wee answer Wednesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. I offered to let another applicant be interviewed before me

Today I had my second interview with a company and they were running behind. As I waited for my 2:30 appointment, the lady scheduled for 3:00 arrived. We spoke briefly and she told me that she was on her lunch break and worried because the interviews were running late. When they came out to get me, I offered to let her go first since I didn’t have any other obligations. Did I hurt my chances not going first?

Nope, interview order really doesn’t matter.

2. Highlighting news coverage of my work when applying for a job

I had a (small, local) news article written about my work at my last position that I feel is a great representation of what I can do. I link to it on my LinkedIn profile, but would it be appropriate to put it in my resume, cover letter, or body of an email to an employer?

Sure. Any of the three.

3. Can you stay at a job for too long?

I’m a 40-year-old woman, which I think is still consider fairly young. I have a graduate degree and am looking for a new job, really because I’m bored with my current position. I’ve worked for the same employer for 13 years, which I think is a good thing. I hear that “job hopping” every couple of years is a bad thing, but I’m starting to think that staying put for 10+ years might not be seen as good thing either because I haven’t received any interviews that I’m 100% qualified for. Can you give me the perspective from a hiriing manager on candidates who have been with the same employer for 10+ years? Is there a way for me to market myself as a future long-term employee to a prospective employer?

While job-hopping is far worse, there’s also a point in many fields where staying too long at a job can raise questions about how you’ll adapt to new environments. I can’t pinpoint exactly when that is — it’s somewhere more than 8 years but well before 20. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker (depending on how you present yourself in general) and it doesn’t mean you must leave a job before that point, especially if you love it — but you should be aware that it could be a potential concern for future employers, and balance it against other factors.

However, as for marketing yourself as a future long-term employee at a new job, you don’t really need to do anything special to do that — the fact that you have such a long-term recent stay conveys that all on its own.

4. Removing a short-term job from my resume

I graduated college in June 2011, and for 3 months right before I graduated I took a job on campus just to make some money. It is completely unrelated to the type of jobs I am applying for. Do you think it is OK to remove it from my resume/Linkedin or should I leave it to explain the gap in unemployment? I have had some really great opportunities since then so I am not relying on it to help me. What are the general rules for short term jobs like that?

You can remove it since it was only for three months and unrelated to your field. The rules on short-term jobs are here.

And you don’t need to worry about a gap because you were in school at the time; it’s normal to have gaps during school, when your main job normally is your classes.

5. Writing interview thank-you notes when you already have an offer

Yesterday I had a great interview for a nursing position at a hospital. I went through four interviews — one with the nurse manager, one with the nursing staff, another with the director of the hospital, and the last with the VP of nursing. I was in the middle of writing my follow-up notes this morning when I received a call from HR with a job offer for that position (yay!).

I’m now a bit uncertain on how to finish my letters — prior to the call, I’d expanded on how I’d be a good fit for the job and finished with something along the lines of “I look forward to hearing from you.” Now, though, it seems a bit obnoxious to write about how I would be a good candidate, since I’ve already been accepted. My sister (who hires for her department) added that it would also be presumptuous to mention anything about receiving the offer from HR. So now my letters (and my brain) are stuck at one or two sentences of “thank you.” Do you have any suggestions on how one could finish off such a letter?

Your sister is wrong — why would it be presumptuous to mention an offer you already have? If you’ve accepted the offer, I’d just say that you appreciated meeting with them and are looking forward to working with them. If you haven’t accepted it yet, wait to write until you do. If you end up turning it down, you can write and thank them for their time and explain that you ultimately decided X because of Y but hope to stay in touch, or whatever.

6. Can I get this job offer back?

I was offered a job in Saudi Arabia two months ago in a reputable company. Initially I had accepted the offer but I was told by the interviewer that I cannot take my family along. After I had received the offer letter and during the finalization process, due to my relatives’ pressure, I had requested the HR manager to consider my request to bring my family with me to Saudi Arabia. This has upset the HR manage and he has rejected me. Later on, I realized my mistake and had apologized to the HR manager and also assured him that I do not require family status and asked him to consider me for the job. But the HR manager bluntly refused to give me one last opportunity to serve in his organization. Now I desperately need this job as it will give me an overseas experience and have monetary benefits too. I tried to convince the HR manager, but he is not heeding my request. I repent very much for my mistake. Can I get this job offer back?

