a network faux pas lots of people make, and feeling resentful toward vacationing coworkers

Two miscellaneous things to close out the week —

1. I talked to Quartz about a networking faux pas that tons of people make: emailing a contact who you don’t know well to tell them you’ve applied at their company, without any clear request for what you’re hoping they’ll do. People who do this are hoping that the subtext will be, “So would you please recommend me to whoever is doing the hiring?” But of course, unless you’ve worked together before or are known to be a superstar, your contact is more to think “okay, good to know and good luck.” The piece talks about what you can say if you’re hoping the person will do something on your behalf.

2. I also talked to Lifehacker about how to handle it if you feel resentful toward your vacationing colleagues.

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{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Safetykats

    Ugh. A company where I previously worked is gearing up for layoffs, and my coworkers and I are now getting regular calls from people whose jobs are at risk. They haven’t applied for jobs we have posted and seemingly don’t want to – when I refer them to our current postings the jobs aren’t right for them, or the commute is too long, or something. I guess they think I can magically produce a job that isn’t posted that will satisfy all their wishes, but of course that’s not the case. Some of my coworkers have just stopped taking or returning their calls, and I’m almost there. I sympathize, but apparently anything I can actually do is nothing they want.

    I do appreciate the article, because the one thing I haven’t done is to simply ask “What is it you’re asking me to do?” I’m kind of excited to hear the answers – although I’m guessing at least some of them don’t really have an answer.

    Reply
    1. Welcome to the Real World

      This is why when I start my first out of college job and move to the new area I will be living in, I plan to be constantly making friends, doing social activities and staying in touch with other people. Thank god for Meetup.com. Instead of getting lunch alone I will take the time to call 10 or so people asking if they want to go out to eat or hang out at my or their place and cook something. Instead of hitting a bucket of balls alone I will bring someone along and join a golf meetup. Even as someone in his early-mid 20s, I will mainly seek out “older” men and women in their 30s and 40s instead of people my age or slightly older. I will go out of my way to help them without asking for anything in return. Hell I may even pay a bit extra in rent just to live in nicer apartments so that way I can regularly run into rich people. Of course I first have to find a roommate or two who has the same mindset as I do. No more upgrading my PC, no more new game systems. A night in will be seen as a failure on my part.

      Also I plan on befriending co-workers and going to every single work social. Even if I loathe a certain co-worker I will pretend to be interested in their lives and keep my mouth shut about certain political opinions. Even if I hate my boss I will still be his friend and take him out. The funny thing is I’m a huge introvert.

      You know why I seek to go out of my way become a social butterfly who is always around people, talking to people meeting new people and sucking up to bosses/co-workers? Because I don’t want to get laid off. The quiet, studious, slightly weird worker will get laid off before the outgoing, charismatic go-getter, even if the second person is significantly less productive at work.

      Even if I do get laid off I want to be able to hit up my 100+ friends I regularly keep in touch with and let them know that I just got laid off and if their company has a need for an engineer. Out of those 100 people at least one will work at a company that needs an engineer and will go out of his or her way to push the hiring manager to consider me. This is how you succeed in today’s world. The whole myth of the nerds being the boss of popular kids my parents loved to spout out to discourage me from joining a frat or the football team is bullshit. If anything the popular kids are the bosses of the nerds because there are enough enjoyable, charismatic people who also have the skills and work ethic that people don’t need to put up with some weird, socially awkward, introverted person who seldom interacts with other people to produce revenue for the company.

      Also it’s a lot more fun to golf with a VP than it is to reach out to a hiring manager I never met, take him or her out to coffee and pretend I am really enthusiastic about some company when in reality I just want to advance my career.

      I don’t want to go through the hell that is job searching again. I don’t care what people say job searching is hell. I felt a lot more stress searching for that internship than actually working there despite the fast paced standards. The only thing more stressful than job searching was spring semester when I was on the cusp of a 3.0 GPA and was unsure how I did in a certain class. The difference between an interview I got through a friend and interview I got through a posting is staggering. I won’t have to worry about things like body language, voice volume, or sounding prepared for interview questions without sounding too rehearsed and scripted.

      Reply
      1. Artemesia

        I think this kind of intentionality is very useful when entering uncharted waters. I did the same thing as an old retiree moving to a new city where I knew no one except my daughter’s family. Now 5 years later we have several close friends, a ton of friendly acquaintances we socialize with and an active social life. People seeking to position themselves for work connections could do worse than build these active social connections. It is hard when you are an introvert as I am too, but it works to take the initiative with new people you meet.

        I don’t doubt that when layoffs are pending that people who are liked fare better than those who have no friendly connections to the powers that be. I observed back when I was working with students entering the workforce that when times are fat, the men, often less competent or intelligent ones, but who were attractive and presentable tended to get hired easily whereas smart well turned out women or less attractive but smarter men didn’t. When times are tight there is a bit of a shift towards hiring people who are competent and smart. Maybe just my cynicism, but it really used to rankle when doofuses who were men from wealthy families and who could clean up and wear nice clothes for interviews found jobs so easily when must brighter harder working peers didn’t.

        Reply
      2. the gold digger

        You know why I seek to go out of my way become a social butterfly who is always around people, talking to people meeting new people and sucking up to bosses/co-workers? Because I don’t want to get laid off.

        Good luck with that. Because good, sociable employees never get laid off.

        Reply
        1. Antilles

          True story: At my old job, I was one of the best-liked people in the company – knew everybody, was sociable, hung out with people after work, etc. In fact, I was so well liked that when I got laid off, I got over a dozen different people call and text me to tell me that they were pissed off that I was let go. Several of them held a quasi-‘wake’ the next weekend where they bought me drinks and cheered me up. Some of them even directly told my manager that she made a mistake!
          And…none of it helped me dodge the layoffs or get my job back. Not one bit. It certainly made me feel a lot better about the whole “congrats, you’re now unemployed” part (the free drinks also helped)…but all the love in the world couldn’t change the fact that my department lost two big clients and simply couldn’t afford it.
          And while those people were happy to serve as references in my (successful) job hunt, since they all worked at ExJob, those friendships didn’t open up any doors, since there were no openings at the only place they knew intimately.

          Reply
          1. the gold digger

            When I was laid off in the fifth round of layoffs in eight year, I was part of a bloodbath where 1,000 salaried HQ employees were cut. The VP of HR said of me, “Wow. We cut the fat. Then we cut the muscle. Now we’re cutting bone.”

            It was nice to hear that said about me, but I was still without a job.

            Reply
        2. DArcy

          That’s a pretty blatant strawman argument — the argumen is not that sociable employees never get laid off, but that social connections are often more important than actual work performance in determining who is the first to get laid off.

