I negotiated and was told not to make it weird, my coworker stole people’s credit cards, and more

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

1. I negotiated my annual raise, and was told not to make it weird

I started at a new company in a new industry about a year ago, and I just had my first annual review. I’ve grown a lot in my role, and have had a year full of positive quarterly reviews, and had been given a small (1.1%) unsolicited, off-cycle raise in recognition of my performance. The company then, at my annual review, offered another 3%, bringing total raise over my starting salary to 4.1%.

I had been hoping for a 5% total raise, and I let my VP know this. During this review discussion, I did provide examples that demonstrated the value I added this past year. My VP said that only the owner has the authority to grant raises beyond the standard, so she would go to him. That was last week.

I was called in to her office today, and was told my request had been granted, but that she didn’t want me to approach future annual reviews as opportunities for negotiations because that would set a “weird” precedent. She did want me to work on a path towards a performance-based bonus program so that my very new department could be considered for performance incentives, which is something I’d expressed interest in, so I don’t think she was upset.

Still, I found the conversation today to be, well, weird. Is negotiating for a raise Not Done? To clarify, I of course did negotiate when I was hired. The company made me an offer, I counter-offered, and they came back higher than what I’d asked for. I’ve negotiated my raises in every other professional job I’ve held, but … I also was a commodity broker previously, so negotation over almost everything was a part of the daily routine, so I think maybe I might be out of touch with what’s normal.

No! Negotiating the amount of your raise is a completely normal thing, and they are being weird by acting as if you overstepped.

That said, it sounds like she might be saying that this particular company isn’t typically open to negotiating raises — that you get what you get, and usually that’s that. If that’s the case, it’s useful to know for the future; you can decide whether the annual raises they seem to offer will be enough to keep you there in the long-term.

2. My coworker stole people’s credit cards

I’m a student working at my university’s call center, where we call up alumni and fundraise. I recently found out that a new hire at my work place, “Nancy,” was roommates with another girl at our office, “Mary.” I had known that the two of them weren’t really friends, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Mary recently informed me that Nancy had gone into her room and stolen her credit card and debit card information and racked up $600 on it. Mary contacted her credit card company, and they were able to link the email address on one of the purchases to Nancy’s Facebook profile. She also then found out that Nancy had also done the same thing to their other roommate and had spent $500. When Mary confronted her, Nancy didn’t admit it, instead saying that one of Nancy’s friends must’ve done it. She did however promise to get her back the money. Mary didn’t want to file a police complaint, however, since Nancy is an international student and Mary was scared she would get deported.

When Mary told me about this, I strongly encouraged her to tell our boss about it, but Mary refused, saying she didn’t want to make it a big deal. With a lot of the donations we do in the call center, alumni give us their credit card information, and this includes everything — credit card number, expiration date, the CVV number, as well as the billing address. Even though we use a secure browser, I believe it is still very easy to steal that information. The call center has a very strict no cell phone policy during shifts, but only one of the three supervisors enforces it. If she isn’t on a shift, people have their cell phones out. Also, we are allowed to have pens and paper on our desks. Mary also shared this incident with many of my colleagues, as well as with one of my supervisors, but none of them seem to think they should do anything about it. They’re all confident that Nancy is not going to be able to steal anyone’s information, but I am not of that opinion. I’m scared that she may steal credit card information and believe our boss should be informed about this, but I’m not sure whether I should tell him or not.

Yes, tell him. Someone with a pattern of stealing other people’s credit cards is working at a job that exposes her to credit card info regularly. That’s something your employer needs to be aware of.

If your coworkers are right that Nancy wouldn’t be able to steal anyone’s information, then your boss will presumably make that same call. But if he doesn’t share that opinion and thinks it’s a serious issue, that’s confirmation that of course he needed to know.

So talk to him. And in doing that, you won’t be getting Nancy in trouble; Nancy is responsible for getting herself in trouble by stealing people’s credit cards (!).

3. Negotiating for a higher-level position when you’re worried about looking entitled

I’ve been at my new job for a year (senior manager level) that was posted as a senior manager/associate director job opening. At the time of negotiations, HR (very politely) scoffed at me asking if I was being considered for an AD role because of my experience (at that time it was seven years of industry experience, four years in the function). I was much more interested in the opportunity than the title, so I gladly accepted the lateral move to the company as a senior manager.

After a very challenging and rewarding year, there is no doubt in my mind that I’m ready for an AD role based on my contributions and potential. I also know 1) I’ll be bored doing the same work next year without more responsibility, and 2) my skills are in high demand and other companies would gladly hire me as an AD. While I haven’t been looking, my old employer just approached me to return as an AD (to resume work on one of my old projects). While I’m interested in going back, I’ve only been in my new job one year, and I’d like to stay here and rise if I’m able.

I’m on the verge of becoming a job hopper, or worse — the dreaded “entitled millennial.” Despite the negative terms lobbed at people like me in the media, embracing new opportunities, working hard, and knowing my worth has allowed me to grow and advance my career very quickly.

I want to tactfully have a conversation with my boss about a promotion and a real path forward before one foot is out the door, but I’m also aware that my timeline for a resolution could be shorter than what a traditional HR dept might consider acceptable. Do you have any advice for tactfully and respectfully asking that they consider giving me the promotion and increased responsibilities in my organization?

I’d say this to your boss: “I’ve been approached about an AD role at another company. I’m very interested in taking on that responsibility, but I love Teapots Inc. and really want to stay here. Could we talk about whether there’s a path for me to an AD role here, and if so, what that path and timeline might look like?”

You’re not being entitled to see that there are better opportunities out there for you, and being interested in taking them. Of course, you need to balance that against the rest of your work history; if you’ve left each of your last four jobs after a year, that may start to limit you. If that’s the case, you’d want to do enough due diligence on the next job to be really sure you can commit to staying in it for a good long while.

4. Coworker asks to sit in on meetings that she’s not part of

My husband recently changed employers (was at a large global company for 18 years and laid off last spring — now he’s at a large statewide company in a different market sector) so he’s been under a lot of transition stress.

A fellow newer employee of only a few weeks is constantly asking to sit in on all of his meetings. She’s a peer — he started two months ago and she started three weeks ago. They both report to the same person.

He can sense she’s less knowledgeable with the work they do and that she’s a ladder climber and he is uncomfortable with the constant expectation (by her, not his manager) that he share his work. He’s not at all unwilling to mentor, but this isn’t what she’s asking for and he’s at a loss how to handle the situation professionally.

If he weren’t so new, my advice would be for him to just say, “Oh, these meetings are typically just me and Jane. The person in your role generally doesn’t attend.” Or “I’ve got this covered, but I’ll let you know if anything comes out it that impacts any of your projects.”

Because he’s so new, though, I’m hesitant to tell him to be so definitive about it, unless he’s senior enough to be 100% sure that it’s fine for him to say those things. He might be, but if he’s not, he should check in with his boss first and say something like, “Tangerina has asked to attend a lot of my meetings, like the ones I have about X and Y. My sense is that those aren’t meetings she needs to sit in on and that I’ve got those covered, but I wanted to touch base with you and make sure you hadn’t asked her to attend those.” (That wording at the end is deliberate. Asking if the boss has asked her to attend is more likely to get a “no, I haven’t.” But “I want to make sure it’s okay for me to tell her she doesn’t need to attend” has a higher chance of producing “I guess there’s no reason she can’t sit in.”)

5. Should I ask more about what an ideal fit would be?

I have read some of your articles on how to respond when you don’t get the job. I want to write the talent officer back to ask what she meant in an email that I received yesterday. Here’s the excerpt: “I had a chance to discuss your candidacy with the hiring team and while your skills and experience are impressive, they feel they’re just not an ideal fit for our Operations roles. With that said, I’m sorry we won’t be moving forward. [Reference] has spoken so highly of you and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know you. Thank you again and best of luck with your search.”

Should I just leave this alone and move on or should try to find out what an “ideal fit” would encompass?

Move on. “Not an ideal fit” is polite language employers use in rejections when they don’t want to get into specific reasons (which could be anything from “someone else has better experience” to “we don’t think you’re quick enough” to “the hiring manager just didn’t like you” to “you were fine but not as stellar as we’re seeking” and tons more. That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get some feedback if you ask for it (you might), but it sounds like your interest here is less about feedback and more about seeing if you could be that ideal fit — but they’ve already closed the door to that.

{ 334 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Engineer Girl

    #3 It is not entitled to ask for an AD job when you have an offer in hand. Entitled is asking (demanding) something you didn’t earn. Since old job is offering it to you then you earned it through your past and current work.

    Reply
    1. Lars the Real Girl

      I would just make sure that she actually has “an offer in hand”. Her old company may be reaching out to have her enter an interview process, not necessarily handing her the job. (Or they could be, but if it’s not a sure thing she may not want to leverage it against the current job.)

      Reply
    2. Helpful

      Also, it’s hard to see you as an “entitled millennial” when you’re in a senior role. This phrase is more often used to describe entry-level workers who think grunt work is beneath them.

      Reply
        1. Say what, now?

          Spot on. Millennials are entitled where the same traits used get people called “go-getters.” I think the entitled line comes partially from a place of fear with older generations worrying that younger people with goals will push them out. It’s not unfounded, companies try to find ways to do just that all the time so that they can pay baseline salaries for less experience. It’s gross.

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          1. Lindsay J

            Yes, that exact thing happened to my dad at his last job. He was a high performing restaurant manager, always made his yearly bonuses, turned a couple bad stores around into being profitable.

            He got pushed out, and the person that was hired to replace him was half his age and making just a little over half his salary.

            It sucks on both ends, because us younger people – when we can get a job – often wind up underpaid, and thrown into sink-or-swim situations with the expectation that we perform just as well as someone with decades more experience. And the more experienced worker’s contributions and experience get devalued, and once they top out their pay-scale they get pushed out (often “up” seems to be reserved for the new up-and-comers.

            Good companies don’t do this, but there are a lot of bad ones.

            (Though it wound up being better for my dad in the long run. He’s now running a winery owned by his cousins, and their biggest problem at the moment is that they are too popular and getting too crowded during events.)

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        2. Entitled Millennial

          Oh yeah. One of my (now former, for this very reason) mentors kept calling me this whenever I sought his advice in overcoming obstacles that were keeping me from progressing. Not in a “make this go away for me” kind of way, but in a “this is a difficult situation, can you help me think through how to navigate it?” kind of way.

          I think he was wildly insecure.

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          1. Not So NewReader

            And had that selective hearing problem that docs can’t fix. I am glad he is your FORMER mentor, because he wasn’t mentoring at all.

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        3. Snark

          I think it’s defensiveness, honestly. It’s my observation that as a broad group, the Millennial and Millennial-adjacent cohort is, partly intentionally and partly by necessity, and mostly in positive but in a few negative ways, making choices and adopting attitudes that are a lot different from those of the Boomer and older Gen X gestalt. And just like people who get weird about vegans, when a cohort of people visibly reject some of your cohort’s baseline assumptions about values, norms, and life in society, I think they view that as an affront.

          So when a Millennial has the temerity to, say, request a promotion to a position commensurate with her experience and ability, she gets called entitled and a job-hopper and it’s insinuated that she’s asking for too much too fast, when a Boomer displaying the same behavior would not.

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          1. Not So NewReader

            My generation (boomers) was treated this way also. It’s a shame. You would have thought we learned when it was done to us. Guess not.

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        4. Anna

          Not all of them, but then not all of any group of people feels the same way or has the same ideas or goals. They’re not monoliths.

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      1. Q

        Except that the oldest Millennials are in their 30s and rapidly approaching 40s now…not hugely senior, maybe, but that’s not usually entry level anymore.

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        1. Fabulous

          And that is exactly why I hate identifying as a Millennial. I graduated college right at the last economic recession, and because of that – sad to say – while I have 10 years of job experience, I still FEEL entry-level because of the lack of progression those first 5-ish years of my career.

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          1. Turquoisecow

            Same. It didn’t help that I worked for a failing company, so there wasn’t a lot of room to advance anyway, because they kept cutting jobs to try to save money.

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          2. Anon Millenial

            So did I, Fabulous. I have two masters degrees and about 5 years of work experience, and I still feel entry level. It sucks. I’m tired of it. I’m ready to feel like I’m not the newby anymore.

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        2. JB (not in Houston)

          Technically true, but you find people using the term “millennials” to describe young people who are not millennials. So Helpful is not wrong in that people do use that phrase to describe young people recently out of college.

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          1. Lindsay J

            Yup.

            Though I do think that “just out of college” at the moment are still millennials. The best definition I’ve seen is “alive, but under 18 at the turn of the millennium” so born from 1982 to 2000.

            Current high schoolers are in a new generation. People are calling them Generation Z at the moment, but I assume that will change when they find a new hook. We (millennials) were Generation Y until a few years ago.

            But yeah, I and my 35 year old boyfriend are both millennials. But I know we’re not what people picture when they think about (and write condescending articles about) millennials. They’re picturing someone who is like 21 or 22.

            (I also think there is a convincing argument for a smaller “micro-generation” covering like from ’82 t0 ’88 or ’89. The experience of those of us who remember concretely “logging on” and “logging off” of the internet, and classrooms having one computer in the corner that you played Oregon Trail or had typing lessons on is vastly different from people who have grown up not knowing what it is like to not be constantly connected to the internet. I didn’t have a cell phone until my senior year of high school and then it was a brick phone (not even a flip phone – other people had them and I thought they were so cool but my parents didn’t want to pay for anything other than the phone they got for free with the plan.) The way I learned in school, the way I interacted with friends, etc are all vastly different than even kids born 10 years later than me and I think that will show a divide in a wide variety of traits in the long run. Though none of this is really relevant to the conversation at hand I guess.)

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            1. mugsy523

              There are articles out there detailing what you explained regarding a “micro-generation.” I believe the term that the article coined was X-ennial. I prefer that to an “old Millenial” which felt so icky.

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              1. Wintermute

                You could take the name from the seminal 90s The Prodigy album and call it the Jilted Generation.

                “Jilted (adv): Suddenly reject edor abandoned. Deceived or tricked by a promise.”

                sounds about right, I’d say.

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            2. Oryx

              I was born end of ’81 and I fully support the microgeneration argument. There are lots of names floating around, including the Oregon Trail Generation. I’ve also seen Xennial, which seems to be a nice mashup of the two.

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            3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              I think folks are beginning to break out the 1978-1984 generation, which is helpful because wtf is a generational definition that spans 18+ years.

              But “Generation Z” is very much in the workforce right now. Most of the frosh at my university are born in 2000 or 2001, and folks who didn’t go to college are definitely in entry-level jobs right now.

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              1. mugsy523

                Yes, we definitely have students interning at my company whose birth years are the 1999-2000 years. Crazy, the early 2000s don’t feel that long ago to me :)

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              2. Sue Wilson

                wtf is a generational definition that spans 18+ years

                It’s a generation. That’s literally the definition of a generation, a 20-30 year span. The speed of technological advances have changed how useful that is, but it’s literally how that work is mathematically defined.

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              3. Not So NewReader

                Many folks identify a generation as 20 years. Here we are looking at an 18 year period. Just from my own experience 20 years (likewise with 18 years) is a huge leap. A family member was 20 years older than me, born at the beginning of WWII, I was born in 60. We grew up in different worlds, there had been huge changes in everything including values, mores, language, technology, medicine and society changed incredibly. In her early years daddy was away at war, she and mom were living with family. The country rationed everything. I grew up in luxury comparatively.
                While maybe 20 years could be a generation, it totally neglects the factor in the events that shaped our lives in our respective time frames.
                I think we see the same thing here. 1982 is very, very different from 2000.

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            4. RPCV

              I’d be a part of that micro generation – there’s definitely a difference experience. Social media started in college and I got my first (cheap) smartphone in graduate school. My brother is 8 years younger than me and had a very different experience growing up.

              But yeah, millennials who negotiate for their salary or try to move up the ladder (fairly) aren’t entitled. They’re ambitious.

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            5. JAM

              My youngest brother and I are on the opposite ends of the millennial definition. He just graduated college, I’m more than a decade out. I lived a life without cable or internet for a decent portion, he learned how to log on as a toddler. But he’s still different than my nieces of the next generation who never even had to log on, the internet always existed in its omnipresent state. I got a cell phone for going to college, brother got a cell phone as a high schooler, nieces got them for a middle school gift. I used a landline often with long phone calls between friends, brother used a landline to coordinate playdates between kids and parents, nieces probably don’t remember having a landline.

              It’s really interesting now that I’m solidly in my 30s and working with many recent grads how senior partners will talk to me about millennial behavior, apparently not realizing I am one. Recently my job had a “communicating between generations” training which I thought was a great idea, but they only required junior staff to attend and it was all about how to communicate with millennials, which we all are, barring 1-2 GenXers still in our pool.

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      2. LW #3

        Hi, LW #3 here. I was treated like an “entitled millennial” when I was trying to rise from entry level 4 years ago, and I’m that same person now (with the same hunger and work ethic). I hadn’t considered that, at my seniority level, this trait is expected and will now be valued during negotiations.

        It gives me a huge piece of mind to realize this for my situation. At the same time, it’s depressing to know that, among millennials, I’m one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to rise up to a point where it’s no longer considered entitled.

