my coworker closed her trunk on my arm and didn’t apologize, hiring family, and more

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

1. My coworker closed her trunk on my arm and didn’t apologize

I work as a runner for a law firm, so a good portion of my job involves making deliveries and such. Jane is a coworker of mine with a very similar role, and we sometimes work together. Recently, a large delivery needed to be made to a client, so Jane and I went together. Upon arriving (Jane drove us in her car), we started pulling items out of her trunk and putting them on a cart. We were running a little behind, so we were moving quickly. After we had all but one box loaded, I reached in to grab the last one out. At about the same time, Jane reached up and closed her trunk lid (I don’t think she saw the last box and thought we had everything). Well, she closed her trunk on my arm.

She immediately pulled the trunk back up, but did not say anything and waited for me to move my arm. I did, and she continued on and began pushing our cart inside, still having said nothing. My arm was throbbing, but I ignored it. We finished our delivery, drove back to the office, and returned to our work stations. During that whole time, Jane still said absolutely nothing about closing the trunk on my arm. It did hurt a lot, and while I’m not the kind of person to whine over every little scratch (hence why I just ignored it until our job was complete) an apology would have been nice.

My arm is not broken or anything, just some bruising and tenderness. It’s been a few days now, and I feel a little slighted by Jane. She hasn’t spoken of it once. I don’t feel the need to complain to my manager, because that seems petty, and I don’t want to complain to Jane either because I know she didn’t do it on purpose. I’m also pretty sure she ignored it for the same reason I did so we could keep moving as quickly as possible, so I totally get it. Still, am I wrong to feel the way I do?

You and Jane both behaved oddly in this situation — neither of you said anything when you should have! It’s weird that Jane didn’t immediately apologize and ask if you were okay, but it’s also odd that you stayed quiet about it and didn’t exclaim in the moment or say anything immediately afterwards (even just “Ouch!” or “I know that was an accident, but wow my arm really hurts”). I can see how once you didn’t say anything on the spot, it felt weird to bring this up later. But I also suspect that since you didn’t, Jane figured your arm was fine.

I would write this off as both of you being oddly taciturn in the moment, and not dwell on it more than that. I hope your arm is feeling better!

2. Am I always being lowballed?

I am job searching. Many jobs ask me to apply with my “desired salary” (which at least is better than salary history). I usually respond fairly broadly, with a range of $10K, the lower end of which is $5K more than I’m making right now, since the jobs I’m applying for are usually the next level up from my current position (I am a manager, looking for something director level). However, it seems like all the jobs that respond announce in the initial screening call that their salary number is about $5K less than what I asked for, and ask if I still want to proceed. I’m not sure if, no matter what number I named, they would try to shave $5K off of it to get themselves a “good deal” on me — in which case, I guess need to boost up my desired salary above what I think is really realistic? There’s also the possibility that I’m just overpaid in my current position so my expectations are off. Is this a common practice on the hiring side?

It’s not a common practice! It can happen, sure, but usually employers aren’t quite that systematic about trying to lowball people. There could be some exceptions to this, but with how consistently it’s happening, it’s more likely that their anticipated range really is what they’re telling you is.

So the question for you is whether these places pay below market or if your expectations are too high, which means you’ll need to do some digging into the market rate for the types of jobs you’re targeting in your particular geographic area. (There’s advice on how to do that here.)

3. My sister-in-law wants me to hire her for my new business

I run a popular blog in the UK. In fact, I have been able to “retire” my husband due to the success of my blog. We have decided to expand our business by getting office space and taking on two employees. I have never managed anyone in my career, so I know this is going to be a challenge. We are looking to hire someone in a digital marketing role, full-time, and an administrator for two hours per day.

The administrator role will involve things like adding people to Facebook groups, formatting my weekly newsletter, responding to YouTube comments and the like.

My sister-in-law has got in touch asking if we would hire her for this admin role, and my gut reaction is “NOPE” (not because of her in particular, just because of the thought of hiring family in general). I’m at a loss as to how to reply to her, and wondering whether I am right or not.

You are right! Working with family can be really hard, even when you all get along. Plus you’re a new manager, so you’re going to be having all the typical new manager challenges with whoever you hire (figuring out when to exercise authority and when to be collaborative, figuring out how to give feedback, feeling weird about giving feedback, learning to delegate without being overly involved or under-involved, addressing problems, and all the rest). You don’t want to have family dynamics thrown in there with that. It’s a recipe for tension in the relationship, as well as tension at work. And what if you have to fire her?

Fortunately, this isn’t about her. It’s just about working with family in general. You can say something like, “Thank so much for offering! I don’t want to hire family members since I don’t want to risk it ever causing tension in our relationship, but I appreciate the offer to help out!”

If she pushes and tells you she thinks it would be fine, you can say, “Philosophically I feel really strongly about it. I’ll let you know if I ever change my mind on that!” (Of course, this may sound inconsistent since you’re working with your husband — but you can present that as a partnership, rather than him working for you. Or you can say that one family member in the business is your limit.

4. Interviewing during fertility treatments

I am trying to juggle some major life changes and wanted to get your insight on how to handle/balance them. Namely, I am interviewing for a few amazing job opportunities that rarely open up in my field while I am also going through fertility treatments. Neither of these can wait for the other. My doctor let me know that my window for pregnancy is slim right now. And I know that these type of jobs rarely come along.

Also, it’s just time for me to leave my current job. It is stressful, my supervisor doesn’t know how to set limits with our leadership, nor the people that work under us. So it’s demanding on all levels and I need to get out. Ironically, this stress level may be negatively impacting my fertility issues.

The jobs I’m looking at would offer me more freedom, less responsibility, and more growth opportunities. They would be a good fit for my skills and my career path.

That said, if the fertility treatments work, I will be needing to take maternity leave (as well as time for medical appointments) within the first year of the position. That feels awkward. Is there a way to handle this without tanking my interview process? Also, when do you suggest asking about health insurance and medical leaves?

There’s no need to mention any of this during the interview process! If you become pregnant while you’re still interviewing or soon after starting, you’re not obligated to disclose it until you’re ready to — which many people choose to wait to do until after the first trimester. The timing won’t be ideal, but your employer will make do — this stuff happens, and they work around it.

Wait to ask about insurance and parental leave until you have an offer. At that point, you can include it in broader questions about benefits; there’s no need to announce that you hope to be using that leave soon.

The point of laws protecting women from pregnancy discrimination is to make it legally possible for you to proceed this way, so that you’re not subject to conscious or unconscious bias from employers. And really, proceeding this way protects them too; if they don’t have this information (which the law says they’re not entitled to), you won’t be left wondering if the reason someone didn’t hire you is because they knew you’re hoping to get pregnant soon.

All that said, do be aware that FMLA benefits won’t kick in until you’ve been there a year, so you’ll want to plan around that.

5. What should I know about being hired as a contractor?

I am writing to you because I have received an exciting job offer! I have been offered a job in my dream industry … but am nervous about certain aspects of the organization.

The job is with a public-private partnership and it currently has two people in it, with the hopes that there will be a total of five by the end of 2018. Because this is not yet a 501c3 nonprofit (maybe in the next few years), they would hire me as an independent contractor. They told me that the salary would be above what was in the ad because I would have to get my own heath insurance. They also said the funding would carry into summer of 2019 and then be up for refunding which they may or may not get (I am fine with that as this job will get me great connections).

I am a young professional and have been blessed with my first job and all its perks, so I have no idea how to navigate this offer and what to consider. I read your post about cons of working with just two people so that I need to take into consideration as well. What do I need to know about the pros and cons of being a contractor?

The first thing is that this may not even be legal. The IRS has strict rules about what jobs can be paid as an independent contractor versus an employee, and if this is basically a regular job with regular hours where you’ll take direction from someone above you, you probably don’t qualify to be paid as a contractor! More on that here.

Beyond that, though, there can be significant downsides to being paid as a contractor. Contractors don’t receive benefits (not just health insurance, but typically paid time off and other benefits too), and generally aren’t covered by workplace protection laws, like workers comp and harassment laws. Plus, you’ll be responsible for your own payroll taxes — which is why most contractors generally charge significantly more than employees (often twice as much or more); otherwise you’ll be earning a lot less after taxes than you might be envisioning.

{ 246 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Nisie

    #3 A board I read a lot has a saying Never hire someone you can’t fire without having to suffer through a very tense Holiday supper. Mixing family and professional boundaries can be very tough.

    Reply
    1. Faintlymacabre

      Yup. I work with a family member, which has its ups and downs. Especially as we have very different ideas about how to approach certain issues, and the family member tends to talk about work when we are not there… it really makes me want to not spend time with them outside of work. If I had a better option when I was job searching, I would not have taken the job. You likely know what issues you will have with SIL, but you may not know the magnitude of the issues.

      Tldr: trust your gut!

      Reply
    2. Still learning to adult

      NEVER Never never hire family members into a business.

      To those who are not part of the family, there will not be any decision that doesn’t have the taint of nepotism covering it.

      Another way of saying it: A business that makes decisions based on family relationships is not making business decisions; they are only making family decisions.

      (survivor of too many family-run businesses)

      Be very firm but polite to SIL; even tell her that it’s nothing against her, but that you’ve been burned too many times to make it worth everyone’s effort.

      Reply
    3. Partner Spouse

      OP3 your instinct is right on. I am in your exact situation. My husband and I started working together at our small business almost 19 years ago.
      Quite a few family members from both sides have come out of the woodwork to ask for a job. The standard answer is “No, we do not hire family.” It has been said many times, and repeated many times. Most of our family has respected it. In my life experience, those that ask tend not to have appropriate boundaries. I have learned to shut those conversations down pretty quick.
      They don’t dare grumble that we married. At least not to me.
      Good luck OP and go with your gut. It is good business sense.

      Reply
    4. Wicked Odd

      It’s funny to me because I’m from a family where a lot of us work together in various businesses (one of which I run.) While there are family members that I wouldn’t want to work with again, I don’t have nearly the visceral reaction to the idea that other commenters do. I don’t think I’d want my first and only employee to be a family member, though.

      That said, OP3 should trust their gut, and not working with family members is a reasonable rule to stick to (or change in the future, should there be a need.)

      Reply
      1. NorthernSoutherner

        Wicked, getting along is only part of the issue in hiring family. The other part, as Still Learning pointed out, are the perceptions of non-family employees. Even if you’re completely ‘Even Steven’ any considerations that go to family are going to be perceived as favoritism.

        And anyway, I think complete equity is next to impossible. You’re naturally going to favor family members when it comes to salary and things like doctor’s appointments — who gets the stink eye for leaving early and who doesn’t. At break time or around the lunch table, the family discusses family stuff, or worse, continues an argument, while non-family sits in uncomfortable silence. I’ve had this same experience at two different companies. And all of us non-family felt the same way, not just me.

        Maybe in a large company, where people are diffused throughout the offices, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But in a small firm as LW is describing and where I worked, these issues are unavoidable.

