last few years, so who knows if anyone there will even remember me…?

      Reply
    12. 2horseygirls

      On the other hand, I have an acquaintance who had *5* name changes in the 16 years she was with Chocolate Teapots Ltd:

      Marriage #1,
      Marriage #2,
      New Made Up Last Name That Was Never Going To Be Changed,
      Marriage #3,
      Marriage #4.

      In this specific instance, I can only imagine how badly the IT department (and the DMV, and the Social Security people, and . . . . etc. ad nauseam) wanted to Gibbs-slap her. I have known her my whole life, but told her that she was going to be New Made Up Last Name That Was Never Going To Be Changed for eternity after I lost her on the spreadsheet that I use for my personal address book one too many times!

      “Well, New Husband won’t like that.”
      “He probably should not open your mail then . . . ”

      I also told her that the courthouse was either going to give her her own lane, or put up a Wanted-style poster that said she was not allowed to have name change paperwork ever again.

      Reply
    13. Student

      Not sure this will work, but you might try to squeeze some empathy out of him by sitting down and explaining how extremely personal this is.

      “I think you’re seeing this in strictly business terms, and I understand that, but there’s more to it. When you refuse to acknowledge and recognize my name change, it feels like a rejection of my identity and a rejection of my marriage. It’s very personal and it’s hurtful. How would you feel if someone refused to acknowledge your mother by her correct name? If the business is on thin enough margins that you can’t cover this expense, can I get a quote of what the change will cost and potentially reimburse you for it out of my pocket? This is very important to me, and I’d appreciate it if you’d acknowledge and respect my legal name change going forward.”

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        “If the business is on thin enough margins that you can’t cover this expense, should I be looking for a new job?”

        Reply
    14. Want my real name on my email

      Hey there, This is mine. I am married now and still haven’t had anything changed over. He is the end all when it comes to this stuff and I am just over it. I have now been told that I have to drive him to an out of town meeting in my personal vehicle in a city I have never driven in. I only drive 2 times a week and that is when my husband isn’t able to carpool due to his days off. I hate and I mean hate driving and I just can’t do it but I don’t know how to tell them no. This isn’t the first time this has come up and I feel really really bad about saying no but I don’t feel safe doing it. I honestly feel like a baby right now. I am also currently looking for a new job since this is become the norm with him and its not a place I see myself growing anymore.

      Reply
  2. dragonzflame

    #1 – What a tool. I guess on your end you should be able to at least change the display name if you go into your settings, and you can definitely change your signature (and put ‘nee Old Name’ after it), but that could get messy for people who come across your married name and try to follow company email addressing conventions. Ack.

    Reply
    1. snuck

      IT should be able to set up a duplicate/alias account where anything going to the old name gets forwarded to the new name… it’s *normal* to do this!

      What would they do if she left the company and a new person was employed… the same thing.

      I have to wonder if he’s got a problem with the name itself? My first thought was “Is she marrying someone with a name that’s easily identifiable as a different culture and he’s acting out against that?!” … Ridiculous.

      Reply
    2. CoffeeLover

      I would sign off as “Sarah (Old Name) New Name” and leave it at that. I’ve seen other’s do it and I think it’s commonly understood what this means.

      For what it’s worth, my company took so long to change my name in the system that I actually left the organization before it was ever changed. This was 10 months after I got married. I wasn’t the only person to have that happen. I suppose I could have pushed harder, but I knew I was leaving and didn’t think it was worth the battle with IT. Workplace name changes are kind of hard. Actually, name changes are hard in general.

      Reply
      1. Jessesgirl72

        Workplace name changes are not hard. If IT is making it out that they are, the problem is entirely with IT.

        Reply
        1. Gadget Hackwrench

          Yup. Though it seems like the boss is the one making it out to be hard, rather than IT. She hasn’t even spoken to IT. This stuff is bread and butter to us… like forgotten passwords.

          Reply
          1. Jessesgirl72

            I was responding to CoffeeLover, who was accepting it as just normal and true that it’s just hard to do, and would have had to battle IT over the change.

            Reply
        2. Liane

          I read the Name Changes Are Hard phrases as “Name changes are hard **for people to get used to**” vs. “Name changes are hard **to do in computer systems.**”

          Reply
        3. Tuckerman

          I found it was easy to get my last name changed in some company systems (email, directories) but my former last name still appears in places. For example, I have special access to a portal through which I can purchase supplies at contract pricing. The company’s name change process didn’t change my name in this system. So, it might be possible, but may require leg work on the employee’s end, since not all employees use all systems and they may need to be changed individually.

          Reply
        4. CoffeeLover

          Ya… let’s just say there were some issues with IT… and the many disjointed systems we used.

          Another example: At my new company, they accidentally set me up under my maiden name. I pushed harder on this one and got it changed after about a month… but I’ve had issues with access ever since.

          Reply
      2. Observer

        Workplace name changes are only hard in that people take time to get used to them. However, there is NOTHING hard about dealing with the changes within the systems.

        If the OP is willing to keep old user names and just wants people facing stuff such as her email address changed, it’s pitifully easy.

        Either boss is being a jerk or you have very significant IT problems.

        Reply
      3. TootsNYC

        This—Sarah (Oldname) Newname—is actually what Victorian etiquette used to do.

        Well, you had your stationery w/ your name on the top, and when you married, you crossed out your old name and wrote in your new name.

        Or, if you were having new stationery made, you’d have it made up as Sarah Oldname Newname, but without the parentheses. And eventually you’d cross out the Oldname on that, until it was time to buy new stationery, and then you’d drop it off.

        Reply
    3. Want my real name on my email

      I have been doing this and have already had people confused. I deal with a lot of out side contact and he still doesn’t care.

      Reply
  3. Observer

    #1 You can almost certainly change the display of your name, so at least that should help.

    Also, do you get paid by check? Because if so, he’s going to have to change that or pay you in cash because he needs to give you something you can use / put in the bank.

    Reply
    1. Observer

      In fact, I would check with my accountant about what else needs to be changed to make sure everything is compliant from a tax perspective.

      Reply
      1. Jessesgirl72

        Technically, from a tax perspective, it’s all done by SSN. You can could being paid as Observer LastName and the IRS would still have your information. You’d just need to fill in the line on the tax form about any aliases.

        If she is paid by direct deposit, the name also isn’t likely to matter, and if he’s worried about costs, he’s long ago forced everyone there to direct deposit.

        Reply
        1. another person

          You would think that, wouldn’t you. But I definitely had to end up calling the IRS when my name changed from maiden to hyphenated when they didn’t apply my filed single estimated taxes (because I was single earlier in the year) to my joint filing tax return. 4 hours.

          Reply
          1. Jessesgirl72

            That wasn’t because you were paid in a different name. That was an error on the company’s side.

            All my pay was in my maiden name when I got married (since I’d shortly after quit and relocated) and I filed my taxes jointly that year.

            Reply
            1. Manic Pixie HR Girl

              *Usually* the first year of marriage the IRS gives you a pass. But Year 2, if your W2 and your Social Security card don’t match, it’ll kick. (Ask me how I know this … eeek … I changed *everything* EXCEPT with Social Security, whoops!)

              Reply
              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

                You were able to? When I changed my name, I had to change it with SSA before I could do anything else! (Well, other than the court paperwork, obvs)

                Reply
                1. MashaKasha

                  Same here, I had to change the Social Security card before I could change anything else.
                  Took several months to change everything and I still get occasional stragglers four years later, when my old name pops up on something I’ve forgotten to change. My old name is still on my house deed because apparently I have to take a day off work, drive downtown and go to some office to get it changed, and I keep putting that off.

                  Changing the name at work was the easiest part by far.

                2. Gadget Hackwrench

                  I just sat here and thought “I never had to do that… weird.” Then I remembered I didn’t change my name when I was married. Duh.

                  But my best friend changed her name after some dude burned down her house, and the court order on that worked fine for changing drivers license, medicaid and all kinds of things without changing it with SSA yet… In some states I guess you don’t have to do SSA first.

              2. AMPG

                One of the few benefits of hyphenation – I changed my name legally but never got all the documentation together to update HR, so I was under my unmarried name there until I left. But the IRS never cared presumably since the names were close enough and my unmarried name was the more unusual of the two. In fact, I even flew a couple of times with a ticket that had a different name from my ID, but since the first half of the name was correct, nobody cared about the second half.

                Reply
            2. another person

              Nope. I filed them all as estimated taxes because of the way I got paid, so no W-2, and I did it all correctly (switched over the filing when I changed my name/married), had my accountant husband double and triple checked. I think it might just depend on who is processing your stuff at the IRS. The problem was the IRS would not apply the estimated taxes I filed individually to my joint return until I talked to multiple different people, including supervisors.

              Reply
              1. another person

                (it may be an estimated-tax-specific, thing, though, or the person processing my returns could have just messed up on me specifically, which may not widely apply)

                Reply
          2. Purple Jello

            Yep, I had a problem about 5 years back, trying to file electronically as I had the previous at least 5 years. My name was hyphenated everywhere except Social Security, and IRS would not accept the electronic tax filing submission; we had to print & mail a paper copy, and I had to go into SSA to officially change my name there to match everywhere else. At that point, we had been married 25 years, and THAT was a fun trip.

            Reply
      2. Spoonie

        Well this conversation thread really makes me rethink wanting to get married and how romantic it all is. Because blech, taxes.

        Reply
        1. Parenthetically

          Taxes used to be my number one stressor for the entire year. I hate doing taxes. I would cry pretty much every time. Now they’re my number two stressor after dealing with US immigration nonsense after marrying a foreign national, but it’s a close call.

          Reply
        2. The Strand

          You can choose not to change your name professionally, but ask everyone in your personal life to start using your new last name “socially”, if you wish. Then you don’t have to worry about all the rigmarole of getting your name changed everywhere.

          Reply
          1. always in email jail

            That’s what I do. Work would have been fine with the name change, but it’s easier with all of the systems I log in to etc. to not have it changed or change my email. So my legal name is on HR forms/W2s etc, but my “old” name is still my email address, email signature, business cards, and how I introduce myself.
            Of course, my husband is in the same field and I’m trying to avoid that association professionally, sothat’s part of it

            Reply
          2. TootsNYC

            Or you can decide not to change your name at all, and then just never care what people do with it personally.

            Reply
        3. Natalie

          It’s more that name changes can be a pain. If you get married and don’t change your name, it’s pretty simply. I’ve had to show my marriage license to exactly 0 people.

          Reply
        4. Emmbee

          I get so frustrated reading these comments…think about all the hours women (primarily) spend on crap like this that men don’t have to. More invisible labor!

          Reply
          1. always in email jail

            I changed mine for our anniversary (first anniversary is “paper” so the gift was my new social security card) but when discussing gifts I had told him it cost approximately X amount. When he got it he loved it but was a bit confused about where the cost came from… I explained it took me 4 hours of leave to wait at the SS office to change it, and leave has value, so I assigned my hourly rate. It was important to me to demonstrate there was, in fact, a cost associated.

            Reply
            1. Sarah

              I ended up literally having to pay $180 for a legal name change because I wanted to keep my maiden name as my middle name…the state I lived in at the time I got married would let you change your last name for free, but not your middle name. Which is outrageous considering how many women keep their maiden name as a middle name — I feel like this is a totally standard thing!

              Reply
              1. TootsNYC

                It WAS a standard thing! That was how it worked in the Olden Days. You often actually dropped your middle name.

                Reply
              2. Chameleon

                That’s what I did. In the state where I married, it was free and simple to change your name to whatever when you got married…IF you were female. A man had to petition the court and pay all the associated costs.

                Reply
          2. SarcasticFringehead

            It also makes me wonder if this would be less of an issue if more women were/had been involved in the development of the various systems companies use – since men are much less likely to change their names, I imagine it might not have occurred to them that they needed to account for that.

            Reply
            1. TootsNYC

              it’s really interesting to me to keep an eye out for the things that each sex knows about that the other just doesn’t.

              Because of biology, or gender customs, etc.

              Reply
          3. MashaKasha

            I actually changed mine BACK. I’d gotten divorced, not married. I’d changed my name to my married one back when we were still in our home country and in our early 20s, so there wasn’t much to change. Didn’t change the name back right after the divorce, because I didn’t want to hurt the new ex’s feelings any further on top of having just left him. Three years after the divorce, one of my teenage sons suddenly asked, “Hey Mom, why do you still have Dad’s last name? You don’t deserve it.” My ex has a very long, very ethnic last name that takes forever to spell and for the other person to get correctly, so I was like, “consider it done, son”. It was a huge PITA to change, though, now that I was a head of household with kids, a mortgage, etc.

            Reply
    2. Belle (HR Mgr)

      Your I9 should also need to be updated, plus it will cause you less hassle if your name is showing correctly on your W2.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        You don’t have to update I9s just for a name change. It doesn’t change what the I9 certifies, which is your right to work in the US.

        Reply
      1. Rusty Shackelford

        I just tried to deposit a check made out to my child into my account, and it was rejected. Maybe yours was okay because your account used to be under that name?

        Reply
        1. Rat in the Sugar

          I think different banks have different levels of strictness. I used to work in a restaurant with someone of the same first name, totally different last name, and our managers would sometimes screw up passing out our paychecks. She once had to actually go and withdraw the cash to give to me, because her bank apparently had zero qualms about depositing a check made out to Rat in the Sugar into an account for Rat in the Barley.

          Reply
    3. MsCHX

      Almost guaranteed that no big bank will bat an eye at a different name on a paycheck. Won’t matter a bit.

      However, if she changes her name with social security and the company does not update their payroll system, they will continue to submit filings with her old name and will get warnings from SSA.

      Reply
      1. JeanB

        Yes, my understanding is that you have to have the same name on your SS card as on your paycheck. So once you get it changed on through SS, you can change it for payroll purposes.

        Reply
    1. MsCHX

      They will HAVE to change her name in payroll. The Social Security Administration will be on their back otherwise.

      Reply
    2. No, please

      When I changed my last name it was not cheap or easy for me. I can’t imagine OP’s boss going through nearly as much hassle and expense as OP will herself.

      Reply
  4. Observer

    #3 Princess Consuela Banana Hammock asked some excellent questions. There is no doubt that better controls need to be put in place. It shouldn’t have been possible for something like this to have happened. What REALLY worries me is that there could be other mistakes, and who would ever notice?

    From your Board’s point of view accepting repayment and your apology, assuming you handle it the way Alison suggests, and act with total sincerity, is the best possible outcome. They get their money back, and if they ever get audited (a real possibility) the fact that you paid it back covers a LOT. Sure, it’s not great that you “borrowed” money, but you paid it back. If you had TAKEN the money (ie not given it back), that would create a major issue for the organization. And, if someone on the board decides to kick up a fuss now, it puts them in the same pickle.

    Reply
      1. Kinsley M.

        Yea, that’s my thought as well. My husband works for a local municipality, and he’s accidentally used the city credit card a time or two. When he used to do the reconciling, he caught it within hours. He was promoted and the new billing clerk catches it within days. He always just writes a check, and gets teased a little in staff meetings, but otherwise it’s not a big deal. However, I just cannot understand how it takes years to find out. Shouldn’t some sort of audit be a part of the job as treasurer?

        Reply
        1. Mel

          I think the problem was that LW3 was given the role of treasurer with no prior experience whatsoever. So once the need for an audit was brought up (after she was checking over an event run by another volunteer), that’s when she finally did it.

          Reply
          1. k

            Yeah, plus considering how small the organization is I’m not shocked by this. If it’s a small group of people learning how to do their jobs on the fly, it’s easy to see how things will get overlooked.

            Reply
          2. AMPG

            Right, NGOs often have different levels of professionalism depending on their size (not saying that’s ideal, but it is what it is). This type of thing is much more understandable and less scandalous for a non-profit small enough to have a volunteer treasurer, but it’s still exposed the need for better record-keeping and internal oversight.

            Reply
          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Yeah. I was horrified but not surprised in light of the size of the organization’s budget. But it’s a good excuse to incorporate best practices that larger, audited nonprofits employ.

            Reply
      2. JessaB

        Yeh I said the same, I seriously have a bone to pick with finance there. Because geez, this is a non profit, they’re gonna get audited SOME day. If not regularly.

        Reply
    1. Elizabeth West

      Yes, and if you have to carry the card with you, put it in a different place in your wallet. Don’t keep it with your personal cards.

      I have my debit card in the slot with my driver’s licence–the window slot. My backup debit (a prepaid card attached to my bank account, into which I can move money but not move it back out) is in a completely different place. They also have different PINs, which means I would catch the error as I was making it, but that probably wouldn’t apply with a credit card.

      Reply
  5. Gaia

    Literally the only thing I can imagine is going on with OP1 is that this is a small company that outsources IT work and so there will be a real “cost” associated with the change.

    To which, of course, the answer is “so, what…?”

    Reply
    1. Sadsack

      Yeah, I think I’d ask if there will be a cost to the boss for having to set up a new person with email, etc., if you leave the company.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        And they may charge for setting up a new person but the charge for changing an email may be negligible, depending on their contract. The boss may not realize this.

        If the boss is that much of an ass about this (and probably other stuff), he’s going to eventually have to pay for a new person anyway. :P

        Reply
    2. Lemon Zinger

      Right! It’s like… okay, does the boss expect that employees will NEVER get married/divorced? Name changes happen all the time! It’s part of life. I mean, come on.

      Reply
    3. Want my real name on my email

      No we are one of the biggest in our category over 1000 people but they do have a “small” company mind frame.

      Reply
  6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#4, from an employer’s perspective, it’s really frustrating to get a candidate whose salary expectations are way beyond the posted range (like more than $5K over the top of the range, with caveats for the fact that the “upper limit” varies by sector/region).

    A salary range often provides an applicant with a window into the level of seniority/experience the company intends to attract. Disregarding that range usually indicates a mismatch in expectations for the role; i.e., that this is more junior-level, but you’re coming in with greater experience and trying to rewrite the position “up” the chain. Conversely, the employer might be underestimating the value of a well-qualified employee who satisfies their wish list, in which case that range signals that this is an employer who undervalues or is not willing to fairly compensate their employees… which is not great from an employee perspective.

    Is the range within the market rate for the job that’s been posted? Or is it simply low compared to your salary expectations? If it’s the former, it’s going to be even harder to try to negotiate up the salary.

    Reply
    1. rageismycaffeine

      1000% this. I had an excellent candidate for a position a couple of years ago that I was really, really excited about. We went through the whole interview process up to the offer – whereupon she told me that the salary that she wanted was more than 15% higher than the highest of the posted salary range. We’re a state institution with pretty strict salary rules, and while I could adjust it about 5%, what she was asking for was beyond the pale.

      I was so mad that she wasted so much of my time while she knew all along that the salary wasn’t high enough for her. Please do not do this.

      Reply
      1. NotAnotherManager!

        One of the reasons that I love my internal recruiter so, so much is that she covers confirmation of salary expectations in her first call with candidates. It helps not waste any interviewers’ time on someone whose salary requirements don’t align with what we’re able to offer. (Just last month, we had someone apply for a position and expected 150% of the highest salary for the position. We’re willing to work with people who are particularly strong candidates — I’ve gotten authorization to go as high as 15% over before for someone truly amazing — but I can’t magic up an extra 50% of a salary.)

        Reply
        1. rageismycaffeine

          Yup – this was my first time as a hiring manager and I learned to mention during the first-round phone interviews that the salary range was the salary range, period. It was a useful thing when we had the second attempt at hiring for this position.

          Reply
          1. NotAnotherManager!

            Oh, gosh, I could write a book on lessons-I-learned-for-next-time. :) My current recruiter has taught me a lot about hiring and handles so much of the minutia for me that I’m lucky. I tell her boss all the time what a great job she does.

            Reply
        2. Elizabeth West

          I love it when they tell me or post it and I don’t have to ask. If the minimum is acceptable to me, then I’ll go for it, but if it’s not, or if the highest figure is below my requirements, I don’t eve have to bother applying.

          Employers please tell what you’re paying!!

          Reply
      2. Trout 'Waver

        If you could adjust the top end by 5%, your posted top end wasn’t really the top end.

        That’s why candidates do this. Because hiring managers don’t post the true numbers.

        Reply
        1. Jesmlet

          Yeah 15% is very unrealistic for her to bother applying but I do agree with Trout here. I’m sure plenty of people have been in situations where they’ve negotiated beyond the posted range so they learn that there is wiggle room and it perpetuates the behavior.

          Reply
        2. rageismycaffeine

          You’re absolutely right, and I should clarify – I didn’t find out until after she’d asked for more that the 5% adjustment was even a possibility.

          And I should further clarify that the jobs were posted, with the salary range set, before I even began my position (my job and this job were actually posted at the same time, I was just hired first) – so I actually wasn’t the one who’d made the decision about the salary range.

          I learned a lot about the state’s hiring process that day. :)

          Reply
      3. Just Me

        In my current job the base pay advertised was well below market value when I interviewed. What the advertisement failed to mention is that they would add compensation based on years of experience, so I ended up getting about $14,000 more per year than was advertised.
        It’s fairly common practice with state government jobs in my area, and one of the first things the hiring manager addressed when I interviewed and he gave me some examples of what past employees were paid so I would have a realistic idea of what my pay would be.
        While I’m still paid less than in the private sector, there are other perks to the job to help compensate. And, I would have missed a great job opportunity if I’d not followed through just because of the salary posted.

        Reply
        1. rageismycaffeine

          That is super weird. How are applicants supposed to magically know that the salary range on the posting isn’t actually the salary range on a posting? I can’t imagine that they lose out on more good candidates than they run into people like you who persist and apply anyway. Interesting.

          Reply
          1. Just Me

            The beauty of bureaucracy, my friend. It would probably take a literal act of legislation to change how things are done currently.
            I was just trying to point out that there are exceptions to how firm an advertised salary can be, and it might be worth the effort to check further if the job seems like a good fit otherwise.
            There’s always the possibility it could have been a typo as well.

            Reply
      4. TrainerGirl

        I found a job posting that was exactly what I was looking for. I did an initial phone screen and found out that the salary was far below market rate for what they were asking for, so I politely declined to go any further. I got a call from recruiter a few weeks later saying that they’d spoken to other candidates and realized how much they’d underpriced the salary for that position. No one that they wanted to interview was interested, so they adjusted the salary. It’s always best to be upfront.