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    3. AnotherAlison

      OP #3 – I wanted to underline and bold that you really DO need to have this conversation. Your manager may have no idea what you have actually accomplished in the past year. I speak from a recent frustrating experience. My manager said I couldn’t move up a title. . .he was unaware that I have managed more work and earned more profit than anyone else in our department in the past 3 yrs, including people with the title above mine.

      Reply
  2. kas

    2. I understand that it would be best to tell a manager but that would make it incredibly awkward for Mary if she’s still roommates with Nancy. I’d be afraid to still room with Nancy if she got in trouble/fired. Also, since there’s no police report, unless Mary provides some type of proof, could anything be done to Nancy?

    4. I wonder if the coworker wants to understand the business more by wanting to attend the meetings. When I was new at my company I asked my manager if I could attend some of her meetings just so I could see how things were done. I have a new person on my team and I would let her join my meetings if she asked. It was helpful for me but I knew not to ask for every meeting.

    Reply
    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      For #2, neither OP nor Mary need a police report before disclosing Nancy’s conduct (and the employer doesn’t need one to take action against her). But OP should be extra careful and be clear that they were told that Nancy had stolen her roommates’ credit cards and used them. OP should avoid saying that Nancy actually stole without verifying the story.

      Reply
      1. Agatha_31

        My thoughts exactly. I admit I’m a little suspicious that Mary “doesn’t want to cause trouble” yet it sounds like she has been spreading this rumor pretty aggressively, including to a supervisor!? That *could* be just human nature, or it could be a malicious attempt to get that rumor to the manager and make serious trouble for Nancy without risking her own job & reputation. Remember, her story about why she didn’t call the cops is *not* wanting to make trouble for Nancy, but spreading an unsubstantiated reputation-nuking story… uh, kind of is, only without getting the justice system involved which would give her a chance to defend herself – which rumor-mongering does *not*. It is worth bringing it up in confidence with the manager but I’d make it *really* clear that it’s rumor only at this point, and you are only bringing it to manager as you wanted them to know its being talked about, true or not (because they ought to want to know about potential sources of troublemaking too anyway).

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        1. sunny-dee

          Nah, I can also see that as a passive-aggressive way of dealing with it. Stealing $1100 from two people will almost certainly get her expelled, which means she loses her student visa and has to leave the country (or, the judicial process ends in deportation, either way). That’s pretty dramatic, and I can see someone being hesitant at getting someone kicked out of the country. There’ve been other letters along those lines. But, I can also see still being pretty upset about the whole thing and trash-talking her as a relatively consequence-free way of getting some vindication.

          Reply
          1. Agatha_31

            That’s what I meant by “that could be just human nature”. Losing her her job AND nuking any potential for a good reference AND making sure that a lot of people that move in the same world as Nancy know the story and spread it is going to cause just as much trouble for a student, international or not, but *maybe* Mary just didn’t consider that. I’m questioning that, though, based on her having gone as high up as a supervisor with that rumor. As well, I’m concerned for OP’s reputation if this does turn out to be rumor mongering. The letter goes straight from “A told me *x* about B and I don’t trust B now.” *x* is absolutely reason for concern, but so is believing *x* about B based solely on A’s word. There is sooooo much about A and B’s relationship that OP might not know. As with the letter the other day about working with a BF’s ex that they’d labelled “crazy”, it’s just really good to take anything told to you by either party about the other with a grain of salt. *If* OP ends up being the one to bring this up to the manager and isn’t careful about how they do it, and *if* it turns out that Mary is a liar, OP could end up being enmeshed in a very bad drama explosion.

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      2. Ted Mosby

        I agree, and I was a little surprised and concerned that Alison would encourage college students to treat this kind of rumor as fact.

        OP, I do think it’s important to say something. If people are giving her their CC numbers, names, expiration dates, and security codes, it is 100% possible for her to steal their credit card information no matter what anyone says. She could very easily write it down, take a picture on her phone, text it to herself, have a photographic memory, anything. It’s nonsense to claim otherwise.

        However, you need to be 100% clear that this is a rumor and nothing more. It hasn’t been verified. It could be 100% true, a complete lie because the two hate each other, or a half truth (Did this girl break something of Nancy’s that was $500 and she took the money? Did someone steal it and she feels really sure it was Nancy but has no proof so she’s spreading this rumor under the guise that she doesn’t want to get her deported? Did someone enter Nancy’s email and just have the item shipped to their own address? It would be a pretty easy way to shift blame, and it’s not like you need to verify an order through your email for it to go through).

        Please don’t repeat rumors as though they were the truth, and Alison please be more careful about encouraging people to do this.

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    2. Curious Cat

      I had the same thoughts about #4. When I started at my company I attended all sorts of meetings across departments with my coworkers to get a full grasp on the organization and all the different functions and inner workings (i.e. meetings on international teapot trade, teapot advocacy, teapot policy work, etc). If the new coworker is asking to attend one-on-one meetings, that’s a little weird and unnecessary, but larger meetings I think is totally fine and should actually be encouraged of new employees.

      Reply
      1. T3k

        Yeah, when I started my current job, my boss basically threw all kinds of meetings at me to attend just to get an idea of what was going on and I always made sure to check with him to see which ones I should attend and which ones he just wanted me to observe once or twice (because he’d forget to remove me off the latter ones).

        Reply
  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#5, unfortunately even an earnest request for clarification is likely to read as huffy/snarky in this context. As Alison notes, “fit” is often a polite way of saying, “eh, we’re not feeling it but don’t want to be more specific.” Missing that cue in the email will either look naive or misguided (even though I’m sure that’s not your intention!).

    Reply
    1. Lora

      Yeah, this. I just got a “sorry, you’re not a good fit” email, and luckily I know the main reason: one manager who was not the hiring manager but someone I would nevertheless work closely with, hated me and I hated her too, within five minutes of speaking with her. I thought she was ridiculously incompetent and stupid, she thought I was pretty snotty and disrespectful of the hierarchy.

      I am technically totally qualified, in fact overqualified for that role. Still wouldn’t take it because “treat an incompetent ninny like they aren’t completely screwing up your work” is not a thing I can do.

      Reply
    2. Susanne

      If you’re interested in a romantic partner, and he or she turns down your expressed interest, you don’t go back and pester them “how come? why not? what could I do better? how could I be a better fit?” You take it as face value and you move on, as there are many fish in the sea. Same thing here. What can you possibly gain from this line of questioning?

      Reply
      1. Snark

        “If you’re interested in a romantic partner, and he or she turns down your expressed interest, you don’t go back and pester them “how come? why not? what could I do better? how could I be a better fit?”

        My wife’s ex would beg to differ. Literally, he would beg.

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    3. TootsNYC

      I can see that there are other cues in the email that might make you think there’s something specific, and that they might be willing to tell you.

      But if I feel good enough about someone’s candidacy to say “your reference said good things about you,” and “I’m glad of the opportunity to meet you” and “your experience is impressive,” then I will ALSO not be shy about saying something if I feel that it actually matters.

      I’ve said to someone, “You did well, but someone beat you out; you should nonetheless feel confident in your resume and interview. Another job will come along for you.”
      And I’ve said: “The other person had more online/recipe/fiction experience; for a job like ours, that’s an area we look for. If you can get some work in that arena, it would make you stronger.”

      I do that if I feel some level of connection to the person, if the competition was really close, etc. And often just because I think it’s nice, and I like to think of myself as nice. It takes a little time and energy.

      These folks -did- put a little time and energy into the rejection letter, so I can see that you think they might be willing to spend more. But if they didn’t do it in the letter, then they don’t want to spend more energy on it.

      Do some sleuthing: see if you can figure out who got the job, and see what you can find out about their experience. That might tell you something (maybe they worked at a bigger company than you did, and so have handled more complexity, or something).

      Reply
      1. Nerfmobile

        I am imagining what “online recipe fiction” might be!

        I do appreciate these examples of concrete feedback and reassurance. It’s nice to see how they can be actionable without needing to get too specific.

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    4. nep

      +1
      ‘You’re not an ideal fit [for x, y, and/or z reasons we choose not to get into].’ Princess Consuela is exactly right — you don’t want to come off as naive. It’s a no and you move on.
      Best of luck in your search.

      Reply
    5. NotAnotherManager!

      I agree with this. We are not going to go into specific reasons we rejected someone’s candidacy and owe them no duty to explain what our ideal candidate is post-rejection. There are just so many times, too, when an “ideal candidate” is edged out by another “ideal candidate” that either had a hair more experience, was able to start sooner, or just clicked with the interviewers better. (I keep those people on file and have called them when other positions arose that I thought they’d be great for, and it’s worked out well several times.)

      I also think that the time to ask about fit is in the interview and not in those words. Asking about day-to-day work or what success in the role looks like or traits that are exhibited by prior successful candidates can all give you a good idea of what type of person best fits the role.

      Reply
    6. Brett

      I know my last job had a lot of awful practices at it, including outright pay discrimination, but “not a good fit” was also their official reason they would provide when the real reason was discriminatory. Trying to follow-up after that was going to get a candidate nowhere.

      Reply
  4. Melissa

    OP #2, I was a supervisor at my university’s alumni call center. This is a REALLY big deal. Please talk to your call center manager. There’s a reason these jobs have background checks, and it’s to catch issues exactly like this. Nancy should absolutely not have access to any financial information

    Reply
    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Agreed. Giving card info over the phone is a major trust issue for your alumni, and one incident of data theft could have a large impact on future donations.

      Reply
      1. Tuxedo Cat

        Which has a huge impact on current and future students. I get that the letter writer doesn’t want harm happening to one student, but being silent could impact many, many more.

        Reply
    2. Say what, now?

      If no other reason, OP, please weigh this one heavily. It only takes one instance of information theft to create fear in your donation pool.

      Reply
    3. VioletEMT

      Yep. I worked in my alumni call center, and I now donate exclusively over the secure web portal. I don’t want to give my card # to a student.

      Reply
  5. KimberlyR

    #2: Secure server or not, Nancy can still steal credit card info (either by snapping a picture with her cell phone or jotting it down on the paper she’s allowed to have) and can still use it to purchase items online or anywhere you manually key in the info instead of swiping a card. I think the boss should be told in an “I was told that this happened…” way. The boss can do what they will with the information.

    Reply
    1. JamieS

      Yeah I’m not really clear how people think Nancy can’t steal a person’s credit card. Unless I misunderstood people are literally giving her their credit card info. May as well just hand her other people’s credit cards.Maybe she can’t steal credit cards without eventually being caught but she could still do a lot of damage before someone realizes their card was compromised.

      Also not get OT or victim blame but I really don’t understand this tendency some people have to try to mitigate the consequences for someone who victimized them.

      Reply
      1. Manuel

        Agreed, it sounds like it would be incredibly easy to steal the information and use it, which is exactly Nancy’s MO. She could even go a step further by stealing people’s identities and opening up new accounts. LW #1 would be helping to protect a lot of people from becoming victims. Please speak up!

        Reply
        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

          It’s not likely she could engage in larger identity theft (unless they also collect full SSNs in the process of getting donations, which seems… unlikely, and probably a bad practice if they do) but the card data theft would be really easy. Definitely step in on this!

          Reply
          1. Lindsay J

            Some colleges have terrible information handling procedures.

            When I first started at my first college, there was a huge data breach where they accidentally published all the students’ names, birth dates, and social security numbers online.

            And they used them as our student ID numbers.

            After the breach, they issued us separate ID numbers. But our SS#s were still tied to at least our online accounts, because you could still log-in with your social security number (and would get a little prompt telling you that you could log-in with your ID number in the future. (They also didn’t hash passwords, and if you forgot yours they would send it to you in a plain text email).

            Knowing all that, I wouldn’t doubt that my school’s alumni listing used by the donations center would have the SS# in the profile where the student worker could access it. Terrible practice, but nothing I know about that school makes me think that they have competent data protection procedures. And I assume there are many others like it.

            Reply
      2. ZenJen

        Yeah, I agree–Nancy committed crimes and I wouldn’t be protecting her if she stole my info. I’d turn her in, and I’d be telling the call center supervisor about Nancy’s thefts!

        Reply
        1. tigerStripes

          Yeah, I don’t understand being worried about Nancy being deported. She stole a lot of money from 2 roommates. At that point, I wouldn’t really care that much about her being deported.

          Reply
          1. Ted Mosby

            It makes me wonder if the story is legit, or if the roommate “knows” it was Nancy but can’t prove it, or just hates Nancy, or if she stole/ruined something of Nancy’s that was $500 to replace…

            Reply
      3. TootsNYC

        “Also not get OT or victim blame but I really don’t understand this tendency some people have to try to mitigate the consequences for someone who victimized them.”

        I think too many people focus on the “punishment” part of it and not enough on the “protecting the integrity of the system” part.

        (and I don’t mean the “donations to the college” system–I mean the “life in general” system.)

        Reply
        1. NotAnotherManager!

          I think conflict-avoidance is also a big factor. Some people would rather be out a few hundred bucks and inconvenienced than deal with a possibly angry roommate, if they turned them in.

          Reply
        2. Not So NewReader

          I think people are basically kind-hearted and big picture focused. Here there is the bigger picture of deportation, that is a steep price for taking hundreds of dollars. I started losing empathy when she did it a second time. It’s a tough call, hopefully, the roommate made the right call. But only time will tell.

          Reply
      4. Sue Wilson

        It comes from the idea that some consequences have cascading effects the victim don’t think are deserved, even if the original consequences is, and/or the desire the victim has to control the outcome, which won’t happen if you report it to an independent authority. It doesn’t help that the idea that the same crime may have drastically difference effects depending on the participant seems unfair.

        Reply
    2. Hey Karma, Over Here

      Very much this. Nancy stole (two) credit cards from her roommates. (!) Now she has a job where she calls strangers AND THEY GIVE HER THE INFO.
      This is a problem.
      Heres another one, LW. when this comes out, whether she does it again or not, management will clean house. Everyone who knew will be out. You are student workers. There’s ten more where you came from. If you like/need your job, you need to make a tough decision and speak up.

      Reply
      1. bluephone

        My debit card was recently hacked so I might be overly sensitive to this but….if Nancy does actually get deported, then too freaking bad. That is one of the consequences for breaking the law and she’d only have herself to blame— no one put a gun to her head and made her steal that information.

        Reply
        1. Lindsay J

          Seriously. Again, the writer wouldn’t be the one causing her to get in trouble or get deported. Her decision to steal the credit card info and use it would be the cause of that.

          Reply
        2. Gatorade

          Exactly. It’s ridiculous to protect a thief just because you worry she may experience consequence from her criminal behaviour.

          Reply
        3. Susanne

          Agree. And it’s not like Nancy was using the roommate’s credit card in order to buy much-needed medication for her disabled mother or some such. This is exactly the person who should get deported. And I’m very, very pro-immigrant.

          Reply
        4. Hey Karma, Over here.

          Thank you! Sorry about your card (been there). This idea that the person who speaks up is responsible for the consequences to the person who acted…what the h3ll?
          You’d feel bad if she got deported because she took a jop where she’d have access to CC info and illegally used it. You’d feel hella worse when you lost your job and the university lost creditably and future donations because of a fraud scandal.

          Reply
          1. sstabeler

            when the consequences are unusually harsh- like deportation in this case- there is a line below which the crime is disproportionately minor compared to the consequences- for instance, stealing a couple of quid.

            but yeah, when it comes to CC fraud and the like, it’s on the person who did it.

            Reply
        5. Agile Phalanges

          Ooh, and saying it was your debit card reminds me that this is a HUGE hassle when someone has their debit card hacked. Not to say credit card hacking isn’t a problem–it’s still theft, just usually of the giant corporation’s money once the victim realizes it and reports it. But with a debit card, you’re out REAL money while they investigate, not just the potential use of money like with a credit card, and possibly can’t pay bills, incur fees, etc. Much bigger hassle. And probably a decent chunk of the card info exposed to the thief could be debit card info rather than credit. (And of course I agree that no one but the thief herself has put her into the position to be deported, if that’s the end result.)

          Reply
          1. bluephone

            Totally! I’d recently stopped using credit cards because I wanted to get a handle on spending and CC debt. But because it was my debit card, by the time I discovered the hack (about 5 hours after it first occurred), my savings account was already depleted (because of the overdraft protection) and all the legitimate withdrawals that were coming in that week made it even worse. I had just gotten over an expensive dental emergency so I had no safety cushion anyway. I did eventually get all the money back (and the overdraft fees refunded) but it was a hell of a week, watching my bank balances dip to $0, then negative $20, negative $50, etc

            Reply
            1. bluephone

              forgot to add–so yeah, I have no sympathy for Nancy or anyone else doing this kind of crime. Like, if you really feel the need to compromise someone’s credit or debit cards, at least go after someone with a crack ton of money like a Rockefeller*. Someone for whom a fraudulent $200 charge is:
              1. literal pocket change
              2. won’t be missed while their bank investigates it (and eventually refunds the money and overdraft fees anyway)
              3. can take time off work to open fraud reports, apply for replacement debit cards, switch over all payment methods, etc.

