terse answer Thursday — 6 short answers to 6 short questions

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

1. How soon can I leave this job?

So I started a full-time internship for a charity as a Grants Officer. This charity has a large network and there is a possibility of a permanent role with them or their associated partners, depending on funding. I only started this 2 weeks ago and I really, really don’t enjoy doing grants and bids. It’s not for me. I don’t want to leave the organization on bad terms or give them a bad impression of me because given the right opportunity I would like to work for them. So how do I go about leaving? Should I just wait till the new year and suck it up? They are aware that I am looking for permanent work and I have an interview with one of their affiliates this week. I am really confused on what to do.

If you leave after a few weeks, you will probably burn the bridge; they hired you assuming that you understood what you were signing up for and that you were willing to do it. It’s doubtful they’d hire you for another job later if you leave this one after just a few weeks (or even a few months, depending on how long of a commitment you made to the internship). Plus, for what it’s worth, you generally can’t know after two weeks whether you hate the work or not. It takes far longer than that to learn and get used to a new job. But if you really do know that quickly, then they either misled you about the job or you didn’t think it through before taking it — the former would be an excuse to leave soon, but the latter would reflect badly on you.

2. Adding a certificate to your business cards

My employer orders business cards in bulk, and I received cards just before I got my CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation. So my cards don’t list my CMP designation, and I’m out of luck getting new ones for now.

I’m going to an industry conference soon and plan to take cards for networking. Would it be better to hand out my “official” cards without my CMP listed, hand out my “official” cards with “CMP” handwritten on them, or have personal networking cards made up (i.e. Vistaprint)? If I get Vistaprint cards, should I list my work e-mail/phone or personal?

Don’t put CMP on your business cards. There’s no need for it, most people won’t know what it means, and you’ll come across as if you think people put more weight on the certificate than they do. There are very few fields where it makes sense to include your degree or certificate on your cards, other than MD, CPA, and occasionally PhD or JD (although even those two can be questionable). Use your existing cards.

3. Job-hunting while pregnant

My question is diving a bit deeper into the issue of interviewing while pregnant. I am about 4 months pregnant and definitely showing. I am wrapping a contract position that ends in a few weeks and have started sending out resumes to line up something new (either contract or permanent). I’ve been doing a lot of research on when to let a potential employer know I’m pregnant, including reading one of your posts on the topic, and agree with most people who advise to let the company know once an offer is made and negotiations are in process.

If they ask me during the interview process, prior to an offer being made, if I am going to need any time off, what is the best way to answer this question? I’m concerned because I don’t want to disclose my pregnancy until an offer is made, but I don’t want to lie and create bad feelings down the road. So I’m wondering if there is a diplomatic way of skirting this question until an offer is made and I ready to share the news?

Ooooh, yeah, that’s tricky — because while it’s perfectly legitimate to wait to mention a pregnancy until you have an offer, you don’t want to outright lie or you’ll look like you’re operating in bad faith (and in fact will be operating in bad faith). I think if directly asked about planned time off, you’d need to be honest … although it’s not an especially common interview question, so I wouldn’t expect it to come up too much.

4. Determining salary expectations when you don’t have much work history

My work history consists of unpaid internships, one limited-term position lasting a few months, and Peace Corps, where I was paid about $320/month, plus benefits. Given that, I have no idea what my salary requirements for a new job should be. Obviously I can’t base it on what I made in Peace Corps, since $320/month is not a livable wage in this country. Should I give the lowest number I’d accept? I’ve figured that, living extremely frugally, I could make ends meet on $18,000 annually, but should I be low-balling myself that much? Would it make me look attractive or desperate? And I also don’t think I’d be very happy living that way, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

Whoa, no, this is not how you figure out salary requirements. They’re not based on what you need to live on; they’re based on the market rate for the work you’d be doing, taking into account your experience, skill set, and track record. You don’t expect more money when your expenses go up and less when they go down. Salary is based on the market, so that’s what you need to look into. There are some ideas for doing that here.

5. Taking on side work in addition to a full-time job

I am currently working full-time, but my skill set is such that I occasionally get offers for contract work (two weeks to several months in length). I have a technical skill set that is complimentary to my job, and while I enjoy the technical work, it is not the area in which I can, nor would want to, develop my career. That being said, it is this technical skill set these contracts seek to utilize. I have always declined these contract offers due to being employed full-time, but recently I have began thinking about taking these on part-time on the side (in addition to my current role). There isn’t any particular driving force in this change of thought, but at $50+ an hour it is hard to ignore these opportunities.

Is it worth it to take the risk of annoying my current employer? Even if this were to technically comport to the requirements of an employer agreement, I wonder if it will do damage to my reputation and career of I were to raise this with my managers — whose approval I would seek before going down this path. I am fairly certain that this situation would be unique in my peer group, so that adds a “bleeding edge” factor in my mind. I think (read: speculate) that this is frowned upon for full-time employees anywhere (since it is not for a nonprofit / charity board of directors or something similar) but I don’t want to leave a stone unturned if it could help moved career forward by putting my name and work in front of more people. What are your thoughts on this matter?

My thoughts are that you’re asking the wrong person. You need to ask your manager about this. Just be straightforward and ask (a) whether it’s allowed at all (it may not be) and (b) whether it would be frowned upon, even if allowed. She’ll be able to tell you with far more certainty about how it’ll be perceived in your particular organization that I can.

6. Sending praise to coworkers’ managers

Will you offer your thoughts on sending recognition/appreciation letters to the supervisor of coworkers? I recently worked with a couple programmers from our IT department who quickly responded to my request and accomplished the work in a timely fashion and kept me in the loop the whole time. On the one hand, I think this should be the rule, not the exception, but I still feel like expressing my appreciation in a way that can be put in their file for future reviews (if they desire). Should I be concerned about thanking them for “just doing their job,” or go ahead and pass my appreciation on to their supervisor regardless of if the efforts were routine or extraordinary?

Absolutely send the email! You’re not really thanking them just for doing their job; you’re thanking them for doing it in a way that you especially appreciated: being quick, keeping you informed, making it all easier on you. Be specific about what you appreciated, and that will make the praise more meaningful. But do send the note to their manager, and cc them so they see it to! This kind of thing really makes a difference to people when they hear it.

{ 168 comments… read them below }

  1. Jaime Knox*

    Thanks so much for your quick response, especially since I have an interview next week! I will definitely take your advice!

    1. Josh S*

      Assuming you’re OP#3 re: Job hunting while pregnant —

      Keep in mind that, even at a larger employer who is subject to FMLA, you aren’t covered until you’ve been employed there for at least 1 year. So you may need to plan on an unpaid leave of absence, or find out what benefits they offer in that time period.

      Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy!