Unfortunately, there’s probably not much else you can do at this point. You tried to change the HR manager’s mind, but he isn’t budging. It doesn’t sound like there’s much you can do other than moving on. I’m sorry!

7. Can my employer make me distribute leaflets off our premises?

Can my employer force me to go off the premises and ”leaflet drop” in a shopping center? I’m a visual merchandiser and today I got asked to hand out leaflets in a shopping center. I asked if I had a choice and my boss said it was non-negotiable and I was to do it! I explained that I felt uncomfortable in doing so and I was prepared to do other jobs in any part of the store and relieve another member of staff who felt comfortable ”leaflet dropping.” I was trying to compromise but no — I didn’t have a choice in the matter. My boss did not seen concerned about how I felt and did not consider any of the compromises I came up with.

When taking the job, I was never told I’d be asked to leave the premises to leaflet drop, and I think there are a lot of health and safety issues in doing so: I would be on my own, what if I had an accident, and who would be liable if anything were to happen and i wasn’t in the correct building?

Yes, your employer can assign you any task they want, as long as they’re not asking you to do anything illegal and as long as you don’t have a binding contract to the contrary.

Workers comp covers you if you have an accident while you’re working, even if you’re not in your regular office. But is that really your concern? I wouldn’t focus on that since it sounds like a red herring; it seems like the real issue is that you just don’t want to do it. That’s the part that you need to work out with your manager — but ultimately if she doesn’t bend, you’ll have it to decide if you’re willing to quit over it or risk getting fired if you refuse.

{ 75 comments… read them below }

  1. KellyK

    #1, I would think it’d help your chances if it has any effect at all (if anyone noticed). You were polite, flexible, and helpful–all positive qualities in a candidate, unless you were applying for some super-aggressive sales position or something.

  2. Laurie B.

    I echo the above sentiments to OP#1; if I were the person who had interviewed you I would have been impressed by your flexibility and your kindness. If you’re that considerate about a competitor for a job I’d assume you’d be just as considerate if not more so of your future co-workers! Team-work!

  3. Emily

    #7 – if employees couldn’t go off-premises or be alone my delivery driving gig would be eliminated!

    1. EM

      Unless you’re being asked to go to an area that is known to be crime-ridden, and you fear for your safety, I really don’t see any way to object to this. If it’s a dangerous neighborhood, you may ask if another coworker can go along, for safety. That’s how we handle field work in questionable areas.

  4. Anonymous

    #1 – Very little is absolute. I can see where it might work against you and an interviewer might take it as a sign you weren’t that eager/interested. Note that I am not saying it makes SENSE for someone to read it that way, I do think that some would and I also think it would matter more for certain types of positions/company cultures.

    1. fposte

      Sure, but the places that would see it as a problem are either 1) crazy or 2) so aggressive that the OP probably isn’t a good fit for this very reason. It’s really not likely to have interfered with her getting a job she wants.

      1. dex

        I disagree. I think there are relatively normal workplaces where an interviewer could find it a little too passive. YMMV.

        1. fposte

          I could see finding it passive if the other candidate asked her to do it and she acquiesced. But that’s not what happened–she problem-solved to the benefit of everybody involved. Nothing passive about that.

          1. dex

            “she problem-solved to the benefit of everybody involved. Nothing passive about that.”

            The point I’m trying to make (and I will leave it here) is that the above is your opinion. The OP was asking “Could this hurt my chances?” and unless you are the person the OP interviewed with — in which case the answer is “no” — the answer is “Probably not, but it’s possible it COULD”.

            The reason I’m making this point is because every interviewer has their own little quirks, pet peeves, etc — yes there are people who are just plains nuts and there’s not much you can do about that. But within the spectrum of fairly reasonable behavior, it’s entirely possible an interviewer could find something a little not-go-getter-ish about this. And given today’s tough job market, any little thing could make the difference. I don’t think anyone here can tell the OP that it absolutely didn’t matter to the interviewer, only that in their opinion it shouldn’t and if it did, then the interviewer is a terrible person who should burn in hell.

