what you missed while you were gone

Since most of you are now back at work after being away from the holidays, here’s what you missed while you were gone:

1. I posted what might be one of the most useful things I’ve posted for job-searchers in a long time, and for some reason I had the terrible timing of posting it during one of the lowest-blog-traffic weeks of the year, so you should read it now if you missed it then:

if you’re not getting interviews, read this

2. We had a slew of updates from readers who had their questions answered here last year, including updates about the employee who wouldn’t stop hugging people, the farting coworker, the coworker demanding rides to work events, and more. You can read all the updates here.

3. I got engaged. To be married. Yay!

4. We determined that sales jobs, contrary to popular myth, are not an exception to the “don’t call to follow up on your job application” rule, and they shall henceforth no longer be mentioned as one by me.

Welcome back!

{ 219 comments… read them below }

  1. Jennifer O*

    I’m so happy for you and your fiance, Alison! I wish you a lifetime of happiness together. :)

  2. jesicka309*

    Hooray! Congratulations!! :)

    I’m expecting lots of work vs. wedding related posts now! :) “My bridezilla coworker won’t shut up about her wedding.” “My boss won’t give me time off for my honeymoon etc.” :)

    1. Waerloga*

      My boss won’t give me time off…

      There’s a story there that my step-son (Labour lawyer) still uses as an example when he gives a lecture to students… It evolved from no time, to time (but not together) to finally a cave in.

      Ahh well. Take care.

  3. Jamie*

    Yay!! Wishing you both nothing but happiness…and the most organized wedding ever, although I’m sure that goes without saying! :)

    Seriously, that’s awesome and I’m so happy for you.

  4. Aswin Kini MK*

    Congrats Allison! Wishing you and your fiancee a very happy wedding life in advance! Cheers

  5. Cruella DaBoss*

    Congrats!! So very happy for you and your fiance’ !

    Do I see some posts about dealing with wedding vendors in your future?


    1. Jamie*

      A goat in a bowtie would make a perfect ring bearer.

      Just saying…

      (and this is why I’m not a wedding planner – I know…)

      1. Twentymilehike*

        A goat in a bowtie would make a perfect ring bearer

        Oh yes, this!! Can’t wait to hear about it! :).

      2. Jen M.*

        Oh, I would SO hire you, if that’s how you roll! :P

        (My BF and I are NOT traditional wedding people, and I love goats!)

  6. Kiribitz*

    Aren’t you sneaky hiding that news in #3, even from those who were reading/commenting over the holidays! Congratulations and many many more years of happiness together to you!

  7. saro*


    Btw, I bookmarked and read through the ‘If you’re not getting interviews post”. I revamped my resume and your cover letter tips helped get me through the mental block and I have applied for many jobs over the weekend. Crossing my fingers that I get some call back soon!

  8. ChristineH*

    Wow, lots of engagements in recent weeks: first my favorite singer, then a friend from my professional association, now my favorite blogger!! What a wonderful way to start the week…Congratulations Alison!!!

  9. Josh S*

    Joining in the cacophony:

    I’ll give you the three pieces of advice I give every newly-engaged couple:
    1) Elope. Seriously. Save yourself the headache and the expense and the wedding-industry ripoffs. Put the tens of thousands of dollars you would have spent on a wedding toward something useful (like a down payment on a house) and then throw a celebration party.

    If 1 isn’t an option or preference (and you’ll reconsider that about halfway through the planning process):
    2) If you’re the sort who has some ‘ideal’ wedding that you’ve imagined since you were 8 that you’re trying to recreate, try your best to forget it (unless you have a bottomless pocketbook). The wedding industry knows that many brides-to-be have such a perfect day in mind, and are willing to sell that perfect day to you for LOTS of money. If you can be content with the ‘stock’ options, you can get the job done for a much more reasonable sum, while still having a beautiful, memorable, and otherwise ‘perfect’ day.

    3) Every wedding day has something go wrong. Sometimes horrifically. Don’t sweat it. There are probably only 2 people who know what is ‘supposed’ to happen — and they’re busy getting married. Everyone else won’t notice if the ring bearer was out of order in the processional or [insert ‘horrific’ catastrophe here]. So let it slide. As an alternative, arrange to have a trusted friend make all the decisions for you on the day of the wedding. Give him/her your checkbook and say, “For any decision that will cost less than $XX — you make it.” The band is finished their 2 hour contract, and the party is still going strong? Your friend can pay them the extra $XX to stay an extra hour. It’s a TOTAL weight off your mind, and can help you be more fully ‘in the moment’ for the day.

