short answer Saturday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s short answer Saturday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. How soon is too soon to ask for a raise?

I graduated college in December with a BA. I applied for a job in an area where the cost-of-living is higher than where I was living, and in my first-post-college-job-offer excitement, I accepted the low-ball salary ($45k) that was offered to me. (In my interview with them, they told me the salary range was from $45k to $55k, depending on education and experience. The education requirement for the job was high school diploma, and I have a BA. I also have 3 years of experience doing similar work in the same industry. I worked before finishing college. I wasn’t a traditional student.) So at this point, I’ve been working for this company for 2 months and I’m really kicking myself for not negotiating my salary. I just really wanted to move to this new area and was excited about the offer. Now that the honeymoon phase is over, I’m realizing that I’m barely making it with the higher cost of living (in my old state, I would be doing just fine). How and when (or should?) I approach my manager and/or HR about asking for a raise? I know that it was my responsibility during the offer phase to negotiate and that they are in no way obligated to adjust my salary over 2 months after I accepted the offer, but would it hurt to ask? 

While this sucks, you did accept the salary. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re worth more; you agreed to take the job on those terms, and it’s not going to reflect well on you if two months in you ask for a raise. You’ll look naive and like you don’t understand how business works, and they’ll be annoyed that you didn’t think the salary through before accepting it.

In general, you really shouldn’t ask for a raise before a year is up, unless something has dramatically changed about the job, or unless you are proving yourself to be far more incredible at the job than anyone anticipated (in which case, you could ask after about six months, but even then it’s usually a stretch).

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Explaining that I moved around with my fiance

I was beginning my working adult life when I ended up moving states for my fiancee, who I had been doing long-distance with. We were in that state for a few short months when he was laid off and offered another (amazing) opportunity in another state. All the while I was looking for work but never able to find anything. Since during these past 6 months I haven’t been working, what’s the best way to respond to a potential employer when asked why I left my current job/why haven’t I been working? I feel as though it equally looks as bad because not only did I just move around for a guy but I had only gotten my foot in the door with 2 years experience under my belt…not really enough for this economy to easily land something.

I hate the way it sounds when I say “Oh, my fiancee’s career and I’m just following, so that’s how I ended up in X” but am coming to a loss as to any other way to answer it.

You don’t need to give all the detail about the two moves. You can just say that you moved to be with your fiance. There’s no need to mention that there was an additional state in there before your current one.

3. I hit a car in the parking lot when I arrived for my interview

I totally bombed my interview I had yesterday. It was for a great job that I needed and was perfect for. It all started with my husband leaving me at the last minute with our son and having to drive him to the babysitters. I still got to the interview 10 minutes early, but as I was pulling into my parking spot my brakes stopped working and I tapped the bumper of the car next to me. I was panicking about my interview so I just parked my car next to her and ran in. ( I know, so stupid of me, I should have taken care of it before my interview.) Well, I was so overwhelmed with the car that I couldn’t relax or focus on anything the interviewer was saying. I was so panicked about taking care of the car, and I was worried that someone saw and was going to tell her the second I walked out of her office.

After the interview was over, I went to the receptionist and told her what happened and asked her if she could find whose car it was. She said that they share the lot with two other buildings and that they didn’t know whose car it was. I stayed in my car waiting for an hour and a half for this person to walk out and they didn’t. So finally I left a note with all of my information on it with a phone number to reach me when they got the note. It’s two days later and they still have not called me. I have given up all hope of getting this job, but I don’t know how to make this right.

Um, you did make it right. You left a note with your information, which is standard practice if you hit a car when the owner isn’t around. The fact that they haven’t called you probably means that you didn’t do any damage — you said that you just tapped the bumper, which … well, that’s why we have bumpers. Relax and put this behind you.

4. What should I tell my boss about why I’m leaving?

I moved across the country four years ago with my then-fiance, and now we have split up. Luckily we have been able to live together temporarily without much stress or drama, but both he and I know this isn’t a good arrangement and I need to leave soon. I want to return to the west coast but I’ve had no luck finding a job so far (long-distance job searching is rough, but there are many more prospects there in my field). Thankfully I have friends and/or family I can stay with when I get there, so I’m going with or without a job in the next few weeks.

What do I tell my boss when I give my notice? We get along great and I know he will be sad to see me go, but I am worried about how it would sound to say “my relationship fell apart and I’m going home.” We don’t talk personal lives; he knew I (was) engaged and that’s about it. I just don’t want to sound flaky or crazy and I’m going to want his reference hopefully soon. Do I have to give a specific reason? Do I say something vague like “family reasons”? I’ve always left one job for another so this has never been an issue.

