terse answer Thursday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Coworker yelled at me for calling her by her first name

I’ve been at my new job for about a month now am really comfortable with everyone bar one member of staff in my department. I’m an administrative assistant in a nursing home and I’m currently the youngest worker there at eighteen. One member of staff jumped down my throat the day after I met her when I called her by her first name. I was in no way disrespectful, I used her full first name and pronounced it properly, and I had been introduced to her as “Jane.” She initially said “Call me Mrs Smith,” but then immediately corrected herself with “No, call me Senior Staff Nurse Smith.” One of my peers told me that that was strange, as he had called her “Jane” several times without being reprimanded. Not only do I feel like she was rude in the manner in which she corrected me (she shouted at me and called me “girl”), but I seem to be the only person she has said this to! Every staff member I’ve seen her encounter has called her “Jane.”

I’m worried that she dislikes me and is using her higher position to make me uncomfortable. She is often very sharp with me and once told me that I looked ‘dowdy’ despite being in the same uniform she was. Should I just let it be for a few more weeks to see if she grows out of her apparent distaste for me, or should I bring it up to my supervisor now because it’s making it very uncomfortable to work with a woman I see very often during my working day?

She sound like an ass — “Senior Staff Nurse Smith”? That’s ridiculous; no one is addressed that way. She also sounds like a bully; yelling at you, insulting your appearance, and calling you “girl” crosses the line into unacceptable. Talk to your manager about what’s going on.

P.S. In the interim, everyone please address me as “Senior Blogger Green.”

Read updates to this letter here.

2. I lied on my resume

I embellished my current job title a little on my resume. I bumped it up from associate to coordinator. It wasn’t the best move, but I am very qualified for most positions in my field and currently underemployed due to the economy. When people have seen the equivalent of an entry level position on my resume, they have passed me by. Now this company is getting serious about possibly hiring me. If they do, they will be performing a background check. Is there any way I can remedy this and still get the position?

Sigh. No. It shows an integrity issue. I know the economy sucks, but that doesn’t mean you can lie on your resume.

3. Background checks

I applied for a job at a company and it seemed to go well. I was told a background check had to be conducted. I have never done anything illegal or have been arrested. However, on one of the past work experiences, I had forgot some of the information. I might have been off about a month or two. Does this seriously hurt my chances? It was five years ago.

No. Unlike the question above yours, you didn’t deliberately lie, and many people are off by a month or two when it comes to recalling dates a while back. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about, unless it looks like you were trying to cover up an employment gap (which it doesn’t sound like).

4. My boyfriend’s mother is pushing bad advice on me

My boyfriend’s mom means well. She really does. But she thinks she has the “end all, be all” of advice for me as a job seeker. She held a high-ranking position in a very successful company for a number of years, and had a lot of experience and success in areas that are fairly similar to what I’m looking for in a career. However, she hasn’t been in that career field for awhile, or even applied to a job in years (like…over 25).

My boyfriend and I recently moved so he could attend grad school, and I have been applying to positions in the university. She believes I should walk right into the offices and turn in my application in person. My boyfriend and I keep gently fending her off saying that we’re sure they prefer electronic submissions, yadda yadda yadda. But she’s relentless. She’s sure I’m not getting jobs due to my inability to heed her advice. How do I convince her this just isn’t the way to apply to these jobs? Or, conversely I suppose, could she be right?

Three options:

* Not getting into it: “Thanks, I’ll think about that.”

* Not getting into it, part 2: “Let’s talk about anything but my job search.”

* Addressing it head-on: “I know that used to work, but everyone I’ve spoken to who hires for these jobs has told me that’s not the way to apply anymore, and they even count it against candidates who do that.”

5. How long will employers keep trying to reach your references?

I had a job interview yesterday, and I think it went pretty well (your interview guide was a HUGE help when I was preparing)! Today, I heard from two of my references that my prospective employer left them voicemail asking to do a reference check on me. However, both have been playing phone tag with the prospective employer all day. I also found out that my third reference is on vacation. How long does a prospective employer continue to attempt contacting references before giving up? I am worried that I am going to lose a chance at this job if they cannot connect, but I do not know how to ameliorate this situation. I also imagine that this is a fairly common problem, but I do not know how potential employers deal with it.

Tell the employer that your third reference is on vacation so they don’t think she’s dodging the call. Then say that you understand they’ve had trouble reaching the others, and ask if there’s anything you can do to facilitate things, such as finding out the best blocks of time to reach your references. You can also provide your references’ email addresses in case it’s easier for them to use email to set up a specific time to call.

But phone tag usually resolves itself within a few days, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

6. Correcting a recruiter’s spelling errors

Can I tell the recruitment person at a start-up that her typos make the company look like it might be a scam? I applied to do some project work for an academic publishing start-up in London and they would like to hire me, but due to the vagaries of the visa system, I won’t be able to work with them. I have exchanged several pleasant emails with the woman who does their hiring and she has offered to keep my cv on file, in case a full-time position (which would come with a visa sponsorship) should arise.

However, the emails that she sent to me were riddled with typos. Bad ones. She said that she would “defiantly” keep my cv on file, among many other problems. In fact, there wasn’t a single sentence in either of the emails that didn’t have a typo in it. I know I probably shouldn’t say anything, but it makes the company look like it might be a scam run by Nigerian princes who want to deposit $60 million in your bank account. We’re talking about academic publishing here, where presumably the standard of written English should be high throughout the company. She does appear to be a native English speaker and the sentences are more or less grammatically correct, just full of errors. I don’t claim to be perfect myself, and I make a fair number of typos, but I am not the public face of a new company attempting to build a reputation in a crowded field. What do you think? I feel really bad for this woman and for the company she works for; they seem like good people.

You’d be doing them a service at the possible expense of your own connection with her. It shouldn’t be that way, but too many people bristle at being corrected for me to feel comfortable telling you to risk it. Let her colleagues correct her.

7. Company isn’t following through on the terms of their offer

I recently graduated from school and interviewed with a company that sent an email stating there will be a 1-2 week of “probation” and a full time offer with XXX salary pending performance. It’s been about a month now and it does not look like an offer would come anytime soon. I’ve asked 2~3 times and the answer was always “it is pending” or “I dont know the answer.”

I just feel like I’m being used as cheap labor, and hate how companies treat workers. Does this type of situation happen often? I’m afraid to bring the situation up and get fired for being too aggressive. What do you suggest I do?

Sometimes. Say this: “My offer letter from you says that after two weeks probation, my salary would be adjusted to $XX. It’s now been X weeks. How do we move forward on this?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” ask who would know the answer and say, “I’d like to follow the terms we initially agreed to.”