            1. fposte

              Okay, but I also think it’s reasonable to give advice based on what’s usual and customary, and not have to hedge every single comment with “unless you got a really weird one” (and yes, it would be a weird one) at the end of “nobody sane does this.” It just ends up taking time rules-lawyering.

              If *you* hire and it would have bothered you, then that’s a significant thing to add. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

              1. LW número UNO

                The other applicant didn’t mention it I brought it up. The hiring manager and all others involved thought it a nice gesture. My concern was more in the she has first chance to impress department. I know I did the right thing from a gentlemans point of view but is that the same point of view as a businessman? If I am rejected and that gets mentioned as part of the reason ie you are too soft we need more killer instinct you should have let her die on the vine then I will know it is not the job field for me. Thank you to Alison for putting my question out there and for all the responses on both sides of the fence.

                Cody C.

  5. mela

    #3:

    I hope this isn’t perceived too harshly, but I saw two typos in the letter to AAM. That might possibly be more of an obstacle in getting interviews than a long-term stint, particularly if the jobs are detail-oriented.

    1. Blinx

      Also for #3 — it’s a tough, tough market out there. I’ve applied to many jobs where I was fully qualified and can’t believe I wasn’t called for an interview. Until I remember how many other qualified applicants I am up against. It stinks. But keep trying, something’s got to give one of these days!

    2. Anonymous

      I imagine she’s probably checking her cover letters and resume more closely than sending an email to a blog – let’s have a little faith in her.

  6. Anonymous

    #7: I don’t see what the big deal is. We have people drop leaflets and flyers off at my work all the time. Sometimes they don’t even speak to anyone working. I think the OP should try it and see that it’s really not that bad. And I think most jobs in visual marketing would require you to actually go see the product in stores sometime?

    1. Jenn

      It sounds like the OP would have to stand there and hand out leaflets to people as they walked in. If that’s the case, I could see where someone would feel really uncomfortable doing that – I know I would be!

      1. Ariancita

        I would be uncomfortable too, but then curiosity would get the better of me and I’d want to try it and see what it was like.

        1. fposte

          And there’s a limit to reasonable pushback, you know? It’s one thing if the manager’s okay with a swap with another employee, but if she’s not, you suck it up and do it, uncomfortable or no.

  7. Ali

    #7: I put out flyers for my job’s free family series around town, and it can be kind of intimidating the first place you go, but all you have to say is “Hi, I’m from, XYZ. Do you have a posting policy/can I put some of our brochures in your display?” People will forget you’ve been there the minute you walk out the door and you’ll forget if someone says no, because unless they’re hopeless dummies they’ll be polite about it.

    1. Ellie H.

      Yeah, my ex did this for a while. It’s not much fun and honestly, nobody really wants the leaflets (well, nobody wanted the ones he was supposed to deliver – yours sound like they were for something “real,” not just promotional junk) but I’m not really seeing a major safety concern, just that it kind of sucks.

      1. Amber

        Yup, and there are parts of every job that sucks. I don’t get the feeling that the OP thinks they’re “above” this job, just for some reason they don’t want to do it and are uncomfortable. Maybe the compromise, instead of not doing it or getting someone else to do it, is to see if you can have someone go with you? That might make you a bit more comfortable, and probably, after the first few times you talk to people about putting up leaflets, it’ll become a lot easier anyway.

  8. Zed

    #3:

    When reading your letter, I was most struck by this statement: “I haven’t received any interviews that I’m 100% qualified for.”

    What does this mean? Are you receiving interviews for jobs you are (or feel you are) *over*qualified for? Or for jobs you are, say, 75% or 90% qualified for? Because if the former, it may be that your aim is off, or that the job market has changed in the time you’ve been working. If the latter, you may be being considered for management positions or those are a step or two up from the one you had for 13 years.

    1. Sara

      I first read it to mean that she has not received interviews despite being 100% qualified for the positions – but the wording does suggest your interpretation.

    2. Zed

      Or, reading this again, do you mean that you feel like you’re 100% qualified for the jobs but you’re still not getting interviews? If that’s the case, I’d say it could be any number of things – most notably the economy and the terrible job market. But if you have been off the job market for a long time, it might be worth having a few people review your resume and cover letters. Employers can afford to have high standards, because for every advertised job there are many many 100% qualified candidates.