I think you’re probably over-thinking this. I’d just say that you’re moving back to the west coast, and if he asks why, you can say that you and your fiance split up and you’re returning to be with family.

5. How much can future employers see on Facebook?

How much can future employers see on Facebook without my permission? I’m not friends with any of them, but I complained about a rotten condo board member on a couple of recent posts. It was about a legitimate, truthful grievance regarding jerky behavior from a condo board member where I live, not work for the building; if anything, the board works for me, and, most importantly, this is not confidential material. (If anything, I’m telling all the neighbours I can so he doesn’t get re-elected.) My Facebook is set so only a few people can see my posts. I even heavily limit which of my friends can see them. Is there some way a future employer can dig into my Facebook page anyway?

Your privacy settings on Facebook work the same for employers as they do for anyone else. There’s no special employer exemption. That said, privacy settings are notoriously unreliable, and people regularly seem to discover that settings have changed.

6. Negotiating for more vacation time

I’m in the middle of a job search, and am wondering about negotiation. I don’t have an issue for asking for more money, but what are the chances of negotiating something like additional vacation time instead? I’ve been working for a university for 8 years, and now accrue a little over 4 weeks of vacation time per year. I see two possible job options: One is at a different branch of the university, and one is with a different company. If I were offered both jobs, I’d honestly prefer the one with the different company. I believe their starting salary is higher than my current pay (or likely my pay with the other university job). Is it unheard of to ask to start with more than the standard two weeks of vacation time?

Nope. People negotiate for more vacation time all the time. Sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t, but you can certainly try.

7. Going to school but looking for a full-time job

I’ve been looking for another job for the past year or so, and I just got called in for an interview for a position I’m very interested in. However, I recently got accepted into grad school. It’s after work/weekends and two courses a semester for two years — specifically tailored to students working full-time positions. Should I disclose this information at my interview, or wait till I get an offer and then inform them? I don’t want a possible employer to think I’m will not be as committed or not focused on the position if I was hired and give the position to someone not in grad school. I want to convey that I’m motivated to learn new skills and hope to apply my coursework to my new position if possible. Any advice on how to disclose this?

It’s fine to bring it up in the interview, since if they have a problem with it, you want to know that now. However, I’d actually just put it on your resume, since there’s not necessarily going to be a natural opening for bringing it up in an interview.

{ 78 comments… read them below }

  1. Josh S*

    #3: Hitting car in the parking lot

    I’m sorry that the little mishap on the way to the interview messed things up for you. That sort of distraction sucks.

    One thing I always say when parallel parking in the city, “They don’t call them ‘missers,’ they call them ‘bumpers‘–and there’s a reason for that.” A ding on the bumper is not the end of the world. You did the right thing by leaving your information. Nothing else to do.

    1. Josh S*

      AAM’s advice is dead on for #4. Be sure that you tell your both…erm, “boss”– that you have loved working there because of [fill in the blank with reasons that you liked working there]. See if he will be willing to be a reference for you before you head out of town.

      And good luck with the job hunt!

      Keep the chin up–breaking up with a fiancee isn’t easy. But it’s a LOT easier than getting into a marriage with the wrong person!

      1. OP#4*

        Thank you! I will keep the chin up. :) I know it’s the right decision, and I also know that I’m overthinking it (due to being overly emotional and analytical, given the situation I’m in). Thanks for the reminder that it actually is very simple.

  2. Josh S*

    #5: Facebook visibility
    (Sorry for posting multiple comments in a row. I just think that the threads get confusing when people comment about several questions in the same post, and then the responses refer to different parts… Easier to keep the threads separate this way if you ask me…)

    You can set your privacy on Facebook so that only friends can see posts–nobody else. And it sounds like you’ve done that, even restricting posts to sub-groups of friends rather than everybody. So if you’re committed to using social networks to keep in touch with people, you are probably doing as much as possible to keep your private information outside the view of other people.

    HOWEVER, there is no guarantee that an employer wouldn’t see your posts anyway. They might friend you. They might become friends with a mutual friend/connection and see your posts in their “ticker” if your mutual friend comments on your post. Facebook might reset everyone’s privacy settings to “Public” and you’re just hosed. There are no guarantees.

    Further, even if Facebook had a good track record of keeping people’s privacy (which they don’t), there’s no guarantee that a friend wouldn’t re-post or share or otherwise forward your information in a way that made it more visible to a potential employer.

