fast answer Friday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Should I interview my ex for a job managing me?

I’m assisting in the hiring for an open position at my company. Unless I change departments (which is feasible), this new hire will be my direct supervisor. I’m mid-level and the position is senior but not executive level.

Someone I dated a few years ago is applying for the position and is likely to be a candidate we want to interview. We only dated for about 6 months and it ended amicably. I think he might be great at the job, and I’d be very comfortable working with him but uncomfortable with him being my boss. Do I interview him just like I would any other candidate? Do I excuse myself due to a personal relationship? If he is hired, is there a way to work out the situation without the whole office knowing we used to be together?

(My ex knows the situation, but he knows I am considering leaving the company within the next year or so for other reasons entirely. At this point, I’m most concerned about how to handle the interview process because I think there will be options for altering my reporting structure if it gets to that point.)

Stop keeping this to yourself, and tell whoever is handling the hiring for this position. If you don’t speak up now but end up having to disclose it later, it’s going to seem really weird that you didn’t say something earlier! Go to whoever is handling the hiring and say, “This is a little weird, because I used to date this candidate. I do think he’d be good at the job, but obviously I think I should recuse myself from interviewing him.”

If he does progress in the hiring process, then talk to whoever’s appropriate about ensuring that you don’t report to him — no one is going to have trouble understanding why that’s necessary (and frankly, it may be make his candidacy prohibitive, but that’s up to the hiring manager to decide).

2. Health risks with using a shared office phone

Are there any known health issues with being forced to use a workplace phone that 6-8 different people use daily for work and personal calls?

I need to use the phone to do my work. But my employer has cut back on allowing desk to have a phone. I’m concerned about whether there are health issues with this practice. Could I contract a communicable disease this way? I do recall many years ago when I worked in the telecom industry that a former boss said something to me one day that day about how germs live in the mouthpiece of the phone and she believed that was a health concern of no minor consequence. I am very concerned about this as I work with a group of people with varying degrees of cleanliness!

I have no idea, although I’m sure you could Google it and find out — but keep in mind that you come in contact with all kinds of germy things every day, like money, shopping carts, public bathrooms, and more. But since you’re stuck in this situation and it’s making you uneasy, why not carry disinfecting wipes and wipe down the phone before using it each time?

3. “Reliable transportation” when you don’t own a car

I’m applying to a job that requires “reliable transportation” and occasional travel. I don’t own or want to own a car. If I got the job, however, I could theoretically rent a ZipCar when necessary. That’s could get expensive quickly, though! Is it too tacky to ask about potential rental reimbursements in the interview/negotiations process, since they’re looking for someone with “reliable transportation” in the first place? Is this something that can potentially be bargained over if they really like me, or does it fall more into the range of “why the heck did you even apply to this job?”

They’re telling you up-front that it requires reliable transportation, and you’re saying that you’d want them to pay for you to be obtain the transportation that they require you to already have. You could certainly go ahead and try it, but I think they’re likely to be irked unless you’re a really, really phenomenal candidate who they just can’t allow themselves to pass up. And even then, asking for reimbursement (beyond mileage for travel, which you’d normally get anyway) is pretty over the top in this context.

4. Remaining eligible for re-hire after an unreasonable manager blew up at me

This winter, I picked up a part-time seasonal job in addition to my full-time day job. When I was hired, my manager and I agreed to a very specific schedule. However, one of the shifts we had originally agreed to was no longer needed and he wanted me to work a different shift instead. Even thought this new shift was very inconvenient, I agreed to do it, confirming a very specific schedule via email (including dates and times for every single shift I would work for the rest of the season).

However, these shifts kept getting longer and he also scheduled me for additional days I was unable to work. When I talked to him about this, telling him I am only available for the dates and times that we agreed to via email, he blew a gasket. He was angry and used unprofessional language. He also said that if I didn’t work those shifts, he would make me ineligible for rehire. He was so mad he demanded that I leave. Later, he called me to tell me he was taking me off the schedule for the rest of the reason.

While I have no desire to ever work for this manager again, the company is a large one and I would like to be eligible to apply for jobs in different departments. They have no performance-based reason to make me ineligible for rehire. How would you recommend I approach this situation?

Contact the company’s HR department, explain what happened (professionally and without malice), and ask how you can ensure that you’re eligible for re-hire in the future.

5. Are creative job titles silly?

I recently read some articles about employees creating their own job title and encouraging people to start doing that for themselves. For example, instead of “customer service representative,” one could call themselves “colonel of service.”

Personally, I can see doing this on your LinkedIn profile under your headline (I’ve done that for myself), but I’m not sure how I feel about changing my resume. What do you think? Is this innovative or silly?

Silly. Your title is supposed to quickly convey to other people what you do, with as much clarity as possible. Resist the temptation.

6. Telling future employers about a raise I would have received if I’d stayed in my old job

I recently decided to leave my current employment to move with my fiance to her graduate program. I helped hire my replacement, and in the process I learned that he will be paid considerably more than me and receive a job title more appropriate to the position. This was inconsiderate of my boss, since I have asked for these things in the past but been denied, partly because my boss and HR both knew that I would be moving on eventually. While I understand why they wouldn’t feel it’s a good allocation of funds at this point, I’m worried that it will hurt me in salary negotiations. I work in IT and am paid well at the bottom end of the pay scale (below the bottom end, in fact). My job was not initially IT, but my employer decided they needed me there instead of in my original position but kept my job description and salary the same.

My boss told me that even though I wouldn’t receive a raise to match my successor’s salary, I should say that I would have been eligible for that raise this summer had I stayed, and that he would mention it in my reference. Will that help? Will future employers care what I would have been paid, or is it all about my actual ending salary?

You can say it, but generally it’s not going to have a huge impact; when you’re dealing with companies that care about salary history, it’s more about your actual ending salary. However, you’re better off sharing not your salary history anyway, when you can avoid it. If you can’t, consider building a case for why you deserve more money anyway (like I talk about here).

7. Will recruiters tell my employer I’m looking?

I work in a mid-sized city and I am thinking of leaving my job. Due to LinkedIn, I can see that in some cases, recruiters at the major employers I am looking at have worked at my company in the past or have worked with current employees of my company. Therefore, they have connections with recruiters and management of my company. As a result, I am hesitant to submit my resume to these companies or contact the recruiter for more information without risking my manager finding out. What do you think? Is there an un-said rule not to contact the current employer?