        Reply
    5. AKchic

      I work with my mother. Some days, it is a pain in the tuchus. My mother has never had good boundaries, so I have to have the greatest boundaries ever (thank goodness I spent a decade working in behavioral health). Sometimes, I get the cold shoulder and the silent treatment for enforcing healthy work boundaries (because I wore an outfit she doesn’t like but is still work appropriate, she just doesn’t *like* it; or because I told her she can’t police my language unless she polices the entire shop’s language, but what she really wants is to curb *my* language because I’m both a woman and her daughter and she doesn’t like me saying the f-word when I fall on an ice patch in the parking lot. The guys can say it whenever they want because “they’re the guys”).

      Some days are great. Some days aren’t. If I could afford to leave and not work with my mother – I would. Unfortunately – this job pays the bills and I’d be taking a drastic pay cut if I left.

      Reply
  2. Ron McDon

    #1 – I wouldn’t read too much into your co-workers apparent lack of concern; I suspect when you didn’t say anything (completely understandably, you were probably a bit shocked!) she assumed it didn’t actually hit your arm, or only lightly touched it without hurting it.

    I have to say though, if this were me I would have checked to make sure you were ok, even if it didn’t appear to have hurt you! Perhaps she was worried you could sue her if she admitted the trunk lid hit you?

    Reply
        1. McWhadden

          Even if that were true (and it isn’t) they’d be quickly dismissed if there was no actual injury (most torts require damage) or no legal basis.

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          1. LBK

            Filing a lawsuit and calling the police are pretty much mutually exclusive actions…the former is for civil matters, the latter is for criminal. You can’t call 911 to sue someone.

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            1. LadyCop

              Unfortunately…people call 911 all the time over civil issues, and in attempt to sue people.

              They also call for a whole host of even more silly and frivolous things…

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        1. Mike C.

          Citation Required

          This sort of belief only serves to discredit people whose only option to be made whole is to use the courts. It became especially popular to say around the McDonalds “Hot Coffee” case, which involves an elderly woman seeking only $800 for third degree burns. A specific franchise which had been previously cited for holding their coffee at over 200 degrees.

          When you convince people that “lawsuits are out of control”, you take away a very important tool for regular people to be made whole when harmed by groups with large amounts of resources.

          Reply
          1. Aveline

            Here’s an actual stat

            “Tort cases make up only 6 percent of the entire civil court caseload and they are decreasing. The National Center for State Courts shows a 21 percent decline in tort filings from 1996 to 2005.”

            Yet this false narrative of out of control suits persists.

            Reply
            1. Nita

              Yes. I’m really surprised anyone would claim lawsuits are out of control after reading AAM… just so many stories of people that were treated horribly by their boss and coworkers, possibly had a legal case, and were content to walk away and never come back – and did not sue.

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              1. SignalLost

                I think “content” is a strong choice there – often, it’s about having the time and resources (financial, physical, emotional, etc) to pursue a costly remedy with no guarantee of success. Since a lot of people put into legally-actionable places by employers are short on those resources, it’s easier to walk away than to pursue even a highly-justified case.

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            2. fposte

              An additional stat of litigation rates per capita:
              1. Germany: 123.2/1,000
              2. Sweden: 111.2/1,000
              3. Israel: 96.8/1,000
              4. Austria: 95.9/1,000
              5. U.S.: 74.5/1,000

              Reply
              1. fposte

                (I should have included the fact that these are the top five countries but the U.S. is still considerably lower than the first four.)

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              2. Leenie

                When I visited family in Germany a couple of years ago, one of the topics that they brought up multiple times was that their country was so much more fun than the US because they don’t have an out of control lawsuit culture, like we do. I did acknowledge that there were many places where we’d have a safety railing and they didn’t, but beyond that, I didn’t really engage in the topic or look into it. Funny to find out that they sue more than we do. Maybe if they had more safety railings, they’d have fewer lawsuits…

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  My source also didn’t differentiate on the kinds of lawsuits–maybe theirs are all about business and not personal injury. But I still thought that was an interesting statistic.

                2. Birch

                  This list surprises me, since the people in my social circle (including myself) assumed lawsuits are more common in the US! I suspect it’s a combination of type of lawsuit, how they’re handled, and an epidemic of misinformation about lawsuits in the US. It’s really common, for example, to hear someone threatening to sue in the US but in a situation where they 1. aren’t in a lawsuitable situation but don’t know any better and 2. wouldn’t have followed through anyway.

                3. LBK

                  Is it really that common to hear someone threaten to sue in the US? I mean, maybe in some random internet comments, but I don’t think those are usually serious. How many people actually know someone personally who’s sued someone else or been sued themselves? Especially frivolously?

                4. Myrin

                  @fposte, as far as I can tell, it’s mostly about grievances between neighbours. I would’ve bet that’s the case because of my own experience but I did some research – although I couldn’t find your statistical numbers – and it appears that my original hunch was indeed right. We don’t seem to have much else going on, apparently.

                5. Michaela Westen

                  I’ve never filed a suit, and seriously considered only once.
                  However, *threatening* to sue is very useful! When some sleazy company is trying to screw me over, saying something like, “if this turns out to be damaging I’ll sue” or “If this company doesn’t do what it says here, my lawyer will be in touch” is almost magical!
                  Sad that threats like these are the only way to stop businesses from trying to screw people over – but at least is works!

                6. LBK

                  Frankly, from a customer service rep perspective, I usually caved in to people threatening lawsuits not because I was genuinely concerned about a suit, but because the kind of person who made that threat was usually such a nightmare that I just wanted them to go away.

                7. Michaela Westen

                  Well I don’t *think* I’m a nightmare… :)
                  I’ve used this threat with companies that are nightmares. For example, when I was young and mismanaging my finances, collection companies would call and yell at me even though I had made payments.
                  It was amazing how they backed off when I mentioned my lawyer! :)

            3. Specialk9

              That’s fascinating!

              Does ‘entire civil court caseload’ include small claims court, where one generally doesn’t have a lawyer? (I thought it was a not-allowed thing but I did see someone with a lawyer once, while waiting for my time in front of the judge.)

              I’ve personally filed one small claims court claim against a landlord, and began that process against a second (there was a step before actually filing).

              Every landlord I’ve ever had has included illegal language trying to bully tenants out of their rights, and the big companies are pretty immune to the ‘it’s illegal I’ll report you’ thing. They wait till you show that you’ll actually follow through, and that’s generally a hugely lucrative route. (I follow through, after getting snowed a couple times when younger.) It’s a pretty icky process all around, and why I either buy or stick with a good landlord when I find one.

              Reply
          2. Health Insurance Nerd

            The fact that people still use the McDonalds case as an example of a frivolous lawsuit infuriates me. That poor woman :(

            Reply
            1. Kathleen_A

              Oh, that reeeeeeeally bugs me. Rather than being an example of a frivolous lawsuit, her case is in fact a perfect example of why we need to be able to sue companies for damages. The bad example here was McDonald’s, not this poor lady – who, if I’m remembering correctly, actually needed skin grafts.

              Reply
              1. Rebecca in Dallas

                Skin grafts on her crotch!!! Can you even imagine? And all she wanted were her medical bills paid for.

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                1. Specialk9

                  Her labia actually fused together, the burns were so bad!! If there’s ever a case of a non frivolous lawsuit…

                2. Glomarization, Esq.

                  These are absolutely details that needed to be listed here rather than left as a google exercise to the readers.

            2. Millennial Lawyer

              I was going to mention the skin grafts, but beyond that, the verdict was so high because the jury decided it merited punitive damages of two days of coffee profits, because McDonalds was aware of the problem and did nothing to stop it. People don’t have a concept of punitive damages and think it was a get rich quick scheme.

              Reply
              1. Rusty Shackelford

                And people don’t realize that the coffee was unreasonably hot. She didn’t get burned because she put coffee in her lap. She got burned because she did something that wouldn’t have caused serious burns if the coffee had been at an appropriate temperature.

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            3. KMB213

              If you haven’t seen it yet, Hot Coffee, the documentary about her case (and about how we view civil litigation in general), is excellent.

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          3. Alton

            I agree. Also, it’s important to remember that tort law is ultimately based on, well, the law. Not how deserving the plaintiff seems. There are cases where it seems like someone *should* have a case but they don’t because certain criteria aren’t met. There are cases where someone doesn’t have a case but it’s easy to sympathize with why they’d want to *try* (because it is tragic if someone is seriously hurt in an accident). And there are occasional cases that sound frivolous but are legally sound because the judge/jury determined that the legal criteria is met.

            Ultimately, while people can *try* to sue over just about anything, the process takes enough effort that it’s generally not going to be practical for someone to sue frivolously (and if it looks like they’re intentionally acting in bad faith, there can be legal consequences). Additionally, a lot of lawyers are not going to agree to take a case that’s obviously groundless.

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          4. Anion

            Yes, thank you.

            I don’t understand why this narrative continues to be pushed (by those who should know better), but it’s really damaging, IMO.

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        2. Aveline

          No they are not.

          In reality, that false belief has made it harder and harder for people truly wrong to sue.

          It’s more difficult now that it has ever been. There are arbitration clauses inserted into places rheumatoid should not be (such as employment seveance), state laws barring direct suit by patients seriously maimed by doctors (Kentucky is the latest to do this), higher and higher costs to file.

          Please stop repeating this lie.

          I’m not a litigator. But I spend a lot of time in the courtroom.

          This false public belief does cause damage,

          Reply
          1. McWhadden

            The PR companies have won. This isn’t just a falsehood it’s a deliberate lie that people swallow without any reflection or further evidence needed.

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            1. Aveline

              Fake news has always been around.
              The “sue happy Americans” is propaganda by companies and rich evildoers who want to continue to harm people and make $$$. They have won the PR war, as you say.

              Otherwise smart posters believe it and Troy it out as a truism

              Reply
        3. Snark

          Excpet they don’t, and they aren’t. In this real world, trivial accidental injuries don’t merit lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, or exaggerated paranoia about the possibility of same. Do you know anybody who’s been sued for anything even remotely like this?

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            I mean, the injuries this OP might sue for would likely be under the $4k – 5k limit for small claims court. The judges there are super no-nonsense and expect documentation (which a vanishingly small number of people think to bring with them, which makes for fascinating waiting). So they might get doctor visits, a bit of PT, and medical supplies (Icy Hot? A cold pack?) paid for.

            But it’s not a way to get rich.

            Reply
        4. Glomarization, Esq.

          Lawsuits happen when insurance companies refuse to settle claims, which forces injured parties to go to court to be made whole.

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          1. Someone else

            I usually hear it the other way around, where an insurance company basically refuses to settle a claim unless you’ve attempted to sue and failed to be made whole by that process. They want the court to have said “no this other party is not responsible” before they settle with you. Is that not actually common?