      1. fposte*

        The absence of FMLA doesn’t simply mean that leave would be unpaid (FMLA doesn’t ever mean your leave is paid); it means they can actually terminate her for needing leave, so long as they have the same policy for any other temporarily disabled employee. (That’s presuming she’s not in California or another state with additional pregnancy protections.)

          1. fposte*

            I think it’s just that we’ve gotten so used to FMLA that it’s easy to forget how defenseless we really are when we’re not eligible.

            1. Jaime Knox*

              Thanks all, yes, I’ve done my research so I know that at this point, I would not be covered under FMLA no matter where I got a job, so I was definitely planning on the leave being unpaid. Good reminder though, fposte, that they are not required to keep the job for me either. The idea would be, if I got the position, that during the negotiation phase, I would negotiate that time off as well as the ability to return after maternity leave and have that all in writing as a contract. We’ll see how it goes though. Thanks!

              1. fposte*

                Well, and I certainly didn’t mean to sound like a knell of doom! As indicated below, lots of hiring managers are willing to work with a qualified candidate. I hope you find a great position with a hiring manager who does just that.

  2. Anonymous*

    Haha, #2…

    An employee I work with puts “John Doe, BA” on everything he signs (e-mail signature, every form he turns in, etc). It always makes me chuckle.

    Just recently, he started signing his name “John Doe, M.Ed. Candidate.”


    1. A Bug!*

      Is his education at least related to his employment? I hope he doesn’t lord it over people and his business card is the extent of it.

        1. A Bug!*

          I saw it happen more than once when I worked in a call centre. I’m hesitant to be too mean about those people, because I’m sure a lot of money was spent on their humanities degrees only for them to be unable to find decent employment in their field. But that doesn’t really excuse being kind of a jerk to coworkers who have “inferior” educations.

          You deserve this job because you’re not qualified for anything better. I’m only here because of this horrible economy. Never forget that I’m better than you.”

            1. Science Master*

              I’ve wanted to do this – and Master [name] as well.

              My organization (in academia) often lists employees’ degrees on their name plates and in the directory – all of them, relevant or not, terminal or not.

              1. Anonymous*

                I always loved university directories… “Jo Smith, Cert, Dipl, AA, BA, BS, MS, PhD,
                Distinguished Professor Emeritus”

                1. Anonymous*

                  (same anon here)

                  My point is that “Distinguished Professor Emeritus” itself carries a lot more weight than that alphabet soup of credentials

              1. Anonymous*

                Incidentally, this line of reasoning is what led to some universities awarding ‘Baccalaureate in Arts’ as opposed to ‘Bachelor of Arts’

      1. A Bug!*

        Oops, I read your comment and then it merged with the original question. I’m leaning more toward “insufferable” now!

    2. Kate*

      I am cracking up at this. I had to go to a conference for work (I am an admin assistant) but most of the people in this field have many advanced degrees and so the conference sign up online made the letters after your name a required field for what to put on your name tag. I have a B.A., so I put that, but there was an “additional notes” section in which I wrote something to the effect of “please, whatever you do, DO NOT put B.A. on my name tag!”

      1. Evan the College Student*

        … and your name tag turned out to say “Kate Lastname Please No BA On My Tag”? :)

        1. perrik*

          The conference version of Cake Wrecks?

          Hi, My Name Is:
          Elizabeth Bennett Please Use “Beth” And Is There A Vegetarian Option For The Awards Dinner?

        2. Anon in this case*

          My Ivy League university abbreviated the bachelor’s degree in humanities as an A.B. for years, so I have an A.B. but more recent graduates have B.A. degrees. Somewhere there’s a style sheet for the university with the transition year noted so everybody can get all this pretentiousness right. Sigh.

          When I put A.B. on certain online applications, the form freaks out. Then at the end of the form they want me to assure them I haven’t deliberately misrepresented my qualifications, even though they won’t let me use A.B. and don’t have space to spell out the full name of the degree.

          This is of course minor pickiness, but it’s the kind of problem that can be sliced and diced eternally in a philosophy or semantics class — did I lie or did I not when I changed A.B. to B.A. and if I was forced to, was Rover the first dog born at sea and did he bark in the forest if no one heard him?

    3. Sasha*

      Working in higher ed…I see this all the time. I’ve even seen B.A. candidate, from students who put that in their email sigs.

      1. KayDay*

        I think it’s a little different when students do this. When I was in school, the school employees (both faculty and staff) often wanted to know your ID number and degree program, so it was really common for people to have a sig like:
        BA: Basket Weaving candidate ’06
        U-ID: 1234321

        But I usually erased it for non-school related emails.

        1. Sasha*

          I understand including those details, as I do tech support and some of them are necessary. But I’m referring to students who use it like a title, like PhD.

          1. Anonymous*

            I have a feeling that might be more bad career center advice. Students aren’t born thinking “BA Candidate” is a title!

      1. Anonymous*

        My first job after college was working in the mental health field and I was required to sign all of the paperwork with my name followed by BS. I got so used to it that I found myself starting to include it when I was signing a receipt at the grocery store…that’s when I knew it was time to look for a new job!

      2. Anonymous*

        I use it as a dating mechanism – I’ve had two jobs where I made massive overhauls to the system. So….. all the time before me is just plain BS, as in before S.

    4. Rana*

      Oh, gosh, that would get a huge guffaw out of anyone with any understanding of academic degrees at all. “Candidate” means approximately nothing beyond “completed basic coursework; still doesn’t have the degree.”

      I mean, technically I was a “Candidate of Philosophy” (or CPhil) on my way to the doctorate, but it was a huge joke among all the grad students as to what a total nothing-burger title it was. I’d have been embarrassed to put it on anything.

        1. Zed*

          That’s not true, at least at the doctoral level… (in the United States) the distinction varies by university, but generally you advance to candidacy after completing all of your coursework, passing comps/qualifying exams, and successfully defending your dissertation prospectus.

          1. Ariancita*

            Yes, correct. And if one is in a department that typically puts letters after the name (as many doctoral candidates are working as RAs to support their dissertation writing, and thus need to send out formal emails on behalf of their team/PI/Professor and need it on their signature), they will say: Jane Doe, PhD (c). “(c)” indicating candidate.

    5. The gold digger*

      My husband’s father, a retired college professor, was disdainful of some guy in his department who had only an EdD (or however you write it). I asked if an e-d-d wasn’t a doctorate as well, and he sniffed that it was, but it was a lesser degree.

      Which I thought was rich coming from someone with a PhD in English who had taught at a glorified community college his entire career.

