wee answer Wednesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Is this creepy?

I recently applied for a position at a nonprofit under a person whose work I greatly admire. Is it creepy to expose how much I know about this person and their work during an interview?

If it’s professional accomplishments, no, it’s flattering. If it’s stuff about their personal life, that’s potentially creepy.

2. Interviewing candidates before an application deadline is up

What is the proper protocol for employers when they post open positions and how long they should keep them open? My employer posts open positions and begins interviewing right away without waiting until all applications have been received. Recently someone submitted their resume for an open position to find out the hiring manager had narrowed her search down to finalists and the position was still open!

There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Lots of employers review applications and interview candidates on a rolling basis as they come in. As long as the position remains open, they should be willing to consider new candidates (otherwise there’s no point in keeping it open) — but toward the end of the process, the bar might be higher for new candidates, since they’d have to be competitive with people who might already be finalists.

Now, sometimes doing this is more efficient — you get to start the process rolling earlier so you can finish it faster, which is especially useful when you have a vacant position that you need to get filled, and it gives you a lower risk of losing an excellent candidate to another offer by making them wait. But sometimes it’s less efficient, since you may end up interviewing candidates early on who wouldn’t have made it to an interview if they were judged against the full pool later. But really, either way is fine.

3. Does my manager think I’m a wimp for not negotiating?

I recently received a job offer with a salary that was more than I was expecting. I was very pleased with the amount offered and decided not to negotiate for more. Now I’m in my second week on the job and I’m paranoid that my supervisor thinks I’m (1) dumb and/or (2) a wimp for not negotiating a higher salary. No one has made any comments to that effect, so it might just be in my head, but still, did I make a mistake?

Well, it’s possible that you left money on the table, but I can pretty much guarantee you that your manager doesn’t think you’re dumb or a wimp. If anything, she might have been momentarily relieved you didn’t push for more money, but if she’s like most managers, she stopped thinking about your salary discussion within hours. While this is looming large in your head — it’s your salary, after all — she’s almost certainly not thinking about it. Relax and enjoy your new job!

4. My coworker’s husband is lying about working with us

I work at a mid-sized hotel with a small restaurant. I work part-time, and my desk is sometimes used by others. I recently came across a strange document on my computer. It was a resume for my colleague’s husband (who is in the process becoming her ex-husband). She goes by a different last name so the connection wasn’t immediate, but the most recent “job” caught my attention. It states that he (the husband) worked at our restaurant for a length of time in a supervisor/server position and it had made-up duties on it, although he has NEVER been employed at our hotel in any capacity.

Should I share this information with our manager? As far as I can tell, this resume was last updated about 8 months ago. While it doesn’t directly hurt our business, it does speak volumes about my colleague’s character and I wonder if it is something important our manager should be aware of. Maybe I am wrong and it does hurt our business in a way I hadn’t thought of? Should I tell or keep it to myself? What would you suggest?

If anything, I’d say something to your coworker: “Hey, Sue, did you know that your husband is claiming on his resume that he worked here? Somehow a copy ended up on my computer. What’s up with that?”

Or you can ignore it. If he’s lying about having been employed there, it’s going to come out pretty quickly in a reference check.

5. Not seeming snooty when you’re job searching with an advanced degree

I just finished my Master’s degree in English and I’m job hunting, but I’m not walking into the market without experience. I have ten years in admin and customer service, web editing, and a host of other skills that I’ve picked up over the years. Going back to school was part of a greater plan to get off my ass and do what I loved, so I’ve been applying for jobs with organizations that I’d ideally like to work for with credentials that fit their job specifications. However, some of those jobs are ranked as junior positions, and I’m concerned that my experience and education may dissuade them from considering me. I’m not averse to entering a new discipline on a lower rung (rites of passage and so on), so how can I convey that to employers without sounding snooty, or worse, desperate?

And what’s the general impression outside the Ivory Tower of graduate degrees?

I think it’s less about what you say and more about your attitude. You want to come across as open, humble, and not convinced that your masters gives you special qualifications — and I know the latter might be counterintuitive, but in fields that don’t require a masters, employers generally value work experience over the degree and bristle at candidates who appear to over-value it.