            Reply
            1. Jessie the First (or second)

              This question gets into more complicated areas. It seems like you are talking about a situation where there is more than one possible wrongdoer – like, a three car crash, so which one of the three was at fault, and the insurance companies are all going to investigate and argue and negotiate. Usually, if there is more than one person at fault or possible at fault, then everyone kind of needs to be negotiating together to figure it out. And a lawsuit over it, in that case, could involve multiple defendants.

              As a very general, oversimplified rule, no, you wouldn’t sue one person/company and then go to an entirely different person/company and demand payment for the same injuries you sued the first person/company over. But if it’s a complicated injury with multiple possible people responsible, it’s a messier process.

              Reply
            2. Glomarization, Esq.

              Bad insurance companies will hold out until the threat of a lawsuit or an actual lawsuit to pay out claims, yes. Also if the story of the injury or property loss/damage looks a little squirrelly, then they’ll wait until a lawsuit happens so that more information comes out.

              When I was doing personal-injury law, we had a couple of insurance companies that we only ever referred to with a very rude epithet before their name, because they would hold out on paying claims every. Single. Time until we filed a darn lawsuit — which didn’t make anybody money except the courts, who took their filing fees. The holding out wasn’t about who was at fault so much as they wanted to low-ball the settlement figure.

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            3. Former Employee

              Huh?

              Why would an insurance company settle if the court ruled that the other party was not responsible. That would mean you are responsible. The insurance company would then have zero reason to settle with you, the responsible party.

              Reply
      1. McWhadden

        No in most states workplace injuries (including injuries outside of work but done for work) are covered under Worker’s Comp and the employee wouldn’t be able to sue another employee anyway.

        Reply
      2. Hiring Mgr

        We have an EXTREMELY litigous society here in the US. It’s mainly because of millenials and their “Everybody gets a trophy” mentality, due to their having bwen “coddled” by their “parents”. So most of the lawsuits going on these days have to do with millenials or their parents suing people over not getting trophies. Besides the lawyers, the biggest winners in all of this are they trophy manufacturers, who suddenly have a very big demand to keep up with. I know this isn’t a finanical blog, but as a piece of advice, I would recommend that all AAM readers look to buy stock in the surging trophy sector.

        Reply
        1. Jessie the First (or second)

          /s

          Fixed that for you. ;-) Because the LAST thing I want to read is 50 angry responses yelling at you for generational stereotyping.

          Reply
          1. Hiring Mgr

            Thank you Jessie. Having grown up in the Great depression (a la Grapes of Wrath), I have seen many generations over the years. To my mind there’s only one constant through out the decades, and that’s people being people. We are no better or worse now than we were when I was just a pup. Even though I grew up poor and worked hard for everything I have (we were so poor we didn’t even have straps on our boots!) , I do realize that young people today have things like Facebook and such. But we are all the same so who has time for generational sniping? Not I, life is too short.

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          2. boo bot

            Ha thanks for the “/s”! It made me read the original comment, which was hilarious, but which I skipped on first glance when I saw the first line.

            It is all a plot engineered by Big Trophy!

            Reply
    1. Casuan

      +1
      Except I wasn’t thinking that Jane was concerned about a lawsuit; my thought was that perhaps she was embarrassed & didn’t know what to say, then because OP1 didn’t comment on it then Jane decided all was okay.

      OP1, Jane really might not have realised what happened. She might have been looking elsewhere &or she might have been lost in thought. She could have noticed your arm at the last second & lifted the trunk without realising it hit your arm.

      It really is odd to me that neither of you said anything about this. Jane didn’t even give a cursory “sorry” or otherwise comment “I thought we had everything”… neither did you.

      You asked AAM if you were wrong to feel the way you do. No, you’re not wrong because you can feel however you want. Probably I’d feel the same way if I were you. The difference is that I would have at least said something to Jane in the moment, at the minimum I’d say “That was close!” Any other reaction would depend on how hard the trunk hit my arm.
      Because you were silent, I don’t think you can fault Jane for her silence.
      That said, it would be considerate if Jane had said something, although she might not have actually witnessed your injury.

      Also, I like your take on the situation itself in that you realised that what happened was an accident & that your injury was minor.

      OP1, I gotta ask, because I don’t understand… Why didn’t you say anything? I can understand not commenting in the moment although I can’t understand so comment at all. I’m genuinely curious as I know a few people who probably wouldn’t have commented either. :-)

      Reply
      1. Lissa

        Yeah, my first thought was Jane didn’t realize what had happened and thought she only bumped your arm with the trunk since you didn’t say anything.

        I am one who tbh, probably wouldn’t have said something if my arm were hit, but I *know* that’s because I’ve got weird issues around acknowledging when I’m hurt or sick, and I actually *vastly* prefer if the other person not acknowledge I’m in pain if I say, stub my toe. I’m like a cat that way. :) but because of this I also wouldn’t be annoyed when the other person doesn’t apologize, because I want everyone to just pretend the incident never happened.

        I had to learn as an adult that most people DO want acknowledgment when injures/apology when accidentally hurt.

        Reply
        1. Casuan

          …probably wouldn’t have said something if my arm were hit, but I *know* that’s because I’ve got weird issues around acknowledging when I’m hurt or sick, and I actually *vastly* prefer if the other person not acknowledge I’m in pain if I say, stub my toe.

          Weird issues… that’s how some of my friends are. As for me, I don’t need someone to empathise or fawn over my stubbed toe, although I do want someone to reply to my initial probably-contains-an-expletive-exclamation. Then I’m good with not being acknowledged. My friends & I know that we’ll ask if we need help.

          full disclosure: I have weird issues as well, just not with this situation.
          ;-D

          Reply
      2. London Bookworm

        This was my same thought. Embarrassment can have that sort of “shutting up and pretending it didn’t happen” effect on people.

        Reply
      3. MommaCat

        Ooh, I can help with this one! Sometimes, when I get hurt in the middle of doing something, the pain is… delayed, in a sense. I know it’s there, and I know it hurts, but I don’t realize how bad it is until I’ve finished whatever it is I’m doing; at that point, it feels awkward to say, “Oh crap, that hurt,” when it was two minutes ago. Now I go for it, but there were a couple of times when I was younger that I definitely suffered in silence.

        Reply
      4. Kayla

        Hi, OP1 here. First off, I definitely wouldn’t have sued Jane or anything like that. I’m no narc. ;) Seriously, though, it wasn’t a big deal. I just found her lack of response odd because whenever I think I’ve hurt someone, I usually immediately spew apologies and beg for forgiveness.

        As for why I didn’t say anything, that’s opening a whole can of psychological worms that stem from a traumatic past (seriously). To make a long story as short as possible, I had an abusive stepfather, and my family was the “let’s cover everything up so we look happy and normal” type. So, if you were hurt, either physically or emotionally or whatever, you sucked it up and pretended everything was fine because that’s how it was done. And I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to break out of that mindset. When I was in grade school, I once had a bully push me down so hard that my wrist broke, and I didn’t say anything about my broken wrist for almost a week (until it was hurting too much to keep staying quiet). And even though I got medical treatment and a cast, my mom still had her same ole “let’s not make a fuss” opinion. Most moms would be outraged if another kid broke their kid’s limb but, heh, not my mom. Anyway, therapy can do a lot, but I’m not really sure if that part of me will ever truly go away.

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          It sounds like these two tendencies (that you apologize excessively and that you don’t speak up when injured) might be related?

          For whatever its worth, I was raised by a Something Bad* parent and for a long time I thought it was really normal to be constantly self scrutinizing for any tiny errors or omissions. When people didn’t do that it came across as weirdly blase to me. In reality, people who grew up in healthier environments do not necessarily have this tendency, because their normal human mistakes and accidents were not framed as deep personal failings done deliberately to hurt [Parent].

          *Whether or not my mother was capital-A abusive is something I go back and forth on. Suffice to say she didn’t physically strike us but she is not a healthy person and shouldn’t have raised kids.

          Reply
          1. Michaela Westen

            I was like that also because my father was both verbally and emotionally abusive. His verbal abuse made it obvious.

            Reply
        2. Casuan

          Thank you for the reply, Kayla.
          That definitely makes sense— especially re probably not ever completely breaking from that mindset— & I’m so sorry about your traumatic history.
          It’s admirable that you have broken from it more than not!

          Reply
        3. Specialk9

          Oh man that’s awful you had to deal with that, Kayla, especially as a vulnerable kid. I hope you have the resources to get lots of lovely therapy. I was in an abusive marriage, and I had to work through a lot of things in order to get my head to a place where I thought I could make healthy choices, and had to defend my boundaries hard especially at first. I think therapy is wonderful for everyone (once you find a good fit) but especially for children whose entire worldview was so twisted by cruelty.

          Reply
        4. Elizabeth H.

          Thanks for responding! I also think it’s likely that Jane DID notice that she accidentally hit your arm with the door, and was about to start apologizing, but when you didn’t say anything or even yelp, she assumed she must not have. I experience the thing a lot when someone comes near me or is pouring something or whatever and is like “Oh my god, did I step on your foot?” but they actually didn’t. My guess is that in like 99% of cases someone would be like “Oh my god, did I accidentally close the door on you!?!?” but it sounds like both of you were rushing around and perhaps she was momentarily embarrassed about accidentally closing the door on you (or coming close to doing so), was about to start apologizing, but then you didn’t say anything and the moment suddenly passed and it was too weird to come back to. It might help to think of it as an unfortunate awkward moment that the universe rolled the dice for and bestowed upon you (not your injury – just the weird non response) that is likely not to be repeated. Hope your arm is feeling better!

          Reply
          1. Engineer Woman

            That was my thought as well. Since OP#1 hasn’t said anything, I might think: Oh, I thought I hit her arm with the trunk lid but guess I didn’t. Thank goodness I was able to pull it up at that last moment!

            Reply
        5. Michaela Westen

          EMDR therapy for post-traumatic stress has done wonders for me. I also had to suppress a lot to get along, and EMDR has gotten me farther than I ever expected!
          It can take a few tries to find a therapist who’s a good fit (or good at all), but it’s worth it!

          Reply
    2. Safetykats

      Does your employer have any kind of policy about injuries incurred on the job? It sounds like maybe you’re fine, but in the future you probably want to report any work- related injuries to your manager as soon as possible, and get them checked out in a timely manner. If you end up having to file for worker’s comp you (and your company) will want the paper trail.

      Reply
      1. QA Lady

        Yes, where I work you would potentially be in trouble for not mentioning it because legally the company is supposed to report all incidents to WCB within either 24 or 48 hours (and I think that means any doctor visits need to be done with paperwork complete in that time too). So you would be exposing the company to risk let alone yourself.

        Reply
        1. a name

          This, my work requires worker’s comp forms filled out for all on the job injuries. Thus should have been reported.

          Reply
      2. Clorinda

        The school where I work requires employees to report all potential injury incidents even if nobody was hurt. A colleague slipped and fell on a wet floor on a rainy day. She said she was fine, but the assistant principal asked her to file the report just in case it started to hurt later. He said they’d rather have a timely report on file than have to deal with a claim for a slow-developing injury.