          Because yeah, it is actually true that the friendly, well-liked coworker with good-to-average work performance will be retained over the quiet loner who has higher performance metrics but few social connections. One can even argue that this is a perfectly sensible business decision, because performance metrics aren’t the full measure of a person’s value in the workplace and your social performance is in a very real way part of your job.

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      3. k8

        “The difference between an interview I got through a friend and interview I got through a posting is staggering. I won’t have to worry about things like body language, voice volume, or sounding prepared for interview questions without sounding too rehearsed and scripted.”

        you think?

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      4. The IT Manager

        I think this is an exaggeration of a good idea. An exaggeration because “100+ friends I regularly keep in touch with” strikes me as extreme and impossible. Even if your definition of “in touch” is a few face-to-face meetings a year that’s simply a massive time suck. (I am not a social butterfly though so maybe popular charismatic people can pull this off.) But this does remind me that the upcoming holiday season is the time to reach out to old bosses and co-workers to catch up and wish them well.

        Reply
        1. Antilles

          It’s not an overexaggeration; I definitely had a period in my life where there were 100+ friends I regularly spent time with. That said, it has some major caveats:
          1.) You must be single and remain so. If you’re in a dating relationship more serious than “we meet up every couple weeks for dinner/beer/etc”, that time vanishes real quick.
          2.) You have very few major expenses relative to your income. If you’re shooting for this wide of a friend network, you’re going to spend a lot of time and money getting dinner/drinks with people. Why? Because during the week, it’s often difficult to hang out with people unless it includes some form of dinner/drinks, purely because of the logistics involved when people work till 5:00 or later, but then need to be home by 11:00 or earlier due to next-day work.
          3.) A lot of these relationships won’t be very close, just because the pure limitations of time make it difficult to keep them close.
          4.) A lot of these friendships will be intertwined. You can’t have 100 independent friends – if you’re having 100 total friends you spend time with, the only way it logistically works is if you’ve got a lot of intertwined relationships – 15 friends from sports team, 20 friends from work, 10 friends from college, etc…and when you host things, you freely intermingle those groups. Which is generally fine, but combined with #3, means that if you drift apart from one friend, you’ll end up losing a bunch all at once (e.g., if you change jobs, that those 20 friends will dwindle to near-zero almost immediately).
          That said, as a job preservation strategy, it’s not accurate given that only the work friends matter among the 100+ friends..and even most of them won’t have any impact whatsoever on a company’s decision.

          Reply
      5. RPCV

        I am pretty sure this is not how the real world works. Be flexible in your approach. This wouldn’t have worked for me or most people at all.

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      6. Ask a Manager Post author

        This actually isn’t how the world works – it’s an exaggerated caricature of it (to the point that I can’t tell if this comment is parody or not). Of course it’s good to have a social network and a professional network, but you do not need to do the things you’ve listed here. Go to some office social events, sure, but you don’t need to go to all of them. You don’t need to pay more in rent to be around better networking prospects. You don’t need to do most of this. And frankly, if you do it as an introvert who doesn’t particularly want to do it or enjoy doing it, you will likely make yourself miserable and possibly undermine the whole plan. Plus, most of this doesn’t work in the way you seem to think it works, so you’ll be taking on a lot of tedious stuff you don’t want to do without getting the pay-off.

        Swing the pendulum back toward the middle.

        Reply
        1. Welcome to the Real World

          Wow thank you for the response Alison. Your blog has immensely helped me in securing interviews and in fact I actually made it to the final round interviews with a major company for a position that normally required 2 years experience. In fact a bit of my game plan comes from your advice about being genuine friends with people and meeting people with similar interests instead of just hitting up people for job leads at conferences or linkedin. I should clarify I don’t mean going to networking mixers but rather get into things I actually enjoy like BJJ, a hiking, weight lifting, church group or golfing and that I have other reasons for coming up with this game-plan: have more life-long friends, build lasting memories/have a memorable 20’s, and having more/better dating options. Actually I’ll more likely find these things from being around people my own age give or take 5 years than much older professionals. Also you’re right the expensive apartment idea is stupid since having a social life costs money.

          Reply
          1. AcademiaNut

            From a work perspective:

            Be polite and considerate to people. Not just your boss, but your peers, the admin staff, the security guards and the people who clean the place. Say please and thank you, good-morning and have-a-nice-weekend and be willing to engage in minor social chit-chat. If your job has social-type events, show up sometimes even if it’s not your thing – it’s a good way for people you don’t directly work with to know who you are. Learn to give and receive constructive criticism politely and calmly. Do your job well (and learn how to calibrate what “do it well” means for a given job). Be reliable. Consider how your actions impact other people.

            The thing is – sucking up to people because you want something from them (connections, job security, a promotion) is something that people will notice. Being the office brown noser only works in really dysfunctional workplaces, and if you’re in that sort of place, you’ll lose out to the people who enjoy the game. In the kind of functional place that’s good to work for, it will hurt you professionally. Reasonable bosses will not be happy if you try to take them out to curry favour, or are aggressively trying to worm your way into executive networking activities. Reasonable coworkers won’t trust someone who is obviously sucking up to the bosses.

            Socially:

            Finding friends after leaving university can definitely be hard for a lot of people, when you lose that built in giant pool of potential friends. So you do need to work to gain a social network – pursuing hobbies, joining meetups, reaching out to people. But again, people can be quite good at detecting insincerity – if you don’t particularly like them, but are cultivating them because you think they will be useful, it will backfire on you. If you make a point of doing things for people in order to make them like you, regardless of boundaries, healthy people will be turned off, and you’ll end up friends with users, which sort of defeats the purpose when you want something from them. If you really are planning on running through your address book every lunch and dinner until you find someone to eat with you, people will start screening your calls.

            Short version – if you try to pursue the plan you describe above, it will backfire, and you’ll find yourself disliked and ostracized.

            Reply
        2. aebhel

          Thanks for this, Allison! As a deeply introverted person, that sounded like hell to me.

          I agree that being pleasant and easy to get along with is very valuable in the workplace (people will cut a lot more slack to someone they like), but I don’t think it requires you to be a social butterfly, and I think that can actually backfire; aggressive networking with a clear agenda is not the same thing as developing friendships, and people can tell the difference.

          Reply
      7. Panda Bandit

        I’ll take the hell that is job searching over constantly having to be “on”, having to put up with anyone terrible just for the sake of networking, and not having downtime or time for hobbies, thank you very much.

        Reply
        1. Welcome to the Real World

          Job leads aren’t the only benefits: having a bunch of friends you enjoy doing things with also brings life long memories and more/better dating options.

          Reply
          1. Panda Bandit

            You specifically mentioned hanging around with people you hate so I really doubt you’re enjoying yourself that much. I manage to have friends, dates, make good memories and all that without spending all my time in your version of networking.