              For someone like me, a fraudulent $200 charge on my checking account will [bleep] me over for about 6 weeks or more, when all was said and done :(

              *Don’t actually do this, I’m not actually condoning financial fraud!

              Reply
        6. NotAnotherManager!

          Yeah, I’m sure it makes me sound insensitive, but I would not care if a two-time credit card thief was no longer at my school. There are so many issues with this. The breach of trust, the lack of integrity, the hassle for the victim, the financial loss (I mean, in college, even $100 was an substantial amount of money to me – that was a week of part-time work) – all that adds up to feeling like the perpetrator brought the consequences upon herself.

          I also think it doesn’t reflect well on the people who have this information and don’t take steps to protect customers/donors/other roommates from being victims of Nancy’s lack of ethics. I work in an industry where there is an ethical code, and, while it doesn’t apply directly to me, my employer would be none too pleased if I knew someone was doing something shady that could hurt the company or clients and didn’t alert them.

          Reply
        7. Not So NewReader

          My bias: I had a situation at work where a person reported misuse of their card after giving me the okay to use it on their account. This is fraud, no different than bouncing a check. We decided to give the person the benefit of the doubt, maybe they forgot or whatever. It ended up being a huge amount of time dealing with this stuff. The person never contacted us directly, never apologized, nothing. Next time I will opt for pressing charges. This is something that never happens in my workplace. I should have realized that from the start.

          Sometimes we give people benefit of the doubt and it works out well for everyone. Then other times not so much and it’s hard to know which call to make.

          Reply
    3. LKW

      This is what I was thinking as well. If phones are allowed in the work place, taking a snapshot of the information is very easy. So is writing down the number while you say “The computer is a little slow today”.

      Think about it this way LW – this is something that if publicized would cause embarrassment to the organization and potentially slow down contributions because of concerns of security. Your boss should understand that immediately and take the appropriate actions.

      Reply
      1. T3k

        Hell, at my first post-college job, we wrote down CC numbers all the time because while we could put it into the software we used, we didn’t use that software’s way of payments because it charged extra. So we literally would write down customer CCs on their order form which would then be filed away in locked cabinets. I can’t tell you how many times I worried what’d happen if someone broke in and took a couple folders as it had the necessary information to use online (name, number, the code on back, and expiration date).

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Some credit card approval centers have it right in their contract that the business cannot keep that CVV number on file. Of course the card is useless without that.

          I have to chuckle though, no paper, no phones, wth. People have memorized entire blueprint drawings and walked out of the building with the drawing in their head. I should think it would be a lot easier to just memorize 16 digits, a date and a CVV. My point is that a person is either trustworthy or not. If people are going to steal they will find a way.

          Reply
  6. WeevilWobble

    I agree with reporting the thief. But I worry that if Mary denies she ever said that, which seems plausible, then the OP will be in the position of having no proof to back it up. I hope this doesn’t blowback to reflect poorly on her.

    Reply
    1. another Liz

      I think it’s acceptable though to say “I have heard x but have no proof, thought you should know” given the severity of x. It’s a heads up to the boss to be on the lookout for x from Nancy, which could be caught if they’re actively looking out for it, but easily missed if they aren’t. And if Nancy doesn’t do x on the job, no harm done.

      Reply
    2. Chocolate lover

      sounds like Mary told multiple people at work though, so it would be harder for her to deny it, unless everyone else denies she told them.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        I cringe at that, but I can see 19 year old me reasoning “reporting her would get her deported, and that would be such a bad thing” and “I should warn other people. Also, just talking about my experiences to my friends is okay.”

        Hopefully, decades on, I’d come up with something a little more sophisticated.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          Honestly, 34-year-old me gets that logic. I don’t feel like I owe someone who wronged me a duty of confidentiality, regardless of the circumstances.

          Then again, I wouldn’t feel responsible for getting her deported. Her actions did that.

          Reply
        2. Not So NewReader

          I think that is one is age-LESS. People of all ages and backgrounds would wrestle with this one.

          I do have one over-arching rule: Do not put me in a position where I could lose MY job.

          In this case, if I chose not to report the employee then I would have to consider what would happen if she stole again and it came out that I KNEW she had a history of stealing.

          I will help almost anyone with whatever is going on, but I refuse to cover for them.

          OP, it could happen that you report this and management says, “What. No police report? We can’t act on it.” This would put you in a good spot of having done what you should ethically and yet it has no impact on her. I would say though, “Okay, Boss. I just want to be on record now as saying I know of a problem. If a problem comes up later, I won’t be accused of not speaking up.”

          Reply
  7. Totally Minnie

    #5, the thing about “ideal fit” is that it’s different from office to office, or even job to job within the same office. So even if you were to ask what an ideal fit would look like for this office, it’s not really transferable to the next place you interview. Asking the question isn’t going to give you any information that will help you as you continue with your job search, so I’d just try to let it go and focus on the next interview.

    Reply
    1. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      So true. I was the ideal fit for my current job, but would be a not so great fit for an opening we have right now. It is the same title, but it covers a different aspect of our program that doesn’t fit my personality so well since it involves more kumbaya than I have the patience for.

      Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      ideal fit can vary in the same job from time to time.

      Maybe right now you’ve got someone in the facilities department with lots of experience wrangling outside vendors. So you need to hire someone with better job-tracking skills.

      Three years from now, the outside-vendor woman has moved on, and the job-tracking person has gotten good at the vendor stuff, so now’s a good time to get someone who has handled a lot of Excel analysis of costs and benefits.

      Reply
    3. Not So NewReader

      “Fit” is so vague. Before I lost weight I had difficulty finding pants that looked okay on me. The pants were a bad fit. Now that can mean many things, the pants were lovely, just not on my body shape. The pants were too short/too long; too tight/ loose, wrong color/fabric, too many pleats, etc- you get the idea it’s so many things. The pants are still fine-fine pants, just not for me.

      I am pretty sure I have read here of HMs or HR people who had a wonderful candidate. But they also know Candidate would be working with Piranha. They actually saved a good person from having a life altering experience that would require years of therapy by telling the person the fit was not quite right.
      It’s not always bad, OP. Someone may have saved you some hassles and we will never know.
      Personal experience story. I was considering a transfer to a different department as mine was TOXIC. The HR director was working on me with this and later came back to me with this answer. ” The department we were looking at is more of the same thing that you already see going on.” She saved my butt, OP.

      Reply
  8. KHB

    #2: Are you 100% sure Mary’s telling you the unvarnished truth? Normally I’m a fan of taking people at their word, but Mary’s behavior seems odd to me (she “doesn’t want to make this a big deal” but seems fine with everyone in the office thinking of Nancy as a thief), and you know that Mary and Nancy don’t exactly like each other. Is Mary someone who thrives on drama in other ways?

    In any case, I still think you should talk to your boss, but frame it as Mary spreading this rumor, whether it’s true or not. Either Nancy is a thief or Mary wants everyone to think she is – both are bad, and you can leave it to the boss to figure out which it is. Don’t worry about making things awkward between Mary and Nancy. Mary’s already done that.

    Reply
    1. TL -

      When you’re talking about deportation as a consequence it changes the equation a lot. One of my workplaces had one terrible person and one difficult person both on visas and even though everyone had problems with them nobody wanted them fired (because they would have to go back to their home countries and there would be very few opportunities for them there.) Also, I wouldn’t like someone who stole my credit card either!

      I can understand the attitude; it’s hard to justify calling the cops on someone with a visa when the consequences will be so much greater. I would still tell the boss in this case; maybe they can work something out that allows Nancy to find a new job without running into legal consequences. (Or maybe they can’t but Nancy needs to not be around financial information.)

      Reply
      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)

        So, I’m technically an immigrant and originally moved to the UK on a visa. One of the things that was made clear in my dealings with immigration is that I am expected to be of good character. As a student here and during research visits in yet another country I knew that I should be on my best behavior, because I was a guest and really had no fundamental right to be in that country.

        If Nancy has truly been committing credit card fraud, then that is a potentially very serious crime and in my mind negates at least some of the goodwill I normally have toward immigrants and visa holders. Not that it’s necessarily the case here but I can imagine circumstances in which someone who is from a country with a reputation for having fewer opportunities uses that status to help manipulate people into overlooking bad behavior because they feel sorry for them. I don’t think that being disadvantaged is really an excuse for fraud of this type.

        Of course, the LW doesn’t have any way to verify that these stories are true. It’s equally possible that Mary is being malicious. However, I think the boss needs to know both of these things. If Nancy really has committed financial crimes, then she should not be handling financial details. If Mary is trying to get Nancy in trouble, then the boss may want to reconsider her employment. I don’t know what this university’s residential office is like but I’m sure there is some procedure for changing roommates if there are irreconcilable issues between them if it turns out that this is a false accusation.

        Reply
        1. Julia

          I agree. If Nancy is really stealing, then losing her opportunities in that countries is completely her own fault.

          I live in a country that is not my own, and unfortunately, sometimes people expect more from me than from locals, e.g. if someone Japanese does something against the rules, people will ignore it (usually), but God beware the foreigner does. Others will cut me more slack because they think I don’t understand, when in fact I do but sometimes other things take priority, just like a Japanese person illegally makes a phone call on the train. (You’re not allowed to make phone calls on the train. It’s pretty nice, no yelling “CAN YOU HEAR ME?” all around you.)

          But if I stole from someone here, I would probably be thrown out of the country, especially if I stole from an actual citizen of this country.

          Reply
        2. Falling Diphthong

          She’s going about these crimes in an extremely incompetent way. (Whoa, they can look up who ordered stuff online with this card?!) Eventually it’s likely to explode, with a whole bunch of petty theft victims who didn’t want to say anything and get her in trouble in her wake.

          From my advanced age, I would argue for being the person to report her. But I can get why Mary is hesitant.

          Reply
          1. Temperance

            I can totally see how it blew up. These are college kids, and I can imagine a scenario in which Mary DOES report the fraud and is somehow socially held responsible for Nancy getting deported.

            Reply
            1. Not So NewReader

              Actually that being held responsible would only be occurring in the minds of the people who knew the situation. This would be Nancy and Nancy’s friends or family. Maybe some of Mary’s friends would get a little judgy here, too. It would not be a huge, angry mob of people however. It’s important to keep a sense of proportion here.

              Nancy put Mary in a very awkward spot. I think that Mary can go with, “I am not willing to lose my job to protect someone else.”

              Reply
        3. kittymommy

          Yeah, I agree with this, but I’d still find it hard. The rational, objective part of my brain completely agrees and would report her (and fair or not, if she wasn’t frombanoyhee country, I wouldn’t hesitate) but the emotional part does make me hesitate. Especially if the home country is one in which educational opportunities aren’t easy to come by. I can sympathize with the LW (and possibly colleagues) struggle

          Reply
          1. tigerStripes

            If Nancy is deported, maybe a spot from will open up so someone from that country who isn’t a thief (probably most of the people there) can get some opportunities. I’d be sympathetic if she stole food because she was hungry, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what was going on.

            Reply
        4. Lindsay J

          Or if it is a true allegation.

          I would be throwing a fit if residence life wouldn’t let me change rooms after my roommate stole my financial information.

          Reply
      2. Observer

        True. But that doesn’t explain the rest of it. If she doesn’t want to “make it a big deal” she shouldn’t have told the OP and everyone else. On the other hand, if Mary is really a thief, telling the manager is the right thing to do – that’s very different from getting her deported. So, there really is something off here.

        Now, it could easily be that Mary is just a bit of an immature idiot. (What she is doing makes NO sense.) And given how ridiculously the supervisors are acting, that’s not hard to believe. But either way, the behavior is a bit off.

        Reply
        1. tigerStripes

          Maybe Mary doesn’t want Nancy to be deported but also doesn’t want her friends/associates to be stolen from?

          Reply
          1. Not So NewReader

            Sometimes we have to chose between two nasty outcomes like this.
            Some people opt for the greater good and chose the option that protects the most people.
            Some people opt for protecting the individual and letting the larger group run the risk.

            I can honestly say that I have answered different situations in different manners. There are times where I have been willing to shoulder the risk while realizing that I may have to jump in and protect others because of my poor judgement call. Then there are times I realize this issue is greater than me and I cannot protect others if I guess wrong.

            OP, if you guess wrong here how will you protect others if things go awry?

            Reply
      3. Lindsay J

        It sounds like Nancy is probably on a student visa anyway, so I doubt she needs the job to keep the visa like someone on a working visa would.

        But being turned in to the police would possibly/probably have an adverse effect?

        But there doesn’t need to be a police report to fire her.

        Reply
        1. Candi

          Part of any visa is you agree that when you are in Country X, you will not break the laws of Country X.

          Now, a traffic ticket for a broken headlight or the like is unlikely to get someone deported, unless they have a real jerk running things. But stealing significant amounts money, especially when the felony range is from $500-$1,000 minimum, depending on state? (Her total amount is $1,100 that the LW knows of.) That has a very high probability of the visa holder getting bounced, even before you get into the debit/credit fraud.

          Some student visas do have holding a job as well as going to school as a condition of remaining in the country. You’ll have to ask the folks here who know about the stuff for the details, though. That’s one thing I haven’t read about. :P

          Reply
    2. PainScientist

      I can imagine being worried not just about blowback on Nancy but social blowback on you, the person who reported it. Having just graduated from a hyper-liberal college, being the person to report a crime that leads to someone’s deportation could definitely lead to social fallout. That Nancy shouldn’t be working that job or at least should be under extra supervision everyone would agree with – but the risk of causing her to be deported (and yes, it’s actually Nancy’s actions that would have caused it, not the person who reported, but that gets muddled sometimes) for something that many college students would assume was already solved (they already got the money back, right?) could easily lead to people blaming and thinking poorly of the reporter in that environment.

      Reply
      1. Julia

        Oh, that’s a really good point! I once reported someone at work for sexual harassment and he eventually after many claims got fired, and people kept saying things like “poor guy”, “it couldn’t have been that bad” etc.

        Nancy is in a really rough spot if this story is true. (Not doubting OP2, but the things she has been told could be lies. But they’re probably not.)

        Reply
        1. Candi

          Which comes back to blaming the victim, which is one of my hot buttons.

          Being made whole is one thing. Being guaranteed this person will not commit theft or fraud again is an entirely different matter.

          Reply
    3. Shoe

      I’d agree with this. If you tell your boss “Nancy stole credit cards in the past,” that can open yourself up to being accused of slander. Right now, all you have is hearsay–you didn’t see Nancy take any credit cards, and she said she didn’t do it. She hasn’t been convicted of a crime. All you have is Mary’s word.

      The fact that Mary neither called the police nor told the boss about it shows me that maybe she doesn’t have as much proof as she is acting like she does, and it might be more about her being able to spread bad rumors about Nancy, a roommate whom she doesn’t like, than about preventing crime or getting justice.

      I think if it were me, the next time I heard Mary talking about it, I’d say to her, wow, have you escalated this? Because if that’s true, maybe our boss should know about it. Mary is the one with any first-hand information, so she has a lot more standing to take it up the ladder. If she is hesitant to do so because she is afraid of getting Nancy in trouble, that may show something about the quality of the information at hand.

      Reply
    4. Candi

      Sigh.

      People spreading something negative but true all over town is a thing.

      The same people balking at making it Official is also a thing.

      Not wanting to make it Official can include:

      1) The perp being family.

      2) The perp being a friend. (“friend”)

      3) Being in an environment where victim blaming is a thing.

      4) Not wanting to rock the boat.

      5) Losing control, since the officials will take over. One of the scariest things of being a victim is you don’t have control.

      6) The victim/others think the consequences -in this case, a very high chance of deportation- are not proportional to the crime.

      7) They knew someone else who reported a crime, and it had awful results for the reporter/others, anyone not the perp.

      8) The person said they were sorry, right? Often ignoring how they said they were sorry, and how it ties into future potential of further misbehavior and crime.

      9) Humans are really bad at long term thinking, especially concerning consequences. It takes experience and practice to think that way. A college student is still working on it. So immediate consequences are easy; long term, not so much.

      It’s an interesting multilevel quirk of human psychology.

      Reply
  9. Daria Grace

    #2, if you are reasonably sure you have accurate information, please speak up. Workplace financial fraudsters often keep pushing the limits of what they can get away with, especially if fueled by desperate personal circumstances or a drug/gambling addiction. It is very likely she will move onto customer cards if she isn’t already and the longer that’s allowed to go on, the worse it will be for everyone involved. The penalties for her may be higher. The more she does it, the greater the reputational risk to your organisation when it’s eventually discovered. In addition to the not always recoverable financial losses, she risks harming your customers through damaging their credit rating or causing their cards to be frozen when they urgently need them.

    Reply
    1. Ramona Flowers

      I’m a bit confused by this – I agree with the sentiment, but losses through credit card fraud are generally recoverable (certainly the UK and US both have legislation to ensure this) and would therefore not affect someone’s credit rating. If you’ve experienced identity theft and choose to put a warning on your file (eg CIFAS in the UK) that can affect your ability to apply online for credit without talking to a human, but it’s unlikely to affect your credit rating.

      And actually people who gamble are among those least likely to get their money back after a genuine theft from their cards, as some companies will basically throw out any fraud claim made by someone with any gambling transactions on their card statement.