        Reply
        1. Anna

          We do the same where I work, but not for the same reasons. It’s called a “near miss report” and it’s an misinterpretation of the idea that to prevent accidents, you have to acknowledge when something is potentially an accident waiting to happen. For example, a patch of wet floor with no sign to warn people. Instead, we write a “near miss report” if things happen like, I tripped over my own foot. “What could you have done to prevent that?” Uh…not be a clutz?

          Reply
  3. Sylvan

    1. She probably thought you were fine, because you didn’t react, and then she moved on and forgot about it. It seems too late to say anything about it.

    3. Issues with hiring family aside, does your SIL seem like she’d be a good fit? Does this job line up with what you think she’s seeking? I’m guessing not – if it were a perfect match, your gut reaction wouldn’t have been “nope.” Tell her you don’t think it’s a good fit because [she’s been looking for full-time work and this is part-time], [you need someone with social media experience], [reasons]. Alison’s advice is good if you want to have a talk with her about your feelings on hiring family members – but if you don’t, you can turn her down politely without getting into that.

    Reply
    1. TL -

      I would find it less awkward to make it about hiring family than to make it about qualifications.
      Especially because that leaves the door open for SIL to argue/gain qualifications/come back. I would just be honest that it’s already going to be tricky enough with one family member and making it two is not practical for *yourself* (don’t make this about her.)

      Working with family has a lot of potential for tons of low-key family drama to turn into high-key work drama, especially since if husband and OP are fighting over something small, SIL might auto-side with ‘her’ family (I would.) OP’s reaction probably comes from that, not SIL’s qualifications.

      Reply
      1. Breda

        Ooh, yeah. I wouldn’t go into her qualifications AT ALL. I’d much rather have the “I just don’t feel comfortable hiring family members, it’s nothing to do with you” talk than the “I don’t think you’d be good at this job” talk.

        And it really is different to *employ* a family member than to *work with* a family member – it brings power dynamics into the relationship that didn’t exist before.

        Reply
      2. Ray Gillette

        If she really has gumption, she’d get a divorce so she wouldn’t be family. Show you want the job, people!

        Reply
      3. RUKiddingMe

        Also, with family working together family members who are employees will often think that business decisions are a collaborative thing.

        They will offer their opinion on the direction of the business, argue with decisions they don’t like, even refuse/whine about to do assigned tasks, think nothing of bringing in their children/pets, because “faaammmiiilllyyy.”

        They will set up doctor and other appointments without regard to their work hours/PTO availability, the imposition on other employees and the actual employer, hold their “status” (as if they have some special status) over non-family employees,…etc. in a way they wouldn’t do with an employer to whom they aren’t related.

        It’s kind of an “our business” mind set rather than understanding that they are in fact employees and not voting members.

        Go ahead…ask me how I know. ‍♀️

        Reply
  4. Casuan

    OP3:
    No. Do not hire your sister-in-law.
    What might seem like a good & practical idea now is fraught with… ummm… not being a good & practical idea.

    What Alison said, especially “when to be collaborative, figuring out how to give feedback, feeling weird about giving feedback…”

    yeesh… I’m not certain how to explain this, so of course I’m going to try…
    These phrases might seem trivial to the other specifics AAM said, however they’re insidious because when it comes to writing & social media… these things can get involved & personal which in turn can lead to little disputes, which can escalate.
    (hopefully this makes sense)

    Congrats on the expansion!!

    Reply
  5. Nonprofit Admin

    LW #5, I’d be real wary about this job offer. I spent the first few years out of college working as a misclassified independent contractor in my dream field and I got really taken advantage of. Ask a lot of questions and if you want to take the job as an independent contractor then be sure to speak up if they cross a line.

    Reply
    1. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

      Agree with this so much! Please, please, please do your research and figure out if it’s even legal for someone with this type of role to be classified as an independent contractor.

      To repeat Alison’s first point – it does not matter whether you’re ok with it or not. What matters is the structure of the role. Think of it as similar to being offered to pay you in cash, “under the table”. Doesn’t matter if you’re ok with it – the law says that’s not ok.

      I made this mistake in my first job too! I accepted a role that misclassified me as an independent contractor. At first I didn’t totally understand the issue – I knew it wasn’t ideal (that I wasn’t getting benefits and that I had to pay taxes separately), but I didn’t understand that it was downright illegal. I only started to understand after several months in, and then I was too afraid to say anything because it was the height of the recession, I was just grateful to have a source of income coming in and I was getting great experience. After a year and a half in I finally got the courage to mention that I didn’t think my role really qualified to be classified as an independent contractor. By the end of the week I had been “laid off” – no severance, no notice. Did my research and found out that I would qualify for unemployment (which I desperately needed – the job market was still in tank and I had no savings) because I could prove that my role/work was that of a regular employee not an independent contractor. The company fought it, because it exposed that I had been misclassified, but this left me without any references from the company (I reported directly to the founders, and this whole thing triggered an audit for them – so they weren’t exactly inclined to say positive things about me).

      It really, really sucked and honestly it did hinder my career overall. All the great experience that I got really didn’t count for anything because I had no references to back it up. Part of me feels like, well I was doing the best I could and it was just an unfortunate situation all around (on my end – the company absolutely knew what they were doing). The other part of me is really frustrated with myself for accepting the role at all – like I should have done my research and known better.

      Just be careful and sorry to repeat myself but please be 100% sure it’s legal to be classified as an independent contractor. If it is, then feel free to disregard all of this!

      Also – if this role can not (legally) be classified as an independent contractor – then this company is at best completely ignorant to some pretty serious labor laws or at worst willfully disregarding said laws. Obviously ignorance would be “better”, but even that is pretty alarming and doesn’t bode well in indicating a functional/harmonious workplace.

      Reply
    2. MeridaAnn

      Does the number of employees matter at all? I have a friend whose job at a coffee shop is paying her as an independent contractor and claiming it’s okay because they only have 6 employees, but that doesn’t sound right to me. Is there something I’m missing or are they classifying her illegally?

      Reply
      1. LQ

        Not ok. 1 employee means you have to follow the law, and if job at a coffee shop means working behind the counter there’s no way that’s not an employee. You don’t hire independent contractors who make their own hours and bring their own supplies to work as baristas.

        Reply
      2. paul

        That’s utter crap.

        I’d advise her to speak to her state’s labor board (like 48 or 49 states have one).

        Reply
      3. Jesmlet

        Thirding as a big fat nope. Do they tell her when to come in? Do they give her an apron to use? Does she have to bring her own coffee beans? There’s zero chance this is legal.

        Reply
        1. Rusty Shackelford

          Yeah, unless she’s, like, roasting the coffee beans in her garage and makes a delivery every morning, there aren’t a lot of contractable jobs in a coffee shop.

          Reply
      4. LBK

        There are some laws that only apply to businesses over a certain amount of employees (EEOC laws, for instance) but this isn’t one of them.

        Reply
      5. Millennial Lawyer

        Nope this is illegal. Is she allowed to make her own hours, work at other coffee shops, bring in her own coffee making equipment, etc? I doubt it.

        Reply
      6. Merida Ann

        Thanks, everyone. That’s what I thought, that the company’s plan was illegal, but she tried to bring it up with them (at my suggestion) when she was hired and they waved it off and she was so desperate to escape her previous job that she accepted it anyway, but I’m going to bring it up with her again because I’m just really worried this is going to cause a huge problem for her as far as taxes and income and I don’t want to see her get burned.

        Reply
    3. Jesmlet

      Because this is not yet a 501c3 nonprofit (maybe in the next few years), they would hire me as an independent contractor

      Yeah, OP, this is not a thing. If you’re an employee, you’re an employee. If you’re an independent contractor, you’re an independent contractor. This doesn’t change with your employer’s status. If I had to guess, they’re intentionally misclassifying you to avoid paying payroll tax, etc. Make no mistake, they absolutely benefit from this arrangement even though they’re claiming they’re paying you more.

      Full disclosure, my company’s background – we’ve been taken to court twice in the last 13 years over people claiming we’ve misclassified them and both times the court found in our favor. A company that would mistakenly misclassify someone is one you should think long and hard about working for. One that would intentionally do it should be avoided at all costs.

      Reply
      1. Anonanonanon

        The fact that they advertised it as a regular position and now are saying it is a contractor position (but don’t worry, they will pay more than was advertised) would worry me. That highly suggests that it is misclassified.

        Reply
    4. Amanda

      Thank you guys so much for all the feedback on this! I have decided to absolutely not take the job, although it is my dream job, it made me nervous right off the bat and I think this is the wrong path for me. There are concerns about whether it is legal, there is a lot of uncertainty, and working with two people is extremely hard. Being an early career professional, I am so appreciative of everyone’s advice, without it- I may have taken the job!

      Reply
  6. Mr. Rogers

    5: I’m assuming you’re in the US bc of the health insurance thing… so take a look at that pay they told you and assume 35% doesn’t even exist, because that’s the bare minimum you’re going to want to put straight into savings for taxes. That’s not even getting into the fuss of deductions and paying quarterly estimated taxes (which you have to do if your tax burden is going to be $1000+). How does that real number look? Still reasonable?

    Reply
    1. Wendy Darling

      And don’t underestimate how big a deal it is to have zero paid time off. I don’t get PTO currently (temp life, holla) and it means that 1. I am massively incentivized to work while sick, and 2. when I am so sick I can’t work I don’t get paid so not only am I sick, I’m stressed about my finances.

      Also I hate holidays because if work shuts down for a holiday I don’t get paid. And forget vacation.

      Reply
      1. Safetykats

        My husband is a contractor, and what you have to do is basically include PTO in your rate. Regardless, if you aren’t invoicing, you feel like you’re not getting paid even if you have the ability to pay yourself for that time.

        For OP1 – as a contractor, you’re really running your own company with yourself as the only employee. That means you’re responsible for everything the company would normally be responsible for – including paying your federal and state income taxes, social security, and not only paying for but finding all your other benefits. If you don’t know what all that is going to cost you, you can’t really even evaluate the rate they’ve quoted you. Depending on your industry, you may also need business insurance. Depending on your rate and industry, you may be better off incorporated as an LLC. The first thing you probably need is an accountant and an attorney to help evaluate all that.

        Reply
      2. T3k

        Exactly. I’ve always worked hourly and even when I had a nice hourly rate (and a company that let me work overtime to boot) I tried to work as much as I could because I knew I’d probably miss several days each winter (ironically, not due to sickness but due to the weather making road conditions too bad to drive). Oh and holiday shut downs, ugh. The industry I was in is known to shutdown the last couple weeks of December. Thankfully, I was able to pick up some work at another department that wasn’t off during that time but I was just stressing a month before it about what I was going to do without 2 weeks of pay.

        Reply
      3. Colette

        Yeah, I didn’t get sick time when I broke my leg. I was off for two weeks because I had to keep my ankle above my heart to prevent swelling. It’s not just the occasional cold you have to think about – what happens if you hurt yourself? Can you afford unpaid time away from work?