        Reply
  7. Gadfly

    OP1–I would also take this as a red flag. Canary in the coal mine. Whatever his problem is, do you REALLY believe it is going to stop at your name? Changing your name can be all sorts of tied up with gendered expectations both for women who do it and for men who do it. Do you think it is just the name change? I’d be watching for issues he isn’t liking you getting married for whatever reason and this was the relatively petty thing he thought he could get away with commenting on.

    Maybe it is nothing. But when people go extra nasty out of the blue, I personally think reevaluating them to see if there are other warning signs is a good idea.

    Reply
    1. Sara M

      Yeah, I bet this is one of those guys who hates hiring women in their 30s because they always go get pregnant and wreck his workplace. You know.

      (Now I’m picturing pregnant women running through the office with sledgehammers…)

      Reply
      1. Gadfly

        Or if OP is male, he is objecting to a man changing his name/being like a woman/same sex marriage…

        I’ve a couple of friends who were some of the first to get married in the brief window in UT before it closed again until after the SCOTUS decision. And the one who changed his name went through so much to do it. Because obviously women should change their name but men keep their’s….

        Reply
      2. Why Don't We Do It in the Code

        There’s nothing in the letter that says the OP is a woman. I can definitely see a jerky boss objecting to a man changing his name, couching it as a cost issue instead of being overtly homophobic.

        Reply
        1. Gaia

          Gay men are not the only men that may change their name upon marriage.

          My neighbors just got married (a man and a woman) and the man took the woman’s name because they both preferred it. My old landlords made up a new surname when they got married. It is still uncommon but becoming more common to ‘break the rules’ like this.

          Reply
          1. Arjay

            Different states have different rules regarding this. The last time I checked in Florida, men could only change their name by court order, even if it was related to marriage. Antiquated, but still in effect…

            Reply
          2. Agile Phalanges

            My ex-husband is on his third last name. When we got married, we combined our last names–a few letters from his and a few letters from mine combined to make a very nice last name (which I have kept even though we divorced, and might keep even if ever re-marry), whereas his was RIPE for teasing, and mine was meh. We divorced, he re-married, and when he and his new wife got married, they both changed their names to an entirely different name unrelated to either of theirs, but it was his mother’s maiden name (and she went through four last names in her lifetime), and their son shares that name with them. We got married in CA, and although the SSA gave us a hard time (claimed we couldn’t drop letters from our combined last name, but when I asked if we could both just change to “Smith,” she said that would be fine, so I said forget the back story, and we both just want to change to the new name. She got a supervisor, and eventually got it done), we didn’t have to have a court order or anything. He got re-married in Oregon, and I don’t know for sure, but don’t think he had much hassle there, either.

            Reply
          1. skunklet

            I had a male college professor that hyphenated his name to match his wife’s hyphenated name when they got married – this was back in the 90s…rare, but it does happen.

            Reply
    2. Geoffrey B

      #1: I agree 100% with everybody who’s said that this is a red flag about the manager’s personality. But it also has me wondering – what sort of terribly-written HR/IT systems would they be using that “person changes names” requires costly intervention?

      Reply
      1. Trout 'Waver

        If they outsource IT and pay an hourly fee per service, it could cost the company money to have to change it because they’d have to engage a support person at the IT firm.

        Reply
        1. Observer

          Even so, you shouldn’t be looking at more than a (very) few dollars. If it’s more than that, this place has some pretty big problems.

          Reply
          1. JessaB

            And it’s not the same as “wait til we have an IT batch of stuff.” This boss for whatever weirdness said NO outright.

            Reply
    3. Artemesia

      I didn’t change my name 45 years ago when I got married and put up with all sorts of crap in the south about it over the years. Your boss #1 is a total jerk showing you utter disrespect. A woman can’t win on this one can she; women who keep their names take crap over it and women who follow the traditional norms and do change them sometimes do too. This is one to calmly proceed with; get it changed in payroll; talk to the IT guy about changing the email; if it really does get blocked there, figure out how to display name your correct name. And buff up that resume with your new name and find a better place to work.

      Reply
      1. Temperance

        Yep. I didn’t change my name – my husband wasn’t dropping his bachelor name, why should I? I’m in the northeast, and I’m still an outlier.

        Reply
        1. Detective Amy Santiago

          My sister hasn’t changed hers legally because she built up a professional reputation under her name before she got married. She does use her husband’s name socially though.

          Reply
          1. Gaia

            My best friend is dealing with this after a divorce. She was being told she needed to go back to her maiden name but she has built a professional reputation under her current surname so she decided to just keep it.

            Reply
            1. TK

              I have a colleague who recently got remarried after a divorce. She kept her old married name even after the remarriage, both for professional reasons and because she wanted to still have the same last name as her kids.

              Angela Merkel is a good example of a famous woman who did the same thing. She entered politics long after divorcing her first husband, whose name she took, but before marrying her current husband, by which time she had a well-established career and wasn’t going to change her name. Also there’s Faith Hill, whose last name comes from a brief pre-Tim McGraw marriage.

              Reply
              1. always in email jail

                I did the same thing. established my professional reputation after a divorce. I’m remarried and changed it legally, but stick with my old (ex-husband’s) last name professionally.

                Reply
            2. Agile Phalanges

              I didn’t really have a professional reputation to worry about, but I kept my married name upon divorce, and will probably keep it if I ever remarry at this point. I was 21 when I got married and changed my name (to a joint name that took pieces of both our names), and loved my new name and much preferred it. I started a job that had another person by my first name already, so got called by my last initial and that form of my name grew on me too. When we divorced, I didn’t even entertain thoughts of going back to my maiden name, between the hassle and liking my current name even if I didn’t like the man who shared it with me much anymore. Then he and his new wife changed their names when they got married and had a son together who also shares that name, so the son I share with the ex was the only one in that nuclear family to have a different name, and then I felt like even if I remarried (I was dating someone seriously for a while there), it’d be a form of rejection of my son to change my name and leave him stranded as the only person on the planet to have that name. So. Now that I’m in the realm of 40 and not dating anyone, it’s not likely I’d change my name at this point in my life. I suppose if my son changed his last name and I met and married someone either whose name I really liked or we came up with a new name we liked and I thought worth the hassle of changing it, I MIGHT, but chances are I’ll stick with this one the rest of my life even though it started as a married name with someone I’m no longer married to. After all, it is MY name now.

              Reply
            3. Artemesia

              You have to affirmatively change it at divorce if you want to; it is easy to do and basically free to change it back at divorce. But if you don’t do that, you keep the married name. I know people who did that and when they remarried still kept the first married name because of their kids and their profession.

              Reply
            4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              If it’s good enough for Susan Sarandon and Connie Britton (who both divorced their first husbands but kept their married names), it should be good enough for everyone!

              Reply
          2. Jesmlet

            My mom didn’t change her name over 25 years ago when my parents married for the same reason. Plus she’s a professional singer and appearances matter in opera and she would’ve been changing her last name from one obvious race to another and it would’ve affected her career.

            Reply
          3. Evan Þ

            My sister just got her first work (a poem) accepted for publication; she decided to do it under a pen name so as not to cause any problems like that in the future.

            Reply
          4. Kj

            I’m in that boat. I have licenses and degrees in my name that are a PAIN to change/require proof of name change every time you renew. I told husband if he wanted us to have the same last name, he could change his. He didn’t care, so we have different last names. The only time someone bothered me about it was when I was at the post office picking up a package and the lady was weird about a husband and wife having different last names.

            That said, I respect that women want to change their names sometimes and believe that employers should respect that as well. The OP’s boss is being a jerk.

            Reply
        2. Czhorat

          There’s no need to have to.

          My wife had built up a professional reputation under her name, more so than I had. She hyphenated for a while, but eventually I just changed mine to match hers. And my employer didn’t whine about the cost.

          Reply
        3. hermit crab

          Me too! And I got married in 2015. The only person who is allowed to refer to me by my husband’s last name is my grandma, because when she does it it’s super tongue-in-cheek. I’m always surprised when other people are surprised that I didn’t change mine, maybe because my mother never changed hers either.

          There’s a NYT piece from a couple years ago (called “Maiden Names, on the Rise Again” if you want to search for it) with some analysis of name-changing trends. I thought it was pretty interesting. Apparently there was an increase in name-changing in the 80s/90s, but now name-keeping is on the rise again.

          Reply
        4. Parenthetically

          I didn’t change mine legally because it was too much hassle. I go by Mrs. Brackets at work (I’m a teacher), and people refer to us as the Brackets Family, but in a legal sense I’m Jane Parenthetically. My aunt has done this for 20 years — She’s Maria Burns professionally and legally, but Marie Robbie in her personal life.

          Reply
          1. LawBee

            It’s apparently very easy in my state. My friend got married, changed her name to his, got divorced, changed it back, got married again and changed it to her new husband’s name. Whew! I’ve known her forever, and still think of her as Friend Original LastName (I hate hate HATE the term “maiden name”)

            Reply
            1. Parenthetically

              I didn’t look too far into it, just thought about the sheer number of things I’d have to change (bank accounts, investments, driver’s license, passport, social security number, credit card, and on and on) and just decided I didn’t care even to start the process!

              Reply
          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            But does she passive-aggressively change your last name in correspondence? (e.g., holiday cards)

            Reply
            1. Anony-turtle in a half shell!

              Mine does. My husband and I both changed our last names when we got married, so she passive-aggressively assigns us with my husband’s former last name. No one on my side of the family has ever done that for either of us, but his side does it all. the. time.

              Reply
        5. Elizabeth West

          I WANT to change mine because it’s long and unwieldy. I’m hoping to marry someone with a short last name (although I’m really glad I didn’t marry a guy I used to date whose last name was Butts).

          Reply
      2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        My stepmother did the same in the 90s and still got a load of crap over it. I mean, she wasn’t a nice lady, but I’m still beansteamed on her behalf that people had So! Much! Trouble! with her keeping the professional name she’d built a reputation with instead of going with her new husband’s (constantly misspelled and mispronounced) name.

        Reply
      3. SpaceySteph

        With regard to “And buff up that resume with your new name and find a better place to work.” might OP want to keep both names on her resume or otherwise indicate her maiden name. If a prospective employer calls this job looking for a reference for Jane Smith and her name in the system is still Jane Jones, it may be difficult to get that reference– even the “I can confirm Jane worked here from X date to Y date” reference.

        Reply
        1. Epsilon Delta

          Well that would be true of any place she’s worked or obtained education under her original name. Usually they will ask you if there are any other names you’ve gone by, if they don’t you can/should certainly bring it up when they ask for your references. I have never heard of married women (or anyone who’s changed their name) putting two names on their resume, that seems odd.

          Reply
        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          My experience is skewed, but I’ve never seen this happen. Oftentimes folks will contact their references to let them know they’re on the job hunt, and that’s the time to let your reference know if your name changed. But regardless, it would be a little unwieldy to write “JANE TARGARYEN (NEE STARK)” on your resume and would look like you’re strangely concerned about your married-name-change.

          Reply
      4. NotAnotherManager!

        I didn’t change my name about 15 years ago, and the all-sorts-of-crap-in-the-South has not abated. One of my relatives told me that if I “didn’t respect my husband enough to take his name, [I] shouldn’t have married him.” My own mother tells me she’s “not sure what my name is, exactly” (hint: you filled out the birth certificate, Mom), and I routinely get things addressed to Mrs. HisFirst HisLast, Mrs. MyFirst HisLast, and Mrs. MyFirst MyLast-HisLast. My family is also terrified that I’ve “offended” his family by keeping my name. (I tell them I produced the only granddaughter, so I think I’m square with my MIL.)

        I am so glad I live in an urban area where having a different last name from my husband is unremarkable. I wish I’d pushed harder to give the kids my last name.

        OP #1’s boss is an ass. When someone tells you what name they prefer to be called (or, you know, are LEGALLY adopting), that’s what you call them.

        Reply
        1. Dust Bunny

          It’s not just the South, BTW. My mother’s family in the northeast had a freaking fit when my brother got married and hyphenated with his wife’s name. My uncle actually had the nerve to call my brother “whipped” to my mom.

          Reply
        2. Songbird

          I really hope that relative attended your wedding, so that you can remind them that they didn’t seem to have a problem with it while they were eating a free slice of cake.

          Reply
        3. Artemesia

          In my huge extended family in 14 marriages, 7 involve women who have kept their names — no divorces in that group (my marriage is 45 years with own names and others are of long duration as well). Of the 7 in which the woman took the husband’s name, there are 5 divorces.

          This is anecdote not data — but I always laugh when people argue you don’t love your husband or commit to marriage because you keep your own name.

          We hyphenated our kids and always got ‘but what about when they marry?’ I figure they are smart enough to figure it out; the Spanish do it just fine. My son married a woman whose own parents kept their names and gave their kids his name; she kept her name as did my son keep his hyphenated name. My daughter’s husband created a new family name with her maternal last name (first half of her hyphenated name) and his paternal (and only name). So they are no the Mylastname-Hisfather’slastname family. They wanted to have a single family name.

          I was fine with whatever my kids choose.

          Reply
        4. Chinook

          Some people just feel the need to have an opinion and express it. I had the exact same thing happen to me when I moved to Quebec and dared to have changed my last name to my husband’s before I arrived (because, in that province, you don’t legally change your name when you marry unless you do it through court system).

          I got backlash from both men and women (including the lawyer I made rewrite our real estate contract because he assumed my middle name was my maiden name) about how I obviously didn’t respect myself or where I came from if I chose to change my name. Or they just assumed DH and were brother and sister because no self-respecting female would have the same last name as her husband.

          Don’t even get me started on the people who issued my driver’s license who wouldn’t accept my passport and out of province driver’s license as proof of my legal name because it didn’t match my birth certificate (which was the only I.D. without a photo on it). I literally had a legit double identity with corresponding government issued documents with two different names on it. It just made me want to cling to my married name even harder.

          Reply
      5. Cove

        I hyphenated mine and while getting it changed wasn’t too awful (the guy at the social security office tried to claim his computer couldn’t ‘handle’ hyphens but I just stared at him until he did it), but I swear no one understands how hyphenated names work. They don’t know how to file me alphabetically, they drop the first part and just call me by the last part of the name. Computer systems won’t accept a hyphen. It’s 2017, people. This is not that hard.

        Reply
        1. Judy

          Which reminds me of another ‘gotcha’ I experienced. I changed my name to be ‘Judy Maiden Married’ with the expectation that Maiden would become a middle name. Well, one airline’s frequent flier account decided my last name would be two words. I kept getting rejected as not matching, but in their internet portal they didn’t split the fields, so I just saw ‘Judy Maiden Married’ as the name. The tickets were issued as first Judy, middle Maiden, and last Married, while the FF plan had first Judy and last Maiden Married.

          Reply
        2. AMPG

          My hyphenated name combines my multisyllabic, ethnic, name with my husband’s short, standard-English, name (imagine Sarah McLachlan marrying Tom Jones to become Sarah McLachlan-Jones). People look at the name, clearly think about attempting the first part, and give up and just call me “Mrs. Jones.”

          Reply
        3. Artemesia

          Years ago at my pediatricians office we kept having the kids called by the wrong name, so I set out to fix it. They wanted the father’s name for billing — I insisted they put the kids’ name on their folders so the kids would be addressed properly and if we got bills in their name we would of course pay them. Then the clerk said ‘but the As are in Blue folders and the Bs are in Yellow folders’ (assume a hyphen A-B where B was the Dad’s name.) The pediatrician shouted from her office in the back ‘make a new damn folder.’ Seemed a good idea to me.

          Reply
      6. Observer

        People can be really strange about this.

        I remember when I was in HS (over 30 years ago) one of our teachers got married. After a couple of weeks she told us “Girls, when you call ask for me by first name, or by my married name. My husband gets offended when you use my maiden name.” What was really interesting was that my mother was very sympathetic to Husband, but my father thought he was being an insecure idiot.

        Reply
        1. My AAM is true

          When my ex and I were considering marriage, we had a fight about names. I thought she should keep her beautiful surname rather than changing to my difficult-to-spell difficult-to-pronounce easy-to-tease surname; she felt rejected.

          We did not marry; unmarried, she had a child, who bears her surname. Said child wants to change her own name, but only to change first and middle. She’s also dating a guy with a hyphenated name. This stuff is complicated.

          Oh, and that surname itself was only invented three generations back, as a change from an ethnically-discriminated-against predecessor.

          Reply
      7. ancolie

        Funnily, my mom was really the only person upset that I kept my name. Even my grandma (in her mid 80s then) had no issue with it.

        After appeals to tradition etc. didn’t work, my mom tried to convince me by saying, “I just think it’s nice when you have the same name, as a unit.” To which I replied, “then he could change his name to mine instead!”

        … she… did not like that. It was hilarious!

        Reply
          1. GirlwithaPearl

            Sometimes women are the strictest enforcers of patriarch, especially when their daughters are involved

            Reply
        1. Violet Rose

          One of my friends tells a very similar story about her parents! FriendDad said he was really attached to the idea of everyone in the family having the same name, so FriendMom said, “Oh, honey, I had no idea it meant so much to you! Well, in that case, you can change your name to mine :D :D :D”

          Funnily enough, the subject quietly faded out after that. (Friend has her mom’s name as a middle name and dad’s name as her last name, but has been known to write out her full name)

          Reply
      8. ali

        Yep, I had a coworker who was getting married over a weekend and she came back to work and everything had been changed to her husband’s last name – when she had decided to keep her own name professionally and legally. The boss was a Gen X female, too, so it was kind of surprising that she took it upon herself to have this person’s email and everything updated without asking coworker first.

        Reply
      9. JanetM

        I didn’t change my name when I got married 25 years ago, also in the south, and took some heat for it (more from my mother than from my mother-in-law, oddly). My reason for not changing was, “I have almost 30 years of records in this name and I have enough trouble getting people to change my d*** ADDRESS.”

        The desk clerk at the courthouse told me that if we didn’t have the same name, we couldn’t file joint tax returns. (A quick call to the IRS put paid to THAT notion.)

        My husband’s dentist’s office initially didn’t believe I was his wife, and the receptionist asked me if it was legal to not change my name when I got married. Their bookkeeper somehow managed to properly connect the two records for insurance and billing, so that was good.

        And the only optometrist in town that took his vision insurance ordered my glasses under “HisName, dependent of” — no part of my name anywhere! — which meant it took months for me to pick them up, because I was asking for “Janet MyLastName.”

        Fortunately, this was all before I started working at my current employer, so there haven’t been any name issues there.

        Oh, and when we bought our house in 1994, we had to sign a form declaring that we were married even though our names are different.

        Conversely, my husband has, all his life, gone by his middle name, because his first name is the same as his father’s, so some of his records are FirstName MiddleInitial LastName, some are FirstInitial MiddleName LastName, and some are just MiddleName LastName. That gets confusing sometimes.

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          I got married 26 years ago, and though there were people who simply assumed I’d change my name (the clerk of court had to reissue our marriage license because he forgot I’d told him I wasn’t changing my name after the wedding), it was NOT some weird novelty.

          Those people you encountered weren’t encountering something new; they just didn’t like it, and so they refused to absorb anything about it.

          Reply
      10. Honeybee

        I changed my name legally (Jane Johnson) but I still use my original last name professionally (Jane Smith). My last job gave me all kinds of crap about changing my name; my supervisor went so far as to say I shouldn’t have changed my name at all. And she was a woman who had changed her name after her first marriage. The admins kept insisting that it was so confusing that I had a different legal name than the name I went by.

        I now work at a different company and they didn’t even blink an eye when my professional name was different from my legal. My alias in the system is Jane Smith, so when people email me they simply type Jane Smith and I pop up. My email address stem is a shortened version of my legal name (jajohn @ mycompany.com), but so many people here of all genders have different permutations of this issue – they go by their middle name or a nickname, their legal last name is hyphenated but their professional one is not, etc. – that nobody really thinks anything of the fact that my address stem doesn’t exactly match my name. And in the rare case that it comes up, people simply ASK! I literally never have a problem.

        Reply
    4. Lefty

      As someone going through this- now 2 years out from said marriage- I agree. OP1, consider looking out for other warning signs on this… at first, my boss refused to acknowledge my new last name because in his opinion, I didn’t “really take husband’s name”. I changed my legal name to Lefty Oldname Newname, with no hyphenation. He has refused to authorize IT to make the changes for email as well (which is required by our IT policy prevent use of nicknames *eyeroll*). I have changed all signatures to my legal name of Lefty Oldname Newname and use it in all legal documents.

      This quickly progressed to my boss refusing to use my legal name in introductions or meetings. He will introduce me as Lefty Oldname and I now smile and say, “It’s been Oldname Newname for a while now, thanks!” He has also started making comments about me being ungrateful because I’m not “considering his needs when planning a family” (ew) and how he hopes his retirement will come before I announce a pregnancy so he doesn’t have to “deal with that again”. He must be referring to past employees about this because I’ve never been pregnant.

      Luckily HR was more helpful- my tax documents were all updated within 60 days. They’ve also been supportive in giving me information on how to make formal complaints about the other issues I’m now facing with him. OP1, I hope you only have to deal with this in regards to the email deal… just know that if it’s anything more, this site has been a reminder to me of what a sane situation would look like!

      Reply
      1. JMegan

        The mind boggles. I’m so sorry you have to deal with that. And also sorry to hear that there are at least two people in the world who behave this way!

        OP, I have a feeling that even if you resolve the email issue with your boss, it’s going to come up again in other forms. To paraphrase another AAM commenter, “no one is that awful just once.” Your boss sucks, and he is going to continue to suck, whether he gets his way on this one or not. Good luck, whatever you decide to do!

        Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Lefty, I’m so sorry. Your boss sounds so selfish and unkind—no one should have to work for someone who’s this ridiculous.

        Reply
      3. Honeybee

        Because of course your boss’s needs should come first when considering how to plan your family and manage your personal life!

        What an ass.

        Reply
    5. Sylvia

      Yes. He’s oddly angry about you getting married. I won’t speculate about reasons for that because I’m not there in real life myself, but OP, watch out because there may be more strangeness where this came from. Whatever personal problem is making him so invested in your name is probably not going to disappear once the name issue is resolved.

      Reply
  8. Gadfly

    OP2: My husband was an RN. He worked for a time in a space such as you are describing being created and it was HELL. That the rest of the hospital was great did not improve his life or the experience of the patients.

    Can you try to put the ball back in their court– something like “at this time I do not believe the department as described is a good fit with my experience and goals at this time, but I hope that we might be able to work together later” perhaps? Is there something that politely says there is a problem there but leaves it up to them to ask/investigate what is wrong?