      Credit cards give you a very high level of protection. Theft is bad, but there’s a lot of misinformation flying around on this page today.

      Reply
      1. Daria Grace

        The gambling addiction bit is not about the victims, rather that a gambling issue can be one of the things that motivate people to commit fraud on the job. I recently went to a workshop by a workplace financial fraud expert and they said addictions appear to have been a motivating factor in a large portion of the crimes they detect.

        As for the loses/credit rating thing, your chances of recovery are good if you catch it quickly, but if you don’t spot it promptly (perhaps because it’s on a card you no longer use or have it set to autopay from your bank account) you may indeed have trouble.

        Reply
        1. Sabine the Very Mean

          Absolutely. My father never recovered a large sum stolen for that exact reason–he didn’t use the account and he doesn’t have internet or a smartphone to be constantly checking like us.

          Reply
          1. Observer

            You don’t need a computer or smart phone to keep up on your account, just a regular phone. Not quite as convenient, but it works.

            Reply
        2. Falling Diphthong

          In a book I once read, one character was trying to buy off another and offered enough money to support any comfortable lifestyle, other than gambler. That qualifier has stuck with me.

          Reply
      2. Lars the Real Girl

        Credit card losses and the effects of identity theft can absolutely trash your credit. Often people don’t find out until some damage is already done. And it can take months to recover back to great credit scores from even small credit issues (the higher the score, the more an issue dings you).

        And imagine someone taking your card and maxing it out. Sure, you won’t be liable for the payment, but in the meantime you’ve got a maxed out credit card.

        Reply
        1. Artemesia

          Decades ago someone at an Italian restaurant in Nashville stole and used our credit card at a Home Depot in a part of town we never visit. We caught the $225 quickly and reported it and it was erased from our billing. But it wasn’t erased from our credit records. When we went to buy a house years later we had an additional two week hurdle on financing while we explained this unpaid $225 charge that had been ‘dismissed’ years before. I imagine a bigger fraud would have caused a lot more trouble.

          Reply
  10. Magenta Sky

    #2: Do you have any independent verification of Mary’s claims? If not, you’re wandering at the edge of a minefield. If she doesn’t want to file a police report, she has consented to the theft in every meaningful way, and is just spreading vicious gossip. Credit card fraud is a felony. If Nancy gets deported for it, well, that’s what happens when you’re on a visa and commit a felony. (And, for what it’s worth, if Mary talked to her credit card company, the only way they would *not* cancel the card and reissue it – whether she wanted them to or not – would be if she told them the charges were legitimate – which is a *formal* consent to the use of the card. And if you’re in the US, when you report credit card fraud, the law says you’re only responsible for the first $50, no matter how much is stolen(and nothing after that). But they’ll probably want a police report on that.)

    As for stealing credit cards at work, that has the potential (if Nancy is, in fact, a thief) to be bigger than a really big deal. Any organization that accepts credit cards is expected to comply with the PCI (Payment Card Industry) security standards. If they don’t, then they are automatically liable for *all* losses, and the cost of the investigation in the event of a breach, with no recourse. From what you describe, it sounds like they may not have a valid security policy if you aren’t sure what to do at this point. That can be disastrous if there’s ever a breach of any kind (not just Nancy stealing cards). And it won’t matter if the breach is connected to this matter or not – if *anybody* breaks into their network, there would be an audit, and the lack of a proper policy would turn up. The cost of the average investigation is over $100,000 – and they’re responsible for mitigation, as well. That’s any fraudulent charges, plus the cost to replace every card compromised (at over $2 per card for chip cards). And they probably wouldn’t be able to accept credit cards any more if it’s a breach of any consequence.

    The *best* case scenario in that is Nancy steals one or two cards, the merchant service comes calling, and Nancy is fired, and possibly arrested. The university has no choice but to handle it that way, and even then, their PCI status may be bumped up to a different schedule that is a lot more expensive to comply with (like having regular audits by an outside expert). So, *if* Nancy is stealing credit card info, the only difference between the roommate reporting her now and the university reporting her later is *when* she gets deported, and how may people get ripped off in the meantime.

    So this has the potential to go from a petty crime of no consequence to anyone but the victim to something that can affect the entire organization. If it blows up enough, they could end up not being able to accept credit cards any more. And if there’s an audit after a breach, that finds they were not actually compliant, somebody very high up will be looking for a scapegoat – like a low level employee who knew about this, and didn’t mention it to anyone.

    And regardless of whether Nancy or Mary is telling the truth, *one* of them is a problem. Whether it’s an employee who is a risk for stealing credit cards, or a different employee who is spreading slanderous gossip, it isn’t your job to figure out. But somebody should tell whoever’s job it is, because both are very bad.

    Reply
    1. TL -

      Wait, Mary easily could’ve had her card cancelled and reissued. Nowhere does the LW say she didn’t! I’ve reported a fraudulent card, gotten my card reissued, the charge cancelled, and not have to had the police involved. It’s quite possible all of that happened *before* they found Nancy’s email address linked to the purchases.

      Also, Mary didn’t “consent” to the crime. She just decided not to pursue an avenue that she felt would have unduly harsh consequences. That doesn’t make Nancy’s behaviour okay; presumably Mary now hides her credit cards/locks her doors and is hopefully planning to move after their lease/year is up.

      Reply
      1. Guacamole Bob

        A new credit card was stolen out of my mail years ago (or at least that’s what I think happened – the card for the new account never showed up, but charges showed up on the first bill). I called the credit card company and dealt with it. They had me fill out a form which asked whether I’d filed a police report, and until that moment it hadn’t occurred to me to go to the police. I never did, and the credit card company still didn’t hold me liable for the charges and issued me a new card. I was fresh out of college and living on my own in an urban area for the first time, and in my mind calling the police was for “serious” things like assaults or break-ins, not for mysterious charges showing up on a credit card. In retrospect I probably should have filed a report in case there was a pattern in the neighborhood, but live and learn.

        Same when a couple of paychecks from temping went missing around the same time – the temp agency was great and had me sign an affadavit that the signature on the back of the check image from the bank wasn’t mine (it was obvious), and they reissued the checks. I assume they followed up with their insurance or the police or the check-cashing place that had cashed the checks with fraudulent signatures, but I didn’t deal with any of that.

        And then we got a locking mailbox.

        Reply
        1. Magenta Sky

          How willing the police are to get involved in small amounts of credit card fraud is highly variable, but the bank did ask about it. It’s a little surprising they didn’t suggest talking to the postal inspectors, who are generally rather more inclined to take stolen mail with actual fraud seriously. (And who have a fearsome reputation.)

          Reply
      2. Allison

        I’ve dealt with card fraud twice in my life. Once in college, someone made a copy of my debit card and racked up a bunch of charges. I got my money back and a new card, pain in the butt but there was a happy ending nonetheless. Years later, someone got the info of one of my credit cards and booked a trip – again, got the proper authorities involved, they found the person, the money was credited back, etc. etc. happy ending.

        But it still sucked ass that it happened! And the people who committed fraud with my cards were bad people and I hope they faced consequences, and I definitely hope they’re never trusted with people’s credit card information.

        Reply
      3. Magenta Sky

        The roommate “did however promise to get her back the money.” That pretty strongly suggests she did not actually dispute the charge. That requires her to tell the credit card company that she did not wish to. That *is* consent.

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          Mary did at least contact the credit-card company, because they found the email address. So perhaps Nancy made the offer, and Mary repeats that part of the story to prove that “Nancy isn’t all bad,” and “Nancy offered to make it right.” That doesn’t mean Mary accepted it.

          Reply
      4. TootsNYC

        Mary may not have had STANDING to pursue the credit card fraud.

        When someone used my credit card number, I asked the credit-card person if I should also call the cops and report it. “No,” she said, “because they didn’t steal from you. You aren’t the victim of the crime. They stole from US, the credit-card company. Because we removed the charge, you aren’t the victim, you’re a witness. And the cops won’t do anything about it if you call them. They have enough other stuff going on, and they won’t respond to a report of a crime by a witness.”
        I asked if they were going to call the cops. “Probably not,” she said. “This is small enough that we’ll just write it off. The amount of company resources we’d have to spend to call the cops and provide them with information would far outstrip the amount they stole. We really only contact the police if it’s a big case.”

        Reply
        1. Candi

          That sounds weird. Something that can personally affect you happens, and you’re not the victim?

          Two possibilities:

          1) The person you talked to was misinformed or had standing instructions (from a bad boss?) to discourage people from filing police reports.

          2) It’s a matter of jurisdiction, and the person you talked to was going by local law, rather than by law where you are/where the crime occurred.

          I know way too much about this, due to some crap my ex pulled. >.< But this is the first time I've ever heard of the holder of the card not being a victim.

          Reply
          1. Candi

            Okay, looking at primarily US, with a side trip to UK, Canada, and Australian, law… police do respond to reports of crime by witnesses. Whether they respond depends on how immediate the crime is, how likely damage to people or property is, whether a life/lives are in danger, etc.

            So, in your specific case, the police report probably would just have been backup and maybe for something for them to stick in the NCIC or something for other law enforcements’ reference. Too small, not immediate. But the person on the phone was wrong in the broad sense, even if the devil is in the details.

            Reply
        2. blackcat

          In at least one case I experienced, the fraud rep said “Oh, this is another one of those. No problem in removing it.” I asked what she meant and she said, “This is a big fraud operation. We are pursuing a case with the FBI, so this will just get added in to that. You may get a call with questions about where you shop, but they should be able to get all of the data they need from us.”

          It was like $10 of false charges on my account… but it sounded like thousands of accounts had similar charges. So it makes total sense for the card company to pursue it, rather than an individual.

          Reply
    2. Tyche

      I agree. My problem here it’s that there’s a lot of gossip going around: I found myself once in a very similar situation where everyone *knew*, but no one wanted to talk openly and directly. None to say it was a disaster in waiting…
      These are situations where every action you take it could end badly or good only by chance.

      Reply
      1. Agatha_31

        I’ve been in a situation where someone spread a rumor about *me* spreading a rumor about someone else. That was frustrating, because I never found out who did it, and the person who was the victim of ‘me’ was pissed at me and I don’t think ever fully believed I hadn’t done it.

        I’ve also lived with a roommate who was ostensibly a very sweet and nice person, but once I started living with them… holy SHIT, Jekyll & Hyde. She was a hoarder, she was verbally abusive, she actually tried to *steal* her last roommate’s pet, she kept taking away bits of the space *I* was paying rent for and pushing me into a smaller and smaller living space (I was young & stupid & didn’t get it in writing), she would sit around the house in a t-shirt she used as a nightgown with her legs spread, wearing no underwear (right in front of the freaking door I had to come in to get into the house, where she’d stop me to yell at me about whatever she decided was my fault that time)… she eventually kicked me out (I’d been looking for a new place but hadn’t found one yet), and I’m absolutely certain that whatever she tells the neighbors about why I disappeared, it’s me that got painted as the villain.

        Reply
    3. Bagpuss

      I’m not sure that is correct.

      I think choosing not to file a police report may mean that the credit card company won’t reimburse , and might well create enough reasonable doubt to prevent a criminal conviction but in real life there are all sorts of reasons why people won’t report, without it meaning that they are consenting to the use of their card. If the reality is that Nancy took and used her card without her consent then even if she later chose not to file a police report that doesn’t mean she has consented to the theft, any more than someone who is assaulted and decides not to press charges has consented to the assault. And it is not gossip (vicious or otherwise) to let people who might also be affected know what happened.

      We also don’t know whether Mary’s card provider cancelled her card and replaced it or not. We don’t know whether Mary reported it or whether she simply confronted Nancy and was satisfied that Nancy would pay her back. (assuming her allegations are true)

      As long as LW makes it clear to her manager that she does not have direct personal knowledge but that in light of the nature of the job felt that the employer should be made aware so they can , she is not

      Reply
      1. LKW

        No, the credit card company does not need a police report to reimburse. I have had to replace my card a few different times for fraudulent use. I’ve never filed a police report. I have either called the credit card company asking them to investigate an unknown charge (for example, rental car companies use PlatePass for tolls but this used to show up as a nondescript company out of Arizona, a state to which I have never traveled). Or, the credit card company sends me an alert and I respond to that. Usually it’s either out of pattern or they’re seeing charges in a location in which I’ve never used the card). If fraudulent, they reimburse.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Right. It’s possible there are situations where the credit card company would refuse to reimburse without a police report–that’s the likeliest when it’s clearly somebody in the household, I believe, and it’s more than a one-off–but most of the time they just knock the charge off after a quick investigation.

          Reply
          1. Bagpuss

            Yes, that was my thinking. I’m in the UK so the way they approach it may be different, but in my professional capacity I’ve seen situations where the card co. wouldn’t reimburse unless the card holder reported it to the police, but it was always in a situation where the card had been used by someone in the same household (given my job, usually the ex / soon to be ex husband or wife)
            When my card was compromised the issue wasn’t even raised, they just replaced the card and cancelled the charges.

            Reply
      2. Antilles

        I think choosing not to file a police report may mean that the credit card company won’t reimburse
        No, it doesn’t. Federal law requires credit card companies to reimburse for fradulent charges*, period.
        The police report is a separate action. If the credit card company’s investigation finds enough information to track it down, they can and will file a police report.
        Besides, as a practical matter, in most cases of credit card fraud, it’s something where YOU legitimately have no clue how it was stolen and no way of getting more information, so your police report would be totally useless anyways. “So, uh, I saw unauthorized charges on my credit card statement. Do I have any information as to the thief? Well, I used my credit card at 27 different places last week and 14 the week before that, so not really. Maybe it was the waiter at one of three restaurants? Maybe it was a skimmer at the gas station? Hm, I ordered online and my computer’s been slow, you think maybe I have a keylogger? Or maybe someone snapped a cell phone photo of it when I was holding it in my hand at the fast food place last week?”
        *Technically, you’re liable for the first $50 of unauthorized purchases if the physical card itself is stolen, but most (all?) companies waive this fee out of good-will.

        Reply
        1. N.J.

          I’m not sure about federal law, but I had a close family member whose information was used to open s card in their name by another close family member, then that person ran up charges on the card and never made payments. When the family never found out, the card company wouldn’t refund anything or take the card account out of collections, unless this family member was willing to press charges against the other. The best that came of that situation was that the fraudulent family member set up a payment plan and paid it off, but it damaged my family member’s credit for years. The card companies can insist on a lot of things, so it’s not like we have a universal right to get fraudulent charges wiped out. This was 10-15 years ago so maybe it was different back then, but it’s not like they said they roils wipe the account and pursue their own investigation, they refused to do anything if the individual wasn’t going to pursue a criminal complaint.

          Reply
          1. Doreen

            This is what the commenter above meant by “consented in every meaningful way”. Your family member did not consent in advance to the other family member opening the account – but as far as the credit card company is concerned, he or she authorized them after the fact when he or she was unwilling to press charges.

            Reply
            1. N.J.

              I can see where that reasoning is coming from, but it’s still a very difficult situation to navigate and I’m not sure how I feel about the fairness of that, but I get it from the business perspective.

              Reply
          2. Lindsay J

            I think it is different when it is a close family member/household member (which I suppose a roommate would qualify as).

            Otherwise an unethical person could rack up (or have their spouse or sibling or whatever rack up with their consent) a bunch of charges on the card, then go “whoops, looks like my card was stolen. I didn’t purchase any of those things,” get the charges reimbursed, and keep all the stuff for free. If you have to press charges, then that eliminates this type of fraud.

            If it is clearly an unconnected person (from a known credit card breach, purchases made from out of state, etc) then it’s a lot less likely to be a fraudulent claim by the card holder so requiring them to press charges isn’t necessary to prove you weren’t in on it.

            Reply
            1. N.J.

              Good point. In this case, it was a parent opening an account in an adult child’s name, not an easy situation to navigate.

              Reply
          3. Antilles

            When your the card owner refused to press charges, he was declaring the charges were not fradulent. There are only two options here: (a) The expenses were an illegal use of the card which needs to be prosecuted or (b) they were a fully authorized expense that the card holder is liable for. There’s no middle ground where they let the card owner off the hook financially AND let the other guy off the hook criminally.
            After all, if there were no consequences, why wouldn’t people do that all the time rather than actually paying the bill?

            Reply
      3. Susanne

        “I think choosing not to file a police report may mean that the credit card company won’t reimburse , and might well create enough reasonable doubt to prevent a criminal conviction but in real life there are all sorts of reasons why people won’t report, without it meaning that they are consenting to the use of their card. ”

        No, you’re completely incorrect on this one. The filing of a police report has nothing to do with whether or not the credit card company will reimburse. Trust me – I just got hacked in the last two weeks on both Visa and Discover :-(. The police have nothing to do with this. My local police would laugh heartily if I filed a report on this; it’s too small potatoes and they’d say “what do you expect us to do?” I just deal with the credit card company.

        Reply
        1. Bagpuss

          Sure, under normal circumstances where the card is stolen, or cloned, or hacked. Where it is used by someone in your family they may look a little more closely in order to distinguish between unauthorised use and a situation where the use was authorised but the card holder then changed their mind.
          I *personally* would;t class a house-sharer as family for that purpose but I’m not a credit card company so don’t know how they would view it!

