terse answer Thursday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s terse answer Thursday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Today, you got a huge bonus, your mentor is sabotaging you, you have a language question, and more. Here we go…

1. Is my mentor sabotaging me?

I’ve been at my large company for a year and a half, in an entry-level position. Early on, another young employee in a different department took notice of my drive and intelligence and offered to mentor me. She helped me immensely with tailoring my resume and practicing interviewing skills. Since that time, I’ve also received attention and praise from various employees of much higher rank.

Recently, my mentor has seemed increasingly stressed out, and I realized through her Facebook posts that she’s redirected her own career efforts into my intended field. She has said some dramatic and potentially manipulative things to me about my career development: “Don’t keep in touch with that contact, he hates ambitious young women,” or, “Why do you think it might be that I heard someone say you’re pushy?”

Our contact has been less and less, but I’ve heard credible rumors that she’s told my managers to “keep an eye on me” (my managers are supportive of my goals). I’m not worried about my position in the company–I’m told I should expect and offer on a specific opening by Christmas–but I can’t imagine how to act around my former mentor. I’m still grateful for the help she gave me. I don’t want to burn bridges. But I think she tried to manipulate me, and I just want to know how to maintain a graceful distance.

I see two options: (1) Simply distance yourself from her. Be polite and reasonably pleasant when you see her, but don’t initiate contact and nicely turn down overtures. Thank her for her past help, but nicely decline future help. Or (2) talk to her about it. Explain what you’re observed and ask what’s up. I like #2 because it gives her the chance to explain and apologize if she hasn’t intended what you’ve perceived, and it gives you the chance to nicely assert yourself.

2. Should my employer pay for my time in the class they recommended?

My employer asked me to go to school to update my computer skills. The program recommended was during my regular work hours. Do I include the time spent at school when completing my hourly invoice this month and be compensated for time missed at the office? (Yes, they are paying for the class.)

Ask them! It’s a perfectly reasonable question, as long as you phrase it the way you did here. If you’re non-exempt, they might not pay for the time, but since they recommended the program, it’s not crazy to inquire.

3. Final paycheck after being fired

I was terminated on a Monday, after working the full day, but I was a salaried employee. Is the company responsible for paying me for the week? The flip side is that my paycheck showed up in my bank account, then the company had the deposit reversed the next day and the bank charged me a fee for the reversal. So I have not been paid at all.

While exempt employees need to be paid their regular salary in any week where they work at least part of the week, this isn’t true on their first week or last week. So your company isn’t violating the law in paying you only for the day you worked on your final week (but they need to pay you for that day within a certain number of days determined by your state law). Ethically, they also should reimburse you for the bank fee; it’s worth asking them to do that.

4. Thanking my company for a generous bonus

Foremost, I love my company. I’ve worked my way up the ladder here, and enjoyed being a part of many different facets of this organization. I am proud of what we do, and what we stand for. The owners come from my home state, and built the business here. Since then, it’s expanded nationally. The “office” is still in that home state, though, and there’s about 30 of us here. At this point, we’re growing faster than our current office can handle. The owners decided to sell a portion of the company to an investment capital firm (more for the managerial direction than the payout).

The day the agreement went through, the owners called us up to give a “thank you” to the people who made the deal possible. And the “thank you” was a massive bonus check. 25% of my healthy salary. Needless to say, I am shocked/grateful/amazed. The guys didn’t need to give us a huge bonus, or be so generous.

What is proper to show my appreciation? That I think this is such a great thing for them to have done for us? That I feel like a part of this team even more now?

That’s awesome. I’d send them a note, not focusing exclusively on the bonus but instead talking about how much you enjoy working there and why. Mention the bonus as one sign of how well they treat their employees — but make it more of a broader appreciation (with specifics!) than a thank-you for the bonus; that’ll have the most meaning to them.

5. Who should I send my application to when I’m not applying for a specific opening?

I have shortlisted the agencies and companies I would like to work for and I am getting ready for applications. My resume has been updated and looks good, I am drafting several cover letters for the different potential employers. It is almost time to press the Send button. My question for you: In case of applications that aren’t in response to a specific posting, do you address the application to the HR department or to the person in charge of the team/ unit you would like to be part of?

I guess that directors and managers don’t have the time to deal with entry-level candidates, but on the other hand, I want to be part of THEIR team working on THAT subject and introduce myself directly. Or could I send it to both?

