figuring out if a manager is about to leave, dreading coworkers’ attention about my engagement, and more

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

1. Figuring out if the manager at a new job is about to leave

Twice in recent years, I’ve been hired by a manager I got along great with during the interview process, only to be informed mere days after starting that they would be moving on from the company.

In the first case, I was hired for a role I had no experience in, and the manager promised to train me. On my second day, the manager called everyone in to a conference room and announced that he was leaving in three weeks. The promise of training evaporated with this manager, and, two or three months later, when his replacement came along, it was obvious that he wanted someone experienced in the role. In the second case, at my most recent role at a large multinational company, I was hired by someone I very much looked forward to working with. My first day, I found out that he was in his last week. After he left, he was not replaced. I was the only person left on my team in the local office, with my new manager and the rest of the team in an office many thousands of miles away. This made subsequent onboarding and collaboration with others extremely difficult.

After the first time it happened, I joked that “Maybe I should ask prospective managers ‘are you planning to still be here in six months?’” Now that doesn’t seem like such a joke.

I find myself looking for a job after a recent round of layoffs. How can I make sure that the manager I play well with during the interview is going to be around for the long haul, or at least long enough to find my feet in my new role, establish relationships with others, and generally get started on a successful path at my new employer?

Ooooh, you’ve had some bad luck here. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a good answer. If a manager hasn’t announced publicly that she’s leaving, she’s not likely to share it with a job candidate.

At most, I think you could say something in the offer conversation like, “One of the big draws of this role is the opportunity to work with you because of X and Y. I’ve had a couple of cases in the past where a manager left right after I’ve started. Any chance you’re able to give me a sense of your medium-range plans with the company?”

But the problem is, someone’s who’s planning to leave in a few months but hasn’t made it official yet isn’t likely to tell you that; there’s too much risk to her if she’s keeping her search discreet. And if she’s not planning to leave, it still has the potential to make her uncomfortable, because things can change, regardless of how they look right now — and will she now have to feel guilty if she tells you she’s staying and later changes her mind?

I think ultimately you’ve got to go into any new job knowing that the manager could change. And that sucks, because obviously screening for a good manager is a huge part of what you’re assessing when you’re interviewing. It’s just a built-in risk without a good way to manage it.

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this one, though.

2. I haven’t mentioned my engagement at work and am dreading the attention

My question is similar to #2 from this post (“how can I avoid talking about my wedding with coworkers?”). Like the letter writer there, I am a private person. I have kept quiet about my engagement at work, telling only my closest work friends and people who need to know, like my boss and others who will be impacted by my time off. I’ve passed up natural opportunities to tell people because they always seemed to come in large group meetings where I’d inevitably be thrown into the spotlight. I don’t like receiving attention, so I’ve kept quiet this whole time. After getting engaged, I even considered not wearing my ring to work because I dreaded the attention I might receive when people noticed it.

Over the last year, few people seem to have noticed my ring, which I’ve appreciated. However, now the wedding is almost here and I have to figure out how to tell everyone. I feel like I need to make an announcement because I will be changing my name, but I dread the flood of attention that is inevitable from such an announcement. (For context, there are probably at least 100 people I should notify at work.) I worry that making this announcement so close to my actual wedding date will lead people to wonder if something else is going on (e.g., last-minute decision to marry), since most women gladly talk about their engagement. However, if I make it clear that I’ve been engaged for a year, then I’ll get a lot of “Why didn’t you tell us?!?” reactions. What I really want is just a simple “congrats!” and then for everyone to move on without getting too into the details.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make this announcement? I know I’m overthinking it, but I’m crossing my fingers you might have some suggestions aside from “Just do it!” :-)

You probably will get an initial rush of attention, questions, and comments about it. But it will pass pretty quickly (it’s highly unlikely to go on for longer than a few days), and I don’t think people are going to be too judgy about why you didn’t announce it earlier.

Also, most people — not all, but most — will take their cues from you. So if you’re low-key about it, they’ll figure out pretty quickly that you’re not looking for a bunch of hoopla about it.

Phrases you can use:
* “Yeah, I was intentionally low-key about it. I’m not a big wedding person. I’m happy to be married now and have the wedding behind us!”
* “Oh, we’ve been engaged for a while. I’m just not a big wedding-talk person.”
* “It’s been nice having work as an escape from thinking about wedding planning.”
* “Yep, married! I kept it on the down-low in case he turned out to be a Russian spy. I was watching a lot of The Americans at the time.”
* “Ugh, don’t make me talk details. I am all wedding-planning-ed out and desperate to talk about something like TPS reports instead.”

3. Can I ask to do my performance review in a more private location?

I will have a performance review this summer with my managers. I work in an office suite where I have my own office, and my managers do also. The suite is small, however, and it’s sometimes easy to overhear conversations (or bits and pieces of conversations) that are taking place behind closed doors.

I’d like to ask if we can have my performance review in a space that’s more private, meaning a conference room down the hall or something similar. The reason being is that I’d like to have a candid discussion about my career goals, etc., and I’m self-conscious about my coworkers overhearing the discussion. Is that too much to ask? How do I go about requesting this?

That’s totally reasonable to ask for! I would say it this way: “I’m hoping to really talk candidly with you and I know voices can carry here even with closed doors. Would it be okay for us to do the meeting in the conference room down the hall?”

4. Getting paid for a personal day after I’ve left the job

If a future personal day was approved, but I have since then left the job, would I still get paid for this personal day? In January I requested a personal day in April. In February, I left the job. Since the personal day was approved prior to my leaving, shouldn’t it be paid?

No. You don’t get paid for days that come up after your employment has ended. Some companies do pay out accrued vacation time when you leave, but that’s not quite what you’re asking here.

Think of it this way: If your company asked you to work a Saturday in June, but then you left your job in May, they wouldn’t still expect you to work that day in June, right? Those sorts of obligations end when the employment relationship ends.

5. Is this reference behavior normal?

Just a quick one: is it normal for a recruiter to call all your references (4!) before you’ve got the job? My partner is in down to the last few candidates and apparently they’re using the references as a way to decide between them.

I wouldn’t mind except that obviously some are at his current company and that’s not ideal when he hasn’t even got the job yet.

It is super normal — in fact, that’s how it’s usually done. References should be called before a hiring decision is made, because the information from references should be part of the hiring decision.

However, it’s also super normal for your partner to say, “I’d be glad to connect you with references from my past job, but I can’t allow you to contact my current employer because they don’t know I’m looking and that could jeopardize my current job.” More on that here and here.

{ 263 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Ramona Flowers

    #1 Sorry you’ve had such rotten luck.

    I don’t think that’s the right question. Because even if you do get all the assurances you want, the manager could still end up leaving for any number of reasons – moving for a partner’s job, illness, unexpected headhunting, who knows.

    Instead, I’d try to address the issues that make it a problem if your manager leaves after you start. For example, what’s the overall structure of the team? How do they communicate/collaborate/organise projects? How do they get new staff acclimatised – what sort of training/induction/whatever’s relevant might you expect?

    You can’t screen for departing managers, but you could screen for other red flags, like teams that are mostly based elsewhere, and employers without formalised training.

    Reply
    1. AndersonDarling

      I was thinking this as well. A manager is an important part of a new role, but you really want to be working for a great company. With a great company, it doesn’t matter who your manager is because the structures are in place to make sure you are able to do your job if they leave and a good replacement will found to fill the role.

      Reply
      1. Jaydee

        I was thinking the same thing. The issue was less that the manager left and more that circumstances that affected LW’s decision to take the job changed significantly when the manager left. Theoretically the situation the first time would have been better if there were a process in place to ensure the LW would get the same level of training even if the manager left. And the second situation would have been better if the team weren’t spread out between two locations. Those don’t hinge on the manager staying. And even if the manager didn’t plan to leave, that could change (the proverbial bus could hit them). I think the LW is better off using those situations as background for asking about training, remote work/divided teams, etc.

        Reply
        1. Jessesgirl72

          The OP seems to really value the personal connection with the manager, though. That does change with changing people. And you can’t really tell someone else what should or shouldn’t matter to them.

          Reply
          1. LBK

            Agreed, but I think if the manager is the main thing that matters to the OP’s job satisfaction, then they need to be prepared to deal with job hunting/being dissatisfied any time their manager leaves, even if that’s unfortunately so soon after they start.

            Who your manager is is obviously a huge part of anyone’s job satisfaction, but there are other elements worth considering when you take a job since the manager isn’t one you can always rely on remaining constant. I agree with Jaydee that something like the team being spread across two locations should’ve been a red flag or at least a factor in the OP’s decision-making, because it doesn’t sound like that changed when the manager left.

            Reply
            1. YetAnotherNerd42

              OP #1 here! Yeah, I agree, the fact that the rest of the team was located remotely should have been a red flag. The rest of the team, including the new manager, was a really good group of folks, but it was hard to interact or collaborate with them when they were physically elsewhere. We used tools like instant messaging and Google Hangouts, but that’s nothing like being in the same room with somebody 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week.

              When you’re new in a role, or at a company, you naturally have a lot of (sometimes dumb) questions as you’re learning. If someone’s physically in the room with you, it’s easy to tell whether they’re “heads down” working on something and don’t want to be bothered, or whether they’re open to casual chat/conversation. If someone’s at the same work location, you get in conversations with them at the water cooler, they introduce you to people, etc., etc. I think the mechanics of doing that with a distributed team is something companies have yet to work out.

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              1. Bibliovore

                Oh, this so, so, so happened to me. I was in a position where the manager and I did not get along, communication issues, style etc. I researched the new position that I interviewed for at a new company. I even got references from her former colleagues at her previous job. Everyone raved about Ramona. She will be a great mentor. She will train you. She is an empathetic supervisor and great at her job. So I took the job. She gave her two weeks notice about a week after I started. I was on my own with no training, no supervision for a few months. New supervisor was hired. He needed someone with more experience. First day he says, I wouldn’t have hired you. A miserable year followed.

                I don’t think there is an answer. This too shall pass? Start looking for a new job.

                Reply
                1. YetAnotherNerd42

                  “I wouldn’t have hired you”? Wow, what a thoroughly miserable thing to say. I’m sorry.

        2. TootsNYC

          I agree w/ your strategy.

          But on the idea of whether someone values who their manager is, and how wise that might be:

          It’s sensible to value the manager at the beginning, and know that once you’ve been at the job a while, you will have created your own networks, expertise, and reputation. And so when your manager leaves, it’s not the same negative as it would be so early on.

          Reply
    2. Nottingham

      Also, if this is a dealbreaker for you – and it sounds like it is – then I don’t think you need to ask about their plans at all. You can just bring it up as a comment about your personal dealbreakers. Something like, “I’m not expecting you/the company to explain your plans to me when I’m just an applicant, and I’m not asking for a long-term guarantee that no-one will ever leave, but I’ve had [situation] happen in the past, I didn’t like it because [very short, neutrally presented list of practical reasons], so if this is a real possibility here, I’d prefer it if you’d take my name out of consideration, thanks.”

      You’ve given them some information about you, and if the company is thinking of restructuring, or the hiring manager is thinking of leaving, then they’d probably prefer a candidate who sees that as a great opportunity to step up to a challenge than a candidate who’ll hate it. It might raise some red flags for some people, but if you have examples of you stepping up to other challenges, working independently, and taking some leadership, then I think you can balance that out.

      Reply
      1. Anonymoose

        Yep, this is probably what I would say. That way it’s silently said to the hiring manager ‘you’re out? I’m out’ without the hiring manager having to admit anything.

        Reply
    3. SarahTheEntwife

      Agree. Or something along the lines of “how do you make sure institutional knowledge is maintained when leaves the company or is out for an extended period of time?” (Or would that make it sound like you’re planning to leave soon?)

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        If I were the manager, it wouldn’t occur to me that you were talking about me, so it would just end up being a kind of weird question to put a premium on in an interview.

        Reply
    4. LBK

      Completely agreed – my advice would be to base your job decisions on a much broader set of information than just things the manager provides. If you believe your happiness and success in a job hinge solely on working for the hiring manager, maybe don’t take that job, since it’s totally normal for managers to leave. Even if they don’t do it right away like what’s happened to you before, they could easily leave after a year or two, and you still probably don’t want to be job searching again that soon if management is what makes the job for you.

      Reply
      1. YetAnotherNerd42

        Agreed, except it wasn’t just the manager. In one case, the manager had promised training for the role, and that promise evaporated when he left, leaving me in a role that I was, honestly, not very much good at. His successor wanted someone experienced and had no real plan, despite my repeated queries in our 1:1 meetings, “Hey, what can we do to work together to get me more successful here? What’s the plan? What would you consider some milestones for me to achieve towards success?” to get me into the role. In the second case, the manager’s departure left me “high and dry”, on my own as the sole team member at my location, making knowledge transfer, workflow, and collaboration difficult.

        So it’s not solely the relationship with the manager; it’s the fact that the manager’s departure left me in an untenable situation both times. Had the replacement manager at the first job mapped out a training plan, I would have been fine. If I had been someone who was, perhaps, better at what was essentially remote work on an ongoing basis, the second situation might have worked out better. (And, in this job search, I am specifically declining remote-work roles.)

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        1. Sualah

          A similar situation happened to my sister. Her manager hired someone for a newly created team lead position who, frankly, was not at all ready for it. Didn’t have the expertise of being on the team prior and didn’t have any management experience. But the manager knew the person, and said that with training and mentoring, the TL would step up and be great. Ok, maybe. But then the manager left. And the higher ups were all, “Well, now we have this new team lead, so no rush to fill the manager position.”