        Reply
        1. Wendy Darling

          I ended up in the ER due to an injury, and getting my pain managed involved two work days during which I was too doped up to function. So I got an ER bill AND only got paid for three days that week.

          A week and a half later I had a dental emergency. Luckily I only had to skip half a day for that and I made up the hours later.

          Reply
      4. Allison

        Yes. This was my life for three years, and while admittedly the work was fine and the pay was good and everything else about my life was nice, not having any vacation time was awful. When everyone else got a paid day off due to a holiday, I didn’t get that, so it was either work or miss a day’s pay. Summers, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were especially rough. Never take for granted being able to take an afternoon for Opening Day, or a few days there for a family gathering around the holidays, a couple days to recover from the flu until you can work from home without wanting to die, or an extra day to travel for a weekend trip, and not having to worry about whether your finances can take the hit.

        Reply
        1. RabidChild

          Speaking of taxes, you’ll want to understand what your burden will be for the area where you live, in addition to federal. My state has an income tax, plus each municipality has a wage tax, and since one of my clients was located in a nearby large city, I was on the hook to pay city taxes (payable at the start of the tax year, mind you) for the hours I spent working onsite.

          Reply
    2. ABK

      YUP! 35%! At least. Don’t think it will be ok if you don’t do that because you will have a HUGE tax burden. Also, I don’t think that employee classification has much to do with the status of the employer so they should really be issueing W2s and purchasing appropriate employer insurance and such if they are hiring employees. If there’s anyway not to put yourself in this situation, it would be best not to put yourself in this situation.

      Reply
  7. Anonymous Educator

    For #2, I think places wanting to lowball you will typically ask what your current salary is, rather than your desired salary. They’ll also tend to (obviously with exceptions) just hit the bottom of your range instead of $5K below your desired range.

    Just so I understand you correctly, it would go like this?

    Hiring company: What’s your desired salary range?
    You: $80-90K.
    Hiring company (later): We can offer you $75K.

    Is that what’s happening? That’s weird. Even companies that try to lowball candidates still, presumably, want the candidates to actually take the job offer, so would offer at least (in this example) $80K.

    Reply
    1. Mad Baggins

      Yeah, sounds like they’re either 1) lowballing and gambling that the candidate might walk away, or 2) clearly communicating the top of their budgeted range and asking if the candidate wants to move forward. 1 shows such a lack of care for employees that I want 2 to be true… it’s still early in the process so if OP does decide to move forward, they should be keeping an eye out for other signs that they treat their employees disposably.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous Educator

        Or, since it seems to be happening multiple times, my guess is the candidate’s range is just too high for the market:
        However, it seems like all the jobs that respond announce in the initial screening call that their salary number is about $5K less than what I asked for, and ask if I still want to proceed.
        (Emphasis mine)

        Reply
        1. Anion

          That was my thought, too. If nobody is offering to pay $X for this job, and nobody is ready to negotiate to potentially come up to $X+ or even just flat $X–and they’re doing this during a phone screen (so it’s not like they met the OP and decided, “Eh,”)–then $X is too high an expectation.

          Reply
        1. Irene Adler

          Is there an employer’s association in your city? Not a chamber of commerce group, but an organization whose members are all local employers (usually a member of the HR dept attends the meetings of such an organization). Example: in San Diego, there is SDEA: http://sdeahr.org/

          If so, then they usually conduct an annual survey of salaries. And, they distribute the results of such a survey to all it’s members. So that might be one explanation as to why they all adhere to the same hiring salary range.

          Not sure what one can do to combat this. Gathering data can help.

          Reply
    2. designbot

      I’m of two minds on this:
      1) Using this example, I’d try a few where you said your range was (for example) $85-90k. $10k is a big range, and it may be that using a big range communicates a certain amount of flexibility vs. having a single target number, that a tighter range might help with. Or if they are intentionally lowballing you for negotiation purposes, by using only the top of your real range you’re shifting the conversation. I’d be interested to see if you say $85-90k, whether they still come back with $75k, or if they now come in at $80k.
      2) Reconsider whether leaving or getting a promotion means that much to you, if it doesn’t come with a salary increase. You may simply be finding that your current employer has been very generous with you , and it’s worth considering whether you want to give that up. If you do, how much are you willing to give up in exchange for whatever it is you want (management experience, more marketable title, etc).

      Reply
      1. OP #2

        Yes, I think this is the crux of it. I’m in the nonprofit sector where salaries can be all over the map – there are a lot of orgs that just can’t afford to pay much even if they want to. I’m currently at one that’s relatively well-funded so I just need to keep looking to find another such, so I can get promoted *with* a raise. I might try the 85K trick just to see if it makes a difference but it’s good to hear from Alison that this isn’t some well-known technique the hiring managers are using!

        Reply
        1. Biff

          I don’t know where you are, but I know that several years ago, salary ranges in my city seemed incredibly flat. E.g., the Team Lead made maybe 2-3k more than the senior team members, and the manager made 2-3k more than the lead. So a spread might look like 34k, 36500, and then 40k. It was a weird artifact of the time and the place, and I wonder if you are running into something similar. If so, I’d suggest you consider:

          1. Getting a title bump at your current job, even if it doesn’t come with a pay bump, and then using that title bump to shop yourself around as a higher-level employee.
          2. Moving your job search to a new locale.
          3. Setting your desired range to 2-5k more than your current job on applications.

          Reply
  8. Not That Jane

    #4, I was in a similar position with fertility treatments and a newish job. It can feel really weird because with fertility treatments, you actually CAN (sometimes) have a fair amount of control over the exact timing of pregnancy. At least, more than most people who get pregnant the “old-fashioned way.” So it felt especially strange to be starting IVF while starting a new job.

    But here’s the thing: your employer does not ever have to know the details / mechanics / logistics of how you got pregnant and why you got pregnant precisely at this time. For all they know, this was an Oops! For all they know, you’ve been trying the old-fashioned way for years and it finally worked. They don’t have to know to what extent you “chose” to get pregnant now, or why. And Alison’s right: it might be awkward timing, but part of doing business is working around these things. They’ll survive, and so will you. Best wishes for your treatment!

    Reply
    1. Anon for this

      The only issue I see for OP#4 is the unpredictability of cycle based appointments if she’s doing IVF. Everything can shift back a few days depending on when your period starts, how fast the follicles are growing, etc. You can end up with a tonne of appointments with two days notice and at odd times as you have to take whatever slot they have — your follicles can’t wait. There’s also one day where you can’t drive or be coherent because of the anaesthesia. So I can really see how that would be challenging while interviewing. OP may need to invent a cover story for the appropriate period.
      Good luck with your treatment, OP! It can feel like a huge undertaking before you start, but the time will pass quickly once you get going.

      Reply
      1. J. F.

        I think she doesn’t need a cover story because the employer needs to know only two things: when she’ll be gone, and that it’s for a legit reason. I’d go with “I have some medical appointments in the next few weeks that I cannot reschedule, and they may be a little unpredictable. I’ll let you know when they are as soon as I know.” Any nosiness can be countered with “I’d prefer not to discuss my medical treatments, thanks! I expect to be done by X date.” That said, yes, it is super inconvenient especially at a new job. But… the employer will just have to deal. Hopefully gracefully.

        Reply
      2. West Ryder Lunatic Pauper Asylum

        >OP may need to invent a cover story for the appropriate period.

        So you’re suggesting that OP not only makes herself randomly unavailable at short notice but openly lie about it? Fertility treatments and/or pregnancy might not be legal or good reasons for firing someone – but missing large amounts of work, vanishing with barely any warning, and being a lair aren’t.

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          I think Anon is talking about a cover story for being unavailable for an interview, not for missing work.

          Reply
        2. Greg

          How is “I have a series of medical appointments” lying? It’s an entirely factual statement. It’s just not offering them details which they aren’t entitled to know anyway.

          Reply
    2. AcademiaNut

      When you’re doing IVF for fertility reasons, it’s really not that much more predictable than the old fashioned way. I mean, you can time when you start a sequence of treatments, but there’s no guarantee that this round will work. And if you’re dealing with age-related issues, putting it off six months until you have PTO is not a practical option.

      Interviews are probably okay – at most, you’d need to reschedule by a day. The main issue I see is if you are still doing a sequence of treatments in a new job, because there’s a fair number of medical appointments that really aren’t all that flexible. I’d typically have four or five appointments in about 12 days, followed by a full day off for the surgical part (they knock you out, and you can be woozy afterwards), then a half day a few days later for the transfer.

      Reply
      1. Rusty Shackelford

        In my case, the “four or five appointments in 12 days” tended to be made at the last minute (as in, I’d get a phone call in the afternoon saying they wanted me to come in the next morning, although that was many years ago so things may have changed). However, they were always very early in the morning, so I could have easily scheduled interviews in the afternoon. Talk to someone at your clinic and find out if they run the same kind of schedule.

        Reply
    3. Traveling Teacher

      +1
      You should never, ever put your fertility on hold if having a child at this particular time is what you want for your family right now. And, at this point, there are sadly no guarantees for either the job or the pregnancy. I say, forge ahead with both and let the chips fall where they may.

      Reply
    4. Anon to me

      That’s depends though. I did my first round of IVF last year. I didn’t take a new job because I was concerned about maternity leave issues. It was a massive mistake. My job has gotten a lot more stressful, and I’m gearing up for round 3 of IVF. And as I’m not advertising my infertility journey getting time off for retrievals has gotten progressively more challenging. So my attitude is to not put your life on hold for something that is unpredictable, because IVF doesn’t guarantee a baby, and trust me it’s freaking miserable to be in a job you hate and childless.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        Plus, it’s not like leave, infant care, etc becomes magically simple just because you’ve been at a job for a while. It would still be a big stressor, on top of the job hate stress.

        Reply
    5. designbot

      The one issue I’m seeing on this one is that it’s important to consider how much of a dealbreaker that FMLA leave is. If you tell the employer you’re pregnant and they say “Congratulations! Unfortunately due to your short tenure here we’re only able to offer you the sick+vacation leave that you’ve accrued regularly.” leaving you with only something like two weeks off work, what would you do?

      Reply
      1. Seeking a new job and a baby

        Writer here. This issue of maternity leave, FMLA, and PTO are my biggest concerns. I will wait until there is an offer on the table and then ask about PTO. Crossing fingers. If the treatment takes my hope is that I will be due during our slow season. Ultimately there is no perfect time to have a baby or change jobs. Thanks for the info everyone.

        Reply
  9. MommyMD

    She probably didn’t know your arm hurt so bad because you didn’t say anything. I’d move on and be glad it wasn’t worse. These things happen.

    Reply
    1. Penny Lane

      OP, how did you expect the other person to know that your arm was hurt, if you didn’t say “ouch!” or otherwise indicate that it was hurt?

      It’s an unreasonable expectation, and not a healthy way of living in general, to not express something and then get upset and worked up that other people haven’t read your mind.