            Reply
            1. Welcome to the Real World

              People I hate? that’s only certain co-workers I would absolutely have to work with. I would never intentionally be around people I hate. I also hate you call it networking when really it is just getting into some hobbies and joining meetups as well as doing fun things with these people I meet and instead of doing certain things alone like eating lunch or hitting a bucket of balls, do it with someone.

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              1. Blue Eagle

                Don’t worry about the haters – I totally agree with you. I did the exact same thing and I agree: hiking, golfing, x-country skiing, etc with people you like and can possibly help you CAN actually help you. No guarantees, but you will definitely enjoy life more when you are active with people doing things you enjoy. You go Real World!

                Reply
                1. Welcome to the Real World

                  Thanks for the comment. Yeah A lot of haters out there resent those more successful than themselves, and hate it when someone wants to change their life for the better.

                  Anyways there are no guarantees but people are more likely to like and be friendly with you if you actually help them out and do favors for them. If I have 100 or even 50 friends in the area and I get laid off, chances are at least one person will know of an open opportunity and will be able to put in a good word.

                  Choose yourself by James Altucher and Never eat alone are great books on learning how to make and keep friends.

      8. Chrissy

        I think this view is a bit cynical, but there’s a lot of truth here too. That said, as a fellow introvert, I would never want to stay somewhere that required me to completely change who I am just to not live in fear of being laid off. What if after jumping through all of those hoops I was laid off anyway? I do realize that it is important to make sure I’m making connections and being a team player, but I think it’s important to protect my needs too. It took some time (3 years), but my coworkers understand that I’m an introvert who needs space to think and decompress sometimes, but if I’m given it, I’m happy to collaborate with them as well. I don’t apologize for my introversion needs. I treat them as what they are – real needs to be accommodated to help me be a thriving and contributing employee. Again, if an employer valued me so little that that would allow me to be laid off, they would be doing me a favor.

        Reply
    2. Lynn Whitehat

      There’s this unkillable myth about the “dark job market” or “secret job market”. “80% of jobs are never even listed!” That kind of thing. I seriously question whether that statement is even close to true. But I wonder if these people believe it and take it way too literally. “I see 10 jobs listed, so there must be 40 more that I can NETWORK my way into!”

      Reply
      1. Antilles

        If that statistic was ever true, it was like 30 years ago when jobs were only listed in the local newspaper and you had to pay *daily* to be listed. Today, the cost of listing a job on your website is so low/effortless that a lot of companies have it as an automated part of the process – simply putting in the request to hire a new Teapot Designer automatically posts it on the website.
        I’d put the number of ‘unlisted jobs’ at 5-10%, if that. And I’m pretty sure that any job which is unlisted is ‘secret’ specifically because we don’t *want* open applications – either because we already have an internal candidate in mind (good luck there) or the job is sufficiently senior or technical that we’re using a recruiter to specifically target people with the appropriate fit.

        Reply
        1. Just Another Techie

          Depends on the field I’d think. I know of an absurd number of startup jobs that are only advertised via word of mouth in the founders’ professional networks. But that is a very niche case. There’s also some truth to the idea, in that a lot of people I know will specifically contact their friends and former colleagues about openings in their office, even if the friend/colleague isn’t actively job hunting. It’s great if your job is meh but you’re not up for a full-scale job hunt.

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      2. Wilbur

        I don’t believe that a lot of jobs aren’t listed but…at the company I work for, they’ve hired less than 10 people in the last 3 years. I know for a fact that 6 of those positions were written with someone in mind, by hiring managers that had those candidates resumes in front of them. This kind of thing doesn’t always mean that candidate will get that job, but they will try and limit time the job is posted to push those candidates in those spots. I’ve usually seen this done with contractors who’ve been doing the work for while, but it does get a little disheartening looking at a posting and thinking, “Is this Bob’s job and I don’t know it?”

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      3. Laura

        Finally!!!! Someone who also doesn’t buy that “hidden job market” BS!!!! I wish I could upvote that 2,000 times!!!!! It’s one of the reason why I don’t network; it’s all a lie.

        Reply
        1. the gold digger

          I have never gotten a job by networking. My first three corporate jobs came out of the placement office at UT; the rest have come from job ads online.

          Thanks to AAM, I write a killer cover letter and know how to write a resume. It helps.

          Reply
        2. aebhel

          Eh, I mean, my current job wasn’t listed and I got it mostly through networking–that is, the director of the library I was clerking at gave me a heads-up that a librarian job was opening up in the system, and went out of his way to recommend me for it after I applied. I don’t know if that really qualifies as networking per se, but it certainly didn’t hurt that I made a point of being pleasant to work with.

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        3. Triplestep

          I just started my third job since 2008, and during each job hunt I networked out the wazoo. I also applied for jobs posted on line when they looked like a good fit. The only interviews and offers I got were via the online postings. Networking netted nothing, unless you count some interesting conversations and broadening my Linkedin.

          Reply
  2. Mockingjay

    Re: #2, Vacations. I am at that stage of life where most of my vacation days are saved for trips to see aging parents. (They are fairly healthy so FMLA doesn’t apply.) I get three weeks a year (PTO & sick), which I have to parse carefully for my own sick days/dr. appts., visits to parents, 1 or 2 extra days off at Thanksgiving or Christmas, and a few precious long weekends with Mr. Mockingjay.

    I don’t resent my colleagues going on their own trips; I just would really like a week in the tropics to unwind with a coconut drink and the phone turned off. My company reduced its leave rollover allowance, making it hard to save extra days, so there will be no coconut drink in my near future.

    Reply
    1. Marley

      Just a solidarity reply. I’ve been in the whirlwind of daycare germs for the last few years, so a good chunk of my PTO has gone to illnesses. And surgery for me. And a week for an extended family emergency.

      We’re planning to take off a whole week with the kids and go to the beach this summer. I hope we’ve got a few good years to use vacation as vacation before we too are dealing with parent illnesses.

      Reply
    2. Antilles

      Another solidarity reply, definitely been there.
      I personally ended up having to decide not to visit my family for a year in order to sneak in a true vacation. Yes, it stunk not seeing family last year…but in a world with limited resources, sometimes you just have to make that trade-off that This Year Is My Vacation and take the vacation days that would normally get spent visiting my family cross-country and instead use them on a vacation for myself.

      Reply
      1. Robbenmel

        I have 10 vacation days per year, 2 sick, and 2 personal….and a husband who has been in the hospital 4 times this year already. Add in a very sick sister, and vacation? What’s that? I can’t even afford to be sick myself, much less take a vacation.

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    3. Steph B

      Yeah, add me to the chorus of solidarity.

      My vacation time the last few years has been eaten up by sick time – kids in daycare – and out of town family visits (weddings, baby showers, all fun stuff — but it adds up).