    Again, CONGRATS! Hoping you have a wonderful start to your married life!

    1. DA*

      Exactly this. However you decide to have your wedding, don’t get bogged down in the details. It’s a waste of time and money if you do and you won’t even remember that stuff in a year or two anyways. It’s not even been three years and I’ve forgotten most of the details of my wedding day – and about 98 percent of what happened that day (and we had an extremely cheap wedding by today’s standards – I could only imagine if we went crazy with things).

      The only thing I remember is my wife and our friends and family being there…and isn’t that the most important part anyways?

      Congratulations and we all look forward to hearing more about this going forward!

    2. Sasha*

      And many sane, reasonable people you know will turn into crazy loons! Something about weddings and babies…people go insane and try to hammer all their “opinions” into you like it’s gospel. However since Alison is an awesome hard-ass, I think she will be okay. :)

      The only thing I really remember from my wedding is getting hit in the face with a loaf of bread (performing a hilarious may-not-be-historically-accurate Irish wedding custom). It was a great moment. Be sure to include lots of laughter!

      1. Jamie*

        They were supposed to break it over your head! That’s awesome though – and in the long run less breadcrumbs to shake out of your veil. :)

        1. Sasha*

          Ahhh so that’s how it was supposed to work. We were trying to find Irish wedding customs (my husband’s family is largely Irish), and this one said “The mother-in-law should toss a loaf of bread over the bride’s head.” But now we have an awesome photo of my mother-in-law throwing bread in my face. It’s my favorite photo of the whole album.

          1. Jamie*

            I love the accidental awesomeness of stuff like that.

            Yeah, breaking bread over your head is to ensure that you two will never know hunger. So if you’ve ever been hungry since getting married, blame your misfiring mother-in-law, even if it was just because you skipped lunch!

      2. Natalie*

        “And many sane, reasonable people you know will turn into crazy loons!”

        Good lord, yes. I’m not even married, just a MOH for a wedding this summer, and it’s insane.

        Best phrase of all time: “Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll keep that in mind.” End of conversation.

        1. FreeThinkerTX*

          I had a mentor who drilled it into me to say, “Thank you for caring enough to share; I promise to weigh it carefully.”

          The trick is to say it without letting the true meaning come through (i.e., “It’s none of your dang business, so buzz off!”)

    3. mh_76*


      There are a couple of music options that are cheaper than a professional wedding (music) band. My brother used an iPod playlist instead of a band and had a pianist play the processional and “song”. Community/”amateur” music groups (as in the players don’t get paid) have among their ranks some players, for whom music is often a side-line / supplemental income in addition to a day-job (outside of musical performance, often non-musical) who will play (for pay) at weddings, funerals, etc. – if you know anyone who is an amateur/semi-pro player, they may know of some soloists/groups.

    4. Lamp*

      If we’re throwing out advice, here’s another blog I read: offbeatbride.com
      Some of the weddings are really really wacky, but it helps round out the “princess” weddings you’ll drown in once you start going online

    5. zayq*

      Ha! In my friend’s wedding the thing that went wrong was that we left the actual license in the hotel room, so I sprinted back there to retrieve it in rather high heels!

  10. Shannon!*


    Also, Alison has now started using “Chocolate Teapot Maker” in her examples, prompting an abundance of giggles everywhere.

  11. Amouse*

    This is going to sound odd Alison, but a few weeks back you had mentioned your boyfriend in a post and for some reason I had a feeling you were going to get engaged in the near future! So happy to hear that and please keep us updated on the plans!! :-D

  12. Joey*

    Congrats! Ooh, have you decided what you’re going to do with your last name? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. So we can expect more parallels with marriage instead of dating, right?

    1. Laura L*

      “So we can expect more parallels with marriage instead of dating, right?”

      Oh, I hope not! I still need both dating and job hunting help! :-)

  13. Sam*

    Congratulations! Wishing you lots of happiness as you start this next chapter!