Generally, yes, and recruiters have incentive to follow that rule because they want to place candidates and they want other candidates to be willing to work with them in the future. They don’t want to get a reputation for screwing people over like that. That doesn’t mean there’s zero risk, but it’s fairly low.

{ 123 comments… read them below }

  1. CatB*

    #2 (phone as a health risk): I personally wouldn’t worry that much, unless of course there is someone known to have a contagious disease of the very aggressive kind. In fact I think I remember that the regular cellphone has more germs that the regular toilet seat (this is somewhere on the net for sure). As Alison said, many objects you touch on a daily basis are way more loaded with germs.

    It might be useful also to remember that immunity works a lot like a muscle: you have to flex it to have it in working order. Exposure to the regular, mild germs load is beneficial, it keeps the immune system on its toes.

    All the above is valid under normal circumstances, of course. If anything is not, than you have to take due measures.

    1. RF*

      Also something to remember: the total number of germs does not tell you anything about whether something poses a health risk or not. It’s the type of bacteria/etc. that’s on it + whether there’s sufficient quantities of it + whether they can actually survive in that envorinment (most viruses are noncontagious pretty quickly when not in a moist environment) + whether you can actually get infected by the kind of contact you have with that object.

      For example, I suppose it would even be pretty hard getting infected with the flu if someone had sneezed on the phone 5 minutes prior and you touched it, because infection with influenza requires the virus to have contact with muscous membranes.

      That’s not to say people should feel free to sneeze on phones or that this transmission never happens. Just not that likely.

    2. Lillie Lane*

      Oh, dear, this reminds me of the old lady that would use the pay phone at our local grocery store (my mom worked at the customer service desk). She demanded that the store disinfect the phone before she used it, but they refused, so she would come in and wrap/rubberband grocery bags around both ends of the receiver. She was hard of hearing to begin with, so my mom could never understand how she could hear anything through the muffled, crinkly plastic. She would come in daily and yell into the bagged phone and then stop at the service counter to complain about their germy phone.

      She also hated the customers that wouldn’t let her touch their groceries (even cereal boxes, etc.) and would insist on scanning their own groceries (this was not a self-checkout). These people apparently didnt realize that their stuff had already been handled by dozens of unknown employees and customers.

  2. Eve*

    I’ve seen some fairly vague and undescriptive jobs that are in fact the official job title such as “front of the house”, “crew member” and “coordinator”. Would it be okay to change the job title on LinkedIn for the sake of clarity?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The only tricky thing is that you want to ensure that if a reference-checker calls that employer, it doesn’t seem like you were deliberately misleading about your title. Making something more clear on LinkedIn is probably fine, as long as it’s not done in such a way that it would appear misleading to someone in the know and as long as you’re not going from “coordinator” to “VP” or something like that.

      1. kasey*

        I am battling (sort of) the opposite; my last title was Director of Teapots- (I am experienced, but this was my first Teapot job so to speak) basically b/c he owner of the firm was super surfacey and fancy titles make the company seem like a bit less of a Potemkin village. The firm had super fancy offices too and owed money all over town. Anyway, I am trying to dig out of that title- the work was more along the lines of Coordinator or Manager, but I think when folks see “Director” they think expensive or super experienced, when in fact (in that particular field) I am neither.

        1. Jamie*

          I totally read that as Pokemon village – hee.

          And yes, our point illustrates why it’s so important that titles are accurate and have some industry meaning – allowing for differences in scope due to company size, of course.

          I would love a conversion caluclator for titles when moving to a larger company.

      2. just me*

        I have a job title of ” Sales Clerk “. No I do not work for a drug store or retail store. I work in a sales and marketing in a software company.

        For all intensive purposes I am an admin asst. I order lunch, supplies, send mail, maintain data bases, put together marketing materials etc.

        So if I were to apply to another job outside the company and they see “sales clerk” won’t that initially look funny? I would not change my title at all but maybe ” Sales Clerk ” with Administrative Assistant in ( ) beside it? Not looking now but I have always wondered how I would address that.

    2. FormerManager*

      My trick (and I did work somewhere with a strange title that was very company-specific) has been put my actual role in parenthesis after the title on my resume and LinkedIn. For example:

      Chocolate Teapot Wizard (Role: Product Designer)

      1. mollsbot (OP #5)*

        That’s a good trick! I still think I would be nervous about changing my actual resume. If I was in a creative field I think I would have no hesitation. Alas, that is not my field.

        1. FormerManager*

          Sadly weird titles seem to be moving into other industries and fields–I think Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer used to have the official title of Chief Paranoid Yahoo. How someone can put that on their resume and not cringe is beyond me…

      2. perrik*

        One of my former employers had standard job titles that encompassed a wide range of actual responsibility sets that were considered on par with each other in terms of level. I was officially a Teapot Assistant but my actual set of duties encompassed spout testing while another Teapot Assistant was actually coordinating the pattern catalog. My resume says “Teapot Assistant (functional title: Spout Tester)”

        The feds also do this. When I was looking at fed jobs, the title for my target positions was Management/Program Analyst. However, that was also the title for a slew of other types of positions that ranged all over the place.

        1. Anonymous*

          In a case like this, would it be bad to put “Teapot Analyst (Spout Testing)” and just omit the whole “role” or “functional title” bit?

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            I still quite like the idea of being “Supreme Secretarial Being (Chocolate Teapot Coordination)”!

  3. PEBCAK*

    I’m reading #3 a little differently: it sounds like she has “reliable transportation” to get to/from her main place of work; the issue is what she would have to do for the occasional travel situation. While a car owner would drive a few hours and put through the per-mileage reimbursement per company policy, she’d have to rent a car and go that route.

    That said, I think the answer remains the same: suck up the cost of a ZipCar on her own, or for full-day trips, look into rentals from the major companies. In fact, the company may have a deal with one of the big companies, so you could use their discount even if you have to pay part of the cost.

    1. Ali_R*

      For anything beyond a quick trip to a mega store the big car rentals are a lot cheaper than a zip car. (At least in the cities I’ve experienced.) Rentals in the city avoid the high taxes typically added onto airport site rentals. I’ve even once found it more economical to rent a car for a road trip rather than use my SUV.

      …And I got the same impression as well; that the letter writer was okay on getting to work, which is the real meaning of reliable transportation anyway, right?

      1. Katie*

        I agree that if she can reliably get to the job, whether that is by bus, train, or walking, she pretty much has reliable transportation.