          I should have been clearer in my comment and said ““I think choosing not to file a police report *in this situation where she knows who stole the card, and it is someone she lives with* may mean that the credit card company won’t reimburse…”

          Reply
      1. Stilettoes

        That’s wrong. Mary and the credit card company are both victims. Stealing Mary’s card is a property crime against Mary, but once Mary has established that her card was stolen, the credit card company pursues the thief to get the money back (if they can). So you absolutely can file a police report to say your card/wallet has been stolen, or that you’re the victim of identity fraud – and in fact, that’s often *required* by the credit card company and your insurance company. My credit card company required it of me both when one card was stolen, and when a different card was cloned, for example.

        But there’s a difference between Mary reporting a crime (a simple ten minute phone call the day that she realises she’s missing money, before she knows who stole it) and, probably several days later after Nancy had been identified by the credit card company’s internal fraud investigators, agreeing to file a formal statement or testify against Nancy.

        Finally, it’s not up to Mary to file charges against Nancy at this point; it’s up to the credit card company. It’s likely that the credit card company have made a settlement agreement with Nancy, and won’t prosecute as long as she pays them their money back.

        Reply
        1. LKW

          Mary could report this to the police. It would fall under identity theft. Someone used her personal information to fraudulently obtain goods/services.

          Reply
        2. Magenta Sky

          From what the letter says, Nancy made a settlement agreement with Mary. She “did however promise to get her back the money.” For that to have happened after talking to the credit card company, either Mary told the credit card company she didn’t want to do a formal chargeback (and they didn’t reverse the charge), or Mary is trying to collect twice.

          Reply
          1. TootsNYC

            Or Nancy promised to get her the money back, and Mary didn’t take her up on it because the charge had been removed.

            And Mary repeats this because it’s part of the “Nancy isn’t all bad” narrative.

            Reply
      2. fposte

        Sure she can, and sure she is. Usually you don’t bother because fraudulent charges are so freaking common, but 1) most police stations will take a report on just about anything within their jurisdiction (whether something will happen about it or not is another question) and 2) the cops are actually pretty likely to take action on “My roommate stole my credit card and is racking up charges.”

        Reply
      3. Annie Moose

        Of course you can. My mother had several credit cards stolen when her wallet was stolen in Chicago a couple years back, and she absolutely was able to file a police report.

        Reply
    4. Ramona Flowers

      That said, I think there’s some misunderstanding here of what Magenta Sky means by consent – it’s not about victim blaming but about whether Mary authorised the use of the card. Consent in this scenario means the transactions were authorised and is I believe a specific concept in credit card banking as you have to know you have customer consent before charging a card.

      If she indeed told her card company, they would have cancelled and reissued her card – unless she said she authorised the transactions ie consented to them.

      Reply
      1. Magenta Sky

        Precisely. If she talked to the credit card company, and questioned the charges, they would have reversed the charges. At most, she’d be in for $50 on a stolen card. And if they did that, then she presumably wouldn’t be expecting Nancy to “promise to get her back the money.”

        Not pressing charges of any kind is not a formal legal consent. Telling the bank “Oh, OK, now I know what happened, and I don’t want to dispute these charges,” however, *is*. It’s consent after the fact, when it should be before, but it’s a deliberate, conscious choice.

        Reply
    5. Observer

      If she doesn’t want to file a police report, she has consented to the theft in every meaningful way

      That’s just nonsense. And it’s same kind of nonsense that has plagued victims of all sorts of crimes. According to you, all of the victims of Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, etc (The list is WAY too long) consented because they didn’t go to the police. Victims of workplace crimes who didn’t report the crimes because they were threatened with losing their jobs consented. Do I need to go on?

      As for the rest of what you are saying, yeah, this is a really, really big deal. And regardless of whether Mary is telling the truth or not, the managers have to know about it.

      They also should know that the supervisors are breaking the policy on phones – that should be a firing offense.

      Reply
      1. Magenta Sky

        As told, she made a deliberate, conscious choice, _while talking to her bank about fraudulent charges_, to not dispute those charges. That *is* consent, after the fact, legally. There are lots of legitimate reasons to do this, but it’s still consent.

        Reply
        1. Observer

          I have no idea whether you are correct, legally. But it is totally not true, morally. She didn’t agree to it and she doesn’t think it’s ok.

          In the kinds of cases I mentioned, people made legal agreements that pretty much equal legal consent. But I don’t think any reasonable person who isn’t looking for excuses to deny abuse would say that it means that they consented, even after the fact.

          Reply
    6. Lindsay J

      I have a huge problem with the idea that not submitting a police report means that she is consenting to the crime, mostly because of the implications that has for victims of things like domestic violence and sexual assault who choose not to file a police report for a variety of reasons. They are definitely not consenting.

      And there can be the feeling of “why bother”? I’ve had my cards skimmed before. I call the bank (or the bank fraud department calls me). I tell them the charge is fraudulent. They cancel the charge, cancel the card, and send me a new one. There’s no harm done, the police likely wouldn’t do anything about it, and calling them seems like a lot of extra hassle for no benefit.

      I’ve had my house broken into and my car stolen in the past year. Both times I called the cops and filed reports. Both times I basically got told, “Don’t get your hopes up that we’ll catch anyone or recover your stuff.” And they didn’t.

      Knowing the person who did it obviously changes things a lot, though.

      And I do agree with the rest of your post.

      Reply
  11. Knitting Cat Lady

    I’m a bit confused by #2. If Mary doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, why on earth is she telling EVERYONE at work?!

    The way you tell it more or less everyone, staff, supervisors, EXCEPT the boss know.

    And I bet that Nancy has gotten wind of the rumours.

    Tell your boss. I’d frame it a like this: ‘Mary keeps talking about how Nancy stole her and another roommates credit card. I don’t know more about this and thought you should know this is going on.’

    This way you don’t prejudge anyone too badly.

    Reply
    1. JenM

      It sounds to me like Mary is hoping someone will tell the boss eventually. I think your phrasing works very well. Especially as the LW has no evidence any of this happened.

      Reply
    2. Tealeaves

      I think this is a good way to do it because it has turned into an open secret. Unfortunately, OP2 can’t do an actual report without any solid proof (everyone involved could just deny it), unless it happens to her own card.

      People are trying to be kind to Nancy but has anyone had a strict talk with her that if she does something like this again, they would report her? Or are they just hoping nothing happens again? It seems like Mary is spreading the word so people keep their wallets locked at work as a preventive measure.

      Reply
    3. Myrin

      I don’t find that surprising at all – an astounding number of people seem to be hesitant in all kinds of things to bestow actual consequences on others because of their wrongdoings, yet are annoyed enough by those wrongdoings to speak about them in a way that won’t have any “real” consequences. I see that all the time – it seems like these people view “telling someone who can actually do something about this situation” as some sort of invisible line that is not to be crossed.

      Reply
      1. Bagpuss

        Yes, and it may in this context be that Mary doesn’t want to be “responsible” for Nancy losing her job or getting arrested or deported, but wants to see her facing consequences for her actions – she just doesn’t want the responsibility of being the one who makes it happen
        (of course, if the allegations are true, it’s Nancy, not Mary, who is responsible, but there is the ‘I don’t want to get her in trouble’ mindset.

        Reply
  12. MeM

    1. I’ve worked for three large aerospace corporations over the last 35 years. In each, all employees are ranked according to their annual reviews, each division is allotted a certain pot of money for raises for the next year, and that money is then divided amongst the employees with the higher performers getting larger percentage raises. It would be very weird to try to negotiate a larger raise – everyone receives raises at the same time and increasing one person’s raise decreases another person’s raise. The way to get a larger raise is to make sure your rating is high at the annual review (and you can discuss that with the boss and argue that it should be higher, which I have successfully done). The other way to get a larger raise is to work with the boss on getting a promotion, and if you’re leaving for a better job getting a counter offer to entice you to stay. Sounds like the OPs company is not quite so large and maybe not so regimented, but as Alison says it is not the norm for this company.

    Reply
    1. Pat Benetardis

      I just came to comment the same thing. I’ve worked for 3 large corporations, the current which is Fortune 500. As a a manager, I have to input employees’ ratings into the system in December. Then they get calibrated division-wide. Around February, the company issues guidance for the average raise by rating and I am given a budget.i have the leeway to give someone a highly than recommended raise, but then someone could get less. There is usually room in the budget so that in doing this, no one gets less than recommended for their rating. I can negotiate ratings with management but not my budget.
      After the budgeting phase, employee reviews are conducted in Feb/March. That’s when the employee finds out their rating and usually their increase amount and bonus. I have never heard of a negotiation at this point and believe there is nothing I could do. I would find it extremely weird and out of touch.
      The time to “negotiate” is when filling out your accomplishments. Then you can highlight in writing and verbally to your manager if you like, the things that could push you into a higher ratings category.

      Reply
      1. KHB

        That’s roughly how my employer does it, and I always thought the system was deliberately set up to give us as little opportunity as possible to advocate for ourselves. But it sounds like there might be some variants of this system where there’s a secret pool of money in the budget for padding the raises of people who try to negotiate?

        For several years in a row under the old boss, I got these piddling little raises, despite the boss blowing smoke about what a great job I was doing. I was unhappy but didn’t know what to do about it. Then when the new boss came in, one of the first things he did was give me a promotion and a 15% raise. I can only conclude that I’d been vastly underpaid for a long time. The only other woman in our department got a promotion at the same time as I did. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

        It was that same year that it occurred to me to write on my self-evaluation that I feel my accomplishments merit a larger-than-average pay raise. (I credit AAM for making me less timid about acknowledging that I do my job for money.) So that might have had something to do with it too. But now they’ve done away with the self-evaluations, so I’m not sure where we are.

        Reply
      2. Kathleen

        I have never worked anyplace (journalism and now a non-profit) where negotiating annual raises was a normal thing. Doing so when something unusual had happened, such as a significant increase in responsibilities, would have been OK, but *routinely* negotiating? Absolutely not.

        It could of course be that it’s different in other industries. But places where I’ve worked, doing this sort of thing very often would definitely be considered “making it weird.”

        Reply
        1. irritable vowel

          Same – I work in academia and there are usually uniform annual raises across the board. Super high achievers might get a bonus, which comes from a different pool of money, but it’s rare and of course a bonus doesn’t increase your base salary. On the one hand it’s nice to be assured of a small increase every year, but on the other hand it can feel devaluing to know that you can work hard and get the same raise as someone who literally sleeps on the job.

          Reply
      3. Nerfmobile

        Yes, this is the process my company uses. I know now that it is necessary to discuss your accomplishments and actions over the past year in December with an eye towards influencing the ratings that then impact the raise/bonus pool. In my company, as a manager I have to stick to my budget for assigning raises, but can then make a case with my management hierarchy that some of the “reserve” pool of funds they control should go to a specific individual if I feel that someone deserves more than I can give them.

        Reply
    2. Doctor Schmoctor

      Same here. My increase is decided by someone else (my boss) and I have zero input. There’s no negotiating.

      Reply
    3. neverjaunty

      But shouldn’t the boss simply explain that, instead of telling the employee that it’s “weird” for her to negotiate?

      Reply
      1. LBK

        Eh, I can see her being caught off guard because it is so weird but not being able to articulate why (and FWIW the meeting to discuss my annual raise always starts off with an explanation of how the pool works, so it’s possible this was already explained to the OP).

        Reply
      2. Kathleen

        My guess is that the boss is saying “It’s OK this time because of Reasons, but you should not plan on doing this sort of thing routinely.” If so, it would have been better if she just said this, of course, but maybe that’s a sign that this sort of thing is really not a normal thing here. It wouldn’t be normal anyplace I’ve worked.

        Reply
    4. a Gen X manager

      Same. I have never negotiated on a raise and I’ve never had a staff member try to negotiate on an annual raise. I’m really surprised to read that Alison writes that this is “completely normal”. I’d totally be open to an employee making a case for a one-time raise due to a change in responsibilities or for a star performer, but at every or most review periods? It seems like a great way make yourself a nuisance employee.

      Reply
      1. Frozen Ginger

        Agreed. I also work at a large company that does this, and I can’t imagine negotiating a raise every year. Unless you are consistently over-achieving, and if you know your company works like this, asking for a raise higher than offered comes across as pretty arrogant.

        Reply
      2. JulieBulie

        Same here. We have the aforementioned system where giving more to one person means giving less to someone else. The managers hash this out beforehand, and from what I hear, it’s ugly. If your manager wants you to get more, they’ll do the best they can to make sure that you do, and someone else will take a hit as a result.

        But once they’ve told everyone how much they’re getting, it’s not at all feasible for them to say “okay, Jane wants more, so I’m going to tell Percival that he’s getting even less than the puny amount I originally told him.”

        Reply
      3. SS

        I agree. It might be normal to present *once* for a higher raise if you have performed something stellar and unexpected above and beyond your normal work. However, this person has been there for 1 year, came in with a higher negotiated salary, AND already had an additional raise within the first year. And now she’s demanding another increase higher than the company planned. No, this is very not normal.

        Reply
        1. OP #1

          Hi! OP here. Wow this dialogue really opened my eyes to the fact that it’s not my employer being weird… Haha which is a relief given that I’m super impressed by the company in most other areas.

          Just a quick clarification… 1. I’m a broker by background so I come from the somewhat pirate-like mindset that everything needs to be scrapped for. So, my off cycle raise was just so completely unexpected that I cynically thought they were trying to sate me into expecting less than might have been available to me if only I had the savvy to fight for it. Haha it sounds a bit silly, but that’s the world I was in at several other previous employers. (How can we expect you to make money for us if you won’t fight for money for yourself)
          2. At this employer, all other departments have metrics in place to somewhat automatically earn performance bonuses. My department does not, and that’s part of what I negotiated. That I would help come up with metrics for us going forward, so that our performance/incentives would be a bit less up for debate. Since there isn’t a plan in place yet, I asked to just get the bump now…to keep my pirate greed satisfied I guess. And, it worked….even if it did make it weird lol. Thanks everyone and thank you Alison for publishing my question!

          Reply
      4. Ask a Manager Post author

        You wouldn’t do it every single year, and I didn’t mean to imply that — but it’s not weird to do it on occasion when your work warrants it. Otherwise you’d have zero input into your compensation after negotiating your starting salary.

        Reply
        1. LBK

          Huh – I still disagree with you on this one! I think arguing why your review score should be better is perfectly fine and makes sense (and would likely lead to your raise increasing accordingly), but to argue the actual percent raise you get after it’s been told to you seems off to me, even once. In particular, the pooled budget aspect of it makes it a little mercenary – you know unquestionably that money is coming directly out of a coworker’s pocket.

          I’m also not sure how it would give you no input over your compensation – why couldn’t you argue for an off-cycle merit raise? I think people are specifically pushing back on trying to negotiate during an annual review process, because there’s generally a pretty strict process around how those are determined and given out. But I don’t think anyone’s disagreeing that at a point during the year outside of the review process, it’s fine to argue for a raise if you think it’s warranted.

          Reply
        2. Artemesia

          An attempt to negotiate this year after the fact may be impossible but it puts the boss on notice that you think you deserve more and may affect the next round of raises if the boss has options. (I worked somewhere where the raises were so low and the pool of discretionary cash so low that it wouldn’t have made much difference) If you want to negotiate this year’s raise, you need to go in well in advance of the time when raises are given and discuss it with the manager when he still has some flexibility.

          Reply
        3. Kathleen

          I’m also going to have to halfway disagree with you on this one, Alison. It may not be weird “on occasion” in some industries or with some employers. But it would be absolutely weird everyplace I ever worked. Negotiating under quite special circumstances might be OK, but I do mean “quite special,” e.g., “When I took on those extra responsibilities, you promised me that we’d revisit my salary during my annual review.”

          And based on what the OP’s supervisor said, I would guess that she agrees. She doesn’t want the OP to think that he ought to plan on doing this again for quite a long time. This year was an exceptional circumstance, and exceptional circumstances don’t come along very often. That’s how I’d read it, anyway.

          Reply
          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Fascinating. Totally contrary to my experiences at multiple organizations (and with clients now), but so many of you are saying it that it’s obviously not as universal as I’d thought.

            Reply
            1. Pat Benetardis

              Is your work still in nonprofits, or do you also have corporate clients? I wonder if this is one of those differences among sectors.

              Reply
                1. Kathleen

                  I work for a non-profit too, so apparently these things vary *quite* a bit. I mean, I obviously believe you, Alison, but…

                  Definitely not the case here. I’m trying to imagine the COO’s face (because this is something that couldn’t be handled by a regular supervisor) if someone attempted to negotiate a raise and…You know, I don’t think I *can* imagine it!

                2. Ask a Manager Post author

                  I can believe that others have had different experiences, but I’m baffled by all the bafflement because there are a million articles out there answering people’s questions about how to do exactly this. Negotiating a raise is pretty much a staple of career advice.

                3. a Gen X manager

                  This dialogue has been so interesting! I wondered if this was another regional thing (like most recently the “reach out” versus “contact” language!). I’ve never experienced or even heard of others doing this either as the employee or as the manager in thirty years at both large companies and not-for-profits (*not non-profits) in the Northeast.