    Reply
    1. MK

      The problem is that OP wants the job, just not as advertised. It’s going to difficult to say something without it coming off as “I want to work less”, while it would be much easier to point out the unrealistic expectations when declining the job.

      Reply
      1. Grits McGee

        Agreed- it’s the difference between OP saying “I’m not going to be successful fulfilling the requirements of this position” and “No One is going to be successful fulfilling the requirements of this position.”

        Reply
  9. eplawyer

    #1 – oh good grief. He has some serious hang up with someone else’s life choice. It’s your name, you get to decide whether your change it or not.

    #3 — you are not a thief. You made a mistake. Obviously controls need to be put in place, but mistakes happen. I am always amazed at nonprofits that have been around for awhile and yet have very few protocols in place. “well, we are volunteers and committed to the cause, no one would do anything to harm the organization.” Written protocols are a good idea, especially where they concern money. FWIW, if I were on the board, even though $803 is a lot of money, I would accept payments if it would be a hardship to pay it back all at once.

    Reply
  10. Undine

    #5 I don’t know about other people, but I find it very hard to work at full throttle for 8 hours. I need downtime to refuel. I can be very fast for a shorter period of time, but extending my hours wouldn’t necessarily mean I would get more done, it would just mean I would get the same amount done more slowly. So it’s not just time in seat, it’s a complicated calculation where time, energy, and focus all play a part. I also spend time thinking about work when I am not at my desk, and for some types of work that “rumination” time can be absolutely essential. Or she might be willing to work fast if it gets her some free time for something she’s passionate about & not willing to put forth an extra effort if she’s going to have to work 40 hours a week regardless. (And actually, in my case, in earlier years, I lost time to fighting with suicidal depression, so it took a lot of energy to “repair” myself from a day’s work, and put myself back together to show up as functional the next day. I found being in the workplace physically draining for many years. My ultimate solution was to be a freelancer — I was poor, but I didn’t have to worry about anybody paying me for time I wasn’t working.)

    Are you giving her this work because it needs to be done & she’s the right person to do it, so you would be giving it to her even if she wasn’t so efficient? In that case, work with her as you would work with anyone else, and figure out how to prioritize and make sure she can do all her existing work and add in these projects. But if you giving are her the work because you think of her as “free” because she is in the office less than some other people, then you might want to rethink your approach.

    Of course, it may also be that she is fully capable of working more hours and just doesn’t want to. But I would go into it with an inquisitive mind, and when you ask Alison’s question, do it to learn what’s going on, not to get the result you want.

    Reply
    1. Just a Thought

      I was wondering along s similar vein. Is she currently producing the same volume of work as her co-workers. Would theses extra projects mean she is doing more work than them?

      I’ve worked with some super lazy people who can physically be in the office for 8-9 hours and get nothing done. Meanwhile I kept getting more projects because my bosses knew I’d figure out how to do it all. Now I did get some promotions, because of this, but maybe she’s happy at her level.

      Reply
      1. Mookie

        I think this is one of several crucial components. If these projects are being theoretically allotted to her because she produces stellar work on a much more efficient timeline, is there a way the LW can entice her to stay at that level and pay grade while performing significantly more tasks than her peers? Because it sounds like the LW would hate to lose her, but very may well if, as they fear, she will interpret this as a roundabout way of forcing her (back?) into an 8 to 5 schedule. Alison’s framing undercuts that nicely by reiterating what is reasonably expected of her, workload-wise rather than schedule-wise. If that workload becomes really disproportionate though, the LW will have to consider whether the employee might decide to move on.

        Reply
        1. Tuckerman

          Something I was wondering, is it possible she is completing some work off site? She might be picking kids up from school at 3 and then working once they go to bed.

          Reply
          1. Zombeyonce

            I wondered about this. My coworkers probably think that I don’t work a full 40 hour week because I leave 30 minutes before they do when I’m in the office and come in either on time or under 15 minutes late. What they may not realize is that on my 2 work from home days, I start early and work through lunch and breaks, which easily gets me to 40 hours.

            Eek, now I’m wondering if my new manager realizes this or thinks I’m a slacker. I hope he’s not the OP!

            Reply
      2. A.

        I wondered about this too, especially if she’s already been given the message that productivity is more important than hours spent butt in chair. In my experience, it’s demoralizing to be told productivity matters while being expected to handle triple the workload of two of colleagues who work their 40 hours exactly but spend much of that time socializing and being unproductive. In my case I get my heavier workload done despite taking time a couple days a week for medical appointments that are none of my boss’s business, but it takes a lot of energy.

        If the employee is the best person to handle the work it’s of course appropriate to have this conversation, but please be open minded about what she needs in order to perform well and don’t drive her off by expecting more of her than you do from others while sending mixed messages about productivity being important when what you really want is 40 hours in the office.

        Reply
      3. Natalie

        “Now I did get some promotions, because of this, but maybe she’s happy at her level.”

        Regarding this, the kind of extra work matters, too IMO. I’ve been in this employee’s position, where I was very efficient and could get all the tasks done in my topic area in less than 40 hours. There simply wasn’t any more accounting work to give me because of the way the job was structured, so if I had asked for more projects I would have gotten scut work that I’m not interested in and won’t benefit me professionally. Whereas if I had been in your position and a promotion was a real possibility, I would have gladly taken on stretch projects to get there.

        So if the extra work the LW has is scut work, think about whether or not you want to load your best performer with that kind of mind numbing stuff. They’ll be more amenable to it if you what you have to offer is at least challenging or prestigious.

        Reply
      4. ali

        This. I work by far less hours and slack off more than my coworker. I also produce more and at a consistently higher quality. We are the same level. If you’re giving me more projects or complaining about my hours, you better be either giving him more too or giving me more money.

        Reply
    2. Hannah Kilcoyne

      I thought the same thing. Maybe when the employee says she doesn’t have time, she really means she doesn’t​ have the energy. I have a high output, but I am like this. My level of energy/focus is not linear. I get most of my work done in the early morning, and by late afternoon my brain is done. I don’t leave the office, I usually catch up on email or work at a slower pace. But if you tried to assign me a new project to work on in the afternoon, and assumed I would be as productive then as in the morning, it would not go well.

      Reply
      1. Anon10111973

        Very much this.

        If I am allowed a solid 5-6 hours and take a 2-3 hour break and I can then go another 4-5 hours and produce excellent work. However, 8 hours with an hour lunch to disrupt my flow knocks me down to 4-5 hours of good work and 3-4 hours of piddling around and a lot of AAM.

        Reply
      2. Horse Lover

        I am just like this too! I get so much done in the mornings and I can kind of squeak out more for an hour or so after lunch–but past that? My brain is done. I’m in a “slump,” I’m not sleepy or worrying, I just have no focus/energy left to give.

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      3. Blue

        One caveat — she’s salaried, and she’s not working even 40 hours. Usually it’s set up that way NOT so the salaried employee can get away with never working a full 40 hours but because they often are expected and do work MORE than 40 hours. I’m just putting it out there because no one else is and it’s kind of a fundamental that salaried employees work until the project is done. If she’s not working even 40 hours and refusing to take on projects that fall under her there does seem to be an issue here.

        Reply
        1. Alice

          I would agree with this if her manager was dissatisfied with her overall performance. But it sounds like they’re not–her output is good, her productivity is good, they’re satisfied overall. That makes me think that this employee IS fulfilling all job expectations as they currently stand, and working until her assigned projects are done.

          If these new projects are things that should be going to her, then yes, ‘salaried’ means she needs to figure out a way to handle them even if it takes her over 40 hours per week. But if she’s doing the full workload expected for her role and her manager is just hoping to squeeze a little extra out of her by giving her more projects than anyone else, that’s not cool, and her manager should be wary of chasing away an otherwise high performer.

          Reply
          1. mf

            “if she’s doing the full workload expected for her role and her manager is just hoping to squeeze a little extra out of her by giving her more projects than anyone else, that’s not cool” –> If this is the case, she’s basically being punished for being a better worker than her colleagues.

            We’ve talked about this before, but it seems to be a common managerial mistake that a boss will see a high performing employee who works really and decide to give that person more work than his/her peers since the boss knows High Performer will get the job. But of course, all that does is destroy High Performer’s morale and cause him/her extra stress. High Performer looks around at their lazy/less efficient colleagues and thinks, “Wait a sec, why I am doing double the work of everyone around me? How in the world is that fair?”

            Reply
            1. Chickaletta

              ^^This. I just can’t understand why a good employee who is doing everything well and is efficient on top of that is being given more work, especially if you care more about output than time spent in the chair. We all know that a job might take one person 8 hours and another person 4. From a dollars and time standpoint, I get why you want to give her more work, but from her standpoint it’s punishment to be told to work harder and longer for the same pay.

              If you force her to take on more work to fill her day, you’re setting her up for burnout, being demoralized, and ultimately looking for another job where the workload isn’t as taxing or where the pay fits the output. Then what? Now you have to fill a position that takes the average person 60 hours a week to do. You’re going to put yourself into a fix in a year or two if you load down this employee.

              Reply
              1. MsCHX

                Doesn’t sound like it’s to “fill her day”. Sounds like her *manager* has an extra duty she needs this employee to handle and so she should. Especially since she is exempt. And especially since she does, literally, have the time.

                Reply
        2. NotAnotherManager!

          Yes. Someone consistently not putting in a full work week AND turning down projects that I ask them to do would not work for me. I am pretty flexible with my exempt employees’ hours — the need to meet the needs of their teams, and they need to be responsive to customer requests (and this will include time outside of normal business hours in our industry). I need them to be flexible with me, so I try to afford them the same courtesy. I’m happy to reward high-quality, efficient employees with better salary and bonuses than others, but they do not have the authority to work less than full time and turn down projects to allow for it.

          Reply
        3. Artemesia

          This. The boss should take a good look at output though and be sure he doesn’t expect twice as much work from her because she is efficient unless she is rewarded for it.

          Reply
    3. WhirlwindMonk

      Exactly. I could probably get done all the work I do in an 8 hour day in 4-6 hours by going full throttle. The reason I don’t is exactly what is happening in this letter: management would try to give me more work to fill that extra time, with the result being that I would burn out in just a couple days. If I worked for a mystical unicorn manager like OP that recognizes that results are more important than hours, I’d be tempted to put in that extra effort to have a shorter workday. OP, if your employee is producing work at a similar level as her peers, don’t ruin this wonderful thing you’ve got going by suddenly making it about hours. As someone who has been caught in a very similar situation before, making it purely about hours is a great way to destroy the motivation of a good, efficient employee.

      Reply
    4. CDL

      This is exactly what I was thinking. I work on a team with two others and handle 60% of our work – they do 20% each. My boss recently told me that I need to arrive 15 minutes earlier to match their hours, even though I work through my lunch (they don’t), stay late when needed, and work efficiently. Please take a look at the broader picture before pushing back on her – it can really damage the morale of a good employee.

      Reply
    5. Sharon

      I’m like this employee also. For me it’s a bit of a nerve issue, meaning that I’m afraid to become over-allocated and drop the ball on something, so I tend to push back when I think some new task may put me near that edge. I’ve been burned this way before. At an earlier job, the managers were horrible at resource planning, so I would sit around for months with no work to do, and then suddenly they all wanted me on their new projects that started now. They would try to put me on like five projects at the same time, which included business trips and literally being in five places at the same time. Now I’m kind of paranoid about that. Managers never seem to be able to plan projects in advance very well, and leave it up to me to blow a whistle when I’m over-allocated. So I do!

      Reply
    6. LawBee

      But she’s salaried. She’s expected to work a full 40 and possibly more depending on the project – perhaps not specifically not from this boss, but that’s the point of having salaried employees. It sounds to me like she’s got a nice setup where she works on what she wants, produces good outcomes, and has a short workweek. That’s fine, but when the boss says “and here is a new project” and she legitimately has time during the day to take it on, then she stays and takes it on. Period.

      “I don’t have time to do it” is bs when she’s not even pulling a full 40. She has the time. She has potentially 10 extra hours a week. And if she’s that efficient, she’s probably not working full-throttle the full 30 hours that she’s there, because as you say, that’s not sustainable.

      Maybe she needs a promotion. I’m not being flip – maybe she has truly outgrown her job and needs something more challenging. But I am not buying this “no time” excuse.

      Reply
    7. Beth

      There’s a lot of sense here. From my own experience, my current workplace has burned me pretty hard on the time vs effort thing. When I started here, I put a lot of effort into handling my workload efficiently so I could keep my hours on the low end of ‘normal’ for my role. I was happy with putting in that effort if it meant that I got the work-life balance I wanted. That was fine for a while–my first manager here was fantastic and cared more about what I was getting done than whether I was putting in extra hours to do it, and I was getting more done than many people despite working fewer hours than them, so we were good.

      But then my first manager moved on, and once my new manager noticed I was more efficient than most people in my role, he started sending all sorts of extra stuff my way. I was getting assigned a lot more work than my peers, my hours majorly increased, my stress level skyrocketed, and my job satisfaction plummeted, because I was constantly feeling overwhelmed. So: I started pushing back on new assignments whenever possible (I feel like I’m the only one even trying to keep my workload feasible anymore, so this is necessary). I stopped working so hard at efficiency and high productivity, because my brain can’t handle both working long hours AND constantly giving 110%. And I’m looking to move on, because clearly this employer no longer values the same things I value.

      It’s too bad, because I’ve gotten great reviews throughout (so I think my employer likes having me here), and I used to like being here. But it is what it is, I guess.

      Reply
      1. Another

        I am going through this too right now. Old boss was great about giving me flexibility in return for high performance, new one is not. The result of my pushing back on being handed other people’s assignments is my new boss is now doing more of their work herself and complaining to me about it. It has become glaringly obvious to me she was managing my underperforming colleagues by being less flexible with my schedule so she could give me work that should have gone to them. But that realization was needed to prompt me to start looking seriously for a new job.

        Good luck to you in your search!

        Reply
      2. CDL

        I’ve been there too, and you are doing the right thing. Employees reaching the burnout phase is terrible for the company, and I feel like once you reach that point, it’s hard to come back from it. It’s a crappy position, because it’s almost like you’re being punished for working efficiently and being good at your job. I feel like employers don’t really see that as being an issue until they have an employee who is fried or quits.

        Reply
        1. Beth

          Yeah, I agree on all counts. Frankly even if my hours went back down at this point, I don’t trust the company to maintain that anymore, so there’s not really any going back. They’re trying to squeeze out as much as they can, I want to prioritize giving high performance in as little time as possible, those goals aren’t compatible.

          It just seems unfortunate on both sides. If I was doing 1.25 people’s worth of work reasonably happily, and now I’m doing 1.25 people’s worth of work and looking to quit (and they’ll replace me with someone who likely will do ~1 person’s worth of work), that seems like a bad direction for everyone involved.

          Reply
        2. Halpful

          I’m one of the fried ones. I tried really *really* hard to get my hours up to 40, and I was nearly there when the Migraine of Doom began. Now I’m not expected to ever work again (but thankfully I’m not in *constant* pain any more).

          If I had magically had a lot more medical knowledge about things I didn’t know that I didn’t know (and some things nobody knows yet), who knows, maybe it could have been avoided. But throwing more hours at the problem and trying to Willpower it away only made it worse. Even now, it’s really hard to accept that I don’t have enough spoons to do both laundry and vacuuming in the same day. :/

          Reply
    8. mf

      “extending my hours wouldn’t necessarily mean I would get more done, it would just mean I would get the same amount done more slowly.” This is exactly what happened to me in my current job.

      When I started, my boss let me keep a flexible schedule. I worked about 5-6 hours/day and got a lot done. I was really motivated to be productive because if I got everything done that I needed to, I could go home. Then my boss decided she didn’t like that arrangement and insisted that I start working a regular 8-hr schedule. So now I’m in the office 40 hours/week, but I don’t get any more work done than I did before and I move at a much slower. Why should I bother rushing? There’s no incentive for me to get my work done sooner, especially since I’m not looking for a promotion.

      Reply
    9. TootsNYC

      I had a friend who always finished her work assignments on time, even if it meant she took them home and stayed up late to finish.

      The other people on her team had the same number of projects, but they were always late.
      Then one of them got sick, and there were 6 projects to reallocate. The boss asked where everyone stood w/ their projects.

      Because my friend was done w/ hers, she was given 2, and the others were spread around. My friend stayed up late to finish those 2 on time.

      Wouldn’t you know it…one of the people didn’t finish her extra projects, so my friend was given it to do, “since you’re done with the ones you had.”

      My friend said to her boss, “I feel like I’m being punished for good behavior.” Her boss was angry with her, but my friend really felt betrayed and taken advantage of. And she made it a point to never let her boss know that she might have free time again.

      Reply
  11. Anancy

    My daughter’s teacher married over the summer, and changed her name. All the children called her “Mrs Newname” but the school district official email on her newsletters listed her as initial.oldname@cityschools.edu for the entire year. (I don’t know if it changed the next year). It was a large and distinctions school system, so I figured it was just another example of their dysfunction. Certainly, your company should easily be able to do this, and have to, since it will literally be your name. (And what an odd thing to push back against!). But if it does take awhile, I’m hoping that perhaps it is helpful that the name introduced to us was how we thought of Mrs Newname, and figured the rest was bureaucracy.

    Reply
    1. jordanjay29

      This has got to be frustrating for Mrs. Newname. Going through a lifechange is stressful enough without a workplace adding undue delays and issues with names. Then I suppose she had to explain to questioning parents why her email and name didn’t match.

      Reply
      1. Mookie

        Plus, there’s a whole host of legitimate, pressing reasons why someone might change all or part of their legal name. An employer’s inexplicable and hostile distaste for that rather banal and everyday reality (people marry, people divorce, people become estranged from family, people avoid stalkers, people try to rebuild their lives after identity theft) doesn’t outweigh the fact that people own their identities and that their names follow them around throughout their career and that it’s important to have continuity there when you can. In some industries, it’s going to look very odd to clients that an employer undermines people like this and disrespects them over such a petty issue. And even if there is more parity now then a few decades ago, the most common reason for changing one’s surname is marriage, so this policy is weirdly, if unintentionally, gendered and unnecessarily spiteful.

        Reply
        1. Jamey

          I’m transgender and if my employer had refused to change my name on all my work related things, I would have quit.

          Reply
        2. Chaordic One

          In my old workplace we had a client who changed his last name, because it the name was commonly used as a term of disparagement. I can certainly understand his getting tired of being razzed about it, and don’t have any problem with his changing it, but I guess his parents were a bit disappointed in him.

          Mr. Fergus Frederick Jerkface will now be known as Mr. Fergus Joseph Frederick. (However, his parents are still Jerkfaces.)

          Reply
    2. Cookie

      I commented below that this seems very normal for me coming from the public sector. It didn’t seem to be an issue of respect as people will call you by your new name, but rather an issue of bureaucracy (we’re stuck with our initial email address indefinitely as well).

      Reply
      1. Observer

        I don’t know where you work. But I work in the non-profit sector, and we interface with government all the time. Name changes most definitely DO happen. I have no idea about user names and the like. But things like email addresses etc. most definitely do change.

        Reply
    3. another person

      My university/student e-mail never changed when I got married. (I’m a grad student, so it’s sort of my job/I teach). I think I can set up an alias (and I did change the display name), but I don’t believe it is possible to change my actual username associated with my maiden name that I use to log in to a million and one resources. (But I also didn’t try super hard.)

      Reply
      1. Aunt Vixen

        When I was in grad school, e-mail addresses were xxx#x@university.edu, where the first three x’s were your initials and the one following the number was random. So my username was (say) axv1x. There was a woman who worked at the medical center whose name was (let’s say) Aunt Somethingelse, so her username was abs9y. Then she got married to a Vixen and changed her name. Her username and e-mail address didn’t change, though I imagine the display name on her outgoing e-mails did; but her co-workers could. not. handle it. They knew she’d changed her name so they’d look her up in the university directory, find me, and send me all kinds of medical center-related stuff that I wasn’t interested in and frankly was none of my business. She was very sympathetic and joined me in the effort to get them to remember that her e-mail address was the same as it had always been (I was copied on more than one message saying “Guys, leave the grad student alone”), but the last time I logged in to that account a year or so after I’d left the university there were several dozen messages for her in there. (This was more than ten years ago so hopefully it’s all sorted by now.)

        Reply
    4. Girasol

      I worked in a Fortune 500 company with that policy. Mary Schwartz was mschwartz@company.com. If she married and became Mary Schwartz Connor she remained in email mschwartz@company.com. She could change her email signature and alias to Mary Connor, so if someone emailed “Mary Connor” it would go to mschwartz@company.com. Her HR records were changed too, just not the email address itself. I thought it odd but the married women I asked about it seemed unconcerned.

      Reply
      1. Chickaletta

        Then what happens if someone gets divorced and reverts back to their maiden name or gets remarried? Are they forced to use their ex’s last name for their email for the rest of their career?

        Reply
      2. SimonTheGreyWarden

        I can still – four years out – email something to SimonTheGrey@ my school’s email address and have it arrive for SimonTheGreyWarden, so I assume the same thing happened.

        Reply
  12. Marisol

    #1 – any chance that your boss is a bully who just wants to get a rise out of you? It seems possible to me that this is not really about the purported issue, the name-change–it’s about having power. As you advocate for yourself, you might want to adopt a nonchalant, rather than outraged, attitude. If he’s getting a kick out of bullying you, then any strong emotional reaction you have will be ammunition for him. Don’t play his game. Get all your outrage out by venting to friends, then be cool-headed as you argue your case, and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s *really* about the name change; for example, don’t waste time arguing with him as though he had a sincerely held conviction that deserves a rebuttal, when in fact what he’s saying is absurd and probably not something he actually has a conviction about. So instead of explaining, in good faith, the impact of changing your name (“It won’t cost any extra money. I’m out of business cards and needed to place a new order anyway”) I’d try to say something along the lines of “Joe, that’s my name now, and it’s the name I’ll be going by. Sorry you feel inconvenienced” and walk out of his office. That’s not a literal script–you might need something softer–it’s just an example of the vibe I’m going for. Don’t dignify his objection by taking it seriously. Don’t take what he says at face value.

    Hope that makes sense. It’s late and I had a glass of wine.

    Reply
    1. Artemesia

      Yes exactly. Good call on the emotion here. He wants to get the ‘little lady’ in a swivet. COLD and calm and matter of fact all the way. And never answer to your old name.

      Reply
    2. FiveWheels

      Yes, and I agree about not explaining the costs and lack thereof. Getting your email changed is a necessity, not a conversation. Disagreeing with his costs assessments allows your boss to frame the argument, even though the isn’t anything to argue.