          My sister said it was hell. And I know that people have to do what’s right for them and their careers, but I really judge that manager for throwing her team under the bus like that. At the very least, the manager could have been super frank with her own manager at the exit interview and say that her team was going to need help.

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        2. LBK

          Right, that’s what I’m saying – that your success and happiness in those roles hinged on that specific manager still being there to personally carry out the promises they made to you. I’m not talking about relationships.

          Reply
  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#1, I am so sympathetic. This has literally happened to me twice, and both times I felt like crying, “Why do you keep leaving meeeee??” (of course I did not actually cry, because that would be unhinged)

    So here’s how I’ve done this, although it’s a really difficult and fine balance you have to strike, and you can only do it when you’re in the final stages of the application process. If you there’s a natural opportunity to bring it up, you can say—in an earnest but not brown-nosing way—something like, “One of the factors drawing me to this job is the opportunity to work with skilled managers [or leaders in the field, or whatever filler strikes a balance between interested and not obsequious]. But in the past I’ve joined organizations that experienced turnover right after I started. To the extent that you are able or feel comfortable to share, do you have a sense of your plans for the coming year?”

    Worst case scenario, the person will be taken aback. But in my limited experience asking variations of this question (i.e., 3 jobs), I’ve found that people will either answer you immediately and clearly about not leaving, or they’ll offer something more reserved about how they can’t comment at this time or are happy to be where they are (but watch tone/body language on the latter). They’re not going to tell you they plan to quit. But people who might leave tend to be more circumspect in their responses. People who intend to stay tend to be more loquacious about staying. Some people are reserved in general, though, and difficult to read.

    But fwiw, asking hasn’t seemed to hurt my chances. I suspect industry and region and the type of job are factors, as well, so YMMV.

    Reply
    1. Gen

      If the manager promises to train you personally you could always ask whether they have a secondary process in place in the event that the manager isn’t available- “can you tell me what onboarding will look like if you get called away?”

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        I should have done this with NewBoss after OldBoss left. She was always sooooooo busy and I basically felt like a little piece of flotsam floating around in the middle of this sea of boats, all of whom knew what they were doing or supposed to do. And after they gave my old work to someone else, new tasks just trickled in, so a lot of the time I ended up sitting there trying to look busy and letting my anxiety get the better of me.

        Saving this for a new job, if manager says the same thing.

        Reply
    2. New Bee

      This also happened to me in my current job, and in retrospect, Original Manager’s cagey responses to my questions about turnover should’ve been a clue. Her remarks were vague and implied a lack of ownership/investment in future results. She did apologize though, and my replacement manager was bad in ways no reasonable person could’ve predicted.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        exactly! There’s no way the manager-about-to-leave is going to give you an honest answer.

        But if you’re sharp enough to directly ask, they may assume you’re also alert to reading between the lines.

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    3. Oh Fed

      I like this approach along with Alison’s for the simple reason that you have at least revealed that it is an important factor for you. If hiring manager is planning to leave but not willing to be candid about it, she at least has important information about your fit in the org.

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    4. Sandy

      I have so much sympathy for OP1. What rotten luck!

      I agreed to turn down a headhunting offer and extend my contract at my current employer because of my great boss and great colleagues. A week later, great boss announced they were leaving (good reasons!) and the new guy is not only not great, but he has brought in all of his acolytes from a previous job, alienating the rest of the remaining staff and causing THEM to look elsewhere.

      It sucks.

      Reply
      1. YetAnotherNerd42

        OP#1 here–thanks–and your situation sounds truly awful, too. Hope you find something else soon.

        Reply
    5. CM

      I think this issue could come up organically, rather than asking the manager explicitly about her future plans with the company. OP#1 will be asked about her job history, and she could mentioned that this has happened to her in the past. It could even be a “how I overcame a challenge” story. I think a manager who heard this from a candidate would be more likely to inform the candidate about their plans if they felt comfortable doing so. (Probably not until the offer stage.)

      Reply
  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#2, do you really have to make an announcement because of the name change? I only ask because I’ve worked with women who do not want to discuss their engagement and wedding (frankly, I appreciate this), and all of them have gotten married and not made announcements when their names changed. Either their email address or their name block changes, but otherwise they’ve laid low, and it hasn’t confused anybody. That said, each of those workplaces were places with 100 employees or fewer, so this approach might not work in large organizations where people you’ve never met need to be able to identify you.

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    1. Cambridge Comma

      The old e-mail address will have to be active and redirected for a while anyway, so it would be fine if people took a while to realise.

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      1. OP2

        That’s how it *should* work, but our IT department is…special. For reasons that are beyond me, they say this cannot be done. Once they set you up with a new name in the system, emails to your old address bounce and your old name is no longer listed in the company directory.

        Reply
        1. The Cosmic Avenger

          They are lazy. As someone who manages his own (admittedly small, vanity) mail domain, I also have worked at places that have done this. Either they can do it but they do not want to, or there is some system limitation that would cause other problems if they did simply forward the old email to the new one…in which case they’re lazy for not explaining that. Part of my job is explaining the technical limitations and their consequences clearly so that my clients and coworkers can make informed decisions about which option to pick. Your IT department failed miserably at that.

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          1. Jessesgirl72

            Right? If I can make host gator do this- in about 30 seconds, with 20 of those waiting for the log in and pages to load- there is no reason why company systems can’t handle it.

            But at least they are changing the name for the OP, unlike other OPs and commenters who have written in to complain that IT/their manager says it can’t be done at all.

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          2. Mike C.

            Yeah, this is incredibly lazy. There are things called “aliases” or “mail forwarding” and so on. This is a common thing and there are tons of ways to deal with it. There are standard practices to deal with this issues – after all, the OP isn’t the first person to change their name.

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          3. Gigglewater

            *sigh* Sometimes even after explaining why this thing won’t work non-IT people insist it must be done. I’ve worked in a decent number of infrastructures that are bizarrely old or poorly set-up so things like this will break access permissions, Single-sign-on, and other random things that have been poorly implemented but are now very entrenched. If someone high-up determines it’s not worth the effort to have someone go through manually and fix it for each individual case or aren’t willing to money and resources into foundationallt fix it you’re up a creek. Since many IT groups within these organizations are not central to the business fighting for money/upgrades is already an uphill battle and often the capital is spent on things deemed *more important*. This is my long winded way of saying that you’re IT group probably could make this better, but usually their hands are also tied, so it feels harsh to say they failed miserably at something. What they failed at is getting the support to make it right, which in certain industries under it’s a HUGE issue for people in c-suite no one will give time/resources to deal with it.

            Reply
            1. The Cosmic Avenger

              As I said, if their Active Directory or email server are so customized, bogged down, or held back by the need for legacy tie-ins, all of which I’ve seen, they still failed at explaining that it would break X if they do Y. That’s a pretty basic skill for anyone in a service function, IMO.

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        2. Koko

          Seconding Cosmic…really lazy on your IT department’s part. Mail aliases and/or forwarding are fairly trivial to set up. If like my company your email handle is also your login for various computer systems, then of course you would only be able to use the new one there – but there’s no reason they can’t give your new email an alias or have an email with your old name forwarding to your new one for a while.

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          1. Natalie

            Lazy and incredibly stupid. Plenty of people outside of the organization are going to email the old address, and they are not necessarily going to receive the bounce back as they seem to get spam-filtered a lot.

            Reply
        3. Jessesgirl72

          In that case OT, I think your notification should be really easy and low key. Don’t make an announcement, just send an informational email.

          “As some of you know, I’m getting married next week. After X date, my email will be changing to OP2.NEWLASTNAME@company.com

          Which is all true, as some people do know, and all the rest need to know is your new contact information. As Alison says, most will take their cue from you, and won’t even ask about it.

          Reply
          1. Another Lawyer

            Yup, I love weddings and planning and parties, and I would just send back “Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the day!”

            Reply
            1. Jessesgirl72

              Like I kind of mentioned below, most people, even those who really are into weddings (or babies) know enough not to pry into their coworkers business. So they base their interaction on the person with the news.

              It just seems different and is scary because of course you hear the horror story ones. No one tells stories about the 300 people who said nothing or just said “Congratulations. When can I expect the teapot design report?” – they tell the story about that one coworker who hounded them for weeks! :D

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          2. Fictional Butt

            I think the “as some of you know” is key here. Don’t act like you’re revealing a big secret. Act like it’s a normal piece of information that they may or may not already be aware of.

            This is how I approach letting people know that I’m not straight. It works really well.

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        4. Cambridge Comma

          Special indeed! In several places I’ve worked, I’ve been set up with several redirects (the most common misspellings of my name, for there are many) and it’s never been more than a five minute issue.

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        5. Meg Murry

          Is there ANY way they can recreate your old (current) email address and have it autoreply with something like “JaneSmith@company is no longer a valid email address due to a name change. If you are trying to reach JaneSmith in the accounting department, please send your message again to JaneJones@company.”

          My wording is awkward, but is there ANY way they can make your old address not bounce?

          Reply
    2. Honeybee

      I was going to say the same thing. I don’t think you need to make an *announcement*. You can just tell the people you need to tell that you’ve changed your name – start small, and branch out as need be. “I’ve recently changed my name from Jane Smith to Jane Jones.” Or even, if you want “I’ve recently gotten married, so I changed my name from Jane Smith to Jane Jones.”

      Really, when people started wedding talk I didn’t want to have or came at the “Why didn’t you tell me!” tip, I just shrugged my shoulders and changed the subject. Not the most graceful of answers, but really, the question is kind of silly in the first place.

      Reply
      1. DecorativeCacti

        At my work, the person changing their name doesn’t even do it. That person notifies HR and Accounting, and HR sends an email to the relevant departments/people saying, “X changed their name to Y. Please update your records.”

        Reply
    3. Elizabeth the Ginger

      I think this working could depend on the OP’s first name – if it’s unusual, I think it’d work better than if it’s common. If I have a work contact Tabitha Green and then start getting emails from Tabitha Redding, I’ll assume she changed her name. But if I start hearing from Lisa Adams instead of Lisa Frank, I might wonder if it’s the same person or if they hired a different Lisa.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth the Ginger

        Right after I hit “submit” I then thought that using both names temporarily (even if that’s not your legal name) could mitigate that. So put “Lisa Frank Adams” in your signature block for a few months, then change it again and drop the “Frank.”

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        1. Rachel

          That’s actually what one of my coworkers is doing now, but because of divorce rather than marriage.

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        2. Judy (since 2010)

          I’d do that for longer than a few months. I did it for the remaining 4 years I was at that company. And the First Maiden Married is what my LinkedIn shows 20 years later. (When I changed my name, I made that my name, rather than First Middle Married. But I’ve known several people who had First Middle Married as their actual name, but First Maiden Married on LinkedIn and Facebook.)

          If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change it until I switched companies, if at all. It took 3 months to get all of the computer systems happy. It seemed like daily there was a system I didn’t have access to, then I couldn’t edit my own things, etc.

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          1. Elizabeth West

            I couldn’t do this because my last name is really long and it would look ridiculous. Like “Elizabeth Wermenjaegermanjensen Smith.” Gimme a fiance with a very short last name and I’m all over a complete change.

            OP might just make the announcement after the fact, if she didn’t want to discuss it beforehand.

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        3. SometimesALurker

          I’ve also seen people put their former name in parentheses, either as “Lisa (Frank) Adams” or “Lisa Adams (Frank),” and then drop it after some time, which might be more comfortable for some people in that position. I don’t think people receiving the emails would bat an eyelash, with or without the parentheses.

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        4. Susan the BA

          Yes, I did the Susan (Birth) Married thing for probably 6 months in both my display name (set in Outlook) and my signature. Also, in Outlook you can have multiple signatures, so at that point my default became Susan Married but I would use an alternate Susan (Birth) Married signature for folks who I hadn’t contacted in a while.

          Reply
        5. VelociraptorAttack

          I got married a week before I started at a new position, which means that everything with HR had to be filed under my maiden name. Luckily, I changed my middle name to my maiden name so I ended up going from say Hermione Jean Granger to Hermione Granger Weasley.

          While waiting for everything to set up my email address was hermione.granger@company.com but my signature would be Hermione Granger Weasley. Once everything got switched over to hermione.weasley@company.com very few people noticed the difference. Luckily both emails forwarded to me so eventually people got used to me replying from hermione.weasley and that’s the one they used. Eventually my signature went down to Hermione G. Weasley.

          Reply
        6. Breda

          This is very, very common in my industry, which involves intense networking. People use both names for years to avoid confusion – and it helps a lot! My mom also does this professionally, even though she started her job long after she changed her name: she’s a real estate agent in the area where she grew up, so this lets people who knew her growing up recognize her name on signs. Basically: yup, very normal, won’t raise any questions or flags.

          Reply
    4. Hey Nonnie

      This is exactly what I was thinking — I can’t see that it *requires* an announcement. All that’s really necessary is that once you return from your time off, you need to stop by HR and sort out any paperwork affected by the name change, and they can probably facilitate with getting any IT-related things squared away (email, network login, whatever). After that, change your outgoing voicemail message, change your email signature, and if anyone calls you Ms. Smith just say “It’s Mrs. Jones, now, actually. Thanks.”

