wee answer Wednesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Can I get this employer to cover my interview travel expenses?

I was recently contacted by a company that is the leader in an industry I have an intense passion in pursuing, after they found my LinkedIn. As far as I can tell, I have exactly the qualifications for the job they’re filling. The company is currently about 1,500 miles from me, though they’ll be moving 1,000 or so miles closer within the next year. Now, they recruited me, and I am currently employed and reasonably happy in my current situation, so I think I’m in a good position to request that if they want me to come out to interview, it should be on their dime. How do I ask for this? I’ve been digging out of debt and have very little available cash, though I could sell something or break into my emergency fund if I really really have to, to cover expenses, but I would prefer not to do this, if I can not-awkwardly get them to foot the bill.

Some companies pay for candidates’ travel expenses and some don’t, and some do for some positions (senior or hard-to-fill roles) but not others. If they approached you, they’re somewhat more likely to pay, but it’s still not guaranteed. (More on this here.)

If they ask you to come out to interview and they don’t mention travel expenses, I’d say, “How do you normally handle travel arrangements for candidates?” If they tell you that you’d need to travel on your own dime, you can certainly say, “I’d love to come meet with you, but would you consider covering the travel costs?” If they decline, then you’ll need to decide if it’s a deal-breaker for you.

2. Forgetting your interviewer’s name

I recently had a phone interview and wanted to write a thank you/follow-up email reiterating my interest in the job and highlighting some of the things we discussed, as per your recommendation. I am notoriously bad with names, and unfortunately I completely forgot the name of the person who performed the interview, as it was not the HR person I had been in contact with before this! The email address is one that from what I understand will not go directly to the HR person but to a variety of people on the staff, my interviewer included. Should I just not worry about it–something is better than nothing–or should I try and make an effort to find out my interviewer’s name?

Try to find out her name. Check the company website and LinkedIn to see if you can find the person with that role in the company. If you know her title, you can also call the company’s main number and ask for the name of the person in that position (without identifying yourself, because you don’t want it to be obviously that you forgot her name).

By the way, this is the third version of this question I’ve received in as many weeks — apparently a lot of you are forgetting to note your interviewers’ names. Consider jotting it down at the start of the interview, or asking for a card at the end.

3. HR told me my interviewers are hard to work with

I had an interview about 5 months ago for an admin position at a hospital. I met with HR, and she walked me to my interview, where I met with two women I would be working under and the head of the department. The interview went well, the two women that I would be working under said they I would split my tasks between them evenly, etc. We wrapped up the interview, they answered all of my questions, and right before I left they mentioned scheduling a second interview.

When I was walking back to the lobby with HR, she mentioned to me that the two women are incredibly difficult to work with, demanding, and get a lot of complaints from their admin. She mentioned something along the lines of, “It sounds like you can handle it but I wanted to warn you.” She completely caught me off guard, so I muttered something like, “Oh, I see, thank you for letting me know.” I never heard from then again, which is fine because that really soured me on the whole experience, but I’m wondering … Do you think HR was generally looking out for their candidates or do you think they use it as a way to “gauge” or “test” the candidates on handling information like that? Is there a better way I should have responded?

I’d take it at face value — they’re hard to work with, and so HR wants to ensure they get a candidate who is prepared for that. It’s unlikely that they were simply saying it to test your reaction if it wasn’t true (no one would want to say that about a colleague if it wasn’t true simply for the sake of gauging your reaction), but it’s certainly possible that she wanted to see if you’d blanche or take it in stride. (That said, it’s not really a conversation she should have had in passing — it’s worthy of a less cavalier mention.)

4. Why do so many internships require you to be a currently enrolled student?

I have a question about applying for internships as a post-grad student. For internships that require applicants to be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, how uncouth is it to apply if you are a post-college student who is not enrolled, but meets all the other qualifications? For example, if I have a background and previous experience(s) in the qualifications listed, is it worth it to still apply? How much is the “currently enrolled” status weighed/important?

Internships that required this usually do so because they believe it helps them comply with federal laws on unpaid work. If that’s their reasoning, you’re unlikely to get them to change their mind. Some organizations are more flexible, but it’s going to be hard to know which are and which aren’t. There’s no harm in inquiring, as long as you’re braced to hear a lot of “it’s a firm requirement” and as long as you’re not spending a huge amount of time on the applications.