      Reply
    3. LK

      I would add to NOT apologize. Avoid “Sorry you feel inconvenienced” because that implies that he has struck misfortune. That is soooo far from the truth. Something more like “It’s a shame/it is unfortunate/etc. that you feel inconvenienced” would be better IMO.

      Reply
      1. Marisol

        I think I meant that more as sarcasm, not a genuine apology–I agree, an actual apology would be weird–but those lines can be reworked in a number of ways so long as the OP doesn’t get into some protracted debate with a guy who really just wants to yank her chain. Something that basically says, “this is what’s going to happen. Ok bye.”

        Reply
    4. TootsNYC

      yeah, very frequently the best way to react to someone’s outrageousness is to be patronizingly amused.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Yes—and it’s so infuriating for the person trying to get a rise out of you. Marisol’s comment is 1000% on point.

        Reply
  13. Ophelia Bumblesmoop

    OP3: Honest mistakes happen. I’m sorry you’ve experienced this, but this should be turned into something good. You’ve clearly shown that current practices are not best practices and these processes need to change. How many debit cards are floating around? Which accounts are affected? Why hasn’t there been audits or inspections? Annual audits are definitely a best practice that any organization benefits from.

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Absolutely. I carry a business credit card, and the rule at my employer is that reconciliation of the bill must be done by someone who is not the cardholder. That’s pretty basic.
      But it sounds like this is a small organization and the person handling the finance (OP) had no background in this stuff and learned all you know on the job. So if you can, OP, don’t think of this just as a hideous embarrassing crisis, but as an opportunity for you to really bring the value and make some long-term improvements at your nonprofit that could save them from future problems a lot worse than your honest mistakes. Whether you just implement whatever you can think of yourself, or get some kind of professional guidance, or do research on internal controls and best practices, you could make it a really good thing that this happened.

      Reply
  14. MommyMD

    Cramming fifty percent more patients than is comfortable in a daily schedule: welcome to medicine. It’s like the mail. It never stops. The days your schedule is only thirty percent overfilled are the easy ones. That’s just the reality.

    Reply
    1. Dizzy Steinway

      It sounds like it’s not usual in OP’s field, though. And there are some fields where you cannot see more people more quickly (e.g. set lengths for psychotherapy sessions).

      Reply
    2. Not So NewReader

      Yeah, that sounds pretty normal to me also. I would not be surprised to hear the employer say, “Well, this is what we are paying you for, to figure all this out. In order to even run this program we must have x number of patients. If we use your number the program will run in the red and eventually tank.”

      OP, they just may not have the money to run the program any other way. If you try to point out that it will be a disservice to the patients they may not hear you. It might be wise to prepare your thoughts to respond to this type of answer.

      Reply
  15. magical liopleurodon

    OP #3: It’s one thing to make an accidental purchase, but to rack up $803 of personal charges? It seems an awfully far-fetched thing to claim. I know we are supposed to take the OP at their word, but the story just isn’t adding up. At some point, wouldn’t they have to put in the PIN /numbers/expiration date for the card (assuming it was different from their own)? I’m having trouble believing that someone could accidentally and repeatedly use a debit card that is not their own. Unless by some chance both the nonprofit and the OP use the same bank (so the cards would be similar) and both cards had similar numbers and identical expiration dates and security codes, I think this OP is going to need a better explanation for the continual usage than “they were accidents.”

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m not sure if you intend to accuse the OP of lying, but that’s what this sounds like.

      It’s constructive to say, “Hey, be aware that they might wonder about X.” It’s not constructive, and not okay, to accuse letter-writers of lying.

      And for what it’s worth, I can easily imagine how this could happen. Plenty of places let you use a debit card like a credit card, where you wouldn’t have to input a PIN — and if these are in-person purchases, you wouldn’t need to enter the expiration date manually. She says it happened this way, it’s perfectly plausible, and we’re taking her at her word.

      It’s an incredibly crappy experience for someone to write in for help and be accused of lying or withholding facts, which is why it’s prohibited here (a rule I need you to respect, regardless of whether or not you agree with it). Cut it out.

      Reply
      1. Al Lo

        In Canada, it would, until a couple of years ago, have been difficult to mix up cards with different PINs, since you couldn’t process a card without a PIN. The system is different than in the U.S. However, these days, it would be incredibly easy, with tap technology, to grab and tap the wrong card, especially from the same bank.

        It still throws me off when I’m not asked for a PIN in the U.S. It’s less common since chip and PIN was (finally) introduced, but still happens, and I can totally see grabbing the wrong card a few times, especially over the course of an entire year. $800 in one year could even be as simple as a few wrong grocery trips — it’s not such an exorbitant amount when considered over the course of average transactions and spending.

        Reply
        1. jordanjay29

          US native here, I’m still irked when stores no longer ask me to sign when swiping my card. If we’re going to try to speed up the process, why not dive completely into chip & pin security? The signature pads on most terminals are useless anyway, so a pin is a better identifier in the long run.

          Reply
          1. Antilles

            In fairness, the signature always has been completely useless for identity verification. Why? Because no clerk ever checks it. I saw a comedy article on signatures a few years ago where the guy tried literally dozens of ridiculous signatures to see what happened. Everything from blatantly fake names like Homer Simpson to random shapes to even obscene drawings. And no clerk ever even blinked.

            Reply
            1. cataloger

              There’s a bar in my town that uses Square on a tablet for credit card payments, and maintains a gallery of the funny pictures people have used for their signatures.

              Reply
            2. paul

              I mean, my name is illegible on those things regardless of how I sign it anyway so I’m not sure how they’re supposed to check

              Reply
            3. Important Moi

              I used to do retail (i.e. I worked as a clerk), where getting signatures was part of the policy. Challenging a customer may put a clerk in danger or at least subject to some abuse. The job I has didn’t pay enough for that.

              Also, companies and customers often have safeguards for fraud.

              Reply
            4. Cordelia Naismith

              Back when I worked retail in my youth, I used to check signatures, and customers would get furious with me for doing so. Yelling in my face, profanity, the whole nine yards. I eventually stopped because it was just so much easier not to.

              Reply
              1. Clumsy Ninja

                Cordelia Naismith, I have had retail workers apologize for checking signatures, and until now I didn’t understand why. I always thanked them for checking signatures or ID.

                Reply
              2. Cove

                Yep. I was technically supposed to decline any credit card that didn’t have a signature on the back and you wouldn’t believe how many of them had no signature. People would get absolutely livid with me.

                Reply
              3. LVeen

                My first job, working at a drug store, I had a woman try to pay with a card that had a man’s name on it. When I asked her about it, she said it was her boyfriend’s card and he allowed her to use it. I felt uneasy enough about it to call a manager over, and the manager basically shrugged and said to let her use the card. It left me with the sense that it was pointless to check signatures or do anything else to try and prevent credit card fraud.

                Reply
                1. jordanjay29

                  Mostly because the stores aren’t liable for cc fraud unless they’ve done something egregious. Credit card companies take on that liability.

            5. the gold digger

              I tried to check signatures when I was working at Macy’s one Christmas. I found a card that had not been signed at all and suggested that the customer might at least want to put “Check ID” in the signature space. She got really ticked off at me. That’s when I stopped making that kind of suggestion.

              Reply
              1. Misquoted

                I write “check ID” on my cards because I prefer that they ask me for ID. But in so many establishments, all you do is swipe — the cashier never sees the card anyway.

                Reply
              2. Lia

                Check ID actually does not make the card legally valid. It needs to be a signature, per my BIL who used to work for Mastercard.

                I worked retail years ago and our policy was not accept cards that said Check ID or were unsigned. Of course, if the customer demanded to see a manager, the manager would cave and take the card.

                Reply
              3. Aurion

                I signed it and wrote beside the signature “Please see ID”. Very few cashiers asked me for ID, and I always thanked the ones that did.

                Reply
                1. SimonTheGreyWarden

                  I would ask to see ID when I saw that on a card when I worked retail, but more often than not the person would make a big honkin’ production out of digging out an ID and mutter about it the whole time, so I quit asking.

              4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                I do the “see ID” thing and have never had a problem with it.

                My favorite is when the signature line is left blank, and the clerk has you sign your card in front of them, then compares that signature to the receipt you just signed. The mind boggles.

                Reply
            6. Clumsy Ninja

              I used a credit card in the post office, and the clerk checked the card and realized that I’d forgotten to sign it. They would not accept it until I signed it in front of them, but also didn’t want to see my driver’s license. Even when I said, “Do you realize how ridiculous it is that you are checking to see if my signature on the card I just signed in front of you matches the signature I just wrote in front of you on the card reader? And you still don’t want to check my ID?” Apparently they didn’t see the slightest problem in that.

              Reply
            7. Honeybee

              Sometimes I will sign for my husband’s purchases with his card on our joint account (with his permission – like he ordered the pizza but I got it from the door, etc.) and will accidentally sign my own name. Nobody ever notices.

              Reply
          2. Marillenbaum

            Admittedly, I live in a big city, but we made the switch to chip-and-PIN about a year ago (at least for debit cards; credit cards don’t have PIN numbers)

            Reply
          3. ancolie

            I’ve been pissed that credit cards went to chip&signature, not chip&pin.

            Buuuuuuuut, I happened to think that it could be just the intermediate step before going to chip&pin. There are literally millions of retail locations in the US, and a lot of them are small chains or individually-owned stores. It often takes longer for those shops to get fancier/updated card readers (because of cost, or hassle, or whatever). So now that we have chip&signature, they have a bit of time to update their card reader to a chip one while still being able to use what they have now (since you can still swipe if you have no chip).

            I’m thinking it might be chip&signature for ~3-5 years, at which point they’ll update it to be chip&pin. At least, I hope so!

            Reply
        2. Gen

          I was originally confused that someone could accidentally spend that much (since tap technology in my country is limited to $30 a transaction) unless the PIN was somehow the same as their personal card (always best to avoid this even on your own cards), because the US thing of not using security just wouldn’t happen here. So I can see how this would look worse in a different geographic area where you just couldn’t do it accidentally.

          Now that OP knows this is a risk they definitely need to take some step to differentiate that card so it can’t happen again

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth H.

            I think it’d be easy because most places will let you run a debit card as credit. I do it almost all the time now since I had my PIN skimmed at a gas station once. Also if you had mistakenly stuck the company card in the slot in your wallet where you keep your own debit/credit card, how you could have been using it exclusively for a couple weeks before something happened to disrupt the pattern. So to my mind even with an amount that high it’s definitely plausible that someone could do it by mistake.

            Reply
        3. Zoe Karvounopsina

          The London Underground has constant warnings to beware of card clash, I imagine for this sort of reason.

          Reply
          1. Bagpuss

            It’s more that there is a cap on how much you are charged. If you tap out with a differnt card than the one you tap in with, you get a charged a flat fee which is higher than (most) individual journeys. plus, there is a daily cap so if you don’t use the same card all day you can end up paying more than you need to.

            I will have to remember to get this right as I am going to London for a (work) course on Fridy, so will be using my (work) credit card on the tube, but I am then staying overnight to met up with friends on the Saturdya, so will have to remember to switch over to use my personal card for the second day.

            I nearly went the other way and paid for the bar bill for the work Christmas Party on my personal card, and while it wouldn’t have mattered long term as I could simply have claimed it back, finding an unexpected £500 on my personal card would have been a bit of a shock!

            Reply
            1. Bagpuss

              I don’t wrap mine spearately, but it does have a diferent PIN to my personal card, andthe ‘verified by visa’ password is difernt too, so it’s unlikely I’d use the wrong one for online putchases without realising, so at worst I might use it incorrectly for purchases below £30 where you can use contactless payment. Happily our cashier reviews the statement evey month and will query anything she hasn’t had a receipt or notification for, so there is a double check.

              Reply
        4. MsUnderstanding

          I worked for a non-profit and carried a corporate credit card for a few years. Like the the OP, I had no background in handling corporate funds or cards, and even possessing the card made me nervous. There was one time when I mixed up the cards and used the corporate one for a personal expense. Fortunately, I realized it quickly and was able to pay the charge with no problem. After that, I wrapped the corporate card in yellow paper and kept it in a separate place in my wallet, so that I couldn’t reach for my own card but grab the corporate one by mistake. The yellow paper forced me to stop and unwrap the card before using it, and I also wrote on the paper so that, again, I couldn’t just grab the card and use it except when appropriate. Using a plastic card protector for the corporate card would accomplish the same goal. Just a tip from someone who’s been there.

          Reply
        5. Daisy GJ

          I used my company credit card on Amazon for some things for the office. Amazon saved these card details and put them as the default card on my account, so my next personal purchase was charged to my work card accidentally. Luckily it was a small amount and I caught it at the end of that month and was able to immediately repay it with no negative repercussions. But this does show how easy it would have been for something similar to happen to the OP.

          Reply
          1. Writer

            A similar thing happened to me. I used my work card through Paypal for some business expenses, and then when I used Paypal later to buy in-game currency in a mobile app, my work card got charged. Embarrassing, but easy to do.

            Reply
        6. seejay

          Yep, I’ve stuck my credit card into the ATM instead of my debit card, because I’m so used to using *just* my credit card only now for everything (the US credit/debit card thing, not the Canadian version, which is still weird in my head). I intentionally don’t know the PIN for the credit card so I can’t withdraw on it. And my credit card is grey, my debit is red. They’re in two separate pockets in my wallet. Habit tells me to pull out my credit card because I use it all the time.

          I only have to use a PIN when I’m withdrawing from the bank machine on the debit card. I rarely have to use a PIN otherwise. So yes, it’s super easy in the US to confuse the two cards because of this. Even easier if there’s no safety measures, such as not having the cards in completely separate locations so there’s an intentional intent to use one versus the other.

          I completely believe the letter writer had a brain fart in this.

          Reply
      2. M from NY

        In an effort to be supportive I think these initial responses are downplaying the seriousness of this breach. Why didn’t the Treasurer realize when reconciling her personal account that charges were missing? How closely was she monitoring the records of the organization that she didn’t pick up the mix up with the charges until after an audit? One time is a mistake. Multiple times isn’t an optic that is easily explained away. Not preparing OP for a critical response isn’t doing them any favors.

        How one manages their personal account isn’t the standard for reconciling an organizational account.

        Not being a professional accountant does not absolve OP of her fiduciary responsibility. I won’t venture to speculate whether she needs a lawyer but she does need to step down from acting as Treasurer (five years is too long) and the organization needs to employ some of the standard safeguards that will easily prevent this from happening again (like separating the Treasurer from Fundraiser).

        Being a 20 year volunteer has no bearing on this. In fact, it’s the long term personal relationship that seems to be allowing the lack of formal protocol.

        The first mistake is combining two positions. The fundraiser and Treasurer should not be same person. An independent Treasurer (within organization) has sole responsibility of monthly reports to make sure this doesn’t happen. Downplaying how this went unreported for so long will not help OP but if I was on board restitution would not be enough. The person that is suppossed to prevent this didn’t. There needs to be immediate protocol changes to ensure this doesn’t repeat. I’m not saying OP has to stop being grant writer or volunteering but she needs to be prepared that she may be asked to step back altogether even with restitution. She definitely needs to insist that a separate Treasurer is slated immediately.

        Reply
        1. svedin

          I agree with this. Each and every month at my job we have to account for everything spent on our business cards. That means writing a short description of every single transaction and collecting the receipts. If OP#3 isn’t responsible for the books, than exactly who is accounting for transactions for which the origin or purpose of is clearly not for the business?

          Reply
        2. Zoe Karvounopsina

          At our organisation, the person who uses, and can authorise use of, the card, is not the same person as the one who completes our accounts and we submit expense reports to. And once an expense report is submitted, two of our officers have to confirm the payment back.

          It’s a massive faff, but it does mean that it is harder to make a mistake.

          Reply
          1. Gaia

            Get this.

            At OldJob I was a manager in a department that processed orders and created credits. My boss (the head of the department) oversaw the only two departments that dealt with transactions. She was married to the Accounts Director who oversaw all of Accounts. It gets better. One of my comanagers was married to one of the Accounts Managers who reported to the Accounts Director.

            If anyone of them wanted to steal money there would be literally no one to catch it. There was so much dysfunction there.

            Reply
        3. Temperance

          Okay maybe I’m just incredibly lazy, but I haven’t “reconciled” my bank account or balanced a checkbook since college. I don’t think everyone does this.

          Reply
          1. Jessesgirl72

            Not everyone does this, but everyone absolutely should do this!

            That is the only way to find bank fraud!

            Reply
            1. fposte

              You can find that just by checking. You don’t have to balance your checkbook to do it. Odds are good that you’ll lose more in the time spent balancing over the years than you’ll gain by what you catch.

              Reply
            2. ThatGirl

              I check my bank account and credit cards regularly to make sure checks have cleared and transactions posted, but I haven’t “balanced my checkbook” since the day we did that exercise in middle school.

              Reply
              1. Elizabeth West

                Me either and I rarely write checks anymore. The last twenty checks went to the yard guy, and I quit even doing that because my bank likes to sit on them forever and then push them through when my balance is down. So now I pay him in cash.

                Reply
            3. SpaceySteph

              I check over my account for things that I *don’t* expect, not things I do expect. I go to the grocery store once or twice a week, but if a trip didn’t show up I wouldn’t notice (or if I did might just chalk it up to taking longer to clear my account than usual). That’s different than noticing someone spent $50 on popcorn halfway across the country (an actual fraudulent charge I got one time).

              Reply
              1. AnonAnalyst

                Same. I’ll check to make sure that the transactions posting are all places I have actually spent money and that the amounts look about right, but I don’t gather up all my receipts and balance it out. I would notice a new store name or an amount that was clearly out of the norm (like a $300 charge appearing from a store I usually spend $50 in). I probably wouldn’t notice that a charge hadn’t shown up from my weekly grocery store run.

                Reply
            4. ABC123

              I don’t reconcile my bank account as such, but I do take a look at the latest transactions every few days.

              If I see a transaction that I don’t immediately recognise, I check it by checking my diary (Now, what was I doing that day…?), searching for the name of the beneficiary online, etc.

              So I would catch a case of bank fraud. But I wouldn’t notice if a particular payment is missing, which was the case here. (Which of course still means the OP should/would have noticed it when looking at the organisation’s account, just not their own.)

              Reply
            5. Marcela

              I do not even know what that is and I keep an eye over my accounts. It is very easy to set them to send you emails on any charge, and also get your bank to send you an email with your total account everyday. And cheques…. why are we still using that thing from the dinosaurs age?

              Reply
          2. M from NY

            You not doing it for your personal account is not standard to hold the Treasurer of an organization.

            The bigger point is the OP as Treasurer shouldn’t be carrying the organizations debit card around in her wallet to even make this mistake. There is a bigger issue here regarding lack of protocols that solely offering to repay doesn’t cover. Not understanding the responsibility of being Treasurer doesn’t absolve OP from any other issues that may be found.

            Reply
            1. Bagpuss

              Surely that depends a bit on how the card is used? I carry my company card around as I use it for things such as work related traval, car parking etc. Without knowing what OP is expected to use the card for, I don’t know that you can say she shouldn’t be carrying it around.

              I do agree that at Treasurer she should have been doing regular reconciliations to ensure that that were not any errors, and if she continues as Treasurer I think she needs to be making clear to the board that she is putting in place those checks to make sure that this kind of mistake doesn’t happen.

              It is possible that the organisation will take the view that they are no longer comfortable with her being Treasurer, or that they don’t wnat her to have a card any more, but it seems to me unlikely that they would go further than that.

              Reply
              1. fposte

                Somebody other than the treasurer needs to do reconciliations, either in addition or instead. You can’t expect people to donate to an organization where the person who handles the money is the only one who polices its handling.

                Reply
                1. Natalie

                  Yep, standard practice is to have two separate people do it. My boss does our bank recs even though his position is “above” that level of work, because otherwise I’d be doing it. And since I make all the deposits and post all the AP and payroll checks, it’d be suuuuuuper easy for me to steal money if I was also reconciling the bank account.

                2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  Yeah. The issue here is a lack of checks (in the governance sense, not the financial sense). But that can be easily remedied, and it’s better for OP to bring up that that change needs to be made.

              2. Observer

                Interesting – you just made a classic mistake here. Is it any wonder that the OP also made a mistake?

                You see, the OP as treasurer should NOT have been doing a monthly bank rec. SOMEONE should have been doing one, but NOT the OP / Treasurer. The fact that no one on the Board thought about this speaks volumes.

                Reply
        4. CM

          I agree that this is a serious situation and the OP should be worried, even if we all would like things to turn out fine. I have worked with a small nonprofit, and even though I knew everyone well and had a high opinion of them, I also took my fiduciary duty as a board member seriously and would not just assume that this was a little mistake.

          If I were a board member, I would have the following questions:
          – Why is this is only coming out now, when we just decided that a second person would be looking at all accounts?
          – Did you go back and look at past years? If not, why not? Are you willing to pay back any other charges like this?
          – What is your plan for making sure this does not happen in the future?
          – What should the organization do to make sure our accounts are appropriately managed in the future?

          Reply
          1. CM

            Also, if I were the OP, I would emphasize that this is the result of my proactive investigation; I’m fully willing to cooperate with the board or any third party that the board wants to bring on to look into this; I have taken steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again; and I think it would be a good idea for the organization to have better oversight over its finances, for example, having a second person reconcile the accounts quarterly.

            Reply
          2. Willis

            Agreeing with this (although it didn’t sound to me like a 2nd person was reviewing the accounts…the OP was after noticing her own errors). My first thought on reading that letter was whether the OP looked further back than 2016. If not, it would probably be good to do that.

            Obviously I don’t know what procedures the OP is using now to keep track of accounts, but I’d suggest making a monthly review of all debits/credits to the organization’s bank account and making sure there is some identification of what they’re for and/or what company they’re to. Are people (including you) required to submit receipts or invoices for purchases? There’s some decent receipt tracking apps that might help with that, or people could scan their receipts with a little note about what it was for. A Quickbooks account (and/or class, as someone else mentioned) may be helpful too. Looking at accounts more closely on a monthly basis should make any erroneous charges (yours or other folks) pop out.

            Reply
          3. Artemesia

            This. I think I would get legal advice in this situation. Regardless of the OP’s intent it will look very fishy to a board member that someone who is a fiduciary did this repeatedly over time and didn’t catch it till someone was looking over her shoulder. I think she is at great risk here. Embezzlement is common in non-profits and the OP needs to protect herself as best she can from the legal consequences. Certainly being proactive now is wise, but I’d still want some legal advice on how to mitigate potential consequences. The board may not want to prosecute but I would think they would dismiss her from the organization at the least.