        I would say this is something to ask about after you’ve been offered the job, or honestly the first time a travel situation comes up. Who knows, you might be able to carpool with a co-worker or something. Unless this is a job with a lot of travelling, I don’t think it will be a huge issue.

      2. Kara*

        Yep, if you need a car for more than, say, four hours, renting through any of the big companies (Avis, National, Budger, etc.) is more cost-effective than ZipCar. I get the impression that “reliable transportation to work” for the OP is public transportation and s/he’d be renting something for business travel, so I’d ask for clarification.

        1. twentymilehike*

          Oh, I have a Budget frequent renter account from when I had my crappy car …. Renting a car with a membership for one weekend a month was a lot cheaper than having a car payment, and I still had my beater to get me around town, and I rode my motorcycle on the days that my beater started giving me trouble. There are also a few perks and a lot of discounts if you are a frequent renter, so it can be a lot cheaper than owning a car that is as nice as one you can rent :)

          I have always interpreted “reliable transportion” as meaning you can get to work on time, won’t call in and say, “my car won’t start!” and if we need you to run an errand it’s not a Big Deal. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for clarification … afterall feet can even be a very reliable mode of transportation if the circumstances allow.

      3. Jamie*

        What’s a zip car?

        And I’ve always thought of reliable transportation as being code for “do you have a car that won’t continually breakdown?” I understand that for some people public transportation may be considered reliable, but it still reads to me like code to make sure people aren’t dependent on public transport or rides to get to work.

        Just like in real estate ads how cozy is code for so tiny don’t even think of two people in the kitchen at the same time and rustic means us better be awesome at DIY because here might not be a roof.

        1. K*

          I think it depends on the location. In some cities, public transportation is more reliable than driving because traffic is so unpredictable but subway systems aren’t affected by that. Or, to be honest, I live walking distance from my office. I don’t have a car but that’s as reliable as it gets. That said, I’ve never seen a DC ad list “reliable transportation needed” probably for that reason.

          Zip car is a car share service where you can rent a car by the hour. Gas is included as is insurance so it can be a great bargain for short rentals.

          1. Eric*

            I’m in DC, too, and walk to work. But if I saw an ad that said reliable transportation was required, I would assume that would mean I need a car.

            1. K*

              I would too but only because it would be so weird to assume you needed a car to get to work reliably in D.C. I feel like there’s a clearer way to state “you will need a car to carry out the duties of this position,” though.

        2. Runon*

          Zip car is a car you can rent by the hour (or less/more).

          I think it is code but I think that public transit can be (depending on your location/willingness to walk etc) far more reliable than a car. Assuming that public transit is unreliable is ignoring the fact that public transit is almost always running, cars break down and have flat tires often. Someone who is going to be unreliable as a person will do so no matter their mode of transport. People who are timely will be on time consistently regardless of their way of arriving. It isn’t about the mode, it is about the person.

          1. Jamie*

            That depends on the location. Even in major cities public transportation isn’t created equally. Of you’ve had to close early or entirely FAR more often because the people taking busses couldn’t get in when the drivers were all there it can be a huge concern.

            Even in cities with mass transit there can be pockets where its less reliable. But I do agree, in some areas it can be more reliable than driving – maybe in those places it’s pt code.

            Although a car breaking down regularly or getting flats often is not reliable either. I’ve had one flat in the last 20 years and the odds of my car breaking down on the way to work are much less than train/bus problems where I work.

            1. K*

              Heh, I’ve had the opposite experience. In major(ish) snow storms, the freeways might be completely unworkable but people who walk or take public transportation can get in just fine.

            2. Victoria Nonprofit*

              Heh, yeah. I lived in Philly for he last several years and took SEPTA to work. At least six times in
              Four years the trains didn’t run at all; three times I got into work but the trains were totally cancelled for several hours trying to leave. They were late at least 50% of the time, noticeably late (10 minutes or more) at least once a week.

              The other ten years of my career? I’ve never been late or missed work or whatever other than by choice or by my own fault (as in, decided to stop for coffee even high I knew it would make me let, etc.).

              1. Zed*

                Funny – I have been taking SEPTA to work or school for almost 15 years, and I have had an almost completely opposite experience! In my experience, people who take public transit are MORE reliable in bad weather because the subways run with no trouble even when the roads are bad. I can’t remember the last time that the Broad Street or Market-Frankford line shut down when it wasn’t due to an impending hurricane or a 3+ ft. blizzard. And those were all days when most people who drive to work wouldn’t be driving anyway.

                However, I gather from your comment that you take the regional rail? That might account for the difference – it seems like the regional rails are always shutting down because of snow/slippery leaves!

            3. FormerManager*

              I live in the D.C. area and some of the suburbs, particularly outer suburbs in NoVa have areas where transit is non-existent. Or PT requires changing buses three times, along with a subway ride, which can be problematic for timing your commute in order to transfer.

              When I was in college looking for internships, I remember a well-known concert venue/performing arts venue in NoVa specifically stated a car was a “requirement” in their ad as their location is off the beaten public transit path.

            4. Laura L*

              Yes! Some cities *cough*DC*cough* have great subway service (and decent bus service) during rush hour (meaning, you don’t have to wait long for a train). However, at nights and on weekends the service sucks. Trains come once every 15-20 minutes, which requires lots of planning ahead and possibly getting to where you’re going way early.

              It really depends where in the city you live. City cores tend to have more options that run more frequently than other neighborhoods.

              And if you’re out in the suburbs, good luck.

              When I was unemployed and living with my parents in a suburb of Chicago, I took some classes at a community college. There was a bus that went there that stopped near my house. And the school offered discount bus passes to students. So, theoretically, I could have taken public transit.

              In reality, the buses ran only once an hour and it took 45-60 minutes to get from home to school, whereas driving it took 15-20, unless traffic was bad.

              1. Another Jamie*

                Ha! Every 15 minutes is the “rush hour” schedule in my city. Weekends are awful: busses come once an hour and are often 15-30 minutes late. Even on weekdays, a bunch of lines stop running at 6 pm.

                Still, when I didn’t have a car, I considered public transportation to be reliable. It was a giant pain for me, and I ended up too early a bunch of times, but I could plan well enough to make it reliable.

                I do agree that in places like my city, “reliable transportation” is code for “has a car,” which kind of bothers me. I had a boss that hated when people carpooled. He thought they used it as an excuse to leave on-time every day. (The nerve!) Those co-workers were all more than willing to stay late when necessary, but they did need to plan for it. I know it isn’t meant this way, but “reliable transportation” for jobs that don’t require driving around during work always reads to me as “no consideration for things that happen outside of your control.”