  3. Janet*

    I don’t think you need to write CMP on your cards – make sure it’s on your linkedin and make sure it’s on your e-mail signature. I know that it may seem silly but in the industry of event planning and conferences, I know that it is a big deal and makes you eligible for a few more job opportunities than if you didn’t have it. No need to print new cards but I think it makes sense to add it in your work e-mail and your linkedin.

    1. Blinx*

      I just came upon someone on LinkedIn with CMPP after their name. What’s the extra P for? This is at a med ed company that does plan scientific meetings.

      1. Janet*

        Hmm, it could mean Certified Medical Publication Professional. I’ve never seen anyone add an extra P for a meeting planner.

  4. Ryan*

    #6 – Definitely CC them…there are times when a manager won’t share these things with an employee for whatever reason. They always SHOULD but some people aren’t right in the head. CC the programmers and you’ll avoid having to write another letter where you ask, “I sent praise about co-workers but their manager never gave it to them…do I tell them?”

  5. BW*

    #6 Definitely send an email like this as AAM suggests. Managers love to see them, and employees like getting the forward that inevitably happens. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of behavior. I can’t tell you how it brightened my day and my managers’ day, especially in a department like IT where people are on the receiving end of others’ frustration and complaints.

    1. Long Time Admin*

      A couple of weeks ago, I was at a Village Inn for breakfast, and sat near the waitstaff’s area. My waitress was really nice, and I saw her helping other waitresses and bus boys. I made a point to praise her to the manager when I left. He did say that she was the best waitress they had. I also left her a good tip.

  6. Anonymous*

    #3, You say you are starting to show but are wondering when to let prospective employers know you are pregnant…maybe I am not understanding but at some point soon, won’t this be moot since you will look pregnant when you go to the interview and it won’t be a question of having to tell them, they will see it?

    1. Natalie*

      If the interviewer is smart (both socially and legally) they won’t ask the OP if she is pregnant.

      I can’t remember who’s line this is (Dave Barry?) but the only time you can be certain a woman is pregnant is if she is giving birth in front of you.

      1. Anonymous*

        I completely agree, I would never ask a women that and especially not in a job interview, I was just wondering if the question of when to tell employers wasn’t going to become moot shortly.

      2. just laura*

        Pregnancy can be a lot less obvious than you might think, depending on the woman’s body type. I didn’t realize two women I encountered daily were pregnant until someone else mentioned it. (They were wearing baggier clothes and I thought they were on the heavier side and didn’t closely check out their bodies– but I honestly didn’t even suspect it.)

        1. Jamie*

          As someone who’s been pregnant multiple times, I totally agree with this. It’s really obvious to us when we’re showing, because we know what our bodies normally look like and are attuned to subtle changes.

          Starting to show at 4 months will show to you and probably to those who know you well – but people at an interview who have never met you before? They don’t have the baseline of what your waist looked like before so it won’t be as apparent to them…unless you’re in obvious maternity wear but that’s very early for that.

          1. Natalie*

            Yeah, I carry all extra poundage in a pregnant-looking fashion and could easily be mistaken for a 4ish-months pregnant woman.

            (I’ve only been asked if I was pregnant once but it was definitely a downer.)

            1. Jaime Knox*

              It may be early, but I am definitely in maternity clothes! However, it depends on the outfit as to how much you can tell, and I am definitely planning on wearing an outfit that downplays it. @Anonymous- it would be a moot point down the road as I get bigger, but at this point, I could still try and hide it. They may or may not be able to tell, and I can only do my best to not make it obvious. If they end up suspecting anyways, well, there’s nothing I can do about that and I have to take that chance.

  7. Chubby*

    To #3: You might say something along the lines of that being too personal question (assuming they just ask in conversationally). No one should ask a woman who is even 8 months along if she is pregnant or not. This is coming from a person who is just a little chubby and tends to carry weight in her stomach and gets asked fairly frequently…it can be really hurtful. Sometimes I just look at them confused and say “I’m sorry what are you talking about?” or “Due for what?” and they usually drop it VERY quickly and feel embarrassed–as they should.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She’s wondering about how to respond if they ask whether she’ll need any time off (not connected to the pregnancy, something they might ask all applicants).

      1. Zed*

        I wonder if she could get away with saying she had some medical leave planned – but of course maternity leave is likely to be longer than leave for a planned surgery, for example. It’s tricky. I think you’re right, Alison, that honesty may be best here. It opens her up to possible discrimination, but… well, what the OP needs right now is an employer who is OK with a new hire going on extended leave and who will not terminate/penalize her. And if she’s not going to find that in this particular company, she should know sooner rather than later.

        1. Jaime Knox*

          Thanks all! This all may be a moot point because just today my contract position (they know I’m pregnant and have been great about it) said they are submitting a request to extend my contract another couple of months. Which is great! I’m still going to go to the interview though, ’cause you never know what’s going to happen!

  8. Jamie*

    While I totally agree with sending praise and ccing a manager for a job well done, I may be the minority in this – but I’m not sure I’d be happy about it given the details we have…you know, if it were me.

    If I go above and beyond, or even a general “Jamie is so awesome, I’m so glad we have her, give her buckets more money so she never ever thinks of leaving” emails to my boss would be great and as appreciated as they are non-existent.

    But a quick response, effective communication? I think I’d be a little insulted, to tell the truth. Because I would take that to mean they are surprised I executed a task properly in an adequate but non-exceptional way.

    If production is jammed up because of a glitch in Evil Software that Must Not Be Named and we can’t get tech support on the phone – so I …completely over my skis…sweat it out and fix it myself saving hours of time which would otherwise be lost? Definitely shoot an email to my boss. Telling him I did a great job installing new printer drivers or upgrading your version of Office? Depending on the way it was said, I might find it kind of patronizing and ego bruising that your expectations of me were such you found that worthy of comment.

    But that’s me – I tend to me touchier than most…however it’s not an uncommon trait among my kind.

    1. Victoria*

      I understand this sentiment, but I think a note along these lines is hard to object to: “Hey, Boss, just wanted to let you know that Jamie was super helpful with Project A last week. She’s so quick and effective – it really made my job easier.”

      1. Jamie*

        Sure – something like that wouldn’t be bad.

        I think the key is to avoid sounding surprised they did their job properly.

      2. Zed*

        I agree with this. I’m a reference librarian, so I am paid to answer research questions and help people find sources – it’s my job, and of course good service is expected. But if someone wants to write to my boss to tell him that I was helpful and friendly and found the perfect article for their research project? Even if it was just another, routine reference question as far as I was concerned, or if the article was easy to find? I’m certainly not going to dissuade them!

    2. KayDay*

      I think I’d be a little insulted, to tell the truth. Because I would take that to mean they are surprised I executed a task properly in an adequate but non-exceptional way.