            Reply
        5. paul

          Yeah, I’d certainly agree here. A financial mistake of this type–given that it happened several times–should be a signal that they need a new treasurer

          Reply
          1. Vin Packer

            Or perhaps just a new system: maybe a paid employee can do a yearly or semi-annual review. Really, they should have been doing that anyway.

            Reply
        6. Observer

          If you acted punitively towards the OP, I could guarantee that you would do far more harm than good here.

          The Board put someone with no experience or knowledge into the position, and then failed to provide any assistance or training. Doing that on top of combining the position with fundraising is just a recipe for disaster. It’s the Board that fell down on its fiduciary responsibility, and blaming the Treasurer who is clearly acting in good faith, for continuing mistakes of the Board is just terrible management.

          It’s worth pointing out that when the first error showed up, *The Board* should have done an audit of the debit card usage. They didn’t. The OP did. What does that tell you about the Board, and about the good faith of the OP?

          Reply
          1. Artemesia

            Agree. This is a terrible board. I was in an organization where the treasurer embezzled tens of thousands over time and it wasn’t discovered for many years because there were no good oversight processes in place.

            Reply
          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Yes—I think the Board is unaware of their governance and fiduciary responsibilities. So this is a good time to recalibrate and reset expectations/norms.

            Reply
        7. MommyMD

          The organization is not handling its money responsibly when one person is in charge of it and admittedly has used finances for personal expenses. If this is a charity there are state and federal laws regarding fiduciary issues which are very strict. OP should no longer have access to any accounts and the amount of time spent volunteering is not relevant. If the organization is accepting donations and they are being used for personal gain, whether inadvertent or not, laws are being broken on an organizational level, and not just affecting OP. It could end up being a legal mess. The stated fact that it occurred several times on different dates is a serious issue. A self-audit could appear to outside authorities to be an attempt to reconcile past financial diversion of funds because individual knows Organization could be delving into it.

          Reply
        8. Hannah

          “Being a 20 year volunteer has no bearing on this.”
          Well, no one would reasonably think that the OP was some kind of con artist who spent 20 years volunteering for the organization so that she could embezzle $800 in 2016. Other commenters have summarized why it would be smart to put different checks and balances in place, but the OPs track record as a long time volunteer should be relevant, since it makes it pretty implausible that this was some kind of master plan to rip them off.

          Reply
        1. Zoe Karvounopsina

          That doesn’t excuse her from checking the debit card and balance. In fact, it makes it even more important.

          And ‘she’s a volunteer’ is not an excuse for falling down on the job.

          Reply
          1. Morning Glory

            I actually think it is an excuse, why wouldn’t it be? Volunteer treasurers don’t have the same experience level and knowledge that paid professionals hired to do a job would have. If the org didn’t already have a standard procedure for monthly receipt/expense cross-checking when she became treasurer, I wouldn’t necessarily expect a volunteer to think of it and create one.

            The OP proactively looked into the records herself to find her mistake, she feels terrible about this, is going to pay the money back, and hopefully will use it as a learning experience going forward to put this kind of system in place. I commend her for that.

            Reply
          2. Vin Packer

            It’s a great excuse–especially of the org has no mechanism for double checking things like this. Having one volunteer manage all of the money with nobody else doing any kind of review, even yearly? That’s a bad system, and it’s not on a volunteer with no training or experience to figure that out.

            Presumably, if the org had a better system in place, they could have caught OP’s mistakes last year, and OP could have made restitution and also changed her system for handling the card accordingly then, and things would never have gotten to this point. As it is, this has been the OP’s first opportunity to learn of this issue and fix it–and that’s exactly what she’s doing.

            Reply
          3. Jessie the First (or second)

            Really, it is the nonprofit I would blame here – the nonprofit has an obligation in terms of how it handles its money, and part of that is finding qualified people to do the job *and* having appropriate protocols in place. It did neither – the OP freely admits that she had no experience in it. For the nonprofit to fob off such a crucial role on a volunteer with no experience and then turn around and blame her for then not doing the job right is scapegoating. Of *course* the volunteer with no knowledge of or experience in treasurer functions would make big mistakes.

            Reply
            1. Jessie the First (or second)

              Oops – and meant to say, if the OP feels that the nonprofit is generally run by reasonable people, then I would hope they recognize this is their failing. In addition to repaying the money, it would be good for her to explicitly remind them that she has no experience or training in this, and that if they want her to continue in this role, perhaps there is some kind of training they can offer her, or a consultant to hire to put protocols in place that make sense. Or, and this is probably what needs to happen, she needs to resign that role and stick with her areas of expertise.

              Reply
        2. Colette

          Right, but she should still be reconciling purchases, so (since that obviously didn’t happen) she may want to reevaluate how she’s doing that part of her job.

          Reply
        3. MJ

          I think that was the point they were trying to make.

          The Treasurer wasn’t looking closely enough and only caught her error during a review the others participated in.

          Reply
        4. AnotherAlison

          The OP being the treasurer is the only thing that really concerns me about this. My husband is self-employed with business and personal accounts at the same bank. He accidently uses one card instead of the other with some frequency. So, I get it, but he’s just not a detailed money person, so I’d pick someone else for a treasurer role.

          Even though my cards are all the same color, I have never used my corporate card instead of my personal. I also don’t mix up my credit card with my debit card, or my HSA card with any of the others. I balance my checkbook by hand because I like to! It sounds like the OP wasn’t reconciling accounts regularly. I think I’m the only PM in my department who ever catches the accounting errors or erroneous labor charges. Some people are weird like me about money and details, and those are the people you want watching your accounts.

          Reply
        5. MommyMD

          This makes her more culpable, legally. Under the law she has a position of trust dealing with the organization’s finances. This is where embezzlement vs larceny comes in. Even though it was inadvertent, she could face legal issues. This could trigger a complete third-party audit. By her own admission it was several occasions over a period of time. And the amount can make it a misdemeanor or felony. Though appearing to be accidental I believe she should consult an attorney immediately and consult the organization immediately as it could be auditing her as we speak.

          Reply
    2. Panda Bandit

      I work in retail. Most of the debit cards I see nowadays don’t need a PIN. You slide the card or insert the chip in the terminal and that’s it.

      Reply
      1. moose tracks

        Interesting. Most of the places that require me to insert my card always require a PIN. You don’t even have the option of running it as credit anymore.

        Reply
      2. jordanjay29

        I don’t think those are debit cards. Those are probably check cards, which run as credit cards at most point of sale registers. They may be able to operate as debit when you select it, but the default for most registers is to run as credit or ask the customer which one. In the US, most credit cards don’t require PIN numbers, and many stores don’t require signatures under a certain dollar limit.

        Reply
        1. Zoe Karvounopsina

          This could well be one of the many countries where touch payments have been introduced, and you can have debit cards using those.

          Reply
        2. Zombii

          Quick PSA from someone who used to work customer service for a bank: Debit cards and check cards are the same thing (check cards were a Visa thing). Debit cards and credit cards will both give the debit/credit option when swiped/inserted, unless the merchant changed that setting for some reason. If you swipe/insert a debit card and process it as a credit transaction, it won’t ask for a PIN, but will sometimes ask for signature depending on the threshold setting. :)

          Reply
        3. Countess Boochie Flagrante

          The “no signatures under a certain limit” structure is based on the card company; the store doesn’t have any power to implement that policy if they’re not permitted to do so. In addition, check cards are extremely rare in the US. Most cards will either be pure credit cards or co-branded debit/credit cards, which can be used as either, and default to credit in a card-not-present situation or one with no PINpad available.

          Reply
          1. Allypopx

            That has not been my experience. I know of/have worked at a lot of places that set signature thresholds in their own POS system.

            Reply
            1. Natalie

              My understanding is that a store that decided to set their own limit without adding it to their processor agreement would then be liable for any fraudulent transactions where they didn’t ask for a signature. Whereas when the card company sets a no-signature limit, they are also agreeing to relieve the stores of liability for any related fraud.

              Reply
          2. drashizu

            This was not true when I worked at Barnes & Noble. We accepted all major credit cards, and our POS machines spat out a receipt with a signature line and told us to request the customer sign it if the sale was over $25, but not if it was under $25, for all credit cards. (We accepted debit cards but ran them as credit cards and the rule was identical.)

            Several customers actually commented on this in surprise, because they were used to having to sign receipts down to just a dollar and change at drugstores and grocery stores, but we didn’t obtain signed receipts for sales less than the $25 cutoff.

            My very uninformed, un-lawyerly opinion is that any company is free to do that in practice if they’re comfortable in assuming the risk that they’ll get something wrong and a purchase under their threshold ends up being fraudulent. Since compensating a customer for even a chain of fraudulent purchases under $25 would have been nothing more than a nuisance for B&N to pay off, I think they were just prioritizing getting their total transaction time down overall.

            Reply
            1. drashizu

              And on the other hand – there were rules in the other direction, too, such as no single purchase in excess of $1,000 at a brick-and-mortar store, no multiple purchases from the same customer even using different cards that exceeded that amount in a single day, we checked ID’s and compared signatures as a matter of policy for purchases above… I think $500? And none of that was required by any credit card companies, that I know of.

              Reply
    3. Lioness

      I have cards from two different banks, they’re the same color and I have on multiple occasions pulled out the other card from the one I was intending to use. So they don’t even have to be the same bank.

      And along with the others, I was asked whether I wanted to use a pin or sign. And it’s also possible those were single high cost purchases.
      From my days at working at a pet supply store, I’ve seen people spend $300-$500 at one time, as well as my mother spending upwards ~$1000 when the entire family goes clothes shopping (both parents, 4 kids) as well as getting gifts for upcoming birthdays every few years to get a bunch of stuff in one go.

      So yea, it’s possible for it to add up.

      Reply
      1. jordanjay29

        I hate this situation. I used to have two cards from the same bank, and I’d use stickers to mark which one was which. Red was on the one I didn’t use often, hoping it would be the red flag I needed to check myself.

        Reply
      2. Kalamet

        Once I tried to pay a medical bill over the phone with my HSA card. Only instead of my HSA card, I was giving them the information for the pay card from my first paycheck. They didn’t look anything alike, but both had my company name on them and my brain was convinced I had the right one. I then called the HSA help desk to ask why my (wrong) card wasn’t working, and they told me they didn’t even issue cards from that bank. That’s when I finally figured it out, and was humiliated.

        So… yeah, mistakes happen.

        Reply
        1. Morning Glory

          I’ve tried to pay for my coffee with my metro card before.

          I agree, these things are easy to do.

          Reply
            1. Morning Glory

              Or to check out library books using your debit card, as I once tried to do

              I clearly need to pay attention more :)

              Reply
            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              Or a your transit pass. Or your state bar card…. not that I’ve accidentally tried to do any of those things ;)

              Reply
          1. Marillenbaum

            To be fair, you were trying to pay for your coffee, which means you hadn’t had coffee yet that day. Doing things pre-coffee is hard.

            Reply
        2. seejay

          I was trying to open a ZipCar with my Clipper card (bus pas) once and called the help support line and was freaking out at them because the car door wasn’t unlocking. I was standing there with the card on the windshield and nothing happening and near tears.

          ZipCar card is green, the Clipper card is blue. Took me five minutes to realize that I had the wrong card out.

          Reply
        3. MommyMD

          But did that happen over and over and over? OP may just be a distracted person making innocent errors, but from the outside looking in, it doesn’t look good.

          Reply
    4. hbc

      I barely ever use our company card, it looks different than my others, and I still have nearly done this myself several times. I’ve also tried to check out library books using a card for a different library system several times and once tried to pay at the grocery store with my annual pass to a petting farm. I am otherwise a high-functioning member of society and a competent employee.

      Sometimes our brains go on autopilot. The fact that this happened within a small period of time indicates that something unusual was occurring–whether it was putting the card back in the wrong spot in a wallet for a couple of days, an unusual number of company purchases so that pulling that one out felt like second nature, or simple fatigue.

      But let’s say you’re right and it’s impossible to do this non-maliciously. The problem is still in a system that allows one malicious person to sneak in charges and only catch them through random audits that aren’t even followed up on by someone other than the person who made the bad charges.

      Reply
    5. Evie

      At my last job my work card was the same bank as my personal one. The only thing telling them apart other than the numbers was one had my middle initial and one didn’t. With so many places not requiring a PIN for purchases under $30, using it as credit, etc I almost did this all the time. I finally wrapped my work in on a sticky note.

      Reply
    6. A. Schuyler

      Obviously, I don’t know where OP lives or what organisation we’re discussing, but let me say this. I work for a bank, and the corporate credit cards look almost identical to some of the personal credit cards they issue to customers (and most staff are customers). I could very easily see someone pulling out the wrong dark grey card with their name on it in a rush. It sounds very plausible to me and it’s a little unhelpful of you to suggest otherwise.

      Reply
      1. namelesscommentator

        I have two identical cards in my wallet except for the first names on them are different. I’ve never mixed it up, because the other one is billed to my parents and it’s important to me to keep the seperation. So I double check the card every time I make a purchase. If I’m not sure that I’ll be sober enough to use the right card at the end of the night, I purposefully leave it at home. It takes 2 seconds and it doesn’t matter how much of a rush I’m in. I didn’t need to mess up to know to do this, I just knew how serious having access to someone else’s card was and that it wasn’t something I could mess up.

        I can see the OP not recognizing it as a problem until seeing the statements if it wasn’t something they were worried about happening, but it should not be a problem gong forward (if they allow her to retain access to the card), because it’s become clear that there needs to be a solution to this problem no matter how much retraining of paying-with-card habits the OP needs to do.

        Reply
    7. Snowflake

      A friend and I once had our identical cards swapped at a bar and I used hers 3 times the next day before I realized the credit card receipt had her name on it. I completely believe this could happen.

      (In my case, I texted her when I realized to make sure she had my card, we swapped back the next week, and I wrote her a check for my purchases).

      Reply
    8. mreasy

      It’s an ongoing joke at my company about how often staff accidentally uses their company cards for personal expenses. We catch it because we reconcile our own monthly statements to accounts & attribute to departments/projects. $803 over a significant period of time? That’s a couple of trips to the grocery store (a time I personally tend to be flustered) plus a few other minor expenditures. It’s really not hard to imagine this happening.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        I totally agree that numbers tell a story. $803 over a period of a year is accidental in my opinion. The fact that OP found it on her own, is planning on telling them and presenting them with a check, to me says “no harm intended here”.

        I know of a situation where a person deliberately used the company card and the totals were MUCH higher.
        Conversely, I know of a situation where a treasurer put numbers in the wrong spot, this error also was a very large amount. And this is a situation where no one thought the treasurer used the money for their own purposes. It was an accounting error. Stuff happens and people have to be able to explain what happened.

        Different places react differently. I have worked in for-profit jobs where a misplaced one dollar bill caused a total meltdown by management. It was days of upset over this one dollar bill. We are talking about grown adults carrying on and on and on and on…. And you can’t give them the one dollar bill out of your own pocket. They won’t accept it.

        NPOs can tend to be a little more willing to look at the bigger picture. I think the worst thing that might happen is they ask you if you are carrying too much of a load, OP. I know when I work long days and have family stuff going on, I make mistakes that I would never, ever make ordinarily. People who are stressed/ extremely taxed are more vulnerable to slip ups like this.

        Reply
        1. anon for this one

          $803 over a period of a year is accidental in my opinion.

          But it wasn’t spread out evenly over the course of a year. The OP says most of the charges happened during the same period of time.

          I can easily believe the OP accidentally used the wrong card. I have a store card and a gas card that are both red, and I’m continually grabbing the wrong one. And I can be sloppy with my money at times, so I can also easily believe the OP didn’t notice her personal account was $800 off in her favor. But if I were a board member, I’d want an explanation of how the treasurer didn’t notice the organization’s account was $800 short. That’s a pretty big chunk out of a pretty small budget. Even with no suspicion of malfeasance, I’d question whether this person should be in the position of treasurer. (Not throwing shade – I shouldn’t be a treasurer either, but that doesn’t mean I’m not an awesome person.)

          Reply
          1. caryatis

            They ought to hire someone with an actual accounting qualification. Even if OP never makes a mistake again, it sounds way too easy for other people to embezzle from this organization. If $800 isn’t noticed, tens of thousands could go missing over a long enough period.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              Yes, I agree. I think this is a shoestring organization that has never put policies in place. Time for the policies.

              Reply
            2. AnonAnalyst

              This. I think the OP truly used the card accidentally, but the fact that the $800 discrepancy wasn’t noticed until OP went looking for it is concerning. This organization needs to get better processes in place to make sure their accounts are properly reconciled on a regular basis.

              Reply
            3. paul

              Yep. Get someone–trained–and revise your policies.

              We had a *major* agency here essentially shut down for a most of a year after they got audited by the government (they’re a CEAP provider that gets government funds and so are subject to audits) and it revealed lots of sloppy mistakes like this. Bye bye all funds until some major housecleaning, and it hurt a lot of people that were getting assisted through them.

              Reply
        1. drashizu

          But people are questioning the OP’s story, asking how she could have let this happen as if it’s outlandish (as if her given explanation of absentmindedness doesn’t perfectly account for it), and generally acting like this is somehow astonishing and incredible. It’s not. Either way, I think we all agree it’s not acceptable.

          Reply
    9. Yetanotherjennifer

      I’m not saying I could rack up $800 worth in a single day but I could make some serious inroads on a busy errand day. The cost of living here is high and it’s noteworthy when gas plus the essentials at the grocery store is less than $100. And I could easily imagine that if my first errand was for work and that card was put where my regular card goes, then I might use the work card for all subsequent purchases without noticing.

      OP, if you can look at the purchasing history for patterns you may be able to learn how the mistakes happened and be able to explain that and propose processes to prevent it happening in the future. I’m a volunteer treasurer for a small organization and I’m hyper aware of how few checks and balances we have due in part to the size of our organization. I already feel like the process and bylaws cop in our organization, but I’m going to double down and press for more oversight. For sure, you have my sympathy. You’ve got a hard job ahead of you and I hope it goes well.

      Reply
    10. Gaia

      I mean…I had a similar thing happen at OldJob with a company credit card. The cards *did* look similar and most places I shopped at that time ran debit as credit so no PIN was required. I think I only used it 3 or 4 times before realizing (and repaying! and vowing to not carry it with me anymore!) but it definitely can happen.

      Reply
    11. Observer

      Besides the rules, which Allison has called out already, it’s worth pointing out that you are completely wrong on the facts.

      If you are not on the US, that’s one thing. But for any American to not realize this is so out of the norm that I have to wonder what your agenda is. And, if you find that a tad offensive, please realize that what you just said is even more offensive – and pointless as well.

      Reply
    12. Chickaletta

      I accidently used my business card for a personal purchase once. The cards look very similar and since I use them both frequently it didn’t register at the time. I didn’t discover it until I saw it on my business checking statement a month later. $803 does seem like a lot to go missing, but we’re not her to judge the OP’s spending habits, I just wanted to say that using the wrong credit card isn’t that hard to do.

      Reply
    13. TootsNYC

      I know we are supposed to take the OP at their word, but…

      Anytime you switch to “but,” you’re automatically in the wrong.

      No offense, but…
      I don’t mean to be rude, but…
      Nothing personal, but…

      That’s your cue to NOT click on”submit,” to NOT finish your sentence.

      Reply
  16. MommyMD

    Get legal advice from an attorney. This is embezzlement whether or not it was intentional. The board may have overlooked the first report of misused funds but seeing this goes much deeper may immediately become suspicious. They could call the police and you could be arrested. You want an attorney to be on board in case this happens. When you confess and offer to pay immediate restitution, they do not need to know you have legal counsel. But if it goes bad, and it could, you will be glad you do. This many debuts looks bad. Good luck.

    Reply
    1. Jessie the First (or second)

      Embezzlement generally has an intent requirement- an intent to wrongfully take property, which means no, this isn’t embezzlement. Let’s not have people start playing lawyer again.

      Reply
        1. Jessie the First (or second)

          My point, MommyMD, is that you said explicitly “this is embezzlement whether or not it was intentional.”

          To which I responded, no, that is not true. Embezzlement requires intent – and, following the commenting rules on this site in which we *take letter writers at their word*, that means this is not embezzlement. (If you meant to talk about mere optics, then that’s a different discussion entirely.)

          You are not a lawyer. Please do not start giving legal opinions.

          Reply
    2. Not So NewReader

      Well, it is diverting funds.
      Alison covered the lawyer question, OP. You are there and you see what is happening, we don’t. So you will figure out the best answer as to whether or not to get an attorney involved.

      Many times small organizations just do not have the time and energy to pursue this as a criminal or civil matter. Without going into too much detail I know of an org where someone took a lot more money than this and they took it deliberately. The org had a larger income than your org. The matter was not followed up criminally or civilly in court because the organization just wanted to be paid back and be shed of this individual. The individual paid them back and left. End of story.
      Had the person not done as requested (ie. pay us back and then leave us the hell alone) then maybe it would have become a legal matter. But I can’t be sure.

      Reply
      1. Government Worker

        I was hoping someone would point this out. This is a tiny organization with a very small budget. Pursuing any sort of legal action could eat up thousands of dollars, which they don’t have, and there’s no real purpose since OP is already paying the money back. There’s just no way that they’re going to take that approach. If she weren’t paying it back maybe they’d take her to small claims court? But if she’s paying it back there’s no point to that, either.

        And I’d guess that it would be hard to find a prosecutor interested in filing embezzlement charges against someone who claims it was an accident, was the one who brought it to light, and immediately offered to pay the money back, all over less than $1,000.

        I do think OP and the organization need to take a hard look at why no one noticed this earlier, since it sounds like it happened over a period of months – that means that no one’s been regularly reading the bank statements or reconciling receipts or anything. Some more formal accounting system and controls would probably be a good idea.

        Reply
    3. LawBee

      “This is embezzlement whether or not it was intentional.”

      Not necessarily. Be careful when stating what you think is the law as fact.

      Reply
      1. MommyMD

        Intent is what can be proved in court. A one off can be explained away. Not so easy with multiple diversions over a period of time. How can it hurt to seek legal advice? She is going in confessing to diverting funds on multiple occasions.

        Reply
    4. Observer

      Nonsense. They won’t get arrested – no police department is going to waste the resources. And no Board with a half a grain of sense is going to press fraud charges against someone who found the mistake that THEY should have found and came to tell the about it *with a check in hand.*

      This kind of hysteria does no one any good.

