fast answer Friday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s fast answer Friday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. My coworkers are all set against our new manager

My old manager left last month. His replacement starts in a week. So my department has been basically without a manager for a month. In that month, all the bad habits of my coworkers that the old manager ignored have just become more and more obvious and blatant.

Most of my coworkers do not like the new manager. We got to meet him and the other finalist for the job a while ago. We got the guy that they didn’t like. I liked what I saw of him because, unlike our old manager, I think he will actually be a boss and not a friend. I think he’ll make us do what we need to improve and go to bat for us with other departments when it’s needed. No one else agrees with me. They have all made up their minds, he hasn’t done anything yet and they all ready hate how he does things.

How do I deal with my coworkers? The new guy is going to change things. We aren’t getting any positive results with the way we do things now. And I’m game to try anything he wants to do. But I’m all alone in this. In this last week before he gets here, my coworkers are getting worse in their bad habits. I was pinned down in an actual corner and couldn’t escape while one of my coworkers had a fight with the head of another department, now she’s mad at me for not defending her. (I wasn’t going to touch it with a ten foot pole… She shouldn’t have started it in the first place and doesn’t take criticism. Period.) I know as soon as the new manager starts making changes, I’m going to have everyone trying to get me on their side where we don’t need to change anything because the way we do things is perfect. And I just don’t believe that and can’t find a good way to come away from those conversations without them deciding that I’m on the side of the enemy and someone to be fought against at every turn.

“I’m willing to give his way a try.” “I think what he’s suggesting makes sense.” “I don’t see it as us vs. him.” Repeat as needed.

If they have a problem with that, let them have a problem with it. If this guy really is a good manager, it sounds like these aren’t people you’re going to want to be aligned with anyway, because I don’t see this going well for them.

2. Relocating without a job

I desperately want to relocate to a city five hours away. I only seem to hear back from jobs in the new city when I use a friend’s address
(I usually write in the cover letter that I’m moving “at the end of the month” or whatever). I am actually in a situation where I could move quickly were I offered a position, and I also have enough savings to move without one (8-10 months of savings). I notice you always saying that it’s easier to get a job when you’re employed, but I’ve also seen you say that, if you can, you should consider moving without a job if you want to relocate. I don’t know whether to quit my job and move, or keep working and applying from a distance. Will it look strange to employers that I moved to a new city without a job? I’m in my late 20s if that makes a difference.

If you can explain why you wanted to move to this particular city, most employes won’t be put off that you moved without a job. However, you’d be going from employed to unemployed, and that does make you less competitive, in the eyes of most employers. Since you can use a friend’s address and you could presumably make the drive to the new city on short notice if you need to, why not continue what you’re doing — so that you remain employed but also have the benefits of a semi-local candidate? That way, you also won’t risk using up all or nearly all of your savings if it takes longer than you think to get a job.

3. Bringing chocolate to your interviewer

I was reading another career related blog who I will let remain nameless. She stated that it would be a good idea to bring chocolate for everyone if your interview was right before lunch. She stated that it was a way to stand out and that everyone would be in a good mood for your interview and will remember you as the one who brought chocolate. After reading that, I thought, “No way am I going to do that because bringing chocolate does not make you a better interviewer nor does it make your qualifications better.” What do you think? Is this a nice gesture or is this going way too far?

Ack! No, you are absolutely right: Do not bring chocolates to your interview! Do not bring fruit or wine either. It will come across as gimmicky and like you’re trying to suck up, and it will not make you a stronger candidate; to the contrary, it will probably make your interviewer uncomfortable.

Whoever wrote that should be kicked off the Internet.

4. Listing short classes on your resume

I work for a state government agency. Our HR department offers a variety of professional development classes that we can take. Each year, we can choose from and take 2-3 classes. I always try to take advantage of these opportunities. How do I list these on my resume, or should I list them at all? Keep in mind these are only 1-2 day classes, so I’m not sure if I should even put them on there at all. To give an idea of what type of classes these are, this year I took Customer Service, Advanced Creative Problem Solving, and Legislative Process.

I wouldn’t list them at all. Listing individual courses is rarely helpful (as opposed to your overall program of study), but that’s especially true in a case where they’re only 1-2 day classes. If you list them, you risk looking like you think they carry more weight than they do.

5. Should you tell candidates they didn’t get the job?

I interviewed a candidate who I thought was an extremely strong fit. My boss was on board with the hire, but the boss’s boss, who has of course the ultimate say, didn’t like the person as much as we did and isn’t letting us hire him. The candidate has followed up, sending emails every couple of weeks asking how we are coming along in the search, and I think that we somewhat led him on with our enthusiasm. We also haven’t hired anyone else yet, so the position is still on the site. Do you tell candidates that they didn’t get the job?

Yes, absolutely. Always, always, always, and especially when someone has taken the time to interview with you! And is now following up and asking for an update! It would be incredibly rude and unkind to not respond to him. This is someone who put time into preparing for the interview, possibly took time off work, and clearly wants an answer. You owe him a response. Please let him know that you won’t be offering him the position — and do the same for all other candidates who are out of the running.

6. Toilet trauma

I’ve worked with some very odd folks in my life, and sadly this one does not take the cake. We have a new female manager (another department) who refuses to sit when she uses the toilet. No one would care, except for the fact that she also refuses to clean up the “after effects.” I’m trying to be nice here. Bluntly, she pees all over the seat and leaves it. We thought for a few weeks a guy must have been sneaking into the ladies room.

This might not be such a big deal, but considering that there are only 2 female bathroom stalls in our building, it’s a real problem. We know who it is, because with women we know each other by our shoes, but I am at a total loss how to handle this one. Our HR is not an option yet, and this company has a reputation for vindictiveness for reporting bad behavior. I’m considering a swat-style busted-you operation out of desperation for safe toilets.

Gross. Is it possible to put up a sign in the stalls, politely asking people to clean up after themselves (and even saying it’s been a recent problem)? Alternately, you could approach HR not with a complaint, but asking if they could order toilet seat covers because this has been a problem and let them handle it from there.

Read an update to this letter here.

7. Manager won’t give me goals or an evaluation

I have been working in the nonprofit world for 3 years, and I have been in my current role for about 8 months. My manager, who used to be in a role similar to mine, was promoted to his current manager level role about 5 months ago.

Since I began this job, I have had no performance goals for my position. Once my manager was hired in his new position, I asked that we discuss performance goals and I even gave him some suggestions of what I think are good measurables for my job. He said he would work on them and get back to me. I have been reminding him on a regular basis and I still have no performance goals. We were even supposed to have an official performance review session at the end of the year, where he said that we would discuss and prepare these goals for the new year, but that meeting was supposed to happen over a month ago and still has yet to be scheduled.

I still remind him often that this is important to me and he agrees, but I have seen no action in response. In fact, I have not had a single one-on-one meeting about my performance, good or bad, since starting my job 8 months ago. While I have never received any indication that I am doing poorly, I would like to ensure that my manager and I are on the same page in regards to where I should be focusing my time and how my performance is going to be measured. Not to mention that these performance reviews are used to decide annual merit-based salary increases.

I don’t think my manager is avoiding the goal setting and review process because he doesn’t want to do it, I just think he is very busy and doesn’t have a lot of experience in managing others. Am I asking too much by continuing to harp on this? Should I just take no response as an indication that I am doing well? I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I am blindsided by a bad review down the road because I wasn’t clear on my job expectations.

Your manager sucks. I’d try one more time, this time escalating the seriousness: “Bob, I’m really concerned that we haven’t solidified goals for my position and haven’t done my performance review. I’m uncomfortable not having any feedback on my work, not knowing what the measures are for my success, and not having a review, particularly since these reviews are used to decide on raises. I know that you’re busy, but I’m increasingly unsettled by the lack of these things.” Making it a more serious conversation might be the shove he needs. But if that doesn’t change anything, I’d write out your own goals and your own performance review (as a self-evaluation). I’d send it all to him and say, “Since it’s been X months since we originally talked about these, I went ahead and created my own. I’m going to consider these in effect unless you tell me otherwise.”

If you have an HR department that assumes managers are doing this stuff, you might also want to talk to them about the fact that it’s not happening for you. I’m not usually a fan of going to HR for much outside of payroll issues or benefits questions, but this guy is neglecting some pretty basic stuff.

{ 199 comments… read them below }

  1. Malissa*

    #1–Tell your coworkers that you need the paycheck and are trying to be flexible so that you can still procure one on a regular basis. That’s a diplomatic way that doesn’t set you against them. I would just ignore the attitudes, stay out of the gossip and just do my job until things settle down again. People really do hate change, any change and if you are a constant through the change they may end up liking you more and possibly following your example.
    #2–Did this once and would do it again if I had the savings.
    #3–How dare you stray from this blog. ;)
    #4–This is listed under the line of engaging in continuous professional development-no details unless you are asked.
    #5–Please do!
    #6–I’d had the woman a can of disinfectant wipes and tell her she could use them before or after. But then again I’m the kind of person who can’t stop herself from making rude remarks when I find that kind of mess in the bathroom. As a in-law toilet sprinkler found out.
    #7–Set your own goals and try to rise above.