            5. TL*

              In Texas, only one city (Austin) has decent public transportation and even then it’ll take you an hour+ to cover the distance of a 20 minute car ride (more, in rush hour traffic). And the farther you get from downtown, the worse it is.
              And walking and biking are not reliable in most cities – everything’s really spread out and the heat is prohibitive for most of the year. Even a short bike ride in the summer means you’re most likely coming into work all sweaty and nasty.
              In Austin, when an employer asks for reliable transportation, they are asking for a car – it usually means they will be asking you to work offsite or odd hours or something.

          2. Kara*

            Depends on where you are and what kind of car you drive. One of my first bosses had a Subaru that had like 200K miles on it; she’d had it at least 15 years and never did more than routine maintenance. It never failed her. A car was required for that job; it was in Philly but getting all over Philly on SEPTA (public transit) was time-consuming. If you had to get to Northeast Philly from our office (our office had branches all over the city and we had meetings at various ones), you were far better off driving, especially during off-peak times.

            1. Jamie*

              A15 year old Subaru with 200k miles is still a baby. Those things run forever with just routine maintenance.

              1. Kara*

                Yeah, this was 10 years ago and if I found out she was still driving it, I wouldn’t really be surprised. She was so proud of it, it was awesome.

                1. Andrew*

                  Here in the Boston area it seems like every other vehicle is a Subaru, and they are frequently well over 10 years old.

              2. perrik*

                Or even if you forget to do routine maintenance. I somehow managed not to kill my previous Subie despite that – so I gave it to the fire department. They love Subarus for jaws-of-life practice because they’re so tough to rip apart. My current one is 10 years old with 120k miles on it, so it’s just barely broken in…

          3. ThursdaysGeek*

            I wish our public transit were almost always running! I only runs Monday – Saturday, about 6 am to 6 pm, and on a half hour schedule for the core routes, 2 hour schedule for the outlying. So, unless you have a very regular 8-5 job and don’t live too far out, it’s not very useful. Everyone at the minimum wage/fast food/Walmart type jobs who can’t afford a car? Too bad, because the buses won’t fit your schedule.

        3. twentymilehike*

          Just like in real estate ads how cozy is code for so tiny don’t even think of two people in the kitchen at the same time and rustic means us better be awesome at DIY because here might not be a roof.

          I snorted at this. So funny … so true. LOL

        4. Lynn*

          I don’t think of it as code for “reliable car” necessarily. I read it more as an employer who has been burned in the past by endless drama surrounding getting to work on time. “My car wouldn’t start.” “My roommate is supposed to give me a lift, but we had a fight… blah blah blah excusecakes…” “The bus didn’t come.” “My apartment complex changed the rules about storing bicycles, and with the new system…” So they are stating up front “I don’t care how you do it, but your butt better be here on time every day, and I want NO DRAMA about transportation difficulties.”

        5. Andrew*

          Zipcar is a company name; they pioneered the rent for a few hours business, and they’re still the industry leader.

        6. Jennifer*

          Yeah, as a non-car owner/Zipcar user, I interpret “reliable transportation” to mean, “must own car, that is not a constantly breaking down beater.” That kind of job usually means they intend on you driving a lot for and during work–and public transit isn’t okay.

          I suspect this is not the job for #3, under those circumstances.

    2. Runon*

      I agree. I’d take a look at the job but my experience is my “reliable transportation” is code for “we’ve had a lot of people who just stopped showing up to work or continually came in late and blamed it in lack if transportation”. I’d check to make sure the job doesn’t require much travel Otherwise I’ve only had one day in my city in my working life where the busses didn’t run, that’s pretty reliable.

  4. anon*

    #3 Having experienced staff who thougt that carpooling with someone who worked in the area, and public transport in a non city setting counted as reliable, we started asking that very question.

    I need you to be able to go where and when i need you. Possibly at the drop of a hat. And there is no way that i would reimburse for rental costs. Not having a car is your choice.

    1. Jeff*

      If a vehicle is needed to perform the duties of the job then it is the responsibility of the employer to provide it. (Or provide a generous vehicle allowance).

      Just like you probably provide your employees with a desk or a computer or office supplies, etc…, and not require them to bring their own to work. Or if it’s warehouse work you would not expect your employees to bring their forklifts to perform their job duties.

      The employee’s responsibility is getting to and from the office each shift. Why in the world would you expect your employees to use their own money (to buy and maintain a vehicle) to subsidize your business??

      Not providing the appropriate tools for your employees to do their jobs is your choice.

        1. Jeff*

          I agree that is how it often works, I just disagree that it is even remotely fair to the employee.

          That is why I mentioned “subsidize your business”. These days the cost of many non-luxury vehicles is equal to or mare than a person’s annual salary. So the employer is getting a free ride so to speak.

          No up front cost for the employer; they simply pay a small amount that helps cover day-to-day operating expenses (the per/km rate); and the employee is stuck covering the bulk of the costs such as the monthly payments, the depreciation and the cost of replacing the vehicle once it wears out prematurely (from having been used to do the employers bidding day in and day out) or when the employer tells them that the vehicle is too old and isn’t appropriate for the company image and it must be replaced or the employee will be fired.

          But I do agree that that is how many companies treat their employees.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            So if someone needs a car to go to meetings twice a week, the company should give them a company car? Come on.

            Employers generally pay mileage in that case, which covers gas and wear and tear. Most people have zero issue with this. But if you don’t want those jobs, don’t take them.

            1. Jeff*

              As I mentioned below, I don’t even apply for those jobs.

              But to answer your question – the company can provide taxi fare to the meetings, some more progressive companies (in larger cities) have memberships in car co-ops for their employees to use, or they can have a company vehicle(s) that are for general company use (eg. not assigned to one particular employee).

              Many good companies do this. It’s the cost of doing business. If a company can’t afford it then they can get out of business.

                1. Jeff*

                  How is it any different than saying:

                  “But if you don’t want those jobs, don’t take them.”

                  It is just a matter of which side you are looking at it from.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Because it’s like saying “If you don’t want to work for a jerk, get out of the job market.”

                  Making a reasonable choice not to do something doesn’t mean you should get out of business or the job market.

            2. Editor*

              Before the recession, I would have said that AAM”s position is reasonable — some car use is needed, and it is easier for the employer to reimburse.