      My mother-in-law declared on social media sometime earlier this year that we will all be going to a hawaiian island together next spring (since they got a reduced price condo in exchange for a timeshare presentation), and when I followed up on it she noted that my husband and I would have to find a separate place to stay with our kids because her other (adult) sons are staying with them, and I’ve seen been plotting how I can get out of the whole ordeal. Because a 5+ hour plane ride each way, totally unfamiliar expensive lodging, and then an area on an island with no young kid friendly beaches that also uses up all of my free vacation time sounds… eh.

      Reply
      1. Laura

        Just say “Oh what a shame, we can’t afford accommodation as well as flights! Have a fantastic time.”

        Or, you know, get your husband to say it.

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      2. Triplestep

        What? No! She doesn’t get to declare you spend time and resources going on her vacation because SHE got a reduced priced condo. I am indignant on your behalf!

        Reply
  3. Luna

    I think people who get resentful of others’ vacation photos are the types who generally put way too much stock in social media. At my college reunion last year a woman who I sort of knew (we were in the same dorm in college but were never particularly close, and hadn’t been in touch since but were friends on Facebook) said to me as soon as we greeted each other “I follow all your amazing vacations on Facebook! You’re always going somewhere so exciting!”

    I was really taken aback because that is not at ALL how I would describe my life (at the time I lived in a crappy, very expensive 1 bedroom apartment, was single, had a job that I liked but was low level and had been applying for new jobs with no luck for a long time, and was struggling with making good adult friendships) but all she saw was the vacation photos. I’m not a very active social media user so I guess I tend to only post the occasional interesting article and pictures of my at most once a year vacations.

    It can actually be really isolating because people have such a skewed view of your life, even sometimes family and friends, that if you try to talk to them about difficulties you are facing they often respond with “but what about that one time you went to that awesome place?? therefore you can’t complain about anything, ever!!” When I try to explain to them that none of that is real life they just can’t wrap their heads around it.

    Reply
    1. Samata

      YES! This, so much this! People, including my parents, are always commenting on how we are always off to somewhere “new and exciting”. Save for a long weekend once a year in Arizona we are usually going….back home to see one of our families. And rarely for an extended time; it’s usually up one day, back the next. Which is freaking exhausting.

      Isolating is a great way to describe it on this end. People have built this reality that just, well, isn’t reality. I’ve finally just taken to saying “no big plans” when people as me what I am doing for the weekend. Which also sucks because sometimes I’d like to share with friends and co-workers when something is going on.

      Reply
      1. Anon anon anon

        I agree! I don’t have vacation photos, but I do have photos I’m tagged in that represent the photographer’s viewpoint more than anything about me. And I have some regular commenters who seem well meaning but are REALLY misinformed about me. There are a lot of comments implying that I’m a very sheltered early-20-something who needs mothering. Sigh. I’m about forty and have seen a lot, but I have a sort of youthful look. Or something. And there’s the fact that I keep my online presence pretty clean cut and boring to avoid any drama. I have lost out on a lot of potential friendships with people who believe social media tells the truth and shows the real you. But I think a lot of those were bullets dodged. I tend to find more common ground with people who don’t take social media seriously.

        Reply
  4. Elizabeth West

    I wish U.S. workers got more vacation time. We’re not indispensable, but if we burn out, there’s nobody to do the work, or it won’t be effectively done, especially if they leave and it gets piled on the remaining employees. In most jobs I’ve had, you can’t take any time off for an entire year, and then you only get a couple of weeks (if you’re lucky–some companies only give a week). With no sick time, you end up using that holiday time to cover your own illnesses, staying home with kids, appointments–LIFE. There’s no time left to unplug from work and actually relax for a while.

    Exjob started giving accrued time off after 30 days of employment. They had a cap for lower-level and part-time workers, but they also allowed you to go in the hole and then you could earn that back before it began to accrue again. For the first time in YEARS, I was able to take an actual vacation in 2014, one long enough where I could really relax and forget about work for a while. I came back so well-rested and feeling really good about my job.

    Hint hint, employers. I know not every company can afford ultra-generous time-off policies, but come on. We really need to do better in this regard.

    Reply
    1. selina kyle

      So, so true. And the thing is, more places could “afford” it if it were the cultural norm. They would find a way to fund it if they looked bad to not do so.

      Reply
    2. Anonymousaurus Rex

      Yes! This. So many times.
      I’ve only been at my job about 2 years, while the other people in my department have been here upwards of 8 years. I don’t have the seniority to take a long vacation! My PTO (combined) has to cover sick time, as well as visiting family who live on the other coast. That doesn’t leave a lot left over for “real” vacations. My boss is always encouraging me to take time off (to her credit) but I have to keep reminding her that I don’t really have any accrued time I can take! Because she’s director level and has been here so long, she gets something like 5-6 weeks a year. I get 2 weeks. That goes pretty fast.

      Reply
      1. Allison

        Yeah, that is annoying. I have 2 weeks as well, enough time to cover a week-long trip and some weekend/holiday stuff here and there, it’s not much! If my boss has more time than me, good for her, I have no problem with her using it, but I agree I’d hate it if she took it for granted and kept forgetting how fortunate she is to have that time when her underlings like myself barely have any.

        Reply
        1. Steph B

          Yeah, combined PTO/sick time sucks royally. My OldJob had that, and it also at one pointed then mandated that we’d all be taking the week between Christmas and New Years off using PTO. It went over well with folks that had been there long enough to accrue time.

          I actually remember a day where my OldJob manager was chiding me for not just taking a day off when I was sick (I had requested to work from home that day), and I was like — I have 1 day of combined PTO/sick time left after the mandatory holiday break decree, three more months of cold season to contend with two kids in daycare. From that point on, I was alway approved to work from home the days I was sick.

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    3. paul

      one fo the things I’ll really miss at my current employer is I’ve been here long enough to get a bit over 2 days PTO a month. *sigh* Granted that’s sick time as well but still, more than enough to have a lot of fun with.

      Reply
      1. the gold digger

        Can you negotiate that much vacation at your new job? They offered me two weeks when I started my current job. I explained I was an experienced hire who was at 21 days of vacation. It worked. (Until our new owners decided that our five personal days, which my boss pitched to me as vacation, have to be sick days. As in, you have to be sick to take them.)

        Reply
    4. Thlayli

      It’s so sad. A lot of times I read stories on here and I just feel so sorry for American employees. Very little paid leave, very little if any maternity leave, minimal benefits, zero job security, and that whole thing where your employer is the source of your health insurance So if you’re unemployed you can lose your health cover too – it’s all just awful.

      Reply
  5. LSP

    There’s something else this article doesn’t consider, and that is if you co-worker has a partner who makes a comfortable living, even if you both make the same amount, they are likely going to have more disposable income.

    I’m always surprised by people who write in to AAM to ask how to tell someone to stop showing up places with fancy handbags and designer clothes. People have all sorts of different stories, and different priorities.