    1. Josh S*

      The ONLY thing I’ll say about #3 that makes that HORRIBLE advice slightly understandable (Still horrible, though) is that there was a study done that showed that judges rulings were skewed the longer they went after a meal. So decisions rendered immediately after a meal break were 65% favorable, and that percentage trailed off the more time passed.

      Now, the conclusion of the reason WHY that percentage trailed off is uncertain. It could be that the mental taxation of making so many decisions made things harder, so it was easier to default to “No”; it could be that hunger was the key factor. So it’s potentially possible (but far from certain or the only explanation) that having a hungry interviewer could negatively impact the perception of you. In which case…it would still be horrible to bring chocolate.

      Better to schedule the interview right AFTER the interviewer’s lunch. As if you could possibly know.

  2. Good_Intentions*


    Thank you for the response to #5!

    I’m going through a similar situation right now as I interviewed with a local nonprofit in mid-December, was told a decision would be made prior to Christmas, sent a “thank you” note, waited, called a week past the deadline, sent a follow-up email, to no avail. Finally, I ran into a colleague of my interviewer Wednesday who informed me that she’s met the woman hired for the position, and she apologized for the interviewer’s lack of professionalism and told me it did not reflect the organization’s professionalism.

    Although I appreciated having someone from the organization confirm to me my belief that another candidate was hired, I remain frustrated by the incredible lack of follow-through and basic professionalism from my interviewer. This is especially true given that he’s also the president of our city council and possesses a great deal of public relations and communication savvy.

    So, thank you, Alison, for encouraging interviewers to follow up with all interviewees. It’s such a simple step that is all too often neglected.

    1. Victoria HR*

      Some people are so scared of saying “no” or otherwise being thought unpleasant that they won’t deliver bad news. Of course, those people shouldn’t be in a position where they are supposed to be delivering bad news…

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      It’s also not unheard of for someone to just fall through the cracks. I respond to every applicant, and I let them know when they’ve reached the point in the process that they’re not getting a job… but I say that knowing full well that a couple people have emailed me because I never followed up with them or sent them a formal rejection. It’s rare, but it happens, especially if there’s something different about that person in particular, or if the actual people making the hiring decisions drag their feet for months. So don’t assume that an otherwise professional org (or even person) is horrible because you didn’t get a response. You could have just been the one that slipped through.

      Also, after a recent hiring round for a fairly high-level position, I was astounded by the amount of bad applicant behavior I saw. As an employer that really does try to keep everyone in the loop, reject people when we know we aren’t hiring them, etc, I was kinda insulted by how bad some of my applicants were behaving. So, like all things in the working world, it’s a two way street. Plenty of employers behave badly, and that really sucks, but there are plenty of candidates out there being just as awful! I wish more people, candidates and employers, were more considerate of the others involved in the process.

    3. Interviewee*

      Please, please, please just tell people they were not selected! If you can man up/woman up and just tell people they weren’t hired, you shouldn’t be in a position to be hiring. It is so incredibly rude and inconsiderate not to tell the candidate.

  3. Anonymous*

    Just when you think you’ve heard it all – #6 comes along. OMG! Good grief! I agree with AAM, take it to HR with the suggestion and let them deal with it. This is incredibly unsanitary, and should be considered a “hazzardous” health issue.

      1. Esra*

        I was driving up north for a party with a friend, and we stopped at a Timmy’s on the way. I popped into the bathroom and as I came in, a lady came out of one of the stalls. I went into it and it was covered, covered, in pee. I backed out to wait for the other stall to become available and looked back at the lady who had made this heinous mess. She was totally put together, hair, make up all done, expensive clothes, just non-chalantly washing her hands and fixing her hair. I wish I had’ve said something, but I was totally stunned.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          You would be shocked by how many seemingly clean people do NOT wash their hands after they pee. Seriously, I don’t even want to shake hands with anyone anymore.

        2. Lee*

          I have to weigh in here – sometimes you can find yourself in a stall with the mess, without another stall open, and have no option but to carefully perch yourself and avoid it. It’s either that or clean it up first – gross either way. So it’s possible the well put together lady wasn’t actually the guilty party:)

    1. Blinx*

      We would encounter the same situation at my last job, but never found out who the culprit was. What I’d like to know, is WHY don’t they lift up the seat before they go, if they’re not going to use it?? I wonder if they pee all over the seat at home, and who cleanse THAT up!

      1. Riki*

        Because people like this are stupid. These are the people who think that using a shared or public toilet will give them STDs. They go to great lengths not to touch anything (the door, the flush, the seat), yet fail to realize that their urine spraying makes the stall even more unsanitary.

        OP – We have simple signs posted in each of the stalls in the bathroom that instruct people to make sure the stalls/seats are completely clean before leaving. The desire to publicly shame might be strong, but resist the urge. Stocking toilet seat covers and wipes in the bathroom sounds like a good idea, too.

        At least this person isn’t a poop terrorist. We had one of those in my old office building where the bathrooms were shared by all the suites on the floor. :/

        1. Jamie*

          At least this person isn’t a poop terrorist.

          You said it. I still desperately need someone to explain that to me – because I don’t care what anyone says or how common it is (and it is) I still can’t view that through any other lens than that it’s an act of a psychopath.

          When working in a building with people who do that I actually do fear for my safety – how is this a common workplace problem? And it IS.

          1. Natalie*

            “I still can’t view that through any other lens than that it’s an act of a psychopath.”

            You’re probably not totally off-base.

          1. Jamie*

            Hmmm…how to put this delicately…

            A poop terrorist is one who expresses dissatisfaction with management, co-workers, or perhaps society at large by smearing products excrement over various bathroom surfaces. Walls, back and seat of toilet, sinks, toilet roll holder, etc.

            Sometimes this is expressing verbal discontent, i.e. when words are written, but often the smearing is the message in and of itself.

            And seriously – I’m standing by my psychopath theory.

            And if any one reading this is of this ilk – unless you REALLY hate the cleaning service I don’t know who you think you’re hurting.

            1. Jamie*

              That should have just been ‘excrement.’ I started with products of elimination and switched phrasing without cleaning up my own text mess. I hate when I do that.

            2. The Other Dawn*

              I’m glad someone asked the question, because I didn’t know what a poop terrorist was either. I figured it was someone who pooped and then left without flushing after absolutely filling the bowl with 50 yards of toilet paper.

              I have never in my life come across something like what you’re describing. People like this exist??

              1. Riki*

                Yes, they exist and be glad that you never had to walk into a bathroom a poop terrorist has destroyed. The PT at my old building did exactly what Jamie described and it was just…unbelievable.

                1. Amouse*

                  I had honestly never heard this term until today. I’m undecided as top whether that’s a good or bad thing lol

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  I had to clean up after a lady who pooped all over our bathroom when I worked at this cafe in CA. But she wasn’t a poop terrorist; she was older and kind of wonky, and I think she was hovering and then had….a sudden problem. Still, it was pretty gross. Considering how many homeless people wandered in and out of that area and our cafe, I’m surprised one of them didn’t do the smeary thing.

              2. Natalie*

                Yes, they exist and they are awful. They don’t necessarily limit their actions to their excrement, either. We’ve had people deliberately clog toilets and do other destructive things in the bathrooms.

                One of our former tenants was a super scammy home health care agency. About a month before they moved out, a PT (or PTs) suddenly started messing around in our bathrooms. So it wasn’t a surprise when I found a news report of the HH agency not paying their employees.

            3. Heather*

              HOLY CRAP (um, no pun intended)! My brother-in-law has a story of this happening at his office – he calls it the “Fecal Phantom”. I thought that was just one crazy person. I can’t believe this is an actual thing!

              Even if your job completely blows, you have GOT to have some serious issues if this is the way you express your displeasure.

              1. Jamie*

                I have worked at 2 facilities where this has happened. I thought it was insane the first time, but in speaking with co-workers they said they had worked other places where it happened, too – for a total of 5 separate workplaces.

                1. Heather*

                  I solemnly swear never to complain about my job again. At least there’s no poop on the bathroom walls.

                2. BW*

                  Wow. I’ve only ever seen this done in 2 places, a state mental hospital and a group home for severely autistic adults.

              2. Katie*

                We called ours the Mad Defecator. My husband just told me a story about someone at his high school who did this. They called him the Unipooper.

              3. Lindsay*

                OMG! “Fecal Phantom”!?! I may have just had my own toilet trauma right here in my cubicle! LOLOL!!!!!

            4. Katie*

              When I was in college, we had a poop terrorist in the dorms who just left entire presents in random places like showers and elevators. Fun stuff.