5. Start date keeps getting pushed back

I got a job offer about a month ago. The recruiting manager insisted that I respond to the job offer within a week, which I did. At that time, I had a counteroffer from the company I was consulting with (I was an independent consultant and was put on standby as work was put on hold indefinitely due to client management changes), but they offered me a very low position and salary (I have more than 25 years experience). Though I was very insulted, I knew that the counteroffer was done to keep me from joining a competitor.

Naturally, I accepted the new offer from the competitor with a start date in 2 weeks. After all the paper work had been submitted, I got an immediate response from the recruiting manager that there was a big chance the start date will be rescheduled. It has now been more than three weeks past the original start date and no definite start date has been confirmed. The new company called me a week ago and indicated that they are still very interested in me, but the delay is due to client management changes. They also stated that they would understand if I accepted another offer because of the delay. Now, I am beginning to worry that i should have kept looking and should have accepted the low counteroffer. I appreciate any advice you can give me.

Yes, keep looking. Until you have a definite start date, you can’t count on this job coming through. (That doesn’t mean that it won’t — it very well may — just that you can’t count on it.)

That doesn’t mean that you should have accepted your company’s counteroffer though. That was an offer you were insulted by, and at a low salary and lower position than you want. Instead, keep job searching outside both these companies. If the original job comes through in the meantime, great — but if it doesn’t, you won’t have lost time.

6. Should I have sent this employer my references?

My question is related to a job I applied at almost 2 weeks ago. I am very interested in it, and I know for fact that there were no more than a couple dozen applicants (it’s a very specific and unique opportunity) and I have experience and my cover letter is great, but I didn’t get a call! I think it’s because they asked for resume, a cover letter, essay, and references, and I didn’t felt comfortable providing references (my most recent one is not that strong but necessary for this!). What do you think I should do? Is it okay to send them an email (I feel it would be too pushy to call) and ask if they’ve made a decision yet and tell them I ”forgot’ to send them references and do it then? Or do you have better advice?

Don’t say you forgot — that will make you look careless, which isn’t the impression you want to make on a potential employer. You could contact them and say that you didn’t include references originally because you typically don’t give them out until mutual interest has been established, but that you’re extremely interested in the position and if it’s a strict requirement, you’d be glad to send them. That may or may not work, but it’s unlikely to hurt. It’s possible, though, that they’ve already screened you out for not following their instructions the first time, or that they’ve screened you out for other reasons (such as other applicants simply being better fits).

7. Should I stay or go?

I am a little over one year away from completing my EdD in Higher Education Administration, and I currently work as an assistant director in an office that operates like a nonprofit within the university (read — not well-funded and no chance for advancement). The university is currently constructing a five-year strategic plan that seems like it would give our office more prominence, more support, and more responsibility.

Prior to this, I had planned on job searching after graduation since that would give me the opportunity to work in an institution that values what I do, as well as the possibility for a pay and title bump. However, part of me is sure that I have the “grass is greener syndrome.” If these changes do indeed happen, I would be content staying as long as could take on more responsibility and receive a pay/title bump. The other extenuating factor is that once I receive my EdD, I will have a more advanced degree than my boss and my boss’ boss, which furthers my desire for a promotion.

As you may know, things move at a glacial speed in higher education, but I’m wondering how (and when) to approach my boss to see if increased responsibilities and pay and title bump may be in my future, given the university’s new plans. I don’t want it to come across as an ultimatum, but in reality if the university doesn’t hold true to what they are saying they would like to do, I am going to look elsewhere for an institution that is passionate about what I am passionate about.

Start job searching somewhere else. You can certainly talk to your boss in the meantime to inquire about the likelihood of new opportunities for you there, but it sounds like those plans aren’t finalized yet, and so anything your boss could tell you would be speculation, not any sort of guarantee. So I’d do both in tandem — actively job search, but also get your boss in the loop on your desire to move up.

By the way, this may be different in academia, but in general it’s not wise to have an issue with having a more advanced degree than your managers. It’s very common for that to be the case, and it doesn’t make you more qualified than them — and that way of thinking can lead to all kinds of problems.

{ 64 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl*

    #7 – You don’t get a promotion for getting a degree. You get a promotion for doing great things for your employer and adding extensive value and scope to your work. In short, it’s not what you know but what you do.