    People should focus more on what they have and what their goals are, and just let other people live their own lives and make their own decisions. I dropped Facebook ages ago and I am happier for it. I got really tired of friends saying one thing on Facebook that made their life sound like a dream, only to tell me the opposite when I spoke with them personally. Like, why even do that?

    Reply
    1. Catalyst

      +100 So many people don’t take other things into account. My younger cousin graduated from university and bought a house, so many people were jealous that she got such a ‘high paying’ job right away. What they didn’t know was that her university had been paid for by a relative and she had just received a settlement cheque for an accident she had been in years before (and she had paid a lot of money to recover from it). It all worked out for her early in life, but that doesn’t mean it will for everyone.

      Reply
      1. Anon anon anon

        I once took a vacation and worked from the satellite office there so I wouldn’t have to use as many vacation days. It was great getting to meet everyone in person and having normal working days in another country. When I got back, I was asked not to talk about it too much. Apparently people were convinced that the company had paid for it and were jealous. I thought it was a good way to be frugal, get to know the remote team, and have a more real world type of experience abroad.

        Reply
      2. Charisma

        Yeah, I experienced the same jealousy/disbelief when my partner and I bought our house in very expensive and competitive Seattle. He works in non-profit and I was just a freelancer at the time. Our friends always looked at us as the “poor” friends and they were right for the most part. We didn’t make hardly anything at the time (still don’t by comparison honestly). But what I never really talk about with people who didn’t know me before college was that I lost both my parents while I was a teenager and then my remaining grandparents while I was in college. For better or worse this left me with just enough of a nest egg of an inheritance to put a competitive down payment on a house. And I know a lot of people think that that’s really lucky, but I still think of it as making the most of a shitty situation. People on the outside really don’t know what is up.

        Reply
  6. SystemsLady

    On a related note, be very careful of slipping in having “worked with” somebody at a company you are interviewing with if you weren’t collaborating with that person. I’d recommend sticking to “my employer has worked with your company before [and I’m familiar with your products/etc]” unless you’re in a situation where you’d be asking the person in question for a reference.

    Recently, an interviewer at my company misinterpreted a candidate’s reference to a project we’d both been on in a way that I was sought out as a reference – a reference I was definitely not able to give.

    Luckily for this candidate, their name looked familiar and I was able to explain what they probably meant. (I don’t think it was the candidate’s fault it got interpreted this way – the interviewer is in a different field and might’ve assumed our roles were likely to interact more than they did – but that’s all the more reason to be careful.)

    Reply
  7. JulieBulie

    “We all have colleagues whose Instagram accounts inspire a hot spike of rage as you look with indignation at their sunset pictures of Dubrovnik”

    Wait, I know how to fix this one. Stop looking at Instagram accounts that fill you with rage. You’re welcome!

    Alison’s advice is very good. It’s just that line in the article (before Alison’s part) that put my nose out of joint a little bit because people have been envious of their coworkers’ vacations (and other nice things) LONG before Instagram was a twinkle in the eye. The social media component of vacation envy is really the least of it, and the easiest to ignore.

    Reply
    1. Emma

      Instagram doesn’t force posts that your friends have liked/shared on you (unless they actually take the time to repost something)– so it’s my sacred place! I feel kind of bad when friends ask why I’m not following them on Instagram. I always politely say I only go to Instagram to see art and therefore only follow certain artists.

      But really… it’s exactly like you said: your posts would just piss me off/make me crazy jealous and I don’t have time for that! When I want to be jealous I’ll look at your facebook profile.

      Reply
    2. Marley

      I always hide my co-workers’ Facebook feeds when they go on vacation. Especially ones I know will post a ton. Much easier that way.

      Reply
  8. SheLooksFamiliar

    My staffing friends and I joke that we’re the most popular people EVER when former colleagues ‘network’ for a job with our employers. It’s a sad truth that few of these folks really understand what they can and cannot expect and that few ask for specific help or input.

    For instance, know where you want to go. I can’t create a job just for you, but my recruiters and I might be able to share info on a specific department or direct you to a relevant job posting. If you’re approaching a large company, remember that it’s rare for one person to know what’s happening with all 1000+ openings we have in our multiple business units. My recruiters are aligned with business function and/or level for our business unit. The Accounting recruiter doesn’t keep track of Marketing roles, in this or other units.

    Also, I’m not likely to send your resume directly to the hiring manager, ignoring the 200 applicants we already have, especially when you simply do not meet the minimum qualifications. I know job applications are a sore point for job seekers, but please apply to the job BEFORE you ask me to ‘put in a good word’ or ‘share this resume with the decision maker’ or whatever. Either by law or our own AAP program, especially at large, publicly traded companies, staffing often needs to review and present applicants in the order they apply. If you want to be considered for the job, you have to fill out an application at some point. Sooner works better than later, just apply, please.

    Finally, if I didn’t work with you directly, please don’t expect me to stake my reputation on recommending you. Networking implies we have some things in common, but that doesn’t mean I know you well. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that it concerns me. The new reality of networking is simple:

    Networking isn’t about who you know, it’s about who knows you.

    Reply
    1. Jimbo

      So would you agree that as far as methods for job hunting, networking doesn’t really work unless a lot of people in influential positions know you well and like you enough to vouch for you? And if you don’t fit that bill, you are better off using the traditional method of applying for job ads as your primary method for job hunting?

      Reply
      1. SheLooksFamiliar

        Actually, no, I don’t agree with that view. You don’t have to be in an ‘influential’position, whatever that means, to recommend a known, solid performer to a hiring manager, or to share information about the company/department/role/hiring manager, or share industry-specific search advice – all this is part of networking.

        My main problem with people who ‘network’ is that they don’t truly understand what networking is, and is not. It is not asking people if they have a job you can have. It is not InMailing everyone you know, asking them to share your resume with ‘someone.’ It is not asking someone to put in a good word for you when you haven’t even applied to a known job posting. Carefully choosing your audience and making sure there’s a relationship or common thread, and asking for specific, relevant things they can actually give you – like advice or direction – is more appropriate. You see, I’ve got no problem connecting with someone a trusted, known contact refers to me. I do have a problem if that referral contacts me because they think they’re a shoo-in because we know someone in common.

        Also, traditional job search methods should not be your primary method of finding work. They can draw literally hundreds of responses, so you might not even get a review. If you do, well, you can be an outstanding candidate, but so can a lot of other people. I call it The Job Search Lottery. Don’t avoid applications, but don’t rely on them. Hope this clarifies.

        Reply
        1. Lars The Real Girl

          “Traditional job search methods should not be your primary method of finding work”

          Um…yes, they really really should. In specific industries and areas “who you know” is definitely important but I would say the majority of people hired are hired through “traditional” methods.