      In a business context, it’s doubtful that all that many people will ask you why about the name change; especially since I strongly suspect both that your co-workers have noticed your engagement ring and picked up on your not wanting it to be fussed over. It HAS been a year, they’d have to be pretty dense to not notice. If anyone does ask, all you need to say is “Oh, I got married a little while ago” and leave it at that.

      If you treat it like no big deal, it will be no big deal.

      Reply
      1. Lucy Richardson

        Also, if I don’t work closely enough with you for the wedding to have some up naturally in conversation, I won’t ask about the name change. It could as easily be the result of a divorce as a marriage, so no way I’m stepping into that mine field if you don’t bring it up first.

        Reply
    5. Thlayli

      OP2: you’ve already told your close friends at work so there are only 2 groups of people who need to be told: everyone who needs to know your new email address (about 100 people) and anyone who needs to know for any other reason (probably much smaller group as most have already been told).

      I’d suggest telling the “other reasons” people before the wedding and just use one of the scripts about not wanting to talk about it at work (the I need a break from talking about it is most likely to work I think).

      But for the larger group I think you don’t need to personally make any announcement. Arrange the name change admin with IT and your manager as needed (in fact your manager should probably be the one to communicate with IT). Then have your mananger send out a company wide email simply saying “Gamora Thanos’s new email address is Ganora.starlord@gotg.com, please use this for all future emails. Emails to gamoras old address will continue to work until [date].” Most people will say nothing but some will ask about your marriage. Have a brief spiel ready for them “oh it was a lovely ceremony, nice to see the whole family. I’m really sorry but I’ve got so much catching up to do after being away for my honeymoon.”

      If anyone expresses surprise that you were engaged and they didn’t know, just say “oh, didn’t you? I thought everyone knew. I’ve been wearing the ring for a year.” If they are a drama llama then you could also add an insincere apology along the lines of “sorry perhaps I should have told you, but i thought you knew”.

      Also have a chat with your manager or whoever organises the cake/party in your team and let them know you do not want a surprise party when you come back. Be honest and tell them that you would really hate it.

      And congratulations.

      Reply
    6. Artemesia

      This. It is quite normal to get married and then matter of factly make whatever changes are needed like email. One notification to substitute newname@job for oldname@job takes care of it. No announcements are needed ahead of the marriage.

      Reply
    7. OP2

      Unfortunately, that approach would not work as well at my company. Since it is a big company, much of our work takes place over email, and I’ve never even met face-to-face with some colleagues with whom I’ve worked. If someone’s looking for me, chances are they will NOT drop by my office. Instead, they’ll send an email (which would bounce after a name change), and it may appear that I left the company. It is common for people whom I have n0t heard from in years to approach me with good opportunities. If they can’t find me in the company directory, which is quite possible because my first name is common, I might miss out on these opportunities.

      Another aspect of this is that I have a bit of clout, if you will. I was concerned that it would appear odd to, say, give a presentation to a large group of colleagues who know of me but don’t necessarily know me personally, and go by a new name all of a sudden. You’ve helped me rethink that. I think you’re right that I don’t need to make an announcement to those sorts of people. I’ll limit a notification it to the people who might actively reach out to me.

      Reply
      1. Thlayli

        It sounds like a staff wide email saying you’ve changed your name is all that’s necessary for most, along with getting your name changed in the directory. Since people can go years between contacting you or might be good to double-barrel it rather than a complete change or to get the directory to list you as Gamora Starlord (nee Thanos).

        It sounds like it’s only the people you deal with face to face on a regular basis that might bring up the wedding at all.

        Reply
        1. Thlayli

          Ask your IT how they usually do it. It’s a very common scenario and most IT can be set up to forward from your old address to your new one.

          Reply
          1. CM

            Yes, check with IT. It would be strange for them to just deactivate your old email account. Normally they would just add this as a new email address for you. And if that’s the case, you don’t have to make any kind of announcement. I have had coworkers get married and change their names before, and I only realized when their office nameplate or email address looked different. For things like group presentations, I like the Yourname (OldSurname) NewSurname approach.

            Reply
            1. ToxicNudibranch

              That is exactly what my old company did as default. When I got divorced, I was finally able to get them to set me up with an alias attached to the original email address, but only after confirming to them like, a million times, that I understood I’d still need to log in with my old name’s email address and this was an alias *only*.

              Apparently everyone else was cool with just using their old name forever…or at least made peace with it.

              Reply
        2. Anon today...and tomorrow

          That was my thinking. I work for a large company and several colleagues that I regularly interact with have recently gotten married. They sent the necessary email announcing the name change, asked that we update our information, and that was it.

          Reply
      2. LQ

        This might be not what you want at all. But what about not changing your name for work? I’ve known lots of professional women further in their careers enough to have clout who change it socially but just keep the same name professionally to make sure they are able to hang onto the clout and presence.

        Reply
        1. OP2

          I considered that possibility briefly but decided against it. I don’t really have a reason for it, just personal perference. My name is recognizable in the field beyond my company, but not so much that it will harm me professionally if people from other companies don’t make the connection that my maiden and married names are the same person.

          Reply
          1. Meg Murry

            I also know people that legally changed their name but go by first maiden married at work. So if you are now Jane Smith and your email is jsmith, they changed to Jane Smith Jones and kept the jsmith email address.

            Legally their name is now Jane Jones, and that’s what they go by socially and how they introduce themselves, but at work they use Jane Smith Jones in the email from field, email signature block and on their business cards.

            Of course that only works if your old and new last names go together in a not terrible way. I list First Maiden Last on some of my emails and such, but honestly it does not flow at all and it’s a mouthful to say. However, my maiden name is super unique, and my first and married last names are so much more common that I know without the Maiden name in there a lot of people would be saying “who’s this random person that is emailing me”?

            Reply
      3. Spoonie

        I might send an email out, and then keep something in your email signature for a couple of months about how you are now Sarah Black, please update your records to Sarah.Black@companyname.com

        The ideal situation would certainly be letting your old email forward to your new, but I understand crappy IT departments.

        Reply
      4. Stellar

        I would recommend approaching any announcements about your name change in the same manner as a change in contact information (which, of course, it is). That sets a professional, low-key tone and discourages the attention you’re looking to avoid. Then change your email signature to something like Firstname (Maidenname) NewLastname for a transition period.

        I’ve seen several women succeed with this strategy at my large, global, email-heavy company.

        Reply
        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          Yes, this! I think you can send a short notice that your name has changed and you can now be reached at newemailaddress@company.com. You can decide if you want to explain why, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I remember receiving a notice from a person who had married 5 years prior but had recently changed her last name, and it simply said, “Please note that my name and email have changed to [First Married].” And then her signature block read “First Married (neé Maiden)” for about a year.

          I’m irked that your IT department won’t let your old account autoreply and forward because it’s such a simple and common thing to do that it sounds silly not to, but silliness never stopped a company from doing dumb things (I, too, think this is laziness, not a time-intensive or technical problem).

          Reply
        2. k

          Came here to say the same thing. Because you’re in wedding mode, it’s easy for you to think that it will come off like a wedding announcement, but just frame it in your mind like a change of address notification. “Due to a recent name change I have a new email address. I can now be reached at OP@teapots.com. Please only use my new email from now as Oldname@teapots.com will no longer be accessible. Thank you.”

          Reply
      5. BenAdminGeek

        OP2, one thing I’ve done to limit the stress of announcements like that is to pick the time carefully and set aside “wasted time” for human interaction. So perhaps you announce to those who need to know on Friday at noon, and assume that from 12-5 you’ll be answering silly emails and IMs. Then by Monday it’ll have worn off and hopefully you can get back to work.

        Reply
      6. Jaydee

        I work for an org that has multiple offices spread across the state. We collaborate between offices usually by phone or email, so it’s important to get name changes done right or else emails bounce back, etc. However, I think you’re overthinking it. When people from other offices change their names, there isn’t a flurry of emails and phone calls asking about the wedding. The people you mostly converse with over email might send a quick congratulations if you interact frequently, but that’s it. And if someone does email you with a hundred questions, you have an easy out because you can just not respond or respond with a short, deflecting answer and it’s not like they’re standing in your doorway preventing you from doing work.

        Heck, one way to do it would be to send out the update right before you take time off for the wedding/honeymoon. “Hi everyone, I’ll be out of the office from [date] to [date] because I’m getting married. IT is going to be switching my email from Gamora.Thanos@guardians.otg to Gamora.Starlord@guardians.otg as of [date] so please update that in your address books. Thanks! Gamora” and then put something similar for your out-of-office reply while you’re gone.

        You could also temporarily change your email signature to read Gamora (Thanos) Starlord.

        Reply
    8. kittymommy

      For what it’s worth this has confused me at work. Granted I work with close to 1500, but there have been a few times I’ve gotten emails from Sarah X and then it switched to Sarah Y and I’ve had to make sure they were the same person (once it wasn’t, the work hit assigned to someone with the same first name).

      Reply
    9. The Expendable Redshirt

      In my company, a name change is handled by the IT department. A employee submits the paperwork to IT, and they handle the email change. The company at large is “notified” if they happen to see an updated name on the online In/Out board. People looking for the employee can see Jane Newname- Teapot Polisher- Room 21- Email address-phone number. It’s very low key, and the employee can make as much fuss about the name change as they want.

      Since that isn’t an option for the OP, I’d focus on having a script to deflect prying questions.
      “These days I go by Jane Newname. How is the quarterly report going?”
      “We wanted to keep the wedding process low key. It was wonderful seeing the family. How was your weekend?”

      Reply
    10. J.B.

      Your IT department is weird, but then so is mine. One thing you might want to do is give the announcement a month or so before the name change happens, and set up an autoreply on your current email before the name change. “After x date please email me at *new email address*”. That way the people who email you regularly are aware that your name will be changing, and they probably won’t start using the new email on the given date but will connect the dots if they get a bounce.

      Reply
    11. Liz2

      Ditto! People change names for reasons other than marriage, no need to make any announcement ever. If someone asks, you can answer honestly, but it’s fine to never initiate.

      Reply
  4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#4, I’m really curious about why you think you should be paid for a day off two months after leaving a company. I’m not saying that to be snarky. I’m just genuinely curious. My first reaction was, “of course not,” but I’m really curious about the underlying rationale for why a company normatively owes you that day.

    Reply
    1. Ramona Flowers

      I’m guessing it’s because of the fact that some companies pay out unused PTO when people leave, and the LW is wondering whether that applies to days accrued or days approved.

      Reply
    2. Mike C.

      I didn’t read this question as implying that the company many owes the OP the day or not, just that the OP wasn’t sure of how these things worked.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Ah, I read it as prescriptive because OP asked, “shouldn’t it be paid?” (emphasis added), which which I interpreted as saying the company owes OP money. But I think this might just be me being overly focused on one word and misinterpreting (hence why I asked OP to weigh in ;) ).

        Reply
    3. Thlayli

      im assuming it’s because OP is unsure of Paid Time Off rules. Perhaps OP just found out that the employer is not legally obliged to pay her accrued unused vacation time but is hoping that since one was already booked that one would be paid. For example if OP accrued 5 days after a year and took 4 straight away and booked the other for A few months time, I can see why she thinks she should be paid for that booked day. Ethically in that scenario I think she should be paid but I’m assuming there’s no legal entitlement for her to be paid. (Alison has said on previous post(s) that there are no legal obligations for PTO in some (or all?) America states.)

      OP your best bet is to look up the law where you are and also company policy regarding PTO. It’s unlikely they would pay you for specifically one day but you may be pleasantly surprised and find out company policy or local law would mean you could claim all your accrued PTO. If not then I guess the lesson for the future is to use up all your accrued leave before you end a job.

      Reply
      1. Willis

        Yeah, I’d think that a booked but unused PTO day should be paid out the same as any non-booked PTO that the OP had banked (if the company’s policy is to pay out unused PTO). If there’s not an overall payout policy, I’m not sure what the rationale would be for extra pay for that day. And certainly not a couple months after leaving the company, (although maybe the question was referring to how things should have happened in February when she left, not that she’s expecting a check now).

        Reply
      2. ThatGirl

        I know that Illinois has a law about paying unused, accrued PTO. I know Kentucky does not. Those are the only two states I’ve been employed in, not counting summer retail jobs.

        Reply
    4. ThatGirl

      Yeah, I’m really curious too.

      I got laid off at the beginning of March, literally minutes before I was about to leave for the night and go on a weeklong vacation. The next day and entire subsequent week had been approved as PTO. (It was a Thursday, and in fact the rest of my team who also got laid off didn’t find out until Friday morning.)

      Now, because of the timing, the company actually did “give” me that Friday as a floating holiday. And they paid out the ~4 days of vacation time I had accrued because that’s Illinois law. But that was mostly due to bizarre timing. I would’ve gotten that vacation payout anyway. I’m not going to get paid for a trip we’re taking in June that we had already planned and had approved back in January.

      Reply
    5. Triceratops

      Yeah, I’m wondering if they’re really asking about banked PTO. Like their PTO balance was 7 days because they’d booked this personal day, so they only got paid out for 7 days of PTO. But if they hadn’t booked the unused day, they would have gotten paid out for 8 days of PTO.

      I doubt the company is obligated to pay out the booked but unused day in that situation, since most states don’t require PTO to be paid out at all.

      Reply
      1. ThatGirl

        Generally (at least in Illinois) it’s for *accrued* but not *used* time – so if I had a vacation day booked for next week, but got let go today, I’d get paid out for that day, but not, say, vacation in September I hadn’t accrued the time for yet. (Because we accrued PTO week by week, over the course of the year – and if you used more PTO than you currently had accrued, the company would dock that from your last paycheck.)