    1. Schuyler Pierson*

      You’re right in that you don’t get a promotion for having a degree, but in higher ed, it helps and is becoming more and more a factor. I work in the enrollment management division and our vice provost is known to place a high value on degrees, to the extent that some of our staff thing they’re un-promotable due to their lack of a Bachelors, even though they’ve been at the institution for about 15 years each – longer than anyone else in the office by at least 10 years. I’ve recently accepted admission in an MEd program to help bolster my career options when I’m ready to move up in my career, in part for this reason.

  2. #7*

    Thank you for answering my question! Re: advanced degree- it’s not that I think I’m more qualified than them (they have way more experience than me!), but it does change the way I view situations. It also means I’m not supported in my desire to do research, something that just recently became clear to me.

    1. Jamie*

      I’m curious – if it’s not an experience issue for you, what do you mean it changes the way you view situations?

    2. Victoria Nonprofit*

      Hey, I’d love to connect with you! This is my field, too, and I’ve often considered going the EdD/PhD route. Would love to pick your brain and see if we could be resources for each other.

  3. JT*

    #4 My last internship was right after finishing grad school. The description of the position said it was for currently enrolled students, but I applied anyway, saying at the end of my cover letter that I noted that but wanted to be considered anyway. And my cover letter was very much about learning/career growth – more so than in a cover letter for a job – so that supported the argument. I got the position.

    1. AEH*

      #4 Thank you for answering my question, Alison! Also, thank you to JT for some insight and tips on cover letter phrasing, etc. That will be very helpful in the long run. I’m also contacting the organization for clarification/explanation of their policies. Thanks again!

  4. Jamie*

    #3 – I agree with Alison that this isn’t something that should have been mentioned casually, but it was worth mentioning.

    I was told in an interview once, very directly, that amongst tptb are some people who were considered difficult to work with. The areas in which they were considered difficult are areas where I’m not particularly thin skinned and it doesn’t really bother me. When asked how I would handle someone for whom everything is urgent and last minute my answer would check with them regarding priorities and work on what was most crucial at the moment, even if that changed frequently. I also said that I’ve found over time if you get a feel for what’s needed and give it to people before they ask for it that can cut down a lot of the chaos.

    It was the right answer – I was hired. However, if difficult would have been followed by a description of yelling, verbal abuse, or holding me accountable for metrics over which I have no control I would have bowed out because those are things with which I wouldn’t deal.

    Difficult to one person is not so bad to another. FWIW everyone I’ve ever been warned about as being “difficult” I’ve never had a real problem with. It’s the quiet Machiavelli working under the radar that I can’t stand.

    1. Anonymous*

      Not to mention, it was pretty clear in this situation that working for these two people really meant 2 full-times jobs. Run away from that one ASAP (though it doesn’t sound like that will be an issue for the poster).

    2. saro*

      I had a very similar experience. I interned for a boss that many, many people complained about. She was a workaholic and I worked crazy hours but it was such a valuable experience. She shared information freely, gave plenty of credit and connected me to so many people.

      Those Machiavelli types are so horrible to work for and with.

    3. Long Time Admin*

      My difficult boss chewed me out because I didn’t see who dropped something off in her office. Because I was down the hall, around 2 corners, at the reception desk where she sent me.

      Yeah, they warned me during my interview that she was difficult. They neglected to mention that she was psycho.

      I told HR at my exit interview that they should look for her next secretary on the Psychic Channel.

    4. Kou*

      Agreed. “Difficult” is hard to gauge, and it may be that they’re not out of line but the frantic pace they set (or whatever it is) was what cause the last person to leave, so they want to make sure whoever they hire now will be ok with that.

      Though OP didn’t specify what positions she’d be supporting, I also want to note as someone who supports a group of doctors that some of the things inherent with that are not up everyone’s alley. Their priority and their focus is not with you or the office or any of the things they hire you to take care of. In a lot of cases, you’re there specifically so they don’t have to pay time or attention to the things you handle. You do a lot of leg work to figure things out under tight deadlines.

      And right while I was typing this, one of the admins came by (we’re on lunch break) to independently comment on this exact thing. We agreed that it really depends on your personality type whether this is totally fine or completely ridiculous to you. For me, it’s totally fine and I enjoy the independence. For some people it’s stressful and they hate it.