There’s a larger discussion on graduate degrees here. The upshot: in fields that don’t require them, they’re often neutral, but sometimes harmful. Fairly or unfairly, if you’ve recently obtained a masters and you’re applying for jobs that aren’t in that field, some employers will worry that you don’t really want the job … and with a PhD, you have to fight that, plus deal with employers who worry that you’re not equipped for the world outside research and academia. (This can be overcome, of course — my sister, for example, is a history Ph.D. who now manages a nonprofit marketing program — but it’s sometimes a challenge.)

6. Feeling left out at work

I recently started in an incredible job on a buying team, for a well-known high-end department store. I work on a team of buyers, which includes 2 other assistants besides me. The other assistants are in similar roles to me, but theirs are the closest in similarity. They both started about 3 months ago, while I started about a month and a half ago. We are all the same age, around 25, and we are all fairly similar. They are both kind, friendly, and helpful to me, but extremely “partner-y” with each other. They have inside jokes, are always looking at each other and laughing about things, and always getting each other’s opinion about work stuff (and non-work stuff), while I often feel left out. I know they aren’t doing this purposely, but nonetheless, it leads to me feeling left out. They even call each other “partner….”

I don’t know if I am overreacting. Even though it’d be nice to fit in perfectly, should I just let it go? Or should I keep trying to shape a partnership between the three of us? One friend recommended throwing some kind of a social thing at my house, and inviting everyone and their significant others. What do you think?

Sometimes people just click better with some people than with others. You’ve probably found the same thing yourself — you get along really well with certain people, and while you like others just fine, might not have as close of a friendship with them. So try really hard not to take this personally. In fact, their relationship with you — kind, friendly, but not BFF — is the more normal work relationship. Their friendship with each other is more unusual for the workplace. It might help to remind yourself of that when you’re feeling left out.

That said, you could certainly try inviting them out to lunch or for drinks after work. Throwing a social thing at your house is an option too, although probably more work than is needed.

7. Taking a job that I previously turned down

I recently turned down a job that would have been an $8,000 pay cut from what I am currently making, which they knew. I explained that unfortunately, with our bills, I would not be able to take the salary unless we were able to downsize. I accepted a different job, but it’s not stable and there are already issues with financial stability. I think I need to take the pay cut with the other job and work my way up. We have paid off some debt, so I am able to take the cut. The only problem is, will they take me or even have a position open. How do I go about asking?

Maybe, maybe not. They might have already filled the job, they might have concerns about putting you in a position where you’re going to be unhappy with the salary, or they might be thrilled to get you. The only way you’ll find out is by asking them. Send your contact there an email and say that after a lot of thought, you don’t want to pass the opportunity up, and ask if the job is still open.

{ 58 comments… read them below }

  1. CatB (Europe)*

    #6: Alison (umm… Senion Blogger Green, sorry), a question about your comment “Their friendship with each other is more unusual for the workplace“. In the Gallup Q12, one of the questions is “Do I have a best friend at work?” So, by that comment you meant “the friendship is not recommended” or did you mean “the friendship is rarely seen, though beneficial”?

  2. EngineerGirl*

    #4 While it doesn’t directly hurt our business, it does speak volumes about my colleague’s character

    Excuse me, but how do you come to that conclusion? The resume belongs to the husband, not the colleague. And just to point out that she is ending the relationship. Is it possible that the colleague is ending it because of all the lies? Maybe she brought the fake resume in to let her boss know (give him a heads up).

    I’d definately let the collegue know. It is potentially embarassing for both the collegue and the company. She may appreciate it.

    1. Anonymous*

      Agree, though I would also be open to the possibility that he was using her as a contact to lie for him during reference checks to verify that lie. Or maybe he intended do, and she refused.

      1. Ann*

        I was thinking kind of that way; she-who knew about the business- was writing that part of his resume and possibly going to be his “reference” for that “job”.

        So I don’t agree that if he is lying about working there it would necessarily come out in a reference check, because there is the possibility both of them are lying about him working there and he could put her down as his reference. Which, of course, is completely wrong but probably not a far stretch for someone who is willing to put a fake job on your resume.

        I’m not sure what I’d do about it, though.

    2. Your Mileage May Vary*

      I think the OP could mean one of two things:

      1) The wife typed it up on the computer which means she’s a bit implicit in the lie. In this case, if she did type it up, I think “so what?” It’s just typed. It doesn’t become a lie until he submits it as his work. They could have reviewed it later and decided to submit a factual resume in his job search. You weren’t there; you don’t know.