Send it the director or manager of the team you’re interested in, and cc HR. And be sure to explain why it is that you’re interested in their team and that subject. That’s going to make your application more powerful.

6. How can you hide your youth on job applications?

What do you do when job applications ask for your work experience (and ask you to explain gaps) when, if you are young like me, 10 years ago you were in middle school? How do you provide sufficient work experience without tipping the hiring managers off to your age, which could give them the opportunity to discriminate against you based on age?

Being in middle school isn’t a work gap! That’s not a time when you were a working adult. Just give your work history as far back as it goes, and there’s no need to explain anything before that.

Hiring managers will usually figure out that you’re relatively young if you’re relatively inexperienced and/or graduated recently. You can’t really do anything about that.

7. Workers’ comp or workman’s comp?

This has been bugging me for a while – is it Worker’s Compensation or Workman’s Compensation? I always thought it was Worker’s, but several people have told me it’s Workman’s, which seems dumb. Which one is it?

It used to be workman’s comp, which is why you’re hearing that. But it’s now workers’ comp (according to the official title of the program) and has been for a while, as a recognition of the fact that it’s not only men who use it. Obviously, though, like any language change, you’re going to find that it takes some time to spread and people don’t all switch overnight.

{ 48 comments… read them below }

  1. TL*

    I’m a little confused – was OP #3 paid at all for their work on Monday? It sounds like the company deposited the usual weekly paycheck, then reversed the deposit, and the OP hasn’t been paid for anything – and is now out the bank fees, too.

    1. The Bookworm*

      I’m confused too. OP#3 – did you look at your pay cycle and check date? Are you paid ‘Current’, or paid ‘Actual’, or paid via some other cycle?

      I’m asking because most places I’ve worked paid according to the hours actually worked, so their was a lag between hours worked & when they were paid.

      Some places pay ‘Current’, which means if you get paid on Friday, your paycheck includes the hours for that Friday.

      My husband’s employer uses still another pay cycle – the check he gets on the 7th of the month, covers the 1-15th.

      Once you figure out your pay cycle, you will be able to tell if you were shorted pay.

  2. OP #7*

    Thank you for answering that! I always thought it was Worker’s, but at least a few people at every job I’ve had told me it is Workman’s. Googling it didn’t help much, as I saw tons of conflicting information.

  3. danr*

    #2… Ask how to put the class days or time down on your payslip. My company had a specific category for ‘attending a class’. It didn’t make any difference in my pay, but it was credited back to the right category for dept statistics.

  4. EngineerGirl*

    #6 – Please, it isn’t age discrimination if you are lacking relevant experience. Age discrimination is when you are fully qualified but excluded specifically and only **because** of your age. It also isn’t age discrimination if an older person beats you out because they have more relevant experience that you . It also isn’t discrimination if an older person has other skills they are bringing in.

    Yes, employers make assumptions about groups. But from I can discern, most of the so-called youth “age discrimination” is really relevant experience discrimination. That’s going to apply for all age groups.

    1. Charlotte*

      Oh, yes. And age discrimination doesn’t kick in under national law until you’re at least 40 anyhow.

      1. RecentGrad*

        I understand that both of you(EngineerGirl and Charlotte) see differently, but in my experience my age has worked against me. I was fortunate enough to graduate college during one of the worst economic times in history. Many of the entry level positions that would normally be available are no longer being offered or they have been taken by those who have been in the industry longer, but that is not my problem. Recent graduates are one of the largest unemployed groups in America. Recent grads are looked upon negatively(in my opinion) by many hiring managers and people. I am trying to protect myself from that initial assumption. My group may not be a protected class according to the law, but that does not mean that discrimination against our age group does not happen. I have frequently been asked by managers, my age and whether I have children. I am assuming that they see these things as predictors of maturity. I’d rather not show my age because I would like the manager to evaluate me based on just my experience. I am not claiming to have the most experience in the world, but I don’t want someone to assume anything about my experience level unless they review my resume. I don’t want them to make those assumptions based on my age. In fact the way you both responded shows why I need to hide it. I am wondering why you assumed that I didn’t have enough experience for the jobs that I am applying to based on the fact that you know that I am young. Also, why have you assumed that I want to hide my age because I am being beat out of positions by those older than me. I just want a fair chance(whatever that may be) at a position.