  5. AdAgencyChick*

    #1 — don’t dip into your emergency fund for an interview, especially since you’re already in a stable situation that you’re happy with, and ESPECIALLY especially since they approached you, not the other way around. The person who contacted you knows where you live based on your resume, right? I think when you speak to them, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask how they handle travel, and if they say, “the candidate pays,” regretfully answer, “Oh, that’s too bad, I’d love to meet with you guys, but I really can’t swing that at this time.”

    IMO job searching is like dating in this way — there’s not that big a chance that any one encounter is going to result in a match made in heaven, so it’s not worth investing hundreds of dollars when you’re already in a good situation. And my guess is they understand what they’re asking and prepared to pay — if there were local candidates out the wazoo, they probably wouldn’t even have bothered to contact you.

    #3 — can you request a phone call with HR to get more details? I’d be worried about this, because normally the HR people I’ve worked with are all very tight-lipped about other employees. HR has to handle confidential information all day long, and part of their job is to make people want to join and stay with the company, so I’ve almost never met an HR employee who was willing to say anything negative about another employee. Maybe you happen to have stumbled on a company where HR is more open than that, but more likely you haven’t, and this is almost a break of character for HR to be telling you this. So, at best, it’s true and it’s not good, but it’s not the worst thing in the world; at worst, the two would-be bosses are SO BAD that they caused a normally tight-lipped person to feel like she had to warn you. But, no, I don’t think she was testing you.

  6. AB*

    #6 – Another option is to write and say that you didn’t include references originally because you wanted to get permission from your references to send your contact information, but that you’re extremely interested in the position and if the interest is mutual you are now in a position to send the references.

    (Goes without saying that by the time you send the message, you should have indeed contacted the people you want to use as a reference to confirm they are OK with being listed. I think this option shows your consideration for your references, and explain why you were unable to comply with the initial instructions. I will imply you didn’t want to wait until your busy references got back to you to send your application ;-).

    1. Mimi*

      I applied for a position the other day that I was very interested in; however, the online application stated that I was required to upload copies of my education, certification, and list of references before officially being considered for employment there. That really turned me off! I have to go to all that trouble for a job I might not even be seriously considered for??

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I hate that. If it’s for the city or something, I don’t mind that much, but come on. Next they’ll be asking for a vial of blood!

        1. AB*

          Yeah. I’d probably ignore a job posting that required me to provide all this information upfront.

          To me, it shows how little they care about presenting a good front to candidates, and thus would be a poor fit. I don’t want to bother my potential references to ask if I can list their contact info until we’ve moved enough in the process to justify the hiring company contacting them.

      2. Rana*

        Yeah, it can get ridiculous sometimes!

        When I was applying for academic jobs, it was easy to tell which institutions had recent experience running searches, and which did not. The experienced ones would ask for a cover letter, c.v., and letters of reference; if they needed more, they would ask later when they’d narrowed the list down to a few serious candidates.

        The inexperienced ones would ask for all of the above, plus transcripts, teaching evaluations, writing sample, sample syllabi, statement of teaching philosophy, description of future research plans, etc. etc.

        Given that most positions in my field at the time tended on average to attract 200-300+ candidates, I have no idea how they managed to deal with all that paperwork.

  7. Jamie*

    #7 – This situation is very interesting to me and I think it comes up for a lot of us at one point or another in our careers. Knowing that you’d look elsewhere is the job were to stay the same, but if there is real change on the horizon where you could get the career advancement and challenges you’re looking for without having to give up the momentum and reputation to start somewhere new.

    And I’m not talking about employer’s who make vague promises of “things” changing at some point…those are worth the paper they’re written on to me. But when there are legitimate changes (or legitimate concrete plans for changes) it’s hard to know how to assess exactly what those changes are, how they will affect you, and what the time line is for those changes.

    I was in a very similar situation last year and I can tell you what I did – which may or may not work for anyone else. I had a meeting with my boss about some issues I was having and whether or not this was the best fit for me, but given my position and knowing a 2 week transition would leave them in the lurch I wanted to be forthright about my looking for other opportunities.

    Like Alison always says, this approach only works if you know how your employer has a reputation for appreciating long notice periods and not punishing option weighing.

    I was told about some very significant changes happening which would directly affect me in every possible way. It was something that was going to be told to me in a meeting later that week anyway – but I brought it up sooner. I was asked to consider the upcoming changes as perhaps I’d get what I was looking for by staying put.