      2) Or that wife allowed husband to come to the hotel and type up his resume on the work computer, which may not be allowed. Ok, well, it was 8 months ago (I assume you know this because of the date stamp on the document file). It’s a little late for the boss to discipline the wife about letting the husband use the equipment.

      I would stay out of it unless part of your job description is to police and report on your co-worker’s character.

      1. Anon*

        Or he e-mailed it to her at work, she saved it to the desktop instead of opening it, and once she did, roundly chewed him out and possibly institute divorce proceedings.

        1. danr*

          Or, she wrote the fake resume to screw him… I’ve known of worse things that spouses who are fighting have done to the professional lives of their SOs.

          1. some1*

            Or maybe the colleague typed it when she & her husband were still on good terms & now she’s not & never plans to give it to him anyway.

  3. AdAgencyChick*

    #3: “…if she’s like most managers, she stopped thinking about your salary discussion within hours.”

    Bingo. She’s now thinking about the work you can help her with, not how much she’s paying you to do it (unless she’s the owner of the company, and even then she’s probably relieved and not thinking of you as a wimp!).

  4. Anonymous*

    In Re #2:

    While the companies I work at have never posted application deadlines within our ads (except when job sites made us specify this, thus it really meant nothing on our end), every company I have ever worked at starts interviewing candidates within the first week the job goes up. We continue to consider new resumes as they filter in, however later in the process those equally qualified resumes sit on the back burner (unless the person really is above and beyond) to follow-up on if a front-runner falls through. Sometimes, even if a position has been filled, we leave the ad up and running until it expires (They can cost $400+!) just to collect resumes, especially if it is a position we hire for often. And just an FYI, when job sites require us to enter an application deadline, I usually enter the date we hope to fill the position by, because I know (rather, hope) we won’t need any more applicants after that date.

    Where my husband used to work, they would post positions that were not even actually open (they were in a hiring freeze!), just so they had a steady flow of resumes/applicants… and because their recruiting system required it, they all had application deadlines…. for jobs that weren’t even available. They simply would extend the deadline when it approached. I encountered this same practice at a company I interviewed at earlier this year— they would even bring people in for interviews for jobs they weren’t presently hiring for (husband’s old company did this too)!

    So, I think it is pretty common to begin interviewing candidates before application deadlines, and I think in a lot of cases application deadlines are actually moot.

    1. Blinx*

      Anon – thanks for your post — I’ve often wondered about why job postings were up for so long, or repeated every month or two. It also illustrates why it is important to apply the first week the posting is up. I’ll apply to a posting that is 2 or or 3 weeks old, but I wondered if it was even worth it! I still apply, in the off chance that no one before me matched the qualifications.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Keep in mind that lots of places do wait until the application period is up before they start reviewing resumes, and others do it on a rolling basis but will still seriously consider candidates who come in toward the end (the latter is generally what I do — especially since I’ve found that often the best candidates turn up later in the process). So definitely don’t not apply just because a post is older.

    2. Your Mileage May Vary*

      The place I’m working now has had a position (to replace my boss, actually) open for three years. They keep interviewing but no one is good enough. So either they are attracting really poor candidates or the standards for hire are just a tad high.

      [So, if anyone’s a college reading teacher wanting to work at a college out in the sticks, let me know. I’d love to have a boss that reads this column – maybe then I wouldn’t have to submit my shoe question.]

      1. anon, obviously*

        Not to be too snarky, but shouldn’t someone be able to read by the time he is in college? Or did I completely misunderstand this job description?

        1. Your Mileage May Vary*

          It’s in the education department. It’s for teaching education majors so that they can qualify as a reading specialist teacher when they graduate.

        2. Another Job Seeker*

          I can’t speak for the college referenced above, but the university I attended teaches reading classes. Unfortunately, there are many high school graduates who never learned to read well. Some students “guess” at words (e.g., they see the word “security” and assume it is “secondly”). In some cases, students will give excuses for not reading out loud in class (“I left my glasses at home”, etc). There are colleges and universities that recognize these issues and do what they can to help students to address them.

    3. Anonymous*

      Oh man this so explains something that happened to me earlier this year. I applied to several jobs at an org I later found out had a mandatory hiring freeze in all departments, even though they were posting openings and accepting applications, all with deadlines. I’ve been wondering about it ever since.