Yes, if they’re really awful, it’s possible that they might fire you for standing up for yourself, but they’d have to be unusually jerky to do that … and while there are unusually jerky people out there, you can’t avoid asserting yourself and having reasonable business conversations out of fear.

{ 134 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl*

    #1. She’s a bully – pretty common in health care. All I could think of was Sr Staph Nurse (as in infection) or MRSa Smith. But really, you need to face up to her directly or she will continue to bully you. The next time she tells you that you are dowdy say “that’s inappropriate”. The same for the next time she calls you girl. And keep a journal with dates and times to show the frequency that this is happening.

    Sometimes management think it is just two people not getting along. Keeping a journal can extablish a a pervasive pattern. And make sure you keep it very fact based.

  2. Chocolate Teapot*

    It sounds like the woman has a major problem.

    As an aside I would be tempted to insist on being addressed as Supreme Secretarial Being!

  3. Josh S*

    #6: The scammy typo artist

    Alison’s right–you may offer her correction and lose her as a contact. But if, perhaps, you’re willing to lose her as a contact, and if she has somehow indicated that she would be receptive to gently-given criticism, go ahead. Let her know that the way she is responding in her communications is harming the reputation of the organization.

    It’s a risk, to be sure, and you may just make her mad enough to ‘lose’ your CV. But it’s an option.

    As an aside–is it possible she’s young? I keep hearing about recent grads who treat all sorts of informal communication as though it doesn’t ‘count’. Perhaps she thinks that the typos don’t matter since it’s just quick email back-and-forth rather than ‘real’ stuff? I dunno. Just thinking out loud at almost 3am…

    Time for bed!

    1. Natalie*

      IME, I see the most typos in correspondence written on a phone by older folks that have generally not grown up with cell phones. But I wonder if younger workers are more likely to us internet acronyms and slang in correspondence, which I would put in a different category than typos.

    1. Indie_Rachael*

      Exactly, especially since it involves a job in a foreign country where _they_ arrange the via. This happens anywhere, even in the US — people are lured to a distant place with the promise of steady work and are essentially forced into indentured servitude. This happened to some foreign teachers who traveled to Louisiana a few years back.

        1. OP #6*

          With all due respect, although that does happen, the targets are not usual middle-class Americans with Ph.D’s from the best universities in the UK. The types of scam you mention are perpetrated on members of economically vulnerable populations. We can argue about whether or not, in the current funding climate, academics should be seen as economically vulnerable, but my point is that I would be a very difficult indentured servant. Maybe it is a scam, but if it is, it’s more likely to be identity fraud or something like that.

          Also, there is no way to get a non-student visa in the UK that doesn’t involve the company you work for sponsoring you – they have recently tightened their immigration policies to an extraordinary degree.

          1. moe*

            My concern isn’t necessarily that they’re trying to scam you, but that the publisher’s business model is in some way scammy–or at least to a larger degree than the usual academic publishing model.

            Given the number of PhDs languishing in the land of permanent adjuncthood, I’m not sure you’re immune from indentured servitude attempts, either.

            1. OP #6*

              Sad but true. The UK doesn’t have adjuncts, but there is plenty of academic underemployment there too.

              I’m beginning to think that you might be right about this. In which case, it’s shocking that my department sent out the job advert and encouraged all of us to apply for it. This academic job market is ridiculous.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                If your department sent it out, there’s a good solution — ask whoever in your department deals with job postings to email her about it and say that some people in the department had questions about their legitimacy due to all the errors. Keeps you out of it.

          2. Anonymous*

            From the UK here – I work for an organisation that has some ridiculously academic / qualified people, and yes, if we want someone from overseas (no matter that they are the only person in the world with experience of assessing the condition of chocolate teapots and writing a full academic report on them) we have to jump through hoops to hire them. Hoops that have been set on fire and shoot darts at you that is. In case anyone is wondering, if the person we want to hire doesn’t meet the odd and arcane level required, we essentially have to prove that nobody in the EU/EEA can do the job. Cue six months wasted and job ads in random countries to try to prove a negative.

            However, to OP6, this might not be reassuring but there are a lot of people out there with appalling written presentation skills, so I wouldn’t assume a scam without looking further into the company. CVs and application forms are riddled with errors. I have one explanation – I trained as a teacher maybe 15 years ago (got the certificate and left!) and was told that I shouldn’t correct spelling in work, just look at the content, as too much red ink could *upset* the little darlings. So, instead of a brief hissy fit at school, they now have people like me discounting their job apps because I don’t have time to figure out what they actually meant to say, and people like you wondering if something so bad can actually be legit! I think I would have preferred my teacher to pull me up on spelling than be so bad that a well-qualified academic thought I was a scammer.

            1. OP #6*

              I know, it’s terrible, isn’t it? I did both my mphil and Ph.D in the UK, but the chances of me getting to work there (and continue living in the country that has been my home for most of my adult life) are low. This has been hard to come to grips with.

              You’re right to some degree about the standard of literacy, but having taught first-year undergrads, I know that it’s generally higher than this. The problem with trying to check out the company is that they are a start-up, which means that they only have a very slim web presence and no products on the market yet.

              1. Anonymous*

                I suspect the people I taught barely made it past Borstal, let alone get to first year undergrad!
                Keep watching if you can’t get a visa though – there has been a lot of comment that the changes have locked out great people just for the sake of being seen to ‘do something’ about pesky folks from other lands wanting to come and work here and contribute – there may be more changes at some point.
                I do wonder though – how is it so easy for bankers and those of a similar ilk to switch countries?

      1. Jamie*

        My goodness it’s getting fancy around here – that sounds more like a royal title than a job title.

        Might one suggest HRH SGB of AAM? :)

    1. SB*

      No, I insist that we call you “Ms. Her Royal Highness Queen of Chocolate Teapots, Duchess of Workplace Advice, Guru of Interview Etiquette, and All-Around Awesome Bloggess, Long May She Reign, PhD, BBQ, DABEST, ETC, ANDSOFORTH,” or “Awesome” for short if you absolutely insist, but we are required to curtsey should we ever meet you in person.

        1. Heather P.*

          Speaking of no eye contact I’ve heard from people who’ve worked with the Artist Formerly Known as Prince who’s now known again as Prince I think that he requires his crew to not make eye contact with him and refer to him at all times as The Artist. And if you miss a lighting cue you get fined.

            1. Heather P.*

              LOL@Jamie @(I don’t know what to refer to you as anymore Alison lol) Well they definitely need knowledgeable and smart people like you to tolerate them. I don’t think I could do it. Also he ‘ll have his security detail walk into a restaurant ahead of him, clear people out of a particular section and then demand the temperature be regulated to a certain level. I still love him though :-)

            2. Lynda*

              A certain artist has such awful sense of timekeeping – or belief in being fashionably late – that the concert crew have watches and clocks set 2 hours ahead to enable them to have the tiniest chance of getting the artist on stage, on time.