    I did think about it, then we had another discussion of the specifics of the changes, exactly what it would mean to me (both work load and ballpark comp), and what the time line was. Once I determined that if everything worked out as planned I would be quite satisfied I decided I would give it to the end of the time line we discussed to see how things shake out. It wasn’t an ultimatum and I don’t have to leave if the time line passes and everything isn’t exact – but it was open to be revisited if the time line passed and nothing had changed.

    We’re not at the end of the time yet, but the progress being made to that end is very encouraging. If I wasn’t given specifics and if I didn’t trust my employer not to deliberately mess with me I would have made a different choice. And FTR – I’m not talking about blind trust – I don’t have that with anyone…but while there are no guarantees in life I do trust my gut that the intent is honorable.

    I guess my point is I wanted XYZ and my concern was that I wouldn’t be able to get it from my current employer because of the nature of the business and the structure of the company. But I definitely didn’t want to leave because I like it here and I like those for whom and with whom I work. Once I was told it was a possibility to get XYZ here, it was worth it for me to wait rather than try to find it somewhere else immediately…and it was worth it to me because change of scenery isn’t something I particularly enjoy.

    It’s hard though – a bird in the hand worth two in the bush and all that…especially if you don’t know if the bird in the hand will turn out exactly the way you want it.

    But you have a year before graduating – so is there someone you can speak to regarding specifics and what the changes will mean for you?

    1. COT*

      This recently happened to me, too. I really like my organization, but was getting unsatisfied with both duties and pay. My boss and I had an open conversation and plan to shift my duties later this spring. No, it’s not a guarantee of the perfect future role, but I’m glad I asked for it. At the same time, I’m keeping an eye out for any other great opportunities, and have very selectively applied for a few.

      If you have a good relationship with your boss, it’s definitely worth asking about what the future could hold for your department. If they value you and don’t want to lose you, they might be happy to create some new opportunities for you as the department changes. I’d start these conversations, even casually, early on in their strategic planning process. You’d hate to miss out on opportunities because they assume you’re leaving or assume you’ll want to stay in your current role. Even if you don’t need to make the stay-or-go decision yet, they might need to know of your interest now since it could take so long to create a new role.

      But as AAM has taught us, nothing is a guarantee–so don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Look elsewhere, too.

  8. Nameless*

    7. Should I stay or go?

    College degree only proves that you can do certain things, it doesn’t prove you are better conceptually than non-degree people.

    In my field – accounting; degree or advanced degree is only good to get your foot in the door, after that after one year your work and I repeat ONLY your work will set you apart from everyone else. If you are not up to par you can stay associate for 5 years with your advanced degree and me with my bachelor’s degree will be managing you

    1. Jamie*

      IT is the same way – except the degree doesn’t even prove anything, necessarily, just that you have a foundation.

      IT and accounting have a lot in common, which made my transition from the accounting side of operations to IT pretty easy. Nothing is subjective. Things are right or they are wrong. An ad campaign can be perfect to one person and horrible to another. We don’t have to get buy in based on anyone’s opinions – the data compiles or it doesn’t. The GL reconciles or it doesn’t.

      It’s all about show not tell. However, the degree itself is a lot more important in accounting, I’ve found. I think it’s because an accounting degree has longevity as the concepts aren’t as fluid as they are in IT. When my cost accounting responsibilities expanded I took a couple of advanced accounting classes to make it easier. It was familiar as the debits still go on the left – just like when I was in college 20+ years ago. But my CS classes in college used 5.25 floppies!

      Don’t tell anyone – but sometimes I prefer the accounting side of my job to the IT – although I do love them both (and QC so I have a perfect amalgam right now). If I were on the market though, I would have to look for an IT job and hope it had an accounting component rather than the other way around, because without an accounting degree I doubt I’d even get past the resume screen anywhere near my level…but I’ve yet to meet any employer that cares about a degree in IT. (I know they are out there, but in my industry it doesn’t tend to me an issue.)

      1. JT*

        “Nothing is subjective. Things are right or they are wrong”

        I don’t think this is true. There can be different approaches to complex problems in IT. Both may work overall, but there will be trade-offs in terms of reliability, efficiency, cost, user-friendliness, ease of maintenance. So “subjective” decisions have to be made.

        1. Jamie*

          Sure – that’s absolutely true. I was speaking to the mechanics of the work itself it’s more provable than for many positions.