  5. Anonymous*


    As someone who screens resumes, if you are applying to jobs with a Masters in English, and these jobs don’t relate to that degree, then I would certainly address why you are interested in the job in your cover letter… or in some cases, leave the Masters out of it if it is irrelevant to the job. It is definitely a red flag when someone ceased working in a business setting to obtain a Masters in English, only to return to that business setting after obtaining the degree. For good reason, to many employers they will think the job is only a “for-now” option to you, until something you are interested in comes along.

    If the jobs you are applying for are related to your Masters degree, then I think you don’t have a problem at all. Your cover letter can simply explain you decided to pursue your Masters to redirect your career and help you break into a field you love.

    1. Vicki*

      My sister got a BS in Elementary Ed, taught for one year, hated the politics, went back to school. She got a Masters in Arts Administration, then a job in HR. After 20+ years, she’s now a Six Sigma Black Belt project manager.

      Another friend recently finished a Master of Arts, Architectural History. She’s doing web programming.

      I have an MS in Micro because I had a BS in Micro, so that was a program I could get into, then add more computer courses and experience.

      There are many reasons that a person might get a Masters degree in a field but not look for a job in that field a) they want the opportunity for learning about the field b) they have the background to get into Grad School in that major c) jobs in that field are scarce and MS degrees don;t guarantee a job

      An MS tells you that someone can do research and write a well-formed paper or papers. It tells you the person has an interest in the particular field. But you shouldn’t assume that an MS in Field X means the candidate is only looking for jobs in Y just until something in X comes along. I’ve known many many people for whom grad school was an interesting step on the career path, not a final choice of field.

      1. Vicki*

        c) above should have been
        c) they aren’t sure yet what field to go into and the MS program keeps them learning

        the info after c) should have been a statement of its own, nit a bullet point.

        (I wish more blogs had “Edit” :-(

  6. Zee*


    I had something similar happen a few years ago. I had to apply for a job via an online application through the company’s website. The particular position I was applying for had a deadline. It was the type of application where you can close it and come back to it if you could not do it in one sitting. I came back a couple of days before it was due to finish up the attachment portion of the application, and as I was reviewing what I had already completed, I noticed I could not find the position I was applying for. It simply vanished and my application was unattached, just sitting there without having a position. I immediately called HR and asked if there was a glitch. They said no, they had gone with an internal candidate and the position was no longer available. I politely thanked them, hung up, and cursed the computer screen. Even if I would never be their ultimate choice, I would have appreciated them to honor the deadline they had posted so I would have applied formally. And to top it off, I had met them at a career fair in which they were advertising their open positions, and when people talked to them, they refused to collect resumes and directed everyone to their website for the application. Bullet dodged? Maybe.

    1. Anonymous*

      I wasn’t even aware the anyone other than governments and universities didn’t interview and potentially hire candidates as their resumes come in.

      I think you’ve got one of Allison’s big misconceptions going here…that they owe you something. They don’t. They were collecting resumes, interviewing candidates, etc. They found a suitable candidate, and hired them. At the career fair they advertised the position because they hadn’t yet hired anyone…maybe the internal candidate wouldn’t have worked out.

      1. Zee*

        Please hold the sarcasm. I do not believe they owe me anything. I was angry, frustrated, and disappointed that I followed directions, took them at their word about the deadline, only to return to complete my application to find out I couldn’t for the position I wanted. I think you would be upset too, especially when you had been trying very hard to find something in this day in age. I understand they can do whatever they want.

        Oh, and I have seen a university post a position without a deadline mentioned. Turned in a resume, only to get a message back saying the deadline had passed and someone had been offered the position. I checked back about two weeks later on the website, and the position was still posted and still without a deadline.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t think scarcasm was intended. I think Anonymous was responding to: “Even if I would never be their ultimate choice, I would have appreciated them to honor the deadline they had posted so I would have applied formally.” It wouldn’t make sense for them to honor the deadline they’d posted if they’d already decided they wanted to hire Person X. (In fact, it would have just wasted your time, so it was more considerate for them to close the posting.) Anonymous’s point was that they’re not obligated to hold a position open for a certain period of time out of fairness; hiring isn’t about fairness, and that’s what I think she was trying to convey (and what I was agreeing to).

          1. some1*

            Ditto this. I’d rather not be allowed to apply if I have zero chance than take the time to apply, let alone go through interview process.

  7. Catherine*

    #6 – OP, you mentioned you have only be there a month or so. Give it time. While you may not ever be as close or part of the group as the other two employees, it may just take a while. It takes me a long time to become friendly with my coworkers, like several months.