    And let me offer you one tiny piece of advice: enjoy this time! I think it’s too common for engaged couples to get so focused on planning for the big day that they forget to enjoy the engagement. When possible, slow down and enjoy each other!

    1. ChristineH*

      Yes!! Also, on the big day itself, don’t let the day pass by without taking in and cherishing every special moment. That’s how I approached my wedding day; I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

      1. Jamie*

        This. I didn’t do this and my wedding memories are just a blur – except that my feet hurt. Very cute and very painful shoes are a bad idea.

        I have two pieces of advice – since this has kind of turned into advise the adviser :)

        1. Comfortable shoes
        2. Ignore most of the advice you get. (I don’t mean here – because we’re always right (ahem), but IRL). There are as many versions of the “right” way to do things as there are couples…just toss out anything that doesn’t fit your vision. People totally mean well, but there is nothing like getting married or having a baby to make people act as if you’ve issued an invitation to everyone you know to help you live your life.

        1. mh_76*

          Comfortable shoes – good advice for even non-wedding things! There are plenty of workplace- and interview-presentable shoes that are also very comfortable (and often less expensive than the “stylish” painful-looking shoes that most people can’t walk in anyway). I have a few pair by http://www.aproposfootwear.com that are inexpensive, comfortable, and dressy. My sister-in-law wore white clogs (probably Dansko…her favorite brand…or something similar) to her/my brother’s wedding.

  14. Chantal*

    Congratulations! Mazel tov! Félicitations! Wishing you a lovely drama-free wedding and a long & happy life together!

  15. Heather*

    Wow! Congrats!

    I was wondering why there were so many comments on an update post before I got through it.

  16. Lacey*

    Congratulations! I just got married in October, and it’s a crazy, overwhelming, emotional thing, but of course, it’s also kind of awesome :)

    Since you do seem the utterly practical sort, I recommend http://www.apracticalwedding.com for sanity in all wedding-related things :D

  17. Waerloga*

    Not fair hiding it at #3 (smile)

    Congradulations (and some words from the Isle of Skye)

    Mile failte dhuit le d’bhreid
    Fad do re gun robh thu slan
    Moran laithean dhuit is sith
    Le d’mhaitheas is le d’ni bhi fas!

    Have fun and enjoy every minute of the planning and every moment of your big day!

  18. Anon*

    Congrats!!! My son just got married last week, they did it quick and easy at the courthouse. And new DIL’s advice–comfy shoes!

  19. Kathryn T.*

    Congratulations! My best wedding planning advice is to sit down with your intended and, together, pick three things to really care about. Those are the things you want to get Really Perfect. Everything else just has to be Good Enough. If someone else freaks out that one of your Good Enough things isn’t going to be Really Perfect, delegate that task (and financial responsibility for it if it goes over your budget!) to them.

    Our Three Things were my dress, the ceremony, and the music. I had the dress designed by a local theater costumer, and it was perfect (and $600, for an all-silk ball gown). My husband wrote the whole ceremony tip to toe. And for the music, we went through our entire music collection, picked out every song that spoke of love in a positive way and didn’t have swearing in it, and put a good friend in charge of the Wedding Playlist, which is how we ended up walking out of our venue surrounded by cheering guests as people threw rose petals at us and the sound system played Punk Rock Girl by the Dead Milkmen.

    Everything else? Enh. We went to a local bakery, asked for their wedding cake book, and picked one out almost at random. I found a local florist, dropped off swatches of my wedding dress fabric (it was gold), gave them a budget, and said “I like tulips.” Our chosen venue had only one caterer they worked with, and when I told them I wanted a buffet lunch for $XX per person and a decent vegetarian option, I approved the first menu they sent over. Etc. My mother freaked out about tablescapes or whatever, and I said “great, you handle it! If you go over $XXX though, it has to come out of your pocket, not the wedding account.” It was a beautiful wedding, very low stress, and I grinned like a fool the whole way through.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      …picked out every song that spoke of love in a positive way and didn’t have swearing in it…
      This is what I saw in my head:

      *thump thump thump* “YEAH BABY I F***IN LUUV YOOUUU, OH YEAH BABY BE MAH HO, BE MIIINE…”
      *Grandma faints face first into her plate of cake*

      1. Kathryn T.*

        yeah, the second clause was really vital there. It did lead to my fiance saying, with a straight face, “Hm. Is {incredibly obscene expression} a swear word?”