          Can you run a query? Can you create a group policy and push it out to the domain? Can you set up a VPN? Did the debits and credits hit the right accounts for the right amounts in the right month? There is a lot more yes or no – it works or it didn’t – for us than for some other jobs where much if not all of the work product is subjective.

          And a lot of it is easier to test for in hiring than some of the softer, if equally important, skills.

          1. A Bug!*

            There are multiple ways to get the same end result in IT, but the pros and cons of each method are still objective and fairly straightforward to assess (by a reasonably competent IT person).

            You’d want an IT person who keeps herself well-informed of the available technology such that she’s able to say “Method A is what we’ve been doing, but Method B is now also a viable option, and here’s how the two compare. Of course, Method C’s been around a long time as well but in my opinion and for these reasons it doesn’t suit your needs as well as A or B.”

            (You wouldn’t want an IT person who knows Method C intimately, and refuses to educate herself on Methods A and B because “all your needs can be met by Method C, even if I have to bash this square peg through this round hole to make that happen.”)

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Recently I took a test for a job that asked me to identify the floppy drive. REALLY?????

        THE FLOPPY DRIVE????

        It was government, if that gives you a clue. Either they hadn’t updated the test in a while, or the equipment, I’m not sure which. The latter option was way scarier!

        1. Kou*

          The equipment, I guarantee you. And the technology in general, because once you get something in the first place you never again get money to upgrade it. Last I heard the entire state of California’s payroll system was done in COBOL.

        2. Hai*

          We had tape decks at my federal job. Good thing I remembered all the tricks I learned as a child of the 80s.

          1. Rana*

            Man, I remember those. One of my first jobs out of high school involved remembering to switch out the back-up tapes at the end of the day.

    2. Sam*

      Hmm, I would guess that having a EdD and working in higher education is quite different. In my own experience in academia, there was a clear ceiling if you did not have advanced degrees. And in some cases, a doctoral degree was worth more than 10+ years of relevant experience.

      1. LJL*

        Amen, Sam. And after you receive a doctorate, your colleagues without doctorates may perceive you differently and interact with you in a different way. Degrees may not mean much elsewhere, but in higher ed they are vital. Also, as a result of your education, you begin to see things in a different (often more holistic) way. It’s possible that you may not be satisfied with what satisfied you pre-doc. You will see things as a professional, but in some people may still see you as a student. I’ve seen it happen to other people. Good luck with the next step, whether it is looking outside or moving up within your institution.

  9. Sydney*

    4. We hire interns occasionally at my company and the reason they have to be enrolled is because our local university pays half the hourly wages. In this case, it’s not because WE only want current students, it’s because it’s a part of the internship program.

    I have had multiple grads apply for internship positions and while I would have liked to hire a few, they weren’t eligible for the program. I did tell a couple of them if they enrolled and took one class they would quality, but they decided to look for other jobs.

    Can’t hurt to apply, that’s for sure. You might also find another open position this way.

    1. JT*

      Asking the interns to enroll to be eligible means asking them to pay the school so the school can cover part of their pay. Seems a little convoluted.

      Also, what if a student wanted an internship with you, was enrolled in a course at a school that doesn’t cover half wages. What would happen then?

      1. Natalie*

        Not necessarily – there is some way to partially fund internships through federal work study. I don’t know the details but that was fairly common at my college.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I think it helps if you think of internships as practical labs. You’re in the field, doing practical exercises of the type you would do on the job. If you get paid, that’s gravy. It’s like student teaching.

      I have to do an internship for the writing degree I’m set to begin next month. UGH. The program director told me that a lot of students do them remotely.

  10. fposte*

    #7: I wouldn’t hang onto an outgrown job based on a university’s five-year plan; universities always have five-year plans (seriously, Google “five year plan” and “university”). Even if they do execute it, it involves no promise to you; even if your office expands it’s possible that the new opportunities would be for new hires. That doesn’t mean you close off the possibilities, and it’s worth talking to the highest person you can up the chain to see whether the office might expand and when, and whether your vision (now’s the time to express that) might have a place there. But you can also leave and come back if positions do open up.