    If you want to do something with them, I suggest lunch – it’s easy, it’s relatively stress-free, and you can just bring it up casually. Unless you love planning parties and really want to throw on, I would think a party is too much hassle, and it might be awkward. Also, if you have a party, you run the risk of the two of them segregating themselves because there are so many people there (depending on the size), and then you wouldn’t really get to know them anyway. I think a lunch with just those two would be a better way to get to know them.

    1. Vicki*

      OP: These women may have been friends before they started working there. And, face it, you may never be “besties” with them.

      You say “They are both kind, friendly, and helpful.” Given some of the co-worker complaints to this blog, consider yourself lucky to be in a friendly work environment. Don’t let jealousy spoil it.

    2. JessB*

      Oh, this brought back some horrid memories for me. I worked at a place with two colleagues where one girl had been there for a year or so, and another girl had started a fortnight before me. I am pretty nice and friendly, but I kept getting shut down by them. They were really similar – both interested in the same music, liked the same food, and both smoked – so they went to lunch together, and took breaks together. Because we worked in customer service, someone had to man the office at all times, so I got left there on my own. I ended up being really severely bullied by the girl who’d been there for a while, while the other new girl did nothing.

      Anyway, this experience has taught me a few lessons, that I am delighted to now share with you! Have a look at how your colleagues deal with others; if they are similarly pleasant to others but keep up their inside jokes, you have confirmed that it’s not just you. Have a casual chat with some others about their interactions with your colleagues; if they get the same sense that there’s a good friendship there, it’s not just you. Have a think about how they treat you when you ask for help; if they’re nice and helpful and give you all the information you need, how much of a problem is it really?

      These are all questions that would have helped me see there was systematic bullying at place, and had been before I left, and which continued after I left. It doesn’t sound like you are in the same situation I was (which make me really glad for you), it just sounds like something you have to deal with. Good luck, I’ll be interested to hear how you go!

  8. Clobbered*

    #1 – even if we are taking professional stuff , do try not to come across as a drooling fanboy/girl. It’s one thing to say, when asked about what attracted you to the position, “… and I am also a great admirer of your work with X Y and Z” and it’s another to be gushing “OMG you are my hero! I google your name every day! I want to breathe the same air as you!”.

    1. KayDay*

      haha, yes. (although, I too would enjoy watching the fan girl interview).

      I would say the best way to approach it is to find one news article/story/thing that the OP can use to discuss why s/he admires her professional-crush so much.

  9. AnotherAlison*

    #7 – If you really shared all your personal financial information with the employer – “I explained that unfortunately, with our bills, I would not be able to take the salary unless we were able to downsize” – leave it alone. You aren’t supposed to tell people why you can’t work for less. You’re supposed to explain why you’re worth more. It seems a little embarrassing that you’re now willing to go in and work for $8000 less than you were presumably working for at an old job and the other new job. It also comes off looking like you aren’t very good at researching and evaluating things before you make decisions.

    1. Ouch!*


      Regarding your comments to question #7, I’m somewhat shocked at how abruptly, judgmentally, and unkindly you dissected the letter writer.

      People’s financial situations are very precarious and change frequently. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find nothing embarrassing about a solid candidate reconsidering an offer when the financial winds have changed. As we all know, employers do this back-and-forth on a regular basis, and we’re told to just accept it.

      Additionally, taking into account how turbulent the economy has been for the past few years, the potential employer is likely to be sympathetic and feel lucky that their top choice is willing to work for the allotted salary.

      As Alison pointed out in her response, the only way for the OP to know where she/he stands with the position is to make an inquiry.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I’m shocked that you took the time to write that for me. Ouch! You’ve really put me in my place, anonymous internet poster.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Okay, come on now. Anonymous, I didn’t think AnotherAlison’s message was meant unkindly — she was explaining how an employer could potentially view this, which is good insight to have. But AnotherAlison, you escalated the hostility — no need for that either.

    2. Vicki*

      Apparently now, after taking the bad job, the OP is willing to downsize. She even says “I think I need to take the pay cut with the other job and work my way up. We have paid off some debt, so I am able to take the cut.”

      Yeah, it may be embarrassing. I’d prefer minor embarrassment over the stress of wondering if the company I’m in now is going to sink.