        2. OP #6*

          We have requested just such signs formally from management, I am pretty sure they are disgusted to even have to be dealing with such a problem. Some of us have thought about buying the wipes you suggested on our own to see if that would help.

          I worked with a poop terrorist also a few years back! The guy would come in at night and on weekends and throw the stuff all over the walls and mirrors! No one had a clue how to handle that one, force DNA tests? Cameras? Key card entry?

          What is wrong with people?

        3. Another English Major*

          I am so using that from now on : poop terrorist. That really made me lol. We had one of those at my office for awhile. HR posted signs reminded people to make sure the toilet flushes (we have automatic flushing, but it doesn’t always work). After the signs went up it got worse! I really think it was some passive aggressiveness.

    2. Janet*

      A few jobs ago I dealt with a woman like this. She’d pee all over the seat. We thought we knew who it was but couldn’t prove it. So we’d have loud conversations near the suspect’s cube like “Oh no! There’s pee all over the seat again! That’s so gross, why don’t people turn around and wipe up the pee with some toilet paper before they leave the stall?!” *end scene*

      I ended up making some signs on copy paper that I taped on the inside of the door that said something like “STOP! Before you leave the stall, please turn around and make sure all messes are cleaned up. Thank you!” It helped somewhat.

      But seriously it was very gross. Piss all over the seat and sometimes the floor – nothing quite like realizing you’re standing in a co-worker’s urine.

      1. Maire*

        My previous boss used to do this quite regularly. He would go into the women’s toilet (we only had one for men and one for women) and pee all over the seat and leave a pool of pee on the floor. He often did it just after the cleaner had been in for the week, so it wouldn’t be cleaned for another week.
        He was generally fairly disgusting: he used to pick his nose and eat the contents constantly. And a co-worker said he came into her office one day and started adjusting his balls UNDERNEATH his trousers.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I don’t think I should have refreshed this thread so close to lunch time. :( WTF is wrong with people?

        2. Kathryn*

          Maybe we worked for the same guy. My former boss used to pick his nose too. He also used to dig his earwax out with the ends of his glasses and eat that too. In meetings.

          1. Janet*

            Stories like this make me want to rip out my hair when I think of the fact that I can’t move into management because of a lack of management experience – but somewhere, in some office, a man is eating his ear wax and is a manager. Sigh.

        3. MeganO*

          Tragically, I just audited class with traditionally-aged college students (theoretically adults). We had not one, but TWO, booger picker-and-eaters. In class. In a small class. Multiple class sessions. The instructor had to stop looking in their direction so as not to get distracted mid-sentence.

          What?! How do you not grow out of that by the time you’re 8 or so?

      1. Your Mileage May Vary*

        Urine is sterile but as it’s touching the body on the way out, it can pick up all sorts of nasties. This is especially true with female pee, which doesn’t have such a direct way out of the body as men’s.

    3. Piper*

      This is a regular problem where I work, and I’m guessing that there are multiple offenders. People (women) pee all over the seats, don’t flush, throw tampons in the toilets, etc, etc, etc. This is a very large company and most of these people are paid very well, and yet they act like they live on the streets.

      And as for the suggestions of signs in the bathroom? Yep. Done that. Doesn’t work. The solution from management was to have the company cleaning crew clean the bathrooms twice a day. It hasn’t really helped.

      1. Katie*

        Improper tampon disposal…yet another area where you have to wonder what is going through people’s heads. Why would you leave stuff like that sitting out somewhere? That’s a serious health hazard!

  4. jesicka309*


    Shame she’s not in your department. You could have someone come back from teh bathrooms after her and do an “Ewwwwwww gross someone peed all over the seat. Who does that?” Nice and loud, so that the offender hears and knows what happened.

    Alas, different department would prevent that. definitely ask about getting toilet seat cover so that HR know, and worst case scenario, you can sit with peace of mind. :(

  5. Brian*

    I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, but one of the best people I ever hired did in fact bring chocolates to her interview — which was on February 14.

  6. Chocolate Teapot*

    7. I once was transferred within the company at that time to a role as a direct report to a Director. Whilst it was not a promotion as such, I was very pleased as it meant focusing on a particular skills set.

    So I asked for a fresh job description. One was not forthcoming, so I wrote my own and asked for feedback. Nothing. I seemed to be kept out of the loop with Boss’s work as it was “Confidential”.

    The appraisal season arrived. I set up an appointment for my appraisal. It kept getting postponed, but I was told not to worry, and he was very pleased with my work. Undeterred, I filled in the appraisal form, adding notes that the skills on there didn’t match what I was now doing.

    The next thing I discovered was that my boss had decided he didn’t need me, so I was going back to exactly the same role I had been doing before.

    Oh, and the appraisal? Well it turned into a hatchet job about how I wasn’t doing any of the tasks in my job description on the form. My comment that Boss required different things from me, and that he was now my work priority didn’t go down well.

  7. ABC*

    #6: OP mentions that HR is not an option..why is that?
    Is there a female Office Manager who can be trusted to deal with it?

    Since HR is not inclined to take action & you think the company is not one to deal with complaints maturely, you need to tackle this privately. Approach her directly (alone or a couple of women) after her use and talk to her about it – with a show & tell if necessary. This is just too unsanitary/unhygenic, unmindful of common courtsey, to be ignored.
    I know this approach is just UGH! but needs to be done if you dont want to be dreading loo visits!!!

    1. Colette*

      I agree with approaching her – but it has to be one-on-one. Two or three people approaching her about it together could easily seem like an ambush.

      Ideally, it would be immediately after seeing her leave the stall, and something like, “Hey, I’m sure you don’t realize it, but you’ve left the toilet a mess – can you clean it up, please?”

  8. Michelle*

    #5 I’ve *never* received notice that I was not getting a job I interviewed for; I’ve only been told if I was hired. Still, outside of work it would be rude to leave someone hanging, so it makes perfect sense that good employers tell candidates their status–even when it’s not “good” news. When two companies are in talks over whether to do business together and one reaches the conclusion that they shouldn’t, its reps still call to inform the people at the other company-right?

    #6 This reminds me of the best hand washing sign I ever saw–maybe there’s a variation on toilet use that your coworkers could come up with. It said “please wash your hands,” and beneath, in handwritten marker someone had added, “It’s gross not to!”

    1. Janet*

      A college friend would never wash her hands after using the bathroom. I’d say “Oh you forgot to wash your hands!” and she’d say “I didn’t touch anything!” and one time I said “Do you think the rest of the world just splashes around the toilet with our fingers? Wash your damn hands!” So gross.

      1. Anonymous*

        Someone I met in college also never washed her hands because she claims the soap was too drying to her skin. So she used antibacterial gel instead. How does that make sense? And she had to leave the bathroom trailing her germs until she got to her room (if she made it) for the hand sanitizer.

        1. Jamie*

          I makes no sense – especially since hand sanitizer is way more drying than washing your hands.

          I should know – because of my hand sanitizer habit I’ve got the hand lotion monkey on my back.

          I don’t even do it because of germs most of the time – just to give my hands something to do while I’m thinking. I need more smart putty and maybe the skin on my hands will heal.

        2. Rana*

          Given that you can get rid of most of the germs just by rubbing firmly under hot water, there’s no excuse, even if you are sensitive to soap.

    2. Sam*

      Same here – I’ve never received notice that I was rejected after an interview. The closest “rejection” I’ve ever gotten occurred six months after the interview when the company mass mailed a company newsletter that included an article on the new hire. At least the email included an unsubscribe link.

      1. twentymilehike*

        … a company newsletter that included an article on the new hire. At least the email included an unsubscribe link.

        Oh BURN. What dope would add a job candidate to the company newsletter? I’d have been fairly peeved …

  9. Jamie*

    While it’s wrong to bring chocolates to an interviewer, I now want to give some to every woman with whom I work just to thank them for urinating correctly.

    Seriously – #6 – make the signs for the stalls today. One tip?

    Laminate the signs.

    1. Sasha*

      At my college, they used to have signs in each stall in the bookstore with a poem about cleaning up after yourself if you were a “sprinkler.” It was hilarious.

        1. John Quincy Adding Machine*

          We have that one at work, as well as one that says something like, “Ladies, please remain seated for the entire performance. Gentlemen, step closer. It’s not as long as you think.” Neither really has much effect — I think I have to clean up urine about half the time I use the staff toilet (if I leave it there and just do the hover-butt myself, the next person will think I’m the original culprit).

  10. Tamara*

    #3 – Even putting the professionalism issue aside, bringing food is always hit or miss. In our 25 person office alone, we have both a dairy allergy and a chocolate allergy. A gift of milk chocolates would not be endearing!

    1. Anonymous*

      While gifts to an interviewer are wrong, someone bringing a gift that you happen to be allergic too is “not endearing”? Oh come on. At least they tried.