              Since then, I am less sympathetic. My last employer required me to have a cell phone, but dropped the monthly reimbursement. The mileage reimbursement never got over 30 cents a mile and the complexities of filing increased. Then the payment of reimbursements went to six or eight weeks instead of the paycheck after the end of the month. All of those were effectively pay cuts.

              I was job hunting, of course, but didn’t land anything. Frankly, I was pretty angry that along with ending raise and increasing the employee contributions and penalties for health insurance, we got stuck with subsidizing work expenses.

              And for anon, to complain about people who carpool is to ask for a subsidy from the public purse. The reason governments encourage carpooling is to cut down on road wear and tear. Insisting all workers drive individually instead of carpooling or using public transportation is a version of insisting that the worker and the government provide the business with resources that cost more than another business that pays equal taxes but doesn’t require as much road use or contribute to vehicular pollution or congestion.

              People take cars and roads for granted. They shouldn’t.

          2. EngineerGirl*

            This is crazy. Employment is an agreement between two entities for the mutual benefit of both. A contract is negotiated between the two parties. The terms and conditions may be salary, health insurance, computer, etc. Either party can choose change the contract. If accepted, they go forward. If not, the relationship is severed. That’s how it works.

            If it is in the companies interest to offer the car they will. If it is in the employees interest to get a car they will. But demanding a car isn’t reasonable in a symbiotic relationship. Make a case for it if you want it. But if a company can get many employees without offering a car they won’t. That will eat into profitability.

      1. Jamie*

        Some positions require suits and a nice wardrobe, its not up to the employer to provide those.

        It’s totally common and normal to have a car as a job requirement – if one doesn’t have one they shouldn’t apply to those jobs.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          And sometimes mechanics have to bring their own tools.

          We owned a franchise where employees had to own a car to drive to different job locations during the day. We reimbursed mileage in accordance with IRS rates. People were definitely free to quit the job or not take the job to begin with, and people were fired over lack of reliable transportation (as well as being batshit crazy). You don’t normally want to provide a compay vehicle to batshit crazy types, and that’s what you attract for low-paid manual labor work in my area.

          1. Jeff*

            “low-paid manual labor”

            Well, I guess you get what you pay for. Not trying to be snarky, but c’mon, the solution is easy. You would be amazed at how the calibre of potential employees rises in direct proportion to the compensation offered.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              If they don’t need to pay more than market and they get the results they need with what they’re doing, there’s no business incentive to change it. I don’t think you’re being practical with your comments here!

              1. Jeff*

                AnotherAlison said the wages being offered were attracting “batshit crazy types”, that doesn’t really sound practical either.

                Based on her description of the candidates being attracted by the market wages, it sounds like paying a higher wage would be beneficial.

        2. Jeff*

          I do not apply to those jobs (or the ones that have a dress code), but I feel strongly about the subject and what it says to me about how they run their companies. But I am sure many others may not have the luxury of being so choosy all the time.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It really says something to you about how a company runs that they don’t provide a company car to someone who needs to go to meetings twice a week? That’s how nearly every company in America runs, and most people think it’s pretty damn reasonable. I’m baffled here.

            1. Jeff*

              To quote Goldie Hawn from “Butterflies Are Free”:

              “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

              Just because companies have been able to convince most people that something is right, doesn’t mean it is. I know my opinion is in the minority, but I am equally baffled as to why people would agree to subsidy to “for profit” businesses.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                That’s why companies pay mileage — to cover the costs.

                Do you also think they should pay for employees’ work clothes, briefcases, education, transportation to and from work, and the haircuts required to look professional?

                1. Jeff*

                  Some companies do all of the above, and I actually worked for a photocopier company that was one of them (ok, except for the haircuts).

                  education – they specifically and exclusively hired copier technicians with no experience in that field. They would then send the new employees for 5 weeks training to become copier technician, and pay for any future training needed for new technologies.

                  work clothes – they required the technicians to wear dress clothes on the job, so during the initial training an Operatons Manager would take the class to a nearby mall and buy them each a pair of dress shoes, 3 each of pants/shirts/ties/socks of the employees choosing (within company standards).

                  transportation to and from work – a company p/u truck was needed to perform the job duties and each technician was provided with one. In addition, the employees used the vehicle to get to and from work (cheaper for the company than trying to provide secure storage at the office), AND the company allowed the vehicle to be used for personal use as long as the employee paid for a small portion of personal use fuel.

                  briefcase – toolkits for technicians were in modified briefcases. This briefcase and all the tools in it were provided by the company.

                  This company is American (with branches also in Canada and Europe), it is still in business 20 years after I left.

                  So this type business model does exist. I would also mention that this company had lower employee turnover that any other that I have worked at – not surprising.

          2. Jamie*

            That’s actually how I feel about companies that require employees to use their own cell phones – I oppose it on principle no matter how many people tell me its common and that why don’t mine. It’s good for people to know this r own deal breakers – I respect that.

      2. Lisa*

        Yes, if it is their main job task is to use a vehicle most large companies offer a vehicle. A class A truck driver obv uses the company truck. But then you have UPS that makes some people independent contractors using their own vans for delivery. You have a pizza delivery guy, they generally use their own car. Same with flowers. You can’t expect the employer to pay for a $15-23k car for someone that needs to go to client meetings 2x a week.

        And how unfair is it to the car-owning employee that leaves the office at 1 to get to a client office by 1:30pm, when their car-free co-worker must leave at 11 to take a train, 2 buses and walk 10 min to be on time to the same location when its his turn to go? Car-owner is working that entire 2 hours, while car-free person might be playing scramble while taking longer transportation. As an employer, I would not want to pay for that lost two hours of work.

      3. Joey*

        Good luck with that! And to clarify, technically you don’t usually have to own a car. You just have to be able to get the job done. Whether that’s having someone tote you around or you borrow a car or owning a car most places won’t care as long as its reliable.

      4. Lindsay*

        What if the location of the office itself shifts? For example maybe you are a teacher that works in several different schools within a district or a manager in charge of multiple store locations in an area.

        You are required to have specialized knowledge in a lot of jobs, but you wouldn’t argue that the employer has to pay for the person’s degree so that that the employee isn’t subsidize the employer’s business.

        1. Jeff*

          Actually, the argument could be made that employers do subsidize the cost of the degrees after the fact by having to pay higher wages to obtain the services of those employees.
          Of course it depends a lot on the job market and the type of degree.