      I get this, although I’m not sure if that would apply in this case or not. I once had a co-worker who complimented me so profusely and with such amazement at my ability to complete simple tasks that were a part of my job that it became really condescending/insulting. I felt like she was praising a small child who just learned to tie her shoes. On the other hand, a simple “Thanks” is always appreciated, no matter how basic the task.

      For thank-you-for-doing-your-job type things, a more low key approach is to send the person an email thanking them, and then cc their boss. For example, “Jane, thank you so much for getting problem X fixed so quickly–it was really easy to work with you and I appreciate your responsiveness,” and cc the boss. But no need to go overboard in your praise for them.

      1. Cassie*

        I had that happen to me just the other day – the person works in a different dept (I knew who she was but she probably didn’t know who I was). All I did was walk some material down to her office and she went on and on about how I went “above and beyond” to get the material to her. I thought “wow, really?”

    3. BW*

      Well…knowing some of my colleagues out there, I take it as a reflection on them not on me and wouldn’t be insulted at all. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from people I work with is that in general, so many people who work in my position are slow to respond or communication is just terribad. I learned a while back that part of my job, even working in biotech with clinical data, is really customer service. I strive to be quick and effective, and want the people I work with to have that experience when working with me or a positive experience in general. So it’s nothing but good to hear when someone has had the experience I want to provide to them even if it’s that I answered a question on email quicker than expected. It may not be a big deal to me, but it obviously matters to them, and that’s what I care about, that I was able to help out the guy on the other end.

      I also keep in mind that for some people computers and tech are really scary, and while it won’t take me but a few minutes to whip out a custom report for someone, from their perspective they think it’s really damn hard, because they would never be able to even to guess at how to do it. So I take it at face value and don’t assume it’s patronizing. Remember, a lot of people probably have no idea what you really do and that installing Office without breaking stuff is really supposed to be mundane and normal. It’s the little things that sometimes make the real difference.

      But then I didn’t get much praise growing up, so maybe that’s my issue. (:

      1. Jen in RO*

        That would be my thought too. Some of the teams I work with can be so slow and unhelpful – it really IS a surprise when someone does their job right!

    4. Long Time Admin*

      “I think I’d be a little insulted, to tell the truth.”

      Really? Why would you deliberately choose to put yourself down over something that’s meant to be friendly and just plain nice? Do you always look to be offended by everyone?

      Let someone be nice to you, for crumb sake.

      1. Jamie*

        In rereading what I wrote I did come off extra curmudgeonly – which is weird since I’ve been pretty chipper today.

        I wasn’t so much putting myself down as the other people who find printer drivers remarkable…which was crappy, too and I shouldn’t have done that.

        I actually have pretty good end users and I do complain too much. I forget how lucky I am, sometimes.

        And the next time someone at work tries to be nice to me I will totally let them – I needed the reminder. Thanks. :)

        1. KayDay*

          Well, I am a curmudgeon, so I’ll stick to being insulted by compliments (please take that comment with a dose of sarcasm). Because if my boyfriend ever tells me, “honey, you did a great job mopping the floor” instead of “thank you for mopping the floor” again, I’m going to throw the dirty mop water on him.

  9. Sarad*

    Hello, long time lurker first time commentator here.
    To # 1 – you may feel that writing grant applications and bids isn’t for you, but it can be a great way to get yourself lodged into an organisation. I write funding applications all the time, and after a while you can become the person who knows *everything* about the organisation, the projects it delivers, who the key people are in each department (what salaries, job descriptions, and benefits people have – this might be a UK only thing, but I generally have to submit this information for existing staff where their posts would be covered) – and if the application is successful, you become the go-to person on what needs to be complete to comply with the requirements of the award.

    I completely understand that the box – ticking form completion bit of applications can get really tired, but I do think it was the couple of years of fairly solid application development that gave me some of the background knowledge I needed to move on (into project evaluation). The background research required to evidence the need for services gives you a great overview, very quickly, of new publications and current trends in research.

    Writing good applications also forces you to balance what the organisation wants to achieve or deliver with what the awarding body wants to fund, and the skills you get from doing that well are really solid and very transferable. I know this sounds a bit ‘hold on, it’ll work for you too’, but, erm, honestly, hold on, this sounds like it could be a great opportunity. In the first couple of weeks you won’t have had the chance to really work on developing an idea to go to funding – you’ve probably been doing the finishing (dull) touches on already developed ideas.

    1. Rosemarine*

      Writing grant applications is a desirable enough skill that many people plunk down good money for classes and workshops on grant-writing in order to beef up their qualifications. If you can stick it out, this would be a skill well worth acquiring, and one that could enhance your standing when applying for a variety of jobs in the future. Only you can know what works for you and what doesn’t, but I concur with Sarad.

      1. Al Lo*

        I agree. Working in the arts, I’ve written many, many grants; but I’ve also had the opportunity to work for a granting agency and sit in on the decision-making process for funding. Larger organizations often have staff members to write grants, but small, community-based organizations end up conscripting a board member or artistic staff member — someone who may not have any aptitude or experience — to write them. Grant-writing is an incredibly valuable skill, whether you’re using it professionally or as a volunteer (or working on contract for smaller organizations that can’t afford a grant-writing staffer).

        I just started a new job a month ago, and one of the first things I asked to do was to read through archives of grant applications — there’s nothing that gives a better sense of what an organization does and hopes to do, what their financial situation is, who their partners in the community are, etc. An annual report can provide much of that information, but grants are aspirational, and so are a window into an organizations hopes and plans, as well as their current reality.

    2. Z*

      Thanks guys for your advice.
      The problem I’m working for a relatively new organisation and there is hardly anything to look back on and I feel that they want to do too much and I have mentioned to them that I would like to do other things too.
      I am only supposed to be there for 2/3 months and I think I will stick at it till the new year because x-mas holidays are not far off and I think I wil have to somehow in the mean time apply for as many permanent roles and hope I find something or at least get a wider remit :). I just really don’t feel motivated or enthusiastic about it anymore.

      1. SaraD*

        It does sound as if you’ve got a lot to deal with. But there are so many transferable skills in grant writing that it might be worth persevering with, if you can. The feeling when you get a grant through that you hadn’t expected to get – it’s a good old warm glow.

        The networking opportunities can also be helpful – I don’t know about the situation where you are, but lots of grant providers here offer seminars and workshops to disseminate information about new funds. They’re usually free to attend and would give a great opportunity to meet people in the sector and find out more about what’s going on. Maybe sourcing a couple of opportunities like that would make the next couple of months more palatable?

        1. z*

          SaraD, I’m from the UK too. I am going to a workshop next week and hopefully will find other opportunities too.
          I will stick it out for at least 2 months and I will have to try and apply to more jobs.
          I am hoping some of the funding comes through very soon.