  9. twentymilehike

    For the leaflet dropping, I hate to say it, but “health and safety concerns” comes across as really silly and a little bit whiney. Do you not go to shopping centers on your own time without safety concerns?

    I was sort of with the OP on this one until I got to that part, and I thought mabye that’s what did it for the manager, also. Initially, I was under the imporession that “leaflet drop” meant those people who walk around parking lots putting flyers on your car … which I’m believe most people despise. I’d probably fight that one with a argument about how it’s annoying, makes many people think negatively of the business and you could be fined for littering (I’m almost confident that this is true in my state and possibly others–I’ve only heard the rumors).

    If the real reason you didn’t want to do it is because you are uncomfortable doing it for some reason, coming clean with your nervousness toward the task would have been more respectable than citing safety concerns–unless of course you really do have some issue regarding safety, which may also need to be addressed since visiting a shopping center in general shouldn’t be of concern in most reasonable circumstances.

    1. AdAgencyChick

      I totally got an “I’m above doing this and I’m trying to find an excuse that my boss will accept” vibe from that letter. Sorry, OP, but if I were your boss that’s what I would think.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        Also, fobbing off a job you don’t want to do on a coworker is not compromise. It’s fobbing off.

      2. Ellie H.

        +1, but I can also understand legitimately being uncomfortable with something like this as Jenn outlines below.

      3. Anna J. W.

        I got that vibe from the letter too. As someone who did this in college for some of my clubs, I agree that it can be really uncomfortable because so many people don’t want your handouts and there’s that slight feeling of rejection every time they swerve away just to avoid you – but any time I felt that way I knew I was taking it personally when it had nothing to do with me. It’s a humbling experience, so I can understand why the OP might not want to do it. But their inflexibility isn’t leaving a good impression on their employer either.

    2. Jenn

      I think the OP did speak to his/her manager about feeling uncomfortable, with no result.

      We had an employee from another team recently join ours. One of her tasks is calling people. She came from a data entry job where she had almost no contact with people, so it really freaked her out having to call people. Like, to the point where she wasn’t getting her work done. We ended up giving her a script to work off from, which made her feel better, I think.

      1. Elizabeth West

        Ugh! I hate cold-calling. I had to do it when I worked at a shopping paper. Even though I had lots of customer contact, it sucked so bad and I was so uncomfortable with it that my boss gave me a quota. Once I had that done, I could quit and go do something else. I ended up leaving that job eventually, because it became too sales-oriented for me.

    3. Lisa

      I have to agree with this one, unless you are being told to go door-to-door (a really bad idea as a woman in some neighborhoods), then this isn’t an issue. However, if you are told to be on a median holding a 90% off sign, on a busy road, I would consider that to be a safety issue too.

    4. Just Laura

      I took the “health and safety” concerns to be grasping at straws to come up with a reason not to do the task. Frankly, I would not want to do something like this, either, but it sounds like you do not have much of a choice. What is the specific task? Maybe we can help you make it a bit more bearable.

    5. Anony

      If you have to go door-to-door, just leave the flyer in the mailbox. Your boss can’t tell if you actually rung the doorbell.

      1. Anon

        If the mailbox is a U.S. postal service mail box, I believe it is against the law to use the box without paying the proper postage. You can leave items in the area (around the door, for example) but cannot use the box.
        I had a relative who worked for the postal service for a while who told me about enforcing this rule. If a business placed flyers in boxes and the postal worker found them, the business got billed for the postage that should have been paid. The OP could really have some problems explaining the bill to the boss!

        1. DragonLady

          +1.
          You don’t really want to mess around with the U.S. Postal Service, they don’t fool around when they mete out fines and punishment. Seriously, Postal Inspectors are trained Law Enforcement Agents with GUNS and BADGES.

          When my daughter participated in the Girl Scouts April Showers program (where we passed out collection bags for personal hygiene products for donation to local shelters), we were specifically told not to tie the bags on the mailboxes because it would a violation of the postal code.

          So yeah, don’t mess with the U.S. Postal Service because after the IRS they could be your worst nightmare.