      Reply
      1. Dust Bunny

        Yeah, this.

        For one, I wouldn’t have said anything unless I was actually injured. As in, the blow had a lasting effect on the use of my arm. If it was just sore for a couple of days but then was OK, then, oh, well. Since you didn’t say anything, how was she to know that it was as big a deal as you seem to think it was? She probably didn’t realize she hit you as hard as she did.

        Reply
      1. KRM

        She also probably promptly forgot about it, since she assumed that she hadn’t even hit the OP. So OP is stewing about her not saying anything, but she’s already completely moved on and isn’t thinking about it, because she didn’t see it as a big deal, just a near miss.

        Reply
    2. The Other Dawn

      I agree. I doubt she realized OP’s arm was hit by the lid, especially since he didn’t say anything. And if she didn’t know, then why would she apologize?

      OP, if it happens again speak up in the moment. Otherwise, let it go.

      Reply
      1. Someone else

        I actually had someone hit me in the head with a car door once, in a similar situation, and even though the person did pull back as soon as it hit, apparently they did so not because they felt resistance, but because I screamed. The person seemed genuinely confused, and I was saying “ow, my head!” and they were like “what? what’s wrong?” “You hit me in the head!” “I did?!?”
        So, I would definitely factor in the injured party’s lack of reaction in the moment as a major reason why the driver didn’t say anything. She probably thought it was either a close-call miss, or a barely-grazed-must-not-have-hurt.

        Reply
    3. Rachel

      Even if she didn’t know it hurt OP badly, she would’ve had to have noticed that she shut the lid on OP’s arm. Regardless of the outcome, accidents that cause an impact to another person’s body warrant an apology, in my opinion.

      Reply
  10. LS

    #4 – you’re in a win/win situation, really! Fertility treatments can take a long (long, long) time to work. If you get pregnant quickly, you’ve beaten the odds. If you don’t, you’re doing a new job that you really wanted and can build up leave.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      This is a great way to think of it. Do this, OP. Otherwise you’re in the lose-lose side – you’ve stayed longer than you wanted at an old job / unemployed AND it took longer than you hoped to get pregnant. Make the professional changes you want now.

      Reply
  11. MommyMD

    Do not hire your SIL under any circumstances. Hire someone with experience for what you need and keep family and business separate without guilt. Don’t hire friends either. You are the boss and your employees need to see you as such.

    Reply
  12. Marzipan

    #4, don’t put the rest of your life on hold for fertility treatments – without wanting to sound depressing, they can be quite unpredictable and there’s a real danger you’ll end up not doing any of the things you want to do in life, for a protracted period of time, while waiting to cycle/dealing with any delays that come up.

    Good luck on both fronts!

    Reply
  13. Lauren R

    Is it possible she thought the reason the trunk wasn’t closing properly was that the item you were reaching for was in the way? Or maybe she thought you’d seen her moving to close it and that you simply grabbed the trunk to keep it from shutting before the last package was unloaded? Since you were actively reaching for a package (and kept reaching even after the trunk hit you), it was probably very easy to interpret the whole sequence of events as a close call when looking at it from the outside. Unless she has a history of awful behavior, I think it’s safe to assume that she attributed the trunk not closing fully to something other than your arm being smashed. That’s understandable if you were in a hurry and had a lot going on. Her mind was clearly on what needed to be done next, since she was already closing the trunk and getting ready to leave without noticing the undelivered package still inside.

    If you can’t stop dwelling on it, mention in passing that your arm is feeling better next time you work together. Considering how badly your arm was hurting, that seems like a natural thing to tell her anyway. I don’t think it will come across like you’re making a big deal of it or trying to have a heart-to-heart. It’ll answer the question of whether or not she knows what happened, and it gives her the chance to apologize or express her concern for you.

    Reply
    1. Legalchef

      I don’t think it’s a natural thing to mention, since the LW never mentioned an injury in the first place (and it’s not completely clear that her coworker even knew she hit the LW’s arm). If someone mentioned to me that an injury I supposedly caused but never knew about was feeling better, I wouldn’t really know how to respond, because it seems a little passive aggressive.

      Reply
      1. LouiseM

        +1. I’d be confused or taken aback if a coworker told me that they were feeling better after an injury I didn’t know they had!

        Reply
    2. hbc

      I agree that the most likely scenario is that she doesn’t know that OP’s arm was hit. She’d pretty much have to be a sociopath to fail to react in some way to an arm getting caught–maybe not an apology, because people aren’t perfect, but an angry/defensive “Woah, why’d you stick your arm there?!” or a flinch at what could have been a bad injury or *something.* She just didn’t see what happened, and absent a signal of injury from OP, she had no reason to apologize.

      And I suggest using that to stop the dwelling rather than bringing it up with her, because OP is going to look like the weird one bringing it up now. “Hey, three days ago I got injured by you, and I just want to let you know it feels better.” If I was in the coworker’s position, I’d be thinking, “…Okay. It wasn’t bad enough to be brought to my attention at the time, but now it’s serious enough that I’m getting healing updates?”

      I say let it go, keep an eye out for signs that it’s part of a bigger pattern, and come up with better strategies for being a Stoic but still getting needed acknowledgement. Something like “Well, that’ll be a bruise tomorrow!” or “You’re going to have to do more than that to get me out on worker’s comp.”

      Reply
  14. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

    No.3 Do not hire your SIL. If she reacts angrily when you set out reasonable reasons why you can’t/won’t hire her, imagine how she’d react to normal workplace interactions when you assert your authority as her boss.

    Reply
    1. Legal Beagle

      This is such a good point! Mixing business and family is always a risky proposition, but especially here where it doesn’t seem like SIL is uniquely qualified for the job. There’s no good reason to choose her over a non-relative candidate, and so many compelling reasons NOT to choose her.

      Reply
  15. Harper

    OP5, I’m not American so differences in laws may be the reason for this, but there’s something that raised a red flag for me. If they know they can’t hire you as an employee because of their status… why is their ad, including their stated salary range, appropriate for an employee and not a contractor? Since they don’t have to list a salary, why not leave it off instead of telling you now it will be higher than the ad states because you’ll be a contractor? It may be for legal reasons relating to their 501C3 status – I don’t know how that works – but from a (very) outside perspective this feels a little bait-and-switch. It feels like they may be hoping people get so excited about the higher salary that they don’t think through the implications of being responsible for their own taxes etc.

    Reply
    1. Gatomon

      Yes, this confused me too (I’m American). I’m not aware of any business structure that would require hires be independent contractors. Why can’t they just become a 501(c)3 now? (Maybe someone can explain… this isn’t my area of expertise.) And if the intent is to make the hires all permanent employees in a few years, doesn’t that fail the independent contractor relationship test?

      The cynic in me thinks they’re looking for less experienced hires who don’t know much about being an independent contractor to take advantage of them. But perhaps whoever is doing the hiring just isn’t that familiar with employment law.

      Reply
      1. Ali G

        The c3 status is irrelevant. If they are any sort of company they have to have some sort of status, and it’s perfectly legal to be “in-process” in achieving the c3 status and hire employees (all you need are the min required # of Board members, a mission statement and a few other documents – then you file with the IRS). My first real job was this exact situation and there were no issues with hiring me on salary.
        LW5, I’d be really wary about this. You need to ask a lot of questions to know whether this is legal and acceptable to you. Expect to pay up to 40% of your earnings to taxes, in addition to your health insurance (and depending on the work you are doing you may need to get liability insurance too, since you won’t be covered by the organization’s policy). There is a lot going on and I don’t get a good feeling about these people.

        Reply
      2. Natalie

        Honestly, if they’re that unfamiliar with the various laws that govern them, that’s enough of a red flag to avoid IMO. It’s not that everyone needs to be an expert, but before you ask people to sign on to your org you should be self aware enough to know what you don’t know, and thus need to hire an expert for.

        Reply
        1. Rusty Shackelford

          Yep. Either they don’t know something that they really should know, or they do know it and they’re lying. Neither is good.

          Reply
      3. LBK

        Yeah, I don’t really understand their explanation either – I’m not clear on what 501(c)3 status has to do with hiring people as employees vs contractors.

        Reply
      4. Pickle

        Most 501 c3s that want to operate before they’ve officially filed for their status find a fiscal sponsor. My nonprofit is currently doing this for a new organization– we handle their payments, banking, payroll etc for a small fee. I can attest that there is absolutely nothing related to c3 status that would prevent them from paying you as an employee.

        Reply
        1. zora

          Yeah, exactly this. Their claim is BS. They probably think this is the easiest way for them to get started without having to do all the tax paperwork, but that is just NOT how you go about this. The way nonprofits start is by finding a fiscal sponsor and having all of their employees hired by the fiscal sponsor until they get their status approved and a payroll system set up, etc.

          My worry is not that they are necessarily bad actors, but they are completely clueless and cutting corners, and that does not bode well for how they are going to treat these employees/’independent contractors’

          Reply
    2. Shamy

      I’m with you, it feels very bait-and-switchy to me as well. Were they always planning on hiring the employee as an independent contractor? If so, why wasn’t that made clear in the ad? I self-select out of any jobs like that and know many others that would choose to do so as well. There’s nothing wrong with independent contractor positions, but that is info people need to have up front.

      Reply
  16. Delta Delta

    #1 – Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be required under state workers’ comp laws to report any workplace injury, even if you don’t miss time from work or need medical treatment as a result. Check with your HR person or whoever does that function at your office (law firms don’t usually have HR but usually have someone who manages HR things). Additionally, this may have not been a big injury now, but depending on what happened, it may end up being something that does give you problems in the long run. It’s better to document it now, just in case, and so you can get whatever necessary treatment is indicated at the time. Think of this less as telling on your coworker, and more in terms of protecting your future medical treatment in case it’s needed. If the HR person or manager or whoever asks about what happened, you can certainly explain, and phrase it in terms that you wanted them to know that it happened.

    Reply
    1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

      Yes, at an old workplace a newly hired co-worker was fired because he did not report a workplace injury (a burn from hot liquid). We were unionized and management took a hardline on injuries, even minor ones had to be reported. The monthly incident report was filled with cut fingers and minor slippages but the butts were covered.

      Reply
      1. Julia

        I hope someone sufficiently explained to him that he was to report every tiny injury, or that firing seems really unfair…

        Reply
      2. blackcat

        I chuckled at butts being covered for minor slippages.

        Got to cover those butts, particularly if they get injured.

        (I say this as someone who has, in fact, injured by butt by falling. It is super inconvenient to have a hurt butt.)

        Reply
  17. Midlife Job Crisis

    OP, maybe just mention to her what had happened and keep an eye on your arm to make sure it’s okay.

    Reply
  18. Jean

    A lot to places try to pull this “contractor” crap and tell you it works in your favor. What they’re really doing is trying to save themselves some money by taking advantage of you. I’ve been hired in that situation before and it was definitely NOT beneficial to me.