      2. Lindsay*

        We’ve all had crap jobs that we hated. Just stick this one out until the 2-3 months are up and don’t burn that bridge.

      3. fposte*

        It would be really unwise to hurt your reputation this badly just for a 2-3 month position. Definitely stick it out.

  10. G.*

    #2 – I think this completely depends on the industry and I do not agree that certificates should not be on business cards. At least in finance, putting CFA on you card is common practice and well regarded. Also, I would say that adding the qualification gives additional information regarding you and in some industries would be essential. Although I would not add MSc. or BA, I think a Phd is a high enough qualification that it could be listed.

    1. KayDay*

      This. For an industry specific conference, some certifications are often well-received; but check with someone in your industry first. In the OP’s case, however, I think it’s better to leave it off rather than hand write it–unless you are secretly looking for a new job.

      I also think PhD should go on your cards–that’s generally an exceptional enough qualification. There might be some industry exceptions, but I would include it in my field. But other general degrees, BA, MA, MBA even probably don’t belong there.

      1. fposte*

        PhD is very field-specific, though, so be careful; there are definitely places where it would be as gauche as putting your BA on there.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Also true if you’re in a field where you’re not using the PhD. My sister, for instance, has a PhD and is a marketing director. If she put PhD on her cards or in her email signature, it would look silly (and I would loudly mock her).

          1. Jamie*

            I agree – and would even argue it’s so not done in IT that it would work against you.

            If I saw a business card with an PhD on it for an IT person I would assume they were one of those all theory no practice types or they would know it’s silly to put it there.

            May not be fair, but that would be my reaction.

            1. Henning Makholm*

              Definitely agree about IT.

              A significant fraction of the luminaries in the field — the real rockstars who can fill an auditorium including standing space if you announce they are going to speak for an hour about an unspecified pet project of theirs — don’t have PhDs, so acting like it makes you particularly stellar to have one just exposes you as silly.

              Computer Science (and its associated engineering disciplines) has an aggressively meritocratic culture, and formal degrees definitely don’t count as merit in themselves here. Whatever you did to earn them, may. Or may not.

              It put my PhD on my resume, but only because the alternative would be a gap; it doesn’t actually make me more employable outside academia. (But I don’t regret taking one, because “PhD student” is a salaried position here, and who’d say no to getting paid to follow your research whims for three years?)

              1. Anonymous*

                I periodically have arguments with my spouse as to whether I should put the “PhD” on the end of my name at the top of the resume (it’s obviously listed in the education section). I don’t conventionally sign with it – although my credit cards and the like to have “Dr” on them.

                1. Ariancita*

                  In some academic department jobs and academic support jobs, you actually would though. Again, it depends–like fposte said above. In my current academic field, it’s very much expected. But in the actual discipline my degree is in, it’s not (and would be weird to do it).

                2. Anonymous*

                  I think the credit card thing depends on the person doing the input when the application is first processed. I have a credit card from the same bank as my friend. Her card says “Ms____”. Mine just has my name.

                3. Anonymous*

                  No, do not do it!

                  Thanks – that was always y thought.

                  When I was in academia, no one bothered putting the PhD on their nameplates or anything. As for the credit cards…. I thought I may as well have something with the title on it.

                  Not a fan of those who aren’t MDs using Dr., but I suppose to each their own.

                  There are those of us who aren’t fans of people calling themselves “MD” (or “JD” for that matter) when they didn’t get their degree by research.

                4. Ariancita*

                  There are those of us who aren’t fans of people calling themselves “MD” (or “JD” for that matter) when they didn’t get their degree by research.

                  I don’t mind people calling themselves MD or JD, but great counter point. Those with PhDs earned their doctorate, whether they prefer to be called “Doctor” or not.

                5. The IT Manager*

                  This is a reply to Blanziflor:

                  Hey, I watch Grey’s Anatomy and all those surgeons are called “Doctor.” And just like everything I read on the Internet, everything I see on TV is true – except for those reality shows – they are so fake.

                6. Min*

                  In reply to Blanziflor –

                  I thought it was only in Commonwealth countries that surgeons reverted to Mr/Mrs/Ms, etc. I could certainly be wrong, but I never heard of that practice until I moved from the US to the UK.

                7. Blanziflor*

                  … and it was only when I moved to the US that I discovered that MD and JD degrees were scattered like grass seed to undergrads.

      2. Zed*

        The only place I’d say the Phd shouldn’t be on business cards is in academia – at least for faculty. Because in most fields, it is a given. It’s the same reason why librarians don’t need to put “Jane Doe, MLIS” on their business cards – if they are in a professional position, I know they have an MLIS. The only exception might be a degreed librarian in a paraprofessional position or someone who works for a vendor.

        1. Sasha*

          I think that depends on your institution. At my university, we have several levels of faculty, and it can’t be assumed they all have PhDs.

          1. Zed*

            See, I tend to think of it the way I think of librarians and the MLIS. For most teaching faculty members, NOT having the PhD is more unusual than having one.

            I have a lot of respect for PhDs, and I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone they couldn’t have it on their card or signature. But at the same time, it’s not exactly necessary. Most faculty I interact with use “Dr. So and So, Assistant Professor” if they have the PhD, and “So and So, Assistant Professor” if they don’t. In most instances, the rank is just as or more important than the degree…

            1. fposte*

              The old-school practice is actually not to use Dr. either, for the same reason that you don’t use PhD. While it’s changing (people like to call themselves “doctor”), not long ago the likelihood that a US PhD would call him/herself Dr. Whoever was in inverse relationship to the prestige level of the university. In short: it was snobbier not to use Dr. than to use it. (Which I love.)

            2. EB*

              I think it depends on the school. Some schools in the US that I’ve worked at use only the rank, and you call people “professor” because many people can have a doctorate, so professor is the higher title (and you wouldn’t dare title yourself “professor” in correspondence unless you attain the rank of full professor, below that you append assistant, associate, or adjunct).

              Other schools its
              Jane Doe., Ph.D.

              Still other schools, you address everyone by their first name, in writing you refer to them as “Dr. Jane Doe” or “Dr. Doe” and then they sign off their letter per the previous example (because Dr. and Ph.D./MD/EdD/ect are considered redundant in many US academic circles).

              And then there was my poor friend with the JD who went to work at a medical school in a research position. A lot of the admins didn’t know what to call her so she ended up getting mail for Dr. Lastname (because her peers were MDs and PhDs), however, in this state lawyers do not call themselves Dr. (and the law doctorate is the SJD).

              In Europe, professor can be reserved for full professor only, so its so complicated.

            3. Ellie H.*

              I work at a grad school, both my parents are professors (with Ph.D.’s) and I genuinely did not know that it was possible to be a “professor” without having a Ph.D. Is it?