        1. Job seeker*

          I feel for you. I am in the opposite position, being a middle-age lady that was stay-at-home mother raising my children for quite some time. I feel sometimes that because I am no longer in the twenty something group many of the entry level jobs go to them. I do have experience just not recent. I think maturity can be shown in many ways. I have been married and a mom for a long time and lived far away from home and extended family support and have learned a lot. But, I have to worry about being seen in the opposite way. I have lately been getting interest by changing my resume and with a good cover-letter. I have had to work my seat off trying to prove myself. I also have a parent needing my help right now, so I have to weigh any job against that. Please keep trying, my son is a young twenty-something and recent college graduate and found a wonderful job in his profession. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy and give up. Our age is what it is.

        2. EngineerGirl*

          How do you provide sufficient work experience without tipping the hiring managers off to your age, which could give them the opportunity to discriminate against you based on age?

          You specifically used the term “discriminate”.

          I didn’t say that you didn’t have enough experience. On the contrary, you probaby do have enough. But others have more. You see so many people writing in to AAM or EHRL saying “I’m qualified! Why didn’t I get the interview?”. The point is, yes you are qualified. But others are MORE qualified. That isn’t age discrimination.

          Also, your generation isn’t the first to graduate in a bad job market. When I graduated there was a 37% unemployment rate in my town. I was competing against recently laid off engineers with 3-5 years experience. Now if you were an employer, who would you take? A recent grad or one near the same pay scale but with 3 years experience? Again, it is less about age and more about being a proven quantity.

          I do understand your frustration about being given a chance because I went through the same thing as you – only several years earlier. The way out is to find a way to stand out in some way and network like crazy. That is how I got my first job – I was given a reference by a friend.

          Every generation has some discrimination issues – they are just different:
          20’s – flakey party animal
          30’s – babies a distraction
          40’s – considered best age (unless you are in Silicon Valley tech, in which case you are too old)
          50’s – disctracted by kids and ailing parents
          60’s – can’t use technology, too slow
          70’s – Really? Do you think **any** of your experience is relevant any more? Besides, you may die on us tomorrow and we’d be stuck training someone else.

          1. EngineerGirl*


            Some towns (such as mine) were worse than state averages. Point is, some of us have been where you are. It stinks, but the only way to get over it is to keep on keeping on. Get experience volunteering and taking on responsibility. That will show the kind of “maturity” employers are looking for.

          2. Anonymous*

            Heh! Plus, one day before you even know what happened, you will crossover from thinking you are perceived as too young to get taken seriously to being older and wondering how you got to be too old to be considered a young rising star.

        3. BW*

          It’s not about whether you have enough experience to meet the application criteria, but it could be that other people have more or better suited experience. The job market is more competitive right now, and not just for recent grads, but for everyone who is out there looking. Attempting to hide one’s age does not change the amount or quality of experience that employers are looking at.

          You’re making an assumption about why managers are asking you about your age and if you have children that may not necessarily be accurate, especially with questions around children where having young children can make a worker appear less attractive to hire because they may be seen as not being able to put in as much time or may be taking more time off to care for their family. When employers ask that question, it’s not about looking for “maturity”. They shouldn’t even be asking about your age and family status in the first place. They are leaving themselves open to discrimination lawsuits by even going there.

          You also don’t know definitively whether you are losing out to people who are just older or have children. You just know you didn’t get the job, and there are many reasons for that, especially when the applicant pool is very large. Assuming it’s age discrimination, and then trying to figure out how you can appear older or hide your age is unlikely to make things better.

          1. Laura2*

            In some cases, if applicants are specifically trying to “hide” their age, the hiring manager may be trying to make sure they can really legally work there, or figure out whether they graduated college or if they are even old enough to have done so.

            They might think it’s weird that someone who appears to be in their early-mid 20s doesn’t have their graduation date on their resume.

            Also, at some point employers are going to ask you for your birth date because they have to do background checks (and it’s just standard on all types of paperwork).

            If you don’t have much work experience and are having trouble getting hired, it might be useful to do some temp work, as many temp agencies hire people straight out of college (or during the summer between semesters). It’s a good way to get some work experience on your resume.

        4. Jamie*

          The word discriminate gets thrown around a lot – and it’s important to remember that there are two word uses in play during hiring:

          – treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

          This type is governed pretty clearly by the laws on the books. Age (over 40), race, religion, sex, etc.


          the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.

          Yes, all hiring managers should be discriminating when assessing candidates in this sense. Just as job seekers should be discriminating when selecting a workplace. This is where you get beat out by someone with more experience and there is nothing wrong with that – even though it puts those with more experience in a better position than those with less.