      Reply
        1. Observer

          Not in situations like this, though. People get hit by lightning all the time, too. Does that mean that the OP is likely to get hit by lightning when she goes to speak to the Board? The two events are about as likely to happen under these circumstances.

          Reply
  17. Chris

    Op #2 – a tactful way to handle this would be to send a followup question to the interviewer and say something like: “one thing I wanted to clarify with you that I forgot to follow up on in the interview.. in my past experience when we ran x number of patients in x timeframe with satisfaction goals of y and z, we often found we had trouble meeting those goals in the following areas. I was wondering how your team has structured things differently than my past roles to generate better outcomes?”

    Done carefully, this not only shows you have the experience they are looking for, it puts them on notice that there may be issues they haven’t considered, and gives them a way to explore the topic further with you that goes in a positive direction.

    Reply
    1. Dizzy Steinway

      I wouldn’t say you forgot. If it was that big a deal you wouldn’t forget and everyone in the conversation will know that.

      I actually don’t think you need a why. Just a what. “I’d like to follow up on something we didn’t discuss further in the interview.”

      Reply
      1. t

        Yes, or “I’ve been thinking about our conversation about how many patients will be seen.”… The rest of the script is great.

        If this is a manager you’d want to work for, I think they’d be open to this conversation. If they aren’t willing to listen to your concerns, that gives you good information about whether this is the right match for you.

        Reply
    2. the_scientist

      I think this is a great way to approach the issue. It sounds like OP 2 doesn’t have a lot to lose here- if the interview went well, and the people running the interview are somewhat reasonable, they’re hopefully going to see that OP is thoughtful and knowledgeable about this field. Bringing this up may push them to re-consider, or to realize they are being unrealistic, which is good both for the organization and for the OP, if hired. And if they are wedded to these metrics, OP probably doesn’t want the job anyway and this is a low-stakes way to “trial balloon” the issue.

      Reply
  18. Nonprofit Board Member

    Anyone working or volunteering at a grassroots nonprofit should read #3 and beware! This is why you need to have a key staff member (eg. Executive Director), Board Chair, Board Treasurer, or CPA (someone who does NOT have check writing/debit card charging privileges) directly receive the unopened bank statements/credit card statements and do the reconciliation of the books MONTHLY. If OP #3’s organization had done monthly reconciliation these mistaken charges would have been caught no more than 30 day after the transactions occurred. Please, if you are a board member of a grassroots nonprofit, take this as a cautionary tale and build in “internal controls” eg. division of labor, checks and balances, monthly reconciliation etc. into your processes. No matter how small your budget, you can begin with basic controls (see links for more) and build from there. The OP is obviously innocent and remorseful but someone with fraudulent intentions could have easily gotten away with stealing that amount or more, the way their organization is currently run.

    https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/internal-controls-nonprofits
    http://www.nonprofitaccountingbasics.org/reporting-operations/internal-controls-small-organizations

    Reply
    1. M from NY

      It’s more important for smaller organizations to follow these rules because they are least likely to survive any type of scandal revolving around mismanagement of money.

      Reply
  19. Nina

    OP#4…Is the employee producing full-time resultd with her flexible schedule? If so I think adding to her obviously full-time workload is unreasonable simply because of how she manages her time.

    Reply
  20. Dizzy Steinway

    #1 How IT-literate is your boss? Is there any chance he actually thinks this costs money when it doesn’t?

    Reply
  21. jordanjay29

    OP#4:

    I had this same experience recently. I was fortunate that the company I was applying to sent a follow up with the salary information. The lowest part of the range was $15k below my ideal salary, and it was only a $5k range. If someone’s quoting me a salary range, I’m going to proceed with the assumption that I’m coming out of it with the low end of the range, or something close to it. I can try to negotiate, but if the low end is far too low for me to make ends meet, I can’t find myself proceeding further for most jobs.

    Ultimately, I had to pass on the company in question, even though I would have liked to hear more about the job and practice interviewing, it wasn’t worth wasting time on either side.

    Reply
  22. Wduos

    OP#5 I think you should be careful about demoralizing an efficient employee with this advice. At my work, we have daily deadlines and quotas we’re expected to meet. It’s assigned throughout the day and we have to finish the day it’s assigned. If we don’t, it’s mandatory overtime.

    I and several of my more technically proficient coworkers are capable of almost double the throughput and started off working at our natural pace. Unfortunately, the only “reward” we got was that we were now expected to do twice the workload under the same deadlines. Take a guess at the reason why no one at our office now ever exceeds the given quota or puts in any more than the minimum necessary work.

    Your office obviously sounds a lot more sane and has less toxic micromanagers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if your efficient employee will feel unfairly treated if they have to complete far more work than their coworkers simply because they work faster.

    Reply
    1. Dizzy Steinway

      Not everyone feels that way. I don’t now, working for a non-profit, nor did I feel that way working for private companies. Even though I’m in the UK where merit raises aren’t a thing in the fields I’ve worked in, so doing more work doesn’t benefit me that way.

      I am very productive. If I didn’t work at my natural pace, or take on the number of projects or tasks I’m capable of doing, I would be bored stupid, get stressed from not having enough to do, and start to burn out. I’ve done a job where I lacked enough to do and it made me miserable – I was bored, felt worthless and the day passed so slowly. I also don’t enjoy being overloaded, but I’m happiest when I’m busy. It’s a plus that I can then impress my manager with details of how much I’ve achieved, and relations with my team are great as I always meet deadlines early, but I do that primarily for myself.

      I can see how someone might feel differently depending on the work they do. But I’ve been surprised by some comments on this post and others about not giving your employer too much for their money or not wanting to put in more than other people do as it’s not fair. Maybe that depends on whether you see it as a job or a career.

      So I don’t think it’s unfair to ask people to work at the level they are capable of. If you think that’s not fair, try to remember that fair doesn’t mean the same.

      Reply
      1. Wduos

        When you’ve already completed more than the assigned work and because of that are given a last minute assignment at 5:40 pm requiring you to work until midnight, you’d very quickly lose the shiny bright eyes for impressing managers who don’t care at all about you and just want to take as much as they can get until you burn out or learn to play the system.

        I’m glad you are happy with your non profit, but all the cheesy stuff I see being peddled at startups especially has made me way too jaded about putting in all your dedication for some nebulous good feelings.

        Reply
        1. Dizzy Steinway

          Well no, the example you give isn’t fair or good management. But I think you missed the main point I was making, which is that working under my natural pace makes me bored and stressed.

          I’ve never worked at a start-up, and I don’t think it’s cheesy to see work as something other than serving ‘the man’. My point, in relation to the letter, is that it’s not helpful to tell OP they’re punishing productive workers by expecting them to do more work.

          Reply
        2. hbc

          “More than the assigned hours” is not at all what’s going on in this letter. We can debate whether it’s fair or effective to let someone get paid full time for putting in 25 hours worth of work if they get the nominal amount of work done (I’m torn on this myself), but the OP’s example is not at all like making someone work until midnight. It’s asking them to finish out their 8 hours when there’s more work to do.

          Reply
        3. Princess Carolyn

          Right, but the OP isn’t staying until midnight. She’s leaving early every day. For full-time pay, I think it’s reasonable to expect someone to be around for about 40 hours a week — at least when there’s enough work to justify it, and it sounds like there is. Sure, she’s hired to do a specific job, but she’s also being paid for her time.

          Reply
      2. JS

        You contradicted yourself. Doing more work DOES benefit you if you are impressing your manager and your team. Also unless your job is a streamline of repetitive identical tasks/projects, no two projects will take the same amount of time. So it is highly likely that an over efficient person will actually end up working longer than everyone else if they have more tasks on their plate if their employer is just trying to fill up their time versus make the best use of it.

        It also depends on like your said their feelings on their employer but that isnt a reflection on if they want a career. One of my last employers is in my career line and field, however I knew no matter how hard I worked or what I did, promotions were based on butt-kissing and favoritism and people had been in my position for 5-6 years without getting a promotion (it was a basic mid-level job). This does not foster a feeling of wanting to do your best or impress your boss because you know those achievements will not be recognized unlike the position you are in.

        In terms of employment fair does mean “the same” in regards to the same position doing the same work. With that train of thought it would be easy to BS and justify unfair and discriminatory treatment, you are in the UK so equal opportunity laws might be different than US

        Reply
  23. Dizzy Steinway

    #2 I would say you have an ethical obligation to say something to them, but here’s hoping that nobody else in your field would take the job for the same reasons. Ideally you’d have asked already but it’s not easy to fully process these things straight away or to question things in an interview situation so try not to get sucked into the tyranny of the shoulds.

    If you do get an offer, that sounds like a good in to questioning it and asking the things Alison suggests. If they ask why you didn’t mention it sooner, you could say you wanted to think it over and check you were correct. But I think most reasonable people would get why it might be hard to question it in the moment.

    Reply
  24. Re: Question #1

    What if OP#1 refuses to “comply” with boss’ “demand”? (I mean he is, so to speak, “demanding” her not to change her last name … perhaps so as to not “inconvenience” him with “unnecessary paperwork” or what have you) … and then boss terminates her for “refusing to comply” with his “demand”? Does “At-Will Employment” legally allow for that? (I’m not in USA)

    Reply
    1. Apollo Warbucks

      I suspect it would be a hard case to bring.

      On the one hand being married or changing a name isn’t a protected class on the other it maybe possible to argue disparate impact as it’s much more common for women to change their name when they get married so a male employee is much less likely to face being fired for the same thing.

      Reply
      1. Oscar Madisoy

        I suppose if push comes to shove, the original poster could go to the media, one of those “advocate” reporters like “Help Me Howard” (WPIX in NYC) or post her experience on Facebook. Of course, that would mean she’d have to “out” herself (reveal her true identity) and possibly the name of the company, and she would also run the risk of jeopardizing her job.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          And then she would also be known in the media for it, which might not sit well with future employers.

          Reply
    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      At will employment means you can fire anyone at any time for any reason, as long as it’s not because of a discriminatory purpose. You wore blue shoes? Fired. Boss hates red blouses? Fired. They also don’t have to give you a reason at all; they can just fire you because they want to fire you.

      At the federal level, marital status is not protected, and in this case, the underlying “behavior” is changing one’s name because of a change in marital status. There are some states that offer some protection, but they are in the minority. As Apollo noted, it could be possible to couch this as gender/sex discrimination (i.e., the name change is a proxy for gender), but it would be difficult to raise/win.

      Reply
  25. Dizzy Steinway

    #5 I wonder if there’s been a misunderstanding here? You’re hearing this as her not having time at work, but is it possible she actually means she doesn’t have time or space in her life to work more hours? I wouldn’t ask her to explain why, as that’s too personal and might make you seem like you’re expecting her to have a reason you approve of.

    I don’t fully get how exempt/non-exempt works no matter how it’s explained (I’m in the UK and can’t get my head around people not having employment contracts) but if she’s exempt doesn’t that mean she’s not paid hourly meant to work full-time as you’re paying her a salary intended for a full working week so it’s not really okay for her not to do that even if she is super productive?

    Reply
    1. Red Reader

      There seems to be two schools of thought on salaried workers, in my experience. One is that the employer is paying a flat fee for x amount of work, whether it takes 20 hours or 50 hours to do, and you leave when the work is done. The other is that the employer is paying a 40-hour rate for 40 hours worth of work, and if they happen to hire someone who can do that in 30 hours, then bonus, because a good employee will fill the remaining ten hours with more work for them because 40 hour work week is a standard and reasonable expectation, and if sometimes there’s more work, that’s still reasonable. These two schools of thought (again in my experience) rarely agree on which is correct.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        I can see what you are saying about the two schools of thought.
        My first reaction was well if her agreement was x hours for y dollars then she needs to work those hours. But considering what you are saying here, I think that OP should look at what the agreement is (job description perhaps?) and go from there.

        On a personal level, I believe I should push to try to do more/learn more/finish more. That is my take. Not everyone feels this way, though.

        Reply
        1. Red Reader

          Well, I’m very much in the second school myself. But part of that is that I’ve always been a “I finished everyone else’s 40 hours worth of work in 30 hours, what else can I do so you recognize my value at raise time” type, and everyone I know who claimed they could do their week’s work in 20 hours and actually only went to work for 20 hours a week, that habit has been one of many examples of their completely appalling work ethic. Seriously, when your boss calls you on your terrible attendance and shoddy performance because you’ve spent three months swanning in at 11, taking a 2 hour lunch at 12:30, and leaving for the day by 4, and then you no-show the meeting where you’re supposed to tell your team how you’re going to correct yourself, and you tell this story like it’s hilarious? I don’t even have WORDS. Well, I do, but they’d land me in moderation. (He also never showered and wore the same gross wrinkled stained cat-pee-smelling clothes for days on end. I know, he was my housemate. Good riddance.)

          Sorry. Tangent aside, I have definite side-eye for someone who decides they only have to be at work for 30 hours a week when they’re paid for full time work — especially if they’re announcing they don’t have time to take on any other projects.

          Reply
      2. Allypopx

        I think it depends on the job, too. Working in non-profit, everyone wears a lot of hats and there’s more than too much work to go around, so anyone who is getting their work done in 7 hours automatically gets overflow projects – because the investment is meant to be the employee’s time. I think for something where the goal is to produce 20 high quality teapots, it should matter less whether or not that takes you 6 hours or 8 as long as it gets done.

        Reply
      3. Tableau Wizard

        Interesting, I’ve always considered that it was a 40 hour minimum (except for an occasional week here or there) and if you were done in 30, that meant you had capacity to do more. I had never realized that there were some jobs that were really constant enough with workloads that they could operate a different way.

        Reply
    2. Colette

      As I understand it, exempt worker can still be required to work set hours. IMO, it’s not unreasonable to expect her to work a full week most of the time.

      Reply
      1. NotAnotherManager!

        Yep, all of my exempt employees have set work hours because it’s a client-services business, and you need to be there (not necessarily in the office but actively available and responsive) during core hours. The nature of the business is that projects arise quickly and most people have things they are working on long-term, immediate/urgent projects that pop up (with varying degrees of predictability, but often not much), and sometimes just people needing 5-15 minutes of their time to talk through options, ask a question, etc.

        We had someone who arrived late/left early a lot and then complained every time something had to be handled outside normal business hours. The late arrivals and early departures shifted work they should have taken care of to other team members because they were in transit and couldn’t field the call/request when it came in. That wasn’t fair to everyone else.

        Reply
  26. Red Reader

    Huh. When I get married this fall I’ll be changing my last name with HR (for legal documentation), but hopefully not with our IT staff because they’ll insist on changing all my logins. And since I’m hopefully going from a four letter last name to a hyphenated pair of 8-letter names (dropping my previous married name, going back to my maiden name and hyphenating), I would much rather keep my current logins. (Hospital, so many logins used many times a day.) Other people I work with have done this and it hasn’t been an issue.

    Reply
    1. Not Karen

      From what I’ve seen they don’t change your logins but they do change your e-mail, company profile, business cards, etc.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth

      Check your state’s licensing agency for your profession. We are required in Kansas to have the same name on all systems as appear on the user’s license. So, if a nurse gets married and is in the process of changing her name, we have to wait to make the change until our HR department gets a copy of the updated document, then we have a limited time frame to make the update.

      Reply
      1. Red Reader

        Coder, not a clinical professional, so I’m in the clear! But good point, and thanks for the reminder :)

        Reply
  27. Grits McGee

    Related to OP#2- This letter reminds me of a recurring situation we’d have at OldJob, where management did the same thing as the hospital OP is interviewing at (new hybrid positions, wanting candidates to have multiple graduate degrees but only willing to pay $35,000 in an urban center, etc). One thing they did that really screwed over candidates/new hires was that all through the interview process, management would talk up how much they wanted change and the person hired would have all the support and resources in the world to customize the role and modernize the department. Then of course, these same managers fought tooth and nail when the new hire tried to, you know, change things. I’m wondering if OP#2 might be in danger of having the same thing happen to her if she takes the role (esp. if they’re offering salary below market value).

    So, does anyone have any good techniques for sussing out when hiring managers are talking the talk but won’t walk the walk? I feel like since it’s such a human trait to acknowledge that things ought to change, but cling to the status quo because it’s easier/safe/etc, there must be ways for candidates to screen for this?

    Reply
    1. hbc

      I haven’t tried it, but I suspect the equivalent of the standard “tell me about a time when you…” interview question would help. “Is there another group that has had a new position like this and made structural changes? What kind of changes did they drive and how does that go through the approval process?” If they speak in generalities or get defensive, not a good sign.

      It’s like a company that says it respects work/life balance but then hems and haws when asked if employees are expected to check email on vacation or how often people work more than a 40 hour work week.

      Reply
      1. Grits McGee

        Oooh, turning the “tell me about a time when…” question back on the interviewers is a great idea!

        Reply
    2. Cassandra

      “It’s great that you’re looking to update your teapot-sterilization procedures. Can you tell me who else will be working on that project, what timeline you’re envisioning, and what the budget will be?”

      If they waffle or give you the old deer-in-headlights look, run away. “We’re hoping you’ll put together that effort” is also a warning sign that they won’t help you.

      Reply
    3. jamlady

      Having fallen into this trap with a previous position and regularly interview for jobs with the same feel to it, I usually end up following this line of questioning in an interview:

      – how many hours a week are you expecting? (often seeing mid-level jobs marketed as basic positions but find the interviews are describing very complex 60 hr week kind of stuff)
      – (mid level jobs marketed as entry level) you want this position to be non-exempt with an entry-level title and pay, but your recruiters are looking for complex mid to senior-level skillsets – can you explain what the agency is doing to ensure this position can meet deliverables in a 40-hour work week? Be specific. (usually get blank stares or BS about tech departments who don’t actually do anything I would need help with)
      – what is your experience with x and y skillsets and what is your knowledge of the daily issues where these skillsets are needed? (I often run into companies where people think you can use an hour a day to fix something when in reality the problems are massive enough to take over half or your work week, and I am done working for people who aren’t knowledgeable enough in some areas to actually have realistic expectations for the job)

      I try to keep it light and curious, and it usually works well enough for someone to finally admit that things are a mess and they need a fixer, and I usually wrap it up by mentioning my experience with that sort of thing and how it can take x years of specialised experienced to get it done (and in compliance), and where my experience level is at, and then sometimes they might say they need to re-evaluate what they’re marketing (good companies) or they might just thank me and we go our separate ways.

      I’m a lot more polite about it and subtle than this post, but it’s information I need to have and I make sure to get it. Even if they’re annoyed with me by the end of it :)

      Reply
  28. Rebecca

    #3 – I’m the treasurer of a small non-profit club, and we make charitable donations in our community. Here are the safeguards we put in place: (1) I provide a monthly treasurer’s report to the President, secretary, and members, complete with details for all debits and credits to the account with copy of bank statement. (2) We don’t have debit cards, period. All bills are paid via check, or electronic check (I had to do this recently when the secretary gave me a bill at the last minute). (3) I can access our bank records online, but the physically mailed statement goes to our secretary separately. She cross checks this against the report I provide. (4) Once per year, two members go over the records as a triple check to make sure everything is in place.

    I hope this helps! So far, so good, no accidental charges and everyone has full access to the records.

    Reply
    1. Sibley

      That also helps to prevent fraud. Good for your club for putting in such good controls. It can be hard for small organizations, to the point where it’s almost a cliche among accountants. –An Auditer

      Reply
      1. Rebecca

        I’m also an elected township auditor, so I had a few ideas about this :) I also would like to add the club checkbook is kept at my home, in a secure location, so when I’m out and about, there is zero chance of writing a check accidentally, and since there are no debit cards (for anyone), and if there were, they’d be locked up with the checkbook, zero chance of using a debit card for an unauthorized or accidental withdraw or purchase.

        Reply
  29. Cookie

    For whatever it’s worth, I’ve worked in two agencies in my state government and neither will change your email after you begin. Doesn’t matter if you get married, divorced, remarried, etc. People will still use their own name on the signature line even if it doesn’t correspond to the email address, but for whatever reason we are not allowed to change our emails either. I’ve just accepted it as one of the quirks of state government.

    Reply
    1. Alton

      That’s been my experience, too! We can update our HR records and the name associated with our email address, but updating the actual address doesn’t seem to be done. So a lot of people have addresses that don’t match their actual name.

      (OP, do you know of anyone at your workplace who’s changed their name? Or have you come across people whose addresses don’t match their names? If not, then it’s probably not that difficult to update the email addresses at your workplace. But if mismatches occur sometimes, then it might not be as confusing as you fear, though your boss is still a jerk about it.)

      Reply
    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      But… what if they make mistakes? Surely there has to be a way to correct something. For example: my last name is long, unusual, and often misspelled (I had a misspelled passport for a long time, that was fun), and if I started a job and discovered on the first day that my email address was misspelled, it would have to be changed. Have to. There’s no way I’m going to remember to misspell my own name.

      Not focusing on your org specifically, just baffled at all of these places that simply refuse to change a username or email address.

      Reply
      1. LiveandLetDie

        Not *quite* the same but my university when I studied abroad for a year misspelled my first name on my email address and they never fixed it, and when I asked them to, they said, “We can’t do that.” I always gave my professors my gmail address with an explanation instead, because otherwise they’d be sending to [correctlyspelledname@school” and it would never have gotten to me. It was exceptionally frustrating.

        Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        This happened to me when I joined the federal government—someone added a mystery vowel to my name that appears on literally none of my paperwork. Over 2 years later, I still had access, etc., problems, and it took over three weeks just to get the correct account name because the request had to be approved by the regional office and by the office in DC. It was a little ridiculous.

        Reply
        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          I should clarify that this varies widely by agency/department. The division I was in had a kind of dinosaur-like approach to governance/maintenance.

          Reply
    3. AnotherAlison

      But they must be changing your name in the system, right? Your name has to be right on your W2s. What about your corporate credit card and travel reservations, since your reservation has to match your ID?

      I realize you can change a *name* in the system without changing the email address, but that seems like it would bring a lot more confusion to business operations than changing the damn email address. Nothing would match and 5 years from now, people would have to remember that Jane Smith used to be Jane SomethingElse. What a mess.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I’m at a big state university, and that’s how it works here. It’s not that big a deal–after all, some people in the world have emails that aren’t connected to their real names at all. It’s not like your email was Jane Somethingelse anyway–it’s usually more like jsom456.