  11. Another Day, Another Dollar*

    #4. Listing Short Classes Our internal hiring form provides space for applicants to list classes they’ve taken, and when I’ve been involved in hiring, I do look at that list….as giving me some information about the applicant. On the other hand, I’m much more interested in and give the most weight to accomplishments and experience that relates directly to what the person would be doing.

    1. Jamie*

      I had one I listed back when I was doing admin/OM stuff and that was for the OSHA record keeping class.

      I didn’t list it separately though, just parenthetically in the bullet point. Then again, my resume was so bad back then I’m surprised I was ever hired anywhere – so I’m not the standard bearer on this.

      1. KayDay*

        I didn’t list it separately though, just parenthetically in the bullet point.

        That’s a good idea! I was going to suggest that the OP list any relevant classes at the very end of her resume, if and only if they are relevant to the new job, but not demonstrated elsewhere. But I like putting them in a bullet point better. Particularly if the OP is early in their career, this might be the only way for them to show they have experience with something. I think including that I had taken a short course on Fundraising (while an intern) helped me get my first entry-level job, but it certainly would not help me get a job as the director of Fundraising.

        In the OP’s case, s/he works in local gov’t, so customer services skills might not be apparent from her accomplishments. If the OP applies to a job with lots of customer service requirements, it might be worth including the class, as the “evidence” of good customer service skills.

        More specialized classes like legislative processes are also probably worth including, but again, only if they are relevant to the job the OP is applying to.

  12. Jamie*

    #1 – I’m a mercenary, so part of me would be happy my co-workers are all set against the new manager because that would make my reasonable, open-minded, cooperation all the more remarkable in comparison. Seriously – use that to get in with the new manager and let your co-workers hang themselves.

    #3 – Are we allowed to start kicking people off the internet now? Because if so I’ve got a list I’ll be checking it twice…and kicking people all weekend. That would be so awesome – please, Alison, make that happen.

  13. BW*

    #6 – If the bathroom doesn’t have those disposable paper toilet seat covers, try getting some. Women hover because they don’t want to touch what they think is a gross public toilet seat. If there are covers available, she might use them instead of hovering.

    1. Jamie*

      I am trying very hard not to be too specific – but hovering is very different from standing. You can hover without any mess at all.

      And ITA about the covers – although I’m a fan of Clorox wipes in the travel pack. Just stash some in your purse and prepare your surroundings as needed – I always have some on me. Great for door handles, too.

      Officially Howard Hughes

    2. Sam*

      Some people are better at hovering than others. As a young college student who loved concerts and sporting events (grossest women’s toilets ever), I got pretty darn good at a no-sprinkle-hover-tinkle. Sadly, I’m out of practice and have realized that sprinklers have two choices: sit down or clean up after yourself!

      1. Rana*

        Yup. I once ended up with an entire internet comments thread mad at me for daring to suggest that hovering is sometimes okay (or necessary! – which made me wonder how they lived their lives without ever encountering a truly gross toilet). But if you make no mess, or wipe the seat afterward so no one can tell, what’s the deal?

        Plus it’s not like there aren’t people out there who can make a huge mess while seated. It’s amazing to me that they emerge without their clothes completely wet.

      2. BW*

        I used to be proud of my ability to hover in a moving bus. Alas, that was 20+ years ago, and I am long used to non-gross toilets. I would probably fall in and splash all over if I tried that now.

    3. amaranth16*

      But for heaven’s sake. I’m a woman who won’t sit on a public toilet seat bare-assed, but that’s why I lay toilet paper down on the seat! What kind of diva is too good to sit on a toilet – even when the seat has a layer of toilet paper covering it, but is fine with spraying piss all over a restroom? Ten to one she ignores the covers.

  14. Anonymous*

    #6- Ugh! I hate when fellow ladies spray all over the seat and then now clean it up. It doesn’t make any sense! They aren’t sitting down because they think the seat is “dirty”, but then they make it dirty by peeing all over it!

    Fun option: Put together a handy how-to guide for creating a toilet paper seat barrier (just three strips of toilet paper on the seat, if you don’t have those pre-made paper toilet seat covers). Post them all over the bathroom (tape them down really well too!) and hopefully your problems will be solved!

    1. Anonymous*

      Trouble is, the delicate flowers who are too refined to sit on or wipe the seat are too refined to pick up their own toilet seat covers, leaving the rest of us wading through their debris.

      1. Kelly L.*

        True. But some covers are designed to flush themselves when you flush. But then you get the people who are too delicate to flush…ack.

        1. Camellia*

          Ah, the curse of those toilets that flush automatically! You put down the toilet seat cover with the tab properly dangling in the water, – and the toilet instantly flushes it away!

          It’s a race. Depending on the speed and sensitivity of the sensor you may never achieve a successful touchdown.

          1. twentymilehike*

            Coolest thing I ever saw at the Dallas airport on a layover … a toilet seat cover in a continous sleeve that rotated and put fresh cover on it automatically when you flushed. It was beautiful. I took a video of it with my phone to show my hubby back at home.

            1. EM*

              The only place I’ve ever seen that was a Mercedes dealership. And no, I wasn’t there shopping, it was a lease return for a departed relative. :(

            2. Anonymous*

              They have those at O’Hare, too. I absolutely love them. People hate on O’Hare a lot, but it has some of the best airport bathrooms I’ve ever seen.

      2. BW*

        True, and I find this really disturbing. I think “If you won’t even touch your own cover, what makes you think anyone else wants to touch it?” It grosses me out more than finding someone dropped a deuce and didn’t flush, and maybe it shouldn’t, but at least I don’t have to touch the poop.

        I hate toilet seat covers. If I find the toilet gross enough to warrant hovering, a piece of crepe paper so think I can see through it is not going to convince me to sit down.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Yeah, really. I learned how to do this when I was a little bitty kid and we would stop at highway rest stops on family vacations. You just knock the TP into the toidy when you’re done. It’s not rocket science.

  15. Sharon*

    If you’re going to hover, why not lift the seat first? If you don’t want to touch it with your hands, then grab some TP to use as an “oven mitt”. The thoughtlessness of some people is breathtaking.

    Seriously, I think HR or the office manager really needs to fix this situation. It’s not a good thing to have employees trying ways to shame each other to fix it. Management or HR should “man up” and do their jobs.

    1. Jamie*

      If you’re going to hover, why not lift the seat first? If you don’t want to touch it with your hands, then grab some TP to use as an “oven mitt”.

      Use your foot.

      1. Diane*

        Next letter:

        Dear AAM, One lady in my office insists that toilet seats are vile filthy cesspools of evil and lifts them with her foot to avoid sitting. That’s fine, but then she puts her vile feet on the breakroom table that we use for our lunch. She’s the director of HR and best friends with the CEO, so we’re afraid to talk to her directly. How do we make her stop?”

  16. Cruella DaBoss*

    I’ve always been a fan of the sign
    “If you Sprinkle when you Tinkle, Please be Sweet and WIPE THE SEAT!”

  17. B*

    #5 – Yes, you absolutely tell this person. They took time out of there day, prepared for it, most likely spent money to get there and back, and got their hopes up because it is a job and of your excitement.

    It is considerate, appropriate, and reflects well on your company. Do I remember every company I interviewed with and heard a response from…most likely. Do I remember the places that never bothered to contact me after interviewing…you betcha! I have a bad feelings towards the company and that reflects in my buying practices and that of my friends.

    Do you really want a bad reputation because you could not be bothered to send a quick 5-minute email? It’s as simple as a thank you for interviewing, pleasure to meet you, going with another candidate, and a good luck in your search.

    1. Good_Intentions*


      What a fantastic post!

      I completely agree with your statements, especially about remembering who treated you badly in terms of following up post-interview.

      Now, if only inconsiderate hiring managers would take notice.

  18. Sue d. o'nym*

    #3 – Don’t bring chocolates to an interview. Unless, of course, you’re applying for a job as a chocolatier or chocolate teapot maker, and you’re bringing samples of your work.

  19. AHK*

    Re #4–I’m in a similar situation. I take a number of courses offered through our HR department, because it’s part of professional development and shows that I’m doing more than the bare minimum required for my job. I don’t want to list course titles, but how would you that include that on a resume?

    1. Jamie*

      List the achievements you’ve accomplished because of this continuing education – if you haven’t accomplished more because of the classes then I would leave it off, personally, because participation in and of itself isn’t relevant.

      Just my opinion, though.

      1. PEBCAK*

        I just want to say that I love this comment.

        Although it would be kinda funny to list things like my company’s mandatory sexual harassment training.

        1. Sam*

          If I saw sexual harassment training listed on a random resume, I might jump to the conclusion that the person had committed some form of harassment and twas then forced to take the training.

          1. Sam*

            Twas was an error; I meant ‘was.’ Though I have to say… ’twas’ carries that warm xmasy vibe, even if it makes no grammatical sense in this case.