  10. Mature student*

    #5. I went to law school in my late thirties, when I already had a PhD in another field and nearly 20 years’ relevant work experience. In England, you have to do a two year training contract with a law firm after graduating in order to qualify professionally. When I was applying for training contracts I was very very upfront about stating that I would have no problem taking orders from people younger and less experienced than me, that I knew how to fit into the workplace as a junior person and was motivated to do so, and basically making it clear that while I thought I would be bringing a lot to the party, I was basically not going to be a full-of-myself pain in the ass to work with. I also pointed out that I was so keen to become a lawyer that I had paid for my own degree and given up a reasonably successful career. It must have worked because I got a job without difficulty. I did have one interviewer specifically address the topic with me and I was pleased that he did as it gave me the chance to make myself clear. In my experience if you make clear that you are genuinely motivated in your new career and accept that the downside of this is sliding back a few rungs on the ladder, people are happy to accept that provided the rest of your attitude and presentation is consistent with that. Good luck.

  11. Ellie H.*

    My rule of thumb is that if you find yourself asking “Is this creepy?” it’s probably creepy. (That doesn’t mean I haven’t gone ahead and done whatever it was anyway, though . . .)

    As for question #6 about feeling left out at work, you might also just want to give it more time. You have evidence that these people are into being friendly with coworkers so they may well become so with you (and vice versa) after just a little more time. I started in an office in January where people were super friendly, very close outside of work, and all that. I’m more reserved so I felt a little left out/separate for a while but after enough time I am a part of those social relationships too. If I were you I’d wait a couple more months before going out of my way to do anything about it.

  12. some1*

    The only thing I wanted to add to #6 is while in general workplace friendships are great, there can be a double-edge to having a work BFF, too. I had two incredibly close friends at my old job, and it was known that we were all close friends. So if I went into one of their cubes to discuss work, someone walking by might think we were just gabbing. Also, when I got laid off, I found out the hard way that these friends weren’t as close as I thought.

    At another job, my boss pulled me into her office at 4:00 the day before Christmas Eve to tell me I was being promoted — to my work-BFF’s job, and she was being demoted to my job. My friend was out that day, so she didn’t find out til after the holidays. So my holidays were full of the bittersweet excitement. My friend was demoted for performance issues, which I knew was solely her responsibility, but as her friend I still felt badly for her.

    1. sam.i.am*

      This happened to me once. Super awkward. It’s also frustrating when you have friends at work who you like personally but don’t like as a colleague. It can be hard to keep the two separate and not take work frustrations out on your friend.

      Right now I’m trying to stay in the “friendly but not friends” realm with my coworkers, but it’s not working so well. It can be tough to be a 20-something woman in an industry that attracts 20-something women…

      1. Jamie*

        “It’s also frustrating when you have friends at work who you like personally but don’t like as a colleague.”

        I’ve known people with this dilemma, but I’ve never experienced it personally. For me if I can’t respect you at work, I don’t have a whole lot of respect for you as a friend either…so it’s easier for me to compartmentalize.

        1. Andrew*

          This is bizarre.

          It seems like you are saying that, in order to pass muster as your friend and be worthy of the great and glorious you, a person has to meet some arbitrary definition of work-related competency that you have dreamed up.

          Life circumstances, personal interests, talents, personal problems, everything else is meaningless if they aren’t a good worker bee. What the hell?

          Respect at work and personal friendship are two entirely different things, and I can’t respect or like someone who doesn’t grasp the difference.

          1. Jamie*

            Okay. You can’t like or respect someone who has different criteria for friendships and I don’t want to go out for a drink with someone who annoys me at work.

            So we each have our own parameters – not sure what the problem is. This does seem like an OTT response to an internet strangers view of friendship/workplace relationships, and I don’t understand that but you’re certainly entitled to your vitriol.

            To each his own.

  13. Brook*

    #4 Could somebody be altering a resume to use as theirs? Like, if the document that you came across was originally the husband’s resume, and the wife was using the formatting to make her resume, but hadn’t completed the alterations and had every intent of making it accurately reflect her work history?

    Just a scenario. One that lets us pretend that nothing nefarious is happening.

  14. Student*

    Huge caveat to #5: It depends heavily on what kind of degree you get and what type of job you’re trying to get. In areas where having a masters or PhD is unusual, you will be viewed as snooty. If you reasonably think your boss probably won’t have a masters, then maybe you should leave it off the resume.

    In areas where having a master’s or more is a frequent occurrence, it can be a huge boost to your application. There’s also a middle ground where it’s considered a nice stamp of achievement, but not a huge deal.