        Reply
        1. AnotherAlison

          Yeah, I guess I was looking at it through my company’s lens. Our ID for every system in the company is Firstname.Lastname, so it would be a big deal to not have it match your email ID, which is firstname.lastname at company.com. You would just have to get away from the mindset that the email IS your name. In the OP’s case, though, I still think it would be confusing when everyone else’s follows a different system that your address doesn’t comply wiht.

          Reply
        2. Alton

          Yep, that’s pretty much how it is at the university where I work. We do have last names in our email addresses, but it’s not really that confusing because if you don’t already know someone’s email and you look them up in the directory, they’ll be easy to find if the person goes by their legal name. And here, if Jane Smith had the email jsom456, the email would still say it was from Jane Smith.

          Reply
    4. JB (not in Houston)

      Depends on the state government! I worked for one, and we didn’t have any problems with changing people’s names in email.

      Reply
  30. Lady Julian

    OP5: Something else to consider is whether the employee is taking any projects home with her? At my office I don’t stay later than anyone else, and many people come in earlier than me (We have a whole slew of people that like to be in my 7!) but that doesn’t mean I’m not working; I’m just doing a lot of work at home in the evenings, where I can concentrate better, than cooped up in my office. Is it possible the OP is taking work home with her & doing it there?

    Reply
    1. Koko

      This was my thought as well. Because I have a dog who can’t be left alone very long, and because I find it easier to do my creative work in my own home (with maybe a drink that I wouldn’t feel comfortable drinking in the office but helps loosen me up and get creative), I arrive around 9:30 on days I go to the office, and leave between 4:45 and 5:05. However, I’m also doing about an hour of work in the morning (clearing my inbox and organizing my daily to-do list so I can jump right into work when I arrive) and 1-2 hours in the evening (creative work that I saved for home). They are getting more than 8 hours out of me, it’s just not all happening in the office.

      Reply
  31. Mary

    #1 This is so odd. If you were a new employee he would have to set up IT, payroll etc. He is hardly going to say, oh the last person in this job was Jane Doe, so you can now be Jane Doe in this company, I am not changing the names. So perhaps if you approached him as setting up an new employee and get him to treat it like that.

    Reply
  32. Jessesgirl72

    OP3: Since you seem so out of your element as treasurer, might I suggest a class in Quickbooks? Or a basic accounting class. The non-profit should have safeguards in place, but since you’re the one who would get the blame in a real audit, I think it would be in your best interest to get the training you need on your own, and implement some safeguards here.

    Our church doesn’t have a paid Financial Secretary, so everything is done with volunteers. We don’t use debit cards, but only checks and e-checks, and the person who does the books is separate from the volunteer who does the deposits who is separate from the one person with check writing permissions at the bank.

    In the short term… well, I keep my company credit card locked in my desk drawer of my home office.

    Reply
    1. Band geek

      I have 2 separate cards I use for different purposes. The ‘not daily use card’ is kept in a paper sleeve (that I kept from a hotel key-card) in my wallet so I have to use an extra step to get to it. That has helped me keep my accounts straight.

      Reply
  33. A fed

    #4 – are you applying to positions in the public sector?
    I’m a hiring manager in federal gov, and we post our salary range on all of our positions, but that is the absolute max possible on the position including all promotion potential. For example if we are hiring at a grade 2 level, but there is promotion potential to grade 3, our salary range on the position shows grade 2 step 1 as the minimum with grade 3 stepped out as the maximum. That maximum is the highest that position will ever get paid, excluding cost of living adjustments to the salary tables. All federal positions are advertised like this, so coming in with an expectation that we can exceed the maximum posted shows me that you don’t really understand how federal employment works, and that you might have unreasonable expectations for the position.

    Reply
  34. Another

    #4
    Absolutely agree, don’t waste your time if they have an inflexible salary structure and it’s too low. I just abandoned an application with a government agency that asked me to agree to accept $XX,632 as a starting salary (more than 10k less than my salary at current employer) before they would even let me submit the application. First I was appalled because it was way under market rate for the job description, then I was thankful I didn’t have to go through the whole process and get my hopes up to find out it was a waste of time. In a previous application for a different role I got a phone call from the hiring agency asking if I would accept a certain salary before they would even schedule an interview (thanks no), but yet another time I actually interviewed at a different agency that was overly focused on my current salary for half the interview because they didn’t think they could beat it. Waste. Of. Time.

    These same employers often complain about not getting the best job candidates, but you can count your blessings when they are up front about their inflexible low salaries and you don’t have to waste your time.

    Reply
    1. Joa

      For government jobs, the people doing the hiring and managing of an employee often have little to no control over the employee salary.

      I am the head of a local government agency and all salaries are built into a set structure. The pay that my staff get is disgraceful and I am fighting to change the salary structure that we are required to use. That is not an easy process; it involves elected officials, long-term budget changes, politics, etc. In the meantime, I include the low salary info in all job postings so that anyone who applies can know exactly what to expect and make their own decisions accordingly.

      Reply
      1. Koko

        I didn’t even find out my direct report’s salary until after her first day when they loaded her into the HR system and I was able to view her record which included salary details. I was not the one who made the offer and was not part of any salary negotiations. I think my org keeps salary negotiation inside of HR as part of ensuring fairness/pay equity across the org regardless of manager, but it definitely felt weird not to even be CC’d or looped in to the conversation.

        Reply
      2. Another

        I am really glad you do this and wish more managers did. It saves everyone a lot of time to be up front about these things. Too many government jobs in my area post a huge salary range in their ad – for example 2 recent listings I looked at advertised $3,600 – $6,700 a month for one, and $40,000 -75,000 a year for another – but the hiring managers in that agency are only authorized to hire at the minimum or up to 10% more.

        It takes time for applicants to apply for jobs and for managers to sort through the applications and the best thing hiring agents can do for everyone involved is to be up front at the application stage when they don’t have the authority to make an offer in the upper end of the pay range. And following that, the best thing applicants can do is not apply if the salary is not acceptable.

        Reply
        1. Koko

          I also always like to point out that the people least likely to apply to a job that doesn’t advertise salary are talented, happily-employed people already earning a decent wage. If you pay so poorly you’d never be able to woo those people anyway, then sure, go ahead and don’t list a salary range.

          But if you have competitive pay, you should realize that by not listing your salary range, you’re telegraphing that your pay might be crap and those talented, happy employees have little incentive to go through the process of applying for a job that may not even pay as much as their current one. The conservative strategy is to assume it doesn’t and not invest your time in something with low odds of paying off. You’ll end up with more people desperate for any job in your pool, and fewer experts who specialize in the work and seek it out for the work’s sake.

          Reply
      3. Elizabeth West

        The county here does that–many of their salaries are dependent on grants and elections. AND–they have mandatory health insurance taken out. I got offered a job I wanted in 2012 with the prosecutor’s office, but they also had a salary freeze (so no raises), and after all my bills were paid, I would have had about $14 left for the entire month. NOPE.

        Reply
      4. Kj

        This is somewhat true of some non-profits as well- the grant or whatever only allows certain salaries. When I started working a nonprofit, I was told up front that they can’t negotiate on salary. Of course, I was also told the benefits “are so great” and then they got cut every year until I left. I did gain a lot of professional knowledge and contacts through that job, so it was OK.

        Reply
  35. Rusty Shackelford

    I’m thinking about #5 from the employee’s point of view:

    I’ve been in my current position for a while, and I’m very good at it. I’m full-time exempt, and I’m efficient enough that I can almost always get my day’s work done in 6 or 7 hours. I’m usually out the door by 4:00, which is perfect, because it allows me to go to the gym after work/beat traffic/be home when my kids get off the bus/whatever. I consider it a benefit of working here, and my manager has never had a problem with it. He’s always said productivity is more important than butt-in-chair time.

    Until recently. Lately he’s been trying to add to my workload. I keep telling him I don’t have time to handle these additional projects, but he keeps pushing them. It seems he’s decided that since I’m so productive, he can take advantage of my time savings to push another job onto my plate. I’d have to stay until 5:00 or later every day to do this additional work. What’s my incentive for being productive and efficient if it simply means I’m given more work to do? At this point it feels like I may as well slow down and spend an hour on the internet every day like everyone else I know, get my current workload done by 5:00, and not give him the excuse to pile more projects onto me.

    (Not saying either position is right or wrong. Just something to think about when you have this conversation.)

    Reply
    1. Anon Anon

      This was my concern as well.

      I’ve found that many of those highly efficient people end up doing the work of two people and then end up getting burned out. Being highly efficient and productive may take few hours, but it can be mentally exhausting. And adding to that workload can result in burn-out.

      I have also seen some people who have been highly efficient suddenly lose that efficiency when it becomes clear that their hard work is only being rewarded by more work. Especially, if they see their co-workers doing less. I have some days where I come in at 8a.m., and work non-stop until 4p.m.,, because I need to leave early. If I did that all the time, while I watched my fellow co-workers visit with each other, take time out to check Facebook, take a lunch break, etc., and then got told by my boss that I needed to take on more work, I’d be pretty resentful.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Though co-workers who see a co-worker constantly leaving early can be a hit to their morale too.

        I agree that this is a cultural thing, but at my workplace you really couldn’t push back on a task because you wanted to preserve an under-40-hours week.

        Reply
        1. Allypopx

          Agreed on both points. Couldn’t do it, and honestly wouldn’t want to. I think it would put a strain on my relationship with my coworkers.

          Reply
        2. Rusty Shackelford

          Leaving early because you’re “done” isn’t an option at my job at all. But it’s been an option at the LW’s job, and taking that benefit away and replacing it with more work is going to be an uncomfortable conversation, I suspect.

          Reply
          1. Anon Anon

            It’s not a perk at my job either, as they are big on face-time. But, if that was permitted at a job and that benefit was taken away and I was provided with more work, then I’d probably be looking for another job.

            Reply
        3. Kathleen Adams

          Where I work – in fact, everywhere I’ve ever worked – it was the same as described as fposte. If you could get your work done early, you could leave early from time to time, but the understanding is always that the company is paying you for 40 hours per week. So if your work routinely takes significantly less than 40 hours per week, of *course* the company is going to give you more work. That’s what they pay you for, after all.

          Reply
          1. Kathleen Adams

            Actually, where I work now, the company is paying me for 37.5 hours per week (8:30-5 with an hour for lunch). ;-) But the principle remains the same.

            Reply
            1. NotAnotherManager!

              Law firm? We also work a 37.5 core hours week, and it’s always kind of fun to explain to new hires how we arrive at that figure. Bonus for the non-exempts — they get paid OT after 37.5 instead of 40.

              Reply
              1. Kathleen Adams

                Nope, it’s a non-profit. I have no idea how they came up with the 37.5-hour week, but I would bet big money that it came about because of something quirky – e.g., maybe back in 1927 or 1942, the organization was housed somewhere far from lunch-appropriate restaurants and it was decided that since it wasn’t possible to eat and make it back to the office in a half hour, everybody needed an hour for lunch. And maybe also the nearest bus stop was a 10-minute walk away, so it wasn’t workable to let everybody leave at 5.

                I’m not saying that’s definitely why, but I wouldn’t be even a tiny bit surprised. :-)

                Reply
        4. Anon Anon

          I don’t disagree with that.

          But, at the same time, if everyone is expected to work 40 hours, then they should work 40 hours. Not work 35 hours. Whether that is because they are leaving early every day, or because they are spending hours a week visiting with co-workers or surfing the net.

          Reply
          1. Naruto

            The problem is it’s really hard to get more than 35 hours of work done in a week. So if you are really working an efficient 7 hours a day, even if you start working 8 hours a day, you may not get done.

            I’m not saying the LW is wrong to ask for the employee to work a full week. But I do think these countervailing considerations about efficiency and productivity are interesting factors to consider.

            Reply
        5. Salamander

          Yes. All the places I’ve worked have been like this. I might be able to adjust hours to accommodate a dentist appointment, for example. But there is the expectation that I’ll be available for forty hours because exigent things do come up. Colleagues get sick, systems go down, fires need to be put out, etc.

          Reply
      2. Another

        This happened to me as the highest performer on my team. Lots more work assigned to me but no more schedule flexibility because it was perceived as unfair by people who were not productive but put in their hours while socializing and taking plenty of breaks. So I slowed my pace way down because working at my previous fast paced level 8 hours every day with the added distraction of my underutilized colleagues was unsustainable and not getting me anywhere professionally either.

        My boss began taking on the extra work herself instead of assigning it to the others and now complains bitterly and constantly to me about having to do the work herself, yet another distraction I don’t need. I can’t find a new job fast enough.

        Reply
    2. Not Karen

      It is a benefit of working there and not where OP works. In many places, including both places I’ve worked, it’s required to put in 40 hours of work even if it doesn’t take you 40 hours to do the work.

      Reply
    3. SophieChotek

      I agree with what you write and I think you summed up the two sides that both people seem to be discussing, coming at it from different sides and experiences. I like to think of myself as efficient and usually can get my work done in less than 40 hours, but then because I don’t want to be the one leaving early (or actually because I am expected to work 8-5), I just find other “little” projects to do. But I understand I might sometimes have to work later on big projects, but I’ll push back a little on overwhelming project. But some of my co-workers who are exempt have to regularly work 13-14 hour days with no extra pay because they are exempt and the mentality (expectations from their bosses) is “they have to get this done today”, however long it takes. (And they do different things than me, so I can’t help them.)

      I would be worried about being the highly efficient person who get asked to do the work of 2 people, and then get burned out, or suddenly needing to put in more than 40-45 hours a week as more gets added. I guess I would want that “happy balance” of being just “efficient” enough to “look good” but not so good as to get dumped on. =)

      I can see whether both sides takes hits on morale in this matter.

      Reply
    4. Detective Amy Santiago

      Being an efficient employee can definitely backfire and get you saddled with a bigger workload than your colleagues. This happened to me at OldJob and when it got to be too much and things slipped, I was terminated even though I’d been asking for help for months.

      Reply
  36. bopper

    #2: My husband had to tell a company that he was interviewing that their salary was not compatible with the level of work they were asking for (Chief Auditor)…He didn’t get the job but I think that after a while if they cannot get anyone to take the job they will adjust things. So you can start the process of informing them they are off in their expectations, but don’t expect them to say “Yes! you are right” to you and hire you. But eventually if they hear the same thing from others they will figure it out.

    Reply
  37. Z

    OP#3 and any other person how accidentally charges personal items to their company card: there is a really easy way to avoid this.

    Take a Sharpie and write on the card!

    My father has his personal card, a card for this mechanical shop, and a card for his rental properties. He has written “Shop” and “Properties” on the front of the appropriate cards so he doesn’t actually have to remember anything.

    Reply
  38. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    #2 – a job doomed to fail — well, if I were comfortably employed elsewhere and had no intention of taking the job as it was presented – yes, I’d let them know that “I’m declining the offer because it would be impossible to carry out the mission, given the lack of resources. I’ll be glad to spend a little time to show you why”….. and let it go. I would not want to enter into a situation where I’m doomed before I start.

    #3 – like she (AAM) said.

    #4 – yeah, don’t apply if the difference between your “low end” and their “high end” is too much of a gap. Just the way it is. There are some places that pay well and some that don’t pay so well. You might love the work – and if you can afford the cut, then explore it – but if you can’t – you likely won’t like the situation. Working in a great place is great , especially in a job you look forward to going to every morning is good – but – stresses in other parts of your life take over if the financial situation isn’t good. This may be old guy’s advice, but I hung on in a job once for three years too long. I didn’t like my next job but I also was happy to be able to put food on the table, have a car that was reliable, take vacations with my family, etc. and then DID find another job I loved – that paid even better.

    Don’t take a financial step backwards unless you can truly afford to do so.

    Reply
  39. Jen

    In regards to #1, the reluctance of employers to work with a marriage-based name change has been an ongoing problem at every job I’ve worked at and I think it’s just sexism. When I was engaged, I got a new job and the IT department didn’t want to have to change my e-mail once I got married so they made me start out with my married name e-mail even though that wasn’t my legal name. At other jobs it’s taken months and months for women to get their e-mail addresses changed and forwarded after a marriage name change. At my current job they frequently just try to talk women out of updating their name in the directory and e-mail system “Just use your old name as your unofficial name so we don’t have to change it.” A friend waited a year and a half until finally her vice president was like “This is ridiculous, just change it” and it was changed within an hour. So it’s not technically hard for anyone to do, just unnecessary. It’s bullshit. I don’t get it.

    Reply
    1. Manders

      On the flip side, my employer was so eager to change my name in the system that she was surprised when I said I wasn’t changing it. When another employee got married, her name on the timeclock was changed before she was even back in the office after the weekend wedding.

      It’s one of those life things that shouldn’t be a big technical hassle either way, but it holds a massive amount of symbolic weight and people have strong feelings about it.

      Reply
      1. Maggie

        I just got married over the weekend, and today is my first day back in the office. The looks of disappointment I’ve seen on people’s faces because I informed them all that my married name will be the same as my unmarried name is something… else.

        Reply
  40. Allison

    #4 It’s entirely possible that the company posted a salary range slightly lower than the budgeted maximum, so they wouldn’t get a bunch of minimally qualified applicants expecting that max salary. It’s not a great strategy, but it’s a thing people do. I’ll repeat, I personally don’t condone this, I am merely stating that some HR people think this is a good idea. I get where they’re coming from, but I don’t agree with it.

    That said, it’s not a good idea to apply to a job under this assumption, and it’s never a good idea to apply figuring that any stated aspect of the role would be amended or scrapped just for you, even if you’re awesome. A role that’s located in Boston with no remote option mentioned in the description is unlikely to be made remote so you can do it in Texas, or Sweden, or the North Pole. A full-time job is unlikely to be changed to a part-time, contract role so you can do it while finishing your degree as a full-time student. A job with a salary range of 35-50k/yr (based on experience) probably won’t end up paying 65k/yr.

    Reply
  41. Manders

    And I thought people in my office acted weird when I told them I wasn’t changing my name after marriage…

    This boss is a jerk, and I seriously doubt this is the only thing he’s being a jerk about. If it’s a big organisation, maybe IT or HR handles it directly. If it’s a small one, maybe it’s best to put this in your mental “proof my boss is a jerk” file and consider whether that file’s big enough that you’d rather start job hunting than deal with it indefinitely.

    Reply
  42. JR

    #1: I’m an IT manager. I disagree with Allison about this necessarily being an easy fix. It depends on the number of systems that don’t talk to each other, how standardized those systems are, and maybe a few other things. Our company is just the right size that it’s pretty complicated (big enough that there are a bunch of things going on, small enough that name changes are rare and we don’t have a standard procedure). A name change here would require changing it in the email system, in Windows, in our bug-tracking system, in our wiki, in our development application environment, in our production application environment, in several HR-based things (payroll, health insurance, etc), and probably a few more I’m forgetting. It’s the work of at least several hours, and it’ll probably take a week or two before we have all the details ironed out. I’m not proud of this, but it’s the reality.

    That said, I 100% agree with Allison’s advice and assessment of your boss. If someone tells me that they need their name changed, we do it without complaint, because it’s important and because it would be quite disrespectful to do anything else.

    Reply
  43. MarsJenkar

    OP #3, I agree that your best chance of getting through this is to be upfront and transparent with the people in charge. I can’t guarantee that this’ll work as well for you as it did for the guy who racked up $20,000 on a company credit card (an extraordinary success story, I have to say), but the relatively small amount, the length of time you’ve been with the organization, and the fact that you’re willing and able to pay it back (in full, immediately) gives this a good chance of succeeding. Especially if you are willing to find and implement ways to keep this from ever happening again, and also ways to catch these sorts of things before they become this big a problem. (For the latter, you may want to consult an accountant if you feel you need help…but AFTER you speak with the people at your organization.)

    For the record, the story I was referencing (and its updates):
    http://www.askamanager.org/2015/06/i-racked-up-20000-in-personal-charges-on-my-company-credit-card.html
    http://www.askamanager.org/2015/07/update-i-racked-up-20000-in-personal-charges-on-my-company-credit-card.html
    http://www.askamanager.org/2016/12/update-i-racked-up-20000-in-personal-charges-on-my-company-credit-card-2.html
    http://www.askamanager.org/2017/03/update-i-racked-up-20000-in-personal-charges-on-my-company-credit-card-3.html

    Reply
  44. AnitaJ

    Honestly, OP#3, good on you for facing this head-on. It will be difficult, and uncomfortable, and maybe even embarrassing, but you did the right thing. I think the fact that you took the initiative to find the mistakes shows integrity. I hope you organization will be receptive by your owning up to what seems like an honest mistake. I salute you!

    Reply
  45. designbot

    The whole business about the supposed cost of the name change makes me wonder if this business is small enough that they don’t have full-time IT? I’ve worked for a few places with that setup where every little problem we had would get billed to us by the hour, and if someone had to physically come to the business I think there was a two or three hour minimum charge. If this is the case at OP#1’s job, it would be nice of her to be flexible on timing, and wait to push it until there was already something else that needed doing so she could just tack it onto that.

    Reply
  46. LQ

    OP #3 I know some people are saying this is really horrible. But my former boss in another job in another life intentionally did way way worse than this, intentionally. Using company card for things and covering it up. We had the city’s attorney came in and ran through our books and said there was nothing they could prove clearly enough to charge him, he who willfully, intentionally, purposely embezzled a few thousand dollars.

    Chances are extremely good they’ll be understanding. You’ve worked with them for 20 years. You’ve found this and brought it to them. You are going to repay it. I’m sure you are volunteering because you believe in the organization and the mission. Talk to them. Talk about how you can make sure this doesn’t happen again, with you or anyone else. Some great suggestions for that. Unless the mission of the org is punishing all people who ever accidentally do anything, I really think you’ll be ok. Bring them the money, bring them suggestions. I’d personally offer to step down or into a nonfinancial role, but definitely spread out the duties for future people doing this.

    This sucks. But it isn’t impossible to do at all. It happens, more than you’d think. And you can find a good resolution. (You may end up needing to refile taxes for previous years depending, so I’d talk to your tax person about that too.)

    Reply
    1. LQ

      Oh and audits. Your org is likely too small to require them and depending on what you do your funding sources might not require them, but now is the time to see if you could manage to get one. I know they are expensive. But sometimes you can get them sort of probono, so it is worth looking into. Audits are not scary, they are incredibly helpful, and even if you can only afford one, having an auditor come in and sit down can really help put some good best practices in place too. Esp if they work with small nonprofits they’ll understand the difficulties that come with that and can suggest things that work for your sized org.

