tiny answer Tuesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. I want to be an employee, not a contractor

I’ve been offered a contracting job with a fantastic company, but I want to be a full employee. They said they’d hire me as an employee if I move to California (where everyone else in the company is), but that isn’t an option for me for at least five years. Is employee-ship something I can negotiate? I know it’s not your area of expertise, but would it cost them a zillion a year to have a New York employee? They make a lot of their money from customers in New York, if that make a difference.

Not a zillion a year, but it’s something of a pain in the ass to set yourself up for employees in a different state if you’re used to having them all in one single state. For instance, New York requires employers who have any employees based there to establish a workers compensation insurance account and a disability insurance account with the state and to make ongoing payments into them, among other statutory requirements. Plus, adding employees in new states means keeping up with (and complying with) employment laws in those states — which can be a not insignificant burden, particularly for a smaller company. None of this means that you can’t try to negotiate it anyway, but you should go into the conversation understanding that you’d be asking them to take on a whole new set of operating fees and bureaucratic headaches.

2. Asking for a raise after getting a bonus

I’ve been in my current position for 2.5 years with only paltry annual cost of living increases that have not kept up with inflation. Unfortunately, my company does not have a practice of conducting regular performance reviews. In the past, I’ve mentioned to my boss and our department head that I would appreciate having a review so that I can get a sense for how I’m doing. About seven months ago, they surprised me with an impromptu review in which the feedback was 100% positive, and they then solicited my feedback on my job and our department and presented me with a nice bonus. Since I wasn’t expecting this review, I was not prepared to discuss my overall compensation.

I have an excellent relationship with my boss and the department head, and know from informal feedback that they continue to be very pleased with me. In fact, just last month our department head said to me (jokingly), “You’re never allowed to leave!” so I feel I’m in good standing to ask for a raise. However, is it too soon to ask them for a raise in light of the bonus? If not, would I approach my direct supervisor or my department head about this? I suspect my boss does not have authority to approve a raise. And should I approach them in person prepared to discuss it on the spot, or would it be better to ask in advance for a meeting to discuss this?

It’s not too soon. A bonus doesn’t impact your salary on an ongoing basis; it’s different than a raise. I’d approach your manager, not your manager’s manager, because even if she doesn’t have the authority to approve it on her own, you shouldn’t go over her head. She deals with plenty of things that she doesn’t have the authority to approve on her own, but that doesn’t mean that you go around her — same thing applies here. As for whether to ask for a special meeting or not, you could — or you could just bring it up at your next regular meeting with her. But this is definitely a conversation to have in the context of a meeting (either existing or scheduled just for this); don’t just pop into her office randomly one day.

3. Where is my job offer?

I interviewed for a position within municipal government on December 20 and was contacted by phone on December 31 by the hiring manager, who verbally offered me the job. Following a brief discussion over salary and potential start date, I verbally accepted and asked when I should expect a written offer. The manager said he would forward my information to human resources and that they should be in touch with me about the formal offer. I was warned by the manager during the interview and during this phone conversation that the HR department typically moves more slowly than he would like, so I was prepared for the hiring process to take some time; however, it has now been nearly three weeks since I received the verbal offer and I have still not been contacted by human resources. I have exchanged a couple of emails with the hiring manager letting him know that I still have yet to hear from HR, and he has responded to say that he is looking into it and later responded that I should be hear something soon, but friends and colleagues that I’ve talked with seem to think this delay is unusual. Should I be concerned and/or consider moving on with my job search at this point?

Some employers really do take this long, and he did warn you about it in advance. But why not ask him to give you a sense of what timeline you should expect, so that you have some information to work with? Meanwhile, though, you’ve got to abide by the “you don’t have a real offer until you have the offer” principle, which means that if you’d be job searching if this offer hadn’t happened, then you should continue that search. (To be clear, that doesn’t mean that I think this sounds like it’s going to fall apart; I don’t. But until you have that formal offer, you risk something changing.)

4. Interview wear when blazers don’t fit you well

Reading through your posts, I’ve noticed you highly recommend people wear suits. My problem is that every time I put on a blazer I completely lose my confidence. I’m a little broad shouldered and on the short side (5’3″) and I feel like a football player when I wear a blazer. I’ve had several of them and never end up wearing them to interviews because I just don’t feel confident wearing them — I just think I’d be self-conscious the whole time and it would affect my interview. I never get ones with shoulder pads to avoid the bulk and I’ve tried on expensive ones, cheap ones, different shapes and styles and I just don’t feel I look like a professional adult in them, but rather a child in dad’s suit jacket. Is it better not to wear a suit and be confident? I normally wear a high-quality LBD and a simple black cardigan over it.

Same rule as always: Know your industry. In some industries, the outfit you described would be absolutely fine. In others, it wouldn’t not be considered sufficiently professional. So you’ve got to know what’s expected in your industry (and more specifically, in your industry in your geographic area).

But on the discomfort issue: Have you tried a tailor? A good tailor can usually fix the problems you’re describing.

5. How to count years of work experience

When people ask how many years of work experience I have, how should I answer? Do they generally mean how many years of full-time experience, or how many years of experience in a particular field?

I didn’t follow the normal routine of graduating at 22, working a few years, then doing my MBA. Instead, I often balanced 2-3 different jobs which essentially added up to a full 40-60 hour work schedule until I got through college (3 degrees which are unrelated to each other but all miraculously relevant in my current position). I started working when I was 14 years old, which would mean 17 years of work experience spread out over 8 employers. This includes waiting tables, running my own online business, and working for the university. Although I gained a lot of valuable skills such as the ability to multi-task, manage others, and prioritize, I am new to my chosen career path (marketing), which means people make references to my limited work experience when considering my job responsibilities. On the one hand, I get amazing performance reviews from people who didn’t expect such quality contributions from an entry level employee like me. On the other hand, I feel like I can be selling myself better to get higher earnings based on the strengths I have built over the years.