  4. OP#2*

    Hey this is OP for question #2. It sucks and I wish I hadn’t lied. Do you have any suggestions for my title so that an employer looking at my resume would see me as a great candidate, despite it being embarrassingly entry level? I’ve been with this company for a few years with no raise and no promotion. There is just no room for growth and no money for raises. Trust me, I’ve asked.

    My resume focuses on my accomplishments, and is well worded. I just don’t know what else I can do. I lost my last job due to my entire department being laid off and took this one because I had no other options. Now I feel like I can’t get out of this one, and it’s absolutely terrible.

    1. KellyK*

      Title changes are free. If the work you’re doing is more advanced than your actual title, you could ask for the title to be changed. If your boss wants to get you a raise or promotion, but their hands are tied, they might be quite happy to change your title.

      1. OP #2*

        I completely agree with you. However, I asked for a title change and a raise a few weeks ago and they rejected both. And it wasn’t both as a package deal. It was we don’t currently have the money to give people raises. And then when I asked what about my title change, they said no to that as well.

        I have taken on many more responsibilities since I began here, but I truly feel that much of my hard work goes unnoticed. The company has been downsizing since I started here, and there are reasons to believe that due to this downsizing, they may get rid of our entire department in the next 6 months.

      2. Jamie*

        I agree with this for a lot of small-mid sized companies. Larger companies, however, often have titles tied to specific pay grades and don’t always have this freedom.

        But yes, in companies where the titles are person specific and not position specific it’s worth looking into.

    2. Jamie*

      “Do you have any suggestions for my title so that an employer looking at my resume would see me as a great candidate, despite it being embarrassingly entry level?”

      You should use your actual title – your accomplishments will indicate that it wasn’t an entry level position.

      I just think playing with titles is a really bad idea for anyone – because it doesn’t matter what your reasoning is it just looks like you’re lying to inflate your status.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, you just can’t change your title on your resume. If they verify it at some point, or if it comes up naturally in a reference check, it’s very often a deal-breaker — most employers don’t want to hire someone who will lie, for obvious reasons.

        I agree with Jamie that you should just focus on using your accomplishments to indicate the nature of the work.

    3. Names have been changed...*

      Much sympathy to you, because you obviously regret this. I was recently on a hiring committee who passed on an applicant in a similar situation minus the regret. Because he was qualified, we brought him in, but one of the committee members worked at his former company at the same time and knew the job title he listed doesn’t exist there. In the interview, we gave him an obvious opportunity to explain (along the lines of “Did you experience any of that when you were working as Teapot Captain at Chocolate China Inc.?”) and his answer was “Yeah.” That’s it. Keep in mind, he knew one of the interviewers…from that job. It was ballsy…in a very bad way.

      The useful part of that is that we did give him the BoTD, he just blew it. If given the opportunity, perhaps you could say something like “I realize that it may have been misleading in my resume, so I wanted to clarify that my official title at CC Inc was Teapot Organizer. However, even though my title is different, my duties are very similar to your Captain position in XYZ ways.” And for goodness sake, change your job title on your resume and add something like “functional coordinator for…” in your description or something.

  5. Danni*

    I actually have a question similar to OP#2.

    I am hired through a university and work for a research organization while I finish my MBA (that they fund). My official title according to the university is Graduate Research Assistant (since this allows them to fund my studies). HOWEVER – I don’t work on any research, but in a different department that involves a lot of PR and marketing type work. My title through the organization is “XXX Manager” (I manage a team and have all the responsibility that comes with it).

    Which is the right one to put on my resume? I really do NOT want to put ‘graduate research assistant’ because a) it sounds like an internship or something and b) it’s misleading because I have never conducted any research.

    My fear of putting ‘manager’ is that I know that is usually associated with many more years of experience (I’m in my early 20s and have been working there for only a few years) and I certainly don’t want to be misleading. However, that IS my title there, it’s how clients are introduced to me/know me, and I don’t want to sell myself short.

    I don’t interact w/ the university at all from a professional standpoint, so if someone were to check references they would call the organization, but university records would list me as a graduate research assistant (and I get paid a graduate assistant salary).


    1. KellyK*

      Since it’s a weird situation, I would list both titles, with the “Manager” one first and include a short explanatory sentence to make the discrepancy clear. (For example: Employed by University ABC to provide XXX management to Organization XYZ.)

      Maybe someone else who’s in a similar position of being employed by one organization and farmed out to another (other grad students, temps, defense contractors, etc.) would have ideas on standard wording for that.

    2. Anonymous*

      It sort of depends of what the ‘XXX’ part is. Anything along the lines of Account Manager or Project Manager doesn’t necessarily imply a managerial role, only that you manage accounts or projects. It’s not misleading because you’re introduced to clients that way, and your organization clearly sanctions it.

      1. Danni*

        Okay, yes, it’s someting along those lines! I didn’t realize that – I thought that anything with “manager” would automatically suggest I have way more experience than I do.

        As long as it doesn’t ALWAYS suggest that, then I feel more confident in using it. I have the accomplishments to back it up, but I just don’t want to imply experience that I don’t have (especially since I’m so young). And since I have two “titles”, I really don’t want anyone to think I’m being misleading. It’s just difficult because the one that I am “technically” employed as is more accurate in terms of experience (I suppose), but the title I USE is accurate in terms of responsibilities, accomplishments and position.


        1. Jamie*

          “Okay, yes, it’s someting along those lines! I didn’t realize that – I thought that anything with “manager” would automatically suggest I have way more experience than I do.”

          No, there is nothing age related about being a manger as long as that’s your title within the organization. When you have two titles (and I’ve been in that position) you can list both. You just want to make sure you are listing that which will be backed up by HR in a background check.

        2. fposte*

          I think that the combination of the two titles makes the situation clear enough; a slight variation would be to put “(Graduate Research Assistantship)” as a noun after the job title. I also think 1) in that case you could probably drop the “research” as it’s an explanatory gloss rather than a literal title and 2) that most places that hire people out of grad school are likely to have seen various permutations of the graduate assistant phraseology and won’t be too thrown by the “research” component anyway.

    3. Robert*

      As a “graduate research assistant” who actually is doing research, I am terribly annoyed that your university is funding you as a graduate student instead of giving you a more appropriate job title. It hurts my efforts to get a job just as much as it hurts you if they give you the title for doing no research.

      For your future information, it is emphatically not a title for an intern. That is the title of a graduate student. It makes you sound like you are pursuing a masters or doctorate degree. Since you are being paid to attend classes and pick up a MBA, it is in fact the correct title for you if you are not teaching classes.