    Reply
    1. Allison

      They also like to tell you the contract is just temporary, and they’ll hire you if you do a good job. Then you do a good job for a few months and your boss tells you they want to convert you, but can’t add you to the headcount right now but they hope they can do it sometime in the next six months, but they string you along for years, always having a reason why they can’t convert you right now. Don’t let this happen. If anyone tells you the job is contract-to-hire, ask them how exactly they see that happening.

      Reply
  19. Amelia

    I’ve recently put the job search on hold due to fertility treatments. I took a day off recently – I had an interview in the morning and an IVF appointment in the afternoon. During the ‘explanation of benefits,’ they detailed my company’s extensive fertility coverage. They rated it as in the top 10% of all plans. Because it can be a long process with no clear timelines, I felt it was important to maintain one doctor and benefit plan. Also the FMLA issue. I told the job I interviewed with “thanks but no thanks” and hope to be back on the job market in about 2 years. Good luck, LW!

    Reply
      1. Amelia

        No, probably not. But coverage varies widely. And it’s very hard to determine specifics of “does it cover IVF cycles, Clomid, IUIs etc” before getting the job.
        The office I was at said they always call the insurer with the # of the insured. Even the overview documents are not generally sufficient (I had asked about their ability to review coverage before accepting an offer)
        The difference between good fertility coverage and none or limited could be 50K.
        For me, it was definitely a data point.

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          Since it sounds like the OP really dislike their job, they can always evaluate this kind of thing if and when they have an offer.

          Not applying for jobs is effectively choosing to stay put, since there’s essentially a 0% chance that anyone is going to offer you something out of the blue. But applying is not fixed as the exact opposite, there are so many opportunities when you get to decide whether or not to proceed.

          Reply
        2. Rusty Shackelford

          It’s a fair point. OP, if doing IVF depends on insurance coverage, and you don’t live in a state where coverage is mandated, make sure you know what you’re getting into. (And it’s not easy… my official insurance policy was that they covered “diagnosis and some treatment” of infertility. That’s all they were ever willing to put in writing.)

          Reply
    1. DCompliance

      I do think the LW does need to consider that she has to be at a job a year before getting FMLA leave as Alison pointed out since the LW specifically commented on that. Of course she may not get pregnant right away, but that is something to consider when leaving a company.

      Reply
      1. Amelia

        Also IVF requires a phenomenal number of appointments. I underwent fertility treatments two years ago. I was at the doctor’s at least 10 times a month for 3 months. Then got pregnant and exhausted my sick leave in the first trimester from hyperemesis.
        Then took unpaid FMLA. I don’t love my job but it was definitely a “devil you know” situation. And because I have a decent history of work with them, I never felt I was risking termination. At another place, I might have.

        Reply
        1. Anonymousaurus Rex

          This is what I was thinking. I’m just about to start IVF and very concerned about how to bring it up to my job. The time needed for doctor’s appointments is not inconsiderable!! I would be very wary not to mention this to an employer when taking a job offer, and I’d be very interested to hear Alison’s opinion.

          My hunch would be you should treat it like any other medical situation that needs accommodation and mention it at the offer stage, possibly without being specific. i.e. “I have some ongoing medical treatments that mean I will need to arrive late to the office X-times per week and I have a few medical procedures scheduled in the coming months. Nothing to worry about, but I can’t delay treatment.” Or something like that??

          Reply
  20. LouiseM

    OP#1, this seems like a case of taking something personally when the other person likely doesn’t know there is an issue. Your coworker probably didn’t realize she closed the trunk on you. It will make her feel extremely guilty, and make you look extremely strange, if you bring it up now. Realize this is the cost of not reacting in the moment and resolve to say something at the time, or immediately let it go, the next time (not just talking about physical injuries here).

    Reply
    1. Alton

      Yeah, since the OP didn’t bring it up in the moment and it’s not clear how aware the co-worker was, it’s probably best to give her the benefit of the doubt this time.

      Reply
  21. PalmTree

    OP#1 I had a coworker/former friend who literally backed her car up onto my foot in a parking lot as her car bumped me and caused me to fall down. She laughed and said that she thought I “fell down on purpose”. NEVER apologized. I even brought it up later and she still just laughed it off. In retrospect, it may have been the beginning of her transition to “former friend status”. It happened over 10 years ago and my toe nail has never been right since, I still curse former friend for being a jerk every time I change my nail polish.

    Reply
  22. Enough

    And the whole 501c3 thing is a little funny. A lot of those get created very quickly during the last few election cycles. It does not take years and makes no sense to wait anyway. They allow tax free donations to them and certain tax advantages for them. And they are subject to all the same labor laws as other companies.

    Reply
    1. Guacamole Bob

      Yeah, this whole thing seems weird to me. I don’t really see how the nonprofit status matters at all as to whether they hire employees or contractors (unless they’re hoping to underpay OP), and if a position qualifies as an employee per the IRS they can’t declare it a contractor regardless of nonprofit status.

      If this organization has the infrastructure to properly pay two employees and administer benefits and such, and is planning to add more over the next few months anyway, then adding a third now shouldn’t be a big deal. In fact some things get easier as more employees are added – group health insurance rates get lower at some point, I think.

      OP, make sure you do the math on paid time off, income taxes, payroll taxes, health insurance, etc. This org wouldn’t be trying to make you a contractor if it weren’t to their benefit in some way, which means it’s probably to your detriment. Even if they gross up your pay enough, you’ll be dealing with all the hassles of taxes and insurance plans on your own, and that’s a big pain in the neck.

      Reply
    2. LQ

      Yeah that struck me as super weird. It doesn’t matter how many employees you have or anything else. Plenty of 501c3s don’t have any employees.

      Reply
  23. Joie de Vivre

    #3 – this isn’t the question you asked, but hiring someone for two hours a day may not be possible. If someone has to come into the office for two hours, depending on the pay and transportation costs, they may not clear enough money to make it worth while.

    If they are going to work remotely, are they going to have set hours? Or will they be on call? If they are on call, what are your expectations about how fast they need to be available? How will you manage them?

    Reply
    1. Joie de Vivre

      By the way, I think it is fantastic that you are launching a business from your blog. Good luck!

      Reply
    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      From the nature of the work the OP mentioned, the administrator can probably do most of it remotely.

      Let me take that as an opportunity to remind the OP that if that is their intent, even if they find a perfect candidate online they need to meet face-to-face with everyone as part of the interview process. Have you ever had a flame war with someone you know in real life? Probably not, as being able to put a voice and face to the words on the screen helps reduce the ambiguity of meaning and intonation that can spark those misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Picturing the person to whom we’re typing also causes us to moderate and measure our words a bit more.

      Reply
      1. Not a Mere Device

        Yes, I have had flame wars with people I knew in real life. And then the odd situation of one of them offering to do me a needed favor at a convention a couple of years later. (I was glad someone else, who I had not publicly said “I am no longer reading or responding to your posts,” also offered.)

        It was practically a cliche for someone to say “I like so-and-so better in person than online/on paper,” or vice versa: there were mild-mannered posters who were obnoxious or worse in person, and serious flame warriors who were much kinder and calmer in person.

        Reply
    3. Fieldpoppy

      We have someone who works for us who averages 8-20 hours a week, at least one hour every day, depending on the work flow. Remote work and trusting them (and meeting in person) work for this — she’s been our senior admin for 8 years. The flexible time works for her and she’s super efficient.

      Reply
  24. M from NY

    OP #5 501(c)3 is an organizations classification with the IRS and the businesses transactions not the employees. When you work for a non profit full time employees pay the same payroll taxes. Working on designation has nothing to do with your tax liability. Labeling you as contractor reduces the expenses they are suppossed to cover (like Workmans Comp). Please get a wage calculator to ensure what they are offering truly covers what they claim because right now what you’ve shared is really off. It could be mistake from new owners that are not aware of the rules or they could be trying to get over. Either way YOU will be the one with a serious financial penalty so pay close attention to answers you get before proceeding.

    Reply
  25. Overworked and Underpaid

    LW #5 sounds a lot like an independent contractor job I took right out of grad school. Brand new non-profit, hired three employees at the same time. It would take me a day and a half to go through all that was wrong in the role, but the illegal part was that we were treated as employees (had to be in the office at a certain time, was not allowed to work from home, etc.) but paid as independent contractors.

    Needless to say, after a month and a half, all three of us were gone.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      Yeah at least if you’re going to get the disadvantages of being a contractor (like paying your own insurance and taxes, no PTO etc) you darn well ought to be demanding the *benefits* of being a contractor – theoretically I believe they can’t tell you when and where to work, so you can’t be expected to come into the office all day every day, for example. If you decide to take the job OP, Alison has some great language for pointing out when companies are acting illegally (“we could actually get in big trouble for this,” is the crux of it).

      Reply
      1. Rusty Shackelford

        Not gonna lie, I love the idea of the OP taking this job and then saying “No, I’m not going to be in the office on Monday. I’m working from home, starting at about noon, since I’m an independent contractor and therefore can’t be told when and where to complete my work.” ;-)

        Reply
        1. Lil Fidget

          Haha I was picturing this during the negotiation to accept or not, but I do like your suggestion also :D

          Reply
  26. Not a Mere Device

    In addition to the general reasons not to hire family, having both your husband and sister-in-law working for you would mean the possibility of work conflict between them spilling into family issues, or any sort of family conflict or stress turning up at work.

    That’s especially true if this sister-in-law is your husband’s sister, but the situation would be potentially messy even if she’s the wife of one of your siblings.

    Reply
  27. Tuckerman

    I’m curious which percentage of employers refuse to give unpaid parental leave to someone who is ineligible for FMLA (i.e. working less than a year). Does anyone have info on this?

    Reply
    1. fposte

      I think that’d be pretty tough to find, and I didn’t see it on a quick search. It looks like close to 60% of employees are eligible for FMLA (work for a covered employer and meet the standards for duration and hours). My guess is that you’ve got a better shot if you work for a covered employer but aren’t eligible yourself than if you don’t work for a covered employer, but that’s just a guess.

      Reply
      1. Yolo

        I worked at a place where employees referred to how the boss “let” someone take maternity leave as if it were a super-nice thing. The company was too small to fall under FMLA and the employee had been around for less than a year, so it was truly at the employer’s discretion.

        Reply
        1. Wendy Darling

          My previous employer was a largeish company with several thousand employees worldwide but most of their workforce in my country was remote, and they didn’t have enough people in any single geographic area to fall under FMLA. They liked to play up how incredibly generous they were to offer unpaid medical leave even though the government wasn’t forcing them to. Because they were jerks.

          Reply
        2. Anonymousaurus Rex

          Yeah this. My best friend just took a 6 week unpaid maternity leave at an organization that is not large enough to have to follow FMLA. Her boss acted like he was a saint for allowing it. (And subsequently, allowing her to work part of the day at home so he does not have to provide a private place for her to pump.) It’s kind of infuriating.