        Reply
      2. That Would Be a Good Band Name

        Unless things just work really differently than what I’ve seen, booked vs not booked isn’t an issue when paying out PTO when someone leaves a company. All payroll cares about is what is available (and possibly earned if you work at a company that grants all PTO for the year at one time). However, they stated personal day and if they have separate personal days, I would doubt those get paid out upon separation. Generally vacation only if companies separate. Of course, this could be different in different states. I’ve never worked in a state that required payout upon separation, but all the companies I’ve done payroll for have paid out earned vacation when employees leave.

        Reply
        1. That Would Be a Good Band Name

          Geez, I worded part of that poorly. *Generally only vacation is paid out if companies separate vacation from sick or personal days is what that was supposed to say.

          Reply
        2. uh

          My employers “old” system subtracted the future date so the total would appear 1 less than it was in reality (since it would add back if cancelled before said date was reached). Perhaps the OP meant something along that line, feeling it had been missed?

          Reply
    6. Retail HR Guy

      I am often amazed what employees can feel entitled to after leaving a company.

      We do pay out PTO, so that doesn’t come up, but I’ve seen employees demand upcoming holiday pay (because everyone else will be getting it even though they aren’t working then, either), company-provided stock shares they aren’t vested in yet (because three years is “close enough” to five years and it would be stealing to “take back” those shares), a refund for all insurance premiums they paid (because they never went to the doctor), and reimbursement for them breaking their lease (because the only reason they were living in that town was because of the job).

      It is astounding what mental hoops some minds can jump through when they see some benefit for themselves at the end.

      Reply
  5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#5, I would be concerned if they were not calling references prior to making a job offer. References don’t have much meaning if they’re only reviewed after you already have a job. They should be a factor in your hiring, unless the employer assumes that if a candidate lists references, those references are all strong ones (which seems like a dangerous assumption, but maybe my view of the world is skewed).

    I wrote an enormous post, once, about working with a woman who had manufactured her references (which my boss only realized when he finally called them, three months after she had started and at a point at which she had completely ghosted on the job).

    Reply
    1. Nic

      Agreed. In addition it would be a huge blow to the jobseeker if they were offered the job, accepted, and then had the offer revoked because of something that came up during the reference check.

      Reply
    2. Antilles

      They should be a factor in your hiring, unless the employer assumes that if a candidate lists references, those references are all strong ones (which seems like a dangerous assumption, but maybe my view of the world is skewed).

      It's stunning just how often people list references which aren't strong ones. I don't know if it's because they don't realize that "no, Andy actually thought you were awful", because they didn't bother to ask Andy first or because they legitimately don't have any glowing references to choose from, but it happens far too commonly.

      Reply
    3. Jady

      Eh, I’ve never had any of my references called across 3 decent office jobs.

      Actually until I started reading this site, I thought asking for references at all was silly. Why would you put someone on that list that you weren’t sure would be a positive reference?

      But apparently people do that…

      Reply
      1. Revolver Rani

        Now that I’ve been on the hiring side, I’ve come to see that good reference checks aren’t necessarily binary positive/negative. You can find out a lot about a person’s working style and particular strengths by talking to a thoughtful person who has worked with them before, and not all strengths are equally valuable for all jobs. I would try to probe deeper than positive/negative when talking to a reference.

        Reply
      2. fposte

        It goes *so* much beyond that, though; we’re not just calling to see if you approve of this person. Things that you weren’t as strong on as we’d like in interviews? We’re going to ask your references about those. Possible growth areas? Yep, those too. How you work best? Want to know that. And so on. That can make the difference in being offered the job and not being offered the job.

        Reply
      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I think references are rarely going to say “yeah, what a nightmare!” unless a person was truly awful or otherwise unaware of how others perceived them (but I have heard references that are that bad, which blows my mind!).

        But as Revolver Rani and fposte note, a reference can provide extremely important context about someone’s work/communication style, capability, ability to learn, etc. One of the most helpful (although inaccurate) reference checks I had was for an intern who was clearly smart/capable but, imo, had a whiff of arrogance/condescension when she spoke to junior v. senior attorneys—it indicated that her communication style and listening changed significantly based on her perception of a person’s relative power and their value. So I asked straight out about ability to work with people at all different levels of the org chart.

        (Our legal director override our recommendation not to hire her, and she ended up being extraordinarily condescending and unprofessional with all staff who weren’t the director, as well as with clients—to the point where she wasn’t allowed to interact with clients because she was so offensive.)

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          I had a reference warn me off of someone, in just this “decide based on their references” situation.

          She hemmed a bit and then asked for my home number. She called that evening and said, “Great at her work, but amazingly talkative. More than anyone. Yes, more than you, I’m sure. So…”

          I hired the other person. And subsequently heard from other folks that the talkative thing was true, and was sometimes a problem.

          I’ve also had someone gush in a more convincing manner.

          Reply
        2. Whats In A Name

          When I used to check reference I rarely got a bad one, but I always asked the same question at the end…”If you had the opportunity to hire this person back, would you?”…if the person said no we always dug into that. Glowing reference but wouldn’t want on your team? Why is that? It’s a very telling question that opens up someone who might not be willing to initially give a candid reference.

          Reply
      4. LBK

        Well, some people are remarkably lacking in self-awareness, so they might think someone had a better impression of them than they do. But I believe Alison generally recommends not asking for a curated list of references, but rather just asking for the contact info of their last few managers, so that the candidate can’t pick and choose people they think will give good info.

        Reply
    4. ThatGirl

      When I’ve had references contacted, it was usually after an offer was made but with the understanding that the offer could be revoked if the references went badly.

      That said, I would totally understand if a reference were called just prior to the offer. I just lost out on a job I was a finalist for, and part of me thinks if they had called my references first, I might have gotten it :P

      Reply
    5. Anna

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure where I work is spotty about calling references. For most of our hires it hasn’t been an issue, but for the ones that have been bad, I think a better scrutiny of references would have avoided some serious PITA issues.

      Reply
    6. TootsNYC

      And using the references to help you decide between (or among) good candidates is a smart move. I’ve done it before.

      But it’s always a danger to list a reference from your current company–I would say those people shouldn’t be on the list. Unless they’re the sorts of human being who will keep mum, of course, and it’s been prearranged.

      If he’s had to list “previous managers” on a form at the very beginning, hopefully the hiring manager won’t just call them up willy-nilly; if they’ve got any brains or decency, they won’t.

      Reply
      1. Whats In A Name

        I agree – I have never done this but it is really a smart tactic. I need to remember it if I am ever in the interviewer position again.

        Reply
    7. Stranger than fiction

      Well hopefully the Op mentioned in the application process at some point not to contact his or her current employer.

      Reply
  6. Augusta Sugarbean

    OP#5, are you surprised that all four references are being checked or that references are being checked before an offer has been made? If it’s the latter, I’m not sure what the point would be of checking a references after you have decided to hire someone. What happens if you make someone an offer, they accept, and then you check and get bad references for them? Awk. Ward. Have you had references that were checked only after you were offered a job?

    Reply
    1. Ramona Flowers

      This depends a bit on geography – over here (UK) that is generally how it happens, ie that a provisional offer is made contingent on references (which are collected in writing and it’s unheard of for them not to be contacted at all). So an offer isn’t firm until after that’s happened.

      Wasn’t sure whether to post but seemed worth mentioning.

      Reply
      1. Augusta Sugarbean

        Oh, that’s a good point. An offer contingent on good references seems like a reasonable compromise. You wouldn’t have to run the risk of outing yourself as job hunting without a fair chance of getting the new job.

        Reply
        1. Anancy

          Both my spouse and I have had job offers extended contingent on checkking with references, and it was no big deal. Granted, in my case I was recommended by a sister company employee (my boss), and spouse was googleable for accomplishments, so there was a lot of info in addition to the formal reference checks. And once I gave a coworker that I trusted as a reference and explained I wasn’t comfortable with them contacting my current employer, and that worked out fine.

          Reply
        2. Zathras

          I expect to get something like this next time I change jobs, because I changed fields – I have plenty of great references, but none of them could tell a prospective employer anything about my technical skills in my new field. So presumably they would want to confirm that I really do all the stuff I said I do at my current job.

          Reply
        3. Ama

          At my current job I gave them three references from past jobs that they checked pre-offer, and then they made the offer contingent on talking with my current manager. (I knew she would be able to be professional, so that wasn’t a problem for me.)

          Reply
      2. TootsNYC

        My experience is that there’s the first interview, the second interview (which unofficially tells you you’re a finalist), and then they call and say, “Would you send me your references,” which tells you that they’re very close to making an offer, and then there’s a formal offer.

        My experience has been that “asking for references” is such a strong message that an offer is coming, that if it’s a case of choosing between some finalists, I will explicitly say that (even if I didn’t have to call to get their references for some reason–I’ll email to say, “We’re at reference-checking phase; we have a couple of really strong candidates and are having trouble deciding,” so they don’t get their hopes up).

        Reply
  7. Decimus

    #2 – my wife didn’t change her name, but people only found out she married when she added me to her health insurance. I’d say if your name is changing the only announcement would be something like “I have just legally changed my name. My name is now Firstname Marriedname and my email will now be FMarriedname@company” or whatever. Although you ought to think on if you even want to change your work email.

    Reply
    1. Thlayli

      Good point. Lots of people legally change their name but keep their old mail coz it’s simpler. Some people just keep their old name till they move to a new company.

      I use my maiden name at work and for most things but I use my married name for family things like at doctors and school etc so it’s the same as the kids.

      Reply
      1. Red Reader

        I probably won’t be changing at work (other than with HR on legal stuff) partly because our IT is similarly special to the OP’s and partly because right now my login (first initial, last name) is 5 letters but post-marriage, I’ll have two 8-letter last names hyphenated together :-P

        Reply
    2. Turquoise Cow

      Good point. Sometimes people legally change their name but continue to use their old one professionally because that’s the name they’ve gone by and people know them by. Especially if they’ve built up a reputation or a large list of clients/associates who know them that way.

      OP, consider using your original name for your email address – firstNameLastName vs firstNameMarriedName, for example, but signing it First Name, Married Name. Depending on how your email system works, sending emails may be the reason people know your last name. Like, they refer to you as “Jane,” and only know/need to know “Smith” to send an email.

      My preference would be to send out a huge email to everyone beforehand, perhaps before you take leave, saying “This is the last email from Jane Smith. Going forward, you will receive correspondence from Jane Jones. update your address books as needed.” After that, modify your signature to say Jane Jones with maybe a small note of “formerly Smith” or Smith in parentheses below, so anyone getting an email from you who forgot might note that below. Given your IT limitations, this seems like the best workaround.

      As for talking about the wedding, my experience was that a lot of people ask because they feel like they *should* ask, but don’t really want to know a lot of details. So throw out something conversational about the size or something and then they’ll usually move on instead of asking a ton of follow-ups.

      Reply
    3. The Expendable Redshirt

      One reason I’ve never changed by name is due to the bureaucratic hassle involved!

      I like your proposed script for the OP because it doesn’t even mention a wedding. Its something that the OP wants to minimize, and that’s one way to do that.

      Reply
  8. neverjaunty

    OP #2 – most people really aren’t going to care that much about your engagement and wedding, and the ones who do, you’ve probably already told. 99% of people who find out will make polite conversation and that’ll be it. For the rest of them, any of AAM’s suggested scripts work fine.

    Possibly you are transferring some wedding anxiety to work?

    Reply
    1. Honeybee

      I agree that most people won’t care, but at many workplaces there are always those few people who do care and will either try to get you to talk about your wedding details nonstop or will invite themselves to your wedding. Or both.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Yes, I agree. It’s true that people who don’t care or don’t want to know won’t ask. But there are always some people who are obsessed with trying to get engaged people to talk about the proposal, the wedding plans, the meet-cute, etc., etc. (I’m realizing this makes me sound like the Grinch, wedding edition.) Those people are extremely hard to dissuade and take not-knowing in a weirdly personal way. I have a feeling those are the folks that make OP feel like she has to correct the record with an announcement.

        Reply
      2. JamieS

        True but given OP has worn her engagement ring to work and either nobody has noticed it or cared enough to comment on if they have noticed I think it’s more likely than not OP won’t encounter that issue. She might but her letter doesn’t make it sound like her co-workers are overly invested in her personal life.

        Reply
      3. GermanGirl

        Easy solution to the self inviting coworker: Don’t tell until after the wedding. Then use Allisons script to deflect any persistent askers.

        Reply
      4. Taylor Swift

        It seems weirdly secretive to just try to avoid the 1% who *might* ask more than a few conversational questions.

        Reply
    2. V

      Yeah I think OP is massively overthinking this. The people who she’s close enough with that they know details about her personal life will have already been told and anyone else will ultimately not really care. If she feels she needs to announce her upcoming name change then that’s fine and she’s going to get a lot of standard well-wishing but no one is going to think “X from two departments over only just now told us that she’s getting married, she must be eloping!” I can’t imagine any workplaces where people would be expected to announce a mere engagement to the entire company that wouldn’t be incredibly dysfunctional.

      Reply
    3. OP2

      Nope, I’m just awkwardly private and quiet. :) Glad to hear you don’t think anyone will make a big deal of it.

      Reply
      1. Koko

        I’m with you, OP. I just don’t like attention focused on me in large group settings (except when I’m presenting, which is a skill that didn’t come naturally because of my shyness, and I had to learn to be comfortable as a presenter).