      I hate to break it to you, but if your university is anything like mine (it sounds exactly like mine – I hope you aren’t at a nuclear accelerator in Michigan), then you are not actually employed right now. You are on a fellowship. You don’t actually have a job, in any legal sense of the word. You are a student, not an employee, and that’s what will be reflected in any background check. Moreover, your work as a PR person instead of in research related to your degree probably violates a number of university conventions, if not actual rules.

      If you want it to come up clean on a background check, then you’ll have to use the graduate research assistant title. It’s common to put a research field after that in a resume or CV, because a normal grad student could be researching anything from civil war history to nuclear chemistry and we need to distinguish among ourselves. You could use something similar – a sub-field that uses your internal title to explain what it is that you do.

      1. fposte*

        I think you’re overextrapolating from your own department there, and also overestimating how likely a business is to care about the difference between GA, RA, PPGA, etc.

        1. Robert*

          I am saying that if someone calls the university HR people, the university HR will say that she is a student and not a PR employee.

          It is likely that the department she works in has another HR. That HR may or may not be called for an employment check – it varies heavily.

          I am also saying 100% that, if the description is accurate, she is not legally employed – she is on a fellowship. That makes no difference to employers. It makes a huge difference to things like unemployment benefits, or reporting your salary and benefits accurately to a potential new employer.

          1. fposte*

            Okay, I think I see what you’re saying; yes, that’s probably true, and would also be true if she were paid off of a grant.

            However, it sounds like we’re agreed that’s not the same thing as a question of what she should put on her resume. (And I think as long as she herself accurately reports her salary and benefits, those aren’t likely to be an issue either.)

          2. Anonymous*

            Good side-effect: 40 years from now, when she’s filling out an application that requires all jobs be listed with dates, that would be one less “job” to list if it was a fellowship.

          3. Danni*

            Thanks for your input! Although I’m not sure I quite understand why I am not ‘legally employed’?

            In addition to my funding for my course, I receive a salary like any other university employee. I fill out my timesheet, receive my pay check, report my income for taxes, etc.

            As far as what I actually do, let me try and clarify (without giving too much personal information:)). I work at an organization that is based in a particular university. This organization was not established by the university nor is the work related to the university in any way whatesoever. However, the organization and the university have a program where you can work here and receive a) your funding for your MA program and b) receive a salary from the university.

            Given that, I am technically employed by the university. However, the PR/marketing work I do is for the organization. The field of study I am in is related to the organization – however, I don’t intend to pursue it and instead will be focusing on PR/marketing jobs (I know this is vague but I don’t know if my coworkers read this and I don’t want to give more away!). To provide another example, some graduate students employed by the organization do financial work here – so while they are “graduate research assistants”, they only concentrate on financial work.

            The term “graduate research assistant” is simply applied to anyone who is employed by the university in any capacity, be it teaching, research, financial work, etc.

            1. fposte*

              Yeah, this sounds to me like one of those myriad differences of academia, then (though if you fill out a timesheet, you probably get wages, not a salary). If your university (I’m guessing it might be a private or non-US university?) simply uses the “graduate research assistant” term for all graduate salaried work, then Robert’s concerns aren’t relevant here.

            2. LT*

              You are legally employed. You get a salary. You pay taxes on that income. Technically, you’re a temporary contract worker. For your resume, I would either use “Graduate Research Assistant: XXX Manager” or “XXX Manager (Graduate Research Assistantship).”

      2. Cassie*

        Graduate research assistant titles usually are used for employment of students – at my university, they aren’t used for students on fellowship. If you are employed as a GSA/GRA at over a certain %, your tuition/fees will be covered. This is NOT a fellowship, because your fees are covered only as part of your continued employment. It’s more like a perk for the student.

        Of course, then people also use phrases like “RA-ship” for research assistant -ship(?) but in reality, they mean student researcher who is getting paid for doing research.

        In my STEM dept, we would not hire a student under a GSA title who was doing (for example) clerical work. The student would be hired as clerk or sr clerk or something along those lines – but the student’s fees wouldn’t be covered. I suppose in departments where there isn’t a lot of what we would typically call “research”, I guess they would use the GSA title because that’s the only title that would allow them to voer tuition/fees.

        Danni – perhaps put XXX Manager (payroll title: GSA)? Or working title/payroll title ?

    4. Ariancita*

      I’m employed at a University. My job title, with my research group, is very different than the one that HR gave me. HR changed some rules and made a new job description library that all hiring managers need to use but is not at all useful. So there’s a whole slew of us who have very different internal job titles than what HR has down for us. In fact, not only is my HR job title vastly different from my internal job title, it is actually the opposite of what I do, strangely enough.

      For my resume, I use my internal job title, not the HR title because references are going to call my manager, not HR. And it’s also not a problem with background checks because, having gone through that process in this situation, the background checker first and foremost contacts your managers, not HR, initially. Afterward, they may contact HR, but they’ve already confirmed your job title with your manager and they have done this enough to know that there is often a discrepancy between HR policies and manager policies in a big university. (Not sure that would be the case in a different professional setting, but then the issue would probably be moot there.) The hierarchy in which the background checkers checked my employment was 1. my hiring manager (who confirmed my internal title), 2. the business office manager (who confirmed my internal title), and 3. University HR (who confirmed my employment dates, not sure if title was discussed).

      This is not uncommon in universities.

      1. Anonymous*

        Are you able to order business cards with your internal title? I can only imagine the confusion if you had to use your HR-approved title on business cards.

        1. Ariancita*

          I haven’t ordered business cards since I don’t work with clients as such (I could order them, but it would be a conceit of sorts). But yes, if I ordered them, I’d put my internal title on them because it would make absolutely no sense to put the HR title on them. And if I used my HR title in any sense, it would be entirely misleading. It basically says I’m a biostatistical data analyst when in fact I’m a medical anthropologist working on qualitative research projects.

    5. Judy*

      This is not that uncommon even in corporations, at least within engineering. The HR titles are things like “engineer”, “project engineer”, “senior engineer”, “lead engineer”, & “staff engineer” across the board. But at a minimum, most people use titles that have a discipline “senior software engineer”, “lead mechanical engineer”, and when you get to the higher ranks there are other functional titles with words about product line, global/regional, etc. So my HR title might be “staff engineer”, yet my functional title might be “global teapot software leader”, in contrast to the “North America smoothee mechanical leader”.

      1. Anonymous*

        We have standardised role titles from a contract / system persepective (fairly large NFP). We have around 6000 people, each of whom is very clear on how and why their job is different from everyone else…..
        It’s just a way of managing things more easily. If they do the same job we use the same title – what they put on their badge is up to them.