              1. Rana*

                At the community college level, yes. There are senior instructors with MAs who may well have tenure and the professional title of “professor.”

              2. Anonymous*

                Also business school. Some of the older professors may be ‘grandfathered’ in with MBAs or the like.

            4. Rana*

              I tended to prefer “Dr.” because it was far more accurate than the usual courtesy titles such as “professor.” (No, sorry, I’m not a professor; I’m an adjunct instructor, and calling me Professor S is just not going to work here.)

              But that’s a context-specific usage. If someone used it outside of campus (or my college alumni mail), I’d find it weird.

        2. Science Master*

          I have The Master’s and am working as a paraprofessional. I do not have it in my signature or nameplate, but when I apply for library jobs, it’s on my email signature. It quickly answers one of the qualifications in my cover letter.

        3. Anonymous*

          “It’s the same reason why librarians don’t need to put “Jane Doe, MLIS” on their business cards – if they are in a professional position, I know they have an MLIS. The only exception might be a degreed librarian in a paraprofessional position or someone who works for a vendor.”

          Even that’s not true across the board. I live in a rural area, lots of small towns with small libraries. Every library within 15 miles of me has only one librarian with an MLS or MLIS degree – those would be the directors. All the other employees, including the parapros, the youth librarians, the catalogers, the collection developers – none of them have more than a bachelors degree and some don’t have that. (Those that don’t have professional degrees but are working as librarians have generally been there a long time and are grandfathered in under previous certification requirements.) Now in the large town 30 miles away from me, the big, multi-branch library definitely has professionals filling professional roles. I wish that were true in the small libraries as well. Librarians can have enough trouble convincing people that the degree is necessary and when libraries hire non-professionals to fill professional positions, they’re just strengthening the idea that an MLIS is silly or unnecessary. (That said, I don’t have MLIS on my business card and doubt I ever will.)

          1. Zed*

            Thanks for pointing out that I was making some broad assumptions there! But I think librarians without the degree are the exception not the rule (and as you noted, a lot of them are people who were hired before the MLIS became standard), so I still think it’s silly to note the MLIS on business cards or email sigs, particularly when interacting with other librarians. (That said, I don’t mind occasionally reminding non-librarians that yes, you need a Master’s degree to do this job…)

            1. Liz in a Library*

              Just don’t judge too harshly the librarians who do include it! We are required by my place of business to include all degrees, certifications, and likewise on our business cards and in our e-mail signatures.

              It is ridiculous.

              1. K*

                I work with a consulting company that I think does this (at least, I hope so or otherwise they’ve hired a boatload of people who independently all put PhD after their name on everything they write). It even shows up in the “name” field of their outlook properties.

            2. Anon in this case*

              Librarians I know in New York State all have master’s degrees as far as I know. I don’t even know if one can obtain a bachelor’s degree in library science in NY.

              In Kentucky, the bachelor’s degree is available and there are (or used to be) people in rural libraries with bachelor’s degrees in library science. I know of one library that couldn’t get anyone with a library degree in the 1980s and settled for an interested applicant with a bachelor’s degree in something else. Then the state rules tightened up and when the director retired, the job was only open to people with library science degrees.

        4. Ariancita*

          It depends on your department. I work in academic medicine and PIs and faculty have a range of degrees (MDs, PhDs, MBAs, MPHs) and those initials are put on everything in order to distinguish areas of expertise.

    2. A teacher*

      Same thing. In my healthcare industry (athletic training) it is more common than not to list credentials in emails and on business cards. If you have a BS then just ATC is fine but with a masters or higher it is MS, ATC or whatever. Because many of us bill or have billed for treatment with insurance and credentials are expected, I think it’s a carry over thing.

      1. perrik*

        The degree can be important in nursing, too. When I worked for a health care recruiting agency that specialized in nursing, almost every business contact with a graduate degree listed themselves as “Jane Jones, MSN, RN” or “Sally Smith, MPH, RN”. I think there’s a hierarchy thing going on – I noticed that quite a few nurses with BSNs also included their degree in their card/signature to differentiate themselves from the RNs with 2-year degrees.

  11. Eric*

    #1 I agree with AAM that you should try it longer than 2 weeks before you decide it isn’t right for you. But if you do decide that, you could always try talking to your boss about transitioning to a different role. Since it is an internship (especially if it is unpaid) they may be willing to have you focus on something else, instead.

    1. Tekoa*

      #1) Try to stick it out. But saying that, I knew within two weeks of my current job that the environment was a bad match for me (working with possibly intoxicated people), but I stuck it out anyway. Now I’m dealing with health issues like major anxiety, weight loss and no appetite. Now I’m desperate to escape and interviewing for retail jobs. In conclusion: Unless you predict health problems will result of continuing this job, stick to it.

      1. FreeThinkerTX*

        @ Tekoa – “working with possibly intoxicated people”?? Did you mean “possibly toxic people” – or are the folks in your office genuinely inebriated? Neither situation is good, I’m just not sure I should be giggling or not. :-)

          1. Tekoa*

            I work at a homeless shelter as floor staff. It’s classified as a sober shelter and thus, guests SHOULD be sober when accessing the facility. But this is not the case. On a daily basis we (I) have to turn away people who are drunk/high. Or people try to drink/use drugs at the shelter and I have to catch them at it. And then factor in mental illnesses and some pretty strange things happen. So yes, I suppose the folks in my office are genuinely inebriated.

  12. AdAgencyChick*

    #5 — check your employee handbook, if there is one. There may be stated policy in there. If there’s a stated policy that says you can’t, there’s your answer, and no need to annoy your boss by asking.

    If there’s no stated policy, or even if there is a policy and it says you can under certain conditions, you should still let your boss know, and reassure him/her that you will not be using company time or resources to accomplish these side gigs.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I agree #5. Keep it above board. Not worth losing your main job and benefits for pick-up work. As long as the work is not something your company calls it’s meat and potatoes, I bet the boss will agree. I have done this a few times now. Each time I told the boss “It will not interfere with my job here.” I said that several times as I explained what I wanted to do. I never had a problem.

      As an aside- if you get shot for merely asking that question- I would be wondering about that job. The boss is supposed to tell us how to work within company guidelines and policies to KEEP our jobs.

    2. Miss Displaced*

      #5 Are these clients that also work with your current job/company?

      If no, then I say that what your employer doesn’t know won’t hurt them and what you do AFTER work or on the weekend as a second or side job is none of their business.

      Times are tough! I pickup freelance work whenever I can. As long as there is no conflict of interest and you do it all on your own free time and with your own equipment I say this is budding entrepreneurship at its finest. Burn that midnight oil baby!