    Rule of thumb: If it’s posted online, it’s public and it’s forever. Between Google Cache, server backups, data replication, people sharing your stuff, and the millions of ways your information is loaned/traded/sold to third parties, the things you post online will be available forever. So if you want to keep something out of the hands of someone else, don’t post it online!

    On the other hand, most employers don’t care about your spats with your condo board. So long as you aren’t being horribly unprofessional in your rantings (calling them racial slurs or swearing horribly or threatening them with violence or the like), it’s unlikely to matter.

    Rule of thumb 2: If you wouldn’t say it to/in front of your grandmother, don’t say it online.

    Recognizing and following those two rules ought to keep you in safe territory. Good luck with the job hunt!

    1. Amina*

      Thanks, josh A, that’s excellent advice. & while I’d totally tell my grandmother about the condo board jerk, on reflection, there’s no need to risk it being made public so someone could take it the wrong way.

      & thank you for your good wishes! I’m apparently priced out of the current legal market, so it’s tough going!

      1. Josh S*

        Yeah, I don’t think that complaining about the jerk on the condo board is a bad thing, necessarily. Unless you’re doing it using words that you wouldn’t use in front of your grandma. Just keep the tone away from being jerkish yourself (or using slurs, swears, or other bad stuff) and you’re in the clear.

    2. Anonymous*

      On privacy settings, on Facebook and other similar sites: always remember that precisely zero of Facebook’s customers want there to be any privacy settings at all. All of their customers want everything to be public.

      1. Pamela G*

        This comment confuses me… unless you’re being sarcastic? There are plenty of Facebook users who want privacy settings. I use my Facebook to interact with close friends and family and to post pictures of my children for interstate relatives etc. I have it on the maximum privacy setting. I don’t accept friend requests from strangers or even acquaintances, only close friends. I regularly check my account details and privacy settings to make sure nothing has changed. So I don’t accept that everyone wants everything to be public.

        1. Esra*

          Facebook users want privacy settings, but their advertising customers don’t. At least, that’s how I read anon’s comment.

        2. AB*

          Users and customers are not referring to the same group. You don’t pay to use Facebook…thus, you are not a customer. Their customers are all the advertisers getting all those ads to show up all over your page based on the words in your postings. THEY want it public, naturally. Clearer?

    3. JT*

      “If you wouldn’t say it to/in front of your grandmother, don’t say it online.”

      This advice, which is common, really disturbs me. It suggests we can’t argue online. It means that who hold certain non-mainstream beliefs, or are not “average in other ways” (for example, in terms of sexuality), will have one less space to find other people like themselves. It means that the internet, which can be so powerful in helping people deal with persona troubles like disease and addiction, is off-limits if we want to be “prudent.”

      It’s advice that is prudent for the individual in the short term, but wrong for society. We should be pushing for respect for privacy – not just technical + legal privacy, but societal privacy, where when we have the opportunity to learn what someone said in a moderately private space we respect that and don’t hold it against them, in the same way that just because someone says something in a written diary we don’t hold it against them if we somehow had access to it.

      It reminds me of advice people gave about living in inner cities in the 70s: “Get out.” Which was perhaps good for people who could leave, but contributed to the decline of the community as a whole. A better message would be “Rebuild.” Do the right thing. Don’t encourage decline.

      I’d urge everyone thinking about privacy and online communication to read two things:

      Essay by danah boyd on power and privacy onine:

      An interesting story showing the value of respecting privacy:

      1. Josh S*

        You raise an interesting point. Perhaps the rule of thumb shouldn’t be “If you wouldn’t say it to/in front of your grandmother, don’t say it online,” but rather, “If you wouldn’t say it to/in front of your grandmother like that (or in those words), don’t say it online.”

        It’s less about content than it is about tone. It’s one thing to complain about a lousy condo board member. It’s an entirely different thing to call that same condo board member a “F***ing A**hole” or even a “bribe-taking corrupt thief”.

        So yeah, there’s definitely room to argue. (I’d argue a point in front of my grandma.) There’s room to argue directly with your grandma (I’ve stood up for President Obama in front of my wife’s grandma, who has said, “What kind of name is that? Barack Hussein Obama!? He doesn’t even look black–he looks like a Muslim!” Ugh…). There’s even room to hold outside-the-mainstream views (legalization of marijuana, for instance) and press the point with your grandma.

        But you wouldn’t drop the F-Bomb (I hope) in front of her. You wouldn’t use derogatory language for women or minorities or whatever in front of her. You wouldn’t, generally, be a flat-out jerk in front of her. And that is the sort of standard you want to keep to online.