There’s no one right answer to this question, but usually when people ask how much experience you have, they’re talking about professional full-time (or close to full-time) experience. I’d leave out anything pre-college, since if you’re 30 and you say that you have 20 years of experience, it’s not going to ring true to people (and usually they’re not including waiting tables, etc. in the question). It’s also fine to say “X years in marketing, but Y years overall.” But really, your ability to sell yourself isn’t going to be based on how you answer this question; it’s going to be about what accomplishments you can point to and how you can tie them to the work you’d be doing for whoever you’re talking to. That’s where I’d keep your focus.

6. Being asked to work on Valentine’s Day

I am a waitress in California. I saw my schedule today and I am scheduled to work on Valentine’s Day. I am a full-time student and have school all day that day. My manager says I need to find someone to cover the shift because school is not an excuse. I know each company probably has their own policy, but it’s not a national holiday and I just want to know if this is wrong or right.

It’s pretty typical for hospitality workers to be expected to work holidays like Valentine’s Day and to be asked to find a sub for the shift if they can’t. There’s nothing wrong with asking not to be scheduled that day because of school, but your manager is also within his rights to tell you that he needs you there.

7. Messaging LinkedIn contacts on my husband’s behalf

My husband and I relocated last fall to a new country for my job. It was a fantastic move for us both because his field is much more in demand in our new area. He had to wait a few months for his employment authorization paperwork to go through, and now that he has it, is excited to be looking for work. However, his LinkedIn profile isn’t very developed since he is not a big fan of social networking (he also does not have a Facebook profile). He’s going to work on improving it, but in the meantime, would it be strange or spammy for me to message my LinkedIn contacts on his behalf? I would keep it very short and upbeat, just saying that we had recently relocated, he’s excited to be looking for work in his field, and I would appreciate it if they could let me know if they hear of something. What is your take on the etiquette around this?

Meh. I think it’s fine when you’re contacting friends and family, but if you’re going to send the message to people you don’t know that well, you risk it looking bad that he’s not networking on his own behalf (especially when LinkedIn makes it so easy to see which of your connections he might want to reach out to). I also wouldn’t do it via LinkedIn if he himself doesn’t have much of a LinkedIn profile — that’s the first place your message recipients are likely to look to learn more, and if his profile is barren, it’s not going to make a great impression. But he should be able to put together a decent LinkedIn profile in an evening — why not have him do that first?

(Also, it’s entirely possible I’m being too rigid about it being weird to do on his behalf. Anyone want to argue it’s fine?)

{ 129 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl

    #2 – Timing is everything for something like this. Make sure you ask for a time when you can both talk with no rushing. It is OK to give the boss a heads up – Hey Suzie, I was wondering if you have some time to talk about compensation. Would Tuesday at 3 be OK?
    When you do talk, acknowledge the bonus in an appreciatory manner. It takes effort to get one for an epmloyee.

    #6 – A waitress on Valentines day means lots of tips.

    1. EngineerGirl

      #6. Oops. I missed the part where you have school in conflict. Do you normally have school days off? If so, ask your manager why you are being asked to work on an off-nominal shift. Is it to compensate for the extra guests that come in that day?

      I had one manager at a certain golden arch fast food restaurant that used to schedule me to close on the nights before I had finals. He would also schedule me to close when I had 7 am Chemistry classes. And oh, yes, he also clocked us out if we didn’t finish cleaning the store by a certain time. We were both happy when I resigned.

      1. Anonymous

        That’s how I read the question–the “holiday” part seems to be more about the boss treating the day like a holiday (where the employee would normally be available to work) while for the employee the day isn’t a holiday (no classes canceled, etc).

        1. Soni

          Exactly this – and keep in mind that for the food industry, Valentines Day is a huge holiday in terms of being packed. Everyone goes out to eat with their sweetheart, so it’s kinda like a mini Black Friday.

          1. BW

            V-day and Mother’s Day – 2 biggest days for restaurants. The employer probably needs extra staff on that day, and can’t afford to have someone not be able to cover their shift.

          2. the gold digger

            Which is the perfect reason not to go out on Valentine’s Day. Which is fine with me. But then, I am the person who wanted a trash can instead of an engagement ring. I am happy with my own definition of romance, twisted as it may be.

          3. ARS

            I’m always confused about the job/school debate. For me, school was my job and the stuff I did on the side was expendable. I know I was fortunate in having great support, but if you can’t work, you can’t work. And school is an excuse. If you’ve given your manager your school schedule and he still put you down to work, it seems that’s his mistake and he’s the one that needs to figure it out.

        2. Anonymous

          I think it’s more like it’s a holiday where the restaurant will be PACKED and he needs as much of his staff on board to work as possible. It’s a rough night in hospitality.

        3. Mary Sue

          I have run into people who are under the erroneous impression Valentine’s Day is a national holiday akin to President’s Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

          If the post office is working, it isn’t a “national holiday”.

          (You can’t even get it with a religious holiday, St. Valentine is not recognized as a major feast by the Roman Catholic Church any more.)

          1. Lulu

            Seriously?? I guess with all of the promotion, it seems akin to Christmas and may as well be, but I’m a little afraid that “honoring” St Valentine would seem equivalent to anything that merits actual national holiday status… (of course, I’m a bitter V-day noncelebrant, so would be horrified if this really were the case! ;) )

            Unfortunately, sounds like it is a “key day” in hospitality, so the manager is probably surprised the OP wouldn’t be prepared to work – hopefully it won’t be too hard to get coverage, since it is expected to be so busy!