        2. Diane*

          * Received HR’s annual “Most significant improvement in disciplinary actions regarding sexual harassment” award. 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012.

            1. Elizabeth*

              They got caught either servicing johns in the public bathroom or watching porn instead of working.

  20. Elle D.*

    #2 – I was in your exact shoes 6 months ago! I had been applying for jobs in a city about 4 hours away for months, and only got responses when I was using a local address. If you really can relocate quickly, aren’t looking for any kind of relocation assistance and taking time off your current position for interviews is not a problem, I would continue your job search while employed. My search lasted about 8 months, but just when I was about to give up and move without a job I got called for interviews with 3 fantastic companies and received offers from two of them. I believe that being currently employed in a related job role made me a more attractive candidate than I would have been if I was unemployed.

    That being said, if you list the location of your current position and it is in city X but your address is in city Y (which is how my resume appeared), it may come up in your interview. Be prepared to confidently explain your situation in a succinct manner – my response was typically something like “Although I am currently living in city X, I am in the process of making the transition to City Y. The address shown on my resume is where I will be residing once I accept a position in City Y.” I typically added that City Y is where my family and friends lived and I preferred the lifestyle and culture of Y to X, so the transition would be an easy one for me and would not have any effect on my start date or job performance. This seemed to put employers at ease.

    1. OP #2*

      Thanks! The city X/city Y juxtaposition is always something I wonder about. I also thought I may be missing out on networking in the new city. It’s hard to email someone to say you want to chat about the industry when you’re not even there – I feel like I wouldn’t be taken seriously.

      1. r*

        OP #2– Are you able to arrange to spend a few days in the “new city” for networking? It might help give your job search a small boost.

        1. Elle D.*

          I was going to suggest this – perhaps when reaching out to contacts, you can ask if there are any networking events coming up that might be a good opportunity for you to connect with other professionals in your field. You can then plan a small trip around that event, allowing you to network without moving.

          Also, don’t underestimate the power of your personal network. I made sure to drop it into conversation with friends and family that I was looking for a job in City Y. Some unexpected people had valuable connections there (friends or family that worked at companies headquartered in my target city or work as recruiters in that city etc.). Some of these connections I made had valuable advice, and a few offered to pass along my resume. An acquaintance’s sister who worked as a recruiter in that area was able to send some valuable leads my way as well!

    2. KimmieSue*

      Also, please don’t assume that all reviewers are reading your cover letter. Have it spelled out both on cover AND resume. On the resume, you can have your current address in the header but BOLDLY state that you are relocating (at your own expense, if true) at the expected date. Not everyone takes the time to read cover letters when doing an initial visual resume screen. You may be getting rejected because the reviewer thinks you are not local.

  21. Sasha*

    #1 – OP, I’m sorry you have to go through that. Being around all that negativity and stubbornness sucks. But I think if you can make it through, you’ll come out as the shining star who was willing to compromise, look at things critically, and improve the department.

    #3 – Bringing anything like that to the interview makes you memorable – in a bad way.

    #4 – I would list classes ONLY if they were relevant to the position I was applying for, or if I could show accomplishments with them. I once received a resume for an entry-level tech support position that was 19 pages long – she listed every class she had ever taken, every conference she ever attended, as well as every session at those conferences. There were things listed like “How to make greeting cards in Photoshop.” Obviously this is an extreme example, but my point is – if you list too many you fatigue the person reading the resume and it distracts from your actual work experience.

    #6 – Great title. Also – ewww!! Why are people so inconsiderate????

  22. LMW*

    #7 – I’ve had this problem before. What I did was type up my goals and ask the manager to sign them. Then I’d appear with a fresh printout in their doorway every day until they did.

  23. Yup*

    #1 Good for you for going into this with an open mind. In your shoes, I’d just be honest with my coworkers. “Yeah, I get that you don’t like him, but I’m willing to give the guy a chance. Who knows, he might be able to fix Problem XYZ that’s been driving us all crazy for years.” Personally, I think your coworkers are going to be the architects of their own disaster here. So don’t worry too much about their manufactured drama: just focus on doing a good job and building a professional relationship with your new boss. The key is for you to be calm and nonplussed when they talk trash about him. “Gee, do you think so? I haven’t had that experience. Bob’s been pretty decent to me. And he seems to know what he’s talking about with the widget malfunctions.” And then be the same way with the new boss, who will no doubt notice that your coworkers are being nuts. “Yeah, they don’t seem to be doing well with change. They’re not a bad group, though. Mary’s great with the accounts, and Steve is an Excel wizard.” It’s not your job to make everyone like each other, but you can take on a neutralizing, stabilizing role if they start to get nuts.

    1. JohnB*

      The real question is: Do your fellow colleagues have the power to fire you? Cause like the new manager or not, siding with the people with no power is going to end poorly for you. You’ve got to look out for yourself so it’s good that you are willing to give the new manager and chance and try what he is suggesting.

  24. Maire*

    #5. I’m sorry but how can anyone in recruitment AND who reads this blog ask this question?
    Of COURSE you tell someone if they didn’t get the job. What possible reason would you have for not doing so?
    Any interview I went for I have always heard back until a few months ago when I went for a job in a community centre. I rang them a couple of times but was told there was no-one available and my email went unanswered. To me it signalled that they were completely amateurish and didn’t have any idea of the conventions of recruitment. And that they treat people like shit.

  25. Ann*

    #4 – I agree that listing individual courses is overkill, but maybe a line within the job description for this position saying something like ongoing professional development, including courses in the areas of customer service, problem solving, etc. While individually the courses probably aren’t significant, I think the fact that you are putting time and effort into your professional development is relevant and shows a desire to improve your skills and knowledge that is valuable.

  26. fposte*

    On #6, I initially thought “she refuses to clean up” meant that she had actually been asked directly and had said, “Nah.” I guess this is better?

    The signs are worth a try–make a good one and you can get into Passive-Aggressive Notes–but I suspect this is somebody who’s hanging onto plausible deniability for all it’s worth. This is where it could be useful to have a shameless colleague who would head into the stall as she’s leaving and holler “Whoa, Carolyn! You forgot to mop up!” I, alas, am not that colleague.

    1. Blinx*

      You could tag team, when the culprit is known. When “Carolyn” goes in to use the stall, you and a colleague quickly follow. The colleague occupies the neighboring stall, making you wait for Carolyn’s. When she exits and you see the messy seat, just ask her to clean up after herself. Repeat as necessary.

      I remember toilets that had no seats! When I was a kid, my Mom would take me to the ladies room at the Phila Reading Terminal, before taking the train ride home. There must have been 20 stalls there. The front of the “bowls” had a narrow section, making it easier to hover. And I think there was a wooden section attached to the porcelain, possibly for standing on? Love to have heard the conversation that lead to these being replaced with standard toilets!

      1. Rana*

        You get some of those squat toilets in other countries, too. They’re supposed to be good for the digestion, among other things. (But if your squatting muscles aren’t as strong as they should be, they can be a bit of a trial.)

        1. John Quincy Adding Machine*

          I was just going to mention squat toilets. Another nice thing about them is that squats and TP often don’t go together, so they provide you with the ‘bum gun’ (like a dishwashing hose attached to the wall of the stall), which can also be used to hose down the toilet when you’re done with it.

  27. Kristen*

    #2: I moved to a new city without a job after graduating college and it worked out for me. If you have the savings to do so, it might not be a bad idea. I met with a temp agency before I moved, and my plan was to temp with them until I found a job. Would this be an option for you? I actually can’t speak on how temping is, because I was offered a job I had already been interviewing for less than two weeks after I moved there.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This used to be a really great way to work while in between jobs, but I’m hearing a lot of stories about how temp agencies now have far more temps than jobs, so a lot of people sign up with agencies and don’t get that much work, unfortunately! So I’d say to really probe about how much they’re likely to be able to give you, before counting on it.

      1. Chaucer*


        It wasn’t uncommon for me to come across people (older workers) who have started out temping and were able to secure permanent careers from them; some of them are still with the same company that they temped for. However, my experience has been less-than-optimal. I had to fill out piles and piles of paperwork, and they would still have nothing for me. I think the biggest reason for this isn’t necessarily because they are bad, but rather because there is just not enough out there for temps. In my city, the main companies in town don’t go through temping agencies; they don’t need to because they have no shortage of qualified applicants, and the majority of positions available through staffing agencies are at crappy call centers that have problems with turnover.

      2. A Bug!*

        What I’m curious about is how temp agencies assign their temps to jobs. Of course, every agency would operate differently, but I’m interested in knowing all the different ways they work and which processes are more common, or if some processes are more common in field-specific temp work (like accounting temps, or legal temps vs general office temps).

        Like, if you’ve got 100 temps but only ten jobs a day, do those ten jobs a day go to the same people on a regular basis because they’re high performers, or does it go on a rotating thing, or some combination of both? Because a high performer with a great resume might be able to move and get temp work more easily than someone with a spotty record or no record at all.