    But I’m also getting messages from you that would count as mixed if you were in my university. You’re talking about wanting to do more research, but it doesn’t sound like you’re in a group that does research, and generally unit expansion doesn’t include conversion to research. Around here it’s tough to have a research career arc if you’re not tenure-stream faculty (I’m doing it, but it’s complicated and I don’t know many others). Are you wanting to move to a faculty track with your EdD, or to move outside the university? It sounds a little in your query like you’re talking about moving outside the university–would there be a research element, like at a foundation or something?

  11. Frances*

    #7 – I’ve worked in higher education administration for almost a decade and the one thing I’ve learned is to never count on any advancement opportunities until you actually sign the offer letter — the fickle nature of funding in academia makes it far too likely that plans change, get delayed for a few years, or scrapped entirely.

    You should definitely speak to your manager about what might be possible with the new funding and what timeline they see for its implementation, but if your current position is not what you want, start looking elsewhere now (or as soon as you finish your degree). If new opportunities open at your current department before you find a new job, great, if not, you haven’t waited around for nothing.

  12. Christine*

    #4 – Internships: This was a problem I ran into. Since I was looking to change direction in my career, people suggested I look for internships, but so many require you to be a current student, or perhaps newly graduated.

    #5 – Start date getting pushed back: I think it is fairly common to have a start date pushed back; I had one job pushed back by a week because much of the department I was hired to was away at a conference (IIRC). Things do happen, schedules get a little cuckoo. But in the OP’s case, it does seem disorganized and could be a red flag.

    #7 – Thank you Alison, I now have “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash in my head. LOL.

  13. Sam*

    For #7…

    Look elsewhere. Most doctoral grads do NOT stay employed at the institution that granted their degree. (Possible exception for folks in very, very small niche fields.) Your new degree should really be providing an opportunity for a major jump in your career trajectory. You will want – and need – experience elsewhere to continue career growth. Staying there is like career stagnation. And finally, there’s the respect factor. In some cases – not all, but some – the colleagues that knew you as a grad student won’t change the way they interact with you after you graduate. You will feel different, but they won’t. A brand new set of bosses and colleagues who know you only as a EdD will likely treat you differently.

    1. fposte*

      It sounds like the OP is an academic professional rather than faculty, though; there’s a lot less resistance to hiring indigenous doctorates as AP than as faculty, especially if they go somewhere else in the meantime.

  14. April*

    #4 – We require interns to currently be an undergrad/grad/post-grad student. We also pay very well. Our reasoning is that our intern program in is addition to the regular positions that we need to operate as a company. The intern program is a learning experience for the students, they get to work on a specific project (that begins and ends with their internship dates), and it’s about giving back to the community.

    One of our rules is that we don’t hire current students for our regular positions (you can’t turn your internship role into a full-time role). If you’ve already graduated, we’d love for you to apply to one of our open positions – not the student intern positions.

    1. Maria*

      That is nice. I would love to apply for the full time jobs. If only the open positions didn’t require at least 2-5 years of experience which I can’t get short of an internship which I can’t take because I’m no longer a student. It is so bad that I’ve considered going back part time for a certificate just so that i can apply for internships. That is… impying that there are entry level full time jobs open which dont require years of experience. If i had known i needed 2-5 years of experience when i graduated i wouldnt have made a lot of the choices i made, namely going to school right after high school and studying abroad. Both were stupid ideas because neither havehepled me get a job. Study abroad programs should be removed. They are great for personal development, but not helpful in job land. If you plan on having a job after collegd instead of going straight to your masters, dont do it. It will olny hurt you.

  15. Wilton Businessman*

    1. If they are asking you, there is a good chance they will pay. However you must be prepared to pay for your own travel. I know it can be a hardship, but this is what your emergency fund is for. If they do offer you a job and they don’t pay for your travel, it is not unreasonable to ask for a signing bonus to cover the expenses. (and for all you people that think I’m a 1%er because I assume she has an emergency fund, she already stated she could break into it)

    2. I am horrible with names. One of the tactics I use is to ask them “Could you spell that for me?” and write it down. You could use the same tactic by calling the main number and saying you spoke with the “xyz manager” last week and you wanted to spell her name correctly.

    3. It means HR has got a lot of complaints about this pair and she wants to make sure you can handle it.

    4. Stop looking for an internship and start looking for a job.

    5. You need to keep looking. If it comes through, great. but you’ve got to be prepared in case it doesn’t.

    6. I want X, Y, and Z. You sent X and Y. I am moving on to the next person that can follow directions.

    7. Sounds like it’s time to move on.

    1. some1*

      “2. I am horrible with names. One of the tactics I use is to ask them “Could you spell that for me?” and write it down.