          2. Elizabeth West

            I have never had Martin Luther King Day off. Although First Choice Job does; that’s why I’m not interviewing today, because they were closed yesterday. Of course, it could be a floating holiday too.

          3. Long Time Admin

            I think the Post Office celebrates more holidays than anyone else in the U.S. Most of my mail is junk, so I don’t mind not having a delivery on those days.

            My parents celebrated Valentine’s Day in 1940 by getting engaged. On Valentine’s Day 2000, my mom joined my dad in heaven. Some couples are romantic like that.

        4. just me

          Yeah that is how I read it.

          We really do not know for sure what, if any, working agreement was made upon hire. The OP can maybe clear that up?

          The OP doesn’t mention if there has been any other scheduling issues before this one. I don’t think it is fair to dog on the manager automatically for this not knowing the details of how he schedules the OP normally. Was this a one time need? Does he give her time off as needed without question? Did he need help this one time?

          If anything this gives the OP a heads up as to how to handle conflicts in working world.

  2. PEBCAK

    #7: I think I’d argue that it can’t hurt, but hubby getting his profile in order and then targeting certain contacts himself is going to be way more useful. I get generic “oh, someone I know is looking for a job” stuff all of the time, and I typically ignore it.

    1. Jamie

      I’m with PEBCAK – I don’t know about family (that depends on the dynamic) but in most cases if someone is reaching about about someone else who is looking I ignore it.

      People really need to be their own representatives when it comes to work.

      1. fposte

        At this point, I think it makes more sense for her to ask people in her workplace, who presumably are in the new country themselves and are keen that she settle in there, than people she doesn’t know very well on Linked In who don’t (as far as I can tell) have any particular connections to the country or to her success there. If you’re asking for somebody who isn’t you, you need to ask somebody who’s more than casually connected to you.

      2. Anonymous

        I come from a completely different IT culture where referrals are welcome since most sane people aren’t going to refer someone that they don’t want associated with their good name just for the $$$ bounty.

    2. Piper

      #7: I would just reach out to your contacts using the “introduction” function in LinkedIn. Then it’s up to your husband and the connection to connect to each other. Rather than reaching out on his behalf, just introduce him and get the ball rolling. And I’d also help him beef up his profile. Those two things will work better than you trying to network for him.

      1. KayDay

        Yes! I think it’s perfectly normal to introduce people–in general, I’m more likely to pay attention if someone I know introduces me to a person versus a cold call (or rather, cold friend request?).

        1. the gold digger

          What do you guys do when you get a random LinkedIn request from someone you have never heard of who doesn’t even personalize the invitation?

          I just delete, but maybe there is a better way to handle it.

          1. KarenT

            Also delete. I usually read their profile first (mostly out of curiosity). But then definitely delete.

          2. Piper

            I look at their profile and try to figure out why in the heck they want to connect to me. If we are members of the same groups or have worked for the same company at different times, sometimes I’ll accept them, but generally those invites without a personalized intro get deleted.

  3. Carlotta

    #7 – good luck with the job search! A shame that seeing as he had a few months waiting on paperwork he didn’t use the time to start building his contact base. I work in social media and I know how long it can take to build up a good network.

    I wouldn’t recommend networking ‘for him’ although you can of course bring him with you to functions (face to face) where he may meet people he would want to connect with. I do that with people when I have the chance – introduce them and if they can sell themselves to the people they meet then great, if not, well, it’s good to meet people.

    Thing is I see a lot of these opportunities on Twitter, which I guess he isn’t using either. MeetUp can be good too. Either way, congrats on getting the permit and hope you land a great role soon!

    1. Pandora Amora

      “I work in social media and know how long it can take to build up a good network.”

      I question this. LinkedIn is particularly easy to penetrate if you take a sociopathic approach. Here it is:
      – create an account on LinkedIn. Hard part done.
      – install the LinkedIn app for your phone
      – create your profile:
      1. Find a bunch of former colleagues;
      2. Look at their profiles – how they describe themselves, their duties.
      3. Figure out how you’d like to describe yourself, and your past positions;
      – now you reach out to your former colleagues to grow your connections. Some rules of thumb:
      1. When somebody accepts your invite, view their connections and penetrate their network with a few new invitations of your own;
      2. Always be growing your network more than other people are growing theirs. I send out two new invites (to existing or former colleagues) for each invite I accept.

      Once you hit about 100 connections, the recruiters should start to find you. Interchange messages with them; accept a few of their connect requests.

      1. Anonymous

        I think my industry must just be different than others, because although I’m fairly senior-level (titles like “Director” and “Vice President” in past roles), have 200ish contacts and a well developed LinkedIn profile, I never get hit up by recruiters on LinkedIn. Boo hoo for me!

        1. Anonymous

          Try using more keywords to optimize your profile. Use your keywords in all areas of your profile, and you’ll be more likely to show up in a search. It’s all about making yourself more searchable.

        2. Pandora Amora

          Update your profile to redescribe what you’ve done.

          Take a look at jobs that you’ve posted for; figure out how your experience aligns with those; write something tasty for search engines to find.

          The art of applying for a job is in tailoring your résumé and crafting a meaningful cover letter. The art of hacking LinkedIn is in turning your best bits of cover letters into a solid description of who you are and why you care about the things you do.

      2. tangoecho5

        Is there someone I can pay to do this for me? I hate HATE HATE the whole social media thing to the tips of my toes and have absolutely no interest in restarting my linkedin and/or putting in the effort of growing a network. It’s probably not helped that I only could find a few past co-workers last time I was on linkedin and very few people I know are on the site either and the ones who are put about as much effort into their profiles as I do. I see it as more a useful tool for those going for more technical or high level jobs. Or those who have a career or educational past they can really brag about. Me, not so much. No college degree, various industries, 3 states in less than 20 years, years as a homemaker, extreme introvert, over 45. Linkedin just reminds me how I made the wrong choices educationally and career wise over the years in preference for family and adventure.