      Reply
  47. MLHD

    I feel like OP#3 should offer to resign when she tells the board about her mistake. If they trust her they may tell her it’s not necessary but I think she should offer in good faith. After all, that’s a pretty egregious error that apparently would have continued happening if it weren’t for someone catching the discrepancy at this moment.

    Reply
    1. rubyrose

      I would not offer a resignation. I would, however, offer to give them the card back immediately. And if I did not do that I would be mentally prepared that they may ask for it back.

      Reply
      1. Salamander

        I agree that at the very least, she needs to give the card back and also resign as treasurer.

        There are too many errors that piled up that would make me uncomfortable with her keeping the card or remaining in that role. There were the errors from this year, which were really no big deal. Mistakes happen, and I could readily overlook those. But then there were the sizable ones from the previous year that seemed to be regular occurrences that she did not catch either on the personal or the nonprofit side. And apparently, the OP was not reconciling the nonprofit’s statements at all, which is another huge issue altogether.

        I’m sure that the OP is a great volunteer and means well, but I would feel that being the treasurer is just not the right role for her. That post requires someone who is more detail-oriented, and I would just feel like it’s not the right fit.

        Reply
  48. CH

    #5 Is it possible this employee is working from home? I could see ducking out early to take care of errands/a child/whatever in the afternoon and then doing the rest of their work hours at night from home.

    Reply
  49. Amber

    #5
    I do wonder if #5 might be me lol. I’ll give you some info from the viewpoint of the employee.

    A) In my case, it’s related to stress. Lets say I already have 5 projects, juggling 5 is incredibly stressful and the thought of adding a 6th is overwhelming.

    B) You might not notice the times when I come in early (before you) and work through lunch.

    C) Like you said, I’m very efficient. Many other workers take coffee breaks, take smoke breaks, take breaks to play games or check facebook. I don’t do that, I spend my time wisely. So just make sure you aren’t punishing me for being more efficient then most because I could start doing those and that would fill up some extra time in my day. I don’t want to do that but if I’m being given more work only because I’m efficient then it can look like I’m being punished for it.

    Reply
    1. Allison

      Yes, B is an important point. It’s an optics issue I encountered in my last job. I came in earlier than a lot of people in my department, so I could leave early as well, but when people got there, they saw me there but had no way to know if I’d gotten there 10 minutes ago or 100 minutes ago. But they did see me leave earlier than them, and I got the sense they resented me for leaving early when they had to stay late for meetings, or to meet deadlines, or just to get their hours in. Tsk tsk, must be nice, all that usual passive aggressive garbage you might encounter at work. They also didn’t see how much extra time I put in when I was working from home, and my commute wasn’t an issue.

      Reply
      1. Kore

        I wonder about that with me too. My team doesn’t have set hours, and I usually roll in at around 8:45 , which is later than most people I work with. However, I frequently work past 5:00 PM and quite often work until 5:30, so considering my office doesn’t really do lunch breaks (I usually work over my lunch or take 15 minutes to eat while monitoring my email) I work over 8 hours easy. So optics wise it might look like I’m late all the time, but I do tend to work later than most people on my team.

        Reply
    2. JS

      Thiiiiis 100%!!!

      At one of my last positions my boss pulled me aside and asked if I had enough work because there were complaints from others I left earlier most days. (I left around 4-4:30 when people stayed until 5-5:30). I told him those same people would take 3 or 4 15 minute water breaks, be chatty most of the day and leave for lunch while I stayed at my desk and packed lunch to eat at my desk most days. Of course I would be more efficient than them. I also would ask them if they needed any help or assistance before I left and I would consistently get a “no thank you”.

      Reply
  50. The Not Mad But Sometimes Irritable Scientist

    RE: OP1 I being overly paranoid by seeing more at work here than a cheap-ass boss who doesn’t want to bill IT for that? Like, is there maybe some weird psychosexual dimension at work here? Boss had romantic delusions about OP and is in denial that she’s married now and forever unavailable?

    Reply
    1. Manders

      I think that’s a stretch.

      I think this company may be small enough that they don’t have a dedicated IT department, just a contractor who comes in and does whatever’s beyond the technical ability of their employees. Those contractors can charge a lot per hour because they do everything from setting up new email accounts to advanced stuff like repairing the server. It’s cheaper for a small business to have this setup than to pay a full-time IT person, but it does mean that a business owner who’s pinching pennies may resist paying for an hour of the IT contractor’s time for something that doesn’t feel like a big deal to them personally.

      Reply
        1. Sadsack

          Yeah, it might be more understandable and acceptable if the boss was more apologetic and explained why it would be burdensome to change a name in the email system. It seems like he is being unnecessarily abrupt and jerky about this. I didn’t think it was due to romantic feelings when I read the post though.

          Reply
  51. mccoma

    #1 “It’s going to take someone about two minutes to change this.”

    I wish people wouldn’t say such definitive statements about IT systems without actually knowing them. It is going to take longer than two minutes regardless and can take quite a bit longer depending on the IT setup. It shows a lack of respect for IT people, and frankly most of the time it takes longer is because some manager didn’t approve of update / new software purchase.

    Reply
    1. Observer

      I’m an IT person. If the issue is what people see, then there is no reason it should take more than a few minutes.

      OP, unless you are asking for a bunch of login changes on internal system, your boss is being utterly unreasonable.

      Reply
      1. mccoma

        Its going to be a bunch of login changes in a lot of systems for some companies. Don’t forget mailing lists, messaging, etc. Its not always easy depending on what systems you have running and it certainly isn’t a two minute change.

        Reply
        1. Observer

          Remember, we’re talking about people facing stuff, not necessarily log ins.

          The mailing list issue is actually a non-issue. There is no reason not to use an alias, which means that anything with the old email address still works.

          Reply
          1. mccoma

            Welcome the to the new world of Cloud providers where e-mail has turned into logins. Aliases are fine but people get real offended when their old name shows up. Heck, even logins that are based on names require changing. There are a lot of interlocking systems at a lot of places that cascade changed to login. Sadly, the original reason for uid seems to have gotten lost. Its not a few minutes work, and aliasing only really helps with making sure the old e-mail address still arrives. Sending out will be the new and there is where you get caught with all these services that used e-mail as a username. You need to change the addresses in mailing lists even with an alias because it goes against the request to leave the old name (plus its just disrespectful to the person making the request). Aliases are only for making sure people who have not updated their address book can still send mail to the person.

            Last time I did it for a small organization required about 2 hours (and one phone call) to deal with all the services. I would imagine more “forward looking, moving into the cloud” companies would take just as long or longer. I just hate when people say “it should only take IT a few minutes” because that’s never true.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              There is a lot of red herring here.

              I work with a number of cloud based systems. None of them link your name to your user id. And most of them (all of the decent ones) allow you to show a different email address (either in a directory if it has one, or on outgoing emails from the system, if relevant) than the one you are registered with. And that is generally something that a user can change by themselves. Even if not, those are things that are simple to change.

              Aliasing works for all of the systems that use your email for verification and the like. It works, because it allows those systems to continue to send verification emails to the same email address without making any changes there.

              The reality is that any organization that has that many different systems with that many interlocking ID / email interactions has an IT organization. For everyone else you are talking about a handful of systems, and the total work involved should be fairly minimal.

              Reply
  52. Scott

    #3. How do you pull out the company debit card by accident that much? That seems either really really careless with something you should be guarding I would argue more than your own cards or a stretch of the truth. Neither will reflect well on you

    Reply
    1. Manders

      I can actually see that happening if the company debit card is from the same bank OP uses for her personal account, or even one from a different bank that uses a similar color scheme for its cards. In my area, most banks seem to use particular shades of blue, black, or red on their debit cards. If you want a different color or pattern on the card you have to request that and maybe even pay a little extra.

      I have to either read the fine print or double-check the exact shade of blue to be able to tell if I’m pulling out my credit or debit card. I’ve also got a debit card for the joint account I share with my husband. Add in a few more credit cards and the company card, and I can see how easy it would be to pull out the wrong card when you’re distracted. The quickest way to solve this would be for OP to not carry the card in her wallet unless she’s running an errand for the nonprofit.

      Reply
    2. Tableau Wizard

      Alison has asked that we not accuse the OP of lying. I can 100% see using the wrong card by accident. I can’t keep my own cards straight half the time, but luckily, they’re all mine.

      Reply
    3. Sadsack

      I wonder about that, too. Is it necessary to carry the company card around with you all the time? I have a company purchasing card, but I keep it locked in my drawer until I need it. If you are making company purchases at outside physical​ locations weekly, I guess I could see the need to carry the card. If not, you should consider not carrying with you until you know you’ll need it.

      Reply
  53. kittycritter

    Re: OP1

    To be fair, I work in IT and I hate seeing name change requests come through. It’s not just one single thing we update and that change flows through everywhere else. There are many systems that are not interconnected that must be updated, and sometimes it takes 48-72 before scheduled jobs run to update the data, and there are usually some kind of Sharepoint/intranet/email/HR system issues where the new name won’t show up and some developer has to manually fix something – honestly, it’s a pain. Maybe your boss has seen similar things at your workplace with name change requests too, I don’t know….I just know I do a private eye-roll when I see a name change request pop up in our work queue, because I know that it probably won’t go smoothly because it never does!

    Reply
    1. Sadsack

      But that’s not a good reason to not do it, is it? I mean, this is a person’s name, it should be correct. Shouldn’t it? It’s one thing if it just isn’t possible, but it is another if it is just time-consuming.

      Reply
      1. kittycritter

        I understand wanting to have an updated email address that reflects your new last name, but if it’s an internal system that literally no one external to the company will EVER see, who really cares? Why get your panties in a bunch if an internal system still has your maiden name? But these newlyweds always DO care, they want it updated in every single place, even if only internal people will ever see it. It just grinds my gears :)

        Reply
        1. Observer

          Is the OP asking for those systems to be changed? In my experience, people don’t care about that – all they want is the people facing things to be changed. And that takes minutes, even if you have a few systems.

          I’ve looked at the letter again, and I don’t see anything that indicates that she wants more than stuff like her email address (ie the stuff people see) to be changed.

          Reply
        2. SpaceySteph

          Not everyone is changing their name due to marriage and some may have negative associations with the previous name that they wish to get rid of (abusive family, divorce, gender identity change).

          Although I do wonder if some people putting in these requests are doing what they *think* they are supposed to. When I changed my name there was no official documentation, I got an email forwarded to me by a friend who had gotten it from another friend and passed on as such as people changed their names. Some of it was outdated, some of it was wrong… we all did the best we could. If your org has no document like “how to do a name change” maybe you could write one, and in it you could clarify that changing all the internal systems is not required.

          Reply
        3. Sadsack

          Hmm, I kind of see your​ point, but it does cause confusion when an email address doesn’t match the person’s name. I have personally had difficulty when I was asked to contact “Jane Ross” only to find no such person in our email address book. Turns out Jane got married/divorced a long time ago but her email address was not updated. It takes some digging and asking around to figure out that she is now Jane “Smith.”. And if there are outside contacts, it could really cause problems. Also, as SpaceySteph suggested, there are many valid reasons someone may need their name and email address changed. Why does it matter why they need if it is part of your job to do it?

          Reply
        4. Tinker

          “I understand wanting to have an updated email address that reflects your new last name, but if it’s an internal system that literally no one external to the company will EVER see, who really cares?”

          In my experience with name changes, both myself and all the people who work with me?

          Even people who are internal to the company, I want to use my correct name with them and not explain to everyone I meet that my name was in the past something different. However, if my entry in internal systems is something different, then what I find fairly commonly is that people who casually interact with me look me up based on the name that I was introduced to them with and then they end up sending test documentation to some random marketing person in Pennsylvania and wondering why I didn’t write them back. And then subsequently wondering how they should be expected to realize that a person they have only ever known as Chris must of course be looked up in the directory as Katherine.

          It causes a parade of inconveniences that are minor but that also obviously will not end and are hence distinctly frustrating. Meanwhile, the parade of inconveniences associated with changing one’s name with the court and everyone one does business with are substantial (like physically going to the office of every government agency that has you in their system, for instance) but will eventually end.

          Reply
      2. Jaguar

        I log into a lot of the systems I use with “admin,” which isn’t my name. I don’t take it personally.

        Reply
  54. I GOTS TO KNOW!

    #5 – Others have mentioned this, but I want to chime in too. I am crazy efficient in the morning. I can bust out more work than others like it is nothing. But that takes a toll. Come afternoon, I am still working, but at a slower pace and not as laser-focused. My overall output is more than my peers, but I wouldn’t do well with an additional project meant specifically for the afternoon time. I take on any and all projects I can, but these are usually things with deadlines weeks out, so I can manage my time my way and include it in my fast-paced morning output.

    I am in the camp that as a salaried employee, it should be about the work being completed, no matter how long that takes (more or less than 40 hours), and not butts-in-seats for an arbitrary amount of time that isn’t really based on anything. (Unfortunately my company’s owners don’t hold that philosophy – but my direct boss does, so I have some leeway)

    The question I have, and I have seen others pose, is: are you giving her this work to fill in an arbitrary amount of time per week, or do you really think she is the best person to handle the project? Are these projects that should be spread out to the team, but you are trying to pile solely on her because she works faster than her peers? I think you need to answer these questions for yourself before you move forward. Alison’s script is great if once you answer those questions the answer is “even if she was here until 5 everyday, she’d be the one I’d choose for these projects and no one else”

    Reply
  55. Dr dooM

    I am OP #2. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions, and to Alison for posting my letter! My thought about the situation was that they were trying to fit my service into their usual model without realizing that my service is usually more successful precisely because it is not of that model. I also agree that it seemed like a less-than-ideal position for me, although my goal for it (if I ended up taking it) was going to be getting my foot in the door of this desirable institution. I believe I could have added great value if allowed to do what I do best.

    In any case, there was a development in the day between my writing to Alison and the day she printed the letter. I was informed that the position was offered to someone else, but I had been their number two choice. I was not offered the job because she felt like it would not be up to my expectations, ironically. The recruiter was actually really cool about it, and I had enjoyed talking with her throughout the process. She said that I should keep in touch and that she would keep me in mind for future positions, which I guess is really the best outcome if it is true. Maybe a future position would be more along the lines of how I can offer more value. I just hope they don’t get such poor results with the position I applied for that they don’t consider my specialty for future expansion.

    Thanks again! You are all a great group of people.

    Reply
  56. JS

    OP #5. I would also make sure its not due to any child responsibilities or medical issues she has, medical would be a more serious issue but I wouldn’t lose or cause extra stress on a very good employee for working 7 hours of an 8 hour day. However, this isnt an excuse for her to slack off or work less either, especially since other employees might be in similar situations but still work their full day. Definitely a conversation is in order. See if she can come in earlier/leave earlier or come in later/leave later to work the full day or even if possible take work home to complete that night. It sounds like she is a very good employee otherwise so I would try to work with her where you can.

    Also, may not be the case but definitely see if she is happy or content with the work she is doing. In one of my previous jobs, I loved the company and was great at what I did but overall the environment was stressful, some of the coworkers I worked with were unreasonable and micromanaging and overall workloads were too much all around that I felt burnt out. I was exempt as well and most of the time ended up working 6.5-7 hour days just because it was all I could handle mentally before I would get sloppy. I ended up leaving once I secured a new job, as it was starting to effect my well-being .

    Reply
  57. Rachael

    Op #1: My situation was a bit different as I was changing my last name to my new married name from the last name of my first husband (I never changed back to my maiden name in between marriages because I was separated for years and only technically divorced for a month).

    I was also told that LastJob would not be able to change my name on the mainframe, email, basically everything. I called BS and put in multiple tickets. Finally, I called the supervisor and told him “My former last name reminds me of my first marriage. I will not get into the details, but I can tell you that it will affect me mentally to have to type in HIS last name every time I have to log into something.” That got the ball moving.

    I can’t speak to how you feel about your maiden name but I can say that it might help to say it was a “former life” and you want to get on with your new life.

    Reply
  58. Hiring Mgr

    On #3, you can use Paypal to take a cash advance for the money so you can pay back then $803, then just get caught up in the next billing cycle

    Reply
    1. JMegan

      I’m not sure that’s a good idea – we had an example just recently on AAM where an employee did exactly that, and things went very very wrong. OP3 seems to indicate that she can pay the outstanding amount all in one go, but if she can’t, she should propose a monthly payment plan rather than accruing a new debt to cover an existing debt.

      Reply
      1. JMegan

        Ha, and I missed that Hiring Mgr probably already knew about that letter! Sorry, Hiring Mgr – my radar must not be working today. :)

        Reply
  59. Verde

    OP3 – Put a sticker on both front and back of the organization’s debit card, so that if you pull it out in error, it will be extremely noticeable. And/or, store it in one of those credit card security sleeves, so you really have to dig it out to use it. I had to deal with this a lot as a bookkeeper at a non-profit, when our company cards were bland, had no logos on them, and looked like any other bank card. Lots of mistakes by busy people not paying good attention. I’ve even done it myself. But, there are ways to easily prevent it. Good luck!

    Reply
  60. what's 40 hours?

    #5 I feel ya –
    I had inherited a staff at one time that were all supposed to be 40 hrs a week. One of them had been taking some classes and the old boss had allowed her to take off early every day in order to go to classes. When I took over, my staffing $ were cut so I could no longer pay a PTer to cover those hours and needed her to work the full 40 hours a week (she had been working 30-34 hours a week, making the same pay as the others working 40 hours a week).

    When I talked to her about it, she told me she couldn’t come in earlier or stay later (she had kids & classes) and weekends & evenings were out because of her kids (this was a woman most likely in her late 40s/early 50s; these were not young kids). She said ” I’m not gonna work the extra hours, it’s not my problem, I’m FT & you can’t change that” her petulant, impudent disrespectful tone & manner. Told her the position was 40 hours a week and if she couldn’t do that, I’d hire someone else for the position & let her go. Apparently, no one ever let people go there until I did…wound up firing the 6 people I inherited over the next year…

    Reply
  61. MommyMD

    If OP says anything about the patient load, she will be passed over. They are telling her up front what it is so if that’s a deal breaker, job is not a good fit. The patient load is what it is.

    Reply
  62. SusanIvanova

    #1 – I had a coworker change her name from one with lots of Germanic consonant clusters to a much simpler one. She got an alias with the new name but one system still insisted on using the original. IT didn’t respond to her request, but I got it pushed through by putting it under the “productivity issues” category – “every time I submit a change where jjones is the reviewer, it bounces because it only recognizes tgesundheitschmidt, and usually bounces again because I can never remember how to spell that since it’s not something I use every day. This can delay changes by up to half a day.” Totally true, and very effective.

    Reply
  63. Jill

    #1, my workplace doesn’t change things either timely or at all. Here’s what I did:

    * Set up an alias for your email as others have described above
    * Change your e-mail signature to Jill Smith, nee Jones (nee means “maiden name”) and leave it like that for at least a month before removing the “nee” part and just leaving your married name
    * If you deal with clients and speak to any of them in a more causal manner, mention, when you can seamlessly drop it into conversation, that you recently married and by the way, my new name is Smith. Same thing when you’re speaking with colleagues, if you work in a large place and some may not know you’ve married.
    * Make sure your voice mail states your name and title “Jill Smith, Accounts Manager for the Western Region” so that people will know they got he right “Jill”, just with a different name
    * Make sure that next time your paper letterhead, business cards, etc are due to be reprinted, you speak directly with the printshop and have your name changed. This is nothing to do since print shop mock-ups are done digitally
    now.
    * If you use digital letterhead or business cards, just go ahead and change it or speak to your graphics person and ask them to update your e-template

    Your boss is an ass. And congrats on your upcoming marriage!

    Reply
  64. MissDisplaced

    #2 I accidentally had some PayPal charges (2 purses and shoes!) get charged to my work credit card simply because it had been the previous card I used for a legitimate work purchase. I realized it pretty quickly, but of course was in a panic and called right away to tell them I would send the check. Turns out it was “no big” and they said not to worry this happens all the time.
    So, I think the best thing here is to be honest and forthright about the mistake and not to try and hide anything and of course pay whatever expenses were personal expenses back immediately. And try to understand what happened so the two stay separate.

    Reply
  65. Kore

    The thing I wonder about OP #5 is how projects/work is allocated there. I frequently have some free time at work and I tend to work pretty efficiently. However, work is almost never consistent for me – today for example I haven’t had much to do, whereas on Friday I was pretty swamped all day. If someone asked me if I was free to help them today I would 100% jump in – however, additional projects here often last multiple months, so when those are busy might coincide with when my normal work duties are busy. So it might look like I’m free, but if I know that I have a big project on the horizon or know that I’m just waiting on an email before I can get started on some work I’m going to be hesitant on accepting any new projects, even if it looks like I’m free right now.

    Reply
  66. Megan

    OP #5 – look at it in the reverse. If you had an employee who was chronically under performing, spending far too long on assignments, etc., would you respond by lowering the bar for them, removing projects, etc.? If not, I don’t think it’s reasonable to move the bar in the other direction, either. It’s not really a “work to your own level of comfort” sort of thing.

    Reply
  67. Pommette

    As a fellow person who has been given financial responsibilities that far exceed my (non-existent) accounting knowledge/experience, I just want to chime in with so much sympathy for OP 3. I didn’t realize how poorly prepared I was for those responsibilities until I started catching my own mistakes. So while my mistakes were different from yours (I’d risk being accused – deservedly – of incompetence, but not of impropriety), I can relate to the feeling of horror you must have felt.

    I can totally understand why a small organizations with few means would give someone unprepared for the role those responsibilities, instead of hiring someone who knows what they are doing/putting better processes in place to avoid. But your organization really needs to put processes in place (regular reviews of expenses, by different people) to protect both itself and the person in charge of the accounts.

    Reply
  68. SS

    If you travel for work, the name mismatch could cause issues. The name on your airline tickets MUST match your legal identification documents.

    Reply
  69. Printer's Devil

    OP #1: What in the world?

    If your boss wanted to argue that new business cards or new stationary would be an unconscionable expense, that would actually be an argument. Not a great one, perhaps, but those do cost money.

    But e-mail? That makes no sense. At my job, we’ve had a couple of people get married (not to each other… that would be interesting but explosive), and IT had no trouble changing e-mails from, say, AWarblesworth to AMountbatten (though on one of them, her display name still shows up as Amarantha Warblesworth, but that might be because it’s saved in the system- her signature says Mountbatten).

    Your boss is ignorant, or a jerk, or an ignorant jerk.

    Reply

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