  6. Andrea*

    For #6, I would politely correct her. Don’t send the email back with red lines through all the errors and compare her to a scam artist, but politely mention that you are surprised that the correspondence isn’t more professional, that you understand they are a start-up, but they may have better luck with candidates if there aren’t so many typos in their communications. Yes, you may offend, but if she’s a professional, she won’t penalize you for it. Either way, I wouldn’t work with this company or want them to keep my resume on file, if that is how they are coming across.

  7. akaCat*

    #1. There’s no doubt that “Senior Staff Nurse Smith” is a ridiculous mouthful for regular use.

    But the nurse did ask that the OP not call her “Jane”, and unless there’s a workplace policy of using first names, that’s not an outrageous request from someone with seniority. By continuing to call her “Jane”, the OP is just riling her up, and from an etiquette standpoint, in the wrong.

    I wonder if there’s a compromise the OP could make? If she refers to “Jane” by something more formal than her first name, that may placate her and defuse her sharp tongue.

    1. Anonymous*

      Two things while I know where you are coming from:

      1. She then changed it to the sarcastic and ridiculous “Senior Staff Nurse Smith.” I’d be slightly confused there because I wouldn’t know what she was really being serious on. I can see if the OP had to tell an outsider who the senior staff nurse was and say it like that, but otherwise, to her face is strange.

      2. Everyone else in the building apparently is allowed to call her Jane. So why is the OP being singled out, having to call her by her last name?

      Senior Staff Nurse Smith is a workplace bully. For some reason, it might be the dumbest thing ever, she has a vendetta against the OP. She needs to be reigned in, and she might have to be taught how to act professionally with all staff.

      1. akaCat*

        1. I didn’t get a sarcastic vibe from the “Senior Staff Nurse Smith” bit. You would hope it would be sarcastic, but I’ve run into people who’ve made similar requests with a straight face. And when it’s said to be silly or sarcastic, it’s usually followed with something like “no, seriously, call me [something reasonable].”

        2. The OP does say she’s the youngest person in the workplace. She may also be the only person (aside from janitors and the like) who doesn’t have a degree of some kind. Either or both could set her apart from everyone else, in Nurse Smith’s mind. And there may be others who’ve gotten the same instruction, but have to speak to her so rarely that the OP hasn’t heard them call her Nurse Smith, or whatever.

        I agree that Nurse Smith is a bully. The only question in my mind is whether she’s the curmudgeonly breed of bully whose primary thought is “I’m older than you and I’ve earned this!”, or “I slogged through X years of school/training and I’ve earned this!”. That sort can often be placated by a little extra courtesy. Just make sure she’s well out of sight before you roll your eyes at her mouthful of a “title”.

        1. Anonymous*

          The OP does say she’s the youngest person in the workplace. She may also be the only person (aside from janitors and the like) who doesn’t have a degree of some kind. Either or both could set her apart from everyone else, in Nurse Smith’s mind.

          The first part is reverse discrimination – where the person is being targeted for being young. The second part should not matter (and who’s to say that the janitors don’t have a degree? The economy is making those with higher education seek out work that doesn’t require it just to pay for the necessities of life). Either way, the nurse has a problem, and for whatever reason, she is targeting the OP. The OP can make the nurse look like an ass by using the long title because when someone is above both people will start questioning if he or she hears it.

        2. OP #1*

          Hi there. I am indeed the youngest person currently employed at the nursing home, but I am by no means the least qualified. Even amongst my fellow trainee administrators, I have the most school-leaving qualifications and I completed a year of university-level study prior to being directed to the nursing home for further on-the-job training. I worked incredibly hard to get the best grades I possibly could and to do well in my university exams. I don’t, however, demand that my colleagues refer to me as Miss Daniels simply because I know I’ve worked hard to get where I am. Neither my age nor my level of qualification should have anything to do with the way in which the Senior Staff Nurse is treating me.

          As far as I am aware, no one else in the building calls SSN by her title – I have worked at the nursing home for over a month now, and I’ve met every employee – so far, SSN is the only one who has been introduced to me as “Jane” and later demanded that I call her “Senior Staff Nurse Smith.”

          Thank you for your input, however. I understand that older employees may be set in their ways or may believe that younger, less experienced employees are to respect them, but I’m a firm believer in earning respect – the only thing this lady has done in my time at the nursing home that I can respect her for is treating her patients. Her treatment of me, on the other hand, is unwarranted.

      2. fposte*

        Right, but the OP’s not the person to do it, and the style of address isn’t the actual problem. The OP should stick to the title she’s been told until the more serious matters have been discussed with the supervisor. Just treat it like a long name and don’t make it a big deal, and if anybody asks, shrug and say that’s what she told you to call her.

        If it were a situation with an OP who’s older, more experienced, and less situationally vulnerable, I’d be tempted to encourage her to address the woman by that full title at every opportunity (“Senior Staff Nurse Smith, could you please pass the salt? Senior Staff Nurse Smith, I like your scrubs today. Oh, Senior Staff Nurse Smith, that’s a good one!”) until she can’t stand to hear her own title anymore. But that’s highly inadvisable in this situation–though it’s fun to contemplate.

        1. Jamie*

          “The OP should stick to the title she’s been told until the more serious matters have been discussed with the supervisor. Just treat it like a long name and don’t make it a big deal, and if anybody asks, shrug and say that’s what she told you to call her.”

          Great advice. Do as requested and if it seems silly to others…well, it certainly wasn’t your idea.

          1. Nikki*

            I should add to my comment below, that she should do ask Senior Nurse Smith has asked, and talk to her manager. .its just that it doesn’t seem like she is purposely or constantly referring to her by her first name, that it just happened and she got jumped on.

            1. Jamie*

              Oh, I agree it’s ridiculous and if this is all Senior Staff Nurse has to jump on then she needs bigger problems.

              It would be so hard to resist the temptation to “try” but get it wrong every time. Like Endora did with Durwood….er…Darrin. Or like Angela did with Mr. Buttersworth…er…Mr. Belvedire.

              Senora Staff Nurse
              Senior Staff Nincompoop
              Senior Starlight Lounge
              Senior Nurse Ratched

            2. A Teacher*

              and require that “Senior Staff Nurse” refer to her by her formal title or department title as well. They are equals–even in the school system, if the superintendent wants to be called Dr. X then I expect for him/her to call me Ms. Y and other staff members the same thing. If you want formality, it applies to all or it applies to none.

    2. Nikki*

      True, she was asked not to call her “Jane”, but everybody else calls her Jane and I can see how she might have just called her by *her name* without thinking (all day long, you’re saying Jill and Mary and Connie. . ..Senior Staff Nurse isn’t on the tip of your tongue)…
      She had no ill intent, Senior Staff Nurse has the problem…

      1. Anonymous*

        That’s basically what I’m trying to say. It just seems really weird that this woman is picking on this OP. And it’s not just the name – there is a few things the OP has mentioned from the yelling to the degrading of the uniform’s look on the OP. So it’s a lot more than just a name, and for that reason, I think upper management needs to put this Senior Staff Nurse back in her place.