    Basically, people who don’t have one will think badly of you, and people who know what a masters is will think well of you. It’s like the blue-collar question about wearing a suit to a job interview vs wearing “nice clothes that ain’t too fancy.” Universally, you want to appear to be a great catch as an employee, but not appear to be an immediate threat to your hiring manager’s job. You want to look like you are almost, but not quite, as good as the boss.

  15. Janet*

    For #6 – I honestly think you should just stay the way things are. In my experience of years at work, it’s generally far better to be friendly but not too terribly close with co-workers. Especially when there are three of you. Three is a magic number where one person almost always feels like the odd man out and to get too involved with this dynamic might create headaches down the road. Having them be friendly and professional sounds great to me.

  16. Anonymous*

    Re: 6. Feeling left out at work

    I felt that way once, but with my cubicle mates. The way the desks were positioned, there were 3 of us sitting close to each other and my other 2 co-workers were like BFFs – always got lunch together, chatted about non-work stufff for nearly most of the day when things were slow, went to happy hour together, etc. It was annoying and it made me feel like a weirdo to them. At least they are being friendly to you in your case.

  17. Nancypie1*

    For #5 – Are you applying for jobs where a master’s in English is directly useful, relevant, and something that qualifies you for a higher level position? If not, I think it’s understood that you would have to take a closer to entry level job to start something

    I don’t know what a master’s in English qualifies you for (that’s not my field), however, I don’t feel that a graduate degree in most fields is more valuable in a field than a proven track record of work experience. So I would not be wondering why you were applying for jobs at a certain level given your education. Exceptions to this are degrees that actually provide you job specific training, such as teaching, engineering, the law…
    Given this, I might find it weird or snooty if you offered an explanation of the level of jobs you’re applying for. If the interviewer thinks you’re overqualified, they should ask about it. I have asked people I’ve interviewed (who seem to have higher level experience or doing something that seems more exciting than the job they’re interviewing for) if they are ok with the position they’re interviewing for and have gotten some great insight into why they’re applying.

    If you were applying for jobs where a master’s of English was not relevant (or the connection was not easily made), I would wonder why you were applying at all given that you had just recently gotten an advanced degree in something unrelated. And I would definitely ask about that.

  18. Vicki*

    My career has been (initially) programming and (more recently) content management (writing, editing, wikis…). I have both a BS and an a MS in Microbiology. I got the MS because I needed to figure out what to “do” for a living.

    My MS thesis project (a computer analysis of microbiological data) essentially got me my first job, as a programmer at a BioTech company.

    After that, no one has ever mentioned it except one time, when (following a company reorganization) I landed with a manager who had no idea what I did but had a project he wanted done. He insisted that I could write Operating System Kernel tests (um, no) because “She has a Masters Degree!”. Apparently he told this to our HR rep, who told me.
    My response “Yes, I have an MS. … It’s in Science.”
    Her response “… Oh. I see.”

    I was moved to another manager and team a few days later.

  19. Liz*

    For the person who wanted to make friends with her “partner” co-workers, I think it works better to try to approach them one at a time, rather than invite them both to hang out. (I think that was what Alison was driving at, but it wasn’t stated outright).

    I would either invite both to a group happy hour/party where I try to hang out with each separately, or I would find an excuse to invite just one to accompany me for a really quick, low-pressure thing “I was thinking of stopping at that new place on the way home, want to come along?” or “I need a quick recharge, want to go out for coffee?” (the other person is more likely to say yes if you ask for something that day, rather than arrange it ahead of time).

  20. Pat*

    I had a job interview and the fellow asked when I could start to work. This is August 28. I said Oct. 1, thinking he was in no hurry and because I got word that same morning that I had to move (the building was sold) and because I wanted a break from all the hard work of job searching before I resumed work.
    Wrong answer. He wants someone to begin right away.
    This is for a new outside position, so it made no sense to me and since he was back pedaling saying he was short handed in the showroom and needed help right away, I said in my thank you follow up note that I was sure we could work out a sooner start date.
    But, I am still wondering what the better immediate response should have been. Can you share one or two, please? Thank you.

  21. 23... : )*

    Hi am recently trying to apply for a position as a receptionist but i would like to call the manager and ask the right way about the hours they will need for someone to work and other questions that would be good to ask about the position and show intrest can anyone please help me?

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