          Reply
    2. a name

      A friend of mine got pregnant between jobs (she was finishing her PhD and had a post-doc lined up.)

      She got two weeks of maternity leave at her new job and her state had some short-term disability she was able to take, but she got less than a month total off after having her baby.

      Reply
      1. Harper

        Wow, that makes me so upset. I had very easy births and in neither case was I physically or mentally ready to be back at full time work in four weeks. I feel for my American friends because of how little leave is guaranteed.

        Reply
      1. LBK

        I think that’s what Tuckerman was asking – wondering how many companies essentially give people FMLA even if they aren’t legally eligible for it.

        Reply
        1. Amelia

          My company doesn’t offer it for employees of less than a year. Unless those employees live in a state with different rules like NY.

          You have to bank all your vacation days and then come back in after. It’s not an irrational fear when switching jobs.

          Reply
        2. Tuckerman

          Yup. And, how many companies terminate employment if the person is ineligible and needs to take more than 2 weeks or whatever she has banked in sick/vacation time.

          Reply
  28. Mr. Bob Dobalina

    OP#2: There are multiple websites that have salary data, though I can’t provide any specific recommendation. I don’t use those sites, so I’m not sure how reliable the data is. (Just google “salary information” and those sites will come up) If you are in the technology or life sciences industries and you have HR friends, they *might* be willing to share Radford data with you in the context of your current job, to see if you are on the high end. (Radford is the big compensation data survey for those industries.) Good luck!

    Reply
  29. Marlene

    My husband is an independent contractor and we claim 3 dependents on our taxes. He withholds 33% of his GROSS pay and submits that quarterly to the federal and state tax agencies. We don’t even count tax write-offs like home office expenses until we file at tax time. We haven’t gotten a refund in years; we owed $700 this year. It’s a lot of taxes and if you mess up, you’ll owe big. You’re going to owe even more if you only claim yourself. If you do end up taking this job as a contractor (as Alison said, it might be illegal), get a good tax accountant.

    Reply
    1. Bea

      And keep solid records of all expenses!

      Btw if you’re an independent contractor legally you have to use your own equipment. Meaning your own computer, etc. So that’ll be something to always consider.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        Using your own equipment is one test of many for IC status, but it’s not a bright line of “legal/illegal”.

        Reply
        1. Bea

          It’s one of the required markers according to the payroll attorney who taught the course I just took. So…it’s a bright red flag if they supply the equipment required for the position.

          Reply
          1. Jessie the First (or second)

            It’s just the “legally you have to” phrasing that I bet Natalie was pointing out, because theoretically in the employee classification world there isn’t one single factor that is entirely dispositive.

            But other than that minor caveat, yes, using company equipment is a bright neon red flag waving frantically in the air that you are in fact an employee!

            Reply
            1. Minerva McGonagall

              Yup – for example, some companies provide laptops to all contractors that need to access certain sensitive IT systems, because they want control over all machines connecting to those networks. Those contractors are also expected to have their own computers for other tasks. It’s not as clear cut as it looks on the surface.

              Reply
  30. Bea

    1. Is your co-worker properly insured to be driving her own vehicle for work related things? Maybe she’s ignoring it thinking you’ll ping her insurance.

    You should be reporting all work place injuries. Now if you did have a fracture or something that didn’t really show itself for a few days, it’ll be harder to classify as a workplace injury and make getting your care paid by the WC insurance.

    She’s weird AF since when that happens it should be an automatic “OMG! Are you okay?” moment but I agree since you didn’t even yelp in pain she probably thought it was a near miss.

    Trunks and doors are so dangerous, people lose fingers that way. I don’t care about a hurry, everyone needs to be mindful of slamming those shut!

    Reply
  31. many bells down

    I’ve been wondering about the independent contractor rules myself. I’m teaching part-time at a private tutoring center which has hired me as a contractor. They don’t control my curriculum, but I’ve had free rein over my curriculum most places I’ve taught and never been a contractor before. The PTO and insurance aren’t issues for me, since I’m already part-time and fully covered.

    I guess I just have a bad feeling in my gut about it. Everyone else there is lovely to work with, but they’re not very organized and I spent all day yesterday re-writing my lesson plan for this week because of a last-minute change they sprang on me, so that may be coloring my feelings right now.

    Reply
    1. thegirlriots

      Do you make your own hours? If they tell you when you have to be there, then you’re an employee. Do you use their materials or supply your own? That’s a big part of being an employee. From what little information you’ve mentioned, it sounds like you’re probably misclassified, which is a pretty big deal.

      Reply
      1. many bells down

        Hm. It’s … sort of? They tell me, for example, that they’re doing a summer camp for 10 weeks, and can I do a 2-hour class from 9-11am? Or they’ll ask me to sub for another class from 3-5 on Saturday. But I don’t work every day, I don’t ever work a full 8 hours, and I’ve never said “No, I can’t teach at those times, how about 12-2?”

        I use both my materials and theirs; I build my own lesson plans and use their copier. If I’m subbing they usually have the materials all ready for me.

        I *feel* like I’m being misclassified, but I’m really not sure. Reading through the law makes me think yes half the time and no the other half.

        Reply
        1. Jessie the First (or second)

          Whether you work a full 8 hours has nothing to do with it. Neither does whether you work every day.

          Think of it more like, are you a freelancer, and this company is a client you’ve signed on to work with? It’s possible they are classifying you correctly – there are tutoring companies that use independent contractors correctly, I think – but it’s more complicated than hours per day, and you could very well be an employee (not a contractor).

          Reply
  32. Glomarization, Esq.

    LW#5, yeah, the organization’s 501(c)(3) status is completely irrelevant as to your status as an employee versus contractor. A non-profit business is still a business and it’s subject to the same employment laws as everybody else.

    Likewise, you’re responsible for your own taxes, health insurance, business insurance, and business expenses. The flexibility you can get in setting your own hours and being your own boss will be had at the price of managing all your own overhead. Read up on filing your quarterly state and federal taxes, obtaining your business liability insurance (in case you close a car trunk door on a colleague!), and managing your paperwork. Contracting can be a job and a half.

    Maybe the job offer is shady, maybe not. You may decide you want the income even if the employer isn’t above-board. You can CYA, though. Maybe form your own business entity to help insulate you from liability if things go south.

    Signed, a solo practitioner lawyer, who’s essentially a “contractor” to her clients

    Reply
  33. Hiring Mgr

    On #4, you do not have to mention any of this when you’re interviewing…People get pregnant all the time, whether planned or not, so please do your interviewing, get hired, and then deal with this when it comes. (My wife went through IVF twice so i have a little experience here..) Also there are a ton of resources on how to incorporate fertility into working life..Happy to provide more info if you like.

    Reply
    1. LBK

      Also there are a ton of resources on how to incorporate fertility into working life.

      I know this probably isn’t what you meant but all I can think of is the Duck Club.

      Reply
  34. Aspiring Contractor

    An aside on contractor positions: Around here (Silicon Valley) it’s very, very common to hire contractors at all levels because it is hard to get headcount. Many of these positions end up being converted into full-time roles once budget is approved to hire. It’s considered a good way to get a foot in the door at big tech companies. BUT contractors are almost always hired through staffing companies, so you are still an employee of the staffing company and don’t have to worry about payroll taxes, etc. Some even offer benefits, although it’s uncommon. There are also companies that your organization can partner with to help you get set up as an independent contractor.

    It doesn’t sound like this is what’s going on for OP #5, though – definitely sounds like they are trying to illegally hire an “independent contractor.” Hope it works out, whatever you decide!

    Reply
    1. Misclassified

      Staffing agencies supply a different kind of contractor, and they only share the same term because of ambiguities in language. In fact, of the four employer/worker relationships I can think of, three can reasonably be called contractors.

      1. There’s the regular ol’ at-will employee.
      2. There’s the rarer at-contract employee. Think workers subject to a CBA or some other contract which governs the details of the working relationship. My father taught at a private school and was hired on a year-to-year basis subject to a contract, so he’d have been an at-contract employee.
      3. Independent contractors.
      4. Contracted-out employees. These are what staffing agencies supply. You can also think of them as temps or borrowed employees. They’re often at-will employees of the staffing agency.

      Reply
  35. Anonymeece

    I can also say that this is not just for your benefit! Managing a family member can certainly be hard, but *being managed* by a family member isn’t that great either. I worked for my mom and dad’s business for quite some time and it was miserable for many reasons. So don’t feel bad about standing firm and not hiring her!

    Reply
  36. Misclassified

    #5 The arrangement is most likely illegal. The IRS takes a very dim view of independent contractor relationships. Without getting into the thirteen factor test, very, very generally, you basically have to be your own boss to be an IC. It really comes down to whether the employer has the right (not that it’s necessarily exercised) to control what the worker does and how it’s done and whether the worker has the ability to realize gain/suffer loss beyond a normal salary.

    My old job misclassified me. I had a very negative working relationship with them towards the end, and I was running up on deadlines, so I filed Form SS-8 with the IRS while still working for them. Within two months of the employer receiving notice I had filed that determination request, the IRS determined I was an employee. The employer, though, most likely got away with not paying any back taxes or penalties because of Section 530 safe harbor. At least I got my money back. After I filed, they tried telling me that I should have offset the extra payroll taxes by taking $30k in business deductions (claim a home office when I didn’t have one, depreciate my car fully each year, depreciate my laptop fully each year, etc). It was very shady, and it caused all sorts of stress I’m still recovering from over a year later.

    Unless you truly think you have your own business and are self-employed, don’t do it.

    Reply
      1. Misclassified

        I know. I took a very liberal estimate one time and was only able to come up with $14k. And I knew most of those expenses would’ve resulted in an audit and plenty of back taxes owed.

        Reply
  37. Elsadora

    I know this is off topic but is anyone else on this board having trouble w the site freezing. Particularly comments

    Reply
  38. kzkz

    #4, I’m probably on the bandwagon here, but as someone else who has gone through fertility treatments, the best advice anyone ever gave me was to keep living your life as best you can and don’t think nine months in the future. You just don’t know what’s going to happen, and the worst is to forego something you want because you think “if I get pregnant, this won’t work! Better say no!”, and then you aren’t pregnant and it’s lose/lose. If that starts to pile up, it’s the *worst*. I finally just started saying yes to things and figured “well, if this round of IVF works, the worst case is that I’ll have to cancel this expensive vacation (or whatever), but that will mean that IVF worked, so I’m OK with that.” I totally agree that you need a job where you can reasonably take a day or two off here or there with relatively little notice, and possibly have flexible hours to accommodate monitoring if your clinic doesn’t have pre-work appts, and Alison is right to consider FMLA or maternity leave policies realistically, but beyond that– just live your life in the now. Best of luck with everything!!

    Reply
  39. RUKiddingMe

    OP#1: Did you see a doctor? I’m glad your arm seems to be ok, but there could be lasting effects that you might not be aware of without having it x-rayed or something. I mean I wold think this would be a worker’s comp kind of situation…Alison?

    Reply

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