    3. Anonymous*

      It doesn’t sound like she asked to be called something else and then OP called her Jane anyway– sounds like OP called her the same thing everyone else called her and then Senior Staff Nurse Jane flew off the freaking handle about it.

      I agree with everyone else, sounds like the age/experience gap is what’s making her think she can treat the OP this way. But there is a huge difference between “please call me __” and what actually happened.

  8. Anonymous*

    In Re: #7-

    This same sort of thing happened to my husband. His offer letter clearly stated his salary would be adjusted and reviewed at 6 months— 6 months came and went and he heard crickets. He proceeded to e-mail and call HR and his manager every few weeks inquiring when his salary review would be taking place– it got the point where he felt annoying, however he still hadn’t received any answers which was more annoying, ha. FINALLY 6 months later, or a year after his start date, they did bump his salary— and thankfully, made it retroactive to the 6 month date it should be been processed at! So, what I’m trying to say is don’t let it slip, stay on top of them and hopefully they will follow through…. even if it is a little (or a lot) delayed. Eventually someone will get to the bottom of it, even if it is because they are tired of your e-mails and calls about it, LOL.

  9. Work It*

    Lord almighty, I can’t count the number of times I’ve accepted a job with the promise of a raise after X number of weeks. It never, ever happened and the CEO/manager/whoever always had acted as if they had no idea what I was talking about.

    1. Jamie*

      I’d recommend getting it in writing.

      My offer letters have always had the time when compensation would be reviewed clearly indicated. If there was already a discussed/accepted time for a pay raise to go into effect I would have needed that in the letter, too.

      I’ve never found it adversarial to ask for written confirmation of agreed upon terms. Even after a performance review if there will be a change in title or compensation for me I shoot a summary email to my boss the same day outlining my understanding of what’s to come. He confirms via email and I forward to HR.

      I know not everyone does this, but I’ve never had a negative reaction to it…but then again my reputation for being a stickler for documentation is well known by anyone who works with me.

      It can’t force them to pony up, as terms can be changed at any time, but it eliminates the ‘I forgot’ and ‘I didn’t say that’ excuses.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, always always always get it in writing, like anything else that’s agreed to as part of a job offer. People leave / forget what was agreed to / etc. and you want to have a record of it.

      1. Joe*

        Even getting it in writing doesn’t always help. I had a job that I took at a lower salary than I wanted, and had in writing that after 6 months, there would be a performance review, and if the review was positive, my salary would be increased to $X. After six months, I got the review, and it was glowing, and they didn’t give me the raise. I was escalating that dispute when they found a fishy reason to fire me.

        I thought about trying to fight against them on it, but it was a job I wasn’t all that happy with anyway, so I just dropped it, found a better job, and lived happily ever after.

  10. Robert*

    #7 – The name for this scam is called “bait and switch.”

    You probably have no legal recourse, but if you have documentation of the promise you should bring the issue up frequently until you get a resolution. They probably won’t fire you, but they probably will string you along for as much time as possible. In the meantime, start looking for a job again. These people haven’t dealt with you honestly. Maybe they’ll shape up while you’re looking for other opportunities, but they probably won’t. If they’re dishonest about the pay, you can’t trust them on any point.

  11. some1*

    Ugh, #1 reminded me of a story from a former job. I was a receptionist in a govt law office, I was 21, but I have always looked young for my age so I could have easily passed for 17 or 18 at the time.

    A guy came in for a hearing on the wrong day. The atty he was having the hearing with kept her own schedule & wasn’t in the office yet so I was running around asking people what to do (I should also add this was my first week at the job.) The guy asked me if there was an adult he could talk to!

    1. Nikki*

      I know how you feel! Two days ago a visitor asked if I was a work-study student. I am over 30, told her I had a bday last week, she said she thought I was a freshman, sigh…

      Everyone says I should take it as a complement, but it works against you when you are trying to conduct business.

      1. some1*

        Totally agree, Nikki, I’m in my early 30’s and getting carded makes my day, but in professional settings it’s not flattering at all to be treated like you have no experience &/or don’t know what you’re doing.

        Last May I was buying a pair of heels in a dept store & the saleswoman asked if I was getting them for Prom. I just burst out laughing.

      2. Anonymous*

        I look and sound young (people on the phone often mistake me for my little sister, who is four years younger). People don’t comment on it too often, but recently the managing partner’s father was in the office and chose to comment on it–even describing my voice as “squeaky” (it’s higher pitched than average, sure, but not squeaky). I was so mad, honestly, but just had to smile and laugh.

  12. nyxalinth*

    Usually, phone tag or variants thereof during reference checks don’t hurt. Usually.

    Regarding #5, I had a manager at the small call center I worked for never return any calls from a place that really, really wanted to hire me. Finally, they gave up on me after a week, and called to tell me what happened and that they’d have to go with another candidate. (I was appreciative that they did this!) He called and apologized to me for not paying it more mind, but he had been busy. Too busy apparently for a brief phone call. I accepted graciously, but I was very upset at him for causing them to not hire me. When I’ left the position, my immediate supervisor had told me that I could put down his name for my contact there, but when the reference check called he told them that the new manager (who’d never worked with me) was the one to give all references.

    #6 Her use of the word ‘defiantly’ makes me think of auto correct gone wrong. I’m imagining her folding her arms and stomping her foot exclaiming “I’m keeping your resume on file like it or not, damn it!”

    1. Anonymous*

      OP #5 here. I am so sorry that your chance at that job was hampered by the week-long disconnect between that one reference and your potential employer. That just stinks, and it is exactly the outcome I was afraid of.

      1. nyxalinth*

        To give you a little background, the former manager had quit (he knew me and my work well and liked me) when the board of directors of the local ballet company decide to outsource our little call center’s work to India. Mr New guy was hired, and exacted a policy of “Anyone who who worked in the call center has to use me as a contact, and not Mr Supervisor.” (Guy I reported to, who also knew my work and liked me).

        I didn’t know any of this until Ms. Potential New Boss called and told me they were having trouble getting him to return calls, and that she had been told this by Mr Supervisor when she had initially contacted him, as he was the contact I’d given.

        This still bugs me a year later! It feels like a betrayal.

        I would say though that unless your former boss is a jerk who can’t be bothered, I think you’re all right and things will be fine.

  13. Jamie*

    “Her use of the word ‘defiantly’ makes me think of auto correct gone wrong.”

    This! Unfortunately ‘definitely’ in one of the words I am absolutely incapable of typing correctly the first time (along with maintenance, view, and field – no, I don’t know why).