        1. LW #7

          This is how my husband feels – he HATE HATE HATEs social networking :)

          I think I’m just going to leave it – we are friend-of-friends with a bunch of recruiters, so I think we’ll just reach out to them and let LinkedIn be.

          1. Pandora Amora

            I hate social networking also.

            It’s why I’ve decided to hack social networks whenever possible. It’s not hard to do the thing you hate; and if it gets you to a place you’d rather be, then it’s a necessary step.

    2. Anonymous

      I agree with Pandora Amora. I work in social media too, and LinkedIn is one of the easier networks to build up contact on. He’s got to focus on getting his profile to 100% complete and connecting to everyone he knows, both professionally and personally. He has to use keywords to make sure that he shows up in searches. And he needs as many recommendations he can get to show that he’s amazing. And then he needs to start joining groups in his industry and connecting with new people.

  4. Pandora Amora

    #7 – Nope, don’t do it, no matter how tempting it may be. Your husband is in control of his career – not you. Consider the other things you know you wouldn’t do for his career:

    – you wouldn’t negotiate his offer package;
    – you wouldn’t fill out his annual self-review;
    – you wouldn’t submit his letter of resignation.

    You two are in a dynamic life situation which few people will experience. You two will come to depend on one another in ways you haven’t foreseen. Allow those things to come as they will; allow your husband to figure out his job search on his own.

    1. danr

      I agree, don’t do his LinkedIn connecting for him. Encourage him to get a decent profile up, and to join a couple of groups in his field. Then stand back.
      People will detect the difference in style between the way you interact and he interacts and start to wonder. He really doesn’t need that burden.

  5. Mike C.

    #4 Seriously, get your blazer tailored. Most higher end clothing stores offer this service, and let me tell you, it’s amazing. There is nothing more badass than walking into an interview wearing a tailored suit.

      1. SAN

        For #2, one key thing to get an understanding of is why raises are given period. A raise =/= bonus. Some places have merit raises, some places have market driven data, some simply don’t, etc…

      2. danr

        And remember to talk to the tailor as he or she is marking up the jacket or suit. Describe your preferences, and you’ll get them. The results *are* amazing.

      3. twentymilehike

        I totally agree! a tailor can fix anything!!

        I’m really glad this came up … I JUST had to go buy my first blazer ever, last minute (of course …) and it turns out that the store that I usually buy my “suiting” only sells Tall size jackets online. Which doesn’t do you any good if you want to try them on first to see how they look … anyhow, I asked if I got a larger one could I have it tailored and they said NO! Like they aren’t tailorable?! Anyhow, I found one long enough at a different story that is just slightly too big around, but I think I’d feel a lot better if I had it tailored now .. I’ve always assumed tailoring was something that was out of my budget …

        1. fposte

          Especially for stuff like jackets, where fit really matters, it’s so much better to spend $30 (or whatever) less on the blazer and use the difference to get it tailored. Think of the tailoring as part of the clothing price. Take it in to someplace and maybe more than one place, wearing a top and bra that you’d be wearing it with with for real so they know what they’re fitting it to, and see what they say they’d be able to do and how much they’d charge for it.

          1. twentymilehike

            That’s crazy! I guess some things can’t be altered. or perhaps, not worth the cost of altering.

            That’s what I was thinking … since I know that in ralation to my leather riding suits, the cheap ones can’t be altered, but a high-end one can. I’ve never had an actual suit, and I thought to ask a the store. I think the girl was either young and naive, or she thought I was asking if they did it at the store. I would totally expect to be able to alter a $100 blazer from the Limited. I know it’s not super high end, but’s it’s not from Forever 21!

    1. littlemoose

      I agree! I was going to suggest a tailor if Alison hadn’t in her answer. A good tailor makes a great difference. Ask around or hit Yelp for recommendations.

    2. Brett

      There are limits to how much you can alter a jacket…it’s particularly difficult and expensive to alter the shoulders and arm holes. But it is definitely an option to consider, and I would recommend shopping somewhere with someone on hand that is experienced in alterations.

      Another option is to try J. Hilburn, Indochino, etc. I have a skinny neck and long arms and could never find a shirt that fit. I’ve now had several shirts made by J. Hilburn and they’re great…they have someone come measure you, then make a shirt to your exact dimensions.

  6. Ali Mc

    #6 makes me laugh :) Sorry honey, that’s called life….and since when is Valentines day an important holiday?? I’d be thankful for being scheduled, especially if I was in school. Couples wanting to be left alone and easy tips.

    1. fposte

      I think I read it differently than you–she had expected not to be scheduled during school hours because it’s *not* a holiday and was surprised when her manager scheduled as if it were.

      1. Thomas

        fposte, I read that the same as you: OP might or might not be happy to work on Valentine’s Day, but can’t because of classes, and the manager apparently scheduled her assuming she didn’t have class and was available.

      2. Ali Mc

        I didn’t read it like that at all. I guess I assumed she meant it was a school day and she had a lot of work to do (but that the shift was afterwards) If that’s the case, then I revoke my previous statement and think that that’s crazy. But like AAM states, if those hours are in her availability then she’ll have to get it covered.

    2. Eric

      That’s cold.

      I’m assuming the manager knows that he hired a student. Saying “school is not an excuse” is not one of those things that falls into “life isn’t fair”. It falls into “some people are dicks”.