          Reply
          1. SheLooksFamiliar

            Beg to differ, and not just because I do this for a living and see this trend, literally every day. Do a quick online search for studies on this topic, and you will see the data tells a different story. Considering how many people have shared their frustrations with ‘The Black Hole’ of online applications, job seekers see the trend, too.

            Reply
            1. Lars the Real Girl

              Studies show that people have a leg up when they have an internal referral, but presumably a lot of those people still applied through traditional channels, and their networks stepped in after the application point. I think your connections (old managers, old coworkers, the guy you met at that convention who you had a 3 hour long teapots strategy talk with) can help push you over the edge or help you stand out. But you can’t show interest in a job you don’t know is available, and they can’t know you want a job if you don’t apply.

              Reply
  9. Jimbo

    Hmmm.. Given the info on #1, I wonder what people think of the advice given similar to this link: https://haseebq.com/how-to-break-into-tech-job-hunting-and-interviews/#part1 — this is where the advice is given to meet as many folks in your field as possible, take them out for coffee, go on informational interviews with them, and use these connections as the way to find out about jobs, get recommendations for jobs, etc. It seems labor intensive but do you think it is worth it? Are tactics like this effective? In my personal experience, it is one thing to meet someone new and perhaps ask them a few questions about their field. Making a direct “ask” that involves them vouching for you is quite another. Especially if they really don’t know you that well or you don’t really have a relationship beyond a coffee and an info interview. Any thoughts on this?

    Reply
    1. Anon anon anon

      Yeah. I think you could burn a lot of bridges and develop a reputation if you did this regularly and were pushy about it. I think good networking involves some understatement. Yes, meet a lot of people, but keep your requests minimal and simple. Usually, all you have to do is come across as an intelligent, likeable person and also mention that you’re looking for a job. Give them your card and let them reach out to you.

      Reply
    2. SheLooksFamiliar

      This person’s advice sounds very 80s to me, and more than pushy. I agree a job search is, in part, about the numbers: the more leads you generate, the more jobs you apply to, the better your chances. But the thinly-veiled, ’let’s meet for coffee’ thing? No one has the time or patience for that. Bear with me, and I’ll tell you why I don’t ‘meet for coffee’ anymore:

      I’ve been in corporate staffing for decades, have a high profile in my field, my company is in the news for good reasons, and it would have been easy to message me to say, ‘Saw that article about Your Company, that was pretty cool! Congratulations!’ But former colleagues and their network, would call and email me only when they were looking for work. So, Problem #1 was, I never heard from them until they needed something from me. I got tired of being their personal Christmas tree.

      99% of the time their message was: ‘Hey, I’m looking and you find jobs for people. Can you get my resume to ABC Company/get me an interview with Head Honcho at Your Company?’ Problem #2 was, no, I don’t find jobs for people, I find people for jobs my employer has open. If you saw my LI profile, you’d know that.

      99% of the time these folks don’t have even half the required experience for my employer. They either didn’t look at our job postings or did and ignored our needs. Problem #3 is simple: I don’t need help finding unqualified candidates, and I’m not your ‘in’. I work for my employer, and we don’t hire people who do not meet our minimum qualifications. I can’t and won’t push you through a review and risk the fallout with my hiring managers. They trust me and my recruiters, and that’s not something I take for granted.

      Now, I’ve been known to share resumes with my network if I though a particular resume could be worth a review – making no other promises to the candidate, or to my contact about the candidate’s experience. But many people got pushy about follow up – ‘Did you hear anything? Can you call them again?’ – or irritated because I didn’t set up an interview on the spot. Problem #4 is also simple: I may see a possible opportunity with my network, but I don’t manage their process. I can introduce you to them, but don’t get surly because I didn’t secure you an interview.

      I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I wish more people did what only a handful of networkers did, and that is to ask me for things I can easily give. A quick review of their resume, relevant intel on a specific company of interest, advice on a career path in a field or function, suggestions for job search methods, niche posting sites, and such like. They did their homework and asked if I thought they were on the right track or had suggestions. Big difference from asking, ‘Can you get me an interview?’

      Reply
    3. CM

      This approach has been very effective for me. The article doesn’t suggest making a direct “ask,” and in fact points out that you should not ask — people should offer. What has always happened for me is that by the end of the coffee/informational interview, it’s pretty clear that either we’ve clicked and the person wants to help me, or we are not going to have an ongoing relationship. If it’s the latter, I thank them for their time and follow up once by email to say thank you and maybe share a link to an article we talked about or something like that. Even if we never talk again, usually they have given me useful information. If they have offered to help me (by introducing me to other people, mentioning a job opening that I may be interested in, etc.) then I will follow up about that, and will try to keep in touch at least once or twice a year with updates or items of interest. Having coffee with people once a year, around the same time of year, works really well for me — it’s an easy ask and helps you develop a relationship with people over time. Of course, this is a long-term thing that won’t help you with an immediate job search.

      I also only do this with people who I actually like and want to spend time with. I see it as building up a network of friends in my industry, and if they can help me or I can help them, that’s a nice bonus. I am not much of a schmoozer and feel really awkward trying to develop relationships with people just because they are important. When I’m on the receiving end of this type of request, I find that it’s easy to tell when someone is genuinely interested in me and my career versus when I’m just part of their networking strategy.

      Reply
  10. DDJ

    The point about talking to your boss about taking a break? Really important. I was invited over a year in advance to a destination wedding, but the timing couldn’t possibly have been worse, work-wise. So I just figured I wouldn’t go. And then I actually talked to my boss. She wasn’t thrilled about me taking that time off, but she said “Well, you’re giving me a full year, so we can work something out between now and then. Of course you can go.” And honestly, it might mean bringing a company laptop and working remotely for a day. I talked to a few folks who were more than willing to send me things a little bit early so they could be finished before I leave, to alleviate some of the stress on deadlines.

    Sometimes, you really just need to ask.

    Reply
    1. NW Mossy

      This. I started managing my team about 6 months ago, and as we got to mid-summer, I started checking in with my directs about their PTO accruals to make sure they were on track to use up most of them before our year-end season. One employee (who is excellent and basically my right hand) fessed up that she hadn’t taken a single day in the first half of the year, largely because she was worried about what would happen in her absence.

      Long story short, she leaves this weekend for a two-week trip to Thailand and we’re all pleased as punch to see her take the time for herself. I’m a firm believer that PTO’s there for a reason, and I encourage people to take it. No matter how critical the work, we can make a plan to keep things going while allowing people to take a well-earned benefit and live their lives.

      Reply
  11. Allison

    So forking sick of people resenting their coworkers for going on vacation. The phrase “must be nice” makes me cringe. Sometimes it’s more about the fact that they won’t be working that week, resentful coworkers imagine the vacationing coworkers lounging on a beach or relaxing in a European cafe with wine, and it’s so unfair! They have this “if I’m busy, stressed, sleep deprived and all around miserable, everyone else should be too!”