        1. KarenT*

          The temp agencies I’m familiar with “officially” assign jobs by seniority. So, the longer you’ve been with the agency, you will get more work. Say a company phones and says we need a receptionist for three months. The temp agency will go through their employee list (and they have separate lits for different types of jobs–factory work, reception, etc.) and contact by seniority. However, unofficially, they will call the person they know will say yes. My brother temped after college, and the agent at the agency said she always called him first because she knew he would say yes even with little notice (like, can you be there in 20 minutes type notice) and that makes her life easy. One phone call instead of calling the first 20 people on the list to get rejected by all of them.

          1. KarenT*

            He also had to act quickly. He’d get a voicemail saying there was opportunity at such and such factory, could he call back if he was interested. Sometimes he’d call back in 10 minutes and the job would have already gone to someone else.

            1. Rana*

              Yep. That’s how I ended up with my first cell phone. I couldn’t risk missing a call from the agency, and I didn’t want to be stuck by the telephone all day.

          2. Jamie*

            Everything Karen said is my experience as well.

            I temped for almost two years when I started working, and in that time there were only 3 days when I was sans job (excepting weekends). That was 2006 – so it’s different now and it’s not as easy – but there are some tips:

            -Get dressed every morning as if you’re working – even if nothing is assigned. So you are ready to just toss on work clothes and be there in 20 minutes, as Karen mentioned. Availability is all you have before you build your reputation.
            – The worst thing the agents deal with is unreliability. In addition to being available, be on time and finish out your assignments. Unless there is something illegal going on and you’re getting punched in the face finish the job. Some suck, some don’t…you won’t get the ones that don’t if you quit the ones that do.
            – Feedback is key. Every client you service will be asked for feedback – my feedback file was 100% positive and I was VERY conscious of maintaining that. They will not send someone untested to the big, high paying clients. Build your track record.
            – Once you build your reputation you can afford to be pickier. At some point they knew not to call me unless it was over a certain dollar amount – but that’s because I was busy. And if I had a couple days between long term assignments and they needed someone to help them out of a jam and do a little short run I was happy to.

            I wish this was still the option for people that it once was, because I learned SO much and thought it was a great way to begin my career and job shop until I had an offer I wanted.

            1. Anonymous*

              This was my experience temping too. You need to build a reputation with one agency as being reliable and the good job will come. I had tone time where I had to short a contract due to kidney stones (literally taken to the hospital from the bus on my way to work and husband had to return my pass card). Not only did the agency not hold a grudge about me not coming in, but they were willing to give me part time work once I had passed the stone so that I wouldn’t be too exhausted but was still making money.

              Like Jamie, they learned that I preferred better money and a certain commute length but I was there go to person when they were caught short and needed someone reliable.

      3. Anonymous*

        My husband is having somewhat of an opposite problem with his temp agency:

        He currently works part-time for this agency at Company A; it’s all data entry, he hates it, it’s boring, and it doesn’t utilize any of his skills, plus we need more money than this position brings in. The agency has recently posted a position with Company B both on their website and on Career Builder. It is the perfect fit for my husband and he has more than enough experience for it (it also doesn’t require a four-year degree, but says that having one is a plus, and my husband has one), plus it’s full-time and pays A LOT more than his job at Company A.

        Well he went through the agency’s website, applied for the job and heard nothing. Lo and behold the job at Company B was reposted by the agency again today! Clearly they aren’t experiencing an overload of temps because you’d think they would’ve filled the position. Would it be wise for him to contact the person who he interviewed with at the agency to see about his eligibility for the position at Company B? He doesn’t want to step on toes or make it seem like he’s unhappy (even though he is) for fear of being fired, but I told him he should at least look into it.

        1. Kristen*

          He should talk to the recruiter at the agency he is working with and tell him he is interested in the position.

      4. Lulu*

        I’ve actually gotten all but one of my previous jobs via temp agencies – great way to get experience and exposure, especially when you’re not committed to a particular job path or interested in a competitive industry. When I got laid off, I figured no problem, just enact the usual strategy… Apparently, me and the rest of the world, and the rest of the world has some mad skills, yo. I think it may also have something to do with where you are in your “career” – i.e. I’m no longer an entry-level person, even though I could play one on tv, but I’m not a high-enough/specialized enough level to be appealing to headhunters, so the opportunities I’m perceived as suitable for are much fewer & farther between. I can also second the experience of companies not wanting to pay the fees to hire someone on full time anymore, having seen quite a few perma-temps suffer in that limbo at my last company.

        I’d still encourage people to TRY the temp route, but it’s no longer quite the easy option it once was, sadly, so treat it like the interview-that-seemed-to-go-well-but-haven’t-heard-yet scenario (i.e. keep looking at other options).

    2. Jeff*

      My wife and I moved to a new city in October without having jobs lined up, as we figured we’d be able to survive on our savings until we got jobs. We’re fine, but here are two examples of how temping can be a help and a hinderance…

      After almost 3 months with no luck finding jobs, my wife went to a temp/recruiting agency to see if they would be able to help find a permanent job for her. Instead of finding her a job with one of their clients they hired her themselves (as a recruiter) because they liked her so much!

      I am still looking for employment after almost four months, so I started temping a few weeks ago to try and conserve some of my savings. The company I have been temping at is very interested in hiring me for a few short-term contracts, BUT the company HR dept is absolutely unwilling to ever pay a finders fee to recruiting agencies to hire temps that are sent to them. So temping for this particular company is actually a barrier to me being employed by them (for at least 12 months according to the temp agency contract). The manager who wants to hire me is trying to find a way to work around the situation, so things may still work out, but we’ll see.

      Anyways, recruiting/temp agencies can be a good option, but I would recommend being very familiar with all the terms in the paperwork that you sign. I will likely not accept another assignment at a company I would be interested in working at permanently, unless I know for sure that they are willing to pay the fee to the agency (based on whether they have hired temps as permanent employees in the past, I guess).

    3. Al Lo*

      I temped for about a year before grad school (while doing lots of volunteering and extra learning in my field — I wanted a fairly low-key job during the day so that I could focus my energy on my real interests that weren’t, at that time, paying me), and did a lot of vacation coverage, sick days, and short-term assignments. I think the longest I was in one office was a month, but most of them were for a few hours, days, or weeks at a time.

      Granted, this was in Calgary, where the recession didn’t hit the same way as many other places, but after I started school and moved away, I would come back over Christmas or for a few weeks in the summer and get in touch with the temp agency, and they would always put me right back on the roster.

      I think that over 5 years, I was employed with the same temp agency at 5 or 6 different times, some of them for only a few weeks at a time, but because I built a reputation of being reliable and not wanting the long-term positions, they were happy to give me the short placements (or later, the more ongoing 2-day-a-week ones, so that I could supplement my other income without committing to shift work or full work-weeks).

      The best gig I had was one year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, in a satellite office of a Vancouver-based company that only had about 3 people in the Calgary office. All of them were away, and they just needed someone in the office to answer the approximately 5 phone calls that came in, log the incoming mail, and put together a daily courier package of said mail to the Vancouver office. They told me upfront that I should bring a book, watch a movie, whatever — so I got paid for 8 hours to catch up on homework over the break, watch movies on my laptop, and read.

    4. Kristen*

      Just a side note, this agency did send me on a couple of interviews for a longer term temp position and a temp-to-hire positions (I did not get either job), and they helped me so much with my interviewing skills. I don’t know if other agencies do this, but my recruiter met with me for about 30 minutes, an hour before the interview was going to start, and helped me practice questions and just calmed my nerves. I am convinced that this is what helped me land my current job–even though I did not have a session with her right before the interview, I had so much practice with her answering difficult questions and learning how to calm myself down, and it really made me feel so much more confident. Of course, this was before I started reading AAM, but I still think talking to a temp agency (if you are unemployed and have the time) can be helpful in many ways.

  28. KayDay*

    #6 – Pee: Seat covers. I don’t care who you have to beg or steal from, these are a great addition to any public bathroom. Much less messy than people building a nest out of toilet paper (and the less time spent with one’s hands near the seat the better).

    I also have another suggestion to avoid spraying, but it is not appropriate for this blog, nor for mentioning at work. So stick to the seat covers.

  29. Amouse*

    Well I never thought I’d see the day! #6 happened at my work place too! In my case the person seemed to actually be standing on the toilet and it was dirty boots marks as opposed to pee on the seat. I was baffled and so did a Google search about standing on the toilet and it turns out that it can be a cultural thing for people used to using squat toilets, so that probably was the case in my facility where people visit from all around the work. Still no excuse for leaving boot marks though.