      School needs to be your number one priority. That is investment in your future. Tell your manager that you are not going to work on Valentines day and dare him to fire you.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        But that sidesteps the point. The point is that unless the OP worked out an agreement with the manager that she’d never be scheduled on school days, it’s completely normal that she’d be expected to work a big restaurant day like Valentine’s Day. School may come first for her, but it doesn’t for her manager, and it’s completely normal for him to tell her to find a sub to cover for her.

        When you take a job while you’re in school, you know this stuff could happen. And yes, he could certainly fire her. There’s no “dare” here.

        1. KayDay

          I think most managers know and understand that school is the main priority for students. When I was a student, my managers always respected that and I never had a problem, even when I had a job that wasn’t a “typical” student job (although, I did have a harder time getting hours sometimes, because my schedule was restricted.) Of course, he could fire her; but I’m still very surprised that he would schedule her in the first place.

          1. Anonymous

            Valentine’s day is HUGE in the restaurant industry. I’ve never worked anywhere where it would be cool to expect to have it off, no matter what other commitments you have.

          2. Piper

            This. I worked as a server all through college and not one manager had an issue working around my schedule. Even on the “all hands on deck days,” if it happened to be during class, I wasn’t scheduled. And I’ve worked in a bunch of the big name chains. These people are used to working with students and all the students that worked at these places had these types of agreements. It’s part of hiring students and it’s why students work in restaurants (flexibility).

            This manager is sort of being a jerk, I think.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.

              How recently was your experience, though? I think hiring students *was* extremely common, but since the recession hit and these places are getting tons of applicants with full availability, I’ve noticed far fewer places are interested in the headaches of having to schedule around students (which are an extra pain because their availability changes every term). The food place I worked at had very, very few people with any other commitment, and when we had 200 applicants for any open position, I wasn’t interested in people with anything other than full availability; unless they were truly exceptional on paper, they didn’t even get an interview.

              1. Jamie

                That’s interesting, could it be location? I don’t live in a college town, but my son’s smaller fast food place only one of the 15 didnt have school or another job and my daughters place with a much bigger staff only a couple of managers and a few older people who are working post retirement don’t have school or other jobs. Everyone else is a student or moonlighting.

                So I am surprised to hear that there are that many people with open availability for part time work.

              2. Piper

                This was over a decade ago during the last recession (right around 9/11). We had our fair share of “career” servers, but there were way more students without open availability in every single restaurant I worked in. This was in one of the top 5 largest cities in the US.

        2. AnotherAlison

          Assuming there are no major exams or labs she is missing, I’d think missing one day of class wouldn’t destroy the OP’s academic career. If you’re trying to balance school and work, sometimes you have to balance school and work.

          1. Anonymous

            I agree. I was insane about never missing a class when I was in college, and now that I look back on it, I realize that it wouldn’t have affected my academic career at all to miss a few days here and there.

          2. Jamie

            I sort of disagree – depending on the circumstances.

            My daughter is in college and working part time in a fast food place. I’m putting her through school so I’d be quite upset if she ever prioritized a part time job over even one class. If you are putting yourself through school it’s a more delicate balancing act.

            Her manager up to now has been cool with her school schedule and there have been no conflicts. If this changes she knows she has to give notice because school is her job as far as I’m concerned.

            1. Piper

              I’m with Jamie on this one. Most people are paying good money to be going to school and some instructors have very rigid policies about missing class. And when I was in school, there was no way I was going to prioritize some part-time job over my education and internships. Because those part-time jobs were a dime a dozen back then and after I graduated, no one gave a rat’s ass about those jobs. But they did care about my education and internships.

              1. BW

                It’s totally different if you are working to put yourself through school and support yourself, and right now it’s not so easy to be out looking for any kind of job.

                I’m not sure which situation the LW is in, but even if she’s fortunate enough to have parents to fall back on, those part-time jobs aren’t a dime a dozen so much. It’s a judgement call. I have no idea what the best answer is assuming she can’t find someone to cover – either go to work and miss a day of class or go to class and risk losing the job.

                1. Piper

                  Eh. I was working to put myself through college, too, and there was no way I would have chosen to work as much as I did if I didn’t have to, but still, it wasn’t my top priority. I agree that it’s a balance, but generally, I didn’t let a part-time job interfere with school. And again, I had instructors who would dock your grade if you missed a certain amount of class (usually no more than 3), so I made every effort to get to class.

                2. L.A.

                  I agree. I work full time to put myself through school. If needed I would skip a few hours of class (if I knew it wasn’t an exam/quiz/paper due day) to get a bigger paycheck. My tuition is the same, whether I’m in class or not. My paycheck (and the money I have to pay towards tuition) is bigger the more I work.

                  Now, I wouldn’t make a habit of this – and haven’t had to skip class because my managers refuse to let me miss class to work. But for Valentine’s Day, working as a server? And the extra tips I might pick up? I would definitely consider skipping class to work that shift.

            2. KellyK

              Yeah, I can totally see that.

              I think this is another area where up-front discussions of expectations are important. If the fast food place can’t schedule shifts around school and other commitments, they need to hire people who *have* no other commitments. “School is not an excuse” is unreasonable from a manager who hires college kids and says that they’ll work around your schedule. It’s not unreasonable if they expect 100% availability and the OP knew that when she was hired.

            3. AnotherAlison

              I would have a problem if it was something that happened repeatedly, but one day? She has the option to not go to work & see if there are consequences or to find another job if this manager is not working with her. Or, with a month’s notice, find a sub! I think the manager is being a jerk, but that’s not likely to change. I’d also want my kid to put school first, but I see it as one of those opportunities to learn how to decide your own priorities and deal with difficult issues with only being able to change your behavior/views/actions, not the other person’s.