          I have had jobs (and currently do) where the employer had the foresight to look for the “right” candidate first, and then pay for that person’s training to acquire the specific skill for the job. Not a degree type time commitment, but still paying for 6 weeks of specialized training is not a small commitment for an employer these days.

          1. Anna*

            OK, but by that logic, companies are already subsidizing the costs of employees owning cars by having to pay higher wages to attract employees who have their own cars. So, whether the company provides the car or whether they provide the salary so that the employee can pay for their own car, the employer is ultimately paying the cost of the car, just like they’re paying the cost of the college degree and the clothes the employee wears and the tools necessary to do the job. And an employee will only accept a salary that covers the costs associated with the job along with the employee’s personal expenses. So, your position that those costs ought to be paid in addition to salary instead of being covered by the salary and paid by the employee is a little inconsistent.

            1. Editor*

              Maybe Jeff is a little inconsistent, Anna, but there are cases that are better examples.

              I worked for an employer in an industry that began imploding. So the subsidies for cell phones and for mileage and so on began disappearing or were paid later and later, and there were also no raises to make up for the loss of subsidies.

              Yes, I was looking for another job, but jobs were disappearing in my line of work. My company got away with having me subsidize their expenses. I realize that because so many people were out of work I had to swallow those costs, but frankly it doesn’t make me less angry (and I admit, part of the anger is because top management got bonuses for reducing expenses).

              An employer that demands a worker have a cell phone (a land line won’t do) and stops providing the phone and then stops providing the subsidy for the phone is not doing right by its employees. An employer who expects an employee to provide reliable transportation but lowballs mileage and delays paying it for longer and longer periods is not doing right.

              The point I would make is that this has been a slippery slope for employees, where having reliable transportation to go to a couple of meetings a week seems a reasonable practice to many. But there are employers who take advantage and require more and more of employees while avoiding the full expense of the transportation requirement, for instance, by paying low mileage reimbursements to employees who might not be able to itemize and thus recapture that money.

      5. Joey*

        That’s ridiculous.
        So should you get a stipend when they occassionally need to call you on your personal phone?
        Or pay for your lunch since you can’t eat at home?
        Or give you a stipend for daycare?

        Obviously you’re entitled to your opinion. But you’re going to seriously limit your job opportunities over some mostly unrealistic expectations.

        You know I had a similar view back in the day, except it was my appearance. I always believed it was wrong for employers to care about my appearance. But eventually you either stand on principle and starve or accept reality and eat.

        1. Jeff*

          I agree with your stand on appearance. And yes, sometimes it ends up being necessary to compromise if circumstances dictate. But often those situations end up being short-term, do it until something better comes along gigs. Not the best for either party involved.

          It is also often possible to maintain one’s principles and have gainful employment. In those cases both the employer and the employee benefit.

          And, yes, I do limit my job opportunities based on my own criteria (as we all do to some extent). Generally this keeps me happier overall, much more so that when I was younger and more willing to compromise my ideals in order to “move up the ladder”.

    2. Jamie*

      This. And even hoping you can carpool with a co-worker once you meet them and sees who lives where is in diametric opposition to “reliable transportation.”

      One, I’ve never understood why people without cars who need rides call it carpooling. It’s not, since you never share the driving…it’s getting a ride. (And people who do this regularly should kick in for gas and not just assume “you were going ere anyway.”)

      And two, I don’t care if they live next door and you have the same schedule, its never your co-workers problem to get you to and from work. If it happens organically, great, but driving someone else on a regular basis is an imposition (how much depends on the individual) and nothing that should ever be assumed.)

      Huge pet peeve.

      1. fposte*

        “And people who do this regularly should kick in for gas and not just assume “you were going ere anyway.”

        Ah, you worked with her too.

        1. Lisa*

          Don’t forget the co-worker who assumes you’ll do their errands with them too. Oh just a quick stop at the post office, or let me just jump out, and I’ll be back in 5.

          “And two, I don’t care if they live next door and you have the same schedule, its never your co-workers problem to get you to and from work.”
          – I would never take a job that made me rely on someone other than a bus driver to get me to work everyday. That person might move, remove their offer to give you a ride, etc. Getting a ride from anyone not your spouse / kid / parent, is bad idea because roommates leave, couples breakup, and friends get mad too often to count on a consistent ride over the course of a 2-year employment.

    3. K*

      It’s sort of a “choice,” but employers should be aware that in some locations it’s cost prohibitive and should adjust their expectations accordingly. (I suspect they do, to be honest, and that this just happens naturally. I only point this out because the comments on this thread seem to be trending a little towards the “people who don’t own cars are cheap moochers” side of the debate, which isn’t really the case in some places.)

      1. Jamie*

        I don’t think it’s a universal truth anywhere…there is nothing wrong with not owning a car. I don’t think people who don’t own cars are either cheap or moochers. If they don’t want/need one then they should enjoy all the money they save. But there is a small percentage of people who think their choice not to own a car infers an obligation on others to chauffeur them around (and there has been at least one person like this everywhere I’ve worked) – that small subset is the problem and quite frankly may be one of the reasons employers want to ensure reliable transportation upfront (among other reasons.)

        1. twentymilehike*

          I don’t think it’s a universal truth anywhere…there is nothing wrong with not owning a car.

          True … so true, even though a lot of places in America make it Really Difficult not to. But that’s okay, becuase I really truely honestly enjoy owning a car for lots of personal reasons (and not just to get to work, so of course I don’t expect my employer to pitch in. We have a company van I could use to run the occasional errand for my office, though I much prefer to take my own car).

          My husband, on the other hand, does not own a car, as he much prefers to ride a motorcycle, or even a bicycle. And that works for him.

          Point being, it doesn’t matter if you have a car if not having a car doesn’t create any problems. When I’m thinking through things like this, I always ask myself, “can I do xyz independently?” Even if others help you, always have a back up plan. I think the OP’s thinking should be along those lines, and at the first sign of a dilemma, really consider the possible solutions before moving ahead. Zip car might be a good one if its not too time consuming to go pick it up. Or maybe the job requires a lot of lugging boxes of paperwork around, and then you need to get a hand cart for the subway or bus.

      2. Lisa*

        Requiring a car in say NYC, when you can cab it most places, seems much. But then again, I am thinking about client meetings not needing to haul anything from location A to B.

        1. Andrew*

          It’s pretty much assumed in NYC, especially in Manhattan, that you don’t have a car readily available.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I think the issue is more about expecting the employer to reimburse for Zipcar than thinking people who don’t own cars are moochers — at least for me.