    First of all, vacations aren’t always as luxe or relaxing as they sound. They can sometimes involve more stress and rushing around than people bargain for. Second, people often budget for them and go without their usual “everyday” luxuries to make it work, or they settle for bargain hotels and redeye flights to make it affordable. Or someone else is footing the bill, or their spouse is loaded, or it’s their honeymoon and they used a honeyfund to cover most of it, or they got a great deal they couldn’t put off, or maybe they went into debt (but please don’t tell yourself this to feel better). Third, just because someone doesn’t *seem* to work as hard as you doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to have some fun every now and then.

    Reply
    1. sunny-dee

      I do wonder. My husband and I spent a week in Greece — which was gorgeous — including a few days at this secluded luxury resort.

      We used the money we were planning to use for a nursery and baby things, because I had a miscarriage and after two months of being sad, my husband said screw it and starting planning a beach vacation for as soon as we could both get time off.

      I am willing to bet no one on Facebook (and not even most people in real life) put two and two together.

      Reply
      1. kittymommy

        Reminds me of a conversation from a few years ago. A bunch of us were standing around (we were all volunteers, and friends, at a local theatre and had just closed for the evening). We were all talking about rent, mortgage, etc and someone asked what mine was (note, this didn’t offend me) and I said I didn’t have one since mine was paid off. Some guy, a friend if a friend, snarked off “wow, must be nice to have money…”. I looked at him and after a few minutes replied “yeah, it’s great and if you have all of your family die on a short period of time, you too can be this lucky”.
        People!!

        Reply
        1. Anon for this

          There’ve been times where I’ve taken a day or two off work for a not-fun reason, like being someone’s ride home from a medical procedure or attending a funeral. I don’t always disclose the details, but I hated when I’d be taking time off and maybe disclosing where I was going or what I was gonna do, only to hear “OooooOOOOoooooh, well have fuuuuuun” in this oddly salacious way that implied that I was being kind of naughty just for taking a day off. Did I say I was jet-setting to Vegas? No! But I also don’t need people to know about my boyfriend needing a colonoscopy or my grandfather passing away. So while I don’t proclaim to know the right thing to say when you don’t know why someone’s taking time off, maybe don’t always assume it’s some super fun thing.

          Reply
      2. Sigh

        I am sorry for your loss. Miscarriage is hell, and I’m really glad you and your husband were able to get away and heal a little bit.

        I have had two late term miscarriages and we did something similar to you and your husband after the second one. Unbelievably, I got a “must be nice” from my brother of all people. I said, “What must be nice? The part where we tried to get pregnant for years and then when we finally did, both our babies died? Are you saying you’d rather trade both your kids for a nice vacation?” He didn’t know what to say after that.

        Reply
    2. selenejmr

      My husband gets less vacation time than I do. Sometimes I will take a day off work when he isn’t taking a day off. If I tell him about it I get that snarky “must be nice” comment. I’ve heard it enough times from him that I have a difficult time deciding whether or not I should tell him I’m taking a day off work.

      Reply
  12. Second Lunch

    Loved the Quartz piece. Too often, people do take for granted the idea that simply sending an email means that someone will somehow want to “open a door”.

    Do you think that part of the problem is who we consider to be part of our network? From my experience, “network” usually means anyone you’ve come into contact with. But should this be more limited to only people we’ve worked with/can vouch for us?

    Reply
    1. Jimbo

      Yes I tend to agree. If you define “network” as solely composed of people who know you well then networking as a job hunting method will bear fruit for you. If you define the network to include folks who don’t know you very well and you hit them up for job leads and recommendations, it is less likely to be fruitful and productive. Which probably makes networking as a job hunting method better for people who have been in specific fields a long time, who know more people in positions of influence, and who have established a professional reputation and track record.

      Reply
  13. Trisha

    For #2 – I’m one of those people that others covet my vacations. I cruise frequently. I am also in the office every day. I see so many people use their vacation time in the summer to take a long week-end “just because” or take the 3 work days between Christmas and New Years this year for no other reason than if they take those 3 days they get a week off. I save my vacation days for vacation. I schedule my appointments for after work and week-ends and say no to a bunch of fun stuff. And even when I don’t want to be at work, I still come in. I brown bag my lunch every day (and we work next to the mall with an extensive food court), I buy inexpensive stuff for my family and I.

    I see a lot of coworkers buy both breakfast and lunch everyday and walk around with expensive clothes, shoes and purses. But I’m “lucky” to have money to take vacations.

    Reply
    1. Just Another Techie

      I used to fritter away my vacation on a day here, two days there, to attend fan conventions or workshops or whatnot. I eventually stopped going to 5-6 cons/year and was shocked when I ended the year with a whole week and a half of vacation to roll over! It just didn’t occur to me that the reason I couldn’t take a weeklong summer vacation was because of my choices throughout the year, because “just one day” never felt like much.

      Reply
  14. Anonforthis

    Resentment for vacationing coworkers? Seriously? That has the smell of sour grapes to it. I actually resent the martyrs who never take vacation or sick time…what’s the deal with that?

    I make sure to take every second of both my vacation and sick time each year, as we can’t carry it over and I need time away from work. I hate that weekends are only two days long, and when I mentioned it one time to a coworker his response was “People used to work 7 days a week!” Thanks, jerko!

    Reply
  15. MegaMoose, Esq.

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure I made that networking mistake last week. I deeply hate networking and I know it’s held me back professionally, so I’ve been trying to force myself on the theory that trying is better than nothing. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I’m sure the woman I had an awkward 20-minute conversation with six months ago isn’t going to sink my application because I sent her an awkward email. Probably.

    Reply
  16. New hiring manager

    When someone asks you to refer them/recommend them, what’s a polite way to decline? I occasionally get soft-core weirdos asking me to refer them, and I’d really rather not… but I’ve yet to master the polite letdown. Help?

    Reply
    1. Laura

      First just ignore it and hope they won’t ask again. Then be really busy and keep trying to ‘look at what they’re asking’ but don’t. Best way to handle weirdos.

      Reply
    2. Marthooh

      I’m so sorry I can’t help you, but that’s against policy. Good luck as you continue your polite letdown search!

      Reply
    3. Anon anon anon

      I think that in today’s digital world, failing to respond to an inappropriate text or email is the most polite. It conveys, “No,” while leaving open the possibility that you just didn’t get the message. But if that feels wrong, you could just say that you don’t do referrals but would be happy to answer questions about the company. Something like that. Or, “I’ll see what I can do. Good luck!”

      Reply
    4. Lars The Real Girl

      “I’m not involved with hiring for that role/section, but check online and apply if something looks like a good fit for you!”