        As for privacy online, I find it an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, yes, you’d like to believe that some things are at least semi-private. If you share something with a select group of friends, it would be good/proper if that stayed within that group of friends. But since the internet is written language it’s very easy to copy something to present it to a wider audience in a way that’s not (normally) possible with something that is spoken among friends in person. An email can be forwarded. A FB post can be shared. Etc etc etc. And because it’s written, it’s much harder to deny that you said it or that it was taken out of context, etc.

        This is why I say that you can never *assume* something is 100% private. Yeah, you can take precautions. You can trust that your friends won’t be jerks and forward your vitriol for a co-worker to your boss (or that co-worker). But you better be sure that trust is merited, because it can be hugely damaging if it leaks.

        The balance of trust and privacy online is a matter that is evolving. I hope that it shakes out the way you say–that we can trust things to be semi-private. But until we know for sure, better safe than sorry, IMO.

        1. JT*

          At some point in the future it will certainly be technically possible and not expensive to record the voices of people from a distance, and use computers to transform that speech to text that can be easily searched, as well as connect it to individuals through facial recognition technology.

          At that point, there will (in terms of technology) be no privacy in speech, at least outside.

          Unless we as a society push for social and legal protections against privacy, when that happens I guess we’ll all have to be “better safe than sorry” in speaking outside.

    4. Pamela G*

      Re: #5 Facebook visibility
      Once you have your privacy settings the way you want them, you can also click on a button at the top of your profile that says ‘View Profile As’ and you can choose anyone from your friends list or the general public to see what you could see of your profile if you were them. It’s a good way to check if you’ve actually blocked certain people from seeing certain things or not, and always useful to check what the general public can see of your profile.

      1. Josh S*

        Which doesn’t help if Facebook decides to change their policy one day and revoke/reset all your privacy and groups. Or to release private information to 3rd party advertisers.

        This has happened before. There’s no guarantee it won’t happen again. And knowing the software development culture they have at Facebook (Hack it together til it works…we’ll fix the bugs later), it’s likely to happen again.

        1. Corporate Cliff*

          The nice thing about FB being as big as they are, is the moment that happens, every blog in the world will be talking about it (usually in a The World is Ending tone), and you’ll have what should be ample time to resolve it.

    5. sab*

      Rule of Thumb 2 is a fantastic rule. I never posted anything too ridiculous or embarrassing, but after I accepted my grandmother’s friend request back in 2007, I became very mindful of my Facebook posts. I was annoyed at first that I had to watch myself (she would call my dad up if she saw something amiss on my teenage siblings’ profiles), but honestly, I’m glad now because I don’t have anything to worry about while job-hunting.

    6. Anonymous*

      I use a slightly different rule of thumb. Mine is: Don’t say anything online about someone that you would not say directly to that person. I figure that if I would be embarrassed to have to explain to my boss why I said that he’s a complete chowderhead or if I’d rather not have to justify why I said an aquaintance’s band sounded like a bunch of cats in heat (only less in tune), then I don’t bother posting it online. This rule has served me well, because I’ve found that people love to stir up the pot by making sure the subjects know they are being talked about. I save my true venting for either emails with *very* trusted confidants or for nights out at the bar where there’s no written record and some plausible deniability.

    7. Another Brit*

      Its also worth noting that putting comments on either an organisations page or your own profile but tagging the company CAN usually be seen outside of your privacy settings and by general public.

    8. Shane*

      I do two things to see exactly how my privacy settings are working.

      The first is to create a dummy Facebook account with a false name which I use to look up my own account (made before they implimented the “View Profile as…” option. I still check from time to time). If I can’t find my account with a search then I am happy. I give friends the url for my account so they can find me directly.

      The second is I do a google search for myself once in a while and see what comes up. This not only helps me check my own profiles but also comes in handy in case someone with the same name as myself has less secure privacy settings.

      I have less to worry about due to strict privacy laws in Canada but as I am in the middle of a job search at the moment I don’t want to take chances. If an employer wants to know about me they can always schedule an interview.

  3. Anonymous*

    Re: 1. How soon is too soon to ask for a raise?

    I would be happy with a 45K starting salary, especially as a fresh grad. Money will come as you progress in your career. Yes you have a BA, but you still haven’t proven yourself in the workforce yet. I can tell you that my starting salary with a college degree wasn’t even near yours.

    1. same anonymous*

      He specified that he was a non-traditional student with prior work experience doing similar work in the same industry. I still agree with Alison’s advice though.