  10. Anna J. W.

    OP for #5 here. I accepted the position, and ultimately ended up writing just as you suggested, Alison! Started with thank you, added a few lines complimenting the staff (that I met during the interview) and working environment, and/or something we’d brought up in conversation that I really enjoyed, and closed with a statement on how I looked forward to working with them. Worked out just fine, and when my sister proofed my letters even she had to admit it was fine. Thank you so much!

      1. Anna J. W.

        Thank you! I’m still in excitement mode – every now and then I’ll start jumping around like a little kid because I’m so happy. I hope this kind of opportunity arrives for everyone else who is job-hunting too.

  11. Anlyn

    Regarding #3…sometimes it feels in job hunting that you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If employers are concerned that it’s possibly difficult for an employee to adapt to a new environment, then try highlighting accomplishments that forced you to change your perspective, or branch out in ways that were uncomfortable for you, but you adapted.

  12. Not So NewReader

    For # 7- My heart goes out to you. I have no idea why I am like this but I would have a reaction to that as if someone asked me to climb a very high ladder. You CAN work through it.
    Some one said work out a script- YES. Barest minimum have an outline of what points you need to tell folks.
    This is a tool- it gives you something external to focus on other than your own concerns.
    If you have to go in to a place and ask a manager to leave a stack of leaflets- this is not too bad. You are dealing with another professional. In all likelihood, the worst that will happen is they will say “No, I am sorry it is against company policy.”

    If you have to wander a mall or plaza, yeah that is a little tougher. Do you have a name tag or badge to help people identify your company?
    I would definitely ask security or other authority before canvassing. Many of these places do not allow solicitors. They do not even want leaflet drops. You would be doing your company a favor by respecting that.
    Can you be inside and perhaps set up a small portable table? I mind the whole process a little less if I have a table in front of me and I sit in one space.

    What is your target market? Let’s say you offer a home product- something home owners would want. Get started by picking out people who look like they might own their own home- families, middle age people, etc. This is just to help you loosen up the vocal cords. As you go along reach out to as many as possible.

    Do you feel unsafe because of the area? Stay where there are plenty of people and there is plenty of light.

    Me? I am kind of devious. I might ask a friend to stop by mid-day to help break up the stress.
    Depending on how I felt about my employer I might use it as an opportunity to look for job opportunities. I have been offered jobs while I was at work. I tell the people “I can’t talk about that with you now, because I am on the clock. Can I have your phone so I can talk to you later?” If I am not interested, I just say “I am sorry, no thanks.” What I like about this is it really seems to help break up whatever stress I am feeling.

    And yeah, I probably sound like a princess to my coworkers. My problem is that I am just super naive about these things. A total duck out of water, with no idea what to do with myself. Develop a plan- even a poor plan is better than no plan. Tweak your plan as you go along.
    I was surprised- some of these odd assignments are actually FUN. I did one so well, my boss never asked me to do it again! She wanted to go have fun. Drat!

  13. Katie

    Question for #3 – OP, you say that you have been at the same organization, but has it been in the same role? If you have served in multiple roles, you could focus on that – how you handled change, growth, new responsibility, etc.

  14. KarenT

    Alison, how do you recommend OP #3 combats the situation? Address it right in the cover letter? Make sure resume shows job progression (ie., multiple promotions)?
    I ask because I’m heading down the same path. I’ve been working for six years now, all at one company. On the one hand, I see the value in leaving for a different experience. On the other hand, it seems silly to leave a company where I’m happy and doing really well just for the sake of leaving.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Making sure that you can show progression in responsibility is helpful, but the real worry it raises for (some) employers is that you’ll be stuck in one company’s way of doing things, won’t have been exposed to a wider variety of practices and cultures, and thus won’t adapt easily. So anything you can do to demonstrate that’s not the case is helpful … although the specifics will be different for each person.

  15. Anony

    3. Can you stay at a job for too long?

    I was wondering the same thing as the OP, but I read somewhere that it was approx 5 yrs that is too long. I guess everyone has a different opinion on this.

    So would job changing, lets say every 1 or 2 yrs BUT at the same company still count as job hopping?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Five year is absolutely not too long. That’s crazy talk!

      Changing jobs every 1-2 years within the same company doesn’t look like job hopping, but it might raise questions about whether you’ll expect to do the same at the new job.