      What if the name is something like Bill or Chuck, aren’t you afraid of looking unintelligent for not knowing how to spell that?

      1. Wilton Businessman*

        Easy… “Oh no, I meant his last name”.

        Yes, there is a chance it could be Bill Smith, but you can always ad-lib and say you didn’t know if it was ythe or ith.

    2. AJ-in-Memphis*

      Ummm, it’s really not that easy to a job these jobs without some experience. This blanket statement of “stop looking for internships and look for a job” is MUCH easier said than done – even for a college graduate or a person who has been in the workforce for a while. An internship is a good to get into a company instead of just applying for every job available and not getting hired.

      1. Wilton Businessman*

        I disagree. If you have graduated, you are theoretically ready for a full time job. Value your time and employers will value it too.

        1. AJ-in-Memphis*

          Maybe in the old days, getting a job out of college was possible and easy… But things have changed and these companies are going for it. I’ve had interns who’ve graduate college, been in previous full time jobs and looking to make a career switch. I couldn’t hire them (we’re a small non-profit) but the experience was valuable for their goals. I started as an intern here while in graduate school along WITH a full time job and classes. Now I run the department. You can’t tell me that simply graduating from college is enough. Work experience in that field is NECESSARY. An internship is not a waste of time and don’t let anyone tell you other wise.

          1. AEH*

            Re: #4 – Internships are absolutely work experiences, and far from a waste of time. In this job economy, internships can be a great gateway to new fields for recent post-grads who are looking to switch career tracks. I’m a recent grad who is currently employed, and in order to move into the field I’m interested, I need more experience. And internship is a great way for me to gain new skills and make new contacts. As AJ said, work is experience is necessary. It doesn’t take a degree to just step from a college into a full-time position.

            (Thanks, AJ!)

      2. Lulula*

        This – I’m working with a career coach who keeps telling me I should try to get an internship somewhere if I identify a field I’m interested in. Not only is it a way to get into a company, it’s also a way to gain experience in a new field where you wouldn’t be perceived as a strong hire due to lack of experience. While in a perfect world we would all have determined our life path at age 18, done a straight shot through college and emerged in an unchanged world with an array of related opportunities and logical progression, this just doesn’t happen for many of us. And sometimes the only way to get additional experience is to work for free/negligible pay, particularly in this risk-averse market.

  16. Ramona*

    #2 – Stop being “notoriously bad” with names. You know it’s a problem – fix it! There are lots of memory tricks out there for remembering people’s names. This matters in the business world. Isn’t it awesome to meet someone who can memorize names right off the bat? That’s who you want to be! Good luck.

  17. AJ-in-Memphis*

    #4 – The University of Memphis allows alumni to get internships through their Career Services. It’s considered “post-grad” as well. You may want to check with the college you graduated from to see if they offer this option as well as general job search options and workshops for those who have already graduated. If you’re living far away, check out the services and job they offer online. You never know what you might find. Companies from all over regularly the services of the colleges and universities.

  18. JG*

    #7 – I think some of the mixed messages people have been posting about the value of an advanced degree for university employees is due to the divide between staff and faculty positions. It sounds like #7 is in a staff position, and in my experience staff are rarely rewarded with promotions/raises when they obtain degrees.

    On the faculty and high level administrator side however it’s very different. Your rank, pay, and position type are very closely tied to your degree, and not having a Ph.D. will automatically disqualify you from many of the top level positions.

    I think #7 should probably move on since the degree and experience will likely make him/her a great candidate at another organization.

    1. Sam*

      If the OP is in a staff position that won’t reward EdD completion with a promotion or raise, they should definitely move on. I had assumed the OP was in a higher level role – something like project coordinator or program director – that requires/prefers advanced degrees.

      Either way, my advice is the same…. Time to move on.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, interesting. As far as I know, there are no pay bumps for degree acquisition for APs at our university; it does open some position doors for you, but it won’t just get you more pay for the same position.

        But it doesn’t ultimately matter; I’m with you in that the OP should go.

  19. Maja*

    I’m number 6 and I totally followed your advice, Alison! I got a Thank you note and they told me they will now consider me as a candidate. And thanks for all the others comments!

Comments are closed.