    2. BCW*

      EngineerGirl, I’m in my 30s, but I actually agree with the poster. Discrimination works both ways. And it is somewhat unfair that you can say its age discrimination to not hire a 45 year old because of their age but its not to discrimination to not want to hire a 22 year old because of their age. Even if you are going to say there is an experience gap, depending on the job the younger person may have more knowledge than an older person (i’m looking at a lot of computer program use). Your dismissive tone is exactly what the poster is referring to.

      1. Job seeker*

        If you are twenty-something, I am old enough to be your mom. I would like to encourage you to please just keep trying. You have so much to look forward to and being young sometimes is considered a plus to employers. I remember a job I interviewed for a year ago that I wanted so badly. I did not get the job, it went to someone within the company. I had to interview before a panel of hiring managers and one hiring manager I believe felt a little resentful about me because I had been a patient at her practice. I ended up once having to go over her head to get something solved. She really made it hard for me during my interview, but the other managers were very nice and appeared interested. My best friend is a professional in the medical field and she is in management. She told me just think if you were treated this way in the interview how she would treat you if you were hired there. She made me think. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes something better is on its way. I hope so for you, good luck.

      2. EngineerGirl*

        And it is somewhat unfair that you can say its age discrimination to not hire a 45 year old because of their age but its not to discrimination to not want to hire a 22 year old because of their age.

        Stop right there, BCW. Where did I say that? I never said it was OK to hire/not hire based on age. In the end, it is experience, experience, experience. In most cases the older person will have more of it. But a 40 year old that has been on the “mommy track” for several years will have the same problem – lack of current relevant experience. And you know what? They face the same problems.

        I am getting tired of hearing young people say “age discrimination” when it really is “experience discrimination”. Its as though they don’t “get” that an employer will want to optimize their hiring to favor those with real experience. I’m also getting tired of hearing how “this is the worst time in history for hiring”. Nope. It isn’t. There have been several waves of unemployment. Many of them didn’t have the social safety nets that are currently in place. I will acknowledge that the unemployment has gone on for a long period, so the area under the curve might be larger.

        1. BCW*

          See, you have a very harsh and somewhat condescending tone even in your replies. The point is, whether or not those are your exact words, the implication that you are putting out there is that there is never any age discrimination toward younger people. All I’m saying is there can be. And again, based on the way you are referring to “young people” and how you are sick of them saying x,y, and z it seems you are the type of person that the poster wants to avoid.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I understand what EngineerGirl is saying. She’s saying that people cite “discrimination” when in fact it’s a perfectly reasonable decision by an employer to hire someone with more experience. And it’s exasperating to hear people continue blame “discrimination” rather than trying to understand why employers often prefer more experienced workers. I’m not sure why it’s sparking such contentiousness.

            1. EngineerGirl*

              Yes, thank you.

              “Discrimination” is the nuclear warhead of complaints. Crying discrimination has very, very, very serious consequenses. If you use it wrongly you create a “cry wolf” syndrome where real and legitmate complaints will be ignored because so many false ones were levied.

              Use the term wisely and rarely.

              1. RecentGrad*

                Thank you all for your comments, but I would like to point out that I recently posted that my problem was not that people who had more experience than me were getting the jobs I wanted. That is not my problem. I just would like to avoid being seen as something that I am not. Recent grads are frequently seen as lazy(I believe this is because those who do the assuming were actually lazy when they were young). People generally assume things about recent graduates that is not true and I want to avoid that. I know that I can not hide my age forever, but I would at least like to hide it up until the interview process.

                I believe that BCW actually understands where I am coming from.