      Them: “Could you pass my name along?”
      Me : “HR reviews every application that comes in, so if they think you’re a good fit they’ll be in touch!”

      Obviously those are for not-super-close contacts. If it’s friends or former (close) coworkers, if I’m not actively recommending them, I may say something like “I know they have a lot of interest/applications and I’m not sure where they are in the process but make sure you apply online!” Or clue them into “they’re really looking for x years experience/they really need someone with an MBA”

      Reply
  17. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis

    #2 – UK based here, so I actually get a decent number of days annual leave. AND I’m allowed to carry over up to 5 days! Soooo lucky, yeah? Except, there’s also an option to buy up to 5 days more leave each year – which my manager exercises EVERY YEAR. Nope, not the cause of any resentment – she’s bought the extra leave, that’s fine. It gives her up to 33 days to use, or 6 lots of 2 weeks (3 days held over for Christmas closure)
    But…
    First week and a half of the month (EVERY MONTH) is off limits for leave. So, technically, is the last week; which theoretically leaves the middle two weeks available to take time off – apart from January, April (exceptional circumstances excepted) and November (major reporting months). For those of you keeping score, that’s 9 lots of 2 weeks…
    I am NOT allowed to overlap with my manager (I got a half hearted telling off for taking a sick day – vomiting my guts up – while she was off sunning herself, so please don’t tell me “what if you get hit by a bus?” because the answer is I’d probably get a major verbal warning in my hospital bed, AND the paperwork brought to ICU! I’m not sure even death would be an escape).
    She regularly takes two weeks off cruising (she’s just come back from her third vacation this year). She’s got 6 of these to go at, so she does occasionally extend it to three weeks, or takes the odd day or two off in smaller breaks. Meanwhile, I’ve been carrying 5 unused days of leave every year for the past five years… I’ve even LOST days because I can’t use them all up! I would LOVE to take time off – I’ve got leave theoretically booked more than a year in advance! Which she’s just this past week “cancelled” because it overlaps with the week off her husband “might” want to take, bumping me out to a month that means I’ll overlap with school holidays – way more expensive and lots of bratty kids to avoid!
    I don’t begrudge my Facebook friends their holidays – although some of them seem to be spending more than 33 working days on vacation, so their benefits package must be phenominal! I like to live vicariously through some of my friends photos – imagining I’m there with them, and knowing that (should my circumstances ever improve) I know just which destinations already look the most fun!

    Reply
    1. Thlayli

      Those sums don’t add up? 33 days leave does not equal 6 fortnights. A fortnight is 10 days leave so 6 of them is 60 days. Unless she only works part time?
      Have you talked to her directly about it? It seems like it should be possible to plan it so you both get to use your leave. There are 10 working days each month that are allowed to be used amirite? Exclude 3 off limits months and December So that is 80 possible holidays a year. Even if you are both using 33 holidays a year it seems like that could be managed without overlap, with a bit of forward planning.
      If talking directly to her doesn’t work, I think you are justified in going to HR or if you don’t have HR to her manager, since she is actually preventing you from using holidays and cancelling agreed leave to suit herself.

      Reply
      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis

        Ugh. Sorry. I had a better explanation in my first draft (including the true extent of the reporting weeks). I edited out some of it and forgot to change the numbers accordingly. I just got the amount of her leave plain wrong! (In my, partial, defence, it was nearly 11pm when I posted and it had been a very long, stressful day of missing deadlines, cleaning up other teams’ messes and miscommunication regarding an important meeting cancellation. I think I’d have counted my toes and reached three different answers!)
        I appreciate the advice. The slight ticking off and no overlap “policy” actually came from her boss and my boss was slightly embarrassed about having to give it. Our HR department has recently had a major overhaul, along with all the senior management team (including no overlap grand-boss). So my plan is to leave it until Year End when they have announced the rollout of massive organisational and policy changes. If these changes are no improvement, I intend to continue the escape plan. It’s been hell on toast for four years – she used to be good with my leave (Mire than five years ago I got a week off in an April to get married AND a rare FIRST WEEK off in August for my honeymoon and she barely batted an eyelash) but higher up departmental decisions (including a pay freeze, and FOUR complete HR department changes – 100% team turnover each time) have just knocked the stuffing out of all of us and it’s turned a little bit onto “every man for himself”.

        Reply
  18. cornflower blue

    I don’t use social media, but I have to admit that I am envious of coworkers who get to take vacations. I have had to hoard my PTO for the past several years to care for an ailing parent, so the idea of going away to relax is a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. It’s a bit gross to realize that I won’t be able to do those fun things until I’m done waiting for someone’s suffering to end.

    Reply
  19. ExceptionToTheRule

    My job as a scheduling manager is to make sure you can take your vacation. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, take your vacation!! Think you can’t? Come talk to me, I bet I can make it work. I’m pretty damn creative and love a good challenge.

    Reply
  20. Radiant Peach

    This networking advice is among the most straightforward and useful I’ve ever seen. I’m a fairly recent college grad on my second year of a contract position acquired through an almost academic application process (that I can’t sign on for again after the expiration at the end of April) following a couple of internships that I never specifically “networked” to get. Next fall I’m headed to grad school for a professional degree and networking and career services are heavily emphasized so I’m a little nervous, but now that I know how to reach out to a contact I feel a little better.

    Reply
  21. Anxa

    On the vacation thing.

    Where I start to get resentful isn’t salary or life circumstances, but working alongside people that have paid vacation days at all. I could never take a day off just because I know I can’t keep pushing my luck on not getting sick (I am so, so careful about germs and have avoiding needing to take a sick day since 2009, but you never know) and there’s always going to be a need for having to take time off for an appointment for something.

    Reply
  22. David St. Hubbins

    “Social media makes it incredibly easy to build up a deep and powerful reservoir of resentment at your colleagues’ vacations … etc.” What? Really?

    Here is how you handle it:
    Step 1: Grow up
    That’s it

    Reply
  23. Goya

    Re: #2 It’s not that I resent their vacation locales, but I do resent the work crunch that it puts on me. In our small office the work falls on the two admins (myself and one other). The “priority” of our work is different for the two of us, mine being teapots then llamas, hers being llamas then clocks. If I’m out sick or on vacation, her tasks remain the same (llamas then clocks). However, if she’s out (which is frequent between vacation & sick days) my work becomes llamas, clocks, teapots. My work comes last (because the time constraints are more flexible on my projects) and tends to suffer. My boss understands this, and there is no work around (that she is willing to consider)…but I’m still resentful that I end up working twice as hard for her time off, while she does not have to extend the same effort for me. I know I’m being petty, childish, and whiny that the world isn’t fair….but it’s how I feel! I need to take a page from Elsa and let it go, let it gooooooo

    Reply

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