              1. fposte

                It sounds like the manager has specifically suggested she can find somebody to cover for her, in fact. (I don’t know exactly where I fall on the jerkiness question, but I think it’s also possible that there were assumptions on both sides.)

              2. Kimberlee, Esq.

                Yeah, I think the odds of the manager being just a jerk are low. Remember, this is a holiday; it’s possible half the staff requested it off because, you know, they have significant others or something and want to do something that day. If the manager has 100% accomodated her schedule up to this point, and is now in a situation where *someone* has to take the day even though they requested it off, why shouldn’t OP be in the running for that? It’s helpful to think of scheduling conflicts as just a formal request for time off, repeated dozens or hundreds of times. He puts her on the schedule one time during a requested time off, so that someone else (who maybe had to work the last 5 Saturdays, or who recently had to miss something themselves in order to work) can have the day, that’s not some kind of crazy villainy happening. That’s life.

              3. twentymilehike

                She has the option to not go to work & see if there are consequences or to find another job if this manager is not working with her.

                Well, she also has the option of finding someone to cover her shift that day. I think it’s a little jerky for the manager to schedule her on a day she’s not available, regardless, but maybe I was just lucky when I was in college that ALL of my coworkers we also in college and we were all able to work out our schedules around our classes.

                My assumption is that the regularly scheduled workers are still scheduled for that day, and they want to have additional help. Either they are short staffed, or she just won the lotto. It would be perfectly reasonable to barter with someone who has the day off and trade shifts, or offer to pick up two of theirs for one of hers or whatnot.

                It’s difficult to decide to be upset or not without knowing the exact reason the manager thought it was okay to schedule her on her day off–either he was short handed and in a bind, or he just really likes her work and didn’t think missing class was a big deal (which IIMO depends on the class …), or he’s just a big ol’ jerk.

                1. fposte

                  Or he’d said something about “working holidays” and they had different understandings of what that meant.

          3. Sam

            “Assuming there are no major exams or labs she is missing, I’d think missing one day of class wouldn’t destroy the OP’s academic career.”

            It may not destroy their whole academic career, but it may hurt their grades. As a former professor myself, I wouldn’t excuse this student from scheduled quizzes, exams, or attendance (if taken). And I can also tell you that the approximate cost of just ONE HOUR of class at my old uni was ~$150. I’m not talking about credit hours, I’m talking actual hours in the classroom. Let’s say this student skipped the entire day, thereby missing 3 classes. That’s $450 down the drain.

            1. Mike C.

              Yeah, try missing an hour of an advanced mathematics course and see how far that gets out. College isn’t always the trivial experience people make it out to be.

              1. BeenThere

                This! I completed an engineering degree and one day of classes is a huge amount of material. Many classes were compulsory with severe academic penalties if you missed too many, even if you were sick and had a doctors note.

        3. Anonymous

          How would your advice change if the OP has an agreement with the boss not to be scheduled on school days “except for holidays”.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Holidays in the restaurant business means Valentines Day, Mothers Day, and other holidays that aren’t school holidays. It’s possible that that wasn’t clear to her when she signed up, but it’s not surprising that this is what a restaurant would require, especially if they had a “holiday” agreement.

            1. Mike C.

              And it’s not surprising to me that an employee who made it clear upon hire that they could only work on non-school days and was told by management that this was fine is now upset that the agreement was not upheld. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.

        4. Mike C.

          Most restaurant staff have to make their availability well known upon hire or when that availability changes. It’s usually on the application form before interviews even happen.

          If the manager doesn’t like the terms of availability, they’re more than happy not to hire the individual. But telling an employee that the schedule is fine and then changing their mind is a terrible way to do business.

          I mean come on, if this restaurant is near a college, this can’t be the first time it’s come up.

      2. Anonymous

        Hospitality is a TOTALLY different industry from any other in this respect. If you go into hospitality for any reason, you need to be aware that you will probably be expected to work major holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Christmas eve and day, and New Years eve. Those are huge days in hospitality, and they will usually need all staff on board.

        1. Piper

          But many, many, many students work in hospitality because of the scheduling flexibility. So, on the flip side, those managers who hire all of those students need to be aware that they are hiring people who need a flexible schedule.

          1. Anon

            I also worked in the restaurant world for a few years. Most of us were in college at the time, so the managers knew not to schedule us during times we had classes. In addition, while Mother’s Day was a big day, it’s also the day when people graduate at my university, so they made sure to be sensitive to that.

            They were a busy restaurant and made sure to hire a good amount of people, some of whom could commit more time. You simply had to be available at least four shifts a week and they’d work around classes, finals, etc.

        2. Mike C.

          The availability was established well in advance and if the management didn’t like it they should have said something then. Changing their minds now is completely unreasonable.

          After all, last time I checked, Valentine’s Day is February 14th. It was last year and it will be next year and continue to be so. It’s not a surprise to anyone.

            1. Mike C.

              Every application I’ve ever seen for a restaurant asks for availability. Openings/Mornings/Lunch/Dinner/Closing for every day of the week. It’s normally part of the application, and every application I’ve seen has it right at the top. If fact, I’m pretty sure most retail jobs are like this as well.

              So unless this place is weird, the availability would have been known to begin with. Before the interview unless things are really casual. Or during the interview.

              So given that it’s a standard practice, that’s why I find the manager’s demand to be completely unreasonable regardless of the time of year. If that sort of availability didn’t fit the manager’s needs, they were more than happy not to hire the employee in the first place.

              1. Piper

                This is true. I never applied to any restaurant or retail job that didn’t require me to list my availability up front AND that also came up as a point in the interview. This shouldn’t be news to this manager.