      2. Jamie*

        This was one of the hardest things about wedding planning. I wanted to keep it even, between my husband’s tastes and mine because they are so different…

        He leans toward country and lighter rock – don’t ask…where I think of Warrant’s Cherry Pie as a tender love song.

        KISS, Van Halen, Warrant, Poison, Motley Crue, GNR, Skidrow… left me very little to work with since we wanted to stay away from strong innuendo. Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Ozzy, and Oasis were the only reason I got any of my stuff in there at all.

        It was really eye opening when you really listen to the lyrics you hear every day.

        1. ChristineH*

          You are officially the coolest person here Jamie…okay, I don’t consider “Cherry Pie” to be tender by any means, but those hair bands ruled in my book!

  20. RJ*

    Alison, best wishes to you and a hearty congratulations to your intended. I wish you both much happiness.

  21. Other Jamie*

    Yay! Congratulations to you both! How fun! :D

    I think the apracticalwedding.com site is awesome, and I also like reading Offbeat Bride. Some of the wedding profiles have great ideas for personalizing your day away from white froufrou and chair slipcovers (if that’s how you want to roll), but some of my favorite posts are for practical things like “how to tell people nicely you want them to turn their cellphones off for the ceremony”. Anyway, congrats again!

  22. Liz in the City*


    (And I second the comfy footwear. Seriously, wear whatever your poor foot feels comfortable in. I had a heel spur, found comfy flats (a bonus since my hubster is shorter than me), and no one was the wiser. My feet were MUCH happier after 12+ hours on my feet.)

    1. Blinx*

      Lulu — I know! I was thinking, well I’ve read all the posts over the holidays, is this just a recap? Guess not!

  23. De Minimis*


    For a split second I wondered “Why are there so many comments when she’s just summarizing recent posts?”

  24. Michelle*

    Congratulations, Alison! I remember you saying once that you’d want the tiniest wedding imaginable if for some reason you HAD to have one…so, much luck to you and your tiny groom! Don’t drink too much tiny champagne.

  25. Me*

    Congrats! I am curious to see if your approach to your responses and perspective will differ when you become married and when you start having children.

    1. Amouse*

      haha I have no idea what Alison’s views are but i just always find it kind of amusing when people automatically equate marriage with having children like it’s a foregone conclusion. I don’t mean that offensively, I’ve been known to make that assumption too. Just something that I find amusing :-)

      1. Jessica*

        Ha! I had to laugh at this. I’m not having children, by choice, and I still sometimes do this. It’s interesting how ingrained culturally (societally?) the thought of marriage –> children is, even for those of us who have made the conscious choice otherwise. I’ve gotten better over the years of having to tell people: Yes, I’m married. No, I’m not having kids. No, I don’t HAVE kids. Yes, even though I am married, we are not having kids. Yes, we’re sure. Yes, we are. Yes. Yes. No, not even one. (One kid is not a compromise between none and some.) ;~)

        1. Jen M.*

          I just never assume. If I’m truly curious (normally, I’m not, because I’m also childfree,) I will ask, “Do you plan on having kids?”

          It’s just so rude to assume, IMO.

    2. Jamie*

      I doubt it. Alison is nothing if not inherently logical – and marriage doesn’t change that. (Except for the part of the wedding planning where you start to think Kitty wedding cake toppers are a good idea….but the logic comes back.)

      And even if she were to have kids, although I agree with Amouse that it’s not an assumption I would make with anyone – being a mother doesn’t sap your logic either.

      And I’m not just saying this because I’ve been married forever and am a mom and just happen to agree with Alison a disproportionate amount of the time. :)

  26. Chocolate Teapot*


    And may I respectfully suggest small Chocolate Teapots as wedding favours? : – )

        1. Jamie*

          I would love to see the look on her finace’s face when she tells him she needs to purchase a large refrigerated storage unit for wedding gifts.

          1. Amouse*

            haha! hmmm this could pose a dilemma. Alison, could we just send you anything to do with teapots or tea?