      4. Runon*

        I really agree that this discussion has gotten pretty harsh on people who don’t own cars assuming they are moochers and that they only want to take things from the car owners. This is people who are being jerks or being unreliable. Not all people who don’t own cars are like that, some people who do are.

        (I don’t own a car, I frankly despise when a friend offers to take me to do errands, I’d much rather bus or rent a car or walk. If someone does pick me up for whatever reason I always offer to buy coffee/tickets/gas/whatever. I’m always early so they never have to wait. I never complain about driving or smoking or music. Not everyone is a moocher. But that is all that drivers are talking about. It isn’t really relevant and it isn’t really accurate.)

        1. Zed*

          Not to mention that some people don’t drive because they have a disability. Or other perfectly legitimate reasons why they can’t drive.

        2. fposte*

          Huh. I was one of the people who said something rude about a moocher I knew, and it was not a comment about all non-drivers being moochers, especially considering that person had a car and drove and that I went without a car for twenty years. (I didn’t despise kindly offers to drive me, though–that seems kind of extreme.)

          However, I think somebody who is requesting that a company compensate him extra for his fulfillment of a job condition is getting a wee bit moochy.

    4. Kay*

      I’ve been asked specifically about my reliable transportation during interviews. I think you should be prepared to expect that question.

      Also, I frequently have to run multiple small errands a day for work that would be difficult to condense. I need a car available to me whenever I need it. It wouldn’t be realistic for me to go and rent a car for these errands since I don’t know when they will arise and I certainly couldn’t expect my employer to wait for me to rent a car let alone expect them to pay for it.

      1. HR Pufnstuff*

        My experience is when asked for reliable transportation they are wanting the worker to own a car.
        On a side note, I went to battle for a Receptionist paid at $13/hr, management placed high priority on that person having a vehicle for the occasional bank or supplies run. I questioned the wisdom of losing capable candidates if we weren’t paying a wage to justify.

      2. Jennifer*

        And in my experience, you usually can’t get Zipcars reliably at the last minute either. I usually have to make reservations at least 3 days in advance to get what time I want.

  5. Mike C.*

    RE: #1, how would you deal with the situation if the candidate was instead the proverbial “crazy ex”?

    How would you remain professional while conveying the fact that this person was a compulsive liar or had anger issues without making it personal?

    1. fposte*

      Two rules: less is more, and specifics are most of all. “He’s a compulsive liar” or “he had anger issues” are hyperdiagnostic ex-speak that could make me skeptical. “It turned out he didn’t go to the college he said he did” is a neutrally started alert; “He made waitresses cry twice” is similarly specific; “As you know, I like punctuality, and we had different styles there that were hard for me” is code for “he never turned up when he said he would.”

  6. Lisa*

    #2 – If you end up on the phone alot, get a headphone that is easy to plug in. But since your boss won’t pay for it, you may have to, and honestly if it gives you peace just pay for it yourself , there are cheap ones out there.

  7. Nicole*

    I was a Lead COBRA Administrator at a TPA (the on-site coordinator of the department). My coworkers thought it was boring.

    They called me COBRA Commander.

    I cannot tell you HOW badly I wanted to put it in my email signature for a day, but I resisted.

  8. Lindsay*

    #4. Definitely go to HR. I’m in a similar position right now – I was fired a couple weeks ago for essentially a BS reason. I knew as soon as I was fired that I did not really want my job back, because I feel that my manager threw me under the bus to save his own rear-end and I don’t want to work for somebody who would do that.

    However, the company I worked for is a large one and I didn’t want to lose the ability to work at any of their locations in the future. I also did not want them telling people who called for references to say that I was fired.

    I went to HR and they had a form that I could fill out to appeal my termination. I did that, and was also able to see the reasons for termination they listed on my paperwork so I knew what would be said.

    All appeals are handled through the regional HR director, and I have not heard back from her yet (though I’ve since found another job so I am not too concerned). However, I am glad I did it because it made me feel like I had more control over my future with the company. I know I presented myself professionally and appropriately and that that will reflect well on me (and they know my manager and of some aspects of his personality that reflect poorly on him), and everyone in HR was very nice to me.

    I may not gain anything from going to them, but I certainly didn’t lose anything by doing it so I feel it was worth it.

  9. Question 6*

    Thanks for the input, Alison! I’m going to avoid giving salary details if at all possible. Some have already asked, but for them I’ll build a strong case for paying me the industry standard.

  10. nyxalinth*

    #3 Usually here in Denver means “We’re in an area without bus service or very flaky bus service” or “You’ll be running lots of errands outside the office”. Occasionally, you run into someone requesting it because they think bus riders are unreliable (and in one case, lower class). One time I called a place needing a general office assistance (it was a trucking company, small one) who said all their employees needed driver’s licenses. I don’t have one, since I don’t have a car. I asked “Does the job ever require any driving at all?” “No, we just have no way to sort out the drivers from the non-drivers, so everyone has to have one.”

    Um, what the actual hell? A database, spreadsheet, or even an old school Rolodex couldn’t help you people keep that straight?

    Occasionally, I see call center jobs wanting you to have reliable transportation. I’m figuring in most cases the job isn’t actually customer care and they’re trying to lure people in with a bait and switch to an outside sales job (has happened to me, I left quickly) or is inaccessible or again, they think bus riders are unreliable.

    It’s inconvenient to me to leave for work an hour earlier than anyone else, but it’s fine with me: I’d rather have a job than an extra hour.

    1. FormerManager*

      In another post, I mentioned that when I was a cocky 18-year old I worked for a pharmacy that required you to have a car. For a cashier’s position with no driving. I think they’d had issues with teenagers not getting rides from friends or something.

      So when they asked if I had a car, I said yes. Now, the back story is that my ailing grandmother had “given” me her non-working Buick that she thought still worked. My parents and I were too kind to tell her it didn’t work (she was moving into a “home” and thought Carter was still president).

      So my dad dropped me off and picked me up for my shifts for my four month stint. On my last day (I’d quit two weeks prior), the owner found out my situation and looked at me funny, so I just said,

      “Yeah, but I had a better track record of not being late than the other employees who drove themselves”.

      (Did I mention I was a cocky 18-year-old?)