      1. Lindsay H.*

        I was thinking the exact same thing! My first job out of college I was making $9 an hour and had to dress up as the Easter Bunny during the Easter season.

        With regards to having prior work experience, as Alison said, that should have been brought up as leverage in the job offer stage.

        1. same anonymous*

          I agree 100% regarding the fact that this should have been brought up during the job offer process if OP wanted to negotiate. I also think its important to remember (not for reasons outlined in the OP’s question) that not all recent grads are the same. Many of them have lots of experience and shouldn’t be comparing themselves with a traditional 21-22 year old new grad with no full time experience.

          I know this has nothing to do with it being inappropriate to ask for a raise so early. I just think that the OP being a new grad doesn’t automatically mean that they are in the same category as most new grads. There are many people with several years of relevant experience who don’t get a degree until later on. Of course, it’s also his/her job as the candidate to be able to “market” his/her skills in the interview and offer process. So it goes both ways…

          Just my .02

          1. Anonymous*

            What kind of experience would a new grad have? Summer work and internships don’t count nearly as much as a full-time job experience.

            1. jj*

              Remember that just because someone is a recent grad, it doesn’t mean they are 20 or 21. They may have worked for a few years or a few decades before they sought a college degree.

        2. same anonymous*

          I also don’t think 45,000 sounds that bad even for 3 years and a BA.

          1. Natalie*

            It really depends on the city. $45K gross might be doable or even comfortable in much of country, but if the letter writer is living somewhere like NYC it doesn’t really go that far.

            1. Kimberlee*

              I don’t believe that. I live on $10,000 less than that in DC and I do fine. People live in NYC on minimum wage, right?

              1. Anonymous*

                Natalie’s right.

                If you want to get technical, it depends on what borough you are living and working in. One of the outer boroughs (Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) might allow you to live on $45K or less. I would definitely say to get by on $45K in a decent Manhattan apartment is a difficult feat.

                In any of the boroughs at $10K…while there are people who live and work in NYC at minimum wage, they do not have much left to enjoy life with. And let’s not include taxes; even if you do not live in NYC (say you live in Connecticut or New Jersey), you have to pay taxes to NYC if you work in the city.

                New York City ain’t cheap – to live, work, or play!

              2. Natalie*

                Aside from what Anonymous has said, we don’t know the OP’s situation. Maybe they have student loans or other debt. Maybe they have a kid.

                1. AP*

                  Agreed – I make 45K a year and live in Brooklyn and it’s fine. That said, if I had student loans, a child, a cat, heath insurance payments – any sort of dependent creature or large monthly bills going out, I would be very nervous.

        3. Evan the College Student*

          Not in every major and company, though. I’ve got an internship this summer with a salary that’d work out to >$70,000/year.

    2. Frances*

      We don’t need to turn this into a race to the bottom, especially without knowing the specifics of OP’s situation and industry. “I made $10k my first year out of school and I was grateful for every penny! So quit complaining!” and so on is not going to be very helpful for someone who just moved to SF or NYC and learned the hard way that $45k doesn’t go very far if you have student loans or other big bills (or dependents).

      1. Kimberlee*

        You’re right. I JUST wrote a column about middle class people complaining about their salaries, so it got me all riled up for this, which has nothing to do with someone really complaining about their salary. :) It sounds like it’s totally plausible that OP could have gotten more if they’d negotiated, and it’s unfortunate that they didn’t, since things like education and past experience have a lot more leverage in the offer stage than after you’ve been working there. Sorry OP. :(

      2. Riki*

        Agreed. The question is can the OP ask for the raise after two months of employment and the answer is no. End of story. No point in arguing about whether or not 45K is “enough” or not. The best thing for the OP to do is to focus on doing the very best job s/he can do so when they time comes for a salary/annual review, they can ask for AND get that raise.

        Anyway, I have lived in Manhattan most of my life and I can say from personal experience that you can get by on 45K as long as you don’t have any other huge monthly obligations (loan or credit card repayments, kids, pets) other than rent/utilities and live frugally. If the OP has to make a $400 student loan repayment on top of the usual monthly bills, it’s going to hurt a bit.

  4. Jay*

    Re: #7

    FYI: Some areas (DC, where I do hiring, for instance) prohibit discrimination based on matriculation, meaning that an employer cannot discriminate based on your being in school or prospects of going to school.

  5. Rana*

    Re: #3, I read this as the OP wanting to make it right with regards to the interview (which didn’t go as well as desired because the OP was distracted by what had just happened with the car), not making it right with the car’s owner.