                EngineerGirl I still do not understand why you are holding on to the point that more people are getting jobs than me because of their experience level. I understand this and it is a fact. This happens in a good economy, but that is not the problem. My question was about what I should do on an application. I have not stated any particular situation in my question so you are just assuming that I am what you call “crying wolf” when you don’t even know what has happened to me. My question was about the amount of work experience that should be written on a job application that asks for 10yrs or more worth of experience. If the directions ask for everything you have done in the last ten years then I will be disclosing my age regardless of what I do. I don’t want to disclose my age. I don’t want to say that I was in high school or in middle school. I also stated that employers have asked me questions that should not be asked like “What is your age?” and “How many children do you have?”. I agree with the previous poster that they could be trying to figure out how busy I am, but these questions are usually taboo. You have responded as if I have attacked you when I am just stating my opinion and my reality. I am now going to make the assumption that you have interacted with many young people that “cry wolf”, but I assure you that this is not that type of situation. I grew up in a low-income home, I am a minority, a women, and I am a first-generation college graduate and I have been more than uncomfortable on my path to obtaining a position. Uncomfortable and struggling has sometimes been a way of life. Believe me I know what discrimination looks like and I would never cry discrimination just because someone who was better qualified got the job over me. You stated that you have been through(and even provided a link) this type of situation so I would think that you would be more understanding of my dilemma. I am not complaining about not being chosen. I would just like to even my odds of being chosen.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  This doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re applying for jobs that require 10 years of work experience and you were in middle school 10 years ago, then you’re not qualified for the job because you don’t have the years of experience they’re asking for.

                  What am I misunderstanding here?

                2. RecentGrad*

                  Hi Alison,
                  I could not respond underneath.The jobs don’t require 10 years worth of experience, but the applications ask for an explanation of your work experience that dates back 10 years. Many taleo applications and other online systems have instructed me to go back as far as 10 years for the work experience sections.They also say that should include any work gaps and volunteer experience and times in school. Although the job announcement will state in the requirements sections that the applicant must have 1 to 2 years of experience or just a bachelor’s degree. I think it crazy as well. The online systems don’t always match the job announcement.

                3. EngineerGirl*

                  Hey Recent Grad – you used the term “discrimination” in your letter, which is why I took issue with it. You did cry wolf. Using that term masks things, and if you use it people will assume that you believe your are being unfairly discriminated against. The reality right now is that a lot of people aren’t getting jobs because of lack of experience. This has nothing to do with age. Employers are also asking inappropriate questions such as “what is your age” or “how many children do you have” to a lot of people. AAM archives are filled with such things. The polite response is always “Oh! Is there an issue with age?” “Oh, do you believe there will be an issue with children? Why do you ask?”. Putting inappropriate questions front and center to the discussion is usually enough to stop them (or get a reason for it which you will use to highlight your wonderful abilities)

                  The best way to look like you have experience is to examine everything you’ve done – paid and unpaid – and create lists of responsibilities and acheivements. Leave your graduation date on your resume, because you don’t have the applicable experience right now. Leaving it off looks like you have something to hide – very bad. Employers will have to look at your grades and volunteering instead of your work experience to judge your abilities.

                  Unfortunately, everyone has to put up with assumptions being made about them. Fat=lazy, beautiful=dumb, M0m=not available for OT, etc. You can’t hide what you are, so instead compensate for it. Network, take volunteer positions, take temp jobs. Make what you are irrelevant (or an asset). Realize that a great career is a long term run and not a short term sprint. That means that there will be fits and starts, sometimes sideways moves, sometimes moving down to move up.

                  You have stated that you struggled. Good! That means that you have developed perseverence that so many don’t have. You will need it for the path ahead. Because great careers always require perseverence – they rarely fall in your lap.

                  For the record, I’ve had several types of new grads work for me. Some were incredibly lazy and sloppy. Some were so excellent that we pushed them into our leadership development program. One of them was from a background like yours – he knew hard work & perseverence . It made him stand out from the lazy ones.

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  @RecentGrad — Ah, okay, that makes sense. When they ask for your 10 most recent years of experience, you just go as far back as you have work experience. If you only have five years, you just go five years back and put a note that you were in school before that. Yes, this may reveal your approximate age, but there’s not really anything you can do about that.

            2. TheSnarkyB*

              There’s a lot to address here re: ‘age discrimination’, so bear with me (long comment) and cut me a little slack if you can. EngineerGirl, you are definitely using some dismissive language and I agree that that is what OP is trying to avoid. Jamie, I appreciate you providing a clear distinction between different definitions of discrimination, but you didn’t cover it all. There can be problematic discrimination that isn’t written into law. Marginalized people usually recognize discrimination and call it that before the federal gov’t. catches up (we’re starting to see this in states’ legal battles for making gender identity a protected class re: trans individuals). So yes, the defintion you applied is the only one that is legally considered in hiring, but depending on how much perspective you have on it, it isn’t the only one that applies. AAM, I think you and EngineerGirl are on the same misguided bandwagon, but it is possibly just a matter of people in this thread conflating one thing with another or maybe it’s an age gap thing that is harder to understand from your (plural) perspective or respective hiring positions.