                4. designbot

                  In my experience it’s been a size thing. The smaller the firm, the fewer processes they had in place and the more it was up to each individual to advocate for themselves and ask for what they felt they deserved. The smallest companies I’ve worked for didn’t even schedule annual reviews, employees had to request them and come armed with research on why we deserved more than we were getting, and it could sometimes be extremely contentious. At the biggest company I’ve worked at, raises were handed down from on high and it was just expected that you be extremely grateful for them. Now I’m at a mid-sized company and they hand you down raises from on high, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that there is in fact wiggle room if you push back effectively.

            2. Managing to get by

              At my company, the time to negotiate a raise is not when you are getting your annual increase. By that point, the increases to all staff have been signed off at the VP level and we don’t have any way to change them.

              Like other people have noted here, we get a pot of money based on the total salaries of our team X the average increase for the year (which is decided company-wide), and to give one person more we have to give someone else less. We also get a spreadsheet which takes into account the person’s review score and salary band quartile and gives a range of acceptable increase, with higher-level approval needed for any variation. Managers do the first run on each person’s increase, then directors review them and it is finalized by the VP a month or so before the increases are effective.

              Annual performance reviews are done about 6 weeks before the salary work, and also have strict rules. We’re only allowed to give a certain percent of “exceeds expectations” ratings and need to make a case to the Directors and sometimes even the VP to give someone a high rating. Recently , we had two years of layoffs and cut the low performers, and were still expected to have 10% of our employees in the lowest rating, which would lead to a PIP and potential termination. Several managers banded together and we refused to mark people as not meeting expectations just to hit a % target, and luckily our Directors backed us up with HR.

              With that said, the time to negotiate salary is mid-year. We can sometimes get up to a 5%-10% raise for someone that is not taken out of our annual raise pool. I’ve found it’s actually easier to negotiate something outside the ordinary if it’s not coincident with the time we are working the annual “merit raise” process.

              This usually happens for relatively newer employees who didn’t have a lot of experience when hired but have learned well and are excelling. One job class that I used to supervise had 3 levels and I’ve arranged a “ladder promotion” and moved someone up a level to get them an increase. However, it’s not easy to negotiate even a deserved increase, so I started bringing in entry-level new hires at or a little above mid-point for the salary range so they aren’t grossly underpaid within a few months after they’ve been trained. I’d rather hire quality, capable people than people who will accept the lowest offer, and for the entry level employees, they can get promotions as they learn and grow. For higher-level, experienced hires, I’ve been able to negotiate a market-rate starting salary based on their experience so it’s less of an issue.

              It’s really difficult, as a manager, to keep excellent employees when we can only give 2.5% to 3% raises each year, and I do my best to advocate for my strongest employees.

              I will say, only two times has an employee argued with me about their performance review and subsequent raise. In both cases, it was a mediocre employee who had an inflated opinion of their own contributions to the team. In both cases, I reviewed quantitative measures of their performance, and set goals and targets for them to meet in the next year to get a better review. One of them improved their performance and got a better review the following year, the other continues to be a decent enough, medium-level performer who gets “consistently meets” and the standard raise each year because they would rather check all the boxes with minimum effort than really work hard to “exceed expectations”.

              Reply
      5. Allison

        I’m somewhat new to the idea of annual raises, since I’ve been a contractor for such a huge chunk of my career so far, but it wouldn’t occur to me to negotiate a raise based on my performance review, I would figure what my boss decided to give me is already set in stone. If I thought I kicked butt all year but my raise didn’t seem to reflect that, I might say something, but I wouldn’t figure “raises are up to 5% and goddamnit I’m gonna get that full 5%” and push back when my raise falls just short of that. I would assume almost no one gets the full 5%.

        Reply
      6. Not So NewReader

        The standing (not) joke in my area is if you want to negotiate a raise, then get a new job. New hires are brought in for the same if not more than long term employees.
        I fear we are heading into a time where negotiating for a raise will become unheard of.

        Reply
    5. MicroManagered

      Same here. I’ve worked both in private and public sector and this is how annual raises work. It would indeed be very weird to push for more in any place I’ve ever worked. The only place I could possibly see this as not-weird would be a small business, where raises and salaries are set pretty arbitrarily compared to, say, a large corporation with a Compensation department.

      Reply
    6. LBK

      Chiming in to agree with this as well. I’m kinda surprised Alison says this is normal – it doesn’t sync up with my experience at all. You can certainly argue/negotiate for an off-cycle merit raise if you think you’ve earned one, but it wouldn’t even occur to me that your annual performance raise would be up for discussion. You get what you get, partially because of the logistical pool aspect mentioned but also because it’s typically aligned with your annual review, so your boss has already made up their mind about your performance and the raise it’s earned you. It feels like an odd time to say “I actually think I’m better than that and deserve more,” unless you haven’t been receiving feedback regularly and a sub-par review is being sprung on you unexpectedly.

      Reply
    7. Beatrice

      Chiming in on this one too. Annual raises really aren’t negotiable where I work, either – there is a pool of raise money in the budget, every department gets their piece, and every manager breaks their piece of the raise budget down and allocates it between their employees. They do have some discretion while they’re divvying up the money, but once your manager sits down with you and tells you what your annual raise is, it’s set in stone. I mean, my manager could maybe look somewhere else in the budget for some additional money for me, but it would cost him a lot of political capital (that he may not have or may need for something else). Realistically, it wouldn’t happen, and if it did, he would definitely make it clear that it was not going to be an annual thing.

      What I have done, instead of trying to negotiate my raise right then and there, is use the opening to talk about my compensation overall and ask what it would take to get a midyear off-cycle raise a few months down the road. I’ve had success with that move twice in 12 years (which is also every time I’ve tried). There’s a separate, smaller budget for midyear raises by division where I work, and there is a process for managers to nominate employees for it and try to secure the extra money.

      Reply
    8. BlueWolf

      I’ve only been at my current job for about a year, so I’m not sure if negotiating your raise/bonus would be normal. One of my coworkers did push back on their evaluation because they felt it wasn’t accurate, which I suppose would in turn affect their raise or bonus, but I don’t think it was a negotiation about the actual money. I received a promotion and a pretty significant raise and bonus, so it would have been silly to negotiate. We do have to sign off on our evaluation and raise/bonus, so I suppose that would be the time to bring up any issues.

      Reply
    9. Anon to me

      I’ve worked for non-profits, and negotiation for a raise would be considered highly unusual and deeply inappropriate. So I really think that this is industry dependent.

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I’ve seen it done at every nonprofit I’ve worked at, so it’s not a “not at nonprofits” thing!

        Again, you wouldn’t do it every year, but I’m surprised by people saying they’d never do it. When your work warrants more, you can negotiate for more. That’s why “negotiation” isn’t just about starting salaries when you’re first hired.

        Reply
        1. a Gen X manager

          Prior to this post today, I wouldn’t have even considered it an option to negotiate my raise, because I literally didn’t know that it is a thing as you’ve been saying in this thread. I’d be concerned about coming across as arrogant / not a team player and as a result damaging my boss’s opinion of me. I understand your clarification that it is periodically as warranted, not every time, but if other employees aren’t negotiating their raise, how do you prevent being labeled as the squeaky wheel / nuisance?

          Reply
    10. NW Mossy

      My employer’s the same as Pat Benetardis’s, right down to the timing. That’s why I’m having conversations with my employees now about their accomplishments this year, because it’ll help me make a strong case for them in calibrations with my peer managers.

      I’m also very open with my employees about how the process works and letting them know where we are in the timeline. I obviously don’t get into specifics about who’s rated where or what my total budget was, but I do think my employees benefit from understanding how we come to the final figure I share with them. It’s a lot easier for someone to understand why raises aren’t huge when they realize that it all comes from the same pot of money and that their gain is a respected teammate’s loss. I’m plain about the fact that big salary bumps generally only come when you jump a level, so if my employee’s after a big increase, we need to pivot to the “what to do to get to Job X” conversation.

      Reply
      1. DDJ

        For us, basically you can negotiate your rating, but not your raise/bonus. Once those numbers are in, they’re in. I’ve worked extremely hard on behalf of my employees when circumstances warrant, to justify higher ratings than what would normally be seen. I’ve done it for myself! But once those numbers are communicated, there’s no changing them.

        Although, now our whole rating/compensation program is changing so who knows what the future might bring?

        Reply
  13. Ramona Flowers

    #2 I’m not sure you’ve been told a true story, for reasons that don’t seem to have come up yet. This is based on how things work in the UK and it’s possible that financial crime and identity theft are handled very differently wherever you are, but I’d be surprised if that’s the case.

    Over here, if you report that your credit card has been used fraudulently, your money will be returned to you. Nobody needs to ‘get back’ the money, as your card company can reverse the charges and will then take it from there. It is highly unlikely that they would discuss any investigation with the cardholder.

    The cardholder actually cannot file a police report, because they are not the victim of the theft – the card company is. (Speaking from experience on this one.)

    I would strongly recommend you take this story with a pinch of salt.

    Reply
    1. Daria Grace

      One of my friends here in Australia was recently the victim of card fraud and they did file a police report. Not sure if that’s standard practice

      Reply
      1. Ramona Flowers

        Interesting. In the UK the bank or card company is responsible for reporting fraud to the police. You can report the physical theft of your card/wallet/bag etc I suppose, but not the fraud part.

        Reply
        1. Daria Grace

          I suspect that is the more common course of action here, but reporting it to the police yourself is something that definitely can be done

          Reply
        2. Bagpuss

          Also in the UK. There’s nothing to stop the card holder themself reporting the fraudulent use. It’s simply that as the card company will reimburse unless they suspect collusion, there’s usually no reason why they need to. (And generally no point, as the cardholder won’t usually have any information to allow the criminal to be identified)
          A colleague of mine reported and got a crime reference no. when his card was cloned, so it can be done.

          Reply
    2. kas

      Yes the giving back the money part didn’t make sense to me. There’s no way I’d be using my own money to pay it back (to avoid ruining my credit) while I waited for the roommate to pay me back. I’ve had my card compromised and my credit card company reversed the charges.

      I don’t know where the OP is from but I hope that would be pretty standard everywhere.

      Reply
      1. Doreen

        I wouldn’t pay the money back myself either, but when I reported fraudulent use of my credit card, I had to agree to cooperate with any prosecution if the fraudster was identified in order to get the charges reversed. If I wasn’t willing to agree, the charges wouldn’t have been reversed.

        Reply
      2. Falling Diphthong

        I think it’s conceivable both Mary and Nancy are a little unclear about how credit card fraud reporting works.

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          And Nancy may have made the offer, but Mary didn’t take her up on it because the charge was removed.

          But Mary still tells that part of the story, because it’s a piece of evidence that “Nancy is not all bad.”

          Reply
    3. neverjaunty

      In the US you absolutely can file a complaint. I’m boggled at the idea that the person whose card was stolen isn’t a victim. If I buy a car with a loan here, the bank is on the car title, but if someone steals my car nobody would say “oh, well, you don’t report it to the police, the bank does”.

      (Also, what would stop the credit card company from deciding not to report it, and simply insist that it’s your card so tough cookies, you have to pay it back?)

      There is nothing at all implausible about this story from a US perspective.

      Reply
      1. Blue Anne

        >(Also, what would stop the credit card company from deciding not to report it, and simply insist that it’s your card so tough cookies, you have to pay it back?)

        Consumer protection laws, presumably. Which we have in the UK but seem pretty much nonexistent in the US.

        Moving to the USA from the UK has come with a lot of culture shocks, but the biggest have all been around banking. It seems like every payment method in the USA is much less secure than in Europe, so of course fraud happens more often, and when it happens there are fewer protections for the victim. It’s staggering.

        Reply
        1. LBK

          That’s just blatantly untrue, the Fair Credit Billing Act protects consumers in the US from liability for fraudulent or otherwise erroneous charges over $50. There’s a somewhat onerous process to it that most credit card companies do you the courtesy of making easier (mine lets me do it right on their app) but there are protections in place.

          Reply
          1. Blue Anne

            Interesting. Is that $50 in total, or a charge over $50? Am I screwed if a fraudster buys $600 worth of $20 items?

            I’m glad to hear there are more protections on this one area than I thought.

            Reply
                1. LBK

                  Probably for bureaucratic cost/benefit reasons, but FWIW most major credit card companies in the US have zero liability policies without dollar limits anyway. They generally protect you more than the law requires.

                2. Blue Anne

                  I’m really glad to hear it. Thanks for correcting me on this LBK, it’s very reassuring.

                  There are still a ton of consumer protections and basic security measures I’m used to that are utterly lacking in the USA, and it’s pretty scary. But it’s good to find out that I shouldn’t assume the worst just because so many things run on signatures, etc.

                3. LBK

                  There is also a huge push to change that here, too – chip readers are rapidly becoming more common, at least in the city I live in. I was actually just thinking yesterday while checking out at the grocery store how much more frequent it is that I insert my chip rather than swiping/signing these days and how quickly that changed. Maybe two years ago or so, it used to be that CVS (pharmacy/convenience store chain) was one of the only major retailers that used chips here (it was actually a running joke because the first chip readers they had were sooooo slow, so sometimes you were sitting there for what felt like 5 mintues waiting for your card to go through).

                  Now it’s almost universal, at least among bigger companies that can afford to replace all their POS terminals. The only industry where I think it’s still uncommon to have chip readers is restaurants/bars – a lot of them don’t have the mobile/customer-facing chip reader setups yet that I found at most of the places I went to when I was in Europe last summer. All of the companies I have credit cards with have also sent me replacement cards with chips over the last year or so, as did my bank with my debit card, so it’s changing from the card issuer side as well.

                4. Blue Anne

                  LBK, maybe you can explain something about the chip readers to me, actually. In the UK, you insert your chip and then enter your PIN, everywhere, for all types of cards. Here, yes, chip readers are fairly widely used, but they still have me sign or… nothing. I tell my UK friends that here we use chip but not PIN and they think I’m kidding.

                  So how is that more secure than swiping? If someone can still steal my credit card and easily use it, what’s the point of having a chip?

                5. LBK

                  It’s not really any safer in terms of someone stealing your actual card and using it, but it’s much hard to skim the number off a chip than a magnetic strip (thus allowing someone to steal your info and potentially clone your card without them having to physically take your copy).

                6. Blue Anne

                  Ah, I see. Okay, well… this conversation puts us at about 20% of the anti-fraud stuff I thought was normal before I moved to the USA, rather than none, so I guess that’s good! ;)

                  Thank you, LBK.

                7. Not So NewReader

                  @LBK. Your comments piqued my interest. Here chip readers are just coming in and they are slower than molasses. What a pain everything takes so much longer. Here, if you have a chip card, you can’t swipe, the card reader won’t read the strip if there is a chip on the card.

                  We don’t use pins here unless it’s a debit card. But even debit card users can circumvent that by choosing “credit” when the machine asks “credit or debit”.

                  And the machines are a huge issue for the merchant/vendor. As some authorization companies demand a dedicated phone line and the merchant/vendor cannot afford to pay for another phone line coming into the biz.

                  I just bought gas today at a nationwide recognized name gas station. I had to answer so many questions before I could start pumping and the approval took forever. Then I watched the weather report while I pumped. Just give me the damn gas and let me be on my way.

            1. tigerStripes

              I’m in the US, and someone made fraudulent charges on my credit card. I found it, reported it, had to go into the bank once or twice, but the bank dealt with it, and I didn’t have to pay anything.

              Reply
      2. (Different) Rebecca

        Actually, I’ve been told by my bank that when the bank decides to accept your claim of fraud as valid *they* (the bank) become the victim, and you no longer have the standing to file a police report.

        Reply
        1. neverjaunty

          “Standing”? This is more and more confusing to me. If I call the police to say that someone is breaking into the neighbor’s house, they aren’t going to tell me to MYOB because it isn’t my house.

          Reply
          1. Ramona Flowers

            Financial crime can be a weird anomoly here though.

            When I tried to report credit card fraud for which I had been reimbursed, the police told me they couldn’t take a report from me as it had to come from the bank.

            Reply
          2. Not So NewReader

            Standing refers to who the victim is. Here the credit card company has said they would act as a barrier between the actual victim and the perpetrator.
            If you said you would reimburse your neighbor for everything that was stolen from his house then you have taken on his injuries (loss of material possessions). If the criminal was caught they technically would have to pay restitution to you, not your neighbor. We see this with insurance companies. Your diamond ring gets stolen, but you have insurance on it. So the insurance company reimburses you for your loss. This means the thief owes the insurance company not you.

            Reply
        2. Student

          So, I think it’s useful to do a quick cost-benefit analysis here.

          If you call the cops about a non-emergency like a credit card theft, and they decide they don’t care, odds are very good that it will be a low-burden encounter on your part. It’s not like calling the cops on an emergency, where they will potentially show up guns-blazing and hyped up for an encounter and may make your life unpleasant if they deem it a waste of their time. If they think it’s actionable, they will show up already bored and expecting it to be routine paperwork; if they don’t think it’s actionable, they will tell you they aren’t coming out for it.

          It will probably only cost you a few minutes of time. Best-case scenario, they may catch the thief, and you have one less financial predator in your personal ecosystem. Worst-case scenario, you wasted a few minutes of time.