      1. Jamie*

        The problem is you could cost yourself your day job if it’s against policy – and for a lot of people it is. It’s very tough to make the same kind of living freelancing as working a steady job.

        1. Katie*

          Right. I am a very successful freelancer, but I’m still hesitant to do it exclusively. It can be a precarious way to live, and a few bad clients can really tank your reputation (or at least, that’s what I worry about).

  13. Lisa*

    Re #4: I clicked through to your link on determining salary expectations and wonder if anyone has additional suggestions when it is a VERY different market (NYC vs. anywhere else, say) and a specialized position? A friend is in this position. She asked her former boss who now has the same title she’s going for (and is the only person she knows in a directly comparable position) but knows that he is not money-motivated, lives simply, and likely did not negotiate salary.

    Is it ever appropriate to look for people by title and city on LinkedIn and “cold-message” them for advice? Or any other suggestions?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      You might try Glassdoor.com to see if anyone works at that company. You have to create an account to read the full posts. But I have had luck just reading the short blurbs sometimes.

    2. fposte*

      By “advice” do you mean asking total strangers how much money they make? I don’t think that would go well.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        No, but it might go okay if you present it as, “would you mind sharing what a reasonable range for position X is?” If someone cold-called me and asked how much copywriters with Y years’ experience typically make, I’d probably give them a qualified range (ie, I’d explain what general qualifications you’d need for the low, middle, and high areas of the range). I totally understand the frustration of job hunters looking for accurate salary information, so I’d be more than willing to help someone who asked nicely while not disclosing my exact salary.

      2. Lisa*

        I was thinking of suggesting saying something like, “I’m having real trouble finding comparable figures for my local market and NYC. Would you mind my asking what a reasonable range for a Senior Manager position in (specialized field) in New York is?”

        1. fposte*

          It’d still freak me out to get that out of nowhere , but it sounds like other people might feel different about it. (I would be less freaked out if you were asking about a job level I hired for rather than one that I’m doing.)

  14. The Editor*

    #5–If you can really get $50+ for those contracts and they are consistent enough, have you thought about pursuing them full time? There’s a lot to consider in that decision, but if I were you and enjoyed that work, it’d be pretty high on my mind.

  15. Paul*

    Thanks so much for your quick response! I decided to type up a quick recognition on letterhead and sign it by hand; but I definitely won’t hesitate in sending email appreciations in the future.

  16. Joey*

    #3. That’s a sneaky question and sometimes savvy scumbags do that because they know they shouldn’t ask about your pregnancy. And it’s illegal for them to base a decision on how much time you MAY need off in the future since its pregnancy related. I’d respond with “why do you ask?” If its for something specific like a meeting or conference you absolutely cant miss that’s way different than just asking to ask.

  17. Rob*

    As for No. 5, I’m baffled as to why it would matter if the employer cares if you do work outside of your time at work for someone else. Unless there is some kind of conflict of interest – why does it matter what you do during your time off?

    I’ve seen this issue talked about elsewhere and I just don’t even understand why it’s a problem. It seems to me as though it’s just another reason for an employer to try and control an employee.

    1. Jamie*

      There is a fear of conflict of interest and the more subtle problem of availability in certain positions.

      Some positions require a certain amount of availability off hours and they don’t want you taking a second job basically rendering yourself unavailable should it come up.

      And as it was explained to me once, good employers want their employees to have a decent work/life balance and there is a concern for burn-out if key personnel are split in too many directions.

      Personally – I really think it depends on the position about whether or not it’s reasonable. I’ve worked places where people would come off 8 hours of night shift somewhere else and get on the forklift at my place for another shift. There are people in positions where lack of rest is an issue.

      My personal opinion is though, if you don’t want an employee to work a second job you morally have no business paying them under market rate.

      1. Anonymous*

        I don’t think the issue of wages at the first job is always the question. We often talk about how your salary is not based on your personal needs, but market conditions, history, skill sets, etc.

        I feel I am fairly compensated for my job, but I would love to find a part-time job to help pay off some debts faster, sock more away into savings, etc, as well as being able to use skills I don’t really need at my current position.

        1. Jamie*

          Oh absolutely, I agree. I’m not saying that an employer should over pay because someone wants/needs to make more money.

          Just that if you’re going to forbid an employee from taking side jobs/moonlighting then you shouldn’t be paying them below market. It’s not nice – hey you can’t better your situation but I’m still going to try to underpay you…but it’s also not smart because most who would work a second job need more money and will leave quicker if they are being paid under market.

          But I would never advocate paying an employee based on their financial needs. IMO Salary should be based on market rate and value (merit). Period.

          1. Anon in this case*

            Are wages at the bottom of the market always set by the market, though? For an IT professional who’s in demand, yes, market rate should be the determiner.

            For a large employer like Walmart, are wages set by market rate or is the business model designed to depress wages steadily unless there is government intervention such as minimum wage? In a society where subsistence farming is out of the picture, for instance, as a fall-back for people who think wages are too low, are low-paid jobs truly reflective of market rate when there’s such a power imbalance between the potential workforce and the company owners?

            For a field in which most of the wages are determined by government, such as social work, is the market all based on give-and-take or are wage negotiations complicated by taxing authorities and biases of relative worth? (Consider that government pays social workers and accountants and elected officials differently and not always based on demand.)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Generally the reasoning is (a) conflict of interest, (b) the possibility that you’ll use work they’ve paid you to develop for them to inform the work you do for the side job in a way that goes beyond what’s normally okay, and/or (c) concerns that you’ll be less available to them when needed.

      1. Ariancita*

        So I was actually thinking about taking a weekend job. But none of these concerns apply: I’m in a career position, doing well, moving forward and up, BUT most of my work is telecommuting and as an extrovert, it’s really unhealthy for my state of mind to work alone so much. So I’d love to take a weekend job where I need to interact with the public–serving coffee at a cafe, taking tickets at museum, etc. Plus, I’d funnel that money into a Roth. Since it’s such different fields, completely unrelated, never even occurred to me that I would/should speak to my current boss about it. I rather think her response would be: “why are you telling me?”

    3. Suz*

      At my previous employer, it depended on your position. I wasn’t allowed to have a 2nd job because a huge part of my job involved traveling on short notice. They didn’t want anyone to say “No, I can’t fly to Dallas tonight because I have to work at my other job tomorrow.”

    4. Andie*

      If the OP is a Grant Writer the employer would most likely have a problem if they are writing grants for an organization that provides the same service as the organization they are working for. Generally freelancing is not an issue for Grant Writers if they are writing for an organization that has nothing to do with the one they work for during the day such as working full-time for a Homeless Shelter but occasionally writing grants for an Arts organization or possibly working in one county like Los Angeles County and do freelance work in Orange County.