        Reply
        1. OP2

          That’s exactly it. I don’t mind attention if it’s for something like a presentation. Or even recognition like “Congrats to OP2 on winning an award for her fantastic TPS reports.” If it’s something I earned, I don’t mind the recognition. But honestly, getting married is different to me. Sure it took some work and dedication to get to this point, but mostly it was good fortune in happening to meet the right person. I don’t think that’s worthy of attention at work.

          Reply
      2. CMart

        I recently started my a new job and was introduced to a new coworker by my manager with “This is Ryan, he got married this weekend!” He just sort of “aw, shucks”-ed about about.

        The reason I bring this up is because he didn’t tell anyone until the previous Friday. Manager asked him, “So, any big plans for the weekend?” and he answered that he and his girlfriend were getting married and having brunch. The key phrases he used after the flurry of “what! what! Congratulations! Why didn’t you say anything!” were that he didn’t want to make a fuss and didn’t want to bother anyone with it.

        I’ve come to learn that my manager likes to be very involved in people’s lives (not in a creepy or boundary crossing way, she just always asks about weekends plans, or how the kids are, or how studying for the professional exam is going) and even Manager BusyBody accepted Ryan’s bashful “I didn’t want to bother anyone”. It sounds like the most she said about was that getting married isn’t a “bother” and that she’s very happy for him.

        Just play it cool. People will follow your lead, and the ones who don’t can continue to be treated casually because they’re the ones making a big deal out of something that’s “not a big deal”.

        Also: congratulations :)

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          I had a similar experience – I didn’t tell anyone I was engaged and they only noticed it once I was wearing a ring (we went ring shopping after getting engaged). And they completely followed my lead on how much I wanted to talk about it. Which happened to be a little bit, but not excessively. And they gave me a nice gift basket and a gift card to a restaurant near our house.

          Reply
      3. Your Weird Uncle

        One of my colleagues just walked into the office next door and announced he just got married and needed to change his information for payroll, insurance, etc. He didn’t make an announcement and no one started a fuss over it, and there’s been no behind-the-scenes gossip. I think people will (for the most part) take your cues.

        Reply
      4. Whats In A Name

        If you really are that private at work people may not ask anything at all if you do a small announcement like “Effective [date] please note my contact information will change to First Married and first.married@company.com“.

        I say this because they might not know if the name change is for a marriage or a divorce and if they don’t know you well might not want to ask. This happens both ways and I have noticed the people at work who don’t know the personal well or personally never say anything because they aren’t sure which it is!

        Reply
    4. Temperance

      I wear my rings to work but don’t really talk about my husband much, because I want to be seen as a competent professional and not Mrs. Booth. I’m not secretive or anything, he just doesn’t come up in work conversation.

      One of the women in my office is convinced that I’m a single, and I find it so weird and hilarious that I haven’t corrected her. Ymmv, obviously.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Does she think you wear your rings as an elaborate ruse? This sounds hilariously silly.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          I have no clue! We had a few conversations that were awkward before I realized what she was even getting at, lol. She told me that I needed to kiss my hand, and mimicked the motion, because we singles need to love ourselves.

          Reply
    5. mreasy

      I had a ton of anxiety about my wedding, not for this reason, but because I got married at 36, and was worried that coworkers would start prying immediately about plans for children – because we married so “late” into my “reproductive years.” It was my major source of pre-wedding cold feet.
      I wish I could say my worries had been misplaced, but they weren’t. Once we were hitched, everyone felt invited to inquire about our reproductive plans, being happy parents themselves (and our office being quite close generally). It became clear that I’d have to let my most pro-parenting coworkers know that we weren’t going to have kids, lest any sudden sick days or loose dress + bloating lead to speculation. And being an exec, maternity leave would be An Issue in my position (I’m the only woman in my seniority level in the company).
      So – sometimes it’s not misplaced anxiety. Sometimes people really are as nosy as you think they will be!

      Reply
    6. Antilles

      99% of people who find out will make polite conversation and that’ll be it.
      As someone who got married a year ago, I can absolutely confirm this. Even if you’re a fairly open person, the conversation after you get married is like a few sentences, tops.
      “How was the wedding?” “oh, it was really nice, everybody had a good time.” “good to hear, how was the honeymoon?” “lots of fun, I’d definitely go back to the Caribbean!” “great. now about those TPS reports…”.

      Reply
    7. Susan

      Totally agreed… I suspect that most people will be grateful that you are not going to bombard them with wedding talk. They might ask some questions in an attempt to be polite — because they’ll assume YOU want to talk about it — but I doubt many people will insist upon talking about it if you politely indicate you don’t want to.

      Reply
    8. LK

      omg people at my old workplace cared so much. I hated talking about my wedding with people who weren’t a) paying for it or b) invited and I had a small wedding so coworkers were in neither category. I relate to OP2 so much except I didn’t change my name……. so no, don’t assume people won’t care, there will be a pack of women who will *CARE* and ask about it all the time and omg it was a genuine source of stress for me because, firstly, I didn’t want to think about the stress of planning an event with my spouse with people who weren’t involved in it whatsoever (didn’t seem to make sense to me, who cares about an event they aren’t invited to?), secondly I liked work to be an escape from that, and thirdly because it enforced the sexist expectation that the woman plans the wedding (my husband actually planned most of it because I just wanted to be legally married and didn’t care much about the details) and I didn’t really have many answers when people asked me about planning it because I didn’t plan most of it…. so I felt like I was letting people down when they asked me about my dress and I said that I was probably going to get a cocktail dress from a local boutique, or the food when we just had a nice dinner at a local restaurant that my husband chose, or…… it’s like they expected some huge glamourous answer every time and I never had that for them, so it felt like everyone wanted something I couldn’t give them and didn’t want to give them and ffs this happened the FULL YEAR of my engagement, they never got the hint….. ugh hahaha

      Reply
      1. LK

        sorry OP2 if this scares you. But after the engagement it dropped off pretty quickly, so telling people after this period is probably WAY better…. it was the year leading up to it that was really obnoxious…… after the wedding people wanted to see photos (I had 3 saved to my desktop for this occasion) and that was it. They were genuinely well meaning but couldn’t take a hint.

        Reply
    9. oldbiddy

      Agreed – it won’t be a big deal at all. Only a few people are really into talking about weddings. I got married last summer and felt similar to OP. My coworkers knew I was living with my boyfriend/fiance, and I’d mention him in conversation but never did the ‘we’re engaged’ announcement. Adding to the confusion, I didn’t pick a ring until a month before the wedding.
      We got married at city hall and did a big barbeque at our house, so most of my coworkers found out when I invited them to the BBQ. Some of them teased me for surprising them, they congratulated me, and that was it. No annoying discussions of wedding/engagement stuff.

      Reply
  9. Blossom

    #2 – think of it this way – you’re not announcing a wedding, you’re changing the name you go by at work. (I’m assuming you do indeed want to use your married name at work, as that’s what it sounds like, but obviously you don’t even have to do that).
    And it doesn’t necessarily need to be an announcement, depending on your role. Unless it’s quite a visible role in the organisation, you could just give your manager a head up beforehand, and see if HR and IT can process the name change discreetly. Unless you work in an office of overexcitable gossips, it’s unlikely that the payroll person is going to run over to your desk shouting “Congratulations!”. Then, once you return, you can just let everyone figure it out from your changed email address, and use one of Alison’s lines to head off any conversations you’re not comfortable with.

    Reply
      1. Lablizard

        One of my co-workers got divorced and didn’t much want to talk about it. She handled her name change by sending out a company and client list-wide email saying, “My email will change on $date. My new email will be $newemail. $oldemail will no longer work after $date. Please update your records”. If I remember correctly, no one asked why she changed her name. Honestly, given people’s lack of attention to detail, many people probably didn’t even read the email address and didn’t notice a different last name.

        Reply
        1. Sadsack

          This. Just send a basic message alerting people to the change. Done people will ask if you got married and congratulate you. Just say thanks and move on. It’ll probably die down soon enough. You are probably envisioning/dreading much more hoopla than will actually occur.

          Reply
  10. Lionheart

    OP#1 couldn’t you ask something like “can you tell me more about the contact that you and I will have? Will we be working together directly? Or will I be reporting to someone else” (ok that sounds a bit weird, but I’m sure you could wordsmith it to make it less awkward)
    That opens up the conversation to let her tell you if she’s already decided and announced she’s moving on. Sure, she may not tell you the whole picture for various reasons, but at least you’ve given her the chance to do so.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      It’s too subtle — I’d take that to mean “tell me about the contact I will have with the person in your position,” not “tell me if you’re leaving.”

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I agree. I was asked this question and talked about what a person in my role would do, not what I personally would do (because I was leaving!).

        But I also had people interview who said they were specifically interested in working with me, and because I knew them from prior interactions, I could tell they were being sincere. Those people got a heavy hint that I would not be there by the time they started. The people who asked more broadly did not.

        Reply
      2. Lionheart

        I would totally cave if someone asked me this. In a “well I wasn’t going to say anything, but now you’ve asked and put me on the spot…. Yes, I am planning on quitting tomorrow, whilst simultaneously screwing the company out of millions of dollars redirected to an account in the Cayman islands” kind of way. But I guess that’s just me!

        Reply
  11. Lionheart

    OP#2 I think a quick announcement might be the easiest and least stressful option. Otherwise people jump to conclusions and all sorts of drama has potential to be created. I had a friend who wanted to change her name when she divorced, and decided to do it just quietly with a minimum of fuss. Of course, as soon as her coworkers noticed that her email signature had changed they immediately started showering her with “congratulations! I didn’t know you got married!” Needless to say, awkward all around.
    I know she wishes she had just sent an email out saying “Just to let you know that my emails will be signed ‘Jane Humpernickle’ and not ‘Jane Offergus’ from now on. Nothing exciting to report, just changing my name”

    Reply
    1. Anancy

      This where I fall. Tell people you are changing your name, so they aren’t confused, and tell them why as a preemptive measure. “Hi everyone, I got married last week in a beautiful and relaxed ceremony, and I am changing my name to xyz.” Or, if you are feeling it, “How was your weekend? Mine was awesome, I got a new spouse and a new name! New email is xyz.” Give enough details so people aren’t bewildered (could say something like “married my long term” boyfriend if that fits) along with the correct info going forward. Congrats, you get to set the tone here!

      Reply
      1. Temperance

        I probably wouldn’t use the “beautiful and relaxed” phrasing, or the “new spouse and new name” phrasing, but mentioning a small, intimate wedding is fine.

        I think the new spouse and new name phrasing is a bit juvenile, and depending on LW’s role, it might come across weirdly.

        Reply
        1. Sadsack

          I agree and would go further in asking why mention the wedding at all? Just say you got married.

          Reply
        2. TootsNYC

          I wouldn’t use any adjectives at all, if I wanted to just not have a conversation about it.

          And no, “I got a new spouse and a new last name!”

          Just deal w/ the business aspects of it. And “the wedding was beautiful” is not a work aspect.

          Reply
  12. Akcipitrokulo

    OP1 – possibly something like “I’m looking forward to working with you! Would it be OK to talk about what the first couple of months would look like?”

    Reply
  13. DVZ

    On the flip side, what should the manager in Question 1 do? If you are interviewing candidates and you genuinely care about the person you hire being the right fit, you want them to be invested in the company/role, etc. but you know you’re also looking for a new job? Is it operating in bad faith?

    Reply
    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I think it’s only bad faith if you’re leaving because the company is toxic and you materially misrepresent the company to the candidate. But honestly, in those circumstances people will often convey not-very-subtle hints that you should look elsewhere. I have flat out told someone that I could not recommend my former employer to women or women of color. And in interviews, I’ve hinted at the job skills a person would need to deal with the assholery of a place (as opposed to flat out saying, “this is a place full of demons and monsters”).

      That said, I don’t think there’s a moral obligation to scare someone off. Hiring that your employer is a bad employer is difficult because on one hand, there’s a certain level of professionalism and loyalty to the employer, but on the other hand, what decent human would subject other humans to hell without warning? So I don’t think there’s clear good/bad faith unless you’re actively lying in order to induce someone to join. In this limited case, I don’t think omission constitutes “active lying.”

      In non-toxic workplaces, it’s reasonable to recruit people and to presume that your company will be responsible for bringing that person up to speed and integrating them. So no bad faith, there, even if the employer later drops the ball.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Ugh autocorrect. Hiring=Hinting in the sentence that currently begins with “Hiring that your employer is a bad employer…”

        Reply
  14. hbc

    OP4, you just made me flash back to a coworker (a manager with about 30 years experience, no less) who resigned and asked the accountant* to pay out for all the remaining holidays in the calendar year. As in, he was leaving June 1st and expected to be paid for July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

    I’m guessing his logic was the same as yours–something like “You already said you would pay me for not working those days, and this is the last time you’re paying me, so you should include it.” But like most perks, they’re meant to be used in-the-moment by current employees, and you can’t get paid for those vacations** or holidays anymore than you can walk out with a year’s worth of k-cups for all the coffee they were going to let you have while working.

    *For extra fun, the accountant was his direct report.
    **Absent an accrual pay-out policy, which I grant should be standard.