          Reply
        3. Candi

          Unless the jurisdiction has laws explicitly saying otherwise, someone who is not the victim can still report a crime. It’s the reaction from the police that’ll differ.

          A lot of jurisdictions have laws/ordinances about not reporting crime being a bad thing, although in practice they usually mean violent crime, not credit card fraud.

          It’s really annoying when I hear “the law says X” when very basic research shows it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy more nuanced than that, with a lot of caveats. Although it takes a lot more research to understand the nuances and caveats. There’s a reason people got to school for this.

          Makes me think of how hostile workplace really, really should have had a better label.

          Reply
      3. Observer

        In the US, you definitely can report the theft. But, the company HAS to cover your losses if you present significant evidence that the charges were unauthorized.

        Reply
    4. Stilettoes

      I don’t understand. I’m in the UK and I was instructed by my credit card company to file a police report and get a crime number to give to them, which I did both times this happened to me. And in one case, my credit card comapny told me several details about the fraudster. We discussed the details as we went throught the transactions, which were obviously for someone on a weekend away in Amsterdam. (The card company had more info than I could see on my statement, which just said things like DutchWord Co: £1500; they knew that that was a hotel in Amsterdam, a Schiphol taxi firm, and so on.)

      Secondly, there are two victims to this. The credit card company was the victim of financial theft (of their money) – but I was the victim of property theft (when my card was stolen, or taken, cloned and returned) and identity fraud (when the person impersonated me to make purchases in my name). You absolutely can report that to the police (at least here in the UK.)

      Finally, the credit card company just wants their money back. It is possible that they could negotiate a settlement with Nancy that they would not prosecute her as long as she pays them back. Which could easily explain why Mary’s talking about ‘her’ money being paid back by Nancy, even if Nancy’s actually paying back the credit card company.

      Reply
    5. Red Reader

      “If you report that your credit card has been used fraudulently, your money will be returned to you.” True, except that the story as presented suggests that the cardholder didn’t want the thief getting in trouble, so may well have addressed it privately rather than going through the company’s fraud process, hence the repaying. I’ve known people who (foolishly, IMO) went that angle with ‘friends’ who used their cards without permission.

      “The cardholder actually cannot file a police report” — absolutely false, I’ve had to do it several times. When my card was skimmed for a $40 charge, my financial institution handled it themselves, but a few years back with a significantly larger (four digits) charge, and a couple of years before that when my card number was copied down at one retail location and used (manually typed in) at another location of the same chain, both times my card company expected me to file a police report due to the size of the charge in one case and the fact that it was all happening in my local vicinity (and thus the police jurisdiction) in the other.

      So I think it’s less “wild misinformation flying around the page” this morning and more many people with varying experiences, varying financial institutions, varying local laws and regulations. No one’s experiences are universal.

      Reply
    6. fposte

      Yeah, that’s not how it works in the U.S. (Then throw in the possibility of a debit card as well as a credit card to really mess things up.)

      Reply
    7. Kathleen

      My credit card was hacked a year ago and I got all the money back just by going to the bank, showing ID and filling out a form. I don’t know if the bank filed a report or not, but certainly I didn’t have to. (And it was the bank that first realized that it wasn’t me making those purchases, so yaaaay bank!) Of course, mine was used by an unknown person, so maybe that’s the difference.

      Reply
      1. Decima Dewey

        My bank notified me that someone made an online purchase using my debit card number (card was still in my wallet). They knew this wasn’t something I normally did, so they were suspicious.

        As it happened, a coworker was also a victim. She got the online store to tell her what Thief bought. We all agreed that knowing Thief had ordered an I Dream of Jeannie costume was more information then we were looking for.

        Reply
        1. Kathleen

          LOL! I never thought about asking what was bought with mine. Whoever it was bought a couple hundred dollars’ worth of stuff at a Walmart, someplace I very seldom go, and then tried to do the same thing at a second Walmart, but that’s when the bank locked the card down.

          Reply
      2. Candi

        Several years ago, someone tried to set up a credit account in my name. My bank promptly called me, did the back-and-forth swapping ID information so we both knew who we were talking to, and asked, “Hey, did you do this thing?” Nope, and they shut it down, transferred my money to a new account, and sent me a new card.

        Interestingly, I still use all the places I used my card at when that happened -except one. Haven’t had a problem since. And that place apparently had to can four people a couple months later for “undisclosed reasons”.

        Reply
  14. Ramona Flowers

    #4 It’s curious to think of someone being less knowledgable and also a ladder climber. I suppose I would imagine the latter being more of a know-it-all, black catter* type (*if you’ve got a black cat, theirs is blacker).

    It’s possible she’s come from a previous employer where this was what you did as a new employee. I wonder if he’s asked her directly why she wants to come to all his meetings? Is she not clear on who does what? Has he asked her directly why she’s asking to sit in on all his meetings? Perhaps he could frame this as asking how she’s going to get her own work done as well?

    What is she doing when she comes to the meetings, if she does? Is she just sitting in observing or trying to take over? Really though I think the first step is to actually just ask her!

    Reply
    1. JulieBulie

      “It’s curious to think of someone being less knowledgeable and also a ladder climber.”

      Well… there are ladder climbers who are capable and ambitious, but there are also ladder climbers who are merely ambitious. They try to get as far as they can based on their ability to blow hot air, “be noticed by the right people,” and embrown their noses while doing their best to avoid any actual work or responsibility.

      In most workplaces this isn’t effective, but in some (those that are led by people who are susceptible to big talk and flattery) it is the only way to advance.

      Reply
    2. clow

      It is possible to be less knowledgeable and still be a ladder climber that is not a know it all. People can want to learn more and become more knowledgeable to insure that they can climb the ladder. It is entirely possible that this is what she is trying to do by wishing to be in meetings.

      Reply
    3. Grapey

      “Perhaps he could frame this as asking how she’s going to get her own work done as well?”

      This comes off as hostile to me. I’ve only worked at one workplace, but the whole time I’ve been here it’s common for people to sit in on others’ meetings to get an idea for what might be coming down the line to them. For example if process manager A tells their team to make changes to a protocol, data analyst B could either hear it via email or some other meeting, or just sit in on the original team meeting to hear it directly. (Since data analyst B has domain knowledge to know that a change in the process means a change in the data.)

      Reply
  15. Chaperon Rouge

    As someone who lived in the US at one point, I don’t understand why everyone there seems to think a person’s life will basically be over if they (have to) leave the country. Most of my friends who were on visas there have since moved on and have great careers either back home or in a third country, though admittedly that was by choice. Disclaimer: these were mostly (grad) students – obviously it’s different and more complicated if someone is settled, has bought a house and has kids in school. But I genuinely don’t see why the culprit having to potentially move elsewhere would be such a terrible thing that it’s an acceptable reason to not report a felony to the police.

    Reply
    1. Lora

      All I can tell you is that when my British ex was arrested, one of the things he howled about was potentially having to go back to the UK. They ended up letting him stay on account of his having arrived as a child, but when the judge explained that he was here on forbearance it was a Big Deal to him all of a sudden. And the UK is pretty nice, it’s not like he’d be sent to Afghanistan or Somalia.

      Reply
    2. Blue Anne

      It is an incredibly devastating experience to be kicked out of a country you thought of as your home. I was suicidal for about a year after it happened to me. I’m still up and down.

      Reply
        1. Blue Anne

          Thanks. It’s been close to two years, and things are starting to get better. I think I’ll be okay, in the end.

          Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        You have had a heck of a journey here. I am always glad to see you keep posting, it’s a shred of consistency in your life as you basically rebuild your entire life.
        I hope the ups and downs level off somehow and you find your new life rhythm very soon.

        Reply
    3. Consuela Schlepkiss

      If your “home” country is Congo or El Salvador, it can be a huge deal. A man who was deported from my city a few months ago was murdered a week after deportation, just as his remaining family warned would happen. Just because this is a person who is in college in Letter 1, does not mean that her home country is safe to return to. As a professor, I have taught a lot of people whose parents were refugees and whose own immigration statuses were not secure. Because of the subject areas I teach, I am well aware precisely how terrible returning “home” could be for a lot of potential deportees. (I have also done the exact job LW#1 has, and I got heart palpitations from that letter. The potential for badness is huge. Even given the above, I think LW#1 needs to tell her bosses.)

      Reply
      1. Lioness

        Or being deported to Mexico in where the cartel holds you for ransom. Deportation can have vastly different effects. It also prevents you from reentering the country for some time depending on the extent of the crime.

        Reply
    4. LBK

      In this case as an international student it’s probably not as huge of a deal because I imagine she’d go back to her home country where her friends and family are, but for most people having to leave the country where your entire life exists isn’t something to be cavalier about…I’m kinda surprised this is surprising to you. Do you not have friends you would miss seeing if you suddenly had to move across the ocean? Being deported and leaving after your visa ends aren’t really the same thing – the latter is usually part of your plan all along, so you’re prepared for having to uproot your life and re-establish yourself elsewhere.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Right, my guess is that this would be a student visa being revoked before its end date rather than a permanent resident being uprooted from family. But as you say, that’s still a pretty big thing and will probably involve some seriously unhappy parents and some costs; somebody else might know better than me, but it could also involve some detention before she’s actually shipped back.

        Reply
    5. Lindsay J

      I mean, no matter how nice the country is, if it is not something that you want to do then being forced to leave where you call “home” at the moment is a huge, unpleasant upheaval.

      I’m born and raised in the US. I’ve visited other countries and enjoyed them, and think some of them have much better governments, work/life balance, etc, than here. I wouldn’t have a problem moving to a bunch of different countries if it were by my own choosing and something I planned for (and I have actually looked at the requirements for emigrating to some of them). But being forced to move someplace where I don’t have a secure place to live, job, friends or family support, etc, and not something I planned for would be a huge deal.

      I have a bunch of friends I made that came into the US on a temporary work visa, worked during the period they were allowed to stay, went home or to other countries and have great lives and prestigious jobs. But they planned on their stay being a limited term, and weren’t forced back home in the middle of it.
      Heck, I moved from Houston to Dallas a few months ago by my own choice. My newest employee is also from Houston, but moved to Dallas because she lost her job and her apartment after Harvey. It’s the same country, same state, a couple hour drive. My experience moving has been totally different than hers because me and my boyfriend chose to move here, made plans to do so, had jobs and an apartment secured ahead of time, etc, while she didn’t want to leave, didn’t have any of that. And she did have family here to stay with – she would have been in an even worse situation if she didn’t.

      It’s not that we (at least not all) think that the USA is some great place and that moving to another country is absolutely terrible and the end of any opportunity for a happy, successful life. We just see being forced to move anywhere away from the life you have established for yourself as a huge, unpleasant upheaval.

      (I don’t think that upheaval is enough of a reason to avoid reporting a felony, though. I don’t even think it is enough reason to ignore our current immigration laws and not deport people who came in illegally – by choosing to come here illegally you chose to take on the risk of being deported if caught, including having your family seperated if you want your US born children to remain in the country. But I might be in the minority on that second part.

      Reply
    6. Pathfinder Ryder

      Choice is the key there. For all we know, Nancy could be making plans to stay on, and at the very least is making short and medium term plans which would be upsetting to unexpectedly have to cancel. When I lost my J-1 visa, I was scheduled for testing to transfer to a US school, and had to leave a (short term, thankfully) partner, friends, and a local musical I was cast in.

      Also, on some visas you have a small and strict time limit to leave the country if you lose it. Unexpectedly having to pack up your entire life is a lot of work, and last minute flights are expensive. And if you stay over that time limit, it disqualifies you from visa free arrangements and you will need to apply for visas to visit again in future. In my country that means flying to a different city for an interview on top of the actual visa fees.

      Reply
  16. Janet

    #2: Don’t say anything unless YOU have proof. The way this came out is not how it works… when someone uses your credit card you report it to the credit card company. The credit card company does not play Sherlock and track email addresses to a Facebook account… and they especially don’t get the cardholder involved. The credit card company is also the one that usually gets police involved because either they need to look at fraud of the person who stole the card (again,they only can go so far) or look at fraud for someone falsely claiming misuse.

    From all of my experience with credit card fraud – something is wrong with the story you heard. Never forget that people will make up dramatic stories like this just to trash talk people – maybe someone did rack up those cards and she is making assumptions and lying to others about the proof so they beleice her too.

    Reply
    1. Stilettoes

      Actually, this is exactly the way it works, and I don’t understand why people are so suspicious of this story.

      Banks and credit card companies ‘play Sherlock’ every day. They have entire departments full of different kinds of fraud investigators, and they will routinely track back your electronic trail, especially with online purchases. That’s why you report to the credit card company *and* the police. The credit card company’s investigators do the initial investigation based on the information they have about the transactions and the information they can share with other companies and banks, and then decide if they have enough evidence to pass it on to the police.

      Sometimes, banks and credit cards would rather reach a repayment agrement with an amateur fraudster than go for prosecution (which is especially unlikely l to get their money back in this case), and Nancy (young, probably not a professional thief, likely to have a good income soonish) is exactly the sort of person they might negotiate a settlement with to get their money paid back.

      Reply
      1. LaLa

        Do they report their findings back to the card owner, though? That’s not been my experience. If I’ve noticed a weird charge and have to get my card reissued, that’s been it. I don’t get reports back from the financial institution.

        Reply
        1. Teacher

          They might be inclined to if they notice he thief has the same address as the cardholder. Among other things, they would probably want her to be on notice that she needs to secure her cards so they aren’t doing the same thing next month.

          Reply
        2. Temperance

          Well in this case, it’s entirely possible that they *did* tell her. Mary and Nancy live together and have the same address. Mary needs to show that she didn’t make those purchases, and I can imagine the fraud department saying that the account was from nancyjones@email.com if they’re trying to get her to admit that SHE was the one who stole.

          Reply
          1. McWhadden

            If the credit card company really suspects that kind of fraud they are going to refer it to the police.

            And Mary said Nancy had to pay her back not the card company.

            Reply
        3. fposte

          Sometimes–it depends who you get. Usually with just a random across-the-country charge there’s not much conversation, but if it’s more complicated sometimes you get some interesting tidbits.

          Reply
        4. Anonymous Pterodactyl

          Generally no. There may be unusual cases where the cardholder’s continued involvement would be necessary – for example, testifying at trial that no, they did not ever give this person their card/PIN, and did not authorize the charges.

          That would be very uncommon, though. Most often, the people who commit fraud with a high enough dollar value to be worth pursuing in court are ones where they are *obviously* defrauding a ton of people, and individual testimony outside of employees of the financial institution would not be required. People who steal from others that they know – parents, exes, roommates, etc – don’t usually get enough money for going to court to be worth the cost to the institution, and a settlement would be more likely.

          There are also some cases (card fraud at an ATM comes to mind) where the institution would request the victim look at security footage to see if they can identify the individual who used the card.

          That latter is one reason why the institution I work for requires that people be at least willing to press charges in order to receive a reimbursement, and we WILL revoke reimbursements if someone later decides they don’t want to pursue the complaint that far. It’s fine if you don’t want to see your kid, sibling, whatever, get in legal trouble for fraud… but the trade-off is that by saying that, you’re giving up on it actually being fraud.

          Reply
      2. AnotherJill

        The issue is that there is generally “nothing to pay back”. If you notify the credit card company and their investigation shows evidence of a third party, the charge is removed. They don’t normally share information like associated emails and facebook accounts.

        It sounds more like amateur sleuthing on the part of the cardholder – contacting the company where the goods were purchased and getting the email address that way without involving the credit card company. Then the expectation to get paid back makes more sense.

        Reply
      3. McWhadden

        It would be highly unlikely that the credit card company would share details of the email address. ESPECIALLY if they are linked to the same house because then Mary, herself, would be a suspect of fraud.

        Also, Mary claims Nancy promised to get HER the money back. Not the credit card company or the bank. If it was reported and investigated why is she having to pay back Mary directly?

        It’s a pretty fishy story.

        Reply
        1. McWhadden

          I mean fishy by Mary. I think the OP is a great person trying to do the right thing. But I don’t see any reason to think Mary is being totally up and up with this.

          There is a reason she is gossiping to co-workers but adamantly doesn’t want to do so to the boss.

          Reply
          1. JulieBulie

            I was going to say it’s because Mary is afraid of what Nancy, her roommate, might do if she got into legal trouble if Mary blabs… but since Mary has been blabbing all over the place anyway, I guess that’s really not a good rationale.

            On the other hand, Mary might just not be very smart. That seems likely. I think OP should tell the boss, and the boss should look into it further.

            Reply
            1. McWhadden

              Yeah, regardless of whether it’s true or not, that’s probably the best course of action. Just tell the boss “hey, I’ve heard this…” and then let him or her look into it.

              I’m inclined to think Nancy did some sketch stuff but Mary has exaggerated it with (apparently constant) retelling.

              Reply
              1. JulieBulie

                I’m thinking that if it turns out that Mary is a nasty storytelling gossip, that might be good for boss to know as well.

                Reply
          1. Lindsay J

            My bank has always reimbursed me for debit card purchases made without my consent (skimmed or one time I dropped my card on the ground in Las Vegas and someone used it to buy alcohol).