  16. Lisa

    #7 needs to grow a pair!

    I used to be scared of strangers, too. I had a horrible experience working as a door-to-door fundraiser for a nonprofit organization, which paid me a commission from the funds I raised. It was so dehumanizing to ask strangers for donations, and for a while I was afraid to reach out to people I didn’t know for any reason advantageous to me (such as sales).

    Started canvassing now and then for political candidates, and pretty much got over it. Strangers aren’t that bad. Often they even thank me for coming by to give them information. That first door-knock is a little scary, but getting past it gives me confidence for the rest of the day. Handing leaflets to strangers would be NOTHING to me now, where it would have been terrifying for the couple months after I quit the fundraising job and was still traumatized by that experience.

    1. Jenn

      That’s awesome for you, but some people are paralyzed by the idea of dealing with strangers – just as some people love public speaking, and others hate it. But if you’re being forced to do it, there are steps you can take to make it less scary – like practicing, or using a script, etc.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.

        I’m a big believer in the idea that most people can change most of those sorts of traits about themselves if they try. Most. This goes for everything from door knocking to cold calling to being non-confrontational to liking broccoli to public speaking. Not everyone can change everything, but in my experience, people are surprisingly unwilling to try.

        1. Your Mileage May Vary

          Change causes fear. Some people are better at keeping the fear in check to do what they need to do. Others have to do the task regardless of their fear just to keep food on the table. And others decide the fear is worse than the task. We don’t know which one of those people the OP is.

          OP, I was asked by my boss this week to hang some posters around campus. Most people would think that’s not a big deal but I hated it, mostly because I have no sense of direction and can barely get from the parking lot to my office without getting lost so I didn’t want to try to find those other buildings! But I need that job so I did it. Now it’s over and I can congratulate myself for slaying that particular dragon. Also, my boss saw the list I made of where I hung the posters so that I could go take them down in a couple of weeks so they won’t remain as litter and she was very, very impressed with my initiative. It’s nice to be seen as forward-thinking on even such a little task as poster-hanging.

          1. Not So NewReader

            A really great example, Mileage. You identified your major concern: no sense of direction. You conquered that beast by nailing down the names of the buildings so you could find the posters to take them down later on. In the process of figuring out the names of the buildings, you developed a sense of where the buildings were in relationship to each other.
            OP, here is really cool explanation of how to overcome these hurdles. And notice this too, many people have stuff that is hard-hard for them to work through.
            Mileage, I remember feeling the same way about poster hanging! I hated it. Now it is no big deal.

  17. followup to #3 (not OP)

    what if you’ve held different roles and in various- and been promoted to management as well, but have been at the same company for 8+ years, and first real job out of college? does it still “raise questions about how you’ll adapt to new environments”?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Potentially, although 8 years is on the low end of when you’re at risk for this (and note that in my answer I said it’s more than 8 and less than 20 — it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it can kick in).

  18. Cassie

    #3: I’ve thought about this. I’ve worked in the same department for 11 years (as a career employee) and was there for 4 years as a student worker. There are a couple of coworkers who are lifers (20+ years, mostly in the same position) but most of the staff are recent hires (between 2-5 years).

    If/when I apply for a job, I can imagine an interview question such as “you’ve worked in the same dept for your entire career; how would you adapt to a new environment?”

    Luckily, although I have had the same payroll title for my 11 years, I have worked for different groups within my dept. So I do have some experience adapting to new roles or new bosses. And that’s what I would highlight.

    #6: I don’t think there’s any way to get the offer back, but I wouldn’t want to work for a company who got offended by a relatively harmless request if I had other options. Not sure if the position is only a temp/short-term position, or if there are logistical reasons why family wouldn’t be allowed to move with the employee, but the HR manager’s reaction seems a bit extreme.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.

      In response to #6, it does seem like the HR person had an extreme reaction, but then, OP does make it clear that it was discussed and decided earlier in the process as well. I do get a bit miffed when I make something very clear to a candidate, and then later on they decide that it should be negotiable. It could be that because this is being told from the OP’s perspective, he/she is omitting (or not realizing) the tone or wording of the request that made it unreasonable.