              By no means am I saying that discrimination against young people is the next frontier in civil rights, I’m just saying that it is a valid concern. EngineerGirl, you keep talking about an experience gap vs. an age gap. No one in this thread misunderstands the distinction. What the OP is saying is that (she?) wants her experience to be what is considered, NOT her age. She wants to hide or make irrelevant or obscure her age (just until the interview point) so that her experience is EXACTLY what they look at. She seems to know that her experience is going to look the same either way, and she doesn’t want to inflate it, she just wants it (or experience, personality, etc. as conveyed through a CL) to be the only prominent factor at that stage, and I think that’s completely legitimate and fair.
              It seems the conclusion here is that OP can’t really hide the age part because of the things that must come standard on a resume (grad. yr, etc.) that is this “fresh.” :)
              I really hope that with these distinctions made, some of you can understand a little more about what’s going on here and maybe be a little more understanding. There *are* some stereotypes about 20somethings that have nothing to do with experience. And I think the OP sounds pretty mature, so wanting to get to the interview without those preconceived notion weighing you down seems very reasonable to me.

              1. EngineerGirl*

                Wow. Just wow. So my **age** makes it hard for me to understand? May I point out an irony in your post? You know, making assumptions about someone just because of a single characteristic?

                I have a hard time with the “discrimination” word bcause I came from a generation where it was pervasive. I saw women physically assaulted on the assmbly lines. I saw superior women get passed over for inferior men because of their sex. EVERY one of the women engineers was groped or stalked. Penthouse posters were displayed regularly in my work area, and Playmate magazines were on the bookshelves. In some of my work areas women’s toilets didn’t even exist – I had to kick in the mens room door – literally. Yet I can’t understand “marginalization”? I personally witnessed and experienced discrimination. So I might have a hard time when others a claiming it for some ancillary reason.

                What you are talking about is “micro-inequities”. Yes those are real and yes they are wrong. Yes they can add up to put someone at a disadvantage. But they are not in the same class as out-and-out discrimination – not by a long shot. Perhaps that is why I’m having such a strong negative reaction when I hear the word used and over-used.

                In a perfect world we would all be judged on our abilities. But we don’t live in a perfect world. So instead we seek a company culture we can work in, find a mentor that will help us circumnavigate the bad places, and super compensate to be considered equal. It isn’t how it should be, but it is what it is. We can’t change peoples attitudes so instead we persevere and deal with all the unfairness that is. If you don’t you’ll find yourself angry all the time, or whining all the time, and laid off all the time.

          2. princessfluffysparklecutie@sk8rgurl.net*

            I understand what Engineer Girl is saying but I also agree with the harsh tone–this isn’t the first time I’ve seen the condescending attitude and dismissive replies towards the younger generation.

            With that said, I’m more worried about hiring when I get older……I’ve been struggling in the past few years and I can’t imagine what’s in store for me decades from now. Young graduates have so much possibility ahead of them that, yes, I’m jealous. i’m only in my late 20s but I’m starting to feel too old; it doesn’t help when all my peers/those younger than me are advancing in their careers while I’m stuck in dead end low pay jobs with no prospects, and that more and more people are telling me that THIS is the decade in which you figure out what to do because it just gets so much harder to get hired or advance as you get older.

            I also have health issues and want to have children before it’s too late, so that’s another thing I have to worry about, motherhood and owrking but that’s a whole other tangent.

                1. TheSnarkyB*

                  Ok so, as per my name, this is gonna come out a little Snarky. (I’ve tried rephrasing so it doesn’t, but it really just sounds argumentative. Sorry AAM, but categorizing EngineerGirl’s comments as simply corrections to the OP’s mistaken though process… actually does come off as dismissive.
                  And no, if that’s what were going on here, it wouldn’t be condescending and the people making those claims would be wrong, but it’s not. I’m not sure of the timeline here, but I think the accusations of condescension and dismissiveness are coming from EG’s comments like :

                  Please , it isn’t age discrimination if you are lacking relevant experience.

                  And you know what?

                  I am getting tired of hearing young people say

                  Using that term masks things, and if you use it people will assume that you believe your are being unfairly discriminated against.

                  (That is what OP thinks.)