    I’d guess it’s too late now to do much about it, but maybe a brief call to the receptionist saying something along the lines of “I’m the person who accidentally hit that car last week, and I was wondering if you’d heard anything from the person whose car it was. I’m sorry that it made me so distracted during the interview; I just kept thinking about it.” or such. (This would only work in a small office, where the odds of the receptionist talking to the interviewers in the breakroom are high.)

    1. Evan the College Student*

      That’s how I read it, too. Maybe the OP could mention it in her thank-you note to the interviewers? Or do you think that’d be calling too much attention to it?

    2. Andrea*

      I’m frankly more concerned about how she got home if her brakes stopped working.

      1. Josh S*

        LOL. Really!

        (I’m guessing that “My brakes suddenly stopped working” = “I missed the break pedal”…but I dunno…)

      2. Ann*

        I wanted to make the same comment–it’s like she glossed right over a seemingly very concerning defect in her car!

  6. Steve G*

    #1 ruffled my feathers. I am a NYC resident, live 1 mile from Manhattan in a nice area. On $45K (without a car) you pay $1000-1100 to share an apartment and live ok – not a swinging lifestyle, but can afford some extras now and then.

    And for a new grad to think they are worth more when the labor market is so tight will make them a laughing stock of their company’s HR. I think people in the age bracket of a new grad confuse doing good and meeting (high) expectations with going above and beyond and deserving of a raise.

    Further, unless we are in boom times, the “system” was set up so new grads struggle a little, have to share apartments, eat in to “survive,” and all of that. There shouldn’t be an expectation of living an upper middle class lifestyle in the first few years after graduation, even if that is how you grew up.

    Granted, it can be very painful living on a budget around people who have money and do what they want. And I presume that is the case if you live in an expensive city. So I wish you luck with that.

    1. Anonymous*

      People get all upset when someone young comes along, asking a question that to everyone else makes them appear to holding an entitlement attitude. I look at it this way – they are asking someone who is willing to answer their question before they make a fool of themselves to their companies.

      1. Steve G*

        I get your point, but if you’ve ever worked with someone like this, it doesn’t matter that much (does a little) they are open minded to asking, rather than just being entitled and not questioning it. Because it still takes time away from the real work at hand – you end up feeling like you have to do something to make the self-entitled young person feel good about their situation, taking energy away from helping customers and solving real problems. In NYC, I think the person would have a strong case if they started at $40K or below. $40-42K, depends on the employer and workload. People who make $40K or less and get by hear don’t do so completely on their own dime . Anything above $42K, they don’t have enough experience. The rumors you hear about needing to make $70K+ just to get by are if you want to live in Manhattan or Williamsburg or Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Young people that lived in such areas in their former cities don’t get that despite NY being a world capital, the standard of living is lower here. They want to insulate themselves in the aformentioned ‘hoods so they don’t have to see the poverty, and unattrative housing, and streets with no trees, huges areas without real grocery stores or restaurants, etc. because they didn’t have to deal witht those things from where they came. So I suspect the person is living in an apartment in a hood they just about qualified for and now realizing they really cant afford it.

    2. AD*

      #7: You should bring it up at some point, because this can be something that enters into salary negotiations. Many large companies have tuition reimbursement policies, and many small companies don’t have official policies, but may be willing to consider paying some of it.

    3. The Snarky B*

      Someone else commented above about not making this a race to the bottom, and I think you should check it out. There are factors here that you don’t know about and yet you feel you have the right to determine how much other people should be living on. This is one of this biggest problems with regard to socioeconomic discrepancies: people can’t get out of their own heads enough to consider someone else’s circumstances and how they might be particularly difficult or even just non-normative. We don’t know here the age of the O.P. She or he says that they are not a traditional student. So maybe it doesn’t make sense here to comment about the age bracket of recent grads. We also don’t know where this person is living, and regardless of whatever your experience is, $45k is not an “upper middle class lifestyle” everywhere. It’s just not. We also don’t know that this is a single person. Perhaps they are supporting a family or supporting their parents. Perhaps there’s a reason they can’t live with roommates (anxiety disorder, or any other range of reasons). Even more likely, and possibly more commonly, it’s important for us to recognize that particularly if this person didn’t grow up middle class, if they struggled to get to college and managed to do it AND graduate, they’ve accomplished something the system isn’t set up for, and that’s something to be proud of. It also means that they would likely have had to work through college, possibly sending money home, and now have (word of the year) LOANS! Loans are a real killer on a budget, and the interest rates make it incredibly dangerous/stupid to pay the minimum.
      I think it’s important to consider all of these things; when I do, my conclusion is to not comment on how much I think this person needs.