    Alison’s advice made me laugh because my co-worker actually laminated a sign that she posted above the toilet asking people in a a general way to please use the clorox wipes to clean off the toilet seat if they had to stand on it. That would have all been fine and warranted but my co-worker when I privately asked if she’d put up the sign because it had been mentioned in our office, used it as an invitation to launch into a racist tirade about how “These people expect to come to this country and act like they would in their country!” Which is bad enough on its own, let alone the fact that we had absolutely no proof that’s what was happening. For all we knew it could have been the maintenance guys climbing up on the seat to get to the vent in the ceiling and absentmindedly forgetting to wipe the seat off! This is turning into a long story so sufficith to say she was very taken aback when I replied with something like: “We have no proof that’s what happened in this case and that aside, it is very unfair to generalize the way that you are. Not everyone comes to the country expecting that and on the flip-side, Canadians (I’m Canadian in case you couldn’t tell by my behaviOURS) and Americans have been known to immigrate to other countries and do the same thing so please do not make those generalizations around me,” We live in a city of around 200,000 and my workplace is by far the most culturally diverse environment to work in. She could easily go and work with so it disturbs me she says things like this….

    1. KayDay*

      In some places where squat toilets are common, they have these awesome signs demonstrating the proper way to use a sit toilet.

      That said, after traveling to a place with squat toilets, I have learned a valuable lesson. Clean sit toilets > squat toilets, but squat toilets > dirty sit toilets. So much easier on the thigh muscles ;-P

    2. BW*

      I remember many many years ago my father telling me that the Indian men at his workplace stood on the toilet seat and squatted.

      Uh…I didn’t ask how he knew this.

  30. BCW*

    #1 Is interesting. I’ve been in that situation as one of the people who was against the boss. What I will say is that regardless of their “bad habits”, if they are good at their job, the new boss may be fine with keeping them on. I’m not sure about your relationship with your co-workers, but as much as you see it as “keeping an open mind” if you get too close with this new guy, you really will not be liked very much, and definitely not trusted. So if you are ok being outcast from your group, then go right ahead. Now again, I’m not saying to openly go against the new guy, because thats not smart, but I wouldn’t do more than whats required

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author


      I’m nearly speechless, and that rarely happens.

      Why on earth would it be good for someone to risk their professional reputation, career advancement, future references, general pride in their work, and potentially their job itself in order to be liked by coworkers who sound like asses? And when the OP herself likes the new manager (or suspects she will)? Seriously, if you’re not joking, the priorities reflected in this comment are really strange.

      1. BCW*

        I’m not saying risk their reputation. I think she should continue to do her job and do it well. My point is, if you start looking like a kiss ass to the new guy, and looking like you are being a snitch or whatever, your co-workers probably will start to really not like you. If you don’t care what your co-workers think, thats fine. But I’ve seen the divide that can happen, and its not pretty. Like I was saying, besides the bad habits the poster mentioned, she doesn’t necessarily say whether or not they are good at their job. If the boss sees these others as valuable members of the team, despite the bad habits (which we really don’t know the extent of) its likely that new boss won’t get rid of them.

        I guess my main point is there is a difference between respecting your new boss and aligning with him against the rest of your co-workers. I’m just advising to tread lightly.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          You’d written “I wouldn’t do more than whats required.” That’s terrible advice for anyone who cares about their career.

          Getting along well with your boss and being pleased to work with him isn’t being a kiss-ass, and sharing concerns with him about the department’s performance isn’t being a “snitch.” There’s really no such concept as “snitching” in the workplace, not among professionals who approach work like adults. If her coworkers see things that way, those aren’t people she should be aligned with. (And if that new boss is anything like me, those coworkers will be out of there pretty quickly if their attitudes don’t change significantly, no matter what the rest of their work is like. Although it doesn’t sound like their work is good either.)

          What you’re advising is an us vs. them attitude, which at a minimum will be bad for the OP in all the ways I mentioned above, and at worst will get her fired if the boss is any good.

          1. BCW*

            Fair enough, my word choice wasn’t the best in terms of saying “doing whats required” . BUT, I do think there can be snitching in the work place. If my lunch time complaining (which most people do) starts getting to the boss when my work isn’t being affected, yeah, I’d call that snitching.

            The us vs. them thing that you are mentioning I’d say is facilitated more by actions of management than the actions of the staff. I’ve been management before, and got along great with my staff. Currently I’m not in management, but everyone in my office gets along. But when I have seen those us vs. them environments, its because of the way management acts.

        2. Lily*

          Most unfortunately, I can understand the problem. If the new manager turns out to be bad, it’s hard to be sure that he will prefer the good performers.

          I actually had a boss who hung out with the poor performers. Unfortunately for him, his boss came by at a time when some of us were working and my boss was drinking alcohol with the poor performers. My boss gave me a very poor evaluation. His boss told me about it and said he had also submitted his opinion. So, I was lucky!

      2. Jamie*

        I’ve seen this before. I have had someone tell me directly that if I continued to be friendly with ownership I would find myself shunned – because no one would trust me and “no one wants to have lunch with someone who is friendly with them.”

        I ignored the dire warning and have always been able to find someone to eat with when I choose to leave my cave.

        In all seriousness that person’s career imploded and I’ve been promoted twice. They weren’t speaking on behalf of “everyone” just themselves. But this mindset is definitely out there – but it’s definitely harmful to the carriers.

        1. A Bug!*

          This is a good anecdote. To me, what it always seems to boil down to is that acting with integrity is always the right way to go, even when sometimes it means you lose out on an opportunity to profit in the short term.

          In a case like this one (yours, Jamie), there are two possibilities: the workplace is generally dysfunctional and this coworker is an example or product of it, or this coworker is a toxic element of an otherwise-functional workplace.

          It’ll eventually become clear which it is, and if it’s the former, then you can start looking for new employment. If it’s the latter, it’ll generally solve itself.

          I like to believe that like attracts like, so I try to make sure I’m always behaving in a way I’d be happy to see from my coworkers.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, what’s there to worry about? Who would want to eat lunch with someone like that anyway? I’d rather eat alone. In fact, I do, because I usually write on my lunch break.

  31. JLL*

    #6- I am EXACTLY the type of person who would confront said offender, especially if I’m walking into the stall right after her. Phrasing it in a “oh, no- I’m SURE you just forgot to clean up after yourself”…and waiting to see her do it. Most people will not argue the point when you are clearly pointing to their urine.

    1. Jamie*

      Most people will not argue the point when you are clearly pointing to their urine.

      Wise words, but how sad that they are needed with anyone who is out of Pull-Ups.

      1. A Bug!*

        I don’t know, I’ve come across more than enough dog doo deniers that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a peepetrator take offense at being accused of such a thing even in the face of plain evidence, or just plain ignore it and leave.

        It takes a real steel pair, but it happens in those totally shameless people who are confident that there’s not strictly any proof and they’re not going to see repercussions.

        1. fposte*

          Okay, I had to read this twice before I noticed the brilliance of “peepetrator.” Super-brilliant.

  32. Wilton Businessman*

    1. You have to keep an open mind. Be receptive to change and you could help be that agent of change. Whether your co-workers like it or not, things will change (assuming the new manager is any good). If AAM’s suggestions don’t work, you could always use “He’s the boss”.

    2. Out of town job searches are going to take time. Better to keep your job and keep looking. Explain why you want to move there in your cover letter. If you plan on relocating at your own expense, put that in there as well.

    3. No.

    4. Eh, I wouldn’t waste the space. I might mention that I pursue continuing education to keep my skill sharp in the cover letter, but not on the resume.

    5. If he’s out of the running tell him.

    6. People are pigs. No advice here.

    7. I’d make up my own goals and present them to the manager. Bob, this is what I am working on this year…

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Not to be indelicate, but skin is an excellent barrier to bacteria. So even if you do sit down and your bottom happens to land on, um, dampness, you’re not likely to catch anything. Just wipe yourself off and you’ll be fine.

      1. fposte*

        That’s my theory; there’s also not much risk of disease transmission, since we’re talking one of the less problematic bodily fluids. (But it’s still gross.)

        1. Rana*

          Yup. I’m not afraid of toilet germs. I just don’t like getting wet and not knowing the source. (Ugh. I just grossed myself out there.)

  33. Chaucer*

    #5: Really? Are there really hiring managers out there that don’t know if they should let candidates that have interviewed with them know that they didn’t get the job? That is absolutely embarrassing and appalling.

  34. ADE*


    My manager is an “I’ll ignore you unless there’s a crisis, and then I’ll call you into my office to yell at you” type. It’s very hard for her to give praise and it’s been hard for me (ever the low-selfesteemer) to come into work constantly worried that something I don’t know about is going wrong.

    I’ve learned how to adapt to a “no news is good news” approach, and she’s learned that every once in a while I am going to give her a self-evaluation that she can do what she pleases with it.

  35. Scott M*

    #7 – I completely agree with everyone who says to make up your own goals and present them to your boss. Make sure that you can prove that he got them. Send them in a email, so there is a (electronic) paper trail. Even better if you can get a real signature. It sucks that you have to do this, but the reality these days is that most managers are overworked and don’t get enough training in management skills.