                1. Piper

                  And also, I worked for a few years after college as a retail manager, so I understand the flip side of this. If we had a “mandatory” floorset on a day/time when an employee was unavailable because of a schedule I already knew about, I didn’t schedule them. I also required students to update their availability with me every semester. This is not a hard thing to manage around if you have some sense when you’re hiring and schedule accordingly.

              2. Lulu

                This is what I ran into with recent retail work – which was kind of tough as, since I’m full-time-job searching and want to be available for things related to that, I might be available 24/7 one week and notsomuch another week.

                Fortunately/unfortunately I never had to put that to the test, but I did end up being scheduled for some crazy hours due to key days that everyone was expected to be available (i.e. at the store until 5am – ugh!), and didn’t really feel like I could bail, or in this case even get coverage since most people had to work the same crazy hours for a few days, and if they didn’t, they were unlikely to want to.

                I kind of see both sides – while there are definite some days that people in retail/restaurants are expected to be available that are not “national holidays”, I’m assuming the manager is familiar enough with student employees and this person’s schedule in particular that this is kind of a jerk move if it came out of nowhere.

    1. OP #1

      Yeah, I know. The reason I want to be a full employee because I don’t like the limitations being a contractor puts on your work.

  7. Just a Reader

    #7 I’m going to go against the grain and say absolutely do not do this. If I were to get something like this, I would think the husband wasn’t a big boy and incapable of conducting his own job search. He’s not into social media, fine, but presumably he’s a professional and can handle getting his own job.

    Really, spouses should stay out of each other’s careers completely unless they co own a business.

  8. Anonymous

    #3 Government.

    They have to run a background check. And then separately and not until that is completely (and why bother doing one of those when you only have one person so we’ll wait until someone else is hiring too) they have to have that approved by someone who is inevitably out of town for a week. And then they don’t want to start you until the correct day of the week to make things easier for payroll. And then they aren’t going to give you 2 weeks cause you should jump for them but they’ll yawn for you.

    I was fast tracked into a position in government and after the HM said yes, it was nearly 5 weeks. Do keep in touch with the HM though. (And quite a bit of that will depend on if your to be manager is in good with HR or not, if they aren’t then it can take far far longer.)

    1. anonymous too

      I also work for local government and can tell you that three weeks is not a very long wait. It took nearly two months from the time I was given a verbal phone offer to the time I was finally sitting at my desk. Part of the delay was that they were not finished hiring (they were looking for four people to do the same job in different groups) and needed all of us to start training at the same time. My boss managed to get me in four weeks before everyone else, so I suppose the wait could have been closer to three months if he didn’t manage to do that! I won’t even get into how long it took to get my computer login… Let’s just say I spent a lot of time reading the employee handbook those first few weeks!

  9. Anonymous

    #7: Have your husband spruce up his LinkedIn profile ASAP. Then he can start contacting people himself. Or, you could send a LinkedIn message connecting him with someone else, much like you would if you wanted to connect two other people who you both know and might benefit from the connection.

    But I wouldn’t recommend sending out messages for him. Whenever I would get CVs or messages from women about their husbands, the first thing that came to mind was “What’s wrong with the guy that he can’t do this himself?” And if I ever went through and interviewed the guy, he was always a disaster.

    People don’t generally look highly on people who can do their own networking for themselves.

    Unless, as I mentioned above, it’s a simple message from you to introduce him to someone else. That way, the two of them can connect on LinkedIn.

    But first he needs to get his profile up to date. That shouldn’t take more than a few hours.

  10. Sara

    #1 – I believe taxes are another huge issue that come into play when establishing an employee in another state. I’m not entirely familiar with this area, but typically companies are require to charge taxes in each state they have employees. If there are a lot of customers in your state, it could require a significant amount of accounting work and the customers would essentially need to be charged more than they’re currently paying for the same product.

    1. Jamie

      Yes – if you have employees in another state the tax laws for where they are working apply. Withholding is different, etc.

      It’s kind of a PITA – but it’s a cost of doing business if you want people in different states but there has to be a really good business reason to incur that level of inconvenience.

    2. K

      And it can vary on a city-by-city basis too. We had an employee who was living in San Francisco for a while and the arrangement we made was that she had to cross to the East Bay to work because otherwise we’d be on the hook for San Francisco taxes.

      1. Anonymous

        Was there an office in the East Bay, or did this employee bring her laptop to a coffee shop to work remotely?

    3. Laura

      Yes, taxes are a HUGE issue and can cause alot of problems. At my company there was a bad habit for a long time of letting people work from anywhere, including another state if they moved. The Finance group would find about about it a year or 2 later, sometimes when they got a sales tax audit notice.

      Any time you have an employee move to another state where the company isn’t registered/licensed/etc a study has to be done to determine if the employee’s presence will result in “nexus,” meaning that the company has a legal presence in the state and therefore must file for licenses, collect and remit sales tax, and so on. If an audit occurs and the company is found in violation of sales tax regulations, it can be a huge expense — not just for the taxes, but interest and penalties on what hasn’t been collected, having the staff to handle it, etc.

    4. OP #1

      Hmm, yeah, that was what I was worried about. Oh well, I’m talking to hr today, we’ll see what they think.

  11. Malissa

    #2–the time to ask for a raise would have been directly after they said you could never leave. A comeback of then you better pay me more (joking of course) just might have resulted in a raise. But seriously since you are hearing this kind of talk, remind them of this when you go in for a raise.
    #3–year-end in government means reports, budgets, and other stuff that must be done NOW. So I wouldn’t worry until the end of the month.
    #4–Have you tried alternative styles and fabrics? You’d be surprised the difference it can make.
    #6–Ask for a compromise-promise to be there every single minute you are not in class. This may mean spreading your work out over the day or working closing shift, but the tips should be well worth it. That being said I did quit one serving job because the manager scheduled me for homecoming night during my senior year. He didn’t even want to think about working around something like that. Also at this point you have enough time to find another job before you give notice.
    #7–teach the man to fish.