      1. Natalie*

        “$45k is not an “upper middle class lifestyle” everywhere. ”

        Hell, in the US $45K is not an upper middle class lifestyle anywhere. 50% of US families gross above that.

        1. Steve G*

          I didn’t say $45K is upper middle class. I said recent grads shouldn’t expect to live an upper middle class lifestyle, i.e., someone making $45K isn’t living an upper middle class lifestlye.

      2. Steve G*

        Good points, but your3r3 argument means that there should be a correlation between an individual’s expenses, which can differ greatly, and income. Would you agree with someone who went to private school getting a larger paycheck than a public school grad? As per being proud of a college graduate, that is something for the graduate to be proud of, not an employer. The effort one took from a personal perspective to get through school can be a strong point of conversation during the interview, but shouldn’t affect income.

  7. Amy*

    #1- Where on earth are jobs paying 45k a year salary for a position that requires a HS diploma? Or did Iread this wrong…?

    1. Steve G*

      I know corporate jobs like this in NYC. For example, if someone has strong business analysis skills AND customer service experience. The 2 usually don’t come in the same person. So I’ve seen that type of person get hired w/ a 2 yr degree, and the add saying “HS diploma, degree preferred.” But the HS diploma always seemed to be the bare bone necessity, not really an acceptable level of education in and of itself.

  8. Krys*

    To #3 – you definitely did the right thing! I’ve had people hit my car in parking lots a few times, and I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the people who actually left notes – even if that damage wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s the right thing to do & I really respect you for doing it!

  9. Eric*

    Regarding #5

    Don’t put anything on the Internet you don’t want to be public knowledge.

    I’ll repeat myself.

    Don’t put anything on the Internet you don’t want to be public knowledge.

    Privacy settings are notoriously unreliable in the fact that you can never quite be sure if you got everything. While the average employer might not be able to pick up things, somebody doing a thorough back ground check will be able to dig stuff up if you forgot one check mark somewhere, or if you have twitter tied to FB, or if you log into other websites with FB, or one of your friends retweeted something or shared your post, etc. Facebook and Google are there to make your information available to people who buy it. You are not the customer. You are the product being sold.

    It’s good to have a healthy paranoia regarding using social media. My own check is that I have my pastor as a FB friend, so I don’t post anything I know wouldn’t fly at church.

  10. Anonymouse*

    #1, It would absolutely hurt to ask. If you ask for a raise, they are going to start thinking about your replacement. It’s definitely not a risk-less situation. A young lady that I know from the local park did just this a few months ago, was turned down, and now she’s been told that she needs to find a new job within the next week.

    She also confused not getting by with not being able to afford the luxuries. Unless you are bringing a bologna sandwich to work every day, got rid of cable, stay in on the weekends, walk dogs or get a part-time job on the weekends for extra money, and haven’t purchased a new item of clothing in a year, you are confusing them as well.

  11. Ali_R*

    While I am not currently in the position to be hiring, I have to say the word fiance drives me crazy the way it is used. Call me old fashioned, but unless you have a ring and a date, that’s just shacking up. Call the person you’re living with what it is, your partner, your mate, your whatever. When you call them your fiance and don’t have a ring and a date (sometime in the reasonable future), you sound immature to me. I can understand long engagements finishing schooling or other extenuating circumstances, but to save up enough? Do you love them or not? Can’t you commit without a giant gala?

    It sounds to me so much more mature if you refer to your partner as just that, your partner. I cringe when I read these posts speaking of fiances being responsible for career decisions. If a person says to me they moved to be with their partner, that’s completely reasonable. When they say fiance and aren’t including that they won’t be available the second week of November, that screams shacking up!

    Call it what it is, I’ll respect you a whole lot more.

    1. Anonymous*

      But you don’t know their exact situation since they aren’t discussing with AAM their love life. Don’t jump the gun and be so hard on them. And why worry about it? It just sounds like they are offending you when it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Every situation is different and people will live their lives the way they see fit.

    2. Andrea*

      I’m pretty judgmental–only because I know what is best for everyone, ha–but even I read this and thought, “Wow…And how does this affect you, exactly? Why does it matter?” We’re all entitled to have our opinions, so that’s something. For the record, I believe that many people use the term “fiance” to mean that they are planning to get married eventually, even if they haven’t set a date yet. But even if they just want to, ahem, “shack up” indefinitely, that’s not really anyone else’s business.