                  Also, I think I know what you meant here but it could easily be misunderstood: You can’t hide what you are, so instead compensate for it. Unclear if you’re referring to the reality or stereotype portion of, for instance, beautiful = dumb. (I’d guess that you meant the reality part.) But you CAN hide what you are sometimes, and that’s often the smartest thing to do. That’s why people mention certain affiliations in one resume but not another, depending on what kind of company it is. (This could apply to the beauty thing you mentioned, i guess, but I’m more thinking of political affiliation, etc.) And sometimes hiding what you are (often race, gender) is the smartest thing to do in the pre-interview phase.

                  Basically, EngGirl, I think people thought you wrote comments very confidently, trying to disabuse OP of her mistaken beliefs, but really you were misunderstanding what OP was getting at so it just came out sounding condescending as well as incorrect. Not that I agree with all of it, I just happened to see AAM’s question and felt I had picked up on enough to answer it.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I see where you’re coming from there. To me, it reads differently (probably because I agree with EngineerGirl’s overall point), but that does help explain why some people felt it was contentious.

              1. princessfluffysparklecutie@sk8rgurl.net*

                Because on more than one occasion I’ve read the sentence “I’m so sick of young people saying/thinking/acting….” and when you frame it like that, it does sound dismissive and condescending.

                AAM, no I don’t think disagreement or pointing out a mistake is condescending; plenty of people can do it respectfully and without coming across as either of those things.

                1. EngineerGirl*

                  As far as I know, this is the first time I’ve written “I’m so sick and tired of young people”.

  5. Canuck*

    I’d be interested in reading more about why you think your mentor is sabotaging you. Suggesting you do not keep in regular touch with a bad contact may actually be good advice; and letting you know that someone described you as “pushy” is feedback you might want – especially since it was phrased as “why might this be so”.

    The “keep an eye on her” comment could be construed as negative; or it could have been meant in the positive, as in you’re a rising star and should be kept in mind for internal promotions in order to keep you with the company.

    Obviously we don’t have all the information, but from your letter it just seems more like you’re feeling threatened by her going into your intended field, than her deliberately derailing your career growth. But of course, any additional insights would be helpful here!

    1. Liz*

      That was what I though too.

      In my first few years after graduating college, I probably would have thought it was weird if someone said something like “Stay away from that guy he doesn’t like pushy women.” But now I would find that information invaluable and would love anyone who was willing to be that direct.

      It really did sound like the mentee was looking for an excuse to criticize the mentor, due to feeling threatened, rather than the other way around, but maybe it is just an age difference?

  6. princessfluffysparklecutie@sk8rgurl.net*

    #4–you lucky lucky person! God bless!

    and #6…okay I had to chuckle at that….for some reason I find questions from the younger set so cute..not in a condescending way but…..cute

  7. KarenT*

    I’m going to disagree with Alison and say they’ll probably pay you for your time because your class is during your normal work hours. If you normally work 9-5 and take a class at your employers request from 2-5, I would be surprised to see them dock you the three hours.

    1. Jamie*

      Of course ymmv – but back when I was non-exempt I always got paid for classes I attended during normal work hours.

      It’s normal enough that there’s definitely nothing wrong with asking.

    2. Parfait*

      I always used to get paid for classes I took that would benefit my employer, too. Especially since they asked you to do it, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t planning to pay you for that time. Most payroll systems have a code for “Training.”

  8. Lynn*

    Commenting as someone who is in the workers compensation industry, it actually depends on how the name is written in state statutes. Some use workers, some use workers’, and I think there might be a straggler or two still using workman or workmen’s. The national statistical, rating, and advisory organization (NCCI) refers to it as workers compensation and employers liability insurance. The name of the policy filed and approved in most states is called the “Standard Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance Policy.”

  9. NUM*

    #4 – Congratulations on working for such a great company. And, it’s fantastic they’ve shared some of the rewards with people like you who helped them get there.

    Here’s hoping it stays that way. I’ve worked with a number of private equity/venture capital investment firms. 1) Everyone sells for the payout. 2) The new people aren’t there just to help out. They invested so that they could be in charge.

    1. OP #4*

      Thank you, and I’m glad you included the second paragraph. So true… So strange for us, but so true. We’ve been ensured that nothing will change except “big decisions”, but we’re all still wondering.

  10. Chriama*

    #4 — you sound like you’re in a great position, and one of the things you can do to thank the company is just continue to be a great worker. They’ve taken care of you really well, so keep on taking care of them. A note about all the things they do well will not be unappreciated by management so by all means send one, but also take pride in the fact that you’re part of such a great organization and let your pride show in the quality of your work. Congratulations!

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