    1. LW #2

      I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say that! Unfortunately, thinking (and speaking) on my feet isn’t my strong suit.

      1. Malissa

        So you go talk to them now. Write down the points you want to say on paper and bring it in with you. Write down that they said that nice little comment. Write down what it is you do so well. Also looking at industry salaries and know just how much you could ask for is also good to know.

        I had one manager that just kept going on and on about how much I improved the appearance of a store. I spent my first month there untangling shelves and removing 10 years of grease and dirt. I finally look at him one day after he commented yet again on what a good I was doing and said, “If you keep telling me this I’m going to expect a raise.” Granted I’m a wee bit of a smart-ass, and I was young and inexperienced at the time. So I thought nothing more of it. That was until I got called into the office two weeks later and got a $1.50 an hour raise. Which was 21%. Life lesson learned–Some times it pays to speak up.

  12. Elizabeth West

    #3 where is the offer

    Not quite the same, but my second choice position, which I hadn’t heard about for weeks, just called me to say they are hiring someone else but would like me to consider a 12-week temporary position subbing for their receptionist who is going on maternity leave. I haven’t heard from the first choice yet (the awesome phone interview one) re a follow-up in person interview. They are supposed to contact me “early this week.”

    I don’t want to commit to the second choice TEMP job, even though they said they don’t want me to get away, because I really really really want the first choice and it’s way closer to my career track. If they offer me the job, I know they’ll want me to start right away and I emphasized that I could in the phone conversation. I’m begging the Universe to make them call.

    I just told Second Choice that I need to see what’s going on there and that they were a place I wanted to work, but that I’m looking for a permanent position, not a temp one. AARRGGGGHH!

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      What about accepting the temp position so that you have income in the meanwhile (and more to put on your resume), knowing that you can still accept the first choice if it comes through? Most places know that if they’re only offering temp work, the person might take a permanent offer if one comes along.

      If you’ll be kicking yourself for not accepting this if you get the first choice offer, or even if you’re simply tight on cash, I’d really do this. You can’t count on the first choice offer, and you also never know where this may lead.

      1. Elizabeth West

        Yes, and that is the plan for sure. :)

        Ha ha, FC said they should be able to let me know by the end of the week one way or the other. Phone Lady is giving me tips on how to ace the interview. I think she REALLY wants me to do well. That is a good sign, in my book.

  13. LW #2

    Thanks to AAM for answering my question. Now I just have to get the guts to move forward with my request!

  14. Chriama

    #6 – I’m not sure if your question is about the fact that you were scheduled for a holiday that isn’t a statutory holiday, but that your manager is disregarding your schedule preferences (deliberately or not). As Alison mentioned, holidays are big in hospitality, so barring any specific agreement that you are always scheduled for work around your classes, it isn’t unusual that you would be scheduled for Valentine’s day even though you still have school. In this case, just treat it like a regular scheduling conflict and find a sub.

    That being said, if you did have a specific agreement with your boss that you would only work outside of school hours and he is now disregarding that agreement when he makes the schedule, you could decide to either:
    a) talk to him about your concerns and ask for a more specific agreement about when he will and won’t schedule you
    b) live with it, because conflicts don’t come up that often and you need/want this job
    c) try look for another job that’s more accommodating to your schedule

  15. Suz

    #6 reminds me of my former days in retail. I had class on Tues nights but was available any other evening. My coworker has class every Wed night. Every single week, I’d be scheduled to work Tues and he’d be scheduled for Wed. At least we both knew we always had someone willing to trade shifts. But it was a PITA to have to get permission to trade every week.

    1. Lulu

      Gah, I saw this happening where I worked too, it was so silly – all I could figure was Management didn’t want to set a precedent of taking specific requests (especially if it was for a time limited event like a class), so it somehow made more sense for them to put the burden on the employees to sort it out. Of course, they could have just been idiots, but I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here… SO glad that was a temporary gig, though!

  16. Peaches

    #4 – I don’t have a better solution than the one you’ve suggested. I just wanted to say I understand. I’m petite, like you, but on the round side. My arms are disproportionately larger than the rest of me and I literally can not get a jacket that goes nicely over them and sits properly without being way too big to even tailor everywhere else.

    I occasionally (very rarely) have luck with blazers made of slightly more forgiving fabrics that stretch a little over my arms. This, combined with a mroe relaxed industry, is usually fine.

    IF you are plus size too, MXM makes some blazers that look very professional but are made from a stretchy material and have discreet zips under the buttons. I’ve tried them on and they work great, except they are still a little long for me.

  17. LW#2

    OP #2 again here…any thoughts on whether it’s preferable to ask for a specific dollar amount vs a percentage when asking for a raise? Trying to minimize the sticker shock as much as possible.

    1. Jamie

      A lot of companies have their own conventions and I’d stick with that, of known.

      I.e. one of my former employers did raises on a percentage so you’d get like an even 15% or whatever…which would make your salary some odd number. Because no one ever dreams of finally making 57,678.23 annually.

      But other companies like to keep the salaries on somewhat even numbers so in that case the raise would be to an even 58k and it would be some weird percetage to the fourth decimal.

      So if you know ow your company does things ask in the language they already use.

  18. EC

    #1 question. It’s possible the business is going the contractor route when the employee is functioning as an ’employee’ as defined by regulation/statute. In that case, even if they don’t want to setup as an employer in another state, they risk non-compliance on the employment side if the person isn’t truly functioning as an independent contractor.

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