      1. KellyK*

        I agree. It shouldn’t matter, particularly not to someone you work with, how serious your relationship is or when you get to “really” call someone your fiance.

        Long engagements in particular are a really silly thing to hold against someone. (My hubby and I were engaged for two years. I did have a ring that whole time and a date probably a year in advance, so maybe that doesn’t count as “shacking up.”)

    3. Anonymouse*

      Kids these days. It always puzzles me as well. I’ve known more than one woman whose boyfriend is not actually aware that he’s her fiance. Usually she says they’re engaged because he talks about how many kids he wants when he’s drunk, so she’s positive he means to marry her. In my day, we called this “dating.” And I’m not yet quite 100. But what can you do except shrug?

      1. Laura L*

        Yeah, it’s definitely important that the partner knows you want to marry them and that they also want to marry you. Or, get a civil union or be together for the rest of your lives.

        If the other person is unaware of your plan, they aren’t really your fiance….

        1. KellyK*

          Yeah….someone who doesn’t know you consider them your fiance isn’t your fiance–they’re the boyfriend/girlfriend of someone with issues.

    4. OP#4*

      Well, I can only speak for myself (you might be referring to OP#2, but since I also referred to my fiance…) we “shacked up” for 8 years and have been engaged for 4. Believe me, I’m more than aware that our long engagement has offended the sensibilities of many (in both of our traditional families) but the two of us planning a wedding back home on the other coast while each in process of getting an MD or PhD was too much.

      I usually introduced him by his name. The ring usually tipped people off (including my boss) to the fact that we were engaged. I don’t really like the word fiance at all, but it is what he was. I didn’t use the word to legitimize our relationship.

      We were both aware that we were engaged. Just didn’t work out.

      To each, her own.

      1. Anonymous*

        I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

        While it’s none of my business, though, if I was holding on to 4 years of engagement, I don’t think I would have gone through with getting married. While I understand you were earning your respective degrees, I never understood why people got engaged only to not do anything in regards to actually getting married.

        To each her own, like you said. You live and learn.

  12. Anonymous*

    For the Facebook question:

    Facebook has been known in the past to change the way people can set their privacy settings and have all of the settings revert back to the default setting of making everything public. Make sure you read any announcements about when things get changed and be prepared to sit there and fiddle with the controls once they do change.

    Also, FB has a setting now where you can view your profile as someone else – whether it is a specific friend, a group, or the public. Use it, and check it often.

  13. Anonymous*

    #1 (How soon to ask for a raise)

    This question just illustrates the importance of the negotiations after being offered the job. I agree with AAM’s opinion that asking for a raise this soon will make the person seem naive.

    You also have to factor in how much of a raise are you really expecting them to give you after 2 months on the job? If they miraculously agreed to grant you a raise I would anticipate it in the 3% range which means the OP would end up with approximately $25 a week BEFORE taxes. I honestly don’t think that is going to be worth the risk of asking for a raise after 2 months.

    I find many of my current co-workers complaining about “needing a raise” without really doing the math on how much a realistic raise is going to be. Sometimes the only real option is to market yourself into a new position with a new employer and then open up the negotiations with your current employer once you find out what your true market value is.

  14. Jamie*

    I know it’s too late for the OP from #1 – but something to consider when you’re being hired in at the low end of a salary range is to negotiate for to reevaluate compensation at 6 months.

    That’s different than asking for a raise. It’s a meeting after a reasonable amount of time to see if the lower salary is appropriate and gives them a chance to bump it up once they see what you can do.

    I did that with my current job and they put it in the offer letter. I felt a whole lot stronger going in after 6 months under my belt than I would have trying to convince them to trust me on my skills pre-hire. It’s nice to have a set time to touch base with your boss to address this as well as how things are going over all – make sure you’re on the same page.

  15. Andy Lester*

    Re: #5 and Facebook visibility

    Go read this tale of Facebook security circumvention.

    “Is anyone in the audience a friend of this woman on Facebook?” Immediately, several hands shot up. I pointed to the first person there, and reached into my wallet. “So, here’s a hundred bucks. Can I login to Facebook as you?”–not-personal-or-professional/article/236617/

    If you’ve put it out on the Net, regardless of what you think is “private”, it’s out there for potentially anyone to see. Or at least anyone who’s willing to put some time and not-that-much-money into digging for it.

  16. agence référencement*

    J’aimerai collecter quelques avis sur ceci. L’étude des moteurs de recherche et la façon de référencer un site Internet le mieux possible sur les requêtes de recherche des les internautes est connu en tant que SEO. Eclairez moi, s’il vous plait.

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