      Unless you signed something that said you can’t freelance or will not work for the competition, your employer can’t stop you from picking up work that you do in your free time.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        They can tell you it’s not allowed even if you didn’t sign anything. Employers enforce all kinds of rules and preferences without employees signing anything, and it wouldn’t be illegal to fire someone for refusing to comply with something like this.

        1. Ariancita*

          Sure, but that’s why you don’t ask for permission to do it and why you wouldn’t tell your boss/coworkers about it, the same way you don’t talk about other personal business in the office. I can’t imagine asking for permission from my employer. They’re not my parent and what I do on my own time is my business (as long as it’s not against policy, contract, do it on their time/equipment, or for a competitor, etc). Plenty of people need to take on two jobs to make ends meet these days.

  18. Ellie H.*

    I get compliments in email every so often (of the “Thanks so much for the prompt and detailed answer! You are the best!” nature) and
    I know that some people say it’s good to forward such compliments to your supervisor and say “This was nice to hear!” or something – I even think I’ve seen that suggested here on this blog – but I feel so uncomfortable doing that, especially because I actually feel I haven’t been so great lately (like the LW from the other day, I have been having a hard time focusing at work). Is it really OK/valuable to forward this kind of compliment to your supervisor?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Oh, please say you put them in a file- at very least!

      Friends of mine got into a discussion on this at one point. They decided to tell the boss. (Different bosses at different companies.) It worked out very well. The compliments did not come often- so it was not a burden to the boss. A few compliments every so often shows that the employee is out there doing a good job. If you can’t bring yourself to do that- pick the best stated compliment and pass that along.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, absolutely forward them along! Not if it’s just something like “thanks for your help,” of course, but if it’s insincere praise, managers like to see that.

      1. Ariancita*

        You mean sincere praise, yes? Or do they want to see the sarcastic “praise” too? “Wow, thanks so much not replying to my third attempt at getting in touch.” :)

    3. Vicki*

      The last company I worked at has a culture of saying “Thank you”. For a long time they just had notecards in the supply cabinet. Then they set up a “Bravo” system.
      Everyone’s on-line directory entry had a “Give this person a Bravo” button. If you clicked it, you’d get a set of simple iconic “reasons”, e.g. “Above and Beyond”, “Customer Service”, “Teacher” and a text box for additional comments.
      When you sent a “Bravo” it went to the person and their manager and appeared on their directory page.

  19. Rosalita*

    #3: I have had a few candidates disclose their pregnancies earlier in the interview process, sometimes even by phone. It is not legal to ask about this in an interview, and I believe it’s up to each individual to decide what is comfortable to share. That said, I always appreciate when candidates do not wait until an offer to disclose needing time off. For the right candidate, the organizations I’ve worked with have been willing to be flexible and will offer time off, or even a flexible schedule upon return. Some organizations need to hire someone for an immediate need and might not be able to offer time off, but I think it’s generally better to address this sooner rather than later. I feel similarly about the salary question – why wait until you have an offer to find out that a potential employer won’t be able to meet your needs?

    1. Rosalita*

      I should clarify in case it’s helpful – the candidates who disclosed their pregnancies were past the first trimester and “showing” – they may have factored that in when they decided to disclose.
      Also, I am not saying that OP#3 has to dislose; I am just sharing a few situations in which candidates did share and it worked out well.

  20. Eric*

    Re: 2

    P.E. (Professional Engineer) is also an acceptable and important distinction to add to your business cards.

  21. ArtsGirl*

    For the pregnant OP — good luck! Honesty is the best policy and if you are the best candidate, I think they will work with you. I was in a similar position — 7 months pregnant when I received my layoff notice and I got a pep talk from the HR manager at a neighboring office who had hired an assistant who was 7 to 8 months pregnant at the time. She said that J was the best candidate and because of that, the pregnancy made little difference in their ultimate decision to hire her. J now has that HR manager’s job :-)

  22. Construction HR*

    I know that the Brits seem to add the degrees at the end of everything. Also, if you are in a narrow field where the pecking order is somewhat defined by the certs. it seems to be quite common.

    I’m just: ConstructionHR, BMF

  23. Vicki*

    I’ve considered putting a few acronyms on a “personal” business card, just to see who “got” them. It would give us something to talk about.


  24. Steve G*

    #1 Grants and Bids.

    They get funner the longer you are at a job so I’d stick with it.

    The first one I did here felt like a huge, boring, administrative task, where all I did was email and call a million people for information, plug it into a template, check for grammar, and follow up and follow up for the gaps in the information.

    By the last bid I was leading the weekly meetings on this bid 1/2 the time, represented my office at the bid Q&A meeting, and knew enough about what we do to rewrite parts to tailor it to the reader.

    So I think if you stay there long enough and get some money coming in with your name stamped all over it, you’ll be happier.

  25. Sarah*

    I’m sorry, but since when is PhD or JD not worth being on a business card if the degree is relevant to your work? There are lots of jobs which having a PhD or a JD is a pre-requisite (but might not be indicated in your job title), it would hurt you to not include it when networking! I can understand that a PhD in underwater basket weaving isn’t relevant to marketing or whatnot, but I think that the list of relevant degrees is a bit longer than just MD and CPA (the latter of which I actually just had to look up!)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Lots of things are relevant to your work but would look out of place on a business card. PhD is often one, and JD often looks a little borderline too, depending.

      1. K*

        What do you think of “Esq.”? I feel like I see that more than “J.D.” and part of me feels like it’s pretentious, while part of me feels like it’s useful information for some jobs where it wouldn’t otherwise be clear.

        1. Anonymous*

          There are those of us for whom “Esq.” is what you put after your name when there’s absolutely nothing else you are entitled to have there.

        2. Anonymous, Esq.*

          In the legal community, “Esq.” signals bar membership, which is a much bigger deal than just having a J.D. The term is pretentious, but seemingly impossible to escape in legal pleadings and professional email signatures. I would never use it anywhere else, though.

          1. K*

            Yeah, I generally end up using it in the “communications” sections of agency pleadings that have a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers for that reason. I don’t have it in my e-mail signature, but I can definitely see the argument for it.

  26. Z*

    Regarding Q1 again…btw thank you all for your responses.
    I am kind of in more of an awkward situation as of y-day which has kind of really put me off more and annoyed me. One of my managers, while I was discussing a project with him decided to say to me “that I needed to work on my spirituality more” because I work in this faith based organisation and I follow the same religion I am just not as practising or even advertise my practise as much as other people…and for him to say that has really got to me. I didn’t say anything at the time..I managed to stay quiet and change the subject but I know it will come up again and I won’t always be able to keep quiet. I’ve also been asked a number of personal questions which I feel is none of their business.
    Has anyone else gone through something similar?

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