    At least you can create realistic goals that you are more likely to be able to accomplish.

  36. danr*

    #1 .. .good for you on not making assumptions about the new manager. And don’t fall for the line that “if we all stand together, we’ll be safe. What can they do? Fire us all?” Yes. I’ve seen it happen.
    Stand your ground and be willing to work with the new manager. If your coworkers aren’t willing to change, they may not be around to bother you.

  37. twentymilehike*

    On #7 … goodgod … join the club! I’ve been at my job for almost 8 years. I had to make up my own title, which thankfully caught on. I’ve never been given a job description, and after 90 days or whatever it was, I asked for a review and was met with deer-in-the-headlight stares. FWIW, I work for a teeny-tiny company–a place where it is really easy to have great communication OR really easy to have NO communication.

    OP, if you are in a position to implement any sort of changes (ie: you place of business isn’t a huge overly structured corporation), then you may have a chance of influencing the Way Things Work. Its a tough spot to be in. I can ask my bosses outright things like that, but sometimes it will never be addressed again unless I ask again.

    I feel your pain!! Good luck :)

  38. Ali*

    #5: Please, please, please suck it up and email him! I’ve been in his exact position. I learned later that the reason she never responded to my follow-ups is because she wanted to hire me and the executive wanted to hire the other finalist. It will suck to reject him, but I waited 8 weeks before giving up on the job–do the applicant a favor. There may be a point down the road where you can get in touch with him and offer him another opportunity.

  39. Lulu*

    #7 Wish I had advice, but I’m in the “big surprise!” camp here. I actually got in an argument with our (unhelpful) HR generalist about why it made no sense for me to set my own goals and then rank myself on achieving them – “Goal: Show up for work. Rated: Above Target – showed up, did work, didn’t kill anyone AND worked from home frequently.” To me, if I was going to take the time to do the evaluation etc, it should actually be legitimate goals with buy-in from all parties, otherwise I had better things to do with my time (like my actual job). I know, it sounds like I had a bad attitude, but to me the fact that none of my managers seemed to take my position seriously enough to merit setting goals and giving me feedback was a negative attitude on their part. And I did try having cooperative discussions about it before it got to that point, it just became obvious it was not a priority.

    I wish I knew what the solution was – how do you get people who are managers in name only to take an interest in their teams? I tend to think it’s an HR issue (or was in my case), where there needs to be both guidance and follow-up with all parties re: goals & reviews. Not trying to throw HR under the bus, I just know that many managers will also prioritize getting the immediate work done over reviews and employee development, so need to be held accountable by SOMEONE if it’s truly seen as an important part of their jobs, and especially when it impacts people’s salaries and career progression. However, I also know that HR can also be understaffed, and blown off by managers as much as underlings are, so… yeah. TL;DR it’s a frustrating situation to be in and difficult to fix if it isn’t seen as a priority by higher-ups.

  40. Lulu*

    And #1 this is when you really have to put your Business hat on. It’s awesome, and generally more productive (I think) to work somewhere that everyone gets along well and doesn’t feel like there are a lot of rules imposed on them etc. But there are plenty of times this won’t be the case, and ultimately you are there to get a job done in a functional way. If these people can’t accept that they are working for a *business* with specific goals that must be met, by people who cooperate, then they may not be working for that business for very long. Even if the new guy’s immediate changes aren’t actually for the better, being pissy and creating sides to be taken doesn’t serve anyone, and he certainly won’t be receptive to any discussion (however valid) if he sees it coming from a place of “you’re not the boss of me!” I’ve worked for people I didn’t particularly like – sometimes you just need to suck it up and work with what you’ve got. Or leave. I don’t think you need to align yourself with anyone per se, other than the best interests of your work, which means not engaging in other people’s battles, and cooperating with your new manager (as well as possibly giving him some insight when he may legitimately need it). You may not have as many lunch buddies, but better to eat lunch alone than be part of The Resistance in this case!

  41. Danielle*

    I’m sure I’ll get flack for this, but you all actually sit on public toilets? I always squat, and not because I think I’ll catch a STD.

    I’m the lowest on the totem pole at my new job (library) which means I’ve been working weekends lately. The cleaning crew doesn’t work on weekends. You see where I’m going with this?

    People are gross. I see feces, blood, and urine all over the toilet seat every weekend, and for each stall I don’t see that in, I can assume someone wiped it up. But even if someone wipes it off, it’s still not disinfected. Why would I want to take a chance and sit on that? Ugh. I definitely have a germ-phobia. Just thinking about sitting on a public toilet makes me queasy.

    Maybe you all frequent places with relatively clean restrooms, but that’s rarely been my experience, even at work (public AND staff restrooms) :/

    1. Kelly L.*

      It’s squatting that gets the mess on the seat in the first place, for the most part. But as long as people wipe it after themselves, to each her own.

    2. Rana*

      If it’s not wet or otherwise dirty to the eye, I’ll sit. I figure that my hands have encountered more germs just opening the door or riding the bus on the way, than I’ll pick up sitting on a public toilet. Gross, but true.

      Plus the main route of transmission of germs into your system is through nose, eyes, and mouth, and I’m not flexible enough to touch those with the parts of myself that touch the toilet seat. ;)

  42. Not So NewReader*

    OP #1. It seems to me that I remember case studies from my leadership courses that most new bosses are instantly disliked. If the new boss knows anything about leadership then s/he is prepared for this to happen. The new boss realizes there is work to be done in building relationships- the onus is on her/him, not you.
    I was always told that part of professionalism is being able to work with anyone. If I am told my partner for a new task is a 100 foot oak tree – I had best learn how to work with that tree. Seriously. Now, I am not directing this at you-no, no- because you are the only one having the correct attitude. It is your coworkers that are lacking professionalism. All you have to do is focus on doing a good job. Up to the boss to build bridges.
    The suggestion of shrugging and saying “I have to eat” is an excellent suggestion. You can say “If there is a problem that comes up, my plan is to go in and talk it over with New Boss and see what happens.”

    I was six months into one job and we had FIVE changes of bosses. It got to be “Who’s our boss today?” Am shaking my head…

    Anyway- after reading so much about work groups tending to react poorly to a new boss, I tend to feel exasperated by this whole process. Why do people feel the need to dislike someone that is an unknown? These same people would be very upset if the boss evaluated them in the same manner.
    You have the right attitude, OP. Who needs synthetic drama? Wait and see if there are actual concerns, first. Focus on the job and keep continuity going on in the work place while the leadership transitions.
    I suspect the defensiveness will not last long. They will figure out that they need to eat, too.

  43. girlreading*

    #6, OMG, I had a similarly disgusting situation at my last job. I worked in a big office building so several companies on my floor shared one bathroom (3 stalls). I started noticing there would be pee all over the seat like a guy was in there and figured maybe someone was doing a hovering pee (like you do in questionable restrooms) even though there were seat covers. You could always see people’s feet under the stall doors when you were in one and I started noticing I would hear someone in the bathroom, but couldn’t see anyone’s feet. Then one day I was using the bathroom and all of a sudden two feet step down onto the floor in the stall next to mine. Thought it was weird but maybe I just hadn’t seen the feet somehow. Next time, I’m in the bathroom, someone walks into the stall next to meet and one by one I see each foot (with heels on btw), go up and hear each click on the toilet seat and the sound of urinating…wait for it…I saw the urine drip down onto the floor…wait for it again…and then pooping began!!! I was in shock with my mouth hanging open seeing this! Then one by one the feet step onto the floor and leave- without cleaning up the floor! I had seen puddles by the toilet before and thought it was the toilet leaking, not pee.

    I rushed out of the stall behind this person and saw it was someone who worked on the floor. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen, who squats on the toilet in heels? I’ve never even done this period, hover over with my feet on the ground yes, squat on the toilet, no.

    I asked my coworkers if they’d ever done this and they were shocked too. We looked it up and found a lot of “no squatting” signs with images of the little people (like on our restroom signs) standing on the toilet seat, mostly in Asian countries. Sure enough, this woman was Asian and had an accent so must have been from another country where this was a more common practice. Anyone heard of this before? Frankly it was just gross since she didn’t clean up after herself and I don’t know how she avoided slipping into the toilet.

    1. OP #6*

      I must be very sick, because all I can think is how did she keep from getting her shoes dirty if she was spraying everything else everywhere?
      Gotta give credit where it’s due, her balance is waayyy better than mine! I am sure I would have broken something.
      I understand the theory of different cultures and “rituals,” but don’t folks like that notice when they walk into a restroom that there is never “leftovers” all over the floor in any stall but the one they use?

  44. girlreading*

    Ugh, she probably did get it on her, how could she not? Glad I didn’t have to work with her. I did always wonder how she didn’t pick up on the fact that no one else stood on the toilet. Seriously though, google squatting on toilet and you’ll see those signs.

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