      1. nyxalinth*


        I had a friend who took a job that had said ‘reliable transportation’ in the ad, driving was never needed, it was perfectly bus accessible, and her car broke down three weeks later. She couldn’t afford to fix it for quite some time, and they grumbled and groused the whole time she had to take the bus. She ended up taking another job.

        1. fposte*

          I’m missing something–how did they know that she was taking the bus if it was just as reliable as driving?

          1. Jennifer*

            I’d guess that she had to leave early to catch the bus at the right time, or ended up late to work because the bus had issues.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              I’ve had interviews for call centre jobs on industrial estates where the buses are infrequent and/or the stop closest to the building necessitates clambering over some of those prickly plants that also act as security.

            2. fposte*

              I thought of that, but then it really isn’t just as reliable if you have to rearrange your schedule to make it work.

              If they caught her clambering over cactus that’s another matter :-).

  11. Andrew*

    Re #2: Am I the only one who thought that the employer’s cutting back on the number of useable telephones is a warning sign that something isn’t right financially with the company? One telephone for 6-8 people to use for work calls (forget the personal calls, they shouldn’t count) seems like desperate nickel-and-diming to me.

    1. Editor*

      Yes, I wondered about why so many shared the phone.

      If an employee has immune-system problems, I would think they could ask for their own phone and some disinfectant wipes as part of an accommodation. If not, then providing the wipes and cleaning the phone as needed is the worker’s choice. I don’t know that it is necessary, however. I worked in an office where adjacent desks shared phones and there were two shifts a day at each desk, so four or more people used certain phones and I don’t recall any of us having problems with shared diseases.

      1. Jessa*

        I’m very immunosuppressed, but I find it pretty easy to have a cloth (you can get a package of bar cloths really cheap at a store like Sam’s or GFS or even Walmart,) and a spritz bottle of rubbing alcohol. You don’t need fancy wipes. 70% alcohol will kill germs just fine and on 90+% of phones will not damage the handset.

        At one job I had I made a deal with my neighbours, they pitched in a quarter or two towards the alcohol and I broke up my pack of cloths and gave them each one. They’re also so large you can cut them in half and still have a pretty big surface to wipe with.

        I keep two cloths in my drawer, and when one gets dirty I wash it out (I can take it home if needed,) and use the other one til it’s dry. It cost me less than 10 bucks. I mean a pack of maybe 25 cloths was 5 bucks (and they last FOREVER if you don’t abuse them,) and the alcohol is a buck a giant bottle. You spritz the cloth and wipe the handset and go. You can also use it for keyboards (you don’t soak the thing.)

        Honestly, I’d complain only if I really, honestly need to use the phone at times when it’s consistently in use by someone else. In other words when we have a business need for another phone.

    2. Anonymous*

      I can’t decide which is worse – this or the OP who had her boss give out her personal cell number!

      1. Jessa*

        Giving out the number willy nilly certainly. An employee can choose to use their phone once in a blue moon for business. But honestly if I have to make more than a very occasional call, the company better provide me with a number for the purpose. Sometimes you get a wiggy customer who can be dangerous. I don’t want my personal info in their hands.

        Plus I just can’t see how the IT department or security isn’t having conniption fits about personal devices.

  12. Kou*

    This is not a health risk. Or I should say, it isn’t any more than any of the other multitude of germy surfaces you touch every single day that can transmit disease. Sure, if someone in your office is sick the phone could spread it– just like the desk around it, the door knobs, the air that drifts between you. Phones should be wiped down and disinfected periodically (I’m the only one who uses my phone and I still wipe it down weekly) since they are on your face and all. But the general hygiene of the people using the phone will not impact your ability to get sick from it, side from washed hands, and you’d be astounded how many otherwise perfectly clean people don’t wash their damn hands.

    1. Jamie*

      Weird thing, once I had to throw out a phone handset because the previous user ate so much garlic that I couldn’t get the smell out. Not with Lysol, Clorox wipes, etc. it wasn’t just me because I cleaned it and put it in box and a month later issued it to someone who brought it back complaining of the smell. And it was still there.

      If smell can linger it makes you wonder about germs though.

      1. Kou*

        Oh they’re germy as heck, it’s just… We associate that with filth and disease, when it’s really pretty normal. And yeah, phones are a prime way to spread infectious disease, but not in such a way that OP can claim health hazard to avoid it or get more phones back– as I suspect that is the motive for this question.

        I would certainly find this annoying because I hate catching people’s crap in the office (and, as others have pointed out, it’s a bad sign for many other reasons) but having individual phones wouldn’t really cut that risk in any noticeable way, I don’t think. Consider all the workplaces where communal phones are common or necessary and it’s not an issues, and all the workplaces where everyone has their own space and disease still spreads.

      2. fposte*

        Britain actually had a telephone sanitization industry. Which was mocked by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (or the Restaurant at the End of the Universe if you’re going from the books).

  13. Anonymous*

    #5. I was interviewed for a Senior Administrative Coordinator position at a uni. The interviewer explained upfront that the position was primarily a receptionist position with some admin tasks tossed in. That surprised me. During the ‘do you have any questions’ portion of the session, I asked again about the primary duties of the post as Senior Admin Coor seemed strange for a Receptionist position. Why not just call it Receptionist? All Receptionists I know do admin tasks separate and apart from their primary duties but their title is still that of Receptionist. In any event, the interviewer seemed annoyed and gave me the “As I SAID, etc, etc” spiel.

    Are they just being creative or something else entirely?

  14. ITPuffNStuff*

    #3 — one angle to consider here is that insurance plays a huge role when driving a personal vehicle for work related reasons. The majority of personal use insurance policies provide NO coverage for business use, period. This means using a personal vehicle for work is driving uninsured, which, to the best of my knowledge, is illegal in all 50 states. This candidate should speak with his/her insurance agent and find out whether a separate business use policy is needed, and what it would cost. To put this in perspective, I checked on a business use policy for my own vehicle, and the price was 9 times the cost of my regular auto policy. This candidate should take that into consideration when applying for this job, and even ask the interviewer about reimbursement for the cost of a business use policy.

    The overwhelming majority of employers that ask employees to use personal vehicles on company business do not reimburse for business use insurance, and expect their employee to either drive uninsured (placing the burden of criminal and civil liability on the employee) or pay for their own policy (which can cost more than half the job’s take-home pay). Responsible employers purchase their own vehicles for business use, and provide their own business use insurance policies.


    1. ITPuffNStuff*

      PS – to clarify, commuting between home and work is not considered “business use” and is still covered by a normal personal use policy.

Comments are closed.