    I have made this particular error before, but only in casual correspondence where I wasn’t paying much attention. I’m still asked every once in a while to “defiantly order lunch” because my response to an all office email about whether or not we should order in was “Defiantly!” So when you need someone willing to engage in a confrontational exchange while ordering pizza I am your girl.

    1. Michelle*

      I am incapable of typing “medical” correctly the first time. It always comes out “medican.” Positive thinking about a foundering industry, I suppose.

      1. Nikki*

        I seem to type “stupid” instead of “student”. . .I am not making that up.
        Also, I type “job” instead of “jog”. .Nikki doesn’t job. .jog! I need help..

    2. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

      Definitely used to be my big hang-up word, but then I realized that the word “finite” is in the middle, and I know how to spell that. So I think of it as de-finite-ly, and it all comes out perfectly.

      Now, receive? That one I still have to check, every single time. And I have an MA in English and do freelance editing! Bah.

  14. Malissa*

    #1–I’d call Senior Staff Nurse Smith by that because that’s what she requested. Otherwise I’d ignore the other behavior. As for being called girl, simply reply my name is Sally. If she can insist on being called by a certain name, you can too. I’ve never answered one of my coworkers when she calls me little missy. When she uses my name then I’ll answer. As for the rest of the crap I’ve found that when some one says something that is so crass and unbelievable that it sits there like a pile of crap in the room that the best response is a simple “wow” and to be silent. The person will either back peddle or leave embarrassed.
    #4–I think the proper response to pushy would be, “And how long has it been since you’ve applied for a job?, Don’t you think things might have changed since then?”
    #7–I had this issue once. When it came time to press it I was ready and willing to walk out over the issue. I got the raise.

    1. Jamie*

      “#7–I had this issue once. When it came time to press it I was ready and willing to walk out over the issue. I got the raise.”

      This is one of the few universal truths – the one who is willing to walk away truly has all the power.

      It’s when you want something more, but don’t want to lose the status quo is when it gets sticky. There is nothing like the freedom of being in the position to walk.

  15. Dana*

    For question #4, there’s always a third option – hand her AAM’s website address and say “Read this.”

    In fact, there should be printable AAM business cards, so that anytime someone is confronted with “helpful” advice (from 25 years ago!), we wouldn’t have to start defending ourselves, but just hand over the card and say “Read this”.

  16. Jess*

    GRR ARGH unprofessional typos! I’m in an industry that uses loads of interns, and I can’t tell you how many I have wanted to ever so politely smack upside the head, because they send me application emails or cold emails looking for advice or jobs rife with typos. One girl sent an email where she didn’t use capital letters at all. . . but oh wait, she’d randomly capitalize a word in the middle of a sentence she thought needed it. Yes, I am going to judge you on this. If you don’t even take the time to proof read an application email, how on earth can I trust you to work with my business?

    I have a question tho: in that case, should I be emailing back and telling them ‘this is why your application has been filed. . . in my trash can’? Or just ignore it?

    1. OP #6*

      Do you think you could write something like “Unfortunately, this position requires highly polished writing skills, which you have not demonstrated in your email”? Would you get in trouble if they had dyslexia? I don’t know how that works. I guess this should be a cautionary tale for people who are hiring staff to interact with the public: if they can’t write clearly, your company risks looking not only unprofessional but possibly less than legitimate.

      1. fposte*

        I think it’s likely to come across as more mean than helpful, unfortunately. However, dyslexia isn’t really relevant here–if the job requires a level of communication skills, that’s what it requires, and there’s no reason legal or otherwise to drop your standards regardless of the reason for the person’s unacceptable error rate.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t do it as a matter of course, but there have been a couple of times where the person (a) was so over the top in their mistakes or (b) seemed genuinely baffled about why they were having trouble getting interviews, and so I wrote them back and said something like, “I don’t know if you’re looking for advice or not, but I think it would really help you get more responses if you proofread your materials before you send them. I know it might seem minor, but many employers will immediately reject you if you have typos or other mistakes. I hope this helps.”

  17. Cruella DaBoss*

    To #1…I’m too much of a sarcastic smart-alec to not give back as good as I get! Next time “Senior Staff Nurse Smith” called me “girl” I’d respond, “That’s Administrative Assistant Jones to you!”

    Supreme Imperial Highness DaBoss

    1. Seal*


      And if that doesn’t work, #1 should document SSN Smith’s behavior and take it straight to her supervisor. Who needs that BS?

      1. Anonymous*

        I can just imagine the potential alphabet soup: “S(upervisor) Doe, SSN Smith’s BS is affecting my work! – AA Jones”

    2. Kristina*

      I think she should actually just call her “senior staff nurse Smith” in as smarmy a voice as possible. It’ll drive Smith bananas and what can she do, complain to her boss that the title she asked the OP to use sounds stupid? (This assumes that Smith doesn’t actually have hire/fire power over the OP.)

  18. Sparky629*

    OP #6.

    I haven’t read all of the comments but I wanted to point out that the recruiter may have a reading/writing disability.

    I work also work in academia and I have seen several very intelligent people who can not for the life of them spell. Seriously, more people than you can imagine have reading/spelling/dyslexia disabilities. Albert Einstein being one of the most famous examples.

    So she may really really think that she is spelling those things correctly because her brain isn’t hard wired to see those letters in the correct order. Also, if no one ever detected it before she became an adult she honestly doesn’t have any idea that she can’t spell.

    Even today, schools (in the U.S.) can not test for Dyslexia and if you fall in a certain spectrum for reading/learning disability, you will not receive help from the school system.

    You can point it out to her but be prepared that it may not help and she may not appreciate you pointing out something that she has struggled with her entire life.

    Please Please tread carefully if you decide to point it out to her or her bosses.

  19. nuqotw*

    The adult in me knows it would only escalate things and make matters worse, but the passive aggressive middle school kid in me DESPERATELY wants to call her Senior Staff Nurse Smith frequently enough for everyone else in the work place to notice it, conclude it’s odd, and have comments get back to Senior Staff Nurse Smith. Instead of “Jane, what’s the next step in process X – can you help me?” say “Senior Staff Nurse Smith, what’s the next step in process X? I am a bit confused and I would really appreciate your help, if possible, Senior Staff Nurse Smith. Thank you so much Senior Staff Nurse Smith.” Otherwise, do it with a totally straight face and be completely, 100% courteous and professional. When someone says “Why are you calling Jane that?” respond, again straight faced and all “She asked me to.” and leave it at that.

  20. Liz in a Library*

    I have so much sympathy for #1. I had a faculty member (who is at my level in the organizational hierarchy) ream me out once for calling her Jane, instead of Dr. Smith. She even put it in writing, in a hilarious e-mail headed “Liz, I’m not sure if you realize…” and claiming that not using the honorific is an intentional disrespect.