    Reply
  15. AdAgencyChick

    OP1, I’m sorry. I have been the manager on the other side of this, and I felt really bad for the person I was hiring — I was super unhappy at that company and I was in the end stages of getting another job. But you don’t have an offer until you have an offer in writing, *plus* my boss had already found out a couple of months prior that I had gone on a different interview. I really could not risk my boss finding out I was still job hunting. I really liked the candidate, though, and I really wanted to give him a heads up. I asked friends for advice and they told me no way! What if he had decided to decline the offer and say it was because he wasn’t sure I was going to stay (whether because he volunteered that information or the recruiter drew it out of him)?

    I did end up calling him the day I accepted my offer (which was two or three days after he accepted his) to tell him that I wouldn’t be there on his first day because that would be my first day at my new job, I apologized profusely, and I told him things to look out for. (I didn’t trash the company, because for all I knew he might function well in ways that I hadn’t, and he did end up staying there for a couple of years.)

    None of which helps you, unfortunately. I think what Alison says is right — a new job is always a risk. But you also never know when your current boss is going to quit, either, so there’s that?

    I think you can also ask lots of questions about what the boss likes about the company and what she would change if she could (ask it in the “name one thing you would change” way, not “is there anything you don’t like about the company?”). You may get a sense from her answers about whether she’s genuinely happy to be there.

    Reply
  16. Catalyst

    OP #5 – As someone who has done quite a bit of hiring, I ALWAYS check references. It is actually sad how many times I have had someone who seems like a really great candidate and then I call references and it makes me go screaming in the other direction. I agree with whoever said above that unless the offer were made contingent on references, you should be concerned if they are NOT checking references.
    I am also guilty of what Alison said above on occasion – using references to make a decision between two candidates. Sometimes you have no choice because both have wow’d you and you need that tie breaker.

    Reply
    1. Alice

      Do you check in with the finalists before you reach out to their references? So many organizations ask for references contact info early in the process, long before any references would actually be checked. I get that it makes their workflow easier but my boss is definitely in the category of people who I only want to be contacted when it’s really necessary. That is, talk to my other references to rank candidates and only make me tell my boss I’m looking when you’ve decided I’m the top candidates and it’s just a matter of confirming things.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I’ll be curious to hear what people say. We definitely don’t; we assume that the provision of references is permission to contact them during the process, and that if there were an exception you’d notify us.

        Reply
        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

          Hm. I’d argue that companies shouldn’t ask for references unless they are going to use them (as in, immediately contact them; so you’re only asking your top two finalists or whatever). I want to be able to give my references a heads up that they should expect a call in the next week or so, and if you ask for the list early in the process I lost that opportunity.

          Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I never do, because I expect applicants to provide references who can be contacted.

        I tend to call references once we get to the final stages of pre-offer hiring When I wrap up the last interviews, I tell people the timeline and note that it includes calling their references, which is my signal to them that they should notify their references.

        But I don’t do more than that because I think it’s important for candidates to manage the parts of the process for which they’re responsible, which includes managing their relations with their references. I realize this can be difficult for folks who have been employed at one location for a while, but then it becomes (imo) an issue of reference selection, which is still the candidate’s responsibility.

        Reply
      3. Bea

        But your current boss doesn’t have to be on your reference list. Mine sure wasn’t, there was no question about it because the ones knew me far better and more in depth than the person I had been working for at the time!

        Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I am also guilty of what Alison said above on occasion – using references to make a decision between two candidates.

      That’s nothing to feel guilty about; that’s using references in a smart way, rather than as a rubberstamp after you’ve already made a decision.

      Reply
  17. PB

    OP #2: I feel you. I’m also very private, and didn’t initially tell anyone I got engaged. I took a week to just enjoy being engaged before I told my own parents! When word got out at work, mostly people were happy for me, but one jerk was really angry I didn’t tell her sooner. She was not a friend, and we’d only been engaged a month. Some people are weird like that, but they’re the outliers.

    You really don’t have to tell anyone how long you’ve been engaged. I don’t think it’s a question that comes up all that often. You could just say that you planned the wedding pretty quickly (which isn’t a complete lie; a lot of people take 2-3 years to wedding plan, so a year is a relatively quick engagement). All of Alison’s suggestions about wanting work to escape from planning or being wedding-planned out are good as well.

    Best wishes!

    Reply
  18. MicroManagered

    OP#2 When I got married, I kept it very low-key and didn’t discuss with work. When I changed my name, my email changed, and I just sent a quick email to my immediate group and said “Hey everyone–looks like my name change is official! Just wanted to point this out so you can update your contacts!” I got a few people making a big deal about “YOU DIDN’T TELL US!” but for the most part, people didn’t have much of a reaction either way.

    Reply
    1. Gov Worker

      Frankly, I wouldn’t change my email name. I did that when I got married, and when I got divorced it was nothing but problems switching back. Various systems didn’t talk to each other. After four years, I still don’t get all my email. I work for the disorganized feds though, so YMMV.

      Big life events are hard to keep secret in the office. On the other side, some coworkers don’t want to talk about your event either, but feel it would be rude not to mention it. Announce it, and it will quickly become yesterday’s news. Besides that, most people only have good wishes for you, so accept them with grace.

      And don’t leave a printout of your registry in the work printer when trying to have a secret wedding, like one of my former coworkers did.

      Reply
  19. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady

    Re: manager quitting.

    My husband had this happen to him–right before we got married. He got contacted by a headhunter, wined and dined into the new job, that would be customized to exactly what he wanted to do. He resigned his job (which his boss didn’t take well, so that bridge was burned), and the Friday before the job started he got a call from the hiring manager saying, “by the way, today is my last day, your manager will be X.”

    So, he shows up to work on the first day and reports into X. X says, “I am canceling all the projects that the previous manager talked about, you’ll be doing this other job.” Then they placed him (a statistician) in a half cube in the middle of the call center. Two days later the new manager said, “because you’re not going to be doing these projects, your pay is too high. We’re giving you a $15k pay cut.”

    He stuck it out for a month. Then quit. Then he got called up for grand jury duty, which was full time for four weeks. Yeah, it was awesome. So when we got married, he was unemployed. People kept telling me how brave I was to marry someone without a job. I was like, dude, I’m not canceling the wedding because he had terrible luck.

    He has been employed ever since.

    Anyway, sympathy.

    Reply
    1. The Other Dawn

      “People kept telling me how brave I was to marry someone without a job.”

      Wow. that’s just…wow. They made it sound like you’re marrying someone who sits home all day, has no ambitions and hasn’t worked for years. Crappy people.

      Glad to hear he’s employed now!

      Reply
    2. Namast'ay In Bed

      “…how brave I was to marry someone without a job.”

      What?? It’s not like he’s some mooch who’s never held a job. What a weird thing for people to say.

      Sending my sympathies to the past, what an awful situation at an already stressful time.

      Reply
    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Wow. Every part of that story (except getting married) is awful. I’m so sorry, and I’m especially sorry that your poor husband had to go through all of that.

      Reply
    4. Bea

      This is outrageous on all ends. Instead of being caring rational people who see he’s was set up to fail, didn’t stick with it because it was a toxic lying den of dbags who were also not paying him as much as his actual skill set…they decide he’s some kind of deadbeat and you’re some brave lady for still marrying him O.o The woman who knew the whole story and the whole man…these jerks all over the place just OMG.

      I’d be cutting so many people out of my life if they ever were so utterly disrespectful to my partner like that.

      My boyfriend was between jobs when we met. He had ways of making ends meet as well as possible but it meant that we didn’t do too much that involved money, including him not getting me a Christmas present when that rolled around. Yes it was our first Christmas together, I was thrilled to have him and it didn’t even pass my mind that “wow you’re supposed to be giving me something, anything, even if it’s handmade!!!!” kind of garbage. I was sick and tired and over a lot of people who kept asking what he got me and being all “Awwww you’re such a good girlfriend for not caring about gifts!”, no. Just no.

      Reply
  20. Dmr

    OP #1:. I think Alison’s advice is correct about this being too sensitive. I am also wondering if there is something about the industry you are working in that promotes high turnover (I’m in a low turnover industry – I was in my last job for 13 years and my current manager has been with the organization for over 20 years). Could you ask about culture in terms of do people stay with the organization? How much of your team you will be working with face to face regularly?

    Reply
  21. Parenthetically

    OP#2, I had a quickie courthouse wedding, and the only responses I got were congratulatory. I didn’t want to talk about my engagement or wedding plans or whatever either, except with a few friends, so I agree that a canned response is the way to go. I’d go with something very light, like, (*big smile*) “Thanks! Yeah, I’m wedding-talked out for sure and I’d love a break from it. Tell me about your weekend/the project/anything that’s not wedding related!”

    Reply
  22. WhirlwindMonk

    #1 – I got stuck in the exact same situation about 9 months ago. Hired into a new job, got along well with the manager, one month later, and suddenly he’s leaving in less than a week! Even worse, it took them another 4 months or so to replace him! Even worse than that, my original manager was the one who really went to bat for hiring me because I had some non-core skills that he felt justified bringing me on despite not having some of the core skills they were looking for. Well, my biggest advocate left, and now I’m 9 months into what was supposed to be a 6-month contract-to-hire position and still a contractor with minimal benefits. No advice, unfortunately, just wanted to say it’s a really sucky situation and I feel your pain.

    Reply
    1. JB

      If you kept in contact with him, might his new company have need for someone with your particular skills?

      Reply
  23. Temperance

    LW2:

    I got married in law school, and didn’t tell most people until I was going to be away. I got mildly teased for being so weird, which I deserved. I WAS super weird. I didn’t want to come off as less serious.

    You’ll be fine. I would mention it casually and then let it go. You’re going to get some attention, but if you act casual, then it will be fine. The thing I found most annoying was people assuming I would change my name, and asking about it, because it’s a huge deal to me and I knew no one would ask Booth about his name.

    Reply
  24. Gov Worker

    It should be policy for lame duck managers not to hire for their direct reports. Rapport is an important part of deciding to accept an offer, and it is bait and switch to hire someone knowing that they will not have you for a manager. It is unethical to do this without disclosure, after which the candidate may decide to accept the position anyway.

    Reply
    1. Antilles

      That’s good when possible, but in many cases, that’s just not practical. If the boss hasn’t officially put in his notice or told the company he’s looking elsewhere, there just isn’t a good way to handle it.
      >He can’t intentionally stop the position search, since (a) it would raise red flags with his company and (b) if he stays for a while, he does actually need someone in that role.
      >The boss can’t tell candidates he’s also job searching during the interview process because of the risk of it getting back to the company.
      >Given the timing here, it seems likely that the boss hadn’t received an offer until after OP had accepted and put in her two weeks notice elsewhere. Telling OP after she’s already resigned her current position and/or turned down other offers probably isn’t too useful.

      Reply
    2. BPT

      I mean I looked for a job for about two years before actually finding one that I accepted. If I had told people I was interviewing when I first started, it would have looked really weird when I didn’t leave for two years. You never know how long it will take; just because you’re job hunting doesn’t mean you’re going to find one right away.

      Reply
    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      In many cases, it’s pretty hard for people to know or disclose that they’re leaving. I was hired by a stellar boss who gave notice 4 weeks after I started and left 4 weeks later. When I was hired, she was job hunting but hadn’t gotten offers. I don’t think she was being misleading—there was a good chance it would take several months for her to land a gig.

      But life without her was hellish, because she had insulated me from the toxicity and had gone to bat for me. And that was a big reason for why I left after only 1.3 years. I would have never take the job had she not been there (although to her credit, she tried to warn me, but I was so excited that I ignored the warnings).

      Reply
    4. TootsNYC

      I agree, this is not possible.

      The manager probably gave two weeks’ notice. She may not even know she’s going on an interview herself when she starts her recruitment process!

      Reply
  25. Fronzel Neekburm

    OP# 2 – one of my favorite jokes from Futurama is when Leela was telling a story about the time she asked out her boss because she didn’t know he was married. His response: “And my wife does not know I have a job. I keep my work and private life very separate.”

    I used to try to integrate them more, but the older I get, the more I realize I have work, and then I have home, and I don’t want the two to mix, so I do keep them separate. I’m friendly, but I mostly keep to myself. I think that’s important. If anyone asks, say “thank you” and move on. Be friendly, but you owe them nothing other than good work.

    Reply
  26. Tuckerman

    #2, I couldn’t figure out a good way to let my colleagues know. I wanted to announce it at our staff meeting 2 days before the wedding (we didn’t get engaged, just chose a date, so people genuinely had no clue) but the meeting ended on a sour note, and I didn’t get a chance. The day before the wedding I was working from home, and just sent out an email at the end of the day saying basically “Tuckerman vacation Thursday. Getting married. See you Friday!”
    I got a flood of emails in return, but it was easier than telling people to their faces.

    Reply
    1. OP2

      Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to hear stories from people who’ve been in similar situations. I’m glad I’ve avoided the topic in large meetings. Email seems like a much more comfortable option. I might try an approach like yours.

      Reply
  27. Going Anon for this Comment

    So re: #2 I actually have a question that is somewhat related? I’m 20 weeks pregnant. I haven’t said anything at this point to anyone but close family, because I’ve been pregnant before and miscarried at 19 weeks, and having told people at the beginning of the second trimester, it made for a lot of sympathy I found overwhelming (I am grateful for it, but it was a very emotional time) and then it also made for a lot of rude nosiness about my reproductive health and plans afterward. It’s going to become very obvious that I’m pregnant soon enough (I’m already looking heavier than normal) and my immediate boss and HR knows already, but I’m kind of stuck on how to navigate it with more people at the office. I don’t want to make a big announcement or act like I’m all excitement, because it would be a lie–I’m nervous, I’m anxious, I don’t want to hear terms like “rainbow baby” or people saying things as if this “fixes” what happened last time. It’s an emotional and touchy subject. What do I even say? Is there a good way to say “Yes, I’m pregnant, but please don’t gush at me”?