            Though those were always caught on the same day or very close to it. I’m not sure what would happen if a significant amount of time had passed between the purchases happening and me finding out, or if my bank was less scrupulous since I don’t think bank accounts have the same protections as credit cards.

            Reply
        2. Lindsay J

          I have direct experience of the credit card company sharing an email address.

          An ex (who lived with me at the time) opened up a credit card in my name. When I saw the account on my credit report I called the credit card company (Discover) and told them that I did not open the account.

          They read off the physical address, phone number, and email address that were provided on account opening and asked if they were familiar to me. It was our address. The shared house number. His email address.

          The promising to get her the money back is weird. But it could be that the credit card company would not reimburse Mary if she would not press charges against Nancy. Or maybe they would not reimburse the first $50 since they are not required to do so so that is what Nancy is paying back. Or maybe Nancy agreed to pay back the money before Mary knew she could get it back from the credit card company.

          Reply
    2. Observer

      As others have noted, you are wrong about “how this works”.

      Given that reality, and the vagueness of what the OP was told, it is absolutely possible that Nancy is indeed a thief. And in this context it’s a HUGE deal. On the other hand, if Mary is making up stories, that a HUGE deal too.

      So, the OP does need to report this. Not “Nancy is a thief” But “Mary has mentioned several time that Nancy stole her cc information and that of her other room mate.” That is a fact that the OP knows, and it gives the management enough information to start looking into things.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay J

        I agree. It’s a huge deal either way.

        Either it’s attempted theft, or actual slander (and Nancy could have a cause of action if Mary’s claims cause her to lose her job or her standing at school and are proven to be false).

        Reply
    3. Lindsay J

      They totally do.

      An ex of mine opened a credit card under my name, and when I called about it they asked if the physical address, email address, and phone number used when opening the account were familiar to me. They were.

      In the US you can also totally report the theft and fraud to the police. In fact, in some cases the credit card company requires you to do so (like if the person committing the fraud is a family member or lives in your household).

      Every time I’ve had a card taken or the number used the bank or credit card company recommends that I report it to the police. I don’t because in my experience the cops do not do much about it. But even if you do get reimbursed from the credit card company, it doesn’t change the fact that it was an attempt at theft against you.

      If someone stole your checkbook and wrote themselves a check it would still be theft even if you blocked the check, and it’s basically the same thing.

      Reply
  17. straws

    she didn’t want me to approach future annual reviews as opportunities for negotiations

    I wonder if the issue isn’t that she doesn’t want you to negotiate, so much as she doesn’t want you to assume that annual reviews are going to include a raise. The 2 are generally separate where I work, so that the focus of the review can be on performance & career development planning rather than money. We probably wouldn’t tell someone they were being “weird” to bring it up, which is odd phrasing, but we would likely point out the distraction and ask that the conversations be separate next time around.

    Reply
    1. OP #1

      That’s a good point! I didn’t think of it that way and I bet you’re on to something. Another factor…She is also handing me off to another manager who has never lead before…I think part of the comment generated because she doesn’t want me to approach a new manager with an expectation that’s out of sync with the company culture and have a new manager have to deal with it.

      Reply
  18. Lady Phoenix

    Op #2: You have, what we call, a “missing stair”. It is someone who behaves badly, but instead of being fired, licked out (club or organization), or ostracized (friend group) — the stair is continuously ignored to continue their nasty ways.

    Now whether the mssing stair is a credit-card fraudster named “Nancy” or a viscious gossiper named “Mary” — I haven’t a clue. I would not associate with either lady though beyond telling Mary to report her case to the boss.

    This is not a case of sexual harassment where the victim has no power to report her harasser because of a patriarchal-run workforce — Mary can report Nancy whenever she wants and has no the backbone to do it. So what if Nancy’s visa is revoked? She knows better than to engage in criminal activities while on a visa.

    Reply
      1. Anonymous Pterodactyl

        I’m having a fun giggle at the idea of *licking* someone out of your organization. “I can’t fire you, but I’ll LICK you until you quit!”

        Reply
  19. Cassie

    #1 I had no idea annual raise negotiations were a thing. I’ve only ever seen “new job” negotiations, same company “drastic role change/promotion” negotiations, or “take what we deign to give you” COL increases.

    Reply
  20. B

    #1 – None of the companies I worked at allowed negotiation of raises, you got what you got and that was that. I can see them making that comment because less than an year out they gave you an unsolicited raise and then another raise at review time at your 1 year mark. That’s quite remarkable for any company I can think of and perhaps they thought you were being a bit ungrateful. I would go with the assumption raises are something not negotiated there.

    #2 – As others have said, you are told this via rumor not proof. You could go to your boss and say “do to the work we do I wanted to let you know of something I have heard” and then leave it at that.

    Reply
    1. Llama Wrangler

      Re #1 – I would also think about if they gave you any sign that you should negotiate the raise they gave you. I was in a position once where my boss offered me a raise, and then basically told me to negotiate it (said a strong “you should think about whether it’s okay”). I came back that year and was able to get an extra 7% (for what it’s worth, I was VERY underpaid my first year. However, the next year when she told me what I my raise was going to be and I tried to negotiate it, she said that was inappropriate for me to do. In that case, it was clear to me that she was being weird, but that office was often weird about salary/benefits related things, so I wasn’t surprised.

      In other words, it might be a thing that’s Not Done at that office, but just because they said you were being weird doesn’t mean you were being weird–see if there were other signs either way! Or talk to a trusted colleague!

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        or, maybe your 7% raise put you in the “Not Underpaid” category, and so negotiating a raise was not done in that circumstance.

        Reply
        1. Llama Wrangler

          No, I was still underpaid; less underpaid, but still underpaid. And her rationale wasn’t “you’re making enough now so you can’t ask for more than cost of living increases” it was “you should have asked for more when you were first hired, because I can’t do anything now, so I don’t know why you would think you could ask.” (Obviously it’s true that I could have asked for more when I was hired, but her implication was that I was entitled for thinking I could negotiate without acknowledging that she had been the one to encourage negotiation in the past.)

          Reply
      2. OP #1

        Thank you for saying that! I’ve thought a lot more about it after reading through the comments today, and my conclusion is that I wasn’t weird, just didn’t know the company culture… and that she wasn’t being “weird” for seeing my request as unusual….but maybe could have chosen a better word. (Side note she is also handing me off soon to a manager who has never led before, so I think part of her intention was to guide me away from asking for something out of sync with company culture, especially of someone who will be new to the role.)

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Wise thinking.
          I know I have caught myself in weird conversations that are basically, “no, that is not how it works here”. I have been on both ends of that conversation at different times.
          Yes, it’s weird, but if we don’t tell people or if they don’t tell us, how else do we find out?

          Reply
  21. LKW

    LW #4 – I second Allison’s script but I will also add that you want everyone in the meeting there for a purpose, not just to attend a meeting. I have so many meetings where clients will just keep adding names to the list “just in case” or for non-essential reasons and then you have a bunch of people who need to be brought up to speed on a set of issues and some who are happy just to throw wrenches into the machinery.

    So when you discuss with your manager, I would include a question about what contribution you want this person to make? If she’s observing, then it should be made clear that she’s observing and will not participate. If she has a specific role, that needs to be made clear at the beginning of the meeting “Person is joining us to day to take notes/listen for integration points with other project/learn more about how a specific group works”. If she starts to interject and suggest changes that she hasn’t vet with you prior to the meeting that kind of disruptive behavior needs to be shut down very quickly. As peers you need to be aligned before walking into that room and each of you should have your defined roles. It’s your meeting so you get to control the roles.

    Good luck.

    Reply
    1. DML_TX_OKC

      I agree completely. Each person in a meeting should have a contribution. In my industry, you have to be able to bill that meeting time to the client. Sitting in meetings is expensive, whether charged against a client account or on OH. At least, in my experience, billability is everything from day 1.

      Reply
    2. JulieBulie

      All of this. When too many people get invited to meetings, it tends to waste more of everybody’s time.

      If there’s a chance that Tangerina can learn something by attending these meetings, and her behavior in the meetings supports that, then it’s a good thing. But if she is “learning” with her mouth and not with her ears, or otherwise interfering with the meeting, the ride-along program will have to come to an end.

      Reply
      1. LKW

        “Learning with her mouth” that is awesome.
        As another note: When I bring people on to a team, especially those newer to the company, I clarify some code phrases like “Let’s take that offline” means “Shut up. Shut up now. ” and “Let’s pause” means things are getting heated and we need to take a beat and breathe before the meeting goes completely off the rails.

        Reply
  22. AnotherJill

    #2 I don’t understand what is hoped to be gained by passing what is essentially gossip (and gossip that doesn’t necessarily pass the smell test) on to the boss. It’s not information about stealing from the donors. And if she did try to use the donor cards, that would be pretty quickly caught in an investigation by the credit card company.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      And it would be a disaster for university fundraising. It doesn’t matter if people are made whole or not (and remember some people might be using debit cards and not credit cards, which have higher devastation potential); it’s a PR kick to the tenderest part of the organization. As noted upthread, if the director found out people knew of this risk and didn’t inform the higher-ups, there’s a reasonable likelihood everybody’d get fired.

      Reply
        1. fposte

          I think that’s like a team lead deal, since it’s different from “our boss.” Not enough to get those in the know off the hook if something bad happens.

          Reply
    2. Observer

      Firstly, once the thefts are caught, a huge amount of damage will have been done to the organization, and they might also be out a significant amount of money. So, theft prevention is a really big deal.

      There is a reason why places like this have policies like not allowing cell phones in the work area.

      Reply
  23. Beancounter in Texas

    #4 – I love how Alison knows just what to say to present a problem in a manner that reflects its severity and encourages listeners to make a decision. I think that phrasing is excellent.

    Reply
  24. Gatorade

    OP2: My gut instinct is telling me that either Nancy has something on Mary, or Mary is scared of Nancy, or they’re in cahoots in some way. I can’t think of any other reason someone who’s been a victim of theft (!) would willingly try and protect the thief, especially when they know exactly who they are!

    I think Nancy has frightened Mary in some way, knows something Mary doesn’t want to get out, or potentially Mary was part of the theft. It’s not unheard of for someone to allow another person to steal their CC, buy goods, and then split them. Here in the UK you get your money back from the bank incredibly quickly with few questions asked (the last time my CC was stolen and used all they asked me to do was read from my statement which transactions weren’t me. I was honest but could easily have claimed several of my own purchases were done by the thief).

    It’s more hassle and more expensive for them to do the detective work to make sure I’m being honest than it is to just believe me. I just find the whole ‘I don’t want to report her’ thing too suspicious for words.

    As for OP1, I kinda get what the manager is saying, but it depends on how the OP put their request across. If the review was balanced and the OP took feedback on board and spoke about how to progress in their role and be better at their job, and also asked for a raise to be considered, then yes the manager is being weird calling it weird.

    But if she went in with the express purpose of getting a raise and it was clear that was what she saw as the main objective of the meeting, I can see a manager being a bit put off and thinking the OP cares more about their remuneration than their job. It sounds like they were just giving her a friendly warning that she should either be more tactful or, like Alison says, that this isn’t how their company culture works.

    I’d be a bit weirded out too if one of my reports had their annual review and asked for more money (on top of their existing 4% raise and having already negotiated for a higher salary at the start of the job only one year ago) and it seemed like that was the most important thing for them to take out of that meeting.

    But maybe it’s a cultural thing, here in the UK I’ve never had a role where you would ask for a raise as a matter of course, and I’ve never known anyone negotiate starting salary: you take what you’re offered or look elsewhere. It’s probably different in very advanced/well paid roles, but in low to mid-range salaried jobs it’s not something I’ve ever come across or heard from others.

    Reply
    1. Bagpuss

      Re: LW1 – I’m also in the UK and in my experience it’s really common for there to be negotiation around starting salary, certainly in any kind of office job. What sector are you in, (if you are prepared to say)? I think it is different in public sector jobs where what you get paid is based on what ‘band’ you’re in based on role, qualifications and experience

      Negotiation directly about raises is less common in my personal experience – maybe because places I’ve worked the process has mostly been that people have a (usually annual) appraisal which will include discussions about their performance and will give them the opportunity to make a case for a raise, and then the employer will do a general review of salaries taking into account those appraisals.

      Reply
      1. OP #1

        Hi! Yes I work in the private sector as a number cruncher for a specialty manufacturer in the US, ~450 employees. Thank you for your insight! So many different “normals” here. Having come from such a cut throat industry previously, I definitely am on the more aggressive side in advocating for myself compared to other people in the office. I think I wasnt “weird” to ask, more unaware of the office culture…and I don’t think she was “weird” to be taken aback by my approach. I do think her choice of words could have been better….but she’s also handing me off soon to a person who has never been in leadership before. I believe her intention was partially to educate me about What Is Done and What Is Not, so that way I won’t be asking out-of-sync things from a brand new leader.

        Reply
  25. Barbara in Swampeast

    #3 – why would you be bored in the second year? You said you did well in the first year, but I bet there are things you could do better. I find it hard to believe at your level that every day is the same and is really boring. For a lot of jobs, the first year is learning what you should do, the second year is where you start making the job yours.

    Reply
  26. Meg

    #3 – at my organization senior manager and associate director are the same level, just dependent on the kind of work you are doing – direct client work vs operational business support (legal/marketing/research). Any chance that is the case here?

    Reply
  27. Hiring Mgr

    I fefel like we need more info on #4….I suppose it depends on the type of meetings these are (clients, internal, sales calls, etc..) but it’s not uncommon for new people to sit in on these things to get a sense for various aspects of a company.

    Is the OPs husband concerned somehow that the new employee is up to no good? (OP mentions “ladder climber” and that the husband is hesitant to “share his work”–not sure what that means)

    I do agree it would be odd if she is actually sitting in on ALL the meetings, as that seems like overkill and not a productive use of time,

    Reply
  28. Bookworm

    #5: For this particular case I think you should move on but it may be helpful as a learning experience. A tip I learned was to ask about this during the interview. For example a question to ask could be something like, “So, from our discussion it sounds like your ideal candidate/you’re looking for someone with X, Y, Z qualities, would you agree?” or “What do you hope to see in your ideal/successful candidate for this position look like within 3 months, 6 months, a year, long term, (or however long) etc.?”

    The idea behind (at least I’ve read) this is to get the interviewer(s) to see YOU, sitting right there, as the ideal fit and/or describe what those qualities are and see you there for the long-term. Which you can use to puff up your candidacy OR it can be a tool for you to decide if what they’re ideally looking for IS something you want/can grow into, etc. I don’t think this has been a make or break question for me but it’s gotten me out of a hole when I can’t think of any other questions and I’ve received comments saying “Oh, that’s a good question” in separate instances.

    Reply
  29. Lindsay J

    For #1 I’ve never been able to negotiate a raise during my review. I got my review, was told what my raise was (generally a cost of living increase or something set by year) and that was that. As a supervisor, when I’ve given my reports reviews and told them what their raises would be I had no power to change that amount. And generally my boss would not have been able to either. They were set high up in the org and were the same for everyone across the board in whatever category.

    I’ve also never been able to negotiate payrate at hiring, either. (Though this is my first salaried role.) It’s pretty much always been, “First year associates make $X.XX an hour,” and it’s take it or leave it. And at my current job, salaries are on a band system. First year supervisors make X. Second year supervisors make Y. Third year supervisors make Z. Though this might be the result of being in a company and field where a lot of positions are union. Mine is not, but having the same pay policies across the board probably makes more sense and is easier than “Union positions have set pay bands, non union are negotiable”. We do have bonuses that are put into our 401K that are discretionary, but those are not negotiable either. They’re based on how well the business does and your level of contribution, and you don’t know how much you get until you get it, at which point it is too late to change it.

    I’m sure this is not how it works for smaller, less rigid companies (and come to think of it, the one place I worked at where it was just me, the office manager, one other clinician, and the owner and her husband I’m sure I could have negotiated for more money, and they in fact offered me way more money to try and get me to quit my second job and come on full-time, unfortunately at the same time I was moving out of state) or ones that operate on more merit-based ideas in general. But in my experience, large, bureaucratic companies don’t have great mechanisms for recognizing individual ability/achievement in your current role. The expectation is that if you’re high achieving you’ll get a promotion into a higher paying position, and if you’re not or you don’t want to take on a higher position with more responsibility you’ll stay in your current role with whatever the established annual raise is until you top out, at which point you get nothing besides COL increases forever.

    Reply
  30. cheluzal

    1: I wish I could negotiate anything money-related. I’m a teacher and w haven’t gotten a raise in about 5 years. The one year we did, they took out more for insurance and our paychecks actually went down. No CoL a factor ever it seems…

    Reply
  31. Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins

    I don’t have anything constructive to add, but I do need to announce that Tangerine is my new favorite AAM co-worker name.

    Reply
  32. anonagain

    I wasn’t able to read every comment to see if this was addressed or not. Apologies if this is repetitive.

    Re. LW #2: I would definitely tell the boss that the no cell phones rule is not being consistently enforced. Obviously there are other ways to steal credit card information, but I would want to know if I were the boss. They may want to tighten up the controls in general.

    Reply

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