    I responded that I appreciated her desire to refer to me as Ms. Smith to demonstrate respect in the future and was fine with her referring to me by my last name. That stopped her in her tracks.

    In this case, I agree with SB Green that it’s reached the point that you can bring it up to your boss. I would also either politely refer to her as Jane, or maybe avoid calling her by name completely if that’s easy to do? I don’t think it’s in your interest to let her get away with this SS Nurse Smith nonsense, but it’s also a good idea not to be overly antagonistic.

        1. Jamie*

          Yes! That is up there with the Tiger Oil memos for awesomeness.

          Pissy lifeguard quitting BMW intern has nothing on them.

  21. BigOrangeTabby (OP#5)*

    AAM – OP #5 here… Thank you so much for your helpful advice (prospective employer and references having trouble connecting). You were absolutely correct…The situation was resolved within a day or two. The prospective employer and the two references set a “meeting time” via voicemail to do the reference check. The prospective employer also contacted me and asked if I could provide an alternate for the reference who is on vacation.

    I also want to thank you for not laughing at me for asking such a dumb question. I am looking for a job after getting laid off from the job I’d held (and loved) for twenty years, and I am finding that the job market and the process is very different now. Sometimes, I feel like I am trying to fit into another culture where the rules are “similar”, but just different enough that I can really step in it and screw things up royally. Thank you so much for this blog!!!

  22. OP #1*

    Hey, everyone, OP #1 here. Thanks so much to Senior Blogger Green for the prompt and helpful reply, as well as to everyone who commented with sympathy and advice.

    After reading this today, I went in for my eight hour shift. I called Senior Staff Nurse Smith as she had requested, handled all of the patient charts that she dumped on my desk during my tea break and then went to my supervisor during dinner break.

    I informed her that I was feeling uncomfortable working with SSNS and that I would appreciate any advice she could give me on how to deal with my colleague’s behaviour. My supervisor was surprised by what I had experienced and, after talking to my fellow trainees, went to talk to the head doctor at our centre.

    Twenty minutes later, Dr Jones came to see me personally and, after inviting me into his office for tea and a chat, informed me that he was pleased with the way I had handled my discomfort with SSNS. She is now no longer allowed to allocate paperwork to the trainees – her paperwork must now go to a fully trained administrator – and an e-mail was circulated informing all staff members that our company culture relies upon a smooth relationship between all departments and staff, and at the next staff meeting there will be a discussion on ways we can make sure everyone is kept reasonably happy despite the amount of stress placed upon everyone on-shift. I’m also told that Dr Jones has had a talk with SSNS, but my supervisor and I do not yet know if any further action will be taken against her.

    I’m actually looking forward to my shift tomorrow! I love interacting with the patients and their family members, and I’m really enjoying the opportunity I’ve been given to learn as I work. This staff member’s behaviour was the biggest blot on my day, and I’m hoping that that has now been cleared away.

    I can’t thank you enough, Alison, really. Oops, sorry! Senior Blogger Green, ma’am!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This is so awesome! I’m so glad this worked out, and it sounds like your manager and the doctor handled it really well.

      That whole “I’m asking for advice so I don’t sound like I’m complaining” trick often is really effective.

    2. Jamie*

      “I love interacting with the patients and their family members, and I’m really enjoying the opportunity I’ve been given to learn as I work.”

      I know it’s off topic – but I love this. There are certain jobs that take more than just an aptitude to be successful, but the right attitude as well.

      My mom was a geriatric nurse and it was a calling for her – she adored her patients and even volunteered in nursing homes through her church. It always makes me happy to see people working in those places because they want to, and not just because they have to.

      You seem like a lovely person and I’m so glad it worked out for you.

    3. fposte*

      Score! Go you! I’ve been really impressed by your self-presentation here as well, so I’m not surprised that they’re impressed too.

      1. starts & ends with A*

        What fposte said!

        SB Green – do you ever update posts with the resolved stories from letter writers so those of us not checking back to the comments can find out what happened?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes! Check the “updates” category of the archives. (That said, I rarely do it just in response to updates left in the comments — usually people have to send me the update separately for it to happen, and even then not always. That’s just a function of me having way too many letters to post these days and making trade-offs, but you’re right that I should with this one — and I will!)

          1. Jennifer O*

            I love that you solicit (and/or otherwise receive) and post updates. It’s great to hear “where they are now.”

            Ever since you started posting updates, I’ve thought it would be really helpful to include a link in the original post to the update (assuming you’re still able to modify the original post). For example, after your original answer, you could include something like, “UPDATE: Click here to read an update about the OP’s situation.”

            This would be especially helpful for readers (new and long-term) who read through the archives so we can easily find those posts with updates.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I need to! I could have sworn I had done it with last year’s updates, but when I looked back to check, it wasn’t there. I’m going to do that at some point soon.

              1. Jennifer O*

                We emailed about it last year, but when it didn’t happen, I assumed you didn’t have time. You do such an awesome job with this blog and I’m so grateful to read everything here that I didn’t want to press.

                I thought a once-a-year reminder wouldn’t hurt, though. :)

  23. Lisa*

    #2 – I lie on my resume on the time. I graduated (walked / finished courses) in 2002, but the college only prints degrees once a year. Its never been an issue, and I always mention it for background checks. Like “you should know that my BA may be listed as 2003, but I completed my undergrad work in 2002 as it says on my resume. I missed the degree printing cutoff due to my last class being over the summer, but still consider myself part of the class of 2002.”

    They tend to note it, and thank me for telling them. Some even mention that its happened to them too.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That’s not really a lie — it’s not something you’re saying in order to purposely mislead people, and you’re explaining it. Very different than just making up a title because you think it will appeal to employers more.

  24. Amy*

    I have a similar situation. I am always introduced as “the product manager of ___” (fact: the product generates X million in revenue) but have an entry-level-looking HR title. To get my HR title to say “product manager” will take a minimum of 2 years and more realistically 3-4 years. EVEN THOUGH recruiters and hiring managers should really be paying attention to my product managery accomplishments, that entry-level-ish title is one extremely easy/convenient excuse to get me written off.

  25. OP #1*

    Another quick update – formal disciplinary action has been taken against SSNS. I’m told that, along with my colleagues’ talks with our supervisor, the head doctor believes that I’ve been a victim of workplace bullying. According to our company policy, this requires formal action as it is unacceptable. Obviously, I’m pleased that my concerns have been taken seriously in the management forum after such a short time here. I admit that one of my biggest fears had been that I’d be told to ‘suck it up’ and ‘take it like an adult’. That the head doctor has been taking an interest in me and my issues is encouraging.

    Thanks again for all of your help!

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