            1. Amouse*

              any time the chocolate teapots get mentioned it just seems like a hay ball of ideas gathering steam as it rolls down the hill

                1. Blinx*

                  Cadbury’s DOES have a chocolate teapot, but it’s ceramic. Bummer. But I DID find chocolate teapot lollipops on another site – maybe as a favor at the shower?

  27. Diane*

    Congratulations to AAM and Spousal Person of AAM (hereafter SPAAM).

    I also recommend Offbeat Bride and Cake Wrecks.

  28. Job seeker*

    Alison, I read these posts and could not help remembering what a older lady said to me when I was first married. I asked this older couple that had been married over 50 years what was there secret. I remember her looking me in the face and saying, if it is going to work, it will be up to you. I have been happily married over 30 years now, I know what she was talking about. Maybe, this little tidbit will be something you can always remember too. Marriage is something to treasure, guard and be thankful for. You have found your forever best friend.

  29. Editor*

    Best wishes to both of you. May you have many happy years together, full of mutual respect, mutual strength to bear any sorrows, and mutual joy in everyday pleasures.

  30. B*

    Mazel Tov!!!! What wonderful news. I think we deserve a post of how he proposed and a pic of the ring ;-).

    The only unsolicited advice I give is
    a) Try on every dress, even the ones you hate. The one you hate the most on the hanger could be the one you fall in love with.

    b) Before walking down the aisle take 5 deep breaths. It helps calm you, take it all in, and lets you really focus.

    1. RJ*

      My pastor’s advice before walking down the aisle: “Breathe through your nose and wiggle your toes.” I think it worked for the comic relief if nothing else. :)

  31. DA*

    I suspect a lot of gifts are going to be chocolate teapots…depending on how many readers are at the wedding/reception ;)

  32. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Thank you, everyone, for both the well wishes and the advice!

    To answer some of the questions … We’re thinking something small. Immediate family, no white dress, relatively relaxed, just something small and intimate that feels like us. Delicious food, nice surroundings, music, vows :)

    A goat would be awesome though.

    1. ChristineH*

      I had a big wedding (mainly because that’s how my family is) and loved every minute of the run-up and the actual day. However, if I had to do it all again, I’d probably take it down several notches; something smaller and intimate can really be just as nice.

    2. Malissa*

      Destination wedding on a beach some where! Seriously you pay who ever a flat fee and everything but the clothes is done. That’s what I’d do if I could do it again.


  33. ECH*

    Congratulations!! So excited for you!! Love to hear some more details – how you met him, how he proposed …

  34. Mara*

    I wish you all the best in your engagement, wedding, and marriage. Thank you for all your great advice.

  35. Not So NewReader*

    Love, comfort and prosperity to the both of you, Alison.

    Now. Do we get to know a little tidbit about him? His favorite hobbies, his best loved book?

    Not really our business, I do understand. However, should you happen to feel like screaming from a mountain top– er, uh,— sharing a bit of joy, I think we’d like to hear.

    You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to and I understand…

  36. danr*

    #3… Mazel Tov!!!

    As for the timing on the interview tips, I thought it was great, since I was falling into the no interview doldrums.

  37. K.A.T.*

    Congratulations!!!! So hard.

    I’m engaged and have a June 2013 wedding coming up and as you also seem like a person who also enjoys organizing things, let me tell you, I think you will seriously enjoy wedding planning, no matter what size the wedding. I was never a little girl (or adult woman) who planned her dream wedding but I have been enjoying planning my real one with my fiance so much.

    Also, since you say he’s an artist? My fiance is also an artist and he drew both our save-the-dates and our invitations. Just an idea! I love seeing his work go to so many people who get to enjoy it and everyone else loved it too. The invitation is personalized with most of our favorite animals :)

  38. Jen M.*

    #3. Wait. What? I was HERE, and I missed that! Yay you! I sincerely wish you and your intended all the best! :D

  39. Curious*

    #3 – Wishing you every happiness and long and healthy life together. Sincere congratulations.

  40. Ali_R*

    From one Alison to another, Mazel Tov!

    I am so very happy for you and I am predicting you’ll never have communication issues in your marriage!

    I wish you many, many long and happy years together.

  41. Anonymous*

    Congratulations and best wishes on the engagement announcement!

    Nth’ing the comfy shoes (just as general life advice and because I was at CES last week – my feet still hurt!)!

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