      That being said, though, you should always be able to *ask*. An HR person actually withdrawing an offer just because you asked is silly (again assuming it was indeed just a request to review the decision, as opposed to the OP sounding like they were drawing a line in the sand, thus prompting the withdrawal of the offer).

      1. Cassie

        Shows how much I comprehend what I read – I missed the part where the OP was already told that he/she couldn’t bring the family.

        I wonder if it IS a logistical issue for the family to accompany the employee – not sure about work environments/practices in Saudi Arabia but it doesn’t seem like a simple family relocation.

        1. Rf

          It probably has implications for the Visa and might make it either way harder or impossible for the company to fulfil the request. I can understand the HR person being annoyed after that request.

  19. The IT Manager

    #6 said: Later on, I realized my mistake …

    How later on? Like two months after the fact? Long enough that the employer already contacted the #2 candiate and offered the job to him? Your letter makes it sound like that “later on” wasn’t a few hours after your mistake. If so, the company had moved on from you before you called them back.

    Sorry, but you blew this one and probably burned this bridge because you sound very flaky and unreliable. From their POV, you likely seem simply desperate for a job and like someone who will quit to return to his family before his contract ends if he can. And the hiring manager probably thinks you wasted their time by going through the interview process knowing you could not meet one of the requirements of the job – willingness to live apart from your family.

  20. L.A.

    OP #7, with practice it does get easier.

    I’m super shy and hate dealing with strangers… but I work retail. I basically followed the “fake it til you make it” theory. At first taking to the random people who would come into my store made me so nervous. Now? I really don’t mind it (only in my store.. still can’t approach strangers outside of it).

    I would have phrased it differently from “it’s nonnegotiable” but as a member of a retail management team, it’s part of my job to challenge my associates. That means getting them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Having a cashier run the fitting rooms, having a sales person run the cash registers, etc. The theory is that it helps the associate develop and grow in their role.

    1. Chinook

      Plus you give the cashier and sales person the opportunity to see that maybe the other jobs aren’t as “easy” as they may have thought (the whole “walk a mile in their shoes” thing).

      I have done all sorts of jobs and while there are some that I would NEVER EVER do again (retail during holiday season for a box store – not enough money in the world. I would rather be a Timmy’s girl outside Canadian Forces HQ (average line up 10 people deep, average wait 2 minutes – that’s pressure)), it just means I have respect for those who show up and do the job with a smile on their face

  21. Anonymous

    OP#7: Life is all about attitude. So you don’t like handing out leaflets. You can either suffer through it, or you can decide to learn something from the experience. The more you stretch outside your comfort zone, the more you’ll learn. Sounds like this job could be a great learning experience for you if you look at it from that perspective.

  22. pidgeonpenelope

    #7. I’m with Anonymous. I’m going to be blunt but please understand it’s because I want you to do well in your career… You need to change your attitude. Whining and coming up with excuses not to do a reasonably safe gig strongly negatively impacts you. You can be let go, you can be passed up for a promotion, you can get/lose your bonus and you can get out of good standing. As much of a bummer as handing out crap to random strangers sucks, and I would know and empathize, if boss says “do it,” say, “sure!”

  23. Was an Expat K

    We took a contract in Saudi Arabia. We were able to go as a family. Some companies (a.k.a. sponsors) will do that, some won’t. My husband went first because it was easier to get his Visa first. Then, it was easier to get my Visa since my spouse was already over there. This process took 3 months.
    Typical Saudi contracts are for 2 years, some for 3. They usually include airfare home once a year in between the 2 years.

  24. anon.

    Regarding OP#7 – I think you guys are missing something – the job is for a visual merchandiser:
    “Visual merchandising is the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximise sales”

    Distributing flyers is definately not part of the job.

    1. Your Mileage May Vary

      A lot of jobs (dare I say, most jobs?) have a clause in their job description that says, “Other duties as assigned.” And even if the OP’s job description doesn’t include it, it that really the hill they want to die on? A one-time leaflet drop is not that big of deal if someone wants to keep their job. If it looks like the job is turning into more of a leaflet dropping job, then the OP will have to decide whether they want to move on to something more in line with what they had hoped to do in the current job.

      But arguing with the boss about whether or not this is part of their job will likely not turn out good for the OP.

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