    Reply
    1. OP2

      Just wanted to say that I’m eager to see what advice people have on this topic, as sharing this sort of news is a likely part of my future that I have already thought about and am MAJORLY dreading…

      Best wishes!

      Reply
    2. Jessesgirl72

      We’re 27 weeks (tomorrow) via surrogate, so not the same, but similar.

      I didn’t have this problem, since I told everyone- and I admit, got a lot of attention. But I did make more of an announcement out of it.

      My husband, however, waited to tell anyone at work until 22-24 weeks, and only then in context of “I won’t be able to take on this part of a project we’re planning because I’ll be out of the country having a baby” and he got congratulations, but that was it. Like Alison said, people largely take their cues from you.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I agree that this is the way to do it. If someone talks to you about rainbow babies, it’s ok to interrupt them and say, in a kind but straightforward tone, “I understand that you’re trying to express happiness for my news, but I hope you understand that I don’t consider my babies/children to be substitutes or placeholders for one another, and it’s painful to hear good wishes framed in those terms.”

        A lot of people are not bad-hearted but are still tone deaf—in cases like this, I think they’re repeating things they’ve heard without thinking about what they’re saying. Sometimes shutting them down early saves them from themselves and gives them an opportunity for introspection. Sometimes they’ll try to double-down, in which case you can, again, interrupt and state firmly, “I’m sorry, but I really cannot talk about this, and I don’t want to debate this. I just want you to understand that what you’re saying is hurtful to me.” And then walk away mid-convo.

        Reply
    3. LizB

      Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s one perfect way to announce big life news that will keep coworkers from having rude reactions. If someone’s going to throw a bunch of crap your way about rainbow babies, they’re going to do it no matter when or how you tell them about the pregnancy. The only thing you can really do is think through possible responses: when someone does say that, how will you address it in the moment? If someone keeps gushing at you, what will you say to politely tell them to back off?

      To keep it low profile, maybe focus the announcement on work impacts like maternity leave? In my workplace, I could easily mention at a routine team meeting, “I’ll be reaching out to folks in the next few weeks about coverage for Jane’s tasks, because she’ll be on maternity leave starting in July” and then move on with the rest of my announcements. Some people will likely freak out, but that’s about them, not you. You could also enlist a trusted manager or co-worker friend to help you shut down the worst offenders.

      Also, I hope all continues to go well for you. :)

      Reply
    4. Parenthetically

      I don’t think there’s any reason to make an announcement, really. It’ll become obvious, and if you get comments, I think you can respond to “OMG are you pregnant, congrats!!1!!!” with a sort of confused, nonchalant, “Yes, thanks, I’ll be away from (date) to (date) for my mat leave. *pause* Now about those TPS reports…”

      And as someone with an extensive family history of difficult pregnancies AND an anxiety disorder, I really sympathize with the issue of not being excited. Around 20 weeks I was regularly waking up having panic attacks and felt really guilty that I was more anxious and nervous than excited. And people’s trivializing comments about how being anxious all the time is just part of motherhood did not help, except inasmuch as they distracted me from my anxiety by pissing me off. It’s gotten better each week — almost 26 weeks now.

      Wishing you all the best.

      Reply
    5. nutella fitzgerald

      Do people actually straight out ask “Are you pregnant?” I feel like this is such an invasive question (especially to someone you know has experienced a loss!) that you would be well within professional norms to just say you would rather not discuss it.

      Disclaimer: I am the coworker version of OP2 in that I avoid inquiries into my coworkers’ personal lives if at all possible. I don’t mind talking about things they’ve mentioned, but I don’t want to bring up any topics that might make them uncomfortable. Maybe OP2 and I should work together?

      Reply
      1. OP2

        Yes, please! I actually don’t mind talking about my personal life at all once I reach a certain level of comfort with people, but I’m really slow to open up.

        Reply
      2. Jessesgirl72

        I think most people don’t ask their coworkers nosy questions. The nosy ones just make all the noise!

        Reply
      3. CMart

        Some people will ask that. Usually it’s because it’s prompted by something tangentially work-related (voting against sushi for the team luncheon, declining a beer at happy hour, having to sit out the team-building trust fall exercise, etc…). But only the most egregious of busybodies will ask about pregnancy based solely upon how you look. I’m looking at you, old ladies at the grocery store.

        I hid a pregnancy during an internship this past summer which fell between the end of the first trimester (barfing discreetly in the bathroom all day, every day) and early third trimester. When I started to show if I were wearing form fitting clothes it was VERY obvious I was pregnant. So I just wore loose clothing and, toward the end, avoided standing in profile in front of key people.

        When I finally revealed it after getting a full time offer at the end of the internship, I got a flurry of well-intentioned but slightly insulting “I KNEW IT!”-s, usually followed by “but I didn’t want to say anything in case I was wrong!”

        Reply
        1. CMart

          The first point is to say: people will often blurt out “what, are you pregnant or something?” when you do something like turn down a beer. Sometimes it’s a “joke” but often it’s a serious inquiry posed in a “gotchya!” kind of way.

          Reply
    6. kavm

      Honestly I would just smile, say thank you, and change the subject back to work. In the case of someone stopping by your desk specifically to comment about it, you could basically do the same thing. Say thank you and turn back to work. If that feels rude, maybe explain you’re on a deadline with your current project?

      I am someone who adamantly avoids asking personal questions of my coworkers and I expect them to not ask me any either. If people start gushing or say anything like “rainbow baby” I would just say “I’d rather not talk about it, I have a pressing deadline and need to focus on Project X.” You might have people get a little put out, but they’ll get over it!

      If people get nosy:
      “What an invasive question to ask”
      “That’s awfully personal!”
      “Please don’t ask me personal questions like that.”
      “I’d rather not discuss it at work.”

      Reply
    7. J.B.

      I’m sorry about your past and totally get not wanting to talk about it. I think in this case you might want to recruit a friendly (or gossipy but not mean gossipy) coworker to spread the news for you. Ask them to make it clear that you are nervous and don’t want to talk about things. (Probably phrase it as being normal nervous to avoid getting into the details, but a significant eyebrow raise might remind more self aware folks.)

      Best wishes. I hope you have a healthy delivery and remember both of your beautiful children.

      Reply
    8. TootsNYC

      Frankly, I think you can say, “Yes, I’m pregnant, but please don’t gush at me.”

      Why not? There’s nothing rude about it.

      OK, maybe it implies that you assume they will, and it’s not so respectful to react to your assumptions about people instead of reacting to their actual actions.

      So maybe, “Yes, I’m pregnant–thanks for the good wishes, but I’m hoping that people don’t gush at me.”

      Reply
  28. HisGirlFriday

    OP 2, when I got married, I was working in news — not an industry known for its general discretion. I’m also intensely private and did not want to discuss the wedding in any detail.

    I legally changed my name, but our IT department never did manage to change my name on our e-mail, and I just lived with that, because it didn’t really matter to me.

    Also, FWIW, most people were more interested in our honeymoon (Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans) than the actual wedding, and I was happy to talk about why I loved those cities and what we had done that was fun and what restaurants we had gone to and so on.

    Reply
    1. OP2

      Eeek! We are not going on a honeymoon, but I wish we were. Perhaps I can dodge that by talking about the wedding location.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        I’d dodge it by not talking about details at all.

        Just reply with short, to-the-point, absent-minded-sounding sentences.

        Reply
    2. Parenthetically

      That was the case with me too! People wanted to know all about our hotel, the weather, what we did, the restaurants we went to… That was easy to talk about.

      Reply
  29. Sharon

    Re #1: That’s happened to me before, though it didn’t turn out badly. On the other hand for my current job I started with one manager and almost a year later the company reorganized, putting me and a few coworkers on a new team. The new team does work that absolutely demands deep experience in our business domain and it takes a decade or more of working in the industry to gain that. Here I am with zero domain experience, struggling along, trying to learn but the domain is complex enough that you just can’t fast track the learning curve*. Every time I bring up the fact that I’m a bad fit for the team, my boss and coworkers strongly disagree. I’m left with either manipulating myself into different work on this team (project scheduling or something) that leans less heavily on domain experience or just changing companies.

    * My senior team mates do try to train me on various topics but it’s always frustrating because they have 20+ years of experience and never think of the entry-level details that I need to learn. Because I have no frame of reference to start with, it’s all theoretical information for me. It’s like expecting a 3rd grader to sit with Stephen Hawking for a couple hours and learning all about quantum mechanics.

    Reply
  30. Brad Birmingham

    OP#2
    I’m the writer of the original post you referenced, so I definitely understand your position!
    When I got back to work after my wedding and honeymoon I still didn’t mention it to anyone, but a few people noticed my ring and asked about it. They were 100% congratulatory and delighted to hear it.
    At Alison’s and the commenters’ advice, I kept my responses appreciative but somewhat short so that I didn’t have to get into details. People seemed to pick up on the fact that I didn’t want to discuss many details and left it at that without any problem. So it worked out pretty well!

    However, there is a caveat to my story: I’m a guy. I suspect there is a societal norm (inaccurate as it may be) that a guy is only mildly interested in weddings, even his own (even though I was just as excited and involved in my wedding – if not more so – than my wife). So perhaps me being a guy is why people didn’t make a fuss that I never mentioned it or made an announcement.
    It also means I didn’t have to deal with any name changes, which made keeping it low-key even easier.

    But like has been said, if you keep it low-key, I’m sure people will pick up on that and keep it low-key as well!

    Reply
  31. Red Rose

    #1 – This has happened to me, too, although only once. After serving out my 2 week notice at my former job, I came in on day 1 to have my new manager say, “Oh, I just accepted a new position last week; I’ll be leaving in 2 weeks.” Although it turned out to be the best thing for me. She seemed really nice in interviews, but my new colleagues told me she was a nightmare on wheels as a manager. The new manager was much more what I would have wanted, both extremely competent and easy to get along with.

    Reply
  32. Madame X

    OP#2
    Are people particularly nosy about each other’s personal lives at your job? Like, unusually so? Unless there is something truly unique about your workplace, I think you might be anticipating more drama than is realistically going to occur. Your coworkers will likely congratulate you on your recent nuptials and then move on with whatever is going in their lives. If you keep your attitude low key, people will take their cues from you. I don’t that they will corner you for all the details.

    Reply
  33. kavm

    I actually have a follow-up question that is related to #5: I am currently searching for a new job, I’ve been in my current position for almost 3 years and it is my first real job. So what do I do about references? I wouldn’t want to list my current supervisor (he’s great, but I don’t want to deal with any awkwardness) but I don’t really have anyone else to provide a reference except for jobs that I feel are unrelated (summer retail) or too far in the past (I could list my supervisor from an internship but that was 4 years ago – is that too long ago?). I haven’t been called for interviews yet so this may be premature but I want to be prepared if/when I need to provide references.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      This is probably a little far afield from the letter topic, but if you check the “references” topic in the archives, you should find some helpful stuff. Or you can post it on the open thread later today.

      Reply
  34. Rachel

    #OP1 I sympathize. Earlier in my career, I worked for an ad agency where I was cycled through 4 managers in a year because of team member departures. Going forward, I’ve had better luck looking at employee LinkedIn profiles, particularly for managers and above. If the average tenure is 1 to 2 years, and I’m looking to spend the next 3 to 5 years at an organization, that’s a red flag for me. I’ve also found this question to be helpful: “what do you see as your biggest challenges over the next 3 to 6 months and how will this role support you?” If there’s a lot externalizing/indicating that they aren’t in control of projects, or little specifics on how they’ll manage and distribute work to you, that can signal that they aren’t really prepared to manage you effectively or remain with the organization.

    Reply
  35. SometimesALurker

    I have appreciated seeing several letters about people not wanting to talk about wedding stuff at work, because I’m sort of in the same boat. For me, it’s not because I’m a private person, I do enjoy chatting with my coworkers about a number of personal things (within certain limits). It’s because I’m really bothered by a lot of the gendered crap that comes with weddings in our society, especially the gendered expectations that are put on brides-to-be, and I don’t know which of my coworkers are going to be gross about things, and even the ones who aren’t being gross still make many more assumptions than I have the energy to deal with. I’ve cut a lot of it short by shrugging off wedding conversations, but we’ll see if I’m still able to as it gets closer. Even though it’s not quite the same reason, it feels good to see other people figuring out how to deal with this (although I wish none of us had to!).

    Reply
    1. OP2

      That’s actually part of the discomfort for me, too! I’m not the stereotypical bride-to-be. I’m thrilled about the actual marriage, but the process of getting married? And dresses and jewelry and colors and centerpieces??? Meh.

      Reply
      1. CMart

        I think the tide is slowly changing in a lot of places about what a “typical bride” is like, especially if people have known someone who got married in the last five years or so. Obviously I have a huge amount of selection bias, but no one who I’ve seen get married (I’m 31 so… a lot of people in the past decade) was terribly fussed about the trappings of a wedding. They were all like you: thrilled about the actual marriage.

        Obviously if you prefer privacy that’s SO OKAY, but I also think there’s a lot of good of being open-but-vague about wedding things as a woman getting married. For people who are assuming your pretty little head is just consumed with naught but wedding frills could stand to actually have a conversation where the content is “yeah, we’re having it at a restaurant because we like food, but *neither of us* are overly concerned about small details. Planning a large event is stressful enough, you know? I’m just excited to be married.”

        Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      In a way, it’s not any different from not wanting to talk about football because you find it boring.

      It’s the same tactic. And -you- get to decide whether there’s any weight to “society’s pressure about gender roles.”

      Reply
      1. SometimesALurker

        Agreed, I don’t get to decide who makes rude comments to me about it. It’s still exhausting, even if I decide I don’t care.

        Reply
  36. Product person

    More for #1: There are indirect ways you can use to gauge the likelihood of a manager staying put. Remember, the manager you like could not just decide to leave the company, but also get promoted (or make a lateral move), causing you to get a new boss.

    Tenure in the job and how old the person can become good indicators.

    You could ask for example how long the manager has been in this position (if the answer is something like “6 years”, then you could ask how long is the typical tenure in this type of role — you could do that in a flattering way, showing your interest in keeping working with this person). At least in my industry, a manager who has been there for several years in the same position are either about to be promoted or going to leave soon to be able to advance their career, so you could factor that in.

    If the person has been in the role for, say, less than a year, then it would be reasonable to expect that they’ll be there long enough to get you trained and situated in the new job.

    Likewise, if the person is at a retirement age (and is eligible for a corporate pension plan), he/she may be staying just to recruit a new batch of employees before leaving.

    You could potentially look at all these signs to draw a better conclusion as to how likely the manager is going to stay or leave.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  37. Lance

    Re: #5 I’m curious why your partner is listing references from his current company in the first place. Is he assuming (as you seem to be) that they wouldn’t be called until an offer is made (at which point, the status of him seeking employment wouldn’t be a concern to him)? Or is it a situation of ‘this is his first/second job, and he doesn’t have many other references’? I’m just curious the rationale behind it, especially with the ‘obviously’ bit.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      I’m wondering if applicants have to list “former managers” on some form way at the beginning.

      If so, then ideally the hiring company wouldn’t be calling people from his current workplace (ye gods!), but I personally would want to clarify that.

      Reply
  38. nnn

    OP#2: Is it logistically possible to announce the name change (and the marriage) after the wedding? In my office, people tend to announce any name changes after they get married. This seems like it would cut down the wedding squeeing, since it’s a done deal. There might be one burst of squeeing, but then there’s really nothing more to say.

    Reply
  39. PinkCupcake

    #1 Changing Managers

    OP, I feel you on this one as I’ve dealt with a similar set of circumstances over my last 3 jobs. My situation did not pertain to managers leaving. It has simply been multiple occurrences of one set of expectations and conditions being established during the interview process, and then 6 months to a year after I start, those conditions changing drastically (and me not getting an opportunity to re-negotiate…well, besides just expressing my concerns and then leaving when nothing is done about it). I don’t blame any of my managers in those jobs. I think they were as transparent as they could be during the interview process. I don’t blame myself either. There still don’t seem to be any red flags I could have possible picked up on any sooner (because they didn’t exist at the time I was interviewing for the job).
    I think stuff just happens. Companies merge with other companies. Employees leave much more frequently for better opportunities. It always seems very short-sighted and inefficient to me, but really, until companies start focusing more on employee retention and how big structural changes impact their employees, it will continue to happen.
    As far as what to do about it, I’ve now started working at an organization that is large enough to provide ample opportunity to move around within the organization. This is not a 100% solution. But, it does give me much better odds of knowing “what’s really going on” in such and such department before I apply for a role in said department. It also helps weed out those managers that seem perfectly sane and reasonable during the interview process, but really are not. Finally, the barrier to entry for another role in the same organization is not nearly as high as it is when you change companies. You generally do not have to jump through as many hoops to land a different job within the same organization. Hope this helps. This is what I’m trying. We’ll see if it works :)

    Reply
  40. Princess Carolyn

    OP #1, you have my sympathies! I accepted a job in February primarily because I was excited to work with my direct manager and my grandboss, who had a lot of experience in areas I was interested in. Within six weeks, my grandboss left. Now my direct manager is leaving. I know it’s just business, but I’m so disappointed and a little overwhelmed at all the stuff I’ll have to figure out on my own; my position is a newly created one and I have a lot of transferable skills but no actual experience doing what I do.

    Reply
  41. Susan the BA

    OP#1, I think you could say something like “I’m really excited about working with you because X and Y. I know that great managers moving on to other positions is a normal thing that can happen in a workplace – in fact, I’ve twice had it happen right after I started! – so can you tell me what systems are in place for succession planning and what the company does to ensure continuity during personnel transitions?” That’s a reasonable, non-accusatory question that opens the door for the prospective manager to say “actually, I’m leaving tomorrow” if she feels comfortable doing so, but also gives her the opportunity to say “hypothetically, we would do ABC, we plan all projects and reorgs at least a year out so there would be no major changes, etc” or “generally things fall apart”. That’s the information you really need.

    Reply
  42. Bookish

    #2: I’m getting married soon and mostly talked about it with office friends or people in my direct department. I did have one coworker who was asking a lot of questions about wedding planning at first, and it happened to be at a time when like, nothing was happening with planning because it was so early on. So I think she got over that. Getting married is a bit different from getting engaged because the event is over and you don’t have the same “millions of possible questions, sustained over a period of roughly a year” problem that you have with being engaged and being asked about wedding planning. Yes, you’ll likely get some comments of congratulations at first, but that can only last so long.

    I’m going on a honeymoon after my wedding that’s a fairly long amount of vacation time for my office, and I’m probably going to put up an away message that I’m on my honeymoon. I suspect that’ll alert people who didn’t yet know to my impending nuptials, and I’m marrying another woman so who knows if that’ll come up in an awkward way, but whatever. Luckily I’m not changing my name – my fiancée is changing hers!

    On the flip side, my fiancée worked with a guy who simply said he was “taking a long weekend” and found out that it was for his wedding. She gave him a card that said “Congratulations on your long weekend.”

    I particularly don’t want to be evasive about my wedding because I’m gay, so I’ve come to peace with accepting that there may be some attention and I may be outed to people and I don’t know what all their opinions will be. If you’re straight, at least you don’t have to deal with that part, lol.

    Reply
  43. Garland not Andews

    OP #3 Please be sure to make your request for your review in a conference room far enough in advance so that your supervisor can schedule the room. Where I work the conference rooms are can be booked up well in advance. Though, perhaps a conference room in another part of the building would offer even more privacy.

    Reply
    1. CM

      Also, I would leave off the first part of Alison’s script about wanting to talk very candidly with the manager. If I were the manager, I would wonder what that meant — is this person going to announce that they are quitting, or make a complaint about another coworker? I think just saying that voices carry and requesting the conference room is fine. Most people would not want their review to be overheard.

      Reply
  44. Kat

    OP#4, I think I understand what you’re saying but not knowing your location I’m not sure of the laws. In general though (and for my geographical location), if you’ve booked a day off for June and you leave the company in May, you should be getting paid your June day at whatever the vacation pay rate is in your final paycheque. As an example, I left my job in October and had two weeks booked off in December; I got paid those two weeks when I left because they were untaken vacation days. It doesn’t matter that I had booked them off because I hadn’t yet taken them.

    If you feel like you have a day missing in your final paycheque (I’m making an assumption since you’re asking) then you should ask about it.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      Every company I’ve worked at makes a distinction between personal days and vacation days, and my impression is that the state labor laws respect that distinction. I’ve never had a personal day paid out, and NYState has very employee-favorable laws.

      Essentially, your vacation days are compensation you earn (esp. if you acrue them), and personal days are a favor the company does to every employee equally.

      Reply
      1. Violet

        My employer pays out cash for unused personal days for current employees at the end of every year. If the OP is in a similar situation, I could understand being frustrated if (for example) they were paid out for three leftover days and not four because one was scheduled and might have appeared to have been used in the system.

        Reply
    2. Jessesgirl72

      Very few States require you to be paid for accrued vacation days. Some companies do anyway, but not so often that it can be assumed it’s the case for the OP. If she is asking after the fact, the answer for her is probably no.

      Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          About half the states address it in some way. Sometimes that’s by requiring it, but sometimes it’s by saying “if your employer promises it to you, they must pay it out but otherwise they don’t have to.” But you’re right that enough states require it that it’s not “very few.”

          Reply
  45. TootsNYC

    #1: manager leaving

    You can ask about depth.
    Because even if the manager is planning to stay, their own plans could change quite suddenly.

    “If you weren’t able to help me train and get established in the job–promotion, illness, vacation, new job–what would that look like? Who else would be handling that, and how would that work?”

    I think it’s especially important to ask that sort of question when it seems that the manager would need to be available you to (you’re a rookie, even a little; the department seems small; etc.)

    Reply
  46. TootsNYC

    #4: most places I’ve worked, people use up their personal days before the vacation days for precisely this reason. Once they get to the end, they start labeling things “personal” instead of “vacation”

    Partly that’s because in places where some vacation days would roll over to next year, personal days never do.

    In my experience, it really doesn’t matter what you “code” the day to be. Neither I (as a manager) or my bosses have ever really turned down the odd day here and there, so it’s really for corporate.
    The one distinction I make as a manager (and sort of as an employee) is that when someone specifically asks for a personal day, it means that this is sort of non-negotiable. That it’s not discretionary, it’s not something you could do on some other day. And I feel myself obligated to grant it, no negotiation, no objections, no questions.

    However, vacation is subject to workload suitability, and if I had to, I feel it’s OK to say, “Can you leave one day later?” or “that’s a really bad week.” (I try not to, and I structured my budget for years so that I didn’t have to–but I also did expect people to not take their discretionary vacation days on busy weeks, and apparently they expect this of themselves also, bcs the only times they did was when their sister was getting married, so they didn’t get to pick the days.)

    So, I’d not use the personal days up right away, in case I needed them, but when we got further along in the year, I’d start labeling stuff “personal days” and leave the vacation ones to roll over (or be paid out).

    I have no idea how common that is, but everyone has always done it at every place I’ve worked. (One industry, one city)

    Reply
  47. Countess Boochie Flagrante

    #1 – Oh, I so feel your pain. I was at OldJob for six years, and in that time I had seven different direct managers. #1 was laid off, #2 I changed positions, #3 passed away, #4 was laid off, #5 was rotated to a different department, #6 never came back from mat leave, and #7 was in charge for all of ~5mos before we were all laid off en masse. It was disorienting and made everything more stressful.

    Reply
    1. MissDisplaced

      #3 passed away OMG!

      I’ve had 5 bosses in the last 3 years and it looks like Boss #6 is to be hired soon.

      Reply
  48. MissDisplaced

    I’ve had a similar problem as #1 only instead of manager leaving, the whole darn COMPANY moves, is sold, or closes the branch I was hired in.
    This has now happened to me THREE TIMES. And of course, the company will never tell you that when you are interviewing as they tend to keep this info close.

    Going through this now. The company I work at has decided to relocated to a busy downtown big-city office. This move will require a much higher cost of commuting/parking/time and higher city wage tax too. It’s a pretty big loss of income for me and others BECAUSE new CEO feels like being in the city. So I am looking.

    Reply
    1. ArtK

      I had an issue like this on one job transition:
      As I was leaving company A it was in the process of being bought by company B; my new employer, C, was bought by D two months after I changed. I was saying that I worked for four companies and only changed jobs once!

      Reply
  49. Elenia

    To the wedding lady:
    I literally just did this last year! I too am extraordinarily private about such things, plus my wedding was absolutely tiny. I didn’t want a traditional engagement ring and got a sapphire instead. I wore this and no one even asked me about it. One or two commented it was a nice ring, but when I just said “Thank you” and didn’t follow through they shrugged and moved on.
    When I got married I just asked for the time off. I only needed a couple of days because we were just going to the justice of the peace. I asked for the time off because I said my parents and his parents were coming up, which was true enough – they were just coming for the wedding!
    Then when I came back in the following Monday I waited until everyone was in the office (we have a tiny local office) and just said, “I have an announcement! I got married over the weekend!” Let people congratulate me.
    I told HR so they could do the name change and all of the broader announcements got handled by that. People saw the new name and were like, “Did you get married?” And I’d answer yes and it was a very low-key conversation.

    And that was it! You can totally keep it under your hat. And for women, if you do change your name, that is an easy way to send the message.

    Reply
  50. The OG Anonsie

    #2 Why don’t you tell everyone only when you actually change your name? You don’t even have to mention why you’re changing it, honestly.

    Most jobs I’ve had I feel like this is what happens– one day you get a “Hey this is my last name now” email from someone you work with often enough that you need to know but not closely enough that they would have talked to you about their wedding plans. I’ve never found it weird, though I know some people will, it’s not objectively a weird thing to do.

    Reply
  51. Lizzy

    for OP2:
    I had a friend who was like this. She swore up and down, left right and center that she would NEVER get married again. She was pretty reserved about her personal life in general around the office, to the point that most people knew she was reserved and that she didn’t talk about it much.
    She ended up getting married one weekend in a small ceremony that I was not invited to (and unable to attend anyway because I was in the hospital after delivering my baby, which was probably one of the many reasons I wasn’t invited haha!). She got back to work the following Monday, didn’t say anything to anyone. Slowly but surely people started realizing that she had a ring on her finger, and of course word spread from there. Whenever asked, she just responded with “oh, it was a small ceremony and we didn’t want to make it a big deal.”
    A couple of weeks (months?) later, once everyone knew, she officially changed her name at work.
    